Wednesday, 29 February 2012

With Jobs To Do And Tired

I didn't get to my sugarcraft class last night. In truth I was too tired to go.  Ten minutes before I was due to leave, I was dozing off sat on the sofa.  I felt tired.  The thought of going out, going to the class and driving a 35 mile round trip was not sounding inviting.  I decided not to go. HK was very pleased with my decison.  I then had a power nap followed by a cuppa.  How English.  I am way behind with my sugarcraft and feel like I've not been for ages.  I suppose I have - I've now missed three consecutive classes and had half term in that time.

I also need to catch up on WI stuff - minutes and preparing myself for the next meeting.  I want to get this done well in advance.  I also want to get clued up on all this craft and WI business.  Oh as well as fill in my application for the day food hygiene course and get that sent off - that can be a job for tomorrow.  If I don't get my finger out with that one, then I may have to wait for the nxt day course and I really don't know when that is!

In the evenings, I don't feel like doing much more than sitting, relaxing and knitting to keep me calm.

I have completed my two items for my Itsy Bitsy Swap.  I am awaiting the arrival of the green envelopes so I can send them off.  I have signed up for the March Swap.  It is to be one inexpensive thing that can fit in an A4 envelope.

I have started a Bowtie Neck Warmer for Auntie Ann-In-America, by request.  I will give myself one, maybe two evenings tops on this before focusing and completing the olympic cushion.  The Stuffing Event is on the 9th, a week on Friday.  I may well cast on a pair of socks after that and the Winter Apple Shawl by Erica Jackofsky, featured in Knit Dcember 2011.  It's the one I've been rabbiting on a about, not another one.  Today I have taken delivery of my KnitPro Cubic Rose Needles.  Lush. I recommend them.  That should be the end of my spending spree, apart from of course, sensible treats on Saturday on my Big Day Out.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Monday Musings On Tuesday

Right Now: I have just finished my second item for my Ravelry Itsy Bitsy Swap, I'm getting late going to bed

This Weekend:  Auntie Ann-In-America came to stay for a couple of weeks.  Lots of catching up is being done

Some Plans This Week:  Take Mary-Jane to playgroup on Tuesday (done), see D, go on a trip to Caldbeck, Rheged and Penrith on Saturday

If I Find Some Time For Myself I Would Like To:  Do some baking - out of my new WI Vintage Teatime book

I Am Grateful For:  Friends, and friends being friends

Some Thoughtful Intentions For The Week:  For HK's back to continue to get better

Something That Makes Me Smile:  It is a standard thing that Mary-Jane and HK make me smile.  Positive energy returning to me

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Musings Before Wine

Hk's back is making significant improvement.  He managed to come and do a small amount of shopping with Mary-Jane and I this afternoon.  It did make him ache terribly and after admitted that he was struggling.  He says he's okay enough to see to Mary-Jane tomorrow whilst I go for some much needed time out and visit D - with knitting bag in tow.  It almost seems a bit unreal, but not a day too soon.

I am half way through knitting for an Isty Bitsy Swap on Ravelry.  I am swapping with a lady in Australia, I have swapped with her last year, or if I remember correctly, I sent to her and I recieved from someone else, Paula Tavish, if memory serves.  So I can't really tell you what it is.  I have knitted one thing and have knit one row on the second thing.  The only criteria for the swap is that it must be mailed in a green envelope no larger than 9 x 11.  I have found said envleopes on ebay and am waiting for their arrival.  I have signed up for the March Swap.  I do like the small swaps, they are just within my pocket.  The days of my previous swap levels are long gone and not to return for the foreseeable.

Auntie Ann-in-America is visiting for a couple of weeks.  She has just poured me my second glass of wine, so I shall bid you Good Night!!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Reduced, But Not By Much

Mary-Jane often asks for a walk.  By this she means a walk in the house, to go and see Gramma and Grandad-dad.  She will ask for 'tune' or 'play tune' - to go and play on Gramma's keyboard piano.  I love this picture of her with her legs either side of the chair.  The Maestro in Action!

I went to Dixons Sale today.  I felt it was a bit of a con.  I only saw one sign for more than a 10% reduction.  The Yarns were reduced mainly by 5% and the patterns books by 10%.  I don't think they will be having much of a clearance.  It is nothing more than a usual sale.  Indeed I believe that you could buy the yarns with the 5% reduction as a normal price elsewhere.  And I was all psyched up for bargains.  As I walked around the store, many people were voicing the same opinion as me, that the, se massive reductions that were advertised were in fact very small reductions.  I still bought some yarn though.  Enough to do Mary-Jane a couple of cardi's and to do me my Surprise Jacket.  I think I may need more yarn.  I have bought 800g of dk.

I didn't get out to visit M this afternoon.  HK is on the mend, although nowhere near to having MJ for a few hours on his own.  I hope things will improve by Monday - I have arranged to see D.  At least she knows I may have to cancel and why.

