Sunday 7 February 2021

Knitting madness

 It's been a little while but I have been busy, perpetual motion at times.

The greenhouse is ready for this coming spring, always supposing that it does arrive.

The polytunnel is almost there, I do need new catches on it as one of the infernal storms got a toe hold and the original ones were damaged.

The garden is a bit windswept but nothing that a good afternoon pottering can't sort. The net tunnel has stood firm and done its job of protecting the onions, shallots and garlic.

Seed potatoes and a few other seeds have been ordered and are on their way. Pots and seed trays are clean, compost is stacked and all is ready. all I need now is the right weather at the right time. Hahahaha, that's why there is a tunnel and a greenhouse.

I have been knitting through the stash and I know that it is shrinking, it just isn't obvious.

Patricia Dursley's double eyelet socks by Erica Lueder. 

A made up pattern using scrap yarn.

Vanilla socks for my daughter.

Close to you shawl by Justyna Lorkowska

Reyna shawl, the designers name escapes me.

I am still struggling with this new version of blogger, more practise needed.
The font size has a will of its own and I am constantly changing it, sometimes I miss it.

There are many more projects finished and at least 15 works in progress, as you can see socks are popular, all of my family wear hand knit socks now so there are always a pair on the needles. right now there are 3 pairs, colour work for solitary knitting, patterned for when we are chatting and vanilla for tv time.

I will share some of the WIPs next time and more of what I have planned for the garden.

The news is dire, the outlook is up in the air and the prattling fools who keep demanding a timetable for "getting back to normal" irritate me to the 'nth degree.
I am still sewing masks for whoever needs them. at the moment I have some Rasta Flag coloured fabric in the peace symbol print for a neighbour on the sewing table. 

I am happy keeping to house and garden with a good walk with the dogs as the weather permits. I do not see it changing much this side of August, if then. Even having the vacine will not encourage me to go out and about as there are so many variants that may or may not be covered.

Stay safe wherever you are and be Idiot Aware at all times.

                    TTFN                                                        Pam

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Making my mind up

 Trying to at least.

My Asda order is delivered every Wednesday, I selected a mid week slot for a couple of reasons.

1, It was one of the cheapest options.

2. The new deliveries of fresh products should have hit the shelves after the weekend frenzy had emptied them.

I go into my order page and stick in the basics and then on Tuesday refine to just what I need and a few things for the cupboard if I need to bring it up to the minimum amount for free delivery.

I have a list fixed to the boiler and as I take an item from the pantry/fridge/freezer I note it down. That way I (hopefully) do not run out of anything. There has been the odd failure but I can swap things around if needs be.

I find it all to easy to err on the side of "buy it regardless of stock level". Thats why I have just decanted the last from a bag of pasta that I bought early last year. It was vac packed with an oxygen absorber and was well in date so no issues. Apart from the fact that we were fed up with Fussilli. I know it all tastes the same but I like to eat with my eyes, and it is nice to have a pasta which has hollows to hold the sauce. I did buy a bag of Penne at the same time and that went much faster.

Some of my friends will not consider on line food shopping, I was right there with them at one time. Now I am used to have all the hard work done for me and accept that the in store shopper will not have the time to hunt for the freshest and or largest item. I have returned a few things and a complaint about a miniscule swede got me an apology and a refund even though I kept it.

I have seen and heard comments about the poor quality of Asda food, the ready meals may well be poor but I do not buy them. The fresh food is quite satisfactory and I have no complaints regarding shelf life or quality. I have been in to other supermarkets and seen fruit and veg on display that I would not touch with a barge pole. 

The big plus factor for me is that I have my slot for a year and will renew it for another. That is not to be sneezed at, I get an email that allows me to select my own subs if something is not available. My order has only been late once, due to weather, and only once was an item missing and that was credited within a couple of hours.

Thats all for today, I will tell you about my 12 cast ons next time. With photos as far as possible. 

Take care and stay safe.

                            TTFN                                                                   Pam

Sunday 24 January 2021

And about time too.

 Well, its been a long while.

I took time out and it stretched to the 'nth degree.

I have run the gamut of emotions, high and low and have emerged hopefully stronger and possibly wiser.

I have stopped baying at the moon about the stupidity of people. having snarled at one too many shoppers who thought that it was fine to lean on me as they reached to pick an item off the shelf, I no longer go into any shop. 

There is a notice on my door telling all delivery persons to ring the bell/bang on the door and step well away. I have chewed the ear off a postman who wanted to hand me my parcels and made a formal complaint the second time.

