Saturday, 27 November 2010

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,

Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos."

Brrr, it is a bit nippy,

and when its nippy there is only one course of action.

a lovely roaring fire...

As being enjoyed by Eric and Charlie (Pip's had just disappeared because he had become too hot)

And rather than admit you are too hot, Eric has mastered the art of Heat Bathing.

He has developed it into quite an art form. Eventually he had to admit defeat and get off my lap because he was simply too hot.

and hot soup...

Hubby and son no.1 are working hard outside today so before they went out I made then a comforting and nourishing soup. Basically it was a left over soup from fresh chicken stock stored in the freezer, home grown leeks, left over mashed potato, 1/2 bag of salad leaves mostly comprising of rocket, watercress and spinach, some fresh ginger, a tin of sweetcorn, a dash of milk and then well seasoned. It was surprisingly good. Accompanied with almost stale wholemeal bread, toasted and rubbed over with fresh garlic, to be broken up as wished into one's soup. A meal from almost nothing one might say. I do find it very satisfying to make something tasty with leftovers that could easily be thrown away.

and knitting...

Oh you did notice the yarn... This is Indigo Moon in colourway Starlight. Purchased many moons ago from Socktopus.

And although I should be sewing in ends of the squares of my Lizard Ridge blanket, I felt the need to knit some truly beautiful socks in front of the fire. I am in love with this yarn, if anyone knows of a source of Indigo Moon in this country could they please let me know as sadly Socktopus no longer stocks high end luxury sock yarn. (Mind you Alice is very busy with other wonderful adventures)

And although I am indulging by immersing myself in jewel like yarn, I did finish my Mum's Christmas socks last night. In a colourway that I had had trouble hunting down. Opal 4ply in Winter Fairy Tale 2154, knit on 2.5 needles. Hopefully Mum will like them as much as I do.

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Very Important Occasion

can at last be revealed.

As some of you in the outside world will know I have a knitting partner or two, one of which is Knitted Bear. - she has a blog, she is a brilliant writer. And as much as is humanly possible we share moments of crafting time together either quilting or knitting and when time constraints put a stop to that we talk and email and message each other about yarn or material or patterns, we could talk non stop just about colour, and if you put texture and drape into that equation I am sure the conversation could last for days. It is a relationship I enjoy very much.

Well, a few weeks ago I was asked by Knitted Bear to be God Mother to the adorable Kitty. You could have knocked me down with a feather, and after a very brief moment where I asked myself "Is my belief system intact?" Which I agreed with myself that it was. I said "Yes", and we both bubbled over with enthusiasm. There have been a myriad of emotions that have swept over me in the last couple of weeks, some very good, some doubtful as to my abilities. Its almost like being a brand new parent again, I am taking this as a sign that I am taking my new role in Kitty's life very seriously.

The day dawned and we trotted to a very cute little church. Kitty has family and friends that simply adore her, she was center of attention, which is how it should be. It was a beautiful service, with many hymns - which I especially liked. There was a very special moment when after Revd Elaine had drawn the sign of the cross on Kitty's forehead, parents, god parents and the oldest member of the congregation traced over the cross. It was a very moving, yet tender moment. Due to the warmth of the water, (which was a very clever move by Elaine, she's obviously done this before!) Kitty hardly murmured as she was baptised.

A very proud Mum and Dad with a wide awake Kitty who just seems to be taking it all in. Then we all went back to Knitted Bear's home to sample the delights of cake, champagne and some very elegant catering. H's Father has a knack of filling a champagne flute to just the right level and we were all kept generously supplied for the toast to Kitty.

The first tier of Knitted Bear and H's Wedding cake, very carefully saved for the last four and a half years. I am afraid I wasn't brave enough to try it, but am seriously impressed with how those paste roses have withstood the passage of time. I am reliably informed that it will be a relief to get some space back in the kitchen cupboard.

Kitty's Christening cake, which was as delicious as it looked, (a generous layer of butter cream and jam), Marks and Spencers get it right again.

Followed by a few photographs of a very adorable and quite contented Kitty. I only took a few photo's because I have to use a flash with my little camera and I didn't want to upset her. Keep your eyes peeled on Knitted Bears blog I am sure there will be lots of photographs in due course.

Kitty is wearing a beautiful christening gown that her daddy wore 30 odd years ago.

And Kitty practicing her royal wave, as we have to say goodbye to her, until another day.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Could this be it!


The 35th and possibly last square of my Lizard Ridge blanket.

Its quite an emotional moment, I have been working on this since January 2008, so nearly three years!

