Saturday 31 December 2016

Gently sliding to another new year

The house is so quiet now, I do miss Fran but love the emptiness as well. She said herself that much as she loves being here and going away to friends she is looking forward to going back to Beckenham.

Her bed has been changed, the room tidied and washing done, dried and put away.
I did not start to take the decs down, it will do tomorrow. The mist and drizzle turned to fog during the morning and put me off any more chores.

I did a Tesco run and restocked with fruit, veg and milk, I also picked up a few bargains but did not go mad. I aim to have a sensible and light eating plan for January, I may not have stuffed myself with sweets, cakes and puddings  (Trifle is NOT pudding in this house, it is essential on very rare occasions)  but I have eaten some rich meals. I made a batch of veg soup this afternoon and have 8 generous portions lined up. Tomorrow I will make some Scotch Broth, for days when I want some meat.

I have cast on more socks, well one sock, for Fran. She picked the yarn from my stash and asked for vanilla socks.

She likes the 6" leg and her feet are small so they will be another quick knit.

The second part of my gift did not arrive, I will share it all together hopefully by Wednesday.

I started my sock while watching Ken Dodd on TV, no swearing, no graphic sex talk, lots of silliness and rolling around laughing. Telly at it's best, my Mum would have loved it as much as I did.

As the year slips away I will not waste time by having a post mortem. What's gone is gone, what's done is done, none of it can be changed. I only hope that lessons learned will not be forgotten and that I profit from them.

My only aims next year are to be more adventurous in my knitting and to get my crochet mojo back on track.

I usually have a word or phrase for the year and next year I think it will have to be,

To Boldly Knit what ever takes my fancy with the help of you tube and podcasters. 

I will share my trials and tribulations, my failures and triumphs. I want to master the Fish Lips Kiss Heel, how I love that name. Put in an afterthought heel, why call it that when you have to plan and put in a marker row of scrap yarn?
I want to knit a pair of toe up socks and crochet a summery top, and the list could go on ad infinitum but those 4 will suffice to start with.

And now the time has come for a cuppa and to wish you all a healthy and happy 2017.

               TTFN                                                               Pam

Friday 30 December 2016

Mercury update

Just a quick visit to say that the Mercury socks are finished,

They took just over 50 gs of wool so the rest of the ball will make a pair of trainer socks.

The only reason that I can get 2 pairs out of 1 skein is that in the end I decided to knit them for Fran, her feet are considerably smaller than mine.

I will be making at least 2 pairs for myself, the wool is all earmarked. I love the pattern and am thinking of using it for a little summer top in a cotton blend.

Fran goes back in the morning and it will be quiet without her, but I am also looking forward to the free time and space. Once the decs and tree come down I will be on cloud nine, it is nice for a while then becomes an irritation.

I will be back possibly not till Sunday, I have another gift to share with you but only part of it is here, I hope to see the rest tomorrow.

                      TTFN                                                Pam

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Guests and gifts

My lovely guest Rufus was taking a little rest after a long walk and a bit of a loony tune session with Ben and some toys. He went home last night and has left quite a gap.

 My Christmas Eve cast on is proving to be a very quick project.

The first sock is ready for the  Kitchener stitch joining. I do not like this at all and the only time that I attempted it was not tidy enough for me. However I will master this and will be avidly looking at some Youtoobing later.
The second sock is on the needles and half the ribbing is knitted.

I did have an embarrassingly large pile of gifts and wanted to share a couple with you.

My gorgeous new slippers, strands of yarn applied to the uppers make them perfect for me.

My yarn butler, I have been lusting for one of these for a while and am over the moon with it.

In fact I have it set up for my next pair of socks.

Francesca arrived safe and sound although shattered after her journey, 3 trains and a bus to get from Swindon to Neath. A dinner of homemade meatloaf followed by cherry cheesecake helped to get her back on track.

Roast Lamb tonight with the rest of the cheesecake to finish up.

More sad news, Liz Smith AKA Nana and Carrie Fisher have joined the list of losses for this year. Then we saw on the news that Richard Adams, who wrote the wonderful Watership Down, had also gone but at a grand age.

I am off to make a cuppa and perhaps sample a piece of mincemeat slice.

                   TTFN                                              Pam

Monday 26 December 2016

A sad veil over the celebrations

Just a quick note to hope that you all had a wonderful day yesterday. 
We certainly did, all were relaxed and quiet on the whole. Much fun was had watching Rufus and Ben with their gifts, and the necessary exercise was had dog walking. Although the weather was not great no man, woman or dog got soaked, our timing (although serendipitous) was perfect.
Today the sun is shining and the dogs indicated that they would like a slightly longer walk first thing, just the ticket really, I did have a cheesy supper to walk off.

The news that Rick Parfitt  had left us on Christmas Eve was not really a shock, he had been seriously ill for some time. However the news flash, late evening on Christmas Day, that George Michael had joined the far too long list of lost entertainers this year was a great shock. He may not have lived the "perfect lifestyle" but, my goodness he has entertained us well for over 30 years.

I am looking forward to Fran coming home tomorrow, some of her favourite meals are planned and a little baking will happen this afternoon.

