Thursday, 30 June 2011

Summer Hat Completed

I have finished my Summer Hat! It's not quite as perfect as I would have liked. It has come out large and I have a large head to start off with. Perhaps a couple of needle sizes smaller next time. My tension is much looser on circulars, best to bear that in mind.
You can see that it is a little big. Still wearable, just a bit of an anti-climax. Perhaps when I'm in the mood I'll play with the pattern and adapt it to me. It is a very 'me' hat I must admit. I may feel more positive about it in the morning. I'm thinking of looking up similar hats.......
I did enjoy knitting it though, and I shall wear it though.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Summer Hat

I'm making the Summer Hat in Knit 39. It's a very pretty, lacy hat. Unfortunatley I'm having problems. I'm not following my own golden rules - don't knit when I'm tired and count, count, count. You can see where this is going. Most nights I sit to knit, I'm tired. I've not been stitch counting either. It started off that I didn't really need to as there was not too many stitches and it was easy to tell the start/end of each pattern repeat. Then the overall stitch count increased and being the brain box that I am, I never twigged on to use stitch markers. Of course with lace patterns, stitch counts are so important. In this one, one stitch out and it's noticeable. Plus there is increasing to contend with.
I've spent equal time tinking as knitting. I'm just having a break in tinking. I know where I've gone wrong, I think. It's two rows down. Tink, tink, tink. I'm adding stitch markers as I go. I could of, should have, finished this project a while ago. Oh the ode to knitting whilst tired.

St Bee's

This afternoon we had a trip to St Bee's. St Bee's only takes 10 minutes by car, a very handy and close beach to go to. St Bee's is famous for being one end of Wainwrights Coast to Coast Walk. I think it may also be noteworthy for other things, but I'm not sure what else.
Here is a view of St Bee's Head, the beach and one of the paths to the beach. It was lovely sunny day with a warm sea breeze. The air was clear and the Isle of Man was visible, as well as some of the off shore wind farms.
Here is a little more info about St Bee's and the Coast to Coast Walk.
It was Mary-Jane's second trip to the beach. She seemed to enjoy it much more than her first trip. We managed to actually get onto the sand. It was firm and wet, so I could push the buggy - handy! We hadn't originally planned to go to the beach, so had not prepared for it. We were going to Keswick, but by the time we got in the car to set off, we would've spent about half an hour there before having to come back to get Mary-Jane her tea and bed.
I took Mary-Jane's shoes off so she could feel the sand in her feet and try her paddling in a rock pool. She took well to the sand, the new sensation of something squidging between her toes. Next time we shall all be prepared!
I then tried to wet her feet, just a little, so she could feel the water lapping over her feet. She seemed to take to it. We shall be more adventurous next time.
Here is Mary-Jane and I. I think it's a lovely photo. One for the albumn!
We headed for the local cafe, had a cuppa and a cream scone before heading back. I like St Bee's Head. In the background you can see rocks. These are great fun to clamber over and investigate rock pools. Lots of fun and learning to be had. And that's before the actual sea is explored!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

First Potatoes of The Season

The first potatoes of the season have been dug up. This is the first one to come to the surface.
Dear HK digging up the spuds. I can't remember what variety we used - I ought to keep a garden journal - but by gum I wish I could remember what they are! They are so tasty! They are creamy and smooth. A delight to eat. We had them boiled with the skins on with a very cheesy quiche that I had made. Beautiful.
HK pulling more of the tatties up. There wasn't as many potatoes per plant as the other varieties that we have grown.
Rhinog over-seeing proceedings, rather watching chickens.
Potatoes being washed in the outside sink that HK rigged up. We are planning to dig some more up .. We got enough for six decent size portions out of 6 plants.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Another Market Bag And A Summer Hat

