Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Birthday Bag, Industrial Action and finished items

Well it was my birthday on Tuesday.  Beginning to get to a point in my life where I only take notice of them every 10 years now!  Marking off decades rather than years.  No matter, it was a very nice birthday as it happens.  Out for lunch with my lovely family on Sunday, cards from some dear friends and family and a new bag.

Oh how I love my new bag...

I really, really do....

It's a Cath Kidston oilcloth daybag.  It's great.  Just roomy enough for all of my stuff plus a small knitting project (socks, mitts, that kind of thing). Younger daughter rather likes it too and apparantly I am to leave it to her when I die (also got to leave her my bed!).

Got some money too which I have unashamedly spent on me for once! Got a couple of new tops for work and a big ball of the aran that I used for Little Friend M's cardie to make a gilet for myself.  Gets pretty chilly in my little office and it's nice to have something to slip on when it gets uncomfortable.

I also made Knitcol Hat number 4 - for me this time.  It's lovely and as I have a small noggin it is being modelled admirably by younger daughter.
I'm developing a bit of an addiction to Adriafil Knitcol at the moment. It is just soooooo gorgeous.  The colour combinations are delightful and I don't think there is a single combo that I don't like.  It's merino so is amazingly lovely to squish and is a joy to wear.  Have been out on a cold, dark morning wearing it and it was fab.

Just look at the lovely colours...mmm...
I am also having a bit of a mitten fest at the moment.

This pair was knitted in Stylecraft Life Special DK.  Cast on 52 stitches, alternated 4 rows of knit and 4 rows of purl to make the springy wrists.  Followed guidelines in the "Knitters Handy Book of Patterns" by Ann Budd.  It really is a handy little book too. Highly recommend it.

Today was the national day of action and I took part as did many other public sector workers.  It also very handily coincided with the all day knit and knatter at Pendle Stitches so I showed my solidarity to the cause by sitting in a nice wool shop, crocheting tiny festive stockings and eating some fabulous home made biscuits from Sue's Mum. Thanks they were really delicious and sooo crisp.

December tomorrow.  Where has 2011 gone to already?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


There's a great scheme to get really cheap tuition from the Lancashire Music Service for primary school kids at the moment.  Natasha went along to see what was on offer and decide which instrument she fancies having a go with.

It was a fun chaotic evening with lots going on and I assumed she would go for something popular and 'girly', like a trumpet or a clarinet.  Oh no, not Natasha.  Here's what she brought home...

It's a euphonium and it's almost as big as she is.  It's what she fancied the most and is happily parping away on it! Quirky child!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Feeling Better

Well it's been a week of lurgy here.  Girls off school and then bug kindly passed onto me.  Spent almost all of Friday zonked out on the sofa, groaning,  wrapped in crochet blankets.  Too rough to even knit...sigh.

However, all is much better today.  One of our neighbours was clearing out the guttering along the street so we all grabbed brooms and swept up the debris.  It was a real-feel good thing to do.  It's nice and sunny and it only took about 5 or 10 minutes between us.
Ladder up to nicely cleared guttering
Also finally sewed on the button for the Tree Cardigan I made for friend M across the street. Pattern from the lovely Petite Purls website. Very pleased with it and it fits just right.

It's a really nice pattern.  Knitted in one piece from the bottom up.  Only a teeny bit of grafting to do under the arms.  Used Rustic Aran by James C Brett.  A really nice yarn to knit with.  Surprisingly soft - sometimes the "big" balls of aran you can buy are a bit stiff.  Love the colour.  It's kind of greyish, purplish, brownish and should go with lots of stuff.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Some Knitted FOs

I've been quite productive of late.

Hats - 3 hats made from the gorgeous Adriafil Knitcol.  Two the same for the girls and one for Baby O who is now 1 - blimey, where did the year go??

Knitcol Hat

Isn't he adorable?  Can't believe how quickly they grow.  Had enough for a bobble on his hat.  Again used lovely Knitcolfor this one too.

School Christmas Fair is looming and items need to be donated to the stalls.  The colour scheme for our stall this year is black and white so am knitting up 2 hats.  Hat number one is finished.  It's black and white.  Hat number 2 is on the needles and is white and black.  Photo to follow when done...

There was also a pair of 6ply socks for Nick

And another Noro striped scarf for me.  Used James Brett Monsoon this time.  Love how the stripes worked out.

Little Knitters


My girls are getting to grips with knitting at the moment.  They are both having a go at knitting a scarf for one of their toys. They are concentrating so much here .

They have joined the knitting club at school too so it's all very much the rage.  They have their very own project bag to keep it all in (well.... to keep them off my stuff really!!)

It's very sweet to watch them.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Thunder. Enter the three witches

Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble
All ready for a Halloween party.  
Vampira and Witchy Gaga

Crochet Crazy and a bit of a ta da!

Ooh control yourselves!  Yes some actual crafty content.  I have been having a few mad dos on things lately.  Crochet is at the forefront and I am slowing covering almost the entire house in bright crocheted stuff!
Square in a square cushion.  Pattern by Sarah London. Love it.  Love the regularity of the squares.  Love the neatness of it.  It's great!
Fab! I think there will be many more of these to come!!

Then I got a couple of round cushion pads and here's what I did.