I am deliberating as the whether I want any lunch, I only managed a single cream cracker with my  tea this morning. I may just have an apple and see how we all feel about a slightly early dinner.

My Christmas Eve cast on was successful and I am about to knit the heel flap on the first sock. The pattern is a simple 5 row repeat, very quick to memorize. I have already picked yarn out for a second pair, a pale green hand dyed yarn that was a gift.

That's all for now, my tummy says it's time for a brew.

                      TTFN                                        Pam

Saturday 24 December 2016

My Christmas Guest

This is Rufus, he is a bit camera shy, seconds before I clicked he was sprawled out with Ben. Perhaps I will be able to get a sneaky pic later when they have had their walk.

I am all snug inside with knitting and tea to hand, the weather is dry but there is still a chilly wind.

I hope that you are all settled and prepared for tomorrow, I have it all under control. The only job left is to get puff pastry out of the freezer for sausage rolls and cheese and chutney puffs.

There will be no mad dash to the shops for forgotten items, if I haven't got it we will not have it. The supermarkets will be open on Boxing Day and I am certain there will be a steady stream of Dads looking for batteries. In my home village the Mace market used to open on Christmas morning for 3 hours, he would sell just about every battery in the shop and dozens of packs of eggs, bags of plain flour and lard (Yorkshire pud anyone).

He had customers from as far afield as Cromer and Norwich, he also sold out of all the boxes of chocolates and fancy biscuits, for emergency presents he thought.

On that note I will say toodle pip, have a good day tomorrow and don't panic. It is meant to be a day of peace and goodwill, there is no need to try to be Wonder Woman. The one year that I ruined the bread sauce and caramelized the parsnips I met a moan with the words " Great, you can cook next year. In fact you can plan, shop and do the whole thing."

                            TTFN                                Pam

Friday 23 December 2016

What did you say?

I was getting ready to walk into the village and asked if there was anything that anyone wanted form the shop.

More olives and a square duck!    WHAT?

What he actually said was some more Dandelion and Burdock.
I knew that having my ears syringed was a complete waste of time.
I hate the smell of the stuff and luckily the local shop doesn't stock it.

I didn't want anything from the shop but my extra guest Rufus is a young dog and needs much longer walks than Ben. What I call "the CK loop walk" is just over a mile and is all on the flat. We didn't hurry as Rufus is happy to have a good sniff at every opportunity.

He has an Ezydog harness and I had to look up how to fasten it, when he came this morning I just whipped it off him without looking. Klutz.

I have changed my mind about my Christmas Eve cast on, still socks for me but I printed off the Mercury sock pattern, free on Ravelry. I have seen this all over the knitting blogs and podcasts and I am going to jump on the bandwagon. I quite fancy a lacy pair of socks ready for the summer.

It started off grey and rainy this morning, the rain has stopped but the wind is picking up and is quite gusty. At least it is not cold, I wore my full length waterproof and was glowing by the time I got back.

I still have that small basket of ironing so will be starting that in a few minutes, then I will be doing a few rounds on the WW11 sock, I had considered knitting 2 at a time but the first one was already past the rib so just carried on.

I spotted a book on a podcast recently, Sock Architecture, I may have a trawl round in the new year and look at a few books. I quite like the idea of mixing different heel and toe constructions and generally playing with various patterns. 

Of course I may just scuttle round Ravelry and print off a stack of patterns, free of course, and play with those.

I am off now to get that ironing done so I can settle with my knitting.

                          TTFN                                                  Pam

Thursday 22 December 2016

It's a bright, bright sunshiny day.

It was a bit chilly first thing and then the sky darkened and down came the rain. Once everything had been washed clean the clouds scuttled off and the sun came out to play. Ben and I are just back from a lovely stroll, he has had a drink and is now snoozing. I have a cuppa and a mandarin orange. I would rather a slice of cake but am too lazy to dig in the freezer for one.
I have knitted a few rounds on the red and brown striped sock, it is of course the WW11 pattern, perfect mindless knitting for telly watching or chatting.
In preparation for the coming festivities I have tidied my knitting corner and have 3 project bags by my side. 1, the WW11 socks, 2, the bedsocks and 3, the sweater in the round. 
I will work on these until I settle down in front of the telly on Christmas Eve, then they will be put aside. I have another bag all ready to bring through with my cast on supplies, a cake of beautiful yarn, pattern and circular needle. I went through my patterns and eventually decided on  Hermione's Everyday Socks. A simple pattern that will allow the yarn to be the star. 

There is very little traffic in the village, I had thought that the road would be very busy but perhaps it will be mad on Saturday.

My 4 legged guest comes tomorrow, a Puggle called Rufus, he is my next door but one neighbour's dog. His owner is going for a Friends catch up stay and I jumped at the chance to have Rufus. He is Ben's pal and is a real gentleman.

Dinner tonight is a curry, it is defrosting now and Fridays will be Shepherds Pie. Saturday will be another home made ready meal from the freezer. I am having a lazy time of it while I can, once Fran comes home I will be in the kitchen making her favourite meals. That is not a moan, I love cooking for her.
I have a little ironing to do later, the washing is up to date and the house has been bottomed, I am in a happy place. 