I have nothing but praise for the various people who deliver my Asda grocery order and am thankful that we have a marvellous meat supplier who delivers and follows the correct procedures. The local free range egg supplier has set up contactless collection and is on my regular dog walk route. I am thinking about getting rid of my car and carrying on for the forseeable future as i do not miss shopping one little bit.

I have got over the uncomfortable/embarrassing fact that I am enjoying lockdown. My time is filled with whatever I fancy doing whenever I wish to do it.

The only downside is not seeing family in the flesh, video calls and zoom sessions are good but nothing like the real thing. Having said that there are many families that are scattered across the world and rarely or never meet in person. 

Michael has plans for the good weather, both for house and garden, so much so that he has decided not to take on any work for at least 2 years, if ever. We are enjoying working as a close team and want it to continue.

At the beginning of December I looked long and hard at my crafting supplies. I will not be buying anything for this year, with the exception of mask making materials. I am still churning those out, just at a slower rate.

I joined an online knitting community, yarn n yarns based in Penarth, South Wales, and am taking part in the "12 cast ons of Christmas", This is helping me work through the yarn stash, gathering patterns, yarn and  ( making more project bags) matching up what I have is theraputic. Some of the projects are reasonabley medium term but a few were quick makes and as I have emptied a bag of its finished item I have cast on another to take its place. In this way I hope to run the stash right down. There are also 2 projects ongoing to work through any leftovers. I have just finished the second scrappy Flax Light in sock yarn and have a dk crochet blanket on the go. 

The sewing is nowhere near as productive as it is based in the dining room. I prefer to be in the living room with Michael so that we can chat as we work on our various things. Once the warmer and drier weather arrives this will change. We will spend more time outside working together and time indoors will be separate, he with his planned projects and me sewing.

The garden has vegetables in it still and 3 beds are filled with garlic and summer onions. The polytunnel has my flower planters in it but they will be moved out ready for lots of edibles. The greenhouse has some brassicas (thriving out of the wind) ready for harvesting and these will be replaced with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in due course.

There are 3 new blueberry plants that will provide a small harvest this year, my established bushes fruited really well last year, so lots of purple porridge is in my future. The fruit trees all look healthy and we will be building a cage over the Jostaberry and  Black Elderberry. That of course is "the royal we" I will be making coffee and cookies as my contribution. 

All that seems to be a bit smug and self satisfied but it has required, and will continue to do so, planning and some hard work. It was no easy task to dig out and make a level area for the tunnel on our sloping garden.

Herbie is thriving, thankfully he has stopped growing, and loves having Revi and Poppy during the week, a no contact handover takes place at each end of the day and their owner is as careful as us on a daily basis.

I think that I am all caught up now and I plan on being here a few times a week now, when I have something worth sharing. 

My thanks to anyone who is still there and my hopes that you are all heathy and well.

Take care.

                 TTFN                                                                                           Pam

Sunday 4 October 2020

Wet Wet Wet

 Hey Ho, if it did not rain what would we have to talk about? when we can meet and talk that is.

I have to say that I am making the most of both the weather and the lockdown.

These are the first of a family of 4, the pattern is the pumpkin beanie on ravelry.
I added the leaf, I crocheted it from an old pattern.
Once the other 2 are finished they will be gifted and then my sister would like one.

This yarn has been lingering for ages in my stash, I had 4 skeins and have knitted several pairs of socks. This pair will be the last, hopefully as I am rather tired of it. I can not remember where it came from or the brand, it is hard wearing and softens with washing.

I am still not loving this new blogger.
Rolls eyes and grimaces.

I have found a new podcast to watch, Knit365 blog, Martin produces a round up blog at the end of the month and slips in an extra project one every now and then. His style is laid back and has no extraneous content, I like it. He is about to start the new West mkal and I look forward to seing his progress.

Just before I lost Ben I bought new coats for him and Herbie. I don't know whether I could not measure them or if I just made a mistake with the order but one fitted Herbie and the other one would have got both of them in with wriggle room. Anyhow, the larger one was tucked on a shelf and left, this afternoon one of my neighbours called me as I was walking past and asked if I could make a coat for his dog. I have met the dog and knew instantly that the large coat would fit him. It was perfect so I have gained a smidgeon more space and Kofi has a new coat. win win.
I also have a favor to call in if I need to. Barter is alive and well.

