Deep Hull

Deep Hull

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

50 Years Young

The end of June saw me reach the milestone of my half century, how on earth did that happen?  I was only 21 last week surely!  The day before my birthday, my lovely work colleagues managed to trick me out of my office whilst they decorated it with balloons.

They then presented me with a lovely thoughtful gift of a Red Letter Day voucher for a brewery tour and pub lunch at one of my favourite places, Cropton which is based at The New Inn in Cropton, North Yorkshire.  We just so happen to have a cottage booked there for a week in November so I have been able to book our treat for that week.  Needless to say both Patrick and I are really looking forward to that.

Since last year I had been umming and ahhing about whether or not to bother with a celebration and if so, what to do. I don't like a fuss really but felt that I should do something, afterall 50 is a pretty big milestone so I decided to have a small party in my house for family and close friends.

I'm very lucky to have a fella who cooks, so Patrick offered to cook the curries.  Three HUGE curries, enough rice to feed a fairly large Indian village and other nibbles like pakoras, bhajis and samosas there was a fair old feast awaiting our visitors.  I had bought wine and best of all a 36 pint cask (along with a hand pump) of one of my favourite beers, Jem's Stout from local brewers Great Newsome, this is a family run micro brewery and we had beer from them for Patrick's 50th birthday too.  Their service and helpfulness is second to none and I really would recommend them if you're having a party or whatever and want a cask of ale delivering and setting up.  It was a lovely evening and I enjoyed having the people I love around me.  I'm quite irritated with myself that I didn't take more photos though.  My two sons had disappeared back upstairs, being the antisocial brats that they are, before I thought to get the camera out but here are just a few of friends and family.

Me and my man

Donna & Pete, Dave & Beverley, Jenny with Patrick and Me with Paul
Two of my best friends Justine on the left and Debbie on the right
The Ives (what IS George doing?)
Ray & Chris (left), Harry & Janette (right)

I must recount the story of the Bain Marie so it doesn't get forgotten in the midsts of time.  I had borrowed slow cookers from family members so that we would be able to keep the food warm once it was cooked and ready to serve and Patrick's sister Coral had a borrowed 'Bain Marie' which she offered to us to use for rice.  Well, with a bain marie, you fill the base with hot water and the dishes of food then sit in that and stay warm - easy peasy.  All was under control in the kitchen so Patrick sent me off upstairs to get myself changed and prettied up ready for our guests to arrive.  I hereby place it on record that as usual Justine was first to arrive at 6pm prompt but I digress, back to the story I go.  Whilst I was upstairs getting ready, Patrick decided it was time to fill the 'bain marie' with the hot water and using my large 2 litre jug began to do just that.  One jugful in and it didn't seem to even be halfway there so another jugful goes in.  It's during the pouring in of this second jugful that Patrick hears the trickling sound of dripping water and realises that the 'bain marie' isn't a bain marie at all and that four litres of water are now pouring out of it, all over my kitchen floor!  What's more is that it's actually an electrical hotplate that he's poured water all over!!  Luckily there were no parts for the water to seep into, it was a smooth stainless steel plate and the water had just run off it and under the frame which the food dishes rest on.  By the time I came downstairs looking gorgeous, he had cleaned it all up, which was just as well because I would have flapped and panicked.  I was able to see the funny side which if I'd been there and having kittens about the mess, I wouldn't have done.  Coral, when later tackled about this and informed that it wasn't in fact a bain marie found the whole thing hilarious and just said "No, I know it's not a bain marie but that's just what I call it".  Not much you can say to that really is there?

Monday, 22 October 2012

A Massive Big Catch Up

Oh My Word, I have been so neglectful of this blog and I'm quite disappointed in myself because I do this primarily for myself because I enjoy looking back through it from time to time.  It's surprising how you forget how you felt until you read your own words back.  So, I think I'd better try and bring things up to date as much as possible.  So much has happened that I'll have blog in installments to bring myself up to date.

First up, back in May we went to a fantastic food and beer festival in Ludlow, Shropshire.  It was held in the grounds of Ludlow Castle and rather than me trying to remember and describe it all, I'll just point you in the direction of this fabulous blog post by Patrick.  He does a great job of telling the tale and below are some photos that I took on the day.