I have to drink my tea now before it gets cold.

                      TTFN                                           Pam.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

I made my List

And I checked it twice. Then only bought what was both naughty and nice.
Really I did, but didn't spend much. Fresh cream, extra thick, only one pot as I prefer custard and so does Fran. From the reduced section I got some local Blue Cheese and a pack of smoked salmon. The cheese has a week left before the use by and the salmon is portioned up and in the freezer. I did pick up a pack of cream cheese for salmon and cheese sandwiches, this is in date till the middle of January so will be used.
I have company all this week for dinner and happily bought 2 ready made trifles, no shame here, it would have cost more to make them from scratch and I would have made them bigger.

No More Shopping till the 27th when I collect Fran, and that will be minimal.

My knitting has been keeping me sane, the only walking that I can do is on the flat and s l o w. 
I did slip to the bakery yesterday, to get lunch for Chrissie and me, and scuttled across the very busy road on the way back to the shop. I moved too fast and had a breathless few minutes.

I have made 3 hats for my charity box,

2 plain k2 p2 rib and one Big Rib Hat.

The Christmas socks were a request and I used what I had in stash. The cuff, heels and toes are in WYS dk wool and nylon blend. The rest of the sock is in an acrylic and polyester blend. This is King Cole Glitz and is most certainly not a sock yarn, the reds do not match but the recipient chose the colours. I will make sure to have some seasonal sock yarn ready for next year.

I bough a sweaters worth of this new Glamour yarn from Debs wool shop I just loved the copper metallic strand.

What I didn't love was having to cut 5 lumpy sections out of the first ball. They will be getting an email from me expressing my annoyance. It is a relatively cheap acrylic yarn but I don't think that amount of faults is acceptable, I had already found 2 joining knots..

This is an experiment, I have cast on 158 stitches and am knitting in the round. I will divide at the armholes to knit front and back, do a 3 needle bind off to join them and then pick up the sleeve stitches and knit in the round. I want this to be a long comfy sweater to loll about in, almost a Weasley jumper, just without my initial.

This is my gift to me, a small set of Chiaogoo interchangeable circulars.

It came complete with the 3mm tips that are not included normally and goes up to a 5mm. I use a 6mm for some patterns so will be buying a set of tips and probably some extra cables for large projects.

I had a sock cuff on a 9" circular and quickly transferred that onto my 2.75mm tips on the long cable. I can honestly say that this is the best that I have knit with. The cable has no memory and stays straight, no curls or kinks. Sheer Bliss.

This is the beginning of a few pairs of bed socks, I have a few balls of this yarn floating about. It is very thick and as the recipient suffers from icy cold feet should be just the ticket.

Last but not least is my latest sock yarn acquisition, I have some Head over Heels, bought for a future project, but wanted to try it out on socks. So while at the shop yesterday picked out these two balls, I am not sure about the long runs of colour, I do like a self patterning yarn, but have a request for some more socks. I will keep you posted, but these will not be cast on for a couple of weeks.

That is me all caught up, it has been hammering down but the sun is now out so I am going to scoop Ben up and take him out.

                  TTFN                                                        Pam

Monday 19 December 2016

The days slipped by

on winged feet. Seriously I have no idea where the time went, one minute it was Friday morning and then whoosh it was Monday.
I had arranged to spend the day with Chrissie at the wool shop. OMG it was a grand day, knitting, chatting, drinking tea, chatting about knitting to customers, drinking tea, demonstrating magic loop to a couple of customers, did I mention tea?
I also knitted away on my new cast on, a jumper in the round, I am totally winging this and making it up as I go. I will be calling it my Weasley jumper. That's because it will fit where it touches, it will be long and comfy with lots of wriggle room. I won't be putting my initial on the front though, too much like hard work.
I have decided on my Christmas Eve cast on, a pair of socks for me, I may have mentioned this before, I have some lovely hand dyed 4 ply that deserves to be knitted up. All I need now is a pattern, I will pull the folder and have a look through.
I saw a tutorial by Arne and Carlos a few days ago, promoting their new "Pairfect" Regia yarn. They put a short row heel in that looks so simple and smooth. I have the pattern for the Fish Lips Kiss Heel but I like the extra strength of the heel stitch flap and gusset construction. I am going to knit some bedsocks for a friend and may try a new heel out on them, after all they won't get any hard wear.

I will be shopping on Wednesday for milk, cream and fruit and veg, then it will be done till the following Wednesday. I will be picking Fran up from Neath station and can restock on the way home. I have eaten lots of Iffits over the past 5 days or so. The fridge and freezers are just about cleared of "leftovers dinners", it has led to some interesting combinations but there has been no waste.
I will not be doing much food shopping before the end of January apart from fresh produce and Ben's food. Once the Purple Sprouting Broccoli comes good I will be cooking it almost every day, I absolutely love it and the season is over before I reach satiation levels.

I am back in the wool shop tomorrow, and so looking forward to it. Our last knit and Natter  for the year, we meet next time on the 3rd.

I think that it is time for a brew and a few more rounds of my jumper. I have enough things to photograph now, as long as I can get them loaded they will appear next time.

