Monday 29 August 2016

What happened to Sunday

Oh yes, it was rained off. There were a couple of very hot sunny spells but the rest of the time it hammered down. My little bit of lawn looks like the green slime on top of a bog, you can see the surface water glinting in the sunlight.

Francesca has been over for the weekend but stayed in Cardigan this time, It was Kaitlyn's birthday party on Saturday and having Leo to look after meant that Cerys needed all the help she could get.
I drove over to Carmarthen station this morning to see her off home, it was a lovely drive. I went via Llandeilo and the A40,  the sun was shining and there was very little traffic. In fact there were more cars milling around the village than there were on the A40.
I was a little early but had this to keep me occupied while I waited.

This is the No-Fuss Shade-loving shawl by Susan Ashcroft, a free pattern on Ravelry. The pattern gives direction for a chunky yarn but I am using Stylecraft Special Effects DK in Foxglove. I bought this to make another Shawl Linus but changed my mind. This will be a gift for Francesca, she has a walk from home to tube and then from tube to work, for the cold weather commuting.

I am using the little tennis playing bunny progress marker, as you can see I only managed a few rows whilst waiting.

Ben has had a bath and was just taking a breather from rampaging through the house, he seems to soak up energy along with his special shampoo. That green bed belongs under the Horn sewing cabinet.
Perhaps I should give it a try, not sure that I could stay in the bath for 5 minutes while it soaked in though.

Dinner will be a fridge bottom pasta sauce, with a pile of salad. It is far too nice to be cooking. I am now off to take my knitting out into the garden. Once I have made a brew of course.

I hope that you are all enjoying the bank holiday, whether out and about or chilling at home. To those who have to work, my commiserations, been there, done that.

                        TTFN                                             Pam.

Saturday 27 August 2016

Who's a naughty girl then?

Not Me, oh no, first it is a long time since I was remotely near girlhood and secondly it isn't naughty to rearrange your priorities.

I have to 'fess up to not touching the waistcoat, after all my intentions of concentrating on it.

I was tempted, and succumbed, to picking this up, my WW11 sock.

The patterns calls for 4" of rib, I did 2" and went into the twisted rib pattern. I am sure the soldiers who received these during the war were glad of the long rib, after all they were wearing boots. These are destined to be worn with shoes so 2" will be ample.
I love how fast it grew and will have to carry on when I finally settle down on the sofa later.

Then there were bags.

This one for Junior, possibly to carry his gym shoes to his athletics classes.

This one for Kaitlyn, maybe for her ballet shoes? Although I suspect that it will house her ever growing collection of coins. She has an affinity with cash, lots of cash. I have to be careful just what change is in my purse when I  visit, on one memorable occasion I gaily agreed that she could have ALL the change in my purse, only to tip  out well over £20. Luckily she has a pronounced sense of fairness and shared it with her brother.

I did tell you about my visit to Flying Geese last Tuesday, well just look what I adopted.

This is much brighter in real life, quite orangey.
It will be the larger blocks in the Autumn Quilt.

These four are destined to become 4 patch blocks.
Do you see the brown, top left.
It is redeemed by the little red print.
I aim to start cutting tomorrow.

I hope the sock isn't listening

For whatever reason this **^^** laptop will not let me place the print where I want it.

I told you that I have been watching podcasts, last night I saw the latest one from Crafternoon Treats, Kathryn is going to be running a CAL with her new blanket pattern. It is in chunky yarn but she intends to give directions as to requirements in other weights. I like the pattern but find that chunky wool and big hooks or needles make my hands ache after a while. I need to get a grip with my wips so that I do not have too many things on the go.
( I have just remembered another new cast on that I have not shared yet) Tomorrow, fingers crossed, I will take a photo and post it.

