Sunday, 21 February 2010

Patchwork!

I really look forward to one Saturday out of every month, my quilting morning, where my friend Carie and I are making a patch a month to eventually make a quilt out of. I am very new to quilting, Carie has rather more knowledge than I which can be very useful, but if the truth be known we generally end up giggling like school girls after I've made yet another error. This Saturday was no exception, it reminds me of my school days where I was once separated from my best friend Mole, due to too much giggling.

But even though we are giggling, we are still working, and we are making very beautiful squares.
(mine is on the left, Carie's on the right)

These are our first squares which we completed in January. I really like it that even though we chose our materials quite independently of each other and last I'd heard Carie was thinking of greys and pinks, we both have a nice strong red in our colour scheme. You could quite easily have these patches as cushions sitting happily side by side on a sofa. These patches were made using triangles which were made simply by putting two squares of material together face to face and sewing two lines diagonally a 1/4 " each side of the center diagonal line and then cutting them in half and opening them up. The design is then up to you.

This month a little hand sewing was in order. This is what we are trying to achieve.

We were taught how to make a design called building blocks, as usual I engaged my brain rather late and ironed the freezer paper onto the wrong side of the material! Start again Mandy.... !! I didn't know freezers had paper! But after a lovely couple of hours spent with very good company, may I present....

(again I'm left, Carie is right)

I've spent a lovely couple of hours this afternoon doing a little sewing, I've lost the light now, so I think I'll knit for a while this evening.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Lent.

Without fully describing my religious views, which I think are very private for most people, I thought I would follow the idea my friend Diane had last year, which was not to cast on over lent. I remember her saying it focused her mind and she managed to finish so many of her projects that had been put to one side.

I've also mentioned this idea to a few of my knitting friends over the last couple of months, the main response was one of 'madness and disbelief' - about me, not them... And so I've been wondering whether this was the right idea. So, two weeks ago, I thought I would start early and continue knitting what was on the needles, yesterday I finished knitting my Fletcher, there is much to be done in the finishing but the heavy work is finished. Also I've been working on my Lizard Ridge blanket, I find this hurts my wrists and tonight I was tempted, really tempted to cast on a plain vanilla sock, because a vanilla sock is a lovely thing to knit when either you've had a bad day, or your aches and pains are particularly bad (mine are dreadful at the moment, the worst I've been in months) so you can't knit heavy or complicated items, or your just really tired and all you want to feel is the soothing aspect of the yarn and the gentle movement of the needles.

There was a discussion with hubby about the rights and wrongs of casting on at this late stage, quickly followed by another discussion with hubby, a walk to the yarn cupboard in the kitchen and a poke around the sock yarn there, a ball of sock yarn was chosen.. and even came back with me into the living room where I started looking for needles. And then I stopped, looked over at hubby and had another discussion with him about what I was doing. And I truly stopped and put everything away.. And I felt good.

Small things, just small things...

Friday, 12 February 2010

Holly

September 1995 - February 2010

I have no way to express just how much this hurts. To lose a pet is one thing, to lose ones family so quickly, this, no matter how well you prepare yourself, it damn well hurts, - well what can I say, but we have just lost three family members in six months.. I know this sounds odd, and you are only going to be an animal person/owner to understand this, but some of these animals are nearly as old as my children, and I loved them so. We lost Holly today, she was nearly fifteen, there was nothing more we could do.

Some of our favourite photographs, of when she was in her prime.






Good night Holly, God bless. Sleep tight I will miss you so.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Seasonal cookery.

Sometimes its not a hardship to put together seasonal ingredients. Our hens are laying extremely well and the first pink stalks of forced rhubarb are in the shops. Yesterday we had rhubarb and home made custard for pudding. Which left me with lots of egg whites, well there is only one recipe that springs to mind in those circumstances, a pavlova and with some nice tart rhubarb left over I thought it would make the perfect pud.

I'd baked the rhubarb in a glass of pink fizz with a little sugar, if you bake it gently in the oven you keep the shape and it doesn't all become a grey mush. Pavlova is one of the easiest sweets to make if you have a large electric mixer, mine is a Kenwood chef which was made in the year 1953 and has seen continuous service since.

The sharp eyed amongst you may notice that there are huge chunks missing out of this pavlova, that was the handy work of my second born son. They ask, you say no, its for later, and they take it anyway...

Look at that squidgy centre, it was perfection.

Cold Sheeping.

I am into my second month of cold sheeping. I have not splurged on yarn in all of this time, which for me is impressive. On the other hand my library is increasing...

I have noticed some lovely things during my travels around the net. Toft Alpaca have started to make lace weight in baby alpaca. Fortunately they only have very pale colours, (pale colours would be destroyed in my house) which will be absolutely dreamy as the lightest Alpaca's have the softest coats. Although on second thoughts I think I could manage the oatmeal..

And I've noticed that Sundara yarns are always available these days, but their postage was prohibitive to the UK, well they've changed their rules and now,, (I am not even sure if I should say this) if one were to purchase $200 of beautiful yarn (and my choice would be mainly in sock) the postage is.... FREE!!!!!!!!!!

I was quite excited by this idea and I started to think of my sock knitting friends and who I could email and where else I could post this new to me information. And who would be most probably likely to buy a couple of skeins at least... And then we could have had a big huge packet winging its way to us and we would have to put pennies aside for VAT and Customs.. But it was all doable...

And then I woke up and remembered I am cold sheeping.

So I'll have to make do (if you saw the amount of sock yarn I have you would laugh at those words) with the one skein of Sundara sock a kind Raveller sent to me last year.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Kenilworth Knit and Natter's Christmas do.

What?, its February!!! Gosh hasn't time flown this year. Because we are independent thinking women we thought we would have our Christmas do in the deep dark days of winter which is when after the heady days of New Year and Christmas with the family, a woman needs a treat, just for her. So this is what we did, we had lunch, and a very pleasant lunch it was too.

But before lunch we started with breakfast. The Almanack does look after us extremely well, being able to toast the odd slice of bread just when you fancy it is quite appealing, especially on a cold and damp February morning. There was a very good turn out, it was so nice to see so many of us. I'd received emails from those that were unable to make it so I knew they were there in spirit if not in person.

I'm often staggered by how this group is growing, with such warm, good humoured women, who are a pleasure to know and meet every week. My thoughts sometimes wander to that day in August that I sat on my own willing people to come and join in the knitting fun, never in my wildest dreams did I think it would grow into something as wonderful as this. So I would like to say thank you to each and everyone one of you, it is you that make the knitting group as amazing as it is.

Enjoying coffee at The Almanack,

knitting needles in hand.

Sadly not everyone could join us for the meal, but the 13 that were able to (and how's that for a spooky number!) enjoyed our lunch at The Green Man who did a fantastic job, the meals were all superb, you couldn't fault them. And being it was 2 for 1, there was much merriment when it came to pay the bill. In fact, there is talk of a repeat at Easter, which I think is a very good idea.

So, Happy Christmas everyone and may all your knitting dreams come true.