Next event up was our annual summer holiday.  Instead of the usual cottage stay, we had opted for a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads and off we went in mid-June.  The weather had been horrendous in the weeks leading up to our holiday, rainy, windy and just plain horrible but actually, during the week we were away we were pretty lucky and it only rained briefly one afternoon, it rained every night but we were tucked up and cosy on the boat then so it didn't matter. 

I have to say that my feelings now, four months on are still  "Least said, soonest mended"!  Let's just say that I didn't take to it and was very nervous driving the boat all week.  On the way down, we stopped off in Kings Lynn at Beers of Europe for supplies of our favourite Belgian Ales to take onboard.  The place really is a beer lover's paradise and we spent rather a lot of time (and money) in there!  We stayed in Norwich overnight and visited some of the lovely pubs there before driving to Stalham the next day to pick up our boat.  After a (very) short drive / sail (not sure what to call it) out of the boatyard and a quick tutorial on how to moor up, we were on our way.  I can't say I really enjoyed the week on the boat, although I wouldn't say I hated it either.  For me, it was just a stressful experience and I wouldn't want to do it again.

Still, we got lots of photos of ducks, geese and swans :-)

And Patrick did get to relax some of the time.

 That's this post done and dusted.  I'll try to post again before the week is out to get us a bit more up to date.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Beer Festival

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I volunteered to help at the Hull & East Yorkshire CAMRA beer festival this year and I have to say, I had great fun.  It was being held inside the Holy Trinity Church in Hull's market place which is apparently the largest parish church in the UK.

I arrived on the Thursday at around 5:30 ready to start my shift on the handpulled beers bar at 6pm not knowing what to expect really.  Luckily I already knew either to talk to or by sight a lot of the other volunteers and of course I know the Committee.  Having signed in and been given my festival staff tee shirt (a bright orange number) featuring the name of one of the sponsors Great Newsome Brewery I toddled down to the bar - a very, very long bar.  It was nice and quiet for a while so I could familiarise myself with the layout, all beers being alphabetically by brewery, it was easy enough to negotiate.  Once people started arriving, it was all about keeping an eye on who might be waving a glass in the air for a refill and not keeping people waiting too long.   I soon got into the swing of it.  The church setting was stunning as was remarked upon by a large number of the festival-goers and with the added advantage of keeping the beers nice and cool and the disadvantage of us volunteers being absolutely freezing!!

Patrick arrived at around 8pm and had a good mooch around whilst waiting for my shift to end at 9pm when I could join him for a couple of beers.  I had enjoyed a half of something that I can't remember for the life of me now whilst working and as soon as I was able to get away, I made straight for the Gravity Bar area where the stronger beers are dispensed straight from the cask.  I was aiming right for Brass Castle Brewery's Bad Kitty, a chocolate/vanilla porter that I have been hearing great things about.  I wasn't disappointed, it was wonderful. I didn't have anymore to drink after that, up for work on Friday and all that!

I also worked the 6pm to 9pm shift on Friday evening, this time on the tokens and glasses desk.  This was very hard work and I never stopped once in three hours.  I think three hours is too long for that task personally, having now experienced it.  There is a constant queue of people coming in, needing to buy tokens to exchange for beer and pay a deposit for a glass as well as the people who are bringing back tokens to cash in and wanting their deposit back on the glass they have returned.  Lots of people didn't know the drill so having to explain the system and work out how many tokens they wanted/could have and giving change because almost everyone had notes rather than pound coins was all a bit mind boggling and I really felt exhausted at 9pm.  We had started to run out of the more popular beers too so a few people, having paid to come in and then bought tokens were a bit miffed and were coming straight back to cash in their tokens in disgust.  This is a problem every year really, a successful festival obviously wants to have sold all the beers by the time it finishes but customers want to be able to come in and have a choice of all the beers in the programme.  You simply cannot have both of those things and I really don't know the solution, or even if there is one. 

Patrick's friend Paul had come along so after my shift I went to find the pair of them.  I had a few beers, chatted to a few people and generally relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the Friday evening session.  The beers I had wanted to try had all sold out but I enjoyed the ones I had instead.  By Saturday morning there was only 9 casks left out of 85 and those sold out before 1.30pm.  That is a successful festival and thanks must go to the hardworking Committee and volunteers, most of whom did much, much more than my palty two shifts.  And of course the church itself because there is no doubt at all that the surroundings made the festival much more accessible and interesting to the general public.  There were a lot of people who had never been to one of our CAMRA festivals before and if we've managed to convince a few of them that cask beer is good stuff, we'll have done our duty!