                    TTFN                                            Pam

Thursday 15 December 2016

No Popping, Sloshing instead.

The nurse looked my ears, hmm'd and Haa'd, said "there's not much in here" but I'll do it anyway.
5 minutes later there was a tiny little bit of debris and two ears full of water. She said " there will be water bubbles in both, they will pop later, have a tissue"
It is considerably later and the bubbles have not popped and both feel a bit waterlogged.

I have no idea what the final answer will be, both still feel blocked but no noises or pain right now.

I am having a very lazy, and strange(?) dinner tonight. I went into Tesco when I left the surgery and was lucky enough to pick up a few bargains. I did not need much but the sight of  a lovely joint of beef almost half price tempted me. 
I saw a bit of Christmas food telly yesterday and someone was making a coleslaw with red cabbage, fennel and celery with Stilton. It may well have been Nigel Slater. I had everything but the fennel and had planned to have that with some bread for dinner. Then I spotted the Beef and changed my mind.
 The coleslaw minus the Stilton is made and the beef is in the combi oven.
I forgot to tell you that my mini oven died a couple of days ago, I am going to try using the combi oven for a while. More space saved, always a good thing.

I am well on the way to the toe on the first Christmas sock, it will be finished tonight and the second cast on. That's another photo to take. 
Still dithering over my Christmas Eve cast on, I will be casting on a pair of socks but still want to get a garment on the needles.

I will leave it there and go check the oven.

                          TTFN                                           Pam

Wednesday 14 December 2016

.....And Custard Pork Pies.

Well that is what I heard the radio announcer say as I drove into Pontardawe this afternoon. My companion assure me the what she really said was " Christmas jumpers and Christmas Faux Pas ". She does have a very light voice and a good Welsh accent and of course my ears are still blocked!!

I had a phone call late yesterday afternoon to tell me that the receptionist who booked my syringing appointment, not only booked the wrong surgery but a nurse who is not trained to do the procedure. I do have another for tomorrow morning, right place, right nurse.

I watched the Royal Variety show on telly last night, and rather than knit the heels on socks I carried on with the hat and finished it. That is 3 in the box now and I will be casting on another ready for next week.

I am dithering over my Christmas Eve cast on, most people in knitting blog and podcast land cast on socks. I have knitted lots of those and fancy a garment, it is just a case of what.
If all else fails I can always see if my crochet mojo is still breathing. I haven't touched a hook for many weeks, except to rescue a dropped stitch.

It has been a lovely sunny day here, Ben has had 3 leisurely walks and is now snoring, I just ambled along basking in the sun.

Ooh, I have just had a cuppa delivered to my side, and there may just be a spiced ginger biscuit to go with it.

                            TTFN                                         Pam

Tuesday 13 December 2016

A Cracking Day in the rain.

I woke to the sound of rain hammering down, but did I care, not a jot.
Ben was not so happy, I had to almost shoehorn him out through the door, once out though he accepted his fate with grace.
On our return it was breakfast and tea, then to business.
The rejig of the kitchen was finished and a small collection of appliances and implements were in the CS box. The new streamlined look is far better than the overstuffed look of before.

I cast on a new hat ready for knit and natter and have knitted 5" of the K4 P4 rib, another inch and I will be sailing through the stocking stitch.
We were a bit thin on the ground, lots of commitments at this time of the year, but two new ladies joined us for the first time. We also hope to have three new peeps soon, a Mum and a child, 4 months old, and of course little Sophie.
There may have to be a roster as to the order we get a cuddle in, Mums willing of course.
Ben did not get his bath this morning, my fault, I ran out of time. But he has had it now and is busy "swimming" through his towels drying off.

I am off to put the kettle on and sulk a bit, Jamie Oliver was just on the telly dishing out trifle, mmmmmmmmmmm lush to the 'nth degree, all I  have is coconut cake in the freezer. DUH.

                     TTFN                                                           Pam

Monday 12 December 2016

We, Wet, Wetter

No not the weather, all the people who find it necessary to comment on the clothes that out Prime Minister wears. She is hardly a clothes horse, that stoop will fast turn into a widows hump if she ignores it.
I do not care how much she spends on her clothes. 
What I do care is that she represents our country worldwide and I do not want to see her dressed by Zara, H&M or Primark.
The fact that a member of her staff chose to attack her personally in public incenses me. I had a similar situation when I was a pub landlady and the person in question was taken aside, paid up to the end of shift and asked to leave and never come back.

You Never Ever Bite the Hand That Feeds You. 

Now to Strictly, I expected this to happen. Three weeks ago it was quite obvious who would go and in what sequence. Of course the public could have changed this and thrown out the three couples who are left. But I like to think that common sense prevailed. It has been such a close run contest this year. It is anybodies guess who will win, The three celebs all have such talent and such marvelous partners. 

Just look at Louise, wouldn't say boo to a goose at the beginning, now she would grab the goose and turn it into dinner in the blink of an eye.
Ore has cried his way to becoming a wonderful dancer and showman.
Danny was a whizz from the very first dance, brimming over with style and confidence, perhaps just a tad too much.

I have no idea at all who will be triumphant but will be glued to the telly to find out.