I aim on finishing the hats and those socks this week and I have a Penny sweater, a Tin Can Knits pattern, to sew up under the sleeves and weave the ends in.
Then I will pick 2 from the WIP shelf, AKA the shelf of reproachful looks, to work on this month, as well as Francesca,s sweater. I am itching to cast on more socks but am trying to ignore it. I would love to finish 4 WIPs before my Christmas Eve cast on, I dare not even look at patterns for that yet. I might well come down with a bad case of castonitis.

The sewing room is in a slight state of chaos, I have a new freezer coming and that is the only room with space for it. Everything has been shunted around to make space and once it is in Michael will be measuring up for a new shelf. Or three. As I have lost that floor space.

That willl be a nice surprise when he reads it. hehe.
It,s a good job he likes a project.

There is a "new" Michael Palin program on TV tonight, I think that it is basically covering his former programs but I will be having a look. 

Now I think it is time for a glass of something red and fruity.

Keep safe.

                                             TTFN                                      Pam

Saturday 3 October 2020

So much for Autumn colour.

 I am sure that in parts of the world, at least north of the equator, there has been enough dry cold air to start the leaves turning to burnished bronze and amber. Just not here, too wet, too warm and too much wind.

 Even my blueberries just shed their leaves while still green, it has been wet, windy and not really cold. The wind and odd storm have moved lots of the leaves into heaps that are slowly mouldering away.

Many plants that should still be in flower have been shredded by the wind and rain, not to mention the odd hailstorm.

In need of some colour I turned to my knitting, Fran's new sweater is richly coloured and I am knitting Christmas socks in seasonal colours.

Then I had some moments that were pure serendipitous. I was watching the Sheep and Cheerful podcast and Nikki was knitting a pumpkin hat in glorious orange. I found the pattern and in a moment it was paid for, downloaded and printed. There is also a Kal going on that I need to finish some WIPs and get posted for.

Then I watched the first Vlogmas from Ange at Yarn N Yarns and she is doing the same, an Autumn make and a Thank Goodness it's finished make.

I don't usually take part in Kals as I tend to lose track and forget to take photos.

This time though I will be joining in, I have a pile of WIPs to finish up, most do n ot need very much work, and I have some gift knitting to do.

I went straight on to Ange,s shop and bought yarn for the hats, well for the girls ones, I will knit Mum and Dads from stash yarn. Bless her she packaged up the order yesterday and it arrived this morning. I had already cast on Dad's hat and finished it before bedtime. such a quick knit. because the yarn arrived this morning I have knit one of the girls hats, I decided to crochet a leaf and attach to each hat. Just because.

These will be gifted as soon as they are finished, I may make a small pumpkin and attach to the girls hats, it depends on how much yarn I have left.

The street is much quieter now that the local lock down is in place, I took Herbie out a short while ago and only saw 2 cars. There are still people inviting visitors into their homes against the new measures, one can only suppose they have a death wish.

We have been going through each room, emptying cupboards and sorting the contents out. Some furniture has been moved and every nook and cranny has been cleaned. Today Michael emptied the welsh dresser and cleaned the inside, disposed of some rubbish that had secreted itself away and refilled the rest tidily.

We decided to sit down fairly early, yippee I had my hat to knit, and had a stroll down memory lane and watched the first 2 Ghostbusters movies. Herbie got very excited a few times and ran round like a hamster in a wheel.

I am now tucked up in bed with one of the sock WIPs and  Herbie is on the bottom of the bed snoring. I plan on catching up with a few podcasts.

All in all It has been a good day, even if the garden is a mix of green, colourless dying leaves and mud. There is plenty of colour indoors.

Keep safe.

                                   TTFN                                                Pam

      PS, starting the day with purple porridge is great.  

Thursday 1 October 2020

keeping my eye on the ball.

 It's been a funny few days here. 

With the news that the Royal Glamorgan hospital is taking no new admissions due to an ongoing Covid situation. The extra work load will be divided btween other units including our local Morriston hospital. I am resigned to the fact that my cataracts will be with me into the next year.

Michael has had a letter asking him to arrange both an Xray and a video call regarding further work on the thumb that he almost severed. He has managed with it as is for the last 3 1/2 months. He should have had this Xray at the end of July and has no inclination to go anywhere near a hospital right now. So he has declined the invitation.

