Sunday, 31 October 2010


These books are very popular with my just-eight-year-old:

Perhaps you recognise them, although I believe Wally's name changes, according to which country you are in. In the USA he is known as Waldo, and in french-speaking countries I understand his name is Charlie.

Ds wants to be able to hide like Wally, so I knitted him this hat.

The pattern is available for free from Wiseneedle. I adjusted it slightly to fit a child. I used Debbie Bliss cashmerino dk yarn.

Hallowe'en in the UK is not the major festival it is in the States, but there is still a little fun to be had, so as you can see in the photo above, we made a pumpkin lantern this morning. Ds will be going out with his dad, once darkness falls, in a quest for sweet treats!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Too cute

The stork recently paid a visit next door, so I made this little hat for the newly arrived baby girl. With its flower petals and little stalk, it's reminiscent of the Anne Geddes baby photographs.

The pattern is by Susan B. Anderson and is available free (warning: registration and log-in required). It's also published in Itty-Bitty Hats. I knitted it using a skein of pink Rowan handknit cotton, scraps of green and cream for the stalk, and white All Seasons Cotton for the petals, where a heavier weight yarn was called for to give the desired textured effect.

I knitted the 0-6 months size, which seemed very small. I wondered if it would be too little for baby, but there is in fact plenty of growing room. You forget how tiny newborns really are, when it's eight years since you had one in your own house.

ETA: Shared at Tea Rose Home Link Party No. 29

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Ds has now reached the face-pulling-for-photos stage, and nothing can stop it:

Happy birthday, eight-year-old!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Cream Tea

In England, you'll find a cream tea on the afternoon tea menu in many tea-shops and cafes. This consists of scones, whipped cream, and strawberry jam - or sometimes, in season, fresh strawberries. All served alongside a pot of tea, naturally.

This tea cosy design was in Tea Cozies 2. There are mistakes in the pattern as printed but errata are available by using the contact link on the publisher's website. Once you have the corrected version, it's a pretty easy knit, and good for bobbles practice. The little strawberries are knitted and then seamed and stuffed.

This is another planned christmas gift. Lucky, lucky person, because it is very pretty, and totally reminiscent of summer days. I might have to make another to keep, although actually, we already have two knitted tea-cosies in the house, and there are others on my to-make list.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Mushroom magic

Does anyone know what kind of fungus this is?

It appeared as if by magic in the middle of our lawn about two weeks ago, and has since grown to an enormous size.

Here's another photo taken from above, with a UK pound coin to give some idea of scale.

You can see from the damage to the top, something is nibbling away at it, but I'm not sure if it is safe for humans to eat.  Consequently I'm just looking and admiring.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


I'm not doing too well on the knitting front. To be frank, I am coming to LOATHE the yarn I'm working with for my skier's chullo hat. If there weren't about 100 points for Ravenclaw house riding on it, I'd frog it now! As it is, I'm stuck with it with a deadline of end November.

I'm using a very traditional 100% Shetland wool yarn, much admired by others, but clearly it's not for me. I bought more yarn than I needed for this project, but luckily I've found someone to trade the excess with on Ravelry, as somehow I don't think I'll be using it again.

On an unrelated subject, but contributing to my general fairly downcast mood, as regular readers will already have realised, I work in the UK public sector. Today I received my second Section 188 notice in a month (one for my acting-up role and one for my substantive post). For the uninitiated, a Section 188 means my employer has notified this post as being at risk of redundancy. This is the third time in four years that I've been in this situation.

Hey ho. I should write something uplifting about persistence in the face of adversity, but I don't have the heart for it today :-(

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

More ways with apples

Baked apples. Which must be the simplest cooked apple dessert ever:

Apple & Blackberry crumble. It didn't even last long enough for me to photograph it, before my family had eaten three-quarters of it:

More ideas urgently needed. Please post any in comments. Thanks!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

A knit of mittens

I mentioned before my recent mittens knitting obsession. I've knitted three pairs in the last month. There were the baby mittens I blogged about previously, plus two pairs of adult fingerless mitts.

#1: Nimble fingerless mitts from pattern in Yarn Forward magazine issue 30:

In the magazine, the specified yarn was Supreme possum/merino/silk mix, but I used recommended alternative Rowan cashsoft 4-ply instead. However, in this yarn the mittens came up very small. They are a snug fit on me, and my hands are tiny. My original plan was to make these for one of my teenage nieces, but I think they will not fit her. Instead I've been wearing them at work, as it was very cold in my office last week and these mitts leave my fingers free for typing.

#2 Castle mitts from pattern in Yarn Forward magazine issue 22 (Not the best pic, so will try and replace with a better one when I can get dd to hold the camera!)

I've made these mittens before and they have been much admired, so this pair is to be given away, although I'm modelling there. The yarn is Artesano inca cloud alpaca dk.

By the way, regarding the baby mittens pattern I published on Ravelry, I'm charmed to report someone else has actually knitted my pattern! And did not find any mistakes in it :-)

Friday, 1 October 2010

The Tyranny of GCSEs

Owing to impending coursework deadlines, I have been unable to use our dining-table for its dining purpose for the last few days, due to GCSE textiles being spread all over it. I've also had my patience tried, having been on continuous coursework support - i.e. re-threading the sewing machine, dealing with stuck needles and trapped threads, re-filling the bobbin, making cups of tea, cajoling and offering general encouragement.

Honestly, my 15 y.o could use some lessons in scheduling and advance planning. Unfortunately either they don't teach that at her school - or she paid absolutely no attention in those sessions!

I find it helps me keep my temper, if I knit. And I'm not the only one who finds knitting therapeutic in this way. "Aunt Grace knitted hard. She knitted all her annoyance into the sock, and felt very much better afterwards." (Enid Blyton, House at the Corner, 1947). I know just how she feels...