Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Yarn love

I made yet another baby set. I just fell in love with some Sirdar Snuggly Smiley Stripes yarn, and wanted to make something with it. This is what it was like in the ball:

I suppose I'm one step ahead when the next girl baby come along.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Cakes and covets

My dd was away for a while, on a school visit to Paris (lucky girl!) She is at that age, when having her out of the house for a few days means respite from perpetual arguments, but nonetheless, I made a cake to welcome her home again.

This is the chocolate-orange loaf cake from Nigella's Kitchen. It's the very first recipe I've made out of there, and the cake turned out very well.

But forget the recipes, what I really, really want out of that book is the gingham apron with the ric-rac trim that Nigella wears to make blackberry vodka:

I intend to make a version of this before next Christmas. As I've discovered, a woman can't have too many aprons, at least not in my case. (And I may also try the blackberry vodka!)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Springtime in the suburbs

Spring is well and truly here - the blossom is out:

So I made this little seasonal rabbit to celebrate:

The bunny pattern was free from Spud and Chloe. I used Cascade 220 wool, polyfil for stuffing rather than the suggested tennis ball, and made her a cute fluffy tail out of cotton dk.

She is just perfect for Spring.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Red Nose Day

Ds has gone to school with his clothes on back to front. Dd is taking part in a fun-run this afternoon. More info about this annual UK fundraiser is here.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Earthquake lessons

Watching the news of the earthquake in Japan, my heart went out to all those people who have lost family members or friends, or who have lost their homes. In the blog-o-sphere it seems more local, as I regularly read blogs by people who live and work in Japan, or have family connexions there. 

I was interested to see, in amateur footage, that Japanese children are schooled to take cover under a table. Of course, here in the UK, earthquake tremors are very rare and typically very mild. They are still scary though.

Sachiko, whose family in the affected area is luckily safe, wrote:

Through this experience, I learned a couple things. We need to show and tell people in our lives how much we love them and appreciate them whenever we get the chance to. You never know, that might be the last time you get to do so. There is no time to waste in fighting and holding grudges. Unexpected things happen and when we want to show love, it might be too late.

And she is so right. That is a good lesson for us all, in earthquake zones or not.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The weather report

We recently installed a weather station in our garden, a donation from my parents, who just upgraded to a new improved model (they are both scientifically inclined). We've got their old one.

The sensors record rainfall, windspeed and the like, and transmit the results to a little information unit on our kitchen wall:

Ds especially likes the little weather man pictured, who is dressed according to the weather, and holds an umbrella whenever it rains. Today is the first day since we had it that he hasn't been wearing a woolly hat.

Spring is definitely here. Here's a little evidence from our garden:

#1: Peony shoots pushing through the earth (excuse the weeds. I took this photo before I did today's weeding)

#2: Forsythia in bloom:

If it continues to warm up here, soon we'll have to cut the grass.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Blackberry Shawl

May I introduce my Blackberry Shawl:

I made this shawl out of one of my favourite yarns: Schoppelwolle Zauberball 4-ply. All the beautiful colour stripes are down to the yarn dye sequence. (If you would like to try it, this yarn is on offer right now at Meadow Yarn, which is where I get my supplies. In fact, I just bought another two balls to add to my stash.)

The pattern is the Willow Shawl which was in Yarn Forward magazine no 27, by the very clever Vikki Harding (note: Rav log-in required to access link). This is the third pattern I've made by her, and all have been a dream to work.

Incidentally, I hear Yarn Forward magazine is being re-named Knit from the next issue. Which seems a pretty uninspired choice, but I suppose they have their reasons.

I'm particularly pleased to have finished this because it means I have scored another OWL - History of Magic this time! Regular readers will know, I play an online Harry Potter-themed knitting game on Ravelry. The shawl goes with my red socks and my cable scarf and represents knitting skill-building within a specified timeframe.

ETA: shared at Tea Rose Home Link Party No. 45

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Cable scarf

Dh had a birthday last week and this year, I made him a knitted present. I rarely knit for men, as generally I prefer working with more feminine colours, but dh had admired the Irish hiking scarf pattern (available free from Hello Yarn) so I thought I would make an exception.

I used 200g of Donegal aran tweed. Be warned, if you want to do a fringe (as I did) 200g of yarn is only just enough. I advise you to cut the fringe pieces before you get right to the end, so you know when to finish up with the cables.