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 :)

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Ladybird, ladybird

A combination of work commitments and trying to avoid paying out for school holiday care has led to separate holidays for me and dh, with the result that I now have a whole week at home on my own. This is a rare treat to be enjoyed! I can leave the house in the morning and come back to it in the same state I left it. My sewing machine can stay out on the dining table all week. No-one will grumble about food, or whether I'm going to get off the Internet soon. I've got to go to work, of course, but still!

This first afternoon, I got out the trusty sewing machine and sewed this little coin purse:

Here he is with some coins for scale, although to be truthful, he's more likely to be a keeper of stitch markers and the like than actual money. I have another purse, with pockets for cards and a zip compartment, for that!

While I had the machine out, I fixed a tear in a duvet cover and sewed a load of scouts badges onto ds's camp blanket, that he'll be taking with him when he goes off for some scouting fun under canvas in a few weeks. I can't think why it didn't occur to me I could machine-sew those badges before. There were four in my box to sew - I'd been putting it off for a while, but it was unbelievably quick by machine.

What to do this evening?? I think a little knitting may be in order :)

Monday, 21 July 2014

Lace Scarf

Last November, I bought a lovely skein of madtosh fingering in Loop in Islington. And this month, I knitted it up into a lovely lace scarf:

The pattern is free on Knitty: Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery. I really love this yarn colour. It's called vishnu. You can see it better in this photo, which also shows the lace:

I'm very pleased with it, not least because I was able to correct the odd mistake by dropping down and using a crochet hook. I've come a long way, baby! A couple of years ago, I would never have been able to do that.

I was going to give it away as a christmas present, but now I'm not sure I can bear to... I'll see what else I knit between now and the Autumn!