I'll leave you with a few photos from inside the church and I think you'll agree, it's beautiful, even if the photos were only taken with my phone.  (I do hope there is no one there who shouldn't be!!)

Behind the Bar

Behind the Bar


Part of the ceiling

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

I almost forgot....

I have been given an award by the lovely Shirley over at Squirrel's Knitting Conquests.  I'm chuffed to bits Squirrel, thank you so much!

Now I have to bestow this onto 15 other bloggers so I'll have to have a think about that. 

The other 'rule' is that I have to tell you seven things about myself...hmm:

  1. All I ever wanted to do when I was young was to work with animals..dogs in particular.  How the hell did I end up doing accounts in an office??
  2. I don't watch many movies nowadays because I get bored too easily and pick holes in plotlines.  However I adore old musicals, especially with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.  I could watch them over and over.
  3. My favourite flower is the daffodil.  I love the colour yellow and daffodils always herald the promise of milder weather and lighter nights.
  4. I cannot sing a note in tune...this does not prevent me from singing along at top volume to songs I love on the radio
  5. I hate ketchup, the stuff can actually make me retch if I get a whiff of it.
  6. I have been a Bob Geldof fan since around 1977 and still adore him now. 
  7. I hate hot weather.  It makes me lethargic and irritable.  I prefer to be colder rather than hot, at least I can put warm clothing on to remedy that. 
So, there are my seven things...I'm sure you all feel much better now you know!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Here I am

Back again.  I've just been busy with other things and not really had time or motivation to blog recently.  However I do have some news for you.  As you all know, I'm a real ale enthusiast and CAMRA member.  Well for a good few months now I've been considering becoming more active in our local branch.  There is currently a core of four or five people who do absolutely everything and I've been feeling that I wanted to help out in some capacity. So firstly, I have volunteered to work at our Annual Beer Festival which is being held this week from 19th to 21st, I'll blog about my experience on both sides of the bar at the weekend hopefully.  Secondly and the main thing, I have joined the Committee as Pubs Officer for Hull.  This actually is quite an undertaking and I'm not entirely sure I thought it through properly before volunteering!!  However, I will give it my best shot.  Basically I have to make contact with licensees of pubs in Hull and report to committee and members of any news or changes, current branch members often report any news to the pubs officer already so that will help.  I also would like to encourage some licensees to become more involved in CAMRA promotional campaigns such as the discount scheme to get more CAMRA members through their doors and other campaigns that run throughout the year.  Previously there just have not been enough people in the committee to do everything needed so I'm hoping to take some of that on.  Now this would take a very confident and self-assured person one would think eh?  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am neither of those things so this will be a challenge for me.  One I am looking forward to even though I am a little daunted by it.  Wish me luck!  The branch was also missing a proper webmaster due to the previous one having to give up due to work and family committments so Patrick has volunteered in that capacity too.  He has designed a new branch website and I'll link to that when it goes live.  It's been many hours of hard work but it's looking brilliant, we just need people to make decisions now before we can take it further.

In knitting news, my mojo went AWOL for a wee while but I've now finished the baby jacket for my work colleague.  I hope she's having a little 'un because this has turned out much smaller than I expected. 

I'm also halfway through the second of my Pretty Pink Bubbles socks.  I love these socks, the pattern is so easy and yet pretty.  The yarn which is Cygnet Wool Rich 4ply is a very cosy but I think it will felt easily so it will be hand wash with care for these.  I am also now determined to finish Maude Louise before I allow myself to cast on another thing.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I have a wonderful fella...

He bought me these lovely daffodils just to cheer me up. They smell as beautiful as they look.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Q & A

Kate at Haunted Yarns  linked me on her blog to answer 12 questions she has set for 12 bloggers (me being one of the twelve).  It's a fun idea so here are my answers.