Our neighbour,S, who owns Revi and Poppy was at work on the family farm, last weekend, with his teenage nephew is on red alert. Yesterday his sister rang him to say that her sone was home from school on the direction of the track and trace system. he had been in contact with someone who tested positive for C-19. They are now trying to assertain when the contact occured and whether S has to be tested and/or quarantine. Thankfully we have a system in place where we transfer the dogs with no close contact. This was a "just in case" decision and I am so pleased that we made that call.

My friend has finished her treatment so the Bichons will not be here for a month now, then she will have a checkup appointment. as before we have a hand over with no close contact.

It was easy to arrange in both cases, it isn't rocket science, it isn't even like picking up a dropped stitch in a lace pattern.

We have a new to me veg box scheme in Pontardawe, Frosty's will deliver to our village. they will make a mixed box with fruit or 2 separate ones from £10 to £whatever. They also offer a range of pantry staples, whole foods and vegan supplies and are very accommodating. Yes they are dearer than the supermarkets. Yes they have a smaller choice, you will not have 30 types of lettuce to chose from, but that can be a bonus. We will be trying them out soon, I have a fridge full of fruit and veg to eat through first.

The news is still full of whinging people but there are some truly inspiring people out there as well. Those who have weighed up the situation, thought about it and altered their routines to be able to help their neighbours. 

The writing was on the wall in plenty of time for all to get prepared, in fact it has been on the simmer from the beginning. The warning has been there for all to see and hear that the winter would bring an upsurge of cases. 

I am still amazed that anybody thought that opening up the Universities was a good idea. Hundreds and thousands of young people are now in virtual house arrest, having paid fees and accommodation costs and getting much less in return than they expected or deserved. At the same time those who are bleating about wanting to return home need to stop. Look in the mirror and ask if they really want to potentially take a killer into the family home.

Once again. It isn't rocket science. If they haven't got it before they start for home it is highly likely that they will be in contact with it before they arrive. Pessimist. Too right I am. We will not be in contact with anybody for a long time, we do not want to put ourselves ir anyone else at risk.

Apart from all that we are well, the dogs had a good 2 hours walk this morning and are happily slumped across the sofas sleeping it off.

Keep safe.

                      TTFN                                                       Pam

PS. I am sure that i started this with something particular to say but have run off piste. At leaast I didn't have the soapbox out to fall off.

Monday 28 September 2020

Too much talk in the wrong direction.

 David Attenborough is a familiar face on our screens and has been for decades. His new book and program strike to the heart of the consumer society.

He tells us to use less, waste nothing and the subtext is buy organic.

This morning when he was featured on the Beeb there was a shot of battery chickens in the background.

Factory farming started to provide cheaper food for our ever increasing population. As a "baby boomer" I, my generation and susequent ones are to blame.

That was the time to get up and speak about the effect this would have on the planet. It was just not on the agenda at that time.

It is very easy to be wise after the event. 

The longer the event goes on the harder it becomes to reverse, never mind stop.

I guestimate here. I think that up to 75% of the worlds population live either in the poverty gap or a smidgeon above it.

These people waste nothing. They do not consume vast amounts of power.

 They do not fill their cars (they simply don't have the money) with Kilos of food and then bin a large percentage at the end of the week.

They do not buy clothes and household goods on a regular basis just to consign them to landfill when the fashion changes. In fact they probably shop second hand when they absolutely have to, thus helping the environment.

In MY opinion most, if not all, of the rhetoric needs to be directed at the (roughly) 25% of the worlds population who have the money to throw around. 

The "jet set" with air travel, the fashionistas with revolving wardrobe doors, the shoppers who buy ever increasing volumes of everything from food to cosmetics and jettison it just to make room for more. 

These are the people who should be targeted, after all if you cannot afford a leopardskin coat you are not responsible for the reduced population. 

Equally if you cannot afford to buy organic free range food to feed your family you have to buy the cheaper alternative. You are not responsible for factory farming.

I am off the soap box now, but will keep it handy.

Keep safe.

                        TTFN                                                                Pam

I just wanted to add that I did not mention the middle ground. All of us who may or may not be rich but have the means and the ability to stretch our money wisely. We already waste nothing, make do and mend and repurpose as much as possible. Some of us are firmly in the perceived poverty belt, although you would never know it, and some of are in the wealthy belt but do not flaunt or waste it. I know that it is wrong to generalise but there is not enough room here to be specific. Gosh, that sounds like a cop out. Sorry, but I had a strong reaction to being preached at by someone who has never had to make do or go without and would probably not recognise the Benefit Trap if he fell in it. I do still admire him, he is a stand alone man, head and shoulders above many others of his ilk.