I have started my Itsy Bitsy Swap Knitting.  Very late in the day.  It has to be sent off by the last day of the month.  I am planning to make two things, and am a quarter the way through the first.  I'll get it done.  I also need to get a fair bit of sugarcrafting done for Tuesday night as well.  It is composition night.  That is going to be a tight schedule.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A Visit To The Country Market

I finally got myself down to the Country Market this morning.  It was well worth the visit.  I expressed my intentions to join the co-operative.  It was suggested that whilst I am waiting to take my food hygiene certificate (at the end of March), that I come down and help out (- or was it after I have my cert....) and see how the market runs and what gaps there are for baking, to see who makes what and what doesn't get made.  A good idea.  Most people advise to start small and only do a few things as it takes customers a while to warm to you and to try your products.  It also may be helpful to offer freebie tasters.  Another lady I spoke to, suggested making crumbles, that is right up my ally.  Traditional fayre seems to be the name of the day, most customers are elder, rather than younger.  Another observation passed onto me was that lots of buttercream doesn't go down well, neither does chocolate stuff (!).

I purchased some baked goods - and how lovely it was to think that I have home made goodies and don't have to stand and bake, as much as I like standing and baking!  I purchased some pineapple and fruit cake - very delicious.  Gently moist and gently tasting of pineapple.  I also got a jar of lime marmalade - one of my favourite flavours, some ginger biscuits and shortbread for HK and some treacle toffee for me.  We were going to stop for a brew, but Mary-Jane had got ants in her pants and I think she would have been running around the place, with me high-tailing it after her, so we didn't.  Next time I shall have the reins with me and be better prepared.

I have pickled my eggs this evening.  Two dozen over three jars.  I need to get some more big jars if I'm going to sell any.  I want to perfect my pickling vinegar as well.  The vinegar I have made this time is cloudy, I want it to be clear.  Some experimentation will be afoot!

The departmenst store in Whitehave, Dixons, is having a big clearance sale tomorrow, including the yarns.  I shall endevour to be down there and to bag a bargain.  I am not raising my sights above anything less than 100% acrylic, but have my fingers crossed.  The stuff they sell is mainly good for baby wear.  They stock more in the way of traditional yarns.

HK's back is a little better, so he tells me and has reduced the pain relief.  He says the pain is more in his legs than back.  His legs feel as though they have permanant cramp.  I am dubious that I shall go and see M tomorrow and leave MJ with HK.  I would love go and see M and chat knitty for an hour or two, and have some time out.  I will, maybe not tomorrow though.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Surprise Package

I recieved a surprise package in the post today.  All buttons for surprise, happy and feeling better were hit!  The package was from Lizavietta, a friend from Ravelry.  We have sent each other things before, outside of arranged swaps.  It was Liz that sent me, or rather sent Mary-Jane the outfit with the pink and black skull skirt, I sent jelly babies and hot chocolate powder.

Today Liz sent me some balls of cotton yarn - this type of yarn is difficult to get here, and it is one of my favourite yarns.  It is primarily used for cloths and towels etc, although not exclusively for these items.  Liz also sent a pack of skully tissyes, a key ring that lights up and a show stealing kitchen scrubbing brush which has a skull on the back.  Very fun and very funky!  Massive Thank You's to Liz for her kindness, it has really touched me and made my day.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pancakes, Cubics and A Cracking Back

I took Mary-Jane to a Pancake Lunch today (Tuesday) in The Reading Room in Beckermet.  She was very good and behaved herself.  She didn't want to sit for long, but was happy to stay in the corner and play with her buggy and the contents of my bag.  She ate all her pancake, she had a savoury one with a chicken filling.  As there was no veggie savoury pancakes, I had one with maple syrup and another with apple and cinnamon.  Both lovely but left me feeling quite hungry!

Talking of food, I am hoping to get to the Country Market on Thurday to finally see what that is all about and whether to get involved or not.  I think I probably will.  This evening I have been talking to two more ladies who are involved, one is the Chairman of the Market.  The world in West Cumbria is very small indeed.

Mary-Jane still enjoys walking around the house wearing oven gloves.  In fact she likes wearing any gloves apart from her own to keep her hands warm when we are out!  I can't wait to start baking with her.

I have treated myself to some KnitPros Cubics, with interchangable tips.  I started a new shawl off.  It is the Lydia Lace Crescent Shawl, by Brenda Castiel.  It was in Knit Magazine an issue or two ago.  It was one that I knew I would cast on.  I'm using a 4 ply yarn from Knitting Godess.  I can't remember the name of the colourway or the precise content of the yarn.  I bought it a couple of years ago at the Ravelry Day in Coventry.
The spines are constructed with a mock cable.  I've not used this technique before, although I have come across it.

Here is a close up of the cubics needle.  They are lovely to knit with, I must say.  I thought it might have been tricky to knit with, but once I got cracking I could hardly tell that I wasn't using a normal needle.  I would recommend them.  I got mine from Little Houndale Knits.  I have finally started to finish the Olympic Cushion.  I am wondering if I should have done another.  Quite a few people are asking me how many have I done.  Just the one.  Round wise I'm half way through with it, but these are not equal halves, and it is the smaller half that I have done so far.  It shall soon be done.  The stuffing event is on the 9th March.

Tonight I have been to my first WI Presidents & Secretary's Meeting.  We discussed and planned the Area Spring and Autumn Meetings, then anything else. We spoke about the Olympic Cushions. I am surprised how many people knit round here.  Perhaps it's because I don't know that they do, or they have a different style or attitude to knitting than me.  Or maybe that this community is still quite traditional.  The nearest luxury yarns shops are in Penrith.  I guess I have been quite spoiled with such things, prior to moving here.  I am going on a trip to Caldbeck in a few weeks, a week on Saturday in fact, that has soon come round!  Caldbeck, is known for, amongst other things, being the home of The Wool Clip - the delightful ladies who run The Woolfest.  There may or may not be time to go to Penrith after.  I hope so, I'd like to go the the fabric shop, and the yarn shop (can't remember it's name at the mo). 

