30 March 2011

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week - Day 3

Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches - Today is all about where we keep our stash, knitting, equipment. 
First I'll show you my stash

and where I keep it - the 2nd spare bedroom is the home for most of my stash

Boxes from Aldi provide storage for buttons, pins, tape measures, and the like.  Patterns, magazines, books are stored on my book case and various folders.  Needles depending on size live in various places but all are in rolls or zipped bags to keep then tidy

Ongoing projects are kept normally in my fabric knitting bag, but my latest project is too large so is consigned to a plastic carrier bag.

And in case you were wondering what was in the bottom drawer above - my collection of coned yarns

The majority of my stash is listed on Ravelry, and I can more or less see at a glance what I have, so I consider myself reasonably tidy.  I also keep my projects page up to date, its very satisfying seeing all my finished projects displayed.  This years I am also keeping a monthly/yearly tally of all yarn in and out.  Is that a bit anal, I don't think so.

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week - Late to the party - Days 1 & 2

As you can see from the above banner its Knitting blog week - you are suppose to blog about a given topic on a given day.  I've been procrastinating about this, but having read some of the entries its looks like everyone is having a good time, getting lots of visitors to their blogs, so I've decided to pull my finger out and get on, especially as its raining and I can't get out on the garden.

Day One - Tale of Two Yarns - choose two yarns and tell what you like or dislike about them. 

Well I'm not a yarn snob so you won't be hearing about some fantastic yarn I've bought which I needed to take out a 2nd mortgage for.  I like yarn that has acrylic as part of its makeup.  I can hear the gasps of disapproval from here.  I like to be able to throw my knitted items into the washing machine and for them to come out as they went in.  Having experienced knitting with 100% wool yarn and then seeing the end result after my daughter washed in the machine, its an awful waste of time and effort.  Having said that I think the nicest yarn I used was for a little cardigan for a friend daughter's christening, knitted in Sublime Yarns Baby Cashmere Merino Silk 4ply

With regards to a yarn I'm not keen on, that would have to be Paton's Smoothie, whilst the end result looks good it splits terribly

So on to Day 2 - Skill + 1Up - Look back over the year to see how you have improved knitwise.

For me this was lace knitting, I went right out of my comfort zone when I joined a KAL on the Grandmas Hand Forum its was for the Travelling Woman Shawl,  I learnt that its not easy to unpick lace, I learnt about installing lifelines and making sure my stitch markers were in the right place. I was pleased with the result.  I now have all the necessary blocking equipment so future lace projects will hopefully have a crisper finish.

I still need to push myself into sock knitting, its my goal for 2011

Factoid & Quote of the day

I've decided to share with you my calendar quotes etc on the days that I work (if I remember).  So here are todays entries

1987 - Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers is bought for $39.85 million

Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get

29 March 2011

Too true

I have two calendars on my desk at work; both make me smile for different reasons.

The first is a Year with Rufus and his little face beams at me each morning. The second is an unattractive block calendar from one of my suppliers. Why do you keep it I hear you ask. Well it is a source of useful information; you see each day it has a factoid and a quote.
Today’s factoid is - in 1871 the Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria

and today’s quote is - Middle age is when a narrow waist and a broad mind begin to change places.........

28 March 2011

Lack of momentum

Things are going very slow on the knitting front this month. I feel like I haven't really acheived anything apart from add to the stash. My ten stitch is coming along albeit slowly.  The trouble is the bigger it gets the longer it take to do each side.  I still have plenty of yarn so will just keep going, though with the return of the lighter evenings the garden will be taking top priority. I also have another unfinished project and that is the short row scarf but that will do to take to my craft group on Thursday as its light and portable.

Jobs for this afternoon will be more seed sowing - the tomato seeds have germinated as have the lettuce, these will need potting on in a day or two.  I have sweet pea seeds in soak so these will be potted up and I need to sort out the seed potatoes. 

I lost all my begonia tubers to the cold winter and am still mourning the loss of all my cordyline trees.  There is still lots of clearing up around the barn and garden in general. Peter dug out the area for the new steps and I barrowed it to the end of the garden, so now we have a huge heap of soil in the veg plot! There is a low brick wall to repair. So many jobs so little time

27 March 2011

Garden Room progress - Celotex Saturday

A huge thank you to Tim, Beck and Rachel for all their help yesterday. They all worked really hard and as you can see achieved completion on the celotex in one day. I think I got the best deal, I got to look after Rufus and keep them all fed and watered.