(although there is still much work to be done, sewing in ends, sewing the squares together, crocheting a border and possibly lining the blanket)

You see I have had a rummage through my squares and there are two which are very, very blue. I really am not a blue girl, although some blues are filtering into my stash, generally I do not have very much blue in rooms that I use. Boys bedrooms are an exception. So once I have laid out my squares I will see just how much these blue squares jar in my arty mind.

Next is the decision on whether it will be wide enough. I am doing a 7 by 5 format. I don't want it too wide because then the weight of it can break the yarn, but not wide enough just leaves you feeling drafty. And after three years I do wish to be cosy.

So I am looking for perfection, perfection, perfection.

But,

There is a side of me that just says, Finish the blanket and get on with your Christmas knitting...

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Dry at Last!

I finished this hat about a week ago, it really only took me two evenings and it is a very enjoyable pattern. Aunt Shirley Hat by Jennifer de Graaf is such a lovely knit.

But then I blocked it, and instead of cheating like I normally do and flinging it in the washing machine for a quick spin. I decided to gently block it and wait for it to dry naturally. This was a mistake. This hat has been in various locations in my kitchen trying to catch the warmth of weak watery rays of the winter sun, it has hovered precariously closely to an oven in full swing and has even sat on top of the dishwasher whilst in full cycle. Eventually it is dry, I left it another three days to when I thought it might be dry enough, just to get out any remaining dampness left in it.

This pattern is lovely in the way that it would fit any width of head, although some might prefer it a little longer. I suspect you could find a means of lengthening it. I am hoping that it will fit beautifully the young girls head it is intended for, and I hope she loves the colour as much as I do.

And I knitted it in Grace Silk and Wool by Lousia Harding in Amethyst which is a mixture of the dreams of Princesses, soft cotton clouds and extra special secrets that contain magical moments to come.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Confessions of a knitter.

Firstly I must confess to having abandoned my purple period. I was quite right in that the stress of a two week knit would firstly take all of the enjoyment out of it and secondly make me so stressed that I could no longer count.

I tried three patterns altogether with my beautiful Wollmeise lace, the last pattern which I will try again I would have been able to complete happily in my first year of knitting, but at the moment, its a no go. So I've given up on the idea and have slunk back to my Lizard Ridge blanket. It is comfortable and soothing as I have learnt the pattern off by heart, and somehow I need comfortable and soothing just at this moment.

There is other news/confessions.

The sewing/knitting room progresses, although the decorating has stopped after the glossing of all of the woodwork because I found some beautiful wall paper and hubby thinks it would be a good idea to put that up after the windows have been fitted. (the windows will be fitted when we eventually make a decision although the VAT rise that is imminent is somewhat concentrating the mind)

And today hubby moved all of my yarn from *cough* various locations into my room and so I started to put it into some sort of workable format. For instance I decided not to go by colour but to go by the weight of the yarn.

It is slightly shocking to see your splurges up close and personal, I knew the Wollmeise was going to take a considerable amount of space, as I also knew would my hand dyed sock yarn, carefully chosen over the last three years at various events around the country. But, if pressed I would have said that I only had about 6 to 7 balls of commercial sock yarn left. (Opal, Regia etc etc.) And that really I probably needed more.. How disillusioned can you be, I have filled a very large container and realistically I won't be able to fasten the lid!

There have been moments of finding wonderful treasures that I had completely forgotten about and also of shock at just how many balls of the same yarn were purchased on a crazy Boxing Day (or the day after) morning stood in the middle of John Lewis giddy and high as a kite on the yarn fumes.

I have found Scottish Tweed in my favourite colour (Lobster) in three weights, dk, aran and chunky, I was quite pleased about that. And most weirdly of all, I found a parcel of yarn which had been posted to me, which was identical to some that I had bought in John Lewis. So not only am I high on the yarn fumes, I can't remember what I have bought. All I can say is I obviously liked it and it was a good price on both occasions.

I have sorted out about half of my yarnny treasures, the next half is much more tricky and will take longer. I will try not to get too distracted!.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

My Purple Period, otherwise known as

my Crazy Woman moment.

Without giving too much away, I have an important function to attend in just over two weeks, one which I am really looking forward to. And this morning I had a "wouldn't it be nice to have a lovely lace thing to drape around me" moment.

Now I do know how reckless this is, the chances realistically are quite remote that I will finish in time. But if you don't try, you won't know.

And I have had Fiore di Melanzana on my wish list for a while.

So this is Mandy signing off, clutching Wollmeise Lace in Fliederbusch and just about to start searching for invisible cast on tutorials.