1.Of all the projects you’ve knitted for yourself, which is the one that you wear most often?
Hmm...I actually wear most of my handknits fairly regularly but at the moment, I'm probably wearing my February Lady or Purple Greenjeans most often.  I do wear my shawls all the time in the colder months, I wear them as scarves under my coat and of course all of my hats get regular outings too :-)

2.What item would you never knit, even if you were offered a million pounds/dollars/euros to make one?
Crikey, I think I'd knit a cover for the Humber Bridge if I was offered that kind of money! Haha.  I can't think of anything I wouldn't knit for that but certainly there are things I just don't have any desire to knit.  Dishcloths/Facecloths for instance, I've done them but I really don't get all the fuss that some knitters make of them.  Another thing I really, really would never want to knit (or wear) is THESE!!

3.Do you have a favourite place to knit in your home?
In my house not particularly, though it's usually the sofa I have been known to knit in bed.  My favourite place of all is on Patrick's sofa in his house because it has a recliner so I get my legs up and I'm settled for the duration.

4.How long do you spend knitting per day?
I don't always have time to knit everyday because I work full-time.  I do find that work gets in the way of life sometimes ;-). On the evenings I can knit though, I do make the most of it.  I get cosy on the sofa once the dinner dishes are washed and any chores are done.  I rarely watch TV, so I plug a podcast or audiobook into my ears and do nothing but knit and listen until bedtime.  Some evenings that can be two or three hours if I'm lucky.

5.Do you have a favourite knitting (or other craft) magazine?
Twist Collective.  Hands down favourite, I read it from cover to cover every issue and although I've never got around to purchasing any patterns yet, I'm sure it's only a matter of time until I do because I have loads of them in my favourites on Ravelry.  I don't tend to buy knitting magazines because I think they are a bit pricey at around a fiver and I don't really have a fiver to spare very often.

6.Have you ever used knitting needles for something other than knitting?
No.  I've often been tempted to strangle people with my circulars though!

7.Have you ever – successfully – taught another person to knit?
Unfortunately not.  I've never even successfully persuaded anyone to let me try, despite many attempts with various work colleagues and friends.

8.What is your favourite flavour of crisps?
Oh it has to be Walker's Cheese and a sandwich of nice fresh bread from the bakery.  Yum Yum.

9.Have you ever given up knitting for a long period of time (more than six months)?
Well I actually had a break of around 15 years but I have no idea why.  It wasn't intentional, I just stopped knitting.  I used to knit in the 1980's when I first had learned and because all women's magazines at that time tended to have a knitting pattern or two in them.  I had no idea of nice yarns back then and would just buy cheap acylic from our local bargain shop but I did knit some nice things, a Mohair jumper back in the day when they were ultra-fashionable which was envied by all my friends.  Then when my first son was born, I knitted clothing and toys for him up to around 1994 when my second son was born.  And then I stopped.  Like I say, I don't know why but I still feel guilty to this day that the only handknits son2 had were hand-me-downs from son1 :-(.  Then when I took up knitting again around four years ago I discovered Ravelry and my fate was sealed!

10.What makes you laugh?
I think it's easier to say what doesn't make me laugh really.  I can't bear silly 'alternative comedy' (alternative in this situation usually just means that it is comedy that isn't funny!).  I hated The Young Ones and Bottom and those kinds of things.  One thing I do laugh at which is to my discredit really, is other folks having accidents.  Now I don't mean big accidents obviously that would be horrible, but if someone trips in the street or walks into something I just cannot help myself from laughing.  Cute animals or babies doing comical things also can crack me up.

11.What is your favourite book?
I always answer this with To Kill A Mockingbird because Scout really is my favourite fictional character ever but really I love lots of books.  Little Women is another favourite.  I joined Goodreads a while back and I really enjoy browsing that and seeing other readers opinions and reviews of books I've either read or want to read.

12.Do you accurately know how much yarn you own?
I do put stash on Ravelry and connect it to projects I've knitted so I think I'm there or thereabouts with it.  I also have it all on shelves in my bedroom so I can see it.  I used to forget what I had, even though it was on Rav but seeing it all there inspires me to choose projects to match my stash.

