Monday 27 February 2017

The best laid plans.....

The sewing day has been postponed, to begin with I realised that there was a dentist visit this afternoon. DUH.
Then after the breakfast washing up was done I had the bright idea of bagging up the recycling (I shove it in a stacking shelf unit day to day). Once done I made the executive decision to wash the unit, then of course I did the wall behind. That led to emptying the utility room and doing a deep clean, I just couldn't help it.
All has been restored and in 10 minutes I am off to Neath.
Tomorrow is knit and natter so sewing day will be Wednesday, fingers crossed.

To sooth my soul I will knit this evening and watch an old movie, or two.

Tomorrow I may have to rejig the kitchen cupboards in the morning. Since I have changed my shopping and eating habits there are many gaps. This could mean room to clear the work tops of everything but the kettle and toaster. Deep joy at that idea. I hate having to shuffle things around when I fancy a baking session.

Toodle pip, I am off to the torture chamber.

                     TTFN                                         Pam

Sunday 26 February 2017

Full on day

Today dawned grey and damp but I am too busy to worry about it. Ben was not as disgusted today as the wind had dropped.

I have whizzed round and got most of Mondays jobs done in advance so I can sew without guilt.

I am aware that it is almost the end of the month and I need to add up my yarn purchases and usage. I have Francesca,s sweater to finish, the sleeves have been started and, fingers crossed,will be finished tonight. Love that chunky yarn and how fast it grows. There is also a pair of socks to get done but I have till Tuesday night to get them off the needles.
I will still have bought in more than I used but most of it is earmarked for birthday presents, not forgetting my yellow jumper.

I am hoping to get to Wonder Wool next month, I don't really want to buy much but it would be nice to see what is out there and make a list for future projects.

Francesca is planning on a weekend here and I am hoping that it will be the weekend before. She has minimal interest in all things wool related, unless of course I am knitting for her. She would go with me but I would not want her to spend a day trailing round, bored to tears. If she was here for a week it would be different.

I saw some of Sunday Brunch today and they made a truffle oil and mushroom dish, it looked and sounded very tasty so will be dinner tomorrow. Simon used egg yolk in the mix as a binder but I am thinking of using tofu. If I have egg white in the fridge I just know that it will lead to Lemon Meringue Pie. Even worse it could become my raspberry version of Eton Mess.

Ben has just informed me that he would quite like to have his walk Right Now. He who must be obeyed rules the roost here.

Before I dash off I want to welcome my new followers, I do notice the numbers increasing and I do click on the little pictures. At one time I could then go straight to the followers blog but now that facility has disappeared. So a big welcome to you all, if you comment I can get through to your blog from there, so strange but Blogger has a mind of its own.

                 TTFN                                                     Pam

Saturday 25 February 2017

Weeping Doris

Or is it? We had the wind last Thursday, then yesterday we had a taste of summer never mind spring. Today we have rain, drizzle and more rain along with a little wind.
Ben is quite disgusted, we went out and he dropped his head, almost to the ground, tucked his tail under and put on an air of abject misery. He deserved an Oscar.

I am so pleased that I did my laundry yesterday, the only task left on my list is to empty the top of my sewing unit , and get it set up.

I have layered and pinned my smaller flimsy and am ready to start quilting, Monday is earmarked for sewing.

The back of Francesca,s sweater is done and a sock has been started, I have to knit one at a time as I can only find one 3.75 mm needle, these will be a pair of DK weight socks for someone with cold feet. I have found the yarn from stash for three pairs.

Dinner tonight will be a very lazy gigantes plaki ( baked beans made with butter beans) on toast. I do not feel like cooking anything fancy and this recipe is simple and tasty.

I have lazed the day away, watched a few pod casts, listened to radio 2, watched  the last part of the documentary about dairy farming in Wales, knitted and drunk tea. Not bad.

Now I have to persuade Ben that he will not dissolve if he goes out again before making a start on my bean feast.