And all this depends on whether HK's back is mended by this point.  He says the pain has moved out of his back and is in his legs, which are quite painful.  He is a slightly more looser.  He has also agreed - without any coercion from me, that next time his back flares up like this, then he will go down the surgery straight away and not wait, like he did this time.  So that is something at least.  He actually managed to get his shoes on by himself this morning.  He grinned like a cheshire cat.  Progress. He did way whilst we MJ and I were out that he went to get off the sofa and his back gave an almighty ripping  (and very painful) crack and things seemed to go back into place a bit, although the muscles were very understandably sore.  Following this, the pain in his back decreased but increased in his legs.  I wish I could make him better.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Monday Musings

Right Now:  Been having a look on Ebay, nothing is jumping out at me screeching 'Buy Me!'

This Weekend:  Looking after Mary-Jane and HK.  Clothes shopping for Mary-Jane.

Some Plans This Week:  Take Mary-Jane to playgroup, visit a friend on Thursday, HK's back permitting

If I Find Some Time For Myself I Would Like To:  Knit, no changes there, and do a bit of baking

I Am Grateful For:  HK and MJ, for keeping me grounded

Some Thoughtful Intentions For The Week:  For my Uncle, who has recently had a heart attack; for my friend SM from Sugarcraft, who is in hospital at the moment

Something That Makes Me Smile:  Mary-Jane - everything she says and does.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

HK's Back Ache Continues

HK's back is no more than a little better at best.  I am starting to get weary in the evenings now.  I have only done about 10 rows of knitting this evening and I am too tired to concentrate properly.  Mary-Jane is about over her cough/cold now.  She does cough in the night, not as bad though.  She is getting quite energetic.  Yesterday I took her out for the afternoon, to give HK a rest and some peace and quiet, which was well recieved.  Mary-Jane, Mum and I went to Workington.  I got Mary-Jane a dancing Mickey Mouse that we had thought about getting her for Christmas, but at the time had decided it was too expensive.  It has been reduced to half price in the sale, so now she has it.  We then went on to Asda to get Mary-Jane some new clothes and HK his stash of sweets.  It was twenty five to five before I knew it, so it was past time to hot foot it to the tills.  Mary-Jane usually has her tea from half four onwards.  MJ was having too much fun and didn't mind going to bed an hour later.

I was going to take her out again to day.  It wa a beautiful fresh day.  Unfortunately, around lunch time, MJ said she was tired, and behaved tired, so I knocked those plans on the head.  She did ask to go ta-ta's in the car later by half three, the answer was no. 

I have treated myself to some KnitPro Cubics - 4mm straights and 4mm and 5.5mm interchangable tips.  I get on with them much better than what I thought.  They make for a tighter stitch as well.  I have cast on 'Lydia Crescent Lace Shawl' by Brenda Castiel.  It was in last months 'Knit' magazine.  I'm using 4ply yarn (possibly sock yarn) that I got from The Knitting Goddess at Ravelry Day in Coventry a few years ago.  What little bit I have done is looking good.  More Stash Busting.  Pictures another day.  

This week I want to finish the Olympic Cushion and knit for Itsy Bitsy Swap.  I can see social outings being curtailed as well, due to HK's back.  I have already had to cancel one or two things.  When I have gone out (for an appointment at the Job Shop) and left HK with MJ, he has suffered with his back, so I am reluctant to leave the pair of them together until his back is sorted.  I have suggested to him to go back to the Doctors.  He says the pain is in the middle of his back, where it was when it all flared up, so he thinks it will soon right itself, as it normally does. Hhhmmm. 

I'm going to have to start having earlier nights, my chin straps are touching the ground.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

First Craft Group And It's Dark

I had my meeting with SH, from the County WI.  She is spearheading the campaign to raise the profile of crafting in these parts.  I'm sure I've mentioned her before.  The meeting was successful and I'm interested in doing 'my bit'.  It is being done with/through The Craft Council, supported by The WI and UKHKA - United Kingdom Hand Knitters Association.   I need to look on the Craft Council (CC) site for more info, especially about being a Volunteer.  I also want our new craft group to be registered with the CC.  I have all the info to do that, and I think I should be able to do that online.

Our craft group had it's first session today.  Six of us were there, not counting SH.  I want to take over the reins of it and make it my baby.  I want to run and promote it how I see fit.  I do have a good idea on these matters, and with the support and guidance of the CC, I should be well away with it all. 

I was sitting with M today.  She was cutting out pieces to make a quilt.  Inspired by this, I've taken a look on Ebay for dress patterns and fabric.  I'd like to find a simple dress pattern, so I can shake the rust off my dress making skills.  I think it would be best to buy fabric from a real shop, so I can have a proper look and feel of it.  I shall have to have a trip to Penrith to the fabric shop there, to have a good look at what they stock.  I've looked, but not looked with money in my purse, if you know what I mean!