Well the point behind that ramble is that so many people who do these podcasts talk about "being naughty" when they buy fabric and/or yarn. Now if I went out and spent the mortgage money or the Water rates, or what ever on yarn and fabric I would consider that naughty and worse. When I buy fabric or yarn with no project in mind that is a bit naughty BUT I only buy when there is a very good price reduction OR if it is something absolutely gorgeous and I know that if I don't get it right there and then I will never see it again. Mostly I buy with a clear cut idea if what I will be making. I may later change the plan and make something altogether different, but that is another story. The only real rule is that nothing must be wasted, whether it is fabric or yarn. I also try not to waste time.

On the subject of time, it is very close to walk time and Ben is hovering. ( I ought to teach him to hoover )

TTFN                                                         Pam

Friday 26 August 2016

Pardon, wht did you say?

Yesterday passed in a muffled fog, and today has started in much the same way. The treatment for my ears does not seem to be having any positive effect, the new advice is to carry on but to give up dairy products for 2 weeks.
In of a penny, in for a pound.

I will miss butter and cheese, but hey ho fingers crossed that it will help.

I am up to the armhole shaping on the grey waistcoat back, I double checked before starting the decreases, thank goodness, I had to do 46 cm not the 43 that I thought.
I have not touched the sock, I really want to get the waistcoat back done and get the sides cast on. I have planned out where to insert the pocket linings and the exact armhole depth.

I have suspended meal planning (and bargain hunting) for the next few weeks. I want to empty the freezers and start again. My eating habits have changed, as have my go to ingredients, so I would like to begin building a new stock reflecting this.

Last night I made braised beef and served it with carrots, peas and broccoli and a small serving of mashed potato. It was very nice and the left overs will make a cottage pie for Saturday.

For tonight I have taken a Bean Feast meal out of the freezer, it was made from a pack of yellow sticker bean casserole mix from Tesco and Quorn mince. I will serve it with black kale from the garden and maybe some carrots.

I grew the said carrots in tubs this year and they have done very well, sweet and juicy, not a sign of the dreaded fly and perfectly straight roots. I will definitely be growing more next year.

On the sewing table I have two more drawstring bags ready to sew and the fabric pulled for a small Autumn quilt, I will finish the bags today and, hopefully, start cutting out the quilt.

Flying Geese, in Llandeilo, stock Pellon fusible fleece which is low loft and perfect for my bags. I bought some while I was over there on Tuesday. I usually buy a complete roll at a time but right now do not have the space. I have a roll of my standard (and favourite)Warm and White and another of Hobbs Poly-Down, that is a higher loft than I would buy but it was such a good price that I could not resist.

I have been watching a few podcasts, I watch one every time that I take a knitting or crochet break during the day. Some of them are very good, entertaining and informative. Some are very amusing and I find myself chuckling away, B U T some I find totally dire. It must be me as most of them seem to have hundreds, if not thousands, of subscribers. I am sorry that Amy, Love made my home, has stopped, I did enjoy watching and listening to her.

My favourites, in no particular order are, Little Bobbins, Inside Number 23, Betsy Makes, Crafternoon Treats, Knitting Ex-pat,  Cherry Heart and Sew Sweet Violet.

Some of them  have blogs that I have been following for ages, some are new finds. All of them interest me for various reasons and they all make much better viewing than the run of the mill TV offerings.

I do watch them on the telly though, much better than squinting at the laptop screen, Ben does get excited when Roly, the gorgeous little Pug from Inside number 23 appears. he has a little Pug friend and I am sure he thinks that it is the friend in the telly.

It is the dreaded shopping today, not much to buy but that makes it worse somehow. I feel that it is more worthwhile to shove a full trolley round rather than a meagre little pile. I may well pop into Home Bargains and see if I can get everything there. I only want a few cleaning supplies and some salad. They carry a good range of fresh produce now, I have a sneaky feeling that they have taken many of the lidl customers. I wonder what will happen when the new store opens in December, will they revert back to lidl or will they be happy to stay with HB.

Now it is time for more tea and then I might get the little bit of ironing done, I know that it is early but once it's done it's done.

                       TTFN                                                Pam

Wednesday 24 August 2016

A First for me.