Another Market bag hot off the needles tonight! I'm pleased with it. I used Patons Sorbet on 6mm needles. I ended up with 21 stitches per dpn for the base with 24 pattern repeats for the main body of the bag. The top band is 4 ridges and the handle is 42 ridges. I used a 3 needle cast off to join the handle. I may use a kitchener stitch next time. And there will be a next time! Mum has grand plans for these bags, judging by the amount of yarn she has bought to make them! This one took from 4 days to complete. Mainly evenings. So they are quick and easy to do.
Last night I was gettting a bit fed up with it, I think too much orange and counting the frogged bag it was the third bag I have done in a row. I'm not fed up with it, and wasn't tonight. Perhaps it was because the end was in sight. I'm eager to cast on another in a different yarn, a tape sort (I can't remember the name of the yarn) to see how it comes out.
I bought the new 'Knit' magazine today and I have fell in love with a hat pattern. I haven't felt this fired up about a pattern for a very long time. I wanted to dive into my stash to see what I could use, I had a few things in mind. I want to use my stash rather than buy, if possible. I asked HK if he could open the barn for me (at 8pm) so I could go rummaging. I was then gently reminded by HK that I aready had some knitting on the go, and that I should really wait till I'd finised and have a look tomorrow. Perhaps that was my motivation for finishing the Market Bag. But I sooooo want to make this hat. It's similar to a straw hat, but it's lacy and made in 4ply cotton in a round. I just know that this time tomorrow I'll have started it. I just hope I have the right size needles - 3.25mm dpn's and circular. I may detect a cloud on the horizon. I shall check my sock needles, got to have something there. I'm excited.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

What's On My Needles

On my needles at the moment is a Grrlfriend Market Bag. I'm using Patons Sorbet, Nectarine colour. This is it's second incarnation. The first Incarnation I followed the pattern, but by about half way through it was plain that it was going to be massive. So I frogged it all and went for a 21 stitches per dpn base. It seems a much better size. I'm getting a bit fed up with seeing it at the moment. The only thing to do is to go hell for leather to get it finished and not stop along the way. In truth, I'm not far off doing the band, so it isn't too bad.
I'm nearly half way through the Thora Scarf and a little way in on the shawl for knit club. I haven't done anymore on the ABC Blankie. Bad Me. Anyhow, must go, Braveheart is about to come on the telly and I want to watch it. Oooooh all those lovely men in kilts running round the highlands. Just enough escapism to make me be far away. HK may be on a promise, if he's awake when I go to bed!!!

Cake Decorating Talk

Beckermet WI (and others) were invited by Keekle WI to a Cake Decorating Talk. As you can guess, this floated my boat. I attended with three other Beckermet WI Ladies. The competition was a cake slice. The talk was given by Ruth Hall aka Mrs Vicar from in ?Penrith. I'm glad I went.
Ruth demonstrated how to decorate a cake using fondant icing (the ready to roll stuff, I'm not sure if it's called the same in the US). To stick the icing on, instead of using a jam, Ruth used a fudge type topping, a pre-made one, a Betty Crocker one. I've never used fondant icing, and was inspired to. When I'm feeling in the mood, I think if I'm not in the right frame of mind then I might not get it right, it's one of those things for me.
Once the icing was on, Ruth showed how to put spots on the cake. Again this was an easier than I thougth technique. Simple but effective. Then she showed how to put an icing ribbon around the cake to finish it off. The finished cake was then raffled off. I have never wanted to win a raffle as much as then!
Ruth also gave a slide show of some of the cakes she had made. Amazing. Along the lines of 'Ace of Cakes'. I would love to have a go at the molding of figures etc. Ruth said that if you were anygood with plasticine and play doh, then you should take easily to this sort of cake decorating. Perhaps I may have a practice with this and start small.
Refreshments were served - tea and a selection of home-made cakes, an open sandwich and a sausage roll. Needless to say I didn't win the cake, otherwise I would be unbearable, really unbearable! However I did win a chrysanthemum plant. And I won the cake slice competition. I entered a 1910 silver plated cake & pie slice.
So watch this space, to see when I am brave enough to try this decorating technique, I will at some point!

Trip to Cockermouth

Last Saturday we went for a trip through to Cockermouth. I've been here at night since we moved up here, for a Knitting Club, not for the brightlights or nightlife. I thought it was about time I see this place by daylight. I never realised the place that we met in, the Trout Hotel, was right next door to Wordsworth House. Stop reciting 'I wandered lonely as a cloud, that floats on high.....' in your head and I'll try to as well. I didn't go into the house. I may do another time.
Here is my little Mary-Jane. She got rather tired during the outing. There was a lot of getting in and out of the car unfortunately. She did enjoy part of the day.
Down one of the small side alleys, that leads to some shops, there is The Cockermouth History Wall. I would have liked more time to read it all and learn. But here is a quick snapshot. In 2009, there was the worst floods for many many years. Up to 8' in parts. The floods went through the town itself and caused devastation. Talking to some of the people in the town, in the shops, there seemed a spirit of unity and community, of people helping each other during the 'mop up' operation.
The History Wall is quite long and informative. Another gem I learned was that Fletcher Christian was from just outside Cockermouth, Brigham I think. Fletcher Christian led the Mutiny On The Bounty. I can't remember many facts and figures at the moment, other than in a film he was played by a youngish Mel Gibson.
We had lunch in a place called The Squirrels Pantry, who serves The Most Delicious Home Made Apple Chutney. Highly recommendable chutney I must say! I also found the Wool Shop. I will go there again when I've got some pennies to spend. It carries stock beyond Sirdar and Patons, which is much favoured in these parts. There is a 'posh' yarn shop in Maryport, I've still to get to it, preferably when I've got some money to part with!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Items for Knit Club