Mary-Jane surprised me after she had her tea.  She went running across the room, picked up Mr Snuggles, then ran to me with her arms held up for a pick-up.  I picked her up, she spoke something to me, which ended in 'want bed'.  I asked her if she was tired and wanted to go bo-bo's, she just said 'want bed', then said clearly 'it's dark'.  HK and I was not far short of being gobsmacked!!  It is the first time she has so clearly and verbally initiated wanting to go to bed, and to say it's dark as well....... We do say to her, that it is dark and so it's time for bed.  Can't keep up with that little gem what with the evenings slowly starting to draw out!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Another Busy Day

I have been trawling the t'internet for KnitPro Cubics Rose needles - 25cm straights and circulars/tips.  My head is done for.  I have ended up emailing one online store that says they can order any KnitPro needle.  I must put it out of my mind now as my mind is now in tatters!  I am starting to think if something is this difficult to get hold of, is it either worth the search or  should I give up?

This morning I had an appointment at the Job Centre.  They wanted to see how they could help me find work when the time was right.  I have another appointment on Friday to see someone about what courses are available.  I said that I didn't want to return to nursing and was considering catering and maybe looking at self employment.  I need to keep head space clear for all that.

Lunch time was the WI's turn for the Monthly Soup Lunch.  This means for me not far short of two hours of washing up - poor cinders - I quite like being tucked away to be honest.  Perhaps next time I shall be brave and be on the shop floor waiting on the tables.  The butternut squash and ginger soup was an absolute success.  I didn't make it I hasten to add, but would love the recipe.  I was given a recipe for cheese scones, which is slightly different to what I usually make.  I do rather like scones.  I don't make them enough.

HK looked after Mary-Jane whilst I was out.  Come evening he said his back was worse and stiffer.  The numbness in his leg that he has had for a few days is getting worse.  He forgot to mention that at his appt yesterday.  Mary-Jane appears to be well over the worst of her cough/cold/chestiness, thankfully.

For the WI, I had a thougth of gathering our members favourite tried and tested recipes and compiling them.  I know a lot of WI's have printed books.  I may look into all this out of sheer interest, I don't want to re-invent the wheel - perhaps unvent it!

Oh and I have only 42 and a bit rows of Sereknitty to go!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


This morning, I went to Tesco in Whitehaven. I took Mary-Jane and Mum came along too.  I needed to get bread and milk and put some diesel in the car.  On the penulitmate aisle, I gave Mary-Jane Mr Snuggles, her comforter toy/ small blankie. She had thought it was a great game to keep throwing Mr Snuggles on the floor for me to pick up. I have mentioned him to you before.  When I was going through the checkout, I discovered Mr Snuggles was AWOL.  I doubled back down the last two aisles.  No Mr Snuggles, he was MIA.  After the checkout I went straight to customer services.  By this point I was starting to get a tension headache.  Mr Snuggles hasn't been more than a few feet from MJ for months and months, apart from when he goes in the washing machine.  Luckily, he'd been handed in.  Relief.

I then went to fill the car up at the Tesco petrol station.  I've not filled the car up (to the top) since our long journey up here over a year ago, so it was a big thing to do.  When I opened my purse to pay for the diesel, my card was not there.  I asked if I could go back to the car to check my bag, it wasn't there.  I thought there may be enough to pay on HK's card, which is kept in my purse.  Luckily again, there was.

I then drove back to the main Tesco shop and went to Customer Services.  You can imagine the state I was getting in by this point.  However whilst I was in the queue, I saw the supervisor filing work and folding a piece of paper and sealing it into a secure bag - it looked suspiciously like a card.  It was and it was mine.  I had left it in the card reader when I paid for the groceries mid panic about locating Mr Snuggles before Mary-Jane noticed he was gone.  I was nearly shaking by now.

We got back, I made Mary-Jane her lunch, put the few bits of shopping away and went to make a well deserved cuppa and put my feet up.  I then realised that I had forgotten the bloody milk, the main thing that I had gone out for in the first place.  I wasn't overly impressed with myself.

This level of forgetfulness is very, very unlike me.  I said to HK that he better not have knocked me up again, he snorted derisively at this suggestion.  He puts it down to me being stressed with everything.  He has had a bad back for nearly a week now.  He has been to the doctors with it as well.  It has been so bad over the last few days that I have had to help him out of bed and help dress him. 

I need to calm and relax!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Monday Musings

Right Now:  Have just been upstairs to see HK. Am eating a little bit of chocolate.

This Weekend:  I have worked hard, and been snappy with HK when he has been trying to help me and it has hurt his back

Some Plans For This Week:  Tuesday - Baking for Wednesday, need to do baking for Thursday as well.  Wednesday, appt at the Job Centre, to see how they can help me back into work when I want to return to work, this is going to be not far short of laughable.  Also meeting with a lady to discuss raising the profile of crafting in the county

If I find some time to myself, I would like to: carry on knitting and do bake some fancy cupcakes, go visit some friends

I am grateful for: Child Tax Credits, Mary-Jane and HK, being able to be positive

Some Thoughtful Intentions for the week: That HK's back gets better very soon

Something that makes me smile: Mary-Jane and HK, as ever.  Singing 'Balamory' to Mary-Jane over the weekend and her joining in with me - singing together for the very first time.  A Very Special Moment

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday Sunday

Another busy but smooth Sunday.  I awoke before 7, HK and I decided to get up and have a quiet cuppa before Mary-Jane woke up.  It took HK and I about ten to fifteen minutes to get him up and out of bed due to his back, pain and limited movement.  By this time Mary-Jane had awoke and was crying for us.  HK managed to get down the stairs and I changed Mary-Jane's bot bot, then bought her downstairs.  I finally got her into her TSJ for the first time.  It fits her brilliantly.  I am very pleased with the result.  Mary-Jane didn't want it on long though! 