I cast on a pair of socks last night, and there goes a lie. I cast on one sock, I started with my dpns and although I managed to knit with them, and didn't take an eye out, it was painful. I can remember seeing my Granny using them but not in any detail so had no idea how to manipulate them. I had a little look on you tube but there are just so many videos and it was getting on. I abandoned you tube and the dpns in favour of a circular and the magic loop. Grrrreat, I had a Tiger in my tank.

These will be the world war 11 socks.

The wool is Kingcole ZigZag and the colour is Camouflage, 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon. I thought that it was a perfect match for the pattern.

I did 14 rows and then put it down in favour of the grey waistcoat, this is an order and although it is not wanted till November I would like to get it done. The order is for 43 cm from armhole to cast on edge and I am well on the way with the back. I have a photo from the pattern but it does not show any detail, there are no pockets in this but I am going to put two in. Well I will have a stab at it anyway.

It has grown by two pattern repeats since this photo and now measures 36 cm.   7 more to do, I will plough through that in front of the telly later, and do a bit more on the sock.

The pattern is from a  Peter Gregory book and I quite like all the patterns in there, good job that I have a stash of Aran wool in natural. Better than battleship grey. It is really called Graphite and is in Stylecraft  Special Aran, 100% acrylic. I am no yarn snob and this is a joy to work with, smooth and not splitty at all.

Dinner is in the oven, an easy peasy dish, Mary Berry,s roast potato and sausage supper. Green peppers, red onions, lots of garlic and a good handful of thyme ( I don't chop the leaves just throw it all in, they fall off the stems anyway).

Last night was pasta with a spicy sauce, a bit too spicy as I underestimated the strength of my chillies. I made a chopped salad and scattered some over the top along with a squirt of cucumber and mint dressing and cured the burn.

I am so glad that you can not smell my dinner, it is amazing, I am rumbling and grumbling. I just popped into the kitchen and gave it all a bit of a stir round, I can barely wait.

Ben has had a bath and is sprawled over his cushions snoring away.

I am off now to get some mushrooms ready as a side dish and ten whip Ben out for a little walk.

             TTFN                                                           Pam

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Sunshine through my windows today.

Glorious, glorious sun burnt the early morning mist away in double quick time. I straightened all the flowers and pots that the wind and rain had done their combined worse to. Threw all the windows and doors open and just revelled in it.

I have a finish to share,

The bright jumper, I made both the body and sleeves longer than the pattern as this is a winter top. I am not over impressed with the 2:1 rib, it seems to stand proud of the stocking stitch, it may relax after washing and blocking. It is impressively warm and fits well, I wanted about 3" of negative ease as this will be worn under a coat. There is nothing worse than putting a coat on and finding that the jumper is too baggy, with a dog bouncing around ready to go out NOW.

My arms are quite long and these  sleeves are perfect.

I had some lovely post this morning, this lovely sock yarn from Little French Meadow.

I had to chuckle at the name.

I opened the skein so that you can see the colours. I am going to knit a pair of Hermione socks with it.

These lovely little stork scissors were in the packet along with a cute sunflower charm.

Not forgetting a tea bag, I look forward to trying this later.

My parcel was wrapped in lilac tissue paper and tied with matching ribbon complete with progress marker, a cute little tennis playing bunny.

I have my yarn ready to wind into a cake and hope to get it cast on soon.
  I am in dire need of tea so will catch you tomorrow with some more sewing, and maybe a little knitting.

                    TTFN                                                    Pam

PS. I did have tea at knit and Natter and a huge slice of chocolate cake, one of our group had a birthday and her lovely hubby popped in with cake and plates and forks. SWOON.

Monday 22 August 2016

Life goes on Splashingly

Rain, mist and drizzle with a little fog on the side. Sounds dull but in fact it translates to, Knitting, crochet, sewing with some fabric stroking on the side.
I did get side tracked away from my knitting and did some (long overdue) tidying up, so I still have around 10 rows left on my bright jumper sleeves.

