Sunday, 19 October 2014

Strawberry Fair

I love making strawberries. Previously I made four of the strawberry innocent mini hats:



And last weekend, I made a pair of baby bootees that look like strawberries:


The seeds were done with duplicate stitch. And the pattern was in a book called Knitted Bootees for Tiny Feet by Catherine Bouquerel. Although they are sweet little designs, I can't whole-hearted recommend this book, because there are pattern errors in it. I've made two pairs of booties from it so far, and both had stitch count problems. 38 stitches will not work with 2x2 rib, nor for the strawberry leaf element on this one. Sigh.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Stashdown #9: September 2014

Oooh, what a bad blogger I am. Bad blogger, bad crafter, all round very bad. In my defence, job change in September has had a big impact. I had a lot of work to finish up in my old job and then my new job has taken up a lot of time and energy, and I'm working more hours now too so have less time for crafting.

Anyway, here's my stashdown report for September:

Yardage in:

1687 of 4 ply to make a colour affection. This is about 400 yards more than required, owing to difficulties with colour choice.

Yardage out:

27 yards on 2 mini hats. *Blushes* This is my least productive September for some years!!

YTD brought forward -30 yards
+1687 in
-27 out
New YTD +1630.

Guess I'd better get on with the knitting!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Stashdown #8: August 2014

Stashdown report for end August is extremely short. No yarn in, no yarn out, so I am still at net -30. I have however been to the yarn shop this week, so I shall have an increase to report next time, as no way will I knit all of that down inside a month:


It's all 4-ply yarn, mostly intended for a Color Affection shawl.

I didn't do any crafting in August and I haven't written here much either. There was a lot of organising needed to get ds ready to start secondary school (honestly, how did that happen?? When I first started blogging here, he was only six years old!) My grandma has not been too well in August so I had a few related family visits. I had booked a week off in mid-August and I was hoping to go away for a few days, but I was invited to a job interview in the middle of it, so we had to stay home. Luckily I actually got that job! I will be working a few more hours and it will be quite a challenge, especially at first, so I think there could be negative crafting impact. I'm due to start in a couple more weeks.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Historical fact and fiction

This August, I have not been knitting, crocheting or sewing. I haven't even been to the yarn shop. I have mostly been reading!

In a charity shop in early August, I found a copy of Midnight is a Place. Re-reading that caused me to look in my boxed children's book collection, where I found the short story book A Harp of Fishbones and Go Saddle the Sea, an adventure story set mainly in Spain in the early nineteenth century.  I had always thought Go Saddle the Sea seemed not to have a proper ending, and this time, when I finished it, I looked it up on Amazon, and discovered it was part of a trilogy. In the pre-Internet age, when I first read it, I had no idea! So guess what speedily downloaded itself onto my Kindle?!



I also finished a book I started ages ago called How to be a Victorian. Yes, a book actually for grown ups! I wanted to finish it after reading Midnight is a Place, which is a fictional account of life for child factory workers in the nineteenth century. After reading this book, I am no longer surprised at the high mortality rate amongst Victorian children. Instead, I'm rather astonished that anyone ever lived to grow up. Not only were infectious diseases and dirty water rife, the food was terrible. There was no formula milk, and many women were working, so according to this book, infants were fed mostly on bread mixed with water, with a side helping of laudanum (alcohol and opiates) to keep them quiet. Suppose they didn't die from malnutrition, infection, or the effects of the opiates, dangerous factory work could easily finish them off in a few years.

That's depressing. I was glad to get back to Joan Aiken! Another charity shop foray added A Small Pinch of Weather (short stories. I especially like the ones about the Armitage children). I'm now trying to locate a copy of All but a Few that I also had as a kid. More short stories! And I'd love to read A Necklace of Raindrops, which I haven't before, and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase again. I'll keep you posted :)


Friday, 1 August 2014

Stashdown #7 July 2014

Good news in this month's stashdown report.

I knitted up:
  • 1079 yards of aran yarn in the Wonderful Wallaby sweater
  • 457 yards of madtosh 4-ply in a ribbon lace scarf
  • 46 yards of dk making more innocent mini hats
  • 160 yards (two different yarns held double) in a marshmallow bonnet for my box of baby gifts
  • 63 yards making pigs-in-a-blanket toy from the Topsy Turvy Inside Out book. So fun! 
  • 127 yards in a pair of kite mittens: even more fun! This pattern was in Knit Now magazine and the FO has been very well received by a three year old. I hear he didn't want to take them off :)


I bought just a little yarn in July. A mere 87 yards, as I needed one last ball of Bergere de France to complete the Wallaby.

I wonder if you're ready for this?!?

Brought forward last month +1815
In +87
Out -1932
Net -1845
YTD -30

Ergo, for the first time this year, I am in net minus numbers.

Too bad I'll be buying more yarn next month! I have Knitting Plans for the Autumn.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Beautiful Soup

In my veg box this week was double quantities of beetroot. It's in season. So I made a batch of my beloved beetroot soup.


I scrubbed the beetroot and cooked it first. Then the skins slides off easily.

I diced the beetroot and added it and potatoes to a softened onion in the pan.


And then poured in two pints of stock, and simmered it for about 45 minutes. The soup needs to be whizzed in a blender. The soup is such a beautiful colour. Almost it's too pretty to eat. But not quite!


I froze quite a lot for future soup eating at cooler times of the year

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Library Trip

I'm very lucky to have an excellent library near me with a very well stocked crafts section. I called in there yesterday morning and picked up these two titles.


I had the booties book before and it is full of adorable patterns, but the Topsy-Turvy one I hadn't seen previously. But I know the work of Susan B. Anderson already, owing to Itty Bitty Hats, which book I have made about six hats from.

So, what to knit?? So much choice, and free time too, and plenty of yarn in hand (only not enough red to tackle the strawberry booties that was my first choice, I discovered last night after knitting half a bootie!)


So I'm knitting the pigs in a blanket. Spent a pleasant couple of hours out in the garden with my needles. This is the life! Shame I have to go to the office tomorrow, but I'll still have the evenings :)