 H's back did loosen up and get slightly less painful as the day went on.  By late afternoon he was starting to stiffen up again.  He has agreed to get a GP appointment tomorrow.  I just hope the GP is half decent, looks into the back pain and refers him for tests.  So with HK incapacitated, I set to doing his chores. 

Here is the New Sexy Country Look for me!  I'm off to loose and feed the chooks about half seven this morning.  I'm wearing my dressing gown underneath the coat and HK's boots as my wellies are in the car.  And when I say that HK was getting ahem, frisky at my attire, I mean it!  We had six eggs this morning.  Egg production is coming along and we have lots of surplus eggs - I'm threatening to pickle some in the next day or two.
 Mary-Jane is slowly getting over her cough/ not being well.  She is eating a little more, not quite up to normal yet.  She had some chocolate this afternoon and if you look closely you can see some on her chops.
 Early afternoon Mary-Jane started to get tired.  She can't really lie back and slob on me the way she can on HK.  HK in these situations, has been trying to encourage, with a degree of success, to lie down on the sofa with her head on him.  I put the new Bow-Ties quilt on her and grabbed the camera.
 Later, Mary-Jane had some time having a 'walk' in the house.  She likes going into Gramma's room, striking a few keys on the keyboard and running around the table.  She also likes running and playing in Grandad-dad's room (aka the library).  She likes to sit on his knee and rummage through the desk drawers and play with his pen tin.  Today, she was sat in Grandad-dad's old rocking chair, on the opposite side of the desk and played with the pens there.
I've also made a bread pudding this morning.  I put a little more milk and allspice in than last time and it has come out well.  I made a pastry for a quiche as well, but this shrunk so much that I couldn't use it, so the chooks had that.  Apparantly pastry shrinking like that is because I put too much liquid in it.  Now I know.

I have been lucky enough to have a couple of hours in front of the idiot box this evening, knitting Sereknitty.  I was too tired to contemplate doing any lace work, just needed straight forward 'TV Knitting'.  I am going to need more yarn if I am to do the required amount of rows - but will check what measurements are given in the pattern.  I do have another ball, fingers crossed it is the same colourway.  I have a feeling it might be.  Then I had the thought that the rest of the second ball could make Mary-Jane another TSJ - how snazzy would that be in the yarn?!  I have taken the gauge and it is the same as the green pea yarn that I have just used.  Bonus, not that the sums or formula are in any way difficult!

I also got an email back from the lady that I contacted about The Magic Bow-Ties quilt.  She stated that the Wordsworth Quilters are now no more. She sugggested that if I go to the local quilters group (which I have attended two or three times), perhaps I could show it in the 'Show and Tell' part of the meeting.  She gave me the name of two ladies who attend the group who may be able to tell me a little more about the quilt.  She believes that it was made as an extra prize in that years raffle.  The main prize in these types of raffle are usually a double or king sized quilt, made by members of the group.  I suppose there is little else to find out.  The group  meet this Wednesday.  This week is going to be fairly busy for me, especially if HK's back doesn't start to get better.  He thinks it may snap better in the next day or two, as that is it's normal pattern.  Time will tell.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Magic Bow-Ties

I have taken Mary-Jane out again today, mainly to give HK a break so he can rest his back, and Mary-Jane seems to like to go out.  This morning I took her into Egremont to change her Valentine's Money from her Auntie Ann-in-America.  We also went into the Age Concern Shop.  I got a knitting trinket for myself (more on this later) and a book for HK.  After moving away from the counter I wasa drawn to walk out of the shop via the glassware shelves as I had been looking at them whilst at the counter.  There hadn't been anything that caught my eye, but I thought, why not.  I slowly walked past the glassware, then past the curtains/blankets.  I sometimes give it a glance just to see if there is any intersting fabric that I could possibly re-use. 

Then I came upon this quilt. I looked at the price tag - a grand £4.  I scuttled off to the counter with my new find clutched tightly in my hands.  I wasn't going to let this go.  I have just realised that I should have rotated the quilt 90 degrees before I photographed it.  This way on top of the cooker quite nicely.  It is nearly Christmassy colours, I say nearly as I don't think yellow is.  The border fabric is christmassy as well.  The pattern is called 'The Magic Bowties'.  And how do I know this?

 When I got back and was looking at the quilt properly, I turned it over and there was this message square on the back.  The top red sqaure reads 'The Magic Bow-Ties'.  The lower red square reads 'Made by Members if Wordsworth Quilters, Cockermouth, Cumbria, 2002'.
I have googled this Quilting Group and they still exist.  I have an address of where they meet.  I am going to send a letter, stating that I have the quilt and how I came about it.  I would like to know why it was made, whether for a raffle or a gift etc.  I don't know if they would be interested to learn that I now own their quilt.  If I was them, then I would be interested.  I'll send them the two photos here as well.

It certainly is a special find.  I am already inspired to learn to quilt and do patchwork.  It is something I have wanted to do for many, many years.  I have everything apart from the time, money and space!  One day perhaps.  I'll keep you up to speed with The Magic Bow-Ties Quilt and it's re-union with the Wordsworth Quilters.