On the plus side I have a nice clear space to make the other two drawstring bags and then decide on the Autumn quilt fabrics. I did manage to decide on the pattern, alternate 4 patches and solid blocks. I have used this layout before and it seems to suit the Autumn colours.

The weather has not been as awful as the forecasts predicted in this area, a couple of pots blown over and the odd tree branch down here and there. I expected to see some quite serious damage and am so happy that it did not happen.

I am still on my knitted sock journey, I have yarn and patterns and just need to get the right size circular and a set of 5 dpns.
I have found a pattern for WW2 socks with no heel shaping, they are knitted in a rib pattern that twists around the sock. The idea being that they would fit any sized foot, these will be the first pair that I try, I just hope that curiosity will not kill this cat.

Nothing to photograph, the light is far too poor anyway, but I will take a couple of the new bags later and the jumper (fingers crossed that it will be done today).

Ben had a hair cut on Saturday, I was having a senior blonde day and got up thinking that it was Friday. It was only a reminder call from the groomer that woke me up, so I missed the Llandeilo show. I am so annoyed with myself, but all is not lost, there is a wool/sheep fest in Llandovery at the end of September and a wool fair in Narberth on October 8th.

I am intrigued by spinning want to see what is involved. Space will be the deciding factor, it may be a case of spinning wheel or quilting frame. I also want to have a bash at weaving, I did both of these as a child and they are now regaining popularity. This means that the essential tools are much more readily available and at a cost that is no longer quite as eye watering.
Then there is yarn dying, I have seen kits for sale at competitive prices and there are food colourings that are excellent for this use.

As my word for the year was Time and the year is nearing the end of the third quarter I really would like to get one of these started soon.
I have slowed down quite a bit, not on the crafting but in other areas. I am enjoying strolling with the dogs, rather that the almost forced marches that we used to take. Most of the credit for this has to go to Ben's age, he has slowed down dramatically during this year.
The garden work has eased off, I no longer pursue every weed, I do what is needed when I get round to it. The housework can slip a bit as long as certain jobs are done daily.
I do like the laundry washed, dried, ironed and put away in one day but now if it takes three I just shrug.
I still meal plan most weeks, I do have a week here and there (this is one) when I open the freezer or look in the pantry and take what is nearest to hand. Tonight it is a Lidl pulled pork joint, bought half price early in the year, with potatoes from the garden and either salad or cauli and broccoli. Tomorrow is still a mystery.
I made cake yesterday, it is sliced, wrapped and frozen for future treats. I have not got the will power to have it readily available.

I am off to do a spot of chauffeuring now so it is toodle pip.

                     TTFN                                     Pam


Saturday 20 August 2016

A How To with Photos.

Lots of photos. 
I had a request for pattern and method for the drawstring pouches, the easiest way was in a post, so were we go.

Decide how big you want the pouch. I cut 2 bits of outer and liner 14" wide and 18" long. Then cut 2 bits 4" by 14" in a toning colour, these will be the casing so need to be as wide as your other fabrics.

Place outer and lining right sides together, if using a directional print double check that they are positioned correctly.

Use a ruler and marking pen to set the corners, 
I draw and cut 2 1/2" (save these bits for patchwork)

All done

Pin together and sew 1/4" seams, backstitch at start and finish of each seam. Leave a small gap unsewn in the bottom seam of the liner. I use an ender scrap to stop the end of the seams puckering.

The bottom one I did without an ender and it did pucker.

Pull the cut sides so that the bottom and side seams meet, pin to secure.

Sew using a 1/4" seam, backstitch at each end, use an ender scrap if you wish. Do both corners in each piece and turn the outer bag right side out.

This is my machine setting.

Turn a generous 1/2" hem on the short ends of the casing bits, I normally use a matching thread but used white here to show. You can measure this but I eyeball it and just check before sewing the last one that they are the same length.

Press in half, wrong sides together and centre on the outer bag. You need the gap at each end for threading the ties through.

Pin to secure and repeat with the second piece on the other side.

Place the outer bag into the liner and  match side seams.

Pin all layers together.