I have noticed a dramatic change in Craig's demeanor the last two weeks, but was shocked when Len stood and verbally challenged him this week. I am beginning to wonder just who will be on the judges panel next year.

Now I am settled on the sofa and ready to knit BUT I need to empty the freezers and rearrange the contents. I know what is in them, just not which one and where about.

Perhaps just a few rows first.....

                     TTFN                                               Pam

Sunday 11 December 2016

A Really Bright Day

This morning I woke to the sight of sun turning the mountain to burnished gold and a cloud of mist hanging in the valley bottom.
The temperatures have been above average here since the last frost, even if we have had some murky moments.
Ben was so happy to have his first walk, he positively bounces when the weather is to his liking. I did our loop walk today but went widdershins. This meant that I walked up the gentlest hill and down the slightly steeper one. Although I thought it a good idea I did not think far enough.
I have been warned that walking down a slope (and stairs) puts extra strain on the body, today it did not cross my mind.
Halfway down I had to hang onto a garden wall for a few moments and when I got back indoors I just collapsed onto the sofa. Heart pounding and gasping for air like a fish out of water.

All is fine now, a cuppa and some gentle knitting soothed mind and body.

Dinner is pork in a mustard sauce, I bought several of these months ago in Lidl when they were half price. Very easy and tasty but I do add a little whole grain mustard as I like it better with the extra crunch. I will serve it with a jacket potato and some cauliflower and carrots.
I have a few more half price things from Lidl in the freezer, Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket mostly. I bought one of each to try and then bought some as standby meals. With some homemade sauce they are very good, it is quite a while since Lidl did any of these half price promotions but they were good while they lasted.

I will not be joining the shoppers crushing through the crowds to buy goodness knows what at all. I hate crowds, they make me feel trapped, and to be brutally frank there are a lot of people out there who need to wash both themselves and their clothes more frequently. I was in Neath last week and went into the covered market, standing in a queue I was assailed by the smell of stale urine and had to flee before I vomited. I have quite a strong stomach but this was of eye watering strength.

While I am resting my kitchen is having a deep clean and some rearrangement. I like to do this at least twice a year but this time I am not up to it. Thank goodness I know a man who not only can but will, and with enjoyment.

On that note I am going back to my knitting, with another cuppa.
I hope that you are all enjoying your day.

                       TTFN                                    Pam

Saturday 10 December 2016

A Bright Grey Day

Yes, that is a contradiction. The weather is grey and the mountain is cloaked with mist, bare branches lean out like skeletal fingers grasping for warmth and light. Even the traffic sounds are muted, and all I hear is Pick of the Pops on the radio.

It is also a bright day, a man with a van came to the door this morning. He was carrying a box emblazoned with the name Fortnum and Masons, ooh posh.
Fran had warned me that it was arriving today, and although I had to open it and put the contents in the fridge it was for Christmas.
A lovely blue and cream jar containing 500 g of Stilton Cheese, this is the third year that she has done this.
I can assure you that a long handled teaspoon is essential to get the last scraping of cheese out.

The other bright light in my day is, all the chores are done, no shopping/ironing/cleaning to do. That means that my new cast on socks are progressing well, one is at the heel flap point and the other is well on the way to the same point.

Then of course there will be Strictly, the semi final with two dances from each couple.

BTW did anyone else see Craig on 8 out of 10 cats the other night? He was way off acceptable in his comments about Game of Thrones.

I made vegetable soup for lunch and it was just the job on such a day. Another spot of brightness.
There is a Lamb Tagine in the fridge for dinner, no work involved just heat and eat.

A really bright day for me, and now I have to persuade Ben that he really does want to go for a walk.

                    TTFN                                                   Pam

Friday 9 December 2016

Snap, Crackle and Pop, Ouch

I have had 2 days of popping ears with intermittent stabbing pains, deep joy. Next Wednesday I am having them syringed, more joy.

Fingers crossed that it may solve the issue.

On another joyful note I had a letter from the University Health Board.
This is to let me know that I have been referred to see a Consultant in Cardiology. It also tells me that the current waiting time for an Initial appointment is up to 26 weeks.

I shall not be holding my breath then.

I feel pretty good most days and am being very careful, and I will need to carry on in that way.......for up to 26 weeks.
I can just imagine how devastated some one older and weaker than I would feel.

On  a happier note the multi-coloured socks are off the needles. I have not cast another pair on yet but the yarn and needles are beside me, ready for later. I have almost finished the ribbed hat, well I am almost up to the decrease length.

I nearly succumbed to temptation earlier, I had a little look into Betsy Makes Etsy shop. She has some home dyed yarn that I want want want. B U T I really do not need it and can not justify buying it.
Mind you after 3 more pairs of socks have been knitted it might be a different story.
Ben has had his bath and did his usual "swim" round the floor to dry off. He has 3 bath sheets and 2 bath towels and still manages to get under the coffee table to dry on the carpet. I am so happy that he is small spaniel size and not Labrador or (gulp) Newfoundland.

Roy Wood and Wizard are bouncing on Heart extra Christmas and the Pogues have been playing. I am enjoying these early festivities but hope that I don't fizzle out by the 22nd, like a damp squib.