                     TTFN                                           Pam

Friday 24 February 2017

Tea and cake mmmm

Today has been glorious, light wind and wall to wall sunshine,  I took full advantage and the washing machine went on. The bed was stripped as were the sofas, the laundry baskets are now empty. The ironing basket is not, but it soon will be, there is little to compare with having washing done, line dried, ironed and put away all in one day. Especially in February.
I did manage to squeeze in a few rows of knitting and will do a bit more later.

My afternoon was filled with joy of a different nature, I went to visit a newcomer to the village. You may have seen the odd comment from Jess and Will here and there.  I went to see them and enjoyed a couple of hours chatting with tea and homemade banana and chocolate cake, it was lush. They have a delightful little girl and I managed a cwtch and a play, poor little mite is teething but was still beaming and playing.

My post from yesterday was mainly for the recycle and  compost bins, there was however a shining star.

The latest edition of Pompom magazine, I had seen it on a couple of podcasts and then had a look online as I liked the patterns that I had seen.

The cover shawl pattern just called to me, I have the yarn in stash.

The shoulder and cuff pattern is lovely and I see this in a lighter green.

This edge to edge cardigan also has a pretty pattern, it does have short sleeves which I will lengthen. Again I have stash yarn for this.

There are more patterns, a colour work hat for one that I want to try, most of which I can see myself knitting. All this for the price of 3 patterns, and once I have worked through it I can pass it on.

Dinner tonight was going to be felafels but I changed my mind and it will be jacket potato and a beany chilli. There could be cherry pie for pudding, I may not have room.

On that note I am off to the kitchen, enjoy your weekend where ever you are.

                      TTFN                                                    Pam

Thursday 23 February 2017

What's Occurring.

I went to knit and natter on Tuesday, a good time was had by all even though we were a bit thin on the ground. I took my Head over Heels shawl with me and managed to get several rows done, it is growing nicely, I have still to decide on the border but no doubt it will come to me.

I delivered the bed socks and was gifted with a lovely pot of primroses, they are on the sewing room windowsill and give me a splash of colour to look at.

I did spend a little money, but the saving made it a must do. After starting Francesca,s sweater in the pink Pulse yarn last week I rang Deb in her shop. I wanted to order some more as it was knitting up so well, luckily she had sweater quantities in the purple and the yellow and put them away for me.

I have left them in the wrapping as they are for future knitting, the purple will be a birthday gift for Francesca and the yellow is for me. I hope that the splash of sunshine will be just the thing to brighten up dull winter days.

Talking about bright, I have finished the most recent pair of socks. Knitted when I should have been working on the pink sweater, they are the 4th pair of afterthought heel socks. The first pair were knitted from start to finish as a trial for the heel, I quite liked it but decided that one pair was not a good try out.

The pic n mex then the blue self patterning were made except for the heels. I thought that 3 pairs would make an ideal project to knit the heels in one fell swoop. The trial was a success and here are the latest pair with their bright green heels.

My next sock project is to try out some short row heel patterns, there are several versions out there. I have bought the Fish lips Kiss pattern and will start with that. Watch this space.
I am toying with the idea of using my patterned yarn to knit the cuff and legs of socks and then knitting a plain, coordinating, heel and foot. It seems such a waste of all that glorious colour to hide it in shoes. Plus if I chose 2 different plain colours I will get 2 different pairs out of each skein of yarn. I have several balls of WYS solid colour yarn in the stash that need to be released.

The postie has just been and left me a treat package, I will share tomorrow. Now I am just going to enjoy it by myself.

                    TTFN                                     Pam

Monday 20 February 2017

It is all here.

We have had a mixed bag of weather today, fog obscured the mountain this morning but it cleared steadily and was bright by mid morning. Ben enjoyed his walks and the second one was in quite bright sun shine. sadly as the afternoon wore on the mist descended and brought some drizzle and light rain to keep it company.

My plans to cast on the back of Francesca,s jumper came to nothing as my eye was caught by some WYS self striping yarn and these happened.