Pin all layers together and sew together. I use the free arm setting and a wider seam, around 1/2".

Put your hand into the gap left in the liner base seam and pull the bag through.

The gap will pull apart but will press very neatly and that will make it easier to sew together. Use a slip stitch or a ladder stitch for an invisible join and your bag will be reversible.

Push the liner down in to the bag and press.

Then press again from the right side

Open out the base and press

Then fold neatly and press both sides.

For the ties I cut 2 width of fabric strips 2" wide. Press around 1/2" in on the short ends, then press the strip in half right sides together. Open and press edges into middle, then fold again enclosing raw edges press well and sew together about 1/8" in from seam.

Using a high tech safety pin thread a tie right through and tie in a knot to secure. Then thread the second tie through starting at the loop end.

There you have it, pop in a present  or your knitting or crochet and pull the ties to keep it safe.

I know that there will be lots of you who do not need this level of instruction but for a beginner there is no such thing as too many pictures.

My bag will be filled with a selection of things for Leo, so I need to get cracking on two more as Junior and Kaitlyn will want one as well.
Fabric Guild have a selection of cotton material from £2.20 a metre, so these can be very inexpensive gifts. Made in "seasonal" prints they make a small gift much bigger and save on all that paper waste as well.
I have them in various sizes for my projects and they are great when packing for a holiday, shoes, smalls, hair care and so on. 
I have one filled with shoe cleaning stuff and another with hair brush and combs.

And now my work here is done for another day, I am off to pick some fabric for the other two.

                 TTFN                                                           Pam

Thursday 18 August 2016

Busy and loving it.

Well I loved part of it, the bit when I had finished and all was clean and shiny, today was a mammoth day of housework (all that sewing rather got in the way) and I threw the towel in before doing the ironing. 
 B U T I still have that bag of fabric pieces from Flying Geese to press so tomorrow morning will see both lots sorted.

Knit and Natter went in minutes, or so it seemed, there was lots of both activities going on. We also had three new knitters, I sat next to a charming young man who was concentrating fiercely on getting it right first time. There were also two young ladies who had help from Chrissie and Deb, they were behind me but it all sounded good.

I managed to finish the back of my bright jumper and the sleeves are well under way. I am really enjoying this project and have neglected the other two. I will have the sleeves done by the end of the weekend and then want to crack on with the rest of my WIPs. 
I did pop back on Wednesday and had a lovely time with Deb, and came back with yet more wool. One of our group was knitting a scarf and the pattern caught my eye,

The texture of the scarf is lovely and I do like the new Stylecraft yarn that it was written for. But ( lots of goats in this post) I have had my eye on this wool for a little while now.

It is 30% wool, 68% acrylic and 2% viscose. Most significantly it is £2 a 100 gm 294 metre ball. One set for a gift and one set for me.

I have been asked to make a large zippered pouch, no worries about fabric really, brights, no sludge browns and " I do like giraffes". before i went to the wool shop on Tuesday I popped into Flying Geese and found this.

I bought a metre, and now wish I had more, it will make part of the bag and I will pick some other fabrics in toning colours for the rest. I will probably use the bird box fabric for lining.

As I was leaving this little pack of fat quarters grabbed my attention, cool blues from Gutermann and only £12 rather than £18. I am slowly building a stash of these softer shades and have plans to use them. 

I have an Autumn quilt in the pipeline, I can not decide whether it will be a disappearing 4 patch or HST,s. I may have to toss a coin. I have several prints in the colour way that I want but will need to look for a solid for background and or sashing. 
Oh Dear, another visit to the quilt shop. How annoying.

Ben is off to the groomers on Saturday afternoon, it means that I will have to leave Llandeilo show early. It can not be helped, as long as I get to Deb,s stall and find the spinner and her yarn I will be happy. I did try to rearrange the appointment but she is so busy and Ben can not wait another 3 weeks, he is quite a shaggy dog right now.
On that note I think that it is time for a walk, he is prowling around like a cat on hot bricks.

                 TTFN                                                      Pam