Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yarn Along - Mint Choc Chip

Look what arrived in the post on Monday...

lovely aren't they.  Can you guess what I have in mind?
Give up?
Ok then I'll tell you..
A ripple blanket.
and I'm going to call it Mint Choc Chip.  

I've been wanting to make one for quite some time but was completely stuck on the colours. So I just put the project on hold until further inspiration came to me.

But first things first, I must finish my Shalom.  I crammed in some extra knitting hours this week when a ragging wisdom tooth woke me very early on Monday.  Luckily my dentist could see me that very morning, and we all know what a visit to the dentist means - waiting room.  Turns out Richard knows the receptionists, so word will no doubt reach his ears that his wife has been knitting in public again!!
The offending tooth was promptly yanked and I was given some strong painkillers and told to go home and knit rest all afternoon.
This morning however, temptation got the better of me!! I just had to see how blanket colours were going to look together, so I made a little cozy for my avocado plant!  But I haven't cast-on the blanket, I do have some degree of will power!

I also made a cozy for my Hyacinthe and adorned my 'new' craft cabinet with it.
see the wee house in the background - that's the farm my father was brought up on!
I almost gave this dresser away a few weeks ago.  But instead decided use it to display my stash yarn and a few other trinkets  It's amazing what some de-cluttering and a few balls of yarn can do for a thing.  It is 80 years old and belonged to Richard's grandparents so I'm glad now that we didn't end up parting company.

Just finished reading a bit of a strange book - Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.  It's a ghost story involving  two sets of identical twins, swapped identities, death, reincarnation (of sorts) and a small white kitten.  I didn't particularly feel anything for any of the characters except maybe Matin, a middle aged man with OCD who has his wisdom tooth yanked by an undertaker, in his kitchen as he is incapable of leaving his flat.
Hoping that my Amazon order will arrive today!
Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hand Sewn Hand Warmers!

I've been sewing!  that might not seem like much of a big deal but to me it's quite an achievement.  It's not that I don't like it, it's just that I find it incredibly difficult. So when I saw this little Hand Warmer project over at Cozy Things and the thermometer here was showing -15°, I knew it was the moment to get out my miniscule sewing set, and get busy!

Whilst waiting for some old woolen sweaters to felt, which took a surprisingly  long time, I practiced on some old corduroy material.  After carefully cutting out two rounds, I then used, what I believe is called a running stitch - more of a stumbling uncontrolably stitch in my case, around the edge.  Once turned the right way out my rounds were a little misshapen to say the least!

As my wool sweaters were determined to remain sweaters as long a possible, I reset the washing machine on HOT and decided to continue on with my 'test piece'.   Had to get out my Collins Complete Guide to Needlework and attempt to fathom out the blanket stitch!! - are you starting to get an idea of my sewing abilities.
To my pleasant surprise felted wool is far easier to work with than corduroy.  I employed a slightly different technique to sew my rounds together, by keeping the right sides facing out and doing a sort of invisible stitch.  The work stayed much rounder!! my blanket stitch still needs a bit of practice but all in all I'm very pleased with the result.
each warmer is filled with beans and heated 60-90 seconds in the microwave.
Once heated in my m.i.l's microwave (we don't have one and she lives next door) these little warmers, whether worn inside gloves or used with hands in pockets, should stay warm for the walk to school and back.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Yarn Along - Here Comes The Sun!

Today 9 January means 3 things: Yarn Along, Salomé - my niece's 19th birthday and the return, clouds permitting, of the SUN!!!
After 5 WEEKS of no sunlight on the house, today the sun makes its return! albeit only for a few minutes, but those precious minutes get longer and longer each day, until finally my car defrosts itself, without me having to run it for 10 minutes and scrape the windows outside and in.  And maybe this 'extra' warmth means that we all, here in this long narrow valley surrounded by 3-4000m peaks, can turn the heating down a notch - for the greater good!
I took this picture on Sunday afternoon from my bedroom window - see those mountains in the back ground - they have been hiding the sun since December; and see that 'fuzzyness' in the middle - that's pollution!! from heating systems.

But I mustn't complain too much, I have plenty of 'rays of sunshine' to fill my days!  one of which is knitting! With christmas knitting finished I finally cast-on my Shalom and have already found the cutest little button to go with it.
it is a cute button but a really bad picture, sorry!
Just finished a washcloth, which is a bit small so is being repurposed as a jug cover.  I'm going to brighten it up with a few crochet flowers - daisy's I think, thread some ribbon through the holes and add a few beads in the four corners!

Currently re-reading On Angel Mountain, the first of a 7 book series, (yes 7 but each one is as good as it's predecessor) set in 1796 in beautiful Pembrokeshire, Wales.
'18 yrs old Martha Morgan is newly established as the Mistress of Plas Ingli, a small and vulnerable estate on the flank of Carningli (Angel Mountain) in North Pembrokshire.  She is pregnant and suicidal, having just been forced into a shotgun wedding' 
don't worry things get better for Mistress Morgan, but unfortunately they also get much worse. The 7 books follow Martha into old age, her loves (and there were a few!!) and losses, her children and grandchildren, and her beloved 'servants' at the Plas.
On the front cover is a house - Plas Ingli, the fictional setting for Brian John's novels.  The house is on a mountain, a real mountain in north Pembrokeshire, which we (my father, best friend Amy and her daughter Katie) decided to visit.  We found ruins - the ruins?- so we thought but they didn't correspond to the picture on the book!!  Well it just so happens that the author and his wife Inger, a very talented artist, live near by. So next stop, Inger's studio.  Brian wasn't home but Inger patiently explained to us that apart from the mountain, the entire thing - house included - was all fictitious!! I knew that!!  Anyway, we had a good old chuckle with Inger, who reassured us that we weren't to first to get so wrapped up in the story, and my father bought me this lovely candle holder made by this beautiful Swedish artist.

Well, this is quite a long Yarn Along for me!  but I just love these books and want to shout about them from the top of my mountains here in the alps!