My needles have been whirring. It's good to get up to speed and be able to knit. I've made a Grrlfriend Market Bag in some Ice yarn that I bought a few years ago. The yarn is half bamboo and half cotton. It's beautiful colours and has a slight sparkle to it. I started it on Monday and had it done by Friday night. I enjoyed doing it. It's a pattern I've done a few times before.
This is the base of it. You start on dpn's, two stitches on four needles. Fiddly. As it gets bigger you go onto trusty circulars and off you go. It's simple, effective and a practical bag.
Mum likes it so much that she has bought some Patons Sorbet to make some in, to sell on one of her stalls. So far I've cast on with a nectarine colour. It's looking good. The yarn is ideal. We are off into Whitehaven shortly to get some more yarn.......
Ive also made a Neck Deccy. I used Sirdar reflection. One ball did a large deccy. I bought a couple of balls as they were reduced to 99p. Bargain. I like bargains.
Here's a close up.
I'ver also made another Boho Scarf, not sure if I mentioned it or not? I used, I think it's called Capri, maybe a sirdar one, I can't remember off the top of my head. It's a good pattern, you can use different yarns and make it longer etc. I like patterns like that!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Itsy Bitsy Summer Swap

For the first time since last June, I signed up to do Itsy Bitsy Summer Swap. My swap partner, as you already know was my friend Lessie - Sue in Italy. The theme of the swap was summery things beginning with the letter of your swap partners name. After much deliberating, I took the soft option to do a Shawl. I choose Pimpelliese, which was in Sue's ravelry queue. I enjoyed knitting it; the colours were lovely, I would have quite liked it myself!
So here is yours truly, modelling the shawl. The yarn is Supersocke 100 Candy Colour. I'm not sure exactly where I got it from , although I think it was given to me. The colours and the yarn fitted exactly what I wanted for this project.
The edging is integral and very pretty. The pattern can be found on ravelry. I'm not sure if it's the done thing to put a direct link here or not.
The shawl and other little goodies were well recieved. I loved the things that Sue sent to me - the shawl she did me was marvellous! I love these swaps.
I've signed up to do the small July Swap. The swap partners should be listed in just under a week or so, I'm looking forward to it. The small swaps will suit my budget, although if I can do them every month or not I don't know.

A Walk Down The River Path

Mary-Jane and I went for another walk down the River Path at Calder Bridge. This time we were followed! HK was more than alarmed when I told him this, till I told him who it actually was - two sheep! We first caught sight of them when they were stood a little way off the path. They eyeballed us as we walked past.
As we continued I could hear footfalls behind us. I turned round and the two sheep pretended that they weren't following us and went to run off as if they'd not been seen. As we continued, so did they, getting closer and closer but still staying at a distance of about 10 yards.
This is as far as we got. I had to keep an eye on the time to get back for Mary-Jane's tea time. Plus it seems that MJ doesn't like the path, I think the vibrations are too much for her, plus there is little suspension on the buggy so she feels it all. The path is good for walking on, but not for her buggy.
The river water is beautifully clear, and so inviting. I know I shall be paddling my toes in there one day
A view down stream
Back to the sheep. They followed us there and back.
I'd still like to follow the path to Caler Abbey. It must only be around the corner. I shall have to see if there is an alternative route to take MJ, it's distressing to hear her crying as she does. Lots of walks to go on!

Summer Swap Parcel from Lessie

I signed up for the Itsy Bitsy Summer Swap. My Swap Partner was Lessie, in Italy. Lessie - Sue and I ahve swapped before. The theme of the swap was the letter of your partners name, along with a summer theme. Sue pulled out all the stops for me. I was thrilled with her parcel. She had made me a Citron Shawl, it is really beautiful and I can't wait to wear it out. It is so pretty and fine.
Sue also made me a pair of cherries and a cilli to go with the chilli and cherry chocolate. There were some Country Critter buttons and three balls of Cherry red italian baby cotton. I thinking of what to make Mary-Jane with this. I'm thinking in between either a summer dress or a cardi, no specific pattern in mind yet.
This is a close up of the cherries and chocolate. Sue has excelled herself, I love the shawl, the whole package, Thank you!!