I just popped in to say hello and enjoy your weekend as much as possible. Now I am off to make tea and decide what I would like to eat. Nothing too much or too soon I think, I had a ciabatta roll for lunch and it filled me to the brim.

                      TTFN                                              Pam

Wednesday 7 December 2016

SH ............

Socks and Hat that is.

I don't know what happened yesterday, I was up in good time. Ben was walked at the usual time, washing done, chores done and so on. I did not leave very early for knit and natter and I was not late back.

Dinner was a very easy short cut version of Baked Beans and Bacon, 20 minutes to get it started and into the mini oven to simmer away for an hour.

It was not until I got into bed that I realised that no photos had been down/uploaded and no blog written.
I had plenty of time and did nothing out of the ordinary, the rest of the day just slithered away from me.

Perhaps that was a good thing because I loaded the photos and got them on here in seconds, I just hope that I can remember how next time.

These are the socks knitted in the truly awful yarn.

The Ditto hat that took most of the remaining yarn.

I just love the flower pattern made by the decreasing on the crown.
I will be using this pattern again, for myself.

My glorious technicolour sock yarn.

I decided that it needed calming down a little so will do heels and toes in this blue.

Tah Dah.
I have been very busy this morning but will be casting on the second sock soon, very soon.

I have another hat started, just a k2 p2 rib hat on a 16" circular, I found a ball of Aran Tweed which should make 2 hats. These will go towards my project for next year. They are the ideal project for knit and natter, travelling as a passenger and decent telly watching, no counting rows at all. Just knit 21-23 cm and do the decreasing.

Of course I forgot to take a photo, I will when it is finished. I found a simple mitten pattern and printed that off for when I need a break from hats. I have a stash of yarn, both DK and Aran so am all set.

I had a good afternoon in Deb's wool shop, there were about a dozen of us (and TWO packets of lush choccy biscuits) I was surprised to see that I had knitted 9 cm of hat, almost half way.
We chatted about a myriad of things, ranging from the new £5 notes containing tallow, to David Attenborough and Ben Fogle. Of course there was new yarn to look at, well the colour charts as it doesn't arrive till later in the week

B U T the most exciting thing was A New baby. One of our group had a C Section, during the early afternoon, and was delivered of a bouncing baby girl. I have it on good authority that as soon as possible little Sophie will be  regular attendee on Tuesdays. Note to self, wear soft and machine washable tops on Tuesdays. 

I think that is all for today, I need to get the washing in from the garden and get that sock cast on.

One last thing, a bit of  confession, I spent a fair bit of time yesterday evening listen to Heart extra Christmas radio. Yes Christmas music all the way, I was lucky in that it was all "my era" and before. I may never tune in again but it was lovely.

                        TTFN                                                  Pam

Monday 5 December 2016

Ding Dong Merrily.....

and all that jazz.

I had a moment of utter madness this morning. Once Ben had been walked and fed and my porridge had been eaten, I didn't lick the dish out but it was a close run thing, I just love the tang from the marmalade.
I went scuba diving under the spare bed and hauled IT and THEM out.

That was the tree and the decs.

Yep, the tree is up and trimmed. I stuck to gold and red this year. As Fran was not here it is much more restrained than usual with a bonus box of excess trimmings that will be in the CS tomorrow.

I did have help, no shimmying up stepladders for me. The bunting is up and all the old favourite figures are present and correct. I am not putting anything up in the dining room this year, this meant that a few of the older and tattier things have gone into the bin.

On to another thing before I forget. I will not be using the rest of the awful sock yarn for heels and toes. I bit the bullet and knitted it up into a hat, I have taken a photo and will attempt to get it in for tomorrow.
Even knitting from the other end it was horrible but I soothed myself by casting on a sock. Glorious bright coloured wool from the West Yorkshire Spinners, I have a plain colour for heels and toes. I have taken photos and will be trying to load them later.

I am off to the surgery in a little while, my ears are playing me up something shocking again. I don't mind having to turn the TV up but can not hear anyone on the phone.

I did my Christmas shop for the local food bank in Ammanford on Saturday. This year I filled a trolley with toiletries and then topped it off with a stack of chocolate selection boxes.
I was told this morning that a new one is opening in Gwaun Cae Gurwen, the next village to us, I will be giving them a call tomorrow to see what they need. Much nicer to keep it close to home. These were mining villages and of course the pits closed and the jobs evaporated.

On that note I better love you and leave you and get my body down to the surgery.

                       TTFN                                            Pam

Saturday 3 December 2016

Ding Dong, The Socks Are Done.

Which old socks? The rotten old graduated pair, I had to grit my teeth and put my Big Girl Knickers on. I kid you not, even when decreasing for the toe, on the second sock, I could have launched it across the room.
I have 80 g of the yarn left, following a tip from a podcast I have rewound this. I will use it in a scrappy pair and knitting from the other direction may sort out the issue.  Even if it does I will not be buying any more. There are so many yarns out there to try that I have no intentions of putting myself through the wringer again.

I went into Ammanford yesterday, I had to have a new radio put in the car and I was halfway there. It was surprisingly quiet for market day, although it was almost 2 when I got there and the market is very tiny.