As usual I am knitting them in tandem, I did start off two at a time on a long cable but, after dropping a stitch once or twice and getting my yarn in a rats nest changed over. You can just see the waste yarn for the afterthought heel on the right sock. I have a soft green for the heels and perhaps the toes .

And now for my goodies from America, I was almost pacing the house while waiting for the delivery.

My first ball winder, I have always wound by hand but it played my wrists up a week or so ago after winding 2 skeins, I am looking forward to using it.

To go with it I have a Yarn Swift, it was a feat to take a photo (I ended up standing on the table) and then had to clamber down and load it up to show it off properly.

I saved the best for last, gorgeous, soft and squishy yarn in an explosion of colour. The four skeins are all hand painted and the 50 gram balls are Dogwood Heather Stroll. All are going to be socks and all will be gifts.
All of my goodies came from Knit Picks, and all were free shipping.
I was absolutely amazed at the low prices and overwhelmed by the quality.

Now I am off to make a stir fry, all veg tonight with some edamame beans for the protein element. I love these little beans and was very happy to find them in Tesco a while ago. I keep a couple of bags in the freezer and have them at least twice a week.

Much yarn stroking may happen later.

                      TTFN                                               Pam

Saturday 18 February 2017

Post from America

Look what the Postie brought me yesterday, I 'fess up to just sitting, with it draped over my lap, and stroking it for a few moments.
A handmade full length vintage styled apron, all the way from America. The print is so cheerful and the fit is perfect.

Ties at neck and waist for a truly vintage feel and look.

The ric rac trim picks up a flower colour and every edge is finished with matching bias binding.

I am in love, now of course I want more, many more. I wear an apron at all times in the kitchen, I am a bit of a grub and tend to spill flour and splash water about my person.

There are some more things to show, from a different place, but I am still waiting for one delivery. As they are a group I will wait till all are present before sharing.

The day dawned warm and sunny here, consequently there is washing on the line. Kitchen and bathroom have enjoyed a good bottoming and the shower curtain had an early birthday.
Windows are thrown open and the whole house smells of fresh air, better than air freshener any day of the week.

Ben has had a couple of walks and has retired to the sofa, he is enthroned upon a heap of cushions and one of my shawls. That will teach me to put away not down, maybe.

I have made another pair of the green bed socks, they will be going to their new home on Tuesday. The shawl has seen a little attention but later I will be casting on the back of Francesca,s sweater. I will start a pair of socks as well, just for a change and to rest my hands from the 6 mm needles.

I think that is all for now, I checked my parcel and it was in Llanelli this morning, fingers crossed it my come this afternoon.

                     TTFN                                           Pam

Friday 17 February 2017

Feathers or Polysomething?

Pillows, that is my subject today. I have changed my pillows umpteen times in the past few years.
In my childhood (that old chestnut) we all had feather filled pillows, with blue and white striped ticking covers.
They were deemed to be unhygienic and even said to cause or exasperate asthma.
Out they went and in came man made fillings, polyester hollowfibre, 100% polyester, polyurethane foam and the latest memory foam. 
Feather and down are still available at a price.
I have tried all sorts of pillows from a multitude of brand names and store branded. All have turned lumpy and bumpy after what seems a very short period of time.
My latest are from a well known brand and have been in use for about 4 months, they will be going out shortly. I am going to invest in goose feather and down and pray that they are as good as the ones that I slept on till the day I left home for college.

I must add that they do not go to landfill, I dismember them and the outer goes to be recycled while the filling is washed and dried and goes to someone who makes soft ornamental creatures.

On a Very Happy Note the postie just gave me a parcel from America. 
I have a shrewd idea what it is and will open it in a minute or two.

I will take photos and post about it tomorrow, there are 2 other things to share but neither as exciting as todays.

Time for a cuppa before opening my parcel and then getting Ben out for a walk.

                    TTFN                                              Pam 

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Playtime on a budget.