So there we are.  Now I am supposed to choose 12 bloggers to ask my 12 questions to but I'm afraid I only have 7 so stand up and be counted

Clicky Needles

1. What is your favourite thing to knit?
2. What is your favourite yarn, fibre/colours etc to knit with?
3. Where is your favourite or dream holiday destination?
4. What is your best tried and tested recipe?
5. What are you usually doing, if anything, at the same time as you are knitting?
6. Any other hobbies or interests that you are passionate about?
7. Choose: Starter or Dessert
8. Do you have a favourite book?  If so, what and why?
9. If you could meet a famous person, either present day or from history, who would it be?
10. What is your favourite animal?
11.  What kind of music do you enjoy?
12, What makes you happy?

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


I seem to be on a bit of a sock kick at the moment having managed to finish my first pair of toe-up socks using the MUMTUS recipe . I did enjoy knitting socks this way actually and I've now got all enthusiastic about toe-up socks and been searching out and faveing patterns on Rav like there's no tomorrow!  However, as is the way of knitters, I'm sure the mania will pass as soon as something else pretty catches my attention.  Toe-up does seem quicker to me than the top down method and magic loop is easy to do, I love Wendy's magic cast on and I used Jeny's surprisingly stretchy cast off for the top.  Mason is delighted with his new socks and is currently wearing them to school and showing them off to all and sundry!  I just hope none of the neighbours looked out of their bedroom windows this morning to see me sitting in the backyard photographing my own feet!

I'm not overly keen on the yarn or the colour to be honest.  It is the Zettl sockenwolle from Lidl a couple of years ago, it is supposed to be machine washable but I know from experience of the socks I knitted for Patrick in the grey isn't machine washable!!  They felted and would do a small child as a pair of boots!  I chucked them out after trying in vain to get them onto my own feet and realising that even if I found someone they would fit, they were so stiff and uncomfortable, said person would not wear them anyway.  Anyhow, I'll have to make sure this pair are handwashed.  I liked the colourway when I started knitting the foot but there is a bit of pooling around the heel gussett on both socks.  Then I tried to get a bit fancy and knit the leg in a 3 x 1 rib.  This was a mistake, far too much variegation to take any pattern whatsoever, they just look messy to me. 
Buoyed by my success in getting them finished though, I got a hankering to knit myself a pair of lacy pink socks.  Pink because I've had this yarn in stash for yonks and lacy because I had lacy in mind when I bought the yarn.  I'm really not a pink girl normally, it doesn't suit me at all.  However, for socks I can probably get away with it :-).  A quick search on Ravelry for toe up socks found me the simple lace pattern of Bubbles Down the Drain by Staci Perry (Rav link).  The description of how to knit the toe part seemed rather complicated in the pattern so I decided to go with Wendy's Magic Cast on and the MUMTUS recipe up until I reached the stitch count for starting the lace pattern.  As you can see I'm at about 3 inches and that is after approx 3.5 hours of knitting time, as I've remarked in the past, I'm not the fastest of knitters but I enjoy it and finish things in my own time so I'm not too worried about that.  I am trying to keep track of time on this project, just out of interest to see how long it actually takes me, in knitting hours to knit a pair of socks.  I'm really enjoying this pattern, it is a four row repeat with rows 2 and 4 being identical.  I find this spurs me on to knit a little bit more.  Rather than just stopping knitting, I tend to finish a four row repeat before stopping, so instead of "just one more row" it's "just one more repeat".

I think next up on the radar is Medici by Woolly Wormhead.  Patrick's sister Coral has knitted it for herself in Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend but only used 41g of a 100g skein.  She has very generously given me the rest of the skein for me to knit it for myself.  We'll have to make sure we don't both go out in them together though!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

And the winners are.

After much pondering and trying to discover how many (or few) followers a blog has, I've finally decided to whom I am going to award the Liebster awards.  It was quite a difficult one really and in the end, I decided to go with what was in front of my eyes with regard to followers, if it didn't say on the blog, I've assumed there to be less than 200, if it did say on the blog, I've assumed that to be correct even though there are different ways to follow that may not show up on the blog itself.  As you can see, I've been tying myself in knots with this, probably unecessarily!

