Saturday 23 December 2023

 Best Wishes to you all. My last 'ing' post of the year. There has been a little snow flurry earlier in the month with lots of special treats to eat.

Snowing - on the hill, just a bit on a couple of days. Not enough to cause mayhem for us but enough for my girls to have an hour sledging on our steep fields.

Treating - ourselves to some chocolate. I love florentines but the rest of my family don't so we compromise and have melted chocolate with just a sprinkling of almonds and cranberries.

Making - White millionaires shortbread and getting all the parts right. Sometimes the caramel doesn't set, sometimes the base is too crumbly, I often don't melt enough chocolate for the top (because I am not a millionaire!) but today my big girl made a tray and it was spot on. 

Cooking up - the contents of the fridge to make way for Christmas dinner ingredients. This chicken, pepper, chorizo and chickpea one pot was a good combination and loved by all.

Leaving - out the icing. We don't enjoy it and adding things you don't like just because you think you should is silly. This cake is a metaphor for my preparations this Christmas.

Casting - on a new pair of socks. We are going skiing on New Years eve and I like to have a portable knitting project for holidays so that I can pass the time at the airport and in the evenings. I am having another go at a toe up sock with an afterthought heel from the socktacular book.

Finishing - another pair of Christmas socks for gifting. I have used this colourway before and it feels just right for this time of year.

Printing - off a little wrap for hand knits. It is a lovely way to finish off a gift and give the recipient some washing instructions which are written on the back!

Sewing - up a Lyra Dress in a fabric I have had for ages. It really does lift the mood.

Buying - a few new baubles. The cones were £1 but the others weren't! I usually wait until the sales but I loved these ones so much I just went for it. 

Decorating - the tree. I didn't do it this year, my girls took charge and I sat in the chair with a cuppa and enjoyed being a spectator.

Crocheting - a new cardigan. It is a bit boring now that I am on the sleeves but perfect for watching TV in the evenings in front of the fire. 

Anyway, I am signing off now to get on with some jobs and possibly a bit of sewing. I cut out lots of things to choose from over the break. If I get a few moments, I will sew a seam here and there.

Happy Christmas to you all! Jo xxxxx

Thursday 7 December 2023

Ta Dah! Asbury Cardigan

Hello folks! I thought my new cardy project deserved its very own post. It is a real corker which I have, on the whole, really enjoyed making. It was a go slow cardy which I started back at the end of August. I fully expected it to take me until Christmas - I finished it on the 1st December!

First up in this narrative is the yarn. A selection of 4ply yarns mostly from Wonderwool. The pink and ivory solid colours were a bargain but as such, a mystery. Huge hanks for £10 but no ball band! The green one is a hand painted 4ply sock yarn which was also in a bargain bin at Wonderwool. The variegated one is from a local Christmas fayre last year and was also £10. I purchased the 2 small balls of Jamieson and Smith especially for this project as the dark tone to hold the hole colour palette down. So I started off with round about £50 of yarn but I did get two garments.


In order to continue the story I have to go back one project. I wanted to know how much left over pink I would have for the cardy idea so I firstly made a simple sweater from this pattern on ravelry. I ran the pink double and made a super cosy sweater. After making this I knew whether pink could be my main colour or if it needed to be ivory which in all honesty would be my second choice (I am a bit messy you see!)

The project started and this strip of fair isle was the most difficult to follow. Every time it came up, I didn't look forward to this segment. In fact I had to buy some more stitch markers to help me do it. I had to pattern on the purl side too which I always seemed to get wrong. Sectioning it up with stitch markers did reduce the amount of times I had to go back and try again.

The floats are great. I am good at this now so my cardy has a nice amount of stretch and is really warm because of the extra yarn on the reverse. The reverse photo hits all of my knitting geek buttons at once.

I had enough yarn to do fair isle on the sleeves but I didn't have enough motivation to keep doing that patterned strip that was so tricky so I knit them plain and added the dreaded segment at the wrist to tie the whole thing in. The cardigan is called Asbury and is designed by Martin Storey. The best bit is the pattern was free on ravelry! OK so I changed up the shape a bit to make it less fitted but I absolutely love wearing it with my dark green cords.

It has a real Autumn/winter feel and is really cosy. The sleeves are a compromise but one I am happy with to have a completed cardy not one shoved in a bag for a couple of years. I am all about the finish. 

I need a little basic crochet in my life right now for a brain rest. More on that later.....