23 March 2011

Beauty & the Beast

Here is the stump, pretty unattractive so thought I'd give you some pretty from the garden too. Also added photos of the newly cleared beds either side of the old barn doors. I need to get some slate chippings for this area as I can't plant anything this side of the stepping stone due to door clearance.
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Doesn't the sun make you feel better

You will be glad to know – or not, that I am feeling much better. I took myself into work on Monday which was a big mistake, as I ended up feeling horrible. Decided to give myself a day off yesterday – what a lovely day it was too. I pottered around doing odd jobs and enjoying the sunshine. This really has been an odd bug though – feel sick if you don’t eat feel sick when you do, it’s like having a lump in your throat the whole time. Rennies have become my new best friend! Well those and mint tea.

The delivery of celotex arrived yesterday afternoon ready for my workers this weekend. Our plasterer now can’t start til 26th April, which is a bit of a blow, but it does allow us time to get on with the outside jobs.

The neighbours popped round yesterday to discuss their new fence; it appears that a hazel tree on the boundary line – which blurred many years ago - is right in the way. Peter had cut it well back in the autumn leaving a low stump and they offered to remove it so they can put up their fence. When I say they I mean there daughter – she may be in the army but it’s not really a job for a girl. Anyway she set to and was hard at it when Peter got home. Being the gentleman that he is he got stuck in to help. By 5:45pm they realised it was a much bigger job than first thought but have it well exposed. Light failing they called it a day. I’ll take so photos when I get home so you can see said tree stump. We will end up with a pond size hole when it comes out, not that I want a pond in this position. It will be lovely to have good fencing along this part of our garden, as for years it’s been rotting willow hurdles held up by ivy which invades everything – the previous occupant had a thing about ivy, it is everywhere and our new neighbours are fighting a constant battle against it. The whole area has been a “no grow zone”, so I look forward to planting it up.

21 March 2011

Weekend roundup – the sick ones

Weekends go too fast as it is but when you spend one day of the precious weekend in bed being sick it’s not fun and such a waste of time.

Saturday - I spent in the garden, it was such a lovely day. I achieved lots and had planned to continue on Sunday as there is still a mountain of work to do. Rachel came to help she painted boxes but around mid afternoon started to feel and be sick. She went home.

Sunday – I woke around 2am feeling like I had really bad indigestion and stomach cramps, hot/cold went to the loo, sick, back to bed. Dozed on and off. Trying to sleep in an upright position is really difficult but if I lay down I felt worse. By 5am I was really being sick, you know the sort of sick where you think your stomach is going to turn inside out. The rest of the day was spent laying in bed listening to the sounds of spring, birds tweeting, mowers cutting, children playing, husband drilling and banging, feeling really sorry for myself. I finally roused myself around 2.30pm and had a bath. Felt marginally better and ventured downstairs to the sofa where I lay and watched a re-run of All Quiet on the Western Front and kept down a mint tea.  The only upside, yes there was an upside - I was 3.5lbs lighter this morning!!!!!!!

Garden Room -The wiring for sockets and lights has been completed and the outside lights are fitted. They look really good. The celotex insulation is ordered and will delivered this week. The family are all “hands on deck” this coming weekend to help fit it. I get to look after Rufus and feed them all.

18 March 2011

Rufus 9 months today

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Stitch & Craft Show - confession time

What a lovely day we had yesterday, Rachel picked me up around 8am, we drove to Stuart's flat and parked then walked through to Huntingdon train station where we were in time for the 9am train. Arrived in London at 10am. Caught the tube over to Olympia which is a bit of a trek, especially when you are too busy talking that you get on the wrong train, who knew that 3 different lines used the same piece of track?
We eventually got there around 11am, first stop the ladies, then coffee. We had already spied Black Sheep Wools on the way in with their usual huge pile of yarn packs, so knew we were in for a bargain! A quick look round the lower ground floor then elbows sharpened we headed into the melee. The good thing about having Rachel with you is that she is happy to wade into the pile, and was soon retrieving packs of yarn for the other ladies. As you can see from below I scored 3 packs of Sirdar Click Aran with wool. I have no plans for any of it but as it was £12.99 per pack which is half price I felt it would be a good addition to the stash - all 3,240 yards of it - thats 1500grams - oh dear more in than out this month, unless I pull my fingers out.

In addition to the yarn I picked up some embellishments and also some craft ribbon which was another bargain at 3 meters for 25p each, all suitable for christmas projects. A couple of packs of glass headed pins completed my haul for the day.

This show doesn't have the same element of knitting as the one later in the year at Alexandra Palace, but was much better than the last time we attended.  There was an exhibition of knitted art headed by redindian aka Sue from Ravelry which was amazing, they normally exhibit their work at the Customs House South Shields, very talented ladies.