The idea is to put a copy of the award logo on my own blog and then to award it to between 3 and 5 other blogs and inform them via a comment on their blog, so without further ado, here are my 4 choices.
1. KateohKatie.  Kate is an American girl whose blog I started to follow after admiring her version of Maude Louise on Ravelry way back in 2009 sometime.  She's articulate and witty, I enjoy reading about her life and her knitting and baking adventures and she makes me laugh out loud sometimes.  She also has a very cute doggie called Roxie :-)
2. Squirrel. Shirley's blog is always enjoyable and she makes beautiful project bags which she sells on Etsy and Folksy.  Make sure you visit her and follow the links to her shops...not that I am enabling or anything!
3. JosieKitten.  Just a lovely blog to read. Josiekitten lives in a lovely part of the country and posts beautiful photos of where she lives, her knitting and also her delightful cat Florence
4. SnoopyDog.  Another lovely blog to read, Snoopydog is Josiekitten's friend and her blog follows a similar format and always cheers me up. Another one with a cute pet, Oscar the labrador is just gorgeous.

Please have a look at the above blogs if you don't already follow them, that is afterall the idea of this award scheme, to get us all to look into blogs we have previously been unaware of.

I do enjoy reading blogs of ordinary knitting folk like myself and seeing the photos they take of their knits, surroundings and pets.  Thank you to all of the above (and bloggers everywhere) for allowing me and others into your lives in this way.

And now for an update on Tappan know it was finished?  Well, I decided that it wasn't and frogged the border to knit extra rows.  The more I tried it on, the more I felt that it wasn't working as a cropped cardigan.  The yoke is too patterned and it looked top-heavy and unfinished.  So, I unpicked the cast-off and frogged the garter rows, knitted a few extra rows and put in an eyelet row which I think makes it look more 'finished'.  I then re-knit the garter rows and cast off.  So, I present to you..... Tappan Zee, in Adriafil Soffio Plus.

These pretty buttons were from Textile Garden.  The service, communication and delivery were excellent and I'm sure I'll buy from her again.

So, next up for me is to finish Mason's second sock!  I started and finished the first one in record time for me back in September last year.  These are the MUMTU (Mash-up Magic Toe-up) socks and I've just turned the heel of the second sock so am onto the leg now.  I'm hoping to get these off the needles by the end of the weekend.  Then, I intend to finish Maude Louise at long last before I allow myself to start anything else.  Get me being all disciplined!!  I've just managed to talk myself out of buying some extremely cheap Noro Silk Garden at Knit Night tonight so I'm feeling particularly proud of my willpower.

That's all for now folks, see you next week with some finished socks I hope!

Monday, 13 February 2012

An award and an FO

I'm very pleased to have been awarded the Liebster Blog award by Clicky Needles.  Clicky's blog is always a pleasure to read so check her out if you haven't already.

This is an award system between bloggers with less than 200 followers.  The idea is that when you have received the award, you put the icon on your blog and then have to award it to between 3 and 5 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers themselves, you notify them by a comment on their blog and announce the winners on your own blog.  It's a good way of publicising blogs and also finding other blogs that may interest you.  I'm having a bit of a think about who to give the award to, a problem I'm finding is that most blogs don't show the number of followers, so how do you know how many they have?  I'm going to have to hazard a guess I'm afraid and hope for the best!  I'll hopefully have made up my mind by next week and will post the winners then.

The other news is that Tappan Zee is now finished.  It just needs a light block to even out the stitches, I'm really pleased with how it turned out in this yarn.  Modifications I made were to put a garter edge on the sleeves to match the neckline and bottom and to omit the diamond pattern at the bottom.  I also finished it off shorter because I wanted it a shorter length.  I can't believe how far that yarn seemed to go.  I had already knitted Meret out of it and used less than a ball for that.  I've now finished a cardi that is supposed to take 700 meters with less than 600 meters!  My next mission is to get Maude Louise finished and done with before the weather gets too warm to wear it!!  However, for some odd reason I have a hankering to knit a toy of some description next.  I've no idea why because I'm not one for cuddly toys or nic-nacs around the house so I've no idea what I would do with it once finished but still, the notion keeps nagging away at me.  A nice bunny or teddy in some lovely Wendy cotton dk I have stashed seems to be the general train of thought. 