It was knit and Natter yesterday, there were not as many of us as usual, lots of natter, a fair bit of knitting and a very loooong cuddle with Sophie. Bliss.
Debs had a special offer on James C Brett,s Pulse, a new to me yarn with 53% superwash wool to 46%premium acrylic, a total snip at £2 for 100 grams. I came away with 600 grams in Pink, a sweater for Francesca is now on the needles. I have only just started it so no photo yet.

More blood tests this morning, and just like the late Tony Hancock, I am sure they took an armful.
I was certainly glad to get home and sit down with a cuppa, not to mention the coconut coated mallow cake (Lyons). A blast from the past, I was a young teenager the last time I had those. I remember buying them from Woolies biscuit counter in Norwich, then munching my way round the market via the brand new C & A.
Then it would be hot peas with mint sauce and chips before trekking down to Carrow Road for the match. I was a dyed in the wool Canaries fan, never missed a home game and got to all the away ones possible. When they were in the cup run one year I wore yellow and green from top to toe, in alternating colours. Left shoe green, left trouser leg yellow and so on. 

This is the latest pair of socks, one from the middle and one from the outside of the balls. Drops Fabel again and an afterthought heel.

The weather has been a mixed bag today, driving rain to start with then bright sun shine and now grey drizzle. At least it is much warmer today, Monday and Tuesday were very cold.

Dinner will be lentil bolognese, I made it yesterday so the flavours should have melded and deepened nicely, although it was pretty good when I tasted it before putting it in an ice water bath to cool.

Last night I watched a film on Amazon Prime, Miss Peregrines home for peculiar children. I am so glad that I didn't go to the cinema to see it, I was not sure what to expect but found it uninspiring. The second half was better but overall I was disappointed.

I have just noticed the time and need to get a wiggle on, pasta needs cooking and the sauce needs heating.

                        TTFN                                      Pam

Monday 13 February 2017

Then versus Now

Shopping is what I am on about. In my childhood a list was made, dropped off at the village shop and the next day a box was delivered. We did sometimes go to the shop, sugar being sliced off a massive loaf was a sight to see. Most things were sold loose and weighed into blue or white paper bags, the smaller ones were cone shaped.
Bread flour came straight from the mill in large sacks and was stored in a huge drum shaped tin, soft flour for baking came in smaller sacks.
Butter was churned by hand on baking day and the butter milk made light as air scones and cakes.

Yesterday I did my shopping, I bought very little but went to 3 different shops to get everything. I knew that this would happen and had planned accordingly. 
In one shop I stocked up on crackers and tissues, the prices are better than any other shop and I bought a months worth.
In the next it was dairy and eggs for price and fruit for quality. I buy my flour here as it is very good and very well priced.
Then onto the last and biggest for the rest, Tesco in Pontardawe is small but fairly well stocked. I have been into a few of their super duper stores, the ones where you really need a compass and Bear Grylls to guide you round, and still can not get everything that I need at the price and quality that I am looking for.
My grandmother had by far the best deal, probably because there just wasn't the choice. I remember seeing tins of fruit, just one brand taking up a single shelf in the village shop, in modern supermarkets the choice is huge, whole,halved, sliced or diced. Juice, light syrup, full syrup and so on.
By far the greater time waster for me is finding what I am looking for. I know that it is a marketing strategy to constantly move things about, I do not buy what I see only what is on my list. 
Sometimes I just go without because I lose patience, why is cornflour not next to the other flours, and why does coconut oil live far away from the other oils.
I have tried shopping online but prefer to chose my own fruit and veg.
 I know that I am not alone, every time that I shop I hear grumbles and mumbles and have seen more than a few trolleys abandoned.

Any how it is done now and for a few weeks I will only need perishables.

Now that my moaning is over I will get on with the sewing room overhaul. Everything has been pulled out, the vacuum has reached parts that have been hidden for months and things have been rearranged. I now have more floor space and have removed a good stack of things no longer needed.

I still have a small hill of stuff to go through and put back before I can settle down with my knitting. There is also the matter of 2 quilt tops to be layered and pinned, they may have to wait until tomorrow though.