One morning a week or so ago, I was pottering about, sorting breakfast, looked out the window and couldn't beleive my eyes! It's the start of June and it's HAILING!! I grabbed my camera and scampered outside, with HK's voice ringing in my ears to not go outside. Here is the front door step. Yes the white stuff is hail....
The drive, with may car. The white stuff is still hail. Yes this was taken in June!
Chairs and table, with the aforementioned Hail. I can't beleive it. Bizarre weather in these parts. You have to be ready for all weathers here.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Early Morning Woolly Thoughts

It's a little after 6AM. I've been awake since just after 4. I can't sleep. It's not like me at all. I have nights like these once in a blue moon and I had one a few weeks ago. I almost feel as though I might be getting a cold. My eyes were closing, then opening. My mind was wandering in woolly (read yarn/knitting) circles. At half past five, I decided to get up, have a brew and do a few rows and see if that would settle me down. Probably will in time to get up, so I'll be grumpy all day cos I'm tired.
One of the woolly circles I was one was wool dyeing. This has been passing randomly through my head for a short while. For all the dyeing that I used to do, I couldn't remember fully the process, the quantities of dye and fix etc. This made me feel a little dejected. I thought eventually it would come back to me. The thought of trawling the t'internet for info, or for looking for that elusive two back copies of whichever magazine it was that I first used to teach myself to dye with, which I may well have re-homed in the run up to The Move, was not at all appealing.
So lying in bed I slowly remembered that I kept a diary of when I was dyeing - Ker-ching! I remembered that it was a purple book, and kept my fingers crossed that it was in the bureau. It was. I've had half an hour of nostalgic reading. The Diary ran for 6 months. It covered all the things that I dyed using Kool Aid and food colouring, then tailed off. Luckily I wrote down the soak and dye solution quantities. The process came back to me, and I quickly wrote it down at the back of the book for eady reference.
I knew one day my dyeing Mojo would come back. Thankfully! What has kindled the Mojo Return was a good find in the Charity Shop in Cleator Moor. I found a cone of peachy aran yarn for £3. It weighs just over 1.8kg, including the caardboard cone itself. It is not labelled as to what it is. For the life of me I can't remember the tests that you do to tell what yarn is madfe out of, whether it is a natural or man-made substance. I know you can agitate it in your fingers or set light to a bit of it to see how it burns. Mum and I set light to an end of it. It didn't burn or catch fire as such, Mum declared it to be wool.
So my next test of 'Guess What It Is', is to try dyeing it. If this is successful, then the next stage is to test suitability of felting, using the traditional method of knitting a bag then chucking it in the wash machine. I must choose a pattern that will be suitable for felting and non felting.
Am now going to knit a bit. Yesterday at Knit Club, I cast on a Grrlfriend Market Bag using the Ice Bamboo yarn. I've finished the base last night. I know I used to do the sides a certain length, but that is another thing I can't remember. I shall see how I go. Simples.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Mary-Jane and The Strawberries

Mary-Jane and I went for a mooch out in the garden. MJ seems to love it outside. This is the first time she has sat on the grass. Another first was the strawberries. She has had strawbs before, but never out of the garden. Picked from the stem and given straight to her. Very tasty. They smelled sweet and I wished there was more ripe! HK looked so very proud of his little girl, sitting on the grass, eating the strawbs that he had grown for her.
I think the photos speak for themselves.

Garden Update

The garden is flourishing. The apple buds are coming along, lots and lots of apples on their way!
Courgettes ready for planting on, sooner rather than later!
Top end of the orchard field. An area has been marked out to plant more apple trees, and a few plums (at least one anyhow!)
The strawbs are doing well. The lesser spotted HK is in the background
Far end of the orchard field. We are talking of having this as a seating area, fenced off with an archway. At the moment there are lots of rocks covered with rocks. There is also access here to the back lane. Another access is on the left of the picture where you may just be able to see part of a metal arch.
The field from the other end, with part of the house. What look like big patches on the grass were are a pathway, this will be re-laid
This was taken from more or less the same place as the previous one, just turned to the right. Another area of the garden that needs some intense work. The building is the back of a stone shed. Apparantly in days gone past it was built as a Wash House.