Rightio, I'd best get back to work now.  See you next week, with the winners of the Liebster announcement and hopeful a progress report on Maude!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


One of my things I want to do this year is to sort out my huge family photo collection.  I have, like everyone else, hundred of photos.  As well as the plethora of miscellaneous digital images on various CDs, portable hard drives and memory sticks, I have hundreds of physical photographs, going back to my own childhood and even earlier as I was a bit of a family historian a few years ago. I intend to start with the digital ones, try to sort them into some semblance of order and put them into folders on an external hard drive.  Already, I'm feeling daunted by this and I've only looked at one CD!!  The memories this is going to turn up will be fun though.  Such as this one

The son in this photo is now 17 years old!  I had knitted this jumper for his elder brother and it had been passed down to him.  They were both fans of the children's tv show Tot's TV and this pattern leaflet had jumpers with each of the characters and toys to make too.  I have to say, I was immensely proud of this at the time :-)

And this picture of my two boys looking like they actually love each other!

And then there's this....which I have to say looks more realistic than the previous one!

So, on with the sorting out.  This could take quite a while!  I'm sure I will enjoy it tremendously though.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Time Flies

How time flies!  I really did intend on making sure I had a new post out each week so I can't believe that two weeks have gone by since my last post. 

Firstly the brilliant news for this post is that my work colleague took her triplets home from the hospital last Friday.  Here are the little teensy matinee sets that I had knitted, I was chuffed to bits to discover that she had used them for the babies' coming home outfits and they had been much admired.  I made two sets with pink buttons and pink pompoms for the hats and one set with blue.  The pattern was one from a Sirdar book for newborns and premature babies, called Sirdar 280, Early Arrivals Booklet if anyone is interested.  I was going to put a link to the article in our local newspaper about their homecoming but it appears to have been taken down already! 

Baby Roots cardigan
In other knitting activity, I've also knitted a baby jacket for another work colleague's new grandson and also a hat for his big brother so he didn't feel left out.  The jacket was a free one on Ravelry, Baby Roots Cardigan  (Rav Link) and I really enjoyed knitting it.  It was knitted top-down in one piece which is my favourite construction for cardigans.  I used some stash yarn which was Rico Aran Duo in a cream mix colour and it turned out really well. 
The hat was Bubbles by Woolly Wormhead and I knitted the flat top version which I think is so cute.  I usually love Woolly's patterns and this was as well written and clear as ever but it had far too much purling in the round for my liking and I don't think it's one I'll knit again in a hurry.  It turned out lovely though and I'm looking forward to seeing Ethan wearing it.  The yarn was some stash yarn that has long since lost it's ball band but I seem to remember it being Stylecraft Aran with Wool.

 I've also started Tappan Zee for myself.  I've liked this pattern ever since I first saw it in Knitty's Spring/Summer 2010 edition, but as usual it got lost in the queue.  However, after knitting my Meret in the lovely Soffia Plus, the rest of it in my stash started shouting Tappan Zee, Tappan Zee everytime I walked past the shelves where I keep my yarn stash so I had to cave in and cast it on.  It's another top-down seamless jobby so I'm a happy bunny knitting along.  I'm pleased with the look of it so far, I just hope I have enough yarn...I'd hate to hate to frog my Meret to finish it!

Last weekend, Patrick and I went to Manchester to the National Winter Ales Festival.  We set off in the chucking rain, the M62 is most unpleasant to drive down in that kind of weather I must say.  We arrived in the chucking rain and it was still chucking with rain when we left the Premier Inn on Saturday morning.  However, we didn't go to sunbathe, we went to drink lots of lovely dark winter ales.  Mission was accomplished most satisfactorily.  As usual we met some nice people and had a giggle with them.  One group of lads had brought along their lager drinking friend to try and convert him and he wasn't much impressed.  However as an ex-lager drinker myself I understand that it does take a while for your palette to adjust to drinking alcohol that actually tastes of something rather than just being wet and fizzy.  On reflection though, dark and flavourful winter ales probably are not the best introduction to a real ale drinking career!  He would be better at a summer ales festival I'm sure but I doubt he'll give it another chance.  He did make a very valid point though and one which I have often made myself.  Where the hell do some of these people hide when they are not stalking around beer festivals?  Seriously there are some people who at best could be described as "characters" but really are just a little bit weird.  There are the usual anorak, back-pack carrying oddities but also some very strange looking people, like the little guy with the leather trousers, leather waistcoat, leather cowboy hat and aviator Manchester.  He would look ok cruising Route 66 on his chopper maybe.  I really wanted to try to take some surreptitious photos of some of the "characters" but it would have been too obvious.  Although lager boy did grab Mr Leather & Sunglasses and insist on having a photo taken with him, I should have taken one too. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

And now to remedy the lack of.....