Friday, 10 February 2012

A Busy Day And Baking Plans

Mary-Jane and I have had a busy day.  For Lunch, we went with mum and MB to an NSPCC fundraising lunch at Seascale.  I was dubious as to whether Mary-Jane would get her fill.  I was proved wrong.  She wolfed down a bowl and a half of veg and bacon/ham soup.  She really enjoyed it.  Soup is going on the menu.  We have already tried her a couple of times with our thick stew and she wouldn't entertain the idea of it.  A smoother soup may be the key.  After soup, she spent an hour running around the top end of the hall, burning off her energy.  The organisers gave her a box of toys to play with, which was quite a godsend.  I had her on reins and she didn't seem bothered by this.  It is the first time I have put her on reins.  I think they are much safer when we are out walking.  She was just starting to slow down when it was time to go.

We were only back in the house about 45 minutes before we went out again, this time for the weekly trip to Tesco in Whitehaven.  We got back around 4pm, Mary-Jane was in a lovely mood, and played with Daddy.  She ate all her tea, I was pleased with that.  The last few tea times, she has not had her usual appetite.  When I asked her if she was ready to go to bed, she picked up Mr Snuggles and came to me with arms outstretched.  The only thing I have heard from her since putting her down is just one coughing bout.  She went up at her usual time, rather than her earlier 'poorly' time, only 30-45 minutes difference.  Hopefully she will sleep well and maybe, just maybe, have a lie-in tomorrow!

This evening I have done a bit more on the EZ shawl.  I shall have to think of a shorter name for this Three Lace Shawl.  TLS? EZS?

My baking Mojo is continuing to return after it's Winter Sojourn.  I'm not wanting to go nuts and crackers, baking every recipe in sight.  More planning and being sensible with it.  USing waht I have got and making notes on what I make and the recipes I use and how I tweek them or think how they need tweeking.  I have been recommended a magazine - Cupcake Heaven - Thank You Jo!  I will look it up and see what it is like.

This week I am planning to make a quiche, bread pudding, maybe some soda bread or normal bread, egg custard and maybe pickle some eggs.  Oh and make some Leek and Potato Soup.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

EZ Three Lace Shawl Cast On

HK's back is still bad.  He is mentioning about going to a GP and getting is sorted.  I'm sceptical, he won't rush to the GP Surgery I don't think.  Mary-Jane was quite tired today, she again spent some of the night awake, coughing.  She did have a good run around the house this afternoon - a walk in the house, as we say.  However come tea time, she had no interest in her tea, and ate only a banana instead.

I went to Fobbles Knit & Natter for a few hours.  It was a bit thin on the ground, enjoyable nontheless.  I worked on Sereknitty and chatted alot.  In fact we all chatted alot.  In the afternoon I was going to visit DP but recieved a phone call saying not to come as the roads were very icy and dangerous.  Needless to say, I didn't go.

This evening, I have given into my Shawl Pre-Occupation Cravings and Cast On.  I decided on the pattern I had seen first.  Elizabeth Zimmerman's Three Lace Shawl from her Knitters Almanac.  It's the one on the front cover.   It is a Pi Shawl, so that will go towards my annual goals that I have set myself.  I am using a Shetland Wool, which I think is two ply.  I'm using 3.5 needles and have 144 stitches so far.  I'm on the fourth round of that section, about to start the lace pattern.  The colour is 'Midnight', black with tiny hints of coloured fleck.  I bought it a few years ago off ebay.  I didn't pay too much for it, I think probably more in postage!  It weighs 525g including the cone.  Tons and Tons of meterage.  I am interested in how much the completed shawl will weigh.  That little discovery will take a few months at least to discover!  Very much worth it though.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Baking and Shawls

My second WI Meeting is now over.  I'm starting to get into the swing of it.  I do need to organise my WI bag and file for Minutes.  It shouldn't take too long once I put my mind to it.

I made another crumble square this afternoon.  I substituted a quarter of the flour for ground almond and added a little bicarb of soda.  Instead of using fresh raspberries, I used a jar of raspberry coulis, which was being sold off cheap at the Co-op.  Next time I shall use real raspberries.  And not leave it in the oven so long.  I was going to take it down to Fobbles with me tomorrow, I shall decide that in the morning - as long as HK's back is well enough to see to Mary-Jane and of course that Mary-Jane is well enough for me to leave her.  She is slowly getting better.  She was quite tired today.  She has been coughing this evening, it sounds as though she needs to cough something up.  Hopefully what is on her chest is loosening.  She very much had a Daddy Day today.  I think it is because she can slob more Daddy than what she can me.

I'm starting to look into being a Producer at The Country Market in Whitehaven.  It happens once a week.  It is ran as a co-operative.  I was thinking of selling baked goods.  I need to go and have a look at it, see what it's like.  It's not a big money earner, but it's there.  And there is potential in everything.  Selling goods there would have many implications for me.  Getting the food hygiene certificate, seeing how it effects our benefits, would I have to be classed as Self Employed?  There are ways around everything.  I want to take a serious closer look.  And mention it to HK.

I've not done any knitting today (so far, and probably won't).  I need to get things together for tomorrow.  I am trying hard to stop obsessing about shawls.  Everytime I awoke last night, thet were there in my minds eye.  Enough of that.  I have decided which yarn to use.  I'm not going to let myself stash surf for some, that is far too distracting.  I shall choose either the original Pi Shawl from EZ's Knitters Almanac or one of the four designed for EZ's 100th Birthday.  I shall then put it from my mind.  I shall start it when I finish the olympic cushion, preferbably finish Sereknitty as well.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

No Sugarcraft Tonight

I've not been to Sugarcraft tonight.  Mary-Jane is on the mend, but is still chesty.  I wish I could cough up the rubbish on her chest for her.  She gets tired come mid afternoon.  She tries so hard to be good, but the tiredness gets a grip of her and she gets quite frustrated with herself.  This evening she hardly wanted any tea at all, drank nearly all her milk though.  She asked for bed at ten to five, so I took her up, and hardly a peek since.  She is getting brighter each day.