I am itching to pull a few stems of rhubarb but will wait a while, I don't want to shock the plants into stopping growth.

                      TTFN                                                Pam

Saturday 11 February 2017

Conflicting Signs

This morning I pulled back the curtains to be greeted by snow, those big fluffy flakes that settle and drift. 
Ben doesn't mind the snow so we set off for his first walk, wrapped up in warm coats and I had my thickest hat and gloves on as well.

There was only one other walker out and as luck would have it Ben's BFF Dawie was with him, so pleasantries were exchanged before we went on our respective ways.

On returning home I checked out the hedgehog house and spotted a harbinger of spring.

My rhubarb has hurtled  into growth, even though we have been in the grip of a cold spell. I can already see crumble and custard on the menu and possibly jam with added strawberries. Oh Yum.

A few steps further and there was the Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Not Long Now. This is one of my absolute favourite vegetables and I grow it every year. It is a prohibitive price in the shops and is never really fresh. I pick it, wash and sling it in a pot within minutes and the flavour is amazing, right up there with home grown Asparagus and Sweetcorn.

The Pic n Mex socks are ready for their heels.

The solid grey/blue band is the waste yarn where I will be picking up the stitches.

These bed socks are knitted in Scheepjies Merino Soft, colour 626, they are very soft and should be lovely and warm for the wearer.

I cast on another pair but was watching telly and made the legs far too long, I no intention of frogging back so carried on regardless.
Since taking this photo I have knitted the gusset shaping and started down the feet.
Both these pairs will be delivered next week.

This Drops Fabel is set for the next pair of afterthought heel socks and will be finished before I put the heels in the pic n mex pair. I feel that doing 4 new heels back to back will set it in my brain. Fingers crossed on that.

This contrast wool is earmarked for the heels on both pairs.
I am avidly hoarding my left over sock yarn, but am not sure what it will become. I am trying to resist the lure of a cosy memories blanket but the temptation is there.
I may concede defeat but compromise and crochet a granny stripe or a c 2 c.

I have some gorgeous goodies on their way, but as they are from the USA it may be a while. I will show and tell once they arrive, what I will say is that I ordered from the UK website and am paying UK postage and no other charges. Woop Woop.

I did not go doolally, all the yarn is for gifts and the non yarny goodies are to make my life easier. I have decided to knit and crochet for Christmas gifts this year and have started the process by collating all the ingredients.

On that note I need to make a start on dinner, vegetables in a cheesy sauce with a top layer of spicy tomato sauce and then the whole thing covered with puff pastry. It will be a one dish wonder, filled with cauliflower, carrot, swede, parsnip, celeriac, edamame beans and peas. I will get my 5 a day with no probs.

                    TTFN                                             Pam

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Filling waiting time with pleasure.

My visit to the hospital was not entirely wasted, I had an ECG which was almost identical to the last one. I had a chest X ray and had to have another round of blood tests.
At some point I will be called back for  heart and lung function 
tests and a walking test!! It will mean a treadmill I expect, I know that I can walk as well as they do, after all I had to walk round the hospital
I did have to sit and wait between the various department visits but I was not idle, I took the pic n mex socks with me and am ready to do the toe shaping now. Then I am going to attempt the new heel construction.

Dinner tonight will be a Salmon and Broccoli impossible quiche  with jacket potato. The quiche will be stuffed with peppers and broccoli and I will have fresh fruit salad later, if I have room.

Now I am off to drink tea, I am falling seriously behind in my liquid intake.

                             TTFN                                              Pam

Tuesday 7 February 2017

pic"n"mex with sides

I told you about the WIPs on my needles, and here they are. The first pair will be a gift and the yarn is Drops Fabel in the Tex Mex colourway. 
Now when I use patterning or striping yarn I am pretty anal about matching the colour runs. With this yarn, which comes in 50 gram balls, I just could not get a match without reeling off yards of yarn. These socks are for size 10 feet and will have long legs and deep cuffs. There will be very little yarn left and I did not want to have to join in the toe section. Sooooo I threw my matchy thing out the window and used one ball from the middle and one from the outside.