....personal hat knitting from last year, I have at last knitted the Meret Beret by Woolly Wormhead.  This is a gorgeous hat that has been on my radar for about 2 years I think but for some reason it kept getting left behind in the queue.  Teamed with some stash yarn that I had won in our knitting group's raffle at some point last year, Adriafil Soffio Plus in a lovely pale olive green and this is the result.  I'm hoping to get some modelled pictures at the weekend because this picture of it blocking really doesn't do it justice, the colour hasn't turned out well with a flash and you can't really see the pattern properly over a dinner plate.  It is such a lovely pattern.  I did the version with the rolled brim and 2 x 2 ribbing combo (as in the picture on Woolly's pattern page linked above) and did an extra pattern repeat and it fits perfectly with just the right amount of slouch.

Of course I haven't finished Maude Louise yet, or the partner sock to the one I finished last September or the other projects that are in hibernation at the moment but you know how it is when your stash calls out to you!

I don't really have much else to report for last week so I'll leave you with some pictures I took when Patrick and I went for a Christmas walk around Tophill Low.  It was a beautiful sunny crisp day and we saw a deer in the woodland walk but it dashed away before I could get a photo, scared by the noise of my camera zoom.  We also went into a couple of the bird-watching hides but to be honest, there really wasn't anything much to be seen, not that I would know what I was looking at anyway unless it was something common like swans, geese etc.  All the same it was a nice walk and blew off the cobwebs and I got to model my Corella , the Woolly Wormhead mystery hat from November, in a pretty location.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

So what happened...

In 2011?  Well, I finished all of these projects.

That's 18 projects in total comprising of:

1 jumper - I'm not sure I can call this finished actually because I'm still not happy with the shoulders so won't wear it until I've unpicked and re-done them.  Oh sod it, it's finished technically so it goes in the list
1 bolero - This may yet be sent to the Charity shop, I don't really like the yarn so probably will never wear it.
4 shawls - Love, love, love these and wear them all the time.
1 scarf - A gift for my OH's sister
1 cowl
1 pair of facecloths - Both cowl and facecloths were part of a swap on Ravelry, blogged about here.
4 hats - and only 1 for me!!
1 set of 3 baby layettes - for my work colleague for her triplets.
1 pair of mitts/glittens - requested by my 17 year old son who insists that my knitting is better than anything shop bought! (I've brainwashed him well obviously)
3 cardigans - the Red Mr Greenjeans was mostly knitted in 2010 but I did complete it in 2011. The February Lady I knitted in some bargain Debbie Bliss Rialton Aran and I wear it a lot and the Hampton is in Patons Caressa dk and is a really lovely cardigan which always gets complimented whenever I wear it.
You know, when I put it like that, I've actually been more productive than I realised, I tend to think that I don't really produce much in the way of FOs for all the knitting I do but I'm rather pleased with this tally.  This is the first time I've really put together a collage and list of the things I've knitted and it's been quite interesting to me.  Clearly I'm a selfish knitter because most of the things are for myself :-).  However I'm quite surprised that I've only knitted one hat for myself this year. I have knitted the same hat three times for my son, my OH and my mum's friend though!

My main knitting resolution last year was to knit from stash.  I kept to that...mostly...but I can't resist a bargain so I did make some purchases.  Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran at £1 per ball simply cannot be passed up!!  I think that is all I bought though so I'm calling that resolution a success.

So, onto 2012.  Aims for this year are:
1. Continue to knit up that stash and work from my Ravelry queue.  I have loads of things that I really want to knit.
2. Colourwork - I have halfheartedly started some mitts but I do intend to crack this colourwork malarky this year.
3. Knit more socks!  I haven't knitted many pairs and I need to rectify this.
4. Blog more regularly.  I know I say this everytime I haven't blogged for a while but I really do want to try to keep up with this because it is fun to look back on.
5. Put away a little money each month so that I can go to Harrogate for the Knitting show in November.  I've wanted to go for the past 2 years but when it's come to it, I just haven't had any money to spare.  I intend to go this year come hell or high water.

So a belated wish for a very Happy New Year to you all.  May 2012 be all that you need it to be.