Once we had had our fill of the show we headed out into the sunshine and walked up to Kensington High Street, then hopped onto a bus to Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square where we decided it was time for a bit of fortification, 2 large white wine and soda's and a packet of crisps. We talked nonstop all day.  For dinner we decided it had to be Gerrards Corner in China Town, we go here all the time when in the area, there are so many other resturants in China Town but the one time we went "off piste", we were disappointed so Gerrards it is.Posted by Picasa

Our homeward journey was delayed somewhat by a "one-under" - London Transport's term for a platform jumper - what makes someone do this?  Anyway, we managed to get our train with a few minutes to spare and Peter was waiting for us when we arrived back at Huntingdon. 

All in all a lovely day out, which was my birthday treat from Rachel.  I am so happy to have this type of gift and also to be able to spend time with my daughter, I feel truly blessed that my girls are happy to spend their valuable time with me - thank you.

We are now off to spend time with Beck and Rufus.

16 March 2011

Stitch & Craft Show... or a danger to my stash

It's a nice short working week this week.  We are off to the Stitch & Craft Show at Olympia tomorrow.  Not sure that this will be good for my stashbusting but I have been very good so far this year, and feel that I deserve a bit of retail therapy. 

I've been to the hairdressers this afternoon and providing that its not foggy tomorrow I should hit London with tidy hair.  If you had seen it this morning after our walk, looked like I'd had my fingers in the socket!!

I'm still battling on with the ten stitch blanket, its amazing how much brown/beige/cream yarn I have in my stash so I'm just going to keep on till I run out.  The only problem now is that it makes me really hot whilst knitting it as there is so much on my lap.

My garden is slowly taking shape, still loads to do but the weather this weekend is looking ok so I should be able to get some more tidying done.  The lights have arrived for the garden room, so they should be in place over the weekend too.

Wish me luck for some self control tomorrow. I will photograph my purchases for approval

13 March 2011

Weekend round up

Another busy weekend, though not quite over yet.

Friday evening we helped our friend Colin celebrate his 60th birthday, dinner at Old Fire Engine House at Ely.

Saturday - we spent the day working on the garden room.  The rest of the outside painting has been completed and the new guttering is on. The brickwork has been painted with black bitumous paint.  All the new wood on the replaced base plate has been painted inside, so a productive day.  Again, Rachel helped us out, she comes in real handy for the high bits, being so tall.  Saturday evening we went up to Stamford to babysit Rufus while his mum and dad had a well earned evening out with their friends, we had curry takeway which was very good.

Sunday - up early listening to Rufus chatting in his cot!  We spent the morning playing, amazing what fun you can have with a garden trug and some plastic balls.  He really is getting about now, starting to walk along the furniture, crawling all over the place though he gets around much quicker with his trousers off.  His hair is growing too, and is coming through the same lovely strawberry blonde as his mum, he really is our Rufus the Red.

We came home just before lunch to get on with some work, but to be honest I can't get up any enthusiasm for it now. Maybe later, or then again I may just curl up on the sofa with my knitting.

10 March 2011

Garden Room - progress report

Not so much to report these days as only really the weekend to get anything done. However, I have had a plasterer round to measure up and quote to board and skim the walls, and also the flooring man from next door to measure up to make us cosy underfoot - this was actually quite reasonable and he has left me with some suitable samples, what do you think.  I like the one on the left, closeup on right.

In other news I have planted up some seeds, and they are residing on the kitchen windowsill till things warm up.  I've done a tray of lettuce, which will go out under the cloche, tomatoes, serrano chillies, okra, marigolds and aquilegia.  We have broad beans that need to go in and I really need to get on with the garden, but there is a very cold wind out there today and I actually don't feel like it.  Think I'll do some baking instead

8 March 2011

What do you have on yours?

Pancakes that is.  Its lemon and sugar for me everytime.  I'm fairly traditional when it comes to the good old pancake, though I do like to drop a few raisins into the pan with the batter, my mum always does this.  Peter, he likes nutella or golden syrup or maple syrup depending on his mood.  Mrs Jones made us pancakes for breakfast on Saturday, she did American style which we had with bacon and maple syrup, very good, but to my mind a whole different meal.

We won't be having our Pancake Day today as we are off to see Paul Carrack at the Cambridge Corn Exchange tonight, so will have dinner in town.  I'm favouring sushi so will more than likely head for Yo Sushi if we have time.

So whatever you have on your pancake enjoy and don't eat too many

7 March 2011

The gift of time......