Thanks for stopping by. Jo xxxxxx

Monday 20 November 2023

November feels like November. Darker, cosier and time to change some seasonal behaviours. There is less gardening and more looking at what needs doing in the house. 

Limping - on with my table vase challenge but this one looks surprisingly bright. It has the last of my dahlias before the frosts come and a couple of rogue roses I cut before pruning the whole bush. The lightness of the vase comes from the dill fronds and the open cosmos which are now all finished.

Changing - views are very different in November. It can be misty, clear, windy, bright and clear.

Making - a new blind for the kitchen window. I got a bargain piece of Orla Kiely fabric for £37 and so far I have made a blind, a couple of tea towels, and a draining mat but I have loads left over. I have painted the kitchen wall too because this is the wall around the cooker with the distinctive grease/dust combo that builds over time in a kitchen. It instantly lifts the room and I can slowly paint the rest white over winter.

Having - our patio re-laid. I had booked to have it done in Spring but the builders had a window and came to do it early. It has made such a difference to our overall view from the window. Hopefully, I can keep the weeds down now and there won't be any more wobbly ones. 

Lighting - our first fire.

Sewing - up a Marnie blouse which is one of my favourite patterns. I make a lot of sample garments which means I have lots of left over fabric so I like to use it up. It has sort of become my signature style. I have also added a new ribbed sweater to my winter wardrobe to replace an old grotty pink one.

Knitting - a little cardy for a friend who is having a baby. The pattern is from a black and white vintage booklet but so wearable today. I love those old patterns.

I have finished my fair isle knit but it deserves its own post and I have a stinking cold so not really feeling like I have photo vibes this week. Catch you next week. Off to check out your news.

Jo xxxx

Tuesday 24 October 2023

 Hi there folks. Welcome to I like this time of year where it is a bit cooler, the seasons change but the nights are still light enough to keep your spirits up.

Arranging - flowers for my table vase challenge. I guess this is where the flower output of my garden drops to the point where I can no longer collect flowers for an all round table vase but I have done pretty well this year. Every day from March 1st until now without a single purchase. The alstroemeria Indian Summer has flowered all year working here with my Bishop of Oxford dahlias, heuchera flower stems and a second flush of lime alchemilla.

Maintaining - my colourful boot collection. I have 5 pairs of long boots in different colours and every year I take them out, give them a waxy polish then I am good to go for coller weather.

Sewing - winter clothes in solid colours. The dress is a lined babycord dress with pintucks down the front. I have wanted to replace a cord dress I had from Boden about 10 years ago and this was almost a straight swap. The trousers are super easy from Newlook6217 and a solid colour means I can wear all of my fairisle knits with them.

Celebrating - my younger girl's birthday. For the first time in 14 years she has not had a handmade cake :( or a party with friends. She went to Harry Potter studios on a school trip the day before and considered that her birthday treat! Why not? she was with her friends and they had a fab time.

Keeping - the front garden border from getting a mess by simply trimming everything lightly. I like to leave a few seed heads for birds and some leaves to protect the crowns of plants from frost because we are high up so we get them early on.

Thinking - about swapping over my pot display on the patio but the flowers just keep coming so I will hang on a bit longer until I plant up bulbs and winter bedding.

The warm weather early on in the month meant I could get one more crop of salad in the troughs. These are winter salads which hopefully can stand the colder weather.

Finishing - up in the greenhouse now with the last of my tomatoes. I dried some herbs for winter cooking and the pepper crop came good in the end after moving the plants into the house. This was the last pick before putting the plants into the compost bin.

Foraging - with an impromptu collection of field mushrooms on a dog walk. They made the most flavourful soup.

Managing - to get quite a few of these pak choi heads. They are a more leafy variety than the ones you see in shops but are fab in stir frys with noodles.

Making - another door wreath to gift to a friend. This one has mostly allium heads and hydrangeas. I loved making this, an hour away from the jobs list.

Dicing - with the traffic in storm Babet. I made it all the way to town for a dental appointment through so many floods only to find I couldn't walk to the actual dental surgery. Drove all the way home then to receive an email from school saying it was closing... yep you guessed it, back to the same town again.

Creating - always makes a mess or is that just me! I had a weekend afternoon catching up on podcasts, scrapbooking our photos and making birthday cards.

Knitting - as the evenings are cooler. It is time to get stuck into some heavy duty knitting. This project is an all consuming fairisle knit by Martin Storey called Asbury. I am loving it. Time for the sleeves now.

Thanks for stopping by. Jo xxx