They are the same but  do not match, so I called them pic n mex. 
I am going to try a new (to me) version of the afterthought heel in them from the Smooth Operator socks by the wonderful Susan B Anderson.

This pair have a heel flap and gusset, I am not too pleased with the pooling on the sock front but as I knit my socks at the same time I was not about to go back and change them. In reality it is not unsightly just not what I would have liked. These will be off to their new home tomorrow.

My simple shawl is the last of my current WIPS, there are 2 more but they are on set aside for a while. As I said it is garter stitch and right now there are over 200 stitches on the cable but I still have 60 grams left on the ball. I plan on using all of this and then using the second ball to make a lace border, if it becomes too huge I will have to rethink.
I will be moving it onto a longer cable soon, I do not like my knitting to be scrunched up.

Once the pic n mex socks are done I want to cast on a pair using my Unicorn Poo yarn and I have been asked for a pair of bed socks. There is also a shawl on the close horizon and then Fran will be here in March and I would like a few pairs of socks ready for her.

Tomorrow I am at the hospital for tests, I have no idea which or how many. I do not know if I will be coming home the same day, it is just a case of suck it and see.

I have tea at my elbow and Ben is resting his head on me asking for some attention.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot. On our first walk this morning we started off in bright sunshine, in the space of 5 minutes we had hail, sleet and heavy rain followed by more sunshine.
It was knit and natter today and we had a good afternoon, there was cake! Homemade Cake!!
It doesn't stop there, we have been promised cake for next week as well, both times in honour of birthdays. I may have to have a real and an official birthday this year.

                   TTFN                                               PAM

Saturday 4 February 2017

Reflections and achievements

I watch the Cherry Heart pod cast and have read the blog from the beginning, I fell upon it by accident, and have crocheted many of the patterns.
This year Sandra is running an idea that she primarily uses her stash of yarn, although she is planning to shop at the Edinburgh wool festival.
I had planned to collate my stash and record it, to my shame that has not happened.
I did start a journal of sorts in which I have recorded all my knits from Jan 1st and all my yarny acquisitions from the same date. I have included the gifted yarn in this so it is quite  enormous.

For the whole month my journal reads thus,

I have knitted up 1150 grams. Phew.

That includes 10 pairs of socks, 3 of these were bed socks, so small, but as the yarn I used was super thick they each took 100 grams.

In that same time I had 3300 grams of yarn in, in my defence I have to say that a great deal of that was gifted. 2400 grams were a great deal from Debs shop, far to good a buy to miss, and all has a project. 

I did knit a couple of hats for my charity project but did not count them as they are from deep stash. Wool that I brought with me when I moved to wales. I also have 2 wips that were started last year, I will not be counting these either.

I was surprised when I added up the socks, I knew there had been a few but not 10. I count that as an achievement considering that I only started knitting socks last year.

February has had a kick start, I have 2 pairs of socks on the needles, one pair is almost at the heel flap and the other pair is halfway there.

I have also made a good start on the Terribly Simple crescent shawl by Caitlin ffrench. Simple is the exact word, garter stitch with an increase at each end on every row, perfect telly knitting. I may add a lace edge to add some interest,I will play with it and see what I think. I am using Head over Heels from Stylecraft, lovely colours but very long repeats. I have realised that I really like lots of short colour runs or self striping wool for socks.
These 3 projects will take at least 300 grams, more depending on how big I make the shawl.

On the subject of telly, how sad that this is the last ever season of Bones. BUT I am watching Whispers from the beginning and for silliness Bitten from the beginning. It is silly but also entertaining, I am not certain that I will watch it right through but it is filling a gap now.

I have my hospital visit next week so, fingers crossed, I will know what's what.

On that positive note I am off to make a cuppa, I will take photos of my knitting for the next post.

Before I go it is a gloriously sunny morning with a crisp frost that went quickly, there is real warmth in the sun (shshsh, spring may be on the way)

                   TTFN                                                   Pam