We would all like more time in our day, so today my boss gave me an extra 1.5 hours. He cut my hours! We are going through a very quiet time at work so he asked if I’d mind dropping some hours to help out. I actually don’t mind to be honest; there is nothing worse than sitting looking at the wall with nothing to do. With the nicer weather on the way I can spend my 1.5 hours a day in the garden, or knitting

This is only a temporary measure until things pick up but we will see.........

6 March 2011

Garden Room - our work begins days 3 and 4

This weekend Peter and Rachel have broken the back of the outside painting, just the side which is in our neighbours garden to do. Rain stopped play for a while on Saturday so they erected the scaffold tower and started to brush off the internal beams, a very dusty job.  These beams will be left as is. The guttering on our side has been replaced and looks very good.

I have spent all morning trying to sort out plants in the border adjacent to our neighbour's fence - which is falling down and due to be replaced. It is covered in ivy, infact thats about all that is holding it up. Problem with ivy is that it gets everywhere and is chocking my plants. I cleared everything out and will replant once their fence is replaced and I can see a clear fence line.

I have now started to clear all the dead foliage from the borders and am sad to see that I have lost all my cordyline trees this year, two of them we have had for around 15 years. This winter has been very hard on the garden.  The phormiums have taken a beating too though I think they will survive albeit somewhat depleated.  Once I clear the borders I can see what gaps I have then infil with the plants I moved out today. 

Our next gardening job will be to try and get rid of all the moss!!  Our lawn really suffers with moss and we weed and feed it every year but it still comes back.

Whether any of us will be able to move our arms tomorrow will remain to be seen.  So it back to work for a rest

4 March 2011

Pot of sunshine

Rufus comes to Granny's house..... again

Rufus and his mum are staying for a few days.  We had a lovely day - been shopping, out for lunch, walk in  the sunshine, to the swings.  Mummy and Aunty Rachel are out for the evening - cinema and dinner. We got to do tea/bath and bedtime, its went like a dream, tea eaten well, bathtime fun, and into bed, can't believe it went so well especially as I had to give him a bottle, maybe the fact that he didn't sleep too much during the day, but no grizzles, so I'm really chuffed.

we cleaned the floor

he even got to beat Pops up

Garden Room - glass is in!

Photos tomorrow.  So pleased with it all, now its all down to us.

3 March 2011

Update - Garden room and on my needles

No glass delivered yesterday. 
Odd jobs done. 
Bit more staining also done.

Work progresses slowly on the ten-stitch blanket, its getting heavy and makes my wrists ache so to relieve the pressure I am knitting up at Short Row Scarf its a free Lion Brand pattern and I'm using Sirdar Supersoft aran in a soft sage green, as usual photos when I'm finished

Thursday pm - no glass delivered today, so not looking like Neil will finish tomorrow )-:

Welcome, welcome

I'm so pleased........ jumps up and down in excitment!

I see I have picked up 3 new followers in the last week.  Welcome to you all. I have had a quick look at your blogs and see that we are 'like minded' if not 'like aged'.  I hope you enjoy my posts. I try to make them as varied as I can and provide something for everyone.  I look forward to reading your comments, please everyone comment then I'll know if you like something or not..

So tell your friends about it, I'd love more followers

1 March 2011

Garden Room - Day 15

Swept up and tidy -  just a couple of odd jobs and the glass to do then Neil will be finished. The glass should be delivered either tomorrow or Thursday, so by the end of the week we will be watertight. 

The guttering was delivered today, job for the weekend? 

All the internal walls need to be swept then measured up for the insulation materials.  Next job after that is to paint the ceiling and all the internal beams.  The internal lights we ordered at the weekend are out of stock for 2 weeks, typical, not that we need them yet but thats besides the point.

The progress reports will slow down now as work can only be completed in our spare time.  There is no point in trying to set a deadline for use because that will only end in disappointment............

Garden Room - Day 14

Repairs to the old doors, not that you can see too much on this side, lots of bits replaced on the rear of the doors.  Audrey will no longer be able to go through the bottom of the door, so we have had a proper cat-flap added to the new stable door just for her

February's stashbust total

I have been fairly good this month

February total: 955yds - IN/ 1,925yds + 835grams OUT
Year to date: 955 yds - IN / 5,392yds + 835g OUT

I finished off the ten stitch blanket from January and then knitted 2 Bunny blanket buddies, a jumper - new born size, and started another ten stitch. I only fell off the wagon once this month with the purchase of 250 grams of Sirdar Snuggly which was a bargain from the charity shop. Currently knitting a matching hat to go with the jumper, then its back to the ten-stitch