Last night I started getting a sore throat, which has culminated in me having a squeaky voice.  At least I have some voice.  I feel a little off the boil, not much though.  So I decided it would be best to stay home.  If Mary-Jane awoke, she would want Momma, and Momma she shall have.  Plus I need an early night and a relaxed evening.  I will be missing how to ice the pastillage and how to put it together.   Never mind.  I shall catch up.

This afternoon, Mary-Jane, Mum & I went to see DP in Eskdale to collect some yarn for WI Members to make Olympic Cushions.  The yarn is beautiful, yes I'll try and remember to take a picture before I take it to the meeting tomorrow.  It's upstairs at the moment and I don't want to disturb MJ. 

Mary-Jane was excited in having another ta-ta's in the car.  It wasn't long into the journey before she got real tired and wouldn't let herself sleep.  She was crying nearly all the way back, cries of tiredness.  When we arrived back, she was all Daddy.  Let's hope she feels even better in herself and this chesty business starts to clear.  HK's back is no better, worse if anything.

I've been continuing with Sereknitty.  As much as I enjoy knitting it, my thoughts are galloping with what realistically to do next.  I rather like 'Lydia Crescent Shape Shawl' by Brenda Castiel, in last months Knit Magazine.  I'm also toying with one of the 100th Birthday Shawls designed in honour of Elizabeth Zimmerman.  I'm going to have to cast on a shawl really soon before the need to do one drives me insane.  I am trying to be good and try to finish Sereknitty before I do.  The Olympic Cushion has a deadline.  I will re-commence that in a day or two, when I need a break from Sereknitty. 

Monday, 6 February 2012

Monday Musings

RIGHT NOW:  I'm thinking about bed. It's late for me.  My head is full of knitting, with passing thought to WI stuff.  MJ and HK have been in bed for a few hours

THIS WEEKEND:  Mary-Jane has not been well.  She awoke early on Sunday and didn't move more than a couple of feet away from us till she went to bed that night.  She was running a slight temp. She is much brighter in herself today

SOME PLANS THIS WEEK:  Sugarcraft Tuesday, WI on Wednesday, Knit & Natter Thursday.  Get Olympic Cushion finished or very nearly finished

IF I FIND SOME TIME FOR MYSELF I'D LIKE TO: Look through some beautiful knitting books I have been very kindly lent

I AM GRATEFUL FOR: Mary-Jane perking up today and feeling better.  Always grateful for her and HK

SOME THOUGHTFUL INTENTIONS FOR THE WEEK: For Mary-Jane to shake this chesty cold she has

SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME SMILE:  Mary-Jane, she is very much on my mind at the moment.  Daydreaming about having our own place and my imaginery yarn shop - I've added buttons to it this week!

Fruit Crumble Square

When I went to M's last week, she made a delicious Crumble Square.  I asked her for the recipe.  I made it.  It tastes good.  My version here had much more fruit than the given recipe, so most of the crumble topping got absorbed by the fruit.  However it tasted delicious and lasted less than 48 hours!

Fruit Crumble Square

115 g butter
175g caster sugar
1 egg
280g self raising flour
125ml milk
200g fresh blackcurrants/raspberries - I used frozen berries

115g cater sugar
85g plain flour
1 lemon zest (i didn't use it, I didn't have any lemons in)
50g butter

Preheat oven to 180c or equivalent
Grease and line a 28 x 18cm tin, or 23cm square or 25cm round

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
Whisk in the egg
Carefully fold in the flour and milk
Spoon into tin
Sprinkle fruit on top

Mix together sugar, flour and lemon zest
Rub in the butter until mixture is crumbly
Sprinkle on top of square

Bake for approx 45 minutes or until the topping is golden
Leave to cool in tin

PS, as I said, I used more fruit in the picture above - 500g.  On top of the fruit I added some light brown sugar and some mixed spice.  I'd like to try it using raspberries and substituting some ground almond for some flour

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Elizabeth Zimmerman - Toddler Surprise Jacket Completed

The TSJ is completed!  I have to sew the buttons on yet.  I have found some, but not decided on them.  I thoroughly recommend this pattern.  It's more than easy, just remember your stitch markers and do a gauge before hand. Easy Peasy.  I've not tried it on Mary-Jane.  She is in bed, having a restful night so far.

This is it before being sewn up.  The button holes are a bit of a give away, otherwise, you may be wondering what on earth it is.

 And sewn up.  I need to mention here that the only sewing up is along the shoulder edge.  I will make the sleeves full length next time.  They are supposed to be 3/4 length.  The neck line looks a little odd.  When you do the long rows, you increase one stitch at the begining of each row to give it shape to accomodate the neck.  It's a new one to me.  Can't wait to see Mary-Jane in it tomorrow. 

Friday, 3 February 2012

TSJ - End In Sight

The TSJ nears completion.  I have worked the buttonholes, only a few more ridges to go then the Big Cast Off and even Bigger Button Match Up.  So far I have given virtually no thought to what buttons I may use.  I do have buttons.  I have not looked if any match.  I think I must be hoping that I will fall on them, and that some unlit part of my brain knows I have the right buttons tucked away somewhere, so I am not panicing.  Time will tell.