I had a look round but did not find anything to tempt money out of my purse. The fruit and veg stall had Nadine potatoes, my favourites, but on close inspection they were frost damaged.

I met up with friends and we had a chat over a coffee before going our separate ways. I had a look in Peacocks, dire offerings, I was taken aback later in the evening to see a glitzy advert on the telly. None of that was in the store in town, perhaps it was down to clever lighting and camera work.

The only things in the clothing line that I need to buy are some long sleeved tee shirts. Mine are ready for the rag bag. I will get another 2 pairs of thermal tights next time Lidl have them in, they are excellent quality and a good fit. I like to have a couple of pairs in reserve, Fran has benefitted from them once or twice.

I still have socks on my knitting list but my next cast on will be a chunky cardigan for me. I will have a pair of vanilla socks for telly watching and Knit and Natter, I like a small project that does not swamp me.

I bought the yarn from Debs wool shop to make a shawl, then I found the cardigan pattern in my folder and the shawl was out the window. I remember buying this, and the yarn to make it, ages ago at a Knit and Natter but want to use the new yarn. 

My trip to town made me quite tired and when I woke up  from a doze, at 9 last night, I threw the towel in and went off to bed.
I slept straight through to almost 6 this morning and feel better for it.
I can have a lazy day once the basic housework is done, there is no washing and ironing at all. It will not take me long to walk (I nearly put run) the hoover round and swish a duster here and there. The bathroom and kitchen don't need much and the hall stairs and landing where done yesterday.
I may have to tidy the sewing station, I can not see the sewing machine for packs of wool that I have been looking at. Tut Tut.
Tidy as you go was my mantra for so long , then I retired and fell into that trap. The longer time that you have to do something, the longer time it will take.

I need to pull my socks up in that respect and get back into the old habit. Don't put it Down, put it Away.

Well that told me, and now I am off to shower and get dressed. Then after porridge with marmalade I will be walking Ben.

Have a good weekend and I hope that you all get some "Me time".

                     TTFN                                              Pam

Thursday 1 December 2016

And Play, And Play

I did very little on Wednesday except knit, the blue Aran hat was cast on and off, it took around 80 g of yarn and was a relaxing project. I will make a scarf next as there is a large amount of that yarn, it was bought for a project that never happened.

I cast on a sock in West Yorkshire Spinners  Fusions, an Aran weight 75% wool 25% nylon. A graduated yarn that is a bit variable in thickness through the ball. I had 2 x 100 g balls and expect about 60 g to be left. That will become something or other, maybe heels and toes in a plain colour pair.
I am about 15 rounds from the toe and will have that done this evening. I want to get the second cast on and finished, I am not enjoying the yarn at all. I am so pleased that I only bought the 2 balls and that it was a clearance offer from somewhere or other.

Dinner was very good, even though I was a bit heavy handed with the smoked paprika. Apart from the spices, a tin of tomatoes and one of chick peas it was all fridge bottom veg.

I have no idea what tonight's offering will be other than it will be egg based.

I need milk and a top up of fruit and veg before the weekend, as Thursday is usually a quiet day in Pontardawe I will do that this afternoon. I have bread in the freezer, I sliced it up so just take out what I need, it cuts out any waste.

There was a very sharp frost this morning, Ben loves this cold and dry weather, he  prances round me in his eagerness to get out and then wants to walk to Ceredigion. I have to watch that we do not go too far otherwise I would be carrying him home.

Washing out on the whirlything, not that there is enough wind to stir it round but it is in the full sunshine.

I did the ironing this morning, it was a step too far for yesterday, and it is ready to be put away.

That is me up to date so I am off to catch up on my reading list.

                               TTFN                                          Pam

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Work, Rest, PLAY

I had my day of working, and although I thought that I took it easy I had to follow it with a day of rest.
Then yesterday was time to play. It had nothing to do with the fact that it was Tuesday and Knit and Natter. Of course not, it had EVERYTHING to do with it.

I had a reasonably lazy morning, 2 walks for Ben, a load of washing out in the sunshine and just enough knitting to get the green/white Aran socks to the same point. I knitted them in tandem and wanted to get round the heel and finish the decreases, just straight down to the toes.
I managed that and took myself off to Debs shop for some overdue R & R.
One of our group is booked in for a C Section next week and she brought cake in, oh yum, it was chocolate, double yum.

I have been longing for a ring style row counter for a while, I cannot use the needle mounted ones as I just forget about them.

When I mentioned that I was instantly given one to try, the lovely lady had bought it and did not like it. OH MY, I tried it out and Bingo! I love it.

Even with the amount of Nattering that I did I still managed to finish one sock and make progress on the other, I finished it last night after dinner.

I cast on a rib hat in some light blue Aran from stash, just 96 sts on a 5mm 40cm circular. I will knit a simple K2 P2 rib until it is long enough and then do a 4 round decrease before finishing off.
Easy knitting and fast growing, an hour of telly and I was well on the way.
This is a try out for my Stash Busting Project, I hope to use as many odd balls and remnants of balls as I can while knitting hats, mittens and scarves. These will to a charity that clothes those who are in need.
One of my friends, and her hubby, regularly put the time in to collect clothing and then deliver it to their church. From there it goes to the people who need it.