As I've used relatively inexpensive acrylics for this, I haven't bothered to make an opening.  Just crocheted the 2 sides together.

Like it... it's cheerful.

Then I decided to do a granny circle for the other one. Using a combination of Andie Hanley's granny circle and Crochet with Raymond's mandela.

Hmm... it's ok but it's not as cool as the square in a square one.  So after lots of faffing about I give you .... ta da!... my circle in a circle! It's not quite finished yet but I have taken copious notes and will post full instructions shortly!

Can you see how it goes with the square in a square.  All the clusters line up in the same way and it looks very pleasing to the eye.  I'm very excited about it.

There are also blankets.  Lovely, lovely colourful blankets.

Finally - the finished Granny Stripe
Dog and daughter hijacking bright ripple

Wycoller and the Coppice Walks

It's been really rather pleasant weather wise in October this year and we got out and about aplenty.

At the request of the girls we decided to revisit Wycoller and the Atom panopticon.  It was a lovely chilly, hazy, sunny afternoon so the ruins of the old Hall were looking especially spooky and atmospheric.  It's said to be the inspiration for Ferndean Manor in the Charlotte Bronte novel Jane Eyre.

Just up the hill from the village is one of the East Lancashire panopticons.  This one is called the Atom.

You can walk around and inside it.  It's fun.  Sadly the large metal ball inside it seems to have disappeared.  Don't know why. It's nice to sit in the windows and admire the view.

It must have been pretty mild because on the way back to the carpark we saw about 40 ladybirds. Just kept spotting them on the brambles and nettles alongside the footpath.

A week or so later another nice day turned up so we set off for another favourite local haunt, the Coppice in Accrington.  A pleasant walk around the hill and then a little sit on the memorial at the top to admire the view.  It's had a clean up recently and all the graffiti is gone.

Zoo Keeping, hiking, and a bit of gardening

Wow! Half term really was an adventure packed time for all of us.  There was a day zoo keeping for the girls, hill walking for us and a garden clearance.

My mum entered a competition in her local paper earlier this year and won a day zoo keeping for the girls at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park.  What a great day they had.  It's a fabulous place for just visiting but to get the chance to go behind the scenes is just awesome.  They went on their own but got so embroiled that we don't have too many pics of their actual keeping.  They fed penguins, polished and dusted the giant tortoises, fed the tapirs and the giraffes and handled a 14ft long python.  I'm sure there was much more but that was all I could coherently get out of them!  They were both rather smitten with Nathan the zookeeper and he was a major topic of interest!!!
Feeding the Giraffes
Nathan, 14 ft python and the adoring girls!
Holding the snake
While all this was going on Nick and I were having an adventure of our own.  We went for a good hike up to High Street from Haweswater.  High Street is the site of a roman road (you've got to admire those romans - it is high up!)
Setting off purposefully at the end of the Haweswater reservoir
It was a little dull but fine at the start. Another one of those glorious autumnal colour schemes.  Greyish cloud really setting off the rich orange tones of the grass and the trees.  Fabulous. Took a ridge route up and it was rather windy but not quite as bad as the Wernside walk.
Bit of a scramble on the way up
Sally the dog was in her element.  I think there may be some mountain goat in the mix somewhere she is so nimble and had virtually no problems getting up some pretty big scrambles. It was probably the smell of pies in the rucksack that kept her going
Please sir, I'd like some pie!
Haweswater  in the background
Got to the top and the weather started to gradually improve and got quite sunny on the way down. Walked round to Mardale Ill Bell and then came down
Mardale Ill Bell

Glorious autumn colour on High Street looking down over Blea Tarn to Haweswater reservoir.

Also got a bit of gardening done over the break.  Bought a few primroses, violas and pansies to add a late splash of colour.  The old fence has totally dropped to bits so got some lonicera plants too to hopefully form a decent hedge in the not too distant future

Surprisingly now that the fence is gone we don't miss it.  It's a bit like having an infinity garden in that you can't really tell that the back path is there and it all seems to carry on forever into the wood beyond. Quite like it.

Pendle in September

Yes I know that it is November right now but life and the dark clouds have got in the way a little bit recently.  There were some good bits along the way and I would like to share them with you.

Had a lovely trip up Pendle Hill while Nick was working. Just us girls. We packed a picnic and the girls took their own little packs with drinks and biccies for those got to stop and nibble moments.  It was a surprisingly nice day despite rubbish forecasts and although a bit cloudy now and then, overall it was rather splendid.

We parked at the Nick of Pendle and set off up the mushy path

The good weather seemed to have brought out lots of people so when we got a little way up we decided to veer off the usual path and explore a bit.  It was great if a bit boggy at times.

There were lots and lots of big hairy caterpillars which I think may be Garden Tiger Moths. In fact, they were all over the place. Don't think I've ever seen so many caterpillars all in the same area like that before.
Then after a nice picnic stop we headed back down and came across a group of brightly coloured paragliders.  So we stopped to watch them get ready to fly off and both the girls decided that this was something they definitely want to try when they are bigger!
There's something about the way the colours look at this time of year that is so lovely.  It's not pretty and green like Spring.   It's intense.  Grey skies really setting off the colours of the fading heather and grasses.  Gorgeous. You just have to stop and take it all in sometimes.
This is my favourite picture at the moment.  It was a moment in  time that happened quite naturally - not posed at all.