I'm hoping to finish tomorrow night.  I do have WI paperwork to do, and the deadline for that is looming very close (Monday), so I am sailing close to the wind to get this and the WI stuff done for Monday.  Not that the TSJ has a deadline.  I just want to complete it as soon as, so I can see it on Mary-Jane, not in eagerness to cast the next thing on.

I was reading on Knitting Daily about taming your stash.  They shared an idea which I liked - store all the yarn you are about to use, for up and coming projects etc in a hanging shoe holder.  Simple but effective.  I do have a similar thing to a shoe holder.  I would need to relocate it out of Mary-Jane's room, to I don't know where (that is the big stumbling block).  I may look at the nether reaches of my corner, bhind the lamp to see if it will fit.  Long shot.  But worth looking at. 

Mary-Jane still has her cold, not quite as bad during the day.  Last night she had more coughing fits that the night before.  We had her out all afternoon, doing the weekly shopping and going through to Asda in Workington to get her some bigger vests, and to get HK his monthly sweetie supply.  She played and dived about on her bean bag after we got back.  As soon as I said it was bed time, she showed that she was tired.  She has been coming out with lots of new words and small phrases today - show me, in the garden, see you later.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Three Surprises

Mary-Jane has been out of sorts today.  It has been very much a 'Mommy Day'.  She has not wanted to be far from me at all.  She was tired as well, she awoke a few times in the night coughing.  A couple of times, after coughing, she said 'cough' .  I was due to go out this afternoon to meet up with DP, a new Knitty Nutter Friend, at her house.  The thought of leaving MJ for the afternoon didn't sit well.  HK would have his hands more than full, and if MJ wanted Mommy, she should have Mommy. 

In the end, I decided to go see DP, take Mary-Jane with me and explain that I couldn't stay.  HK said he would come along too.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  So off we went.  I did end up chatting with DP for about half an hour - and that was rushing!  There was so much we both wanted to say and chat about.  I gave DP a pattern, and she gave me one - a very popular one at the moment, which was another lovely surprise!  She also lent me some lush books - two  Alice Starmore's and some Lace books, including Meg Swanson's 'A Gathering of Lace', which I haven't had time to even glance at yet.

I had a look at the tone of the Alice Starmore books - I'll try and write more detail about them later.  I did a bit more on the TSJ.  I must have been a bit tired, as at the end of the row of about 200-250 stitches, I realised that I had done decreases where I should have done increases.  Sigh.  It's all sorted now, and only about ten rows to do.

Did I mention we were without electricity from 10am to 5pm as well today?  Somebody up by Seascale apparantly had cut through a cable.  I think it may have ben a workman, I don't know for sure.  It has been a beautiful cold, crisp winters day, with no wind.  The temps are due to drop tonight, it's going to be a Big Brrrrr one!

Oh and another lovely, nearly-a-surprise I had today was a letter from my Canadian Penpal.  I knew the letter was on it's way, but hadn't expected it today.  So that's three unexpected good things that have happened today.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sugarcraft Roses

Last nights class went smoothly and with progress, for me.  Before hand, I went to look at the pastillage.  I had forgotten to turn it, as instructed.  I thought in my infinite wisdom, that after a week it would have dried anyway.  It hadn't dried thoroughly.  It has about now.  Next week we are putting it together - or it maybe the week after.  I will be more careful when rolling pastillage out next time.  I have seen ways where I can improve.  I'm not going to beat myself up over it though.

In class, my mojo was warming up and I was starting to make some progress with the roses.  For the card, we have to do nine roses.  Two have two petals, four have 2+3 and three have  2+3+5 petals.  The petals are described like this, as you put on two petals, let them dry, then put 3 on, let them dry etc etc.

Here are my 2+3 roses.  I'm pleased with them.  They still have to be colour dusted and such like, so they are not finished per se.

And here are the 2+3+5, although the flash has made them rather pale.  I was in rush to get them photographed last night, but the uploading of them took much longer than usual, so they are here tonight.  I hope I'm coming to grips with this sugarcraft malarky.  I do feel like I am learning.

TSJ Continues Apace

This is the TSJ, as of yesterday, I've not taken any pix tonight.  It's coming along nicely.  I've continued on the live stitiches for another 15 ridges, hopefully to the best length.  I didn't measure how long I wanted it, so I am just guessing.  I have picked up the stitches on one side and am about to kint all the way down and across to pick up the stitches on the other side.  On the fronts, this will for the centre fronts.  I have also marked the inner neck and start of the centre front.  Here there will be increases/decreases to allow for shaping.

At this point of the proceedings, I am left wondering what I was whittling about previously - granted they were only small worries.  The overall structure is slightly different from the BSJ is the allowance for cuffs and an extra bit to accomodate for the bulkiness of a nappy.  The next one I do, I might cast on differently, perhaps with an ?invisible cast on - the one where you cast on into a chain of crochet, so the stitches can be picked up and knitted the other way.  This will allow for lengthening the arms.  Depending on the width of the cuff, there can be decreases, similar to the BSJ, to make the cuffs narrower.

A closeup of the increases.  Not overly exciting I know, but you can see how they turn out and their effect.  When this is finished, I will finish the olympic cushion, then may be cast on a shawl (or two).