I envisage lots of happy knitting time ahead. Not to mention making space on the yarn shelves.

I was tired after my afternoon out though and was nodding off on the sofa so toddled off to bed quite early.

This morning I was up and about by 6:30, a bit later than usual, and feeling good. My time out did me the world of good, better than any medicine.

Ben has had his walk and his breakfast, he is now settled on the sofa making little snuffly noises.
I had my porridge, with a dollop of marmalade again, and am about ready for another cuppa.

No washing today, just a little ironing that may or may not get touched today.
Dinner will be a vaguely Moroccan Vegetable Tagine with Brown Rice and Quinoa. 

I am off to put the kettle on, enjoy your day where ever you are.

                         TTFN                                       Pam

Monday 28 November 2016

A Day of Rest, hmmm

I did have a rest from the internet, it was almost 11 last night when I realised that the laptop had been ignored all day.

I took advantage of the lovely weather and got a load of washing blowing on the whirlythingy. Although it was a bit chilly I threw all the windows open wide and let the sunshine flood through.

I even got the polish out, and used it.

A good vacuum round, and into a few corners, dust bunnies were rolling like tumbleweed. The dusting brush was attached and I did the staircase, then went over it with one of those microfiber cloths.
Skirting boards went under the cloth and came up gleaming, I was almost ashamed at how bad they were in some places.

I did not rush through this, I took my time and had frequent tea breaks, after all I had to stand back and admire the shiny surfaces and dust free corners.

I started my day with porridge, I don't usually sweeten it but as I had a fancy for marmalade I dropped a spoonful in the bowl.
Oh My Word, it was delish. I used the grapefruit, sour tangerine and Seville batch that I made last year. Perfect, the satisfying tang and no sweetness. I am certain that it fuelled my morning.

Lunch was a cheese sandwich with a smear of my chilli jam, it hit the spot.
Dinner was a very lazy Pulled Pork from the freezer, salad and a wedge of ciabatta . I also found room, a bit later on, for a slice of rhubarb pie (also from the freezer) and a generous drizzle of cream.
This was, in part, to celebrate the Strictly results.
I think that Judge Rinder will be the next to leave, he has done amazingly well but the standard is so high this year.

I have finished the DK red socks and have cast on a pair of the Aran weight from my list. These are in a greens and white self patterning yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners, 75% wool 25% nylon. I have a decent stash of their sock yarns in both Aran and DK weight. It is not the softest to work with but once washed and blocked is fine.

Now it is time for a cuppa and a shower before I get stuck into today.

                       TTFN                                              Pam

Saturday 26 November 2016

A knitting snapshot

I have managed to get a few photos loaded but lost the cropped versions. I will have another play tomorrow and see if I can do any better.

This is the first Antler Toque, knitted in  Aran weight wool on a 16" circular, it took just under 100 g. I had to change to a longer cable and magic loop for the decreasing but it was an easy, and fast, knit.

This is the Big Rib hat in Worsted weight wool, dug out of the stash, I knitted it exactly as the pattern was written and used 100 g with about a yard leftover. The ribbing band is 4" deep and on the next one I will reduce that to 3". It is just a bit too long although this one will be perfect for walking in a cold wind, no cold ears.

The fold back  is knitted in reverse and then a row of knit stitches gives a fold line.  I used a 16" circular for this as well. The decreasing is gradual over 23 rows and I did not have to change to magic loop until row 16.

The second Antler Toque, knitted on straights and in some Drops Alaska that I had squirreled away. It took almost 3 x 50g balls, the yarn is considerably thicker than Aran, only 70 m per ball rather than 100. The colour is not as pink in real life much nearer a Burgundy.

This pair of socks are for  boots , I had to borrow them back for the photo. They are in Aran weight and have been worn a few times, the verdict was along the lines of  "great socks, how soon can I get 3 more pairs?".

This is the current pair, the second pair of Blueberry waffle in DK. This is now finished and the second is cast on. The first pair were a gift and these will be going as soon as they are finished.

I have a waiting list for socks, 2 more pairs of Aran boot socks, 3  DK Blueberry Waffle and 3 pairs in fingering weight. I also have 3 more hats on the list, 2 in k2 P2 rib and another Big Rib.

It is a good thing that I like being busy.

I aim to try some sewing next week, the last time I tried it affected my breathing quite badly. I tend to lean forward when I sew, I do try to sit back but always end up bent forward. I feel so much better now though that I have high hopes of managing at least 30 minutes.

I have had a bit of a shopping fest, the cupboards are well stocked and, apart from the usual fresh stuff, I will not be shopping for at least 10 weeks. Deep Joy.

I did consider booking a delivery slot for perishables in the run up to That Day, but can time my trip into Pontardawe for the second the shop opens. I only have a 10 minute journey from door to door.
No frog for breakfast today, just porridge with some cooked blueberries.
Looking at the clock I better get off my bum and be busy, there is a small pile of ironing and it will be better done and put away. Then I may have enough credit for a little knitting and a brew.

                      TTFN                                               Pam