Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Stashdown2012: #2

I am stashing down! Oh yeah baby! I haven't been near a yarn shop this month, or bought any yarn on-line, so there were no additions at all. Hurray.

And I have used up:
  • 100 yds dishcloth cotton (2 dishcloths). I now only have 5 partial balls of this left - down from 12+ at the start of the year
  • 450 yards Rowan cotton jeans - just under six balls out of 8 used up. I expect to have none of this left by end March 
  • 130 yards of Twilleys freedom spirit DK 
  • 150 yards of Babylonglegs sock yarn = Just over one sock. I will finish the second next month!
  • Scraps of Cygnet superwash dk and Wendy merino dk
That means over 800 yards down in February.

Here's more evidence of stashing down this month - simple fingerless mittss made out of Freedom Spirit dk.


Next month I will definitely be using the rest of the cotton jeans, more of the Babylonglegs sock yarn, and stashed yarn for my final pair of Arithmancy OWL socks.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Sewing green

On Friday, at last I had a day when I was at home, dd was out of the house, and my sewing machine was back from the repair shop. So obviously, I made the most of it, and completed the green parts of the rainbow quilt.


It was my first ever attempt at log-cabin squares, and I'm not sure I really achieved the light versus dark contrast adequately. Most of my green fabrics seemed to fall in the mid-green range, so it was quite hard to differentiate - I did try, but think I was more successful in the left square, below, than in the right one.


I looked again at my violet section and it isn't really that bad (thanks for saying this, Claire, as you helped me to know it!) so I didn't re-sew it. I sewed the violet border pieces yesterday also, so it looks like I only have the yellow sections left now. That one is stars (gulp. I'm a bit scared).

Also, I have to source backing and border fabric. I'm inclined to use a plain, dark colour this time, if anyone has any  suggestions for this that won't break the bank, please write this in the comments box. Feedback very welcome!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Case of the Kindle

My dh gave me a kindle for my birthday last month. (I didn't write anything about my birthday at the time, because frankly, what's another birthday when you are as old as I am now?!)

A kindle is consistent with my reduce and de-clutter policy. Even though I've been sworn off new book purchases for a while, I've still been accruing books as gifts, second-hand books and sewing/knitting magazines. An e-reader won't add any more actual books to my shelves - at least, that's the theory.

I had this idea I would take my kindle out and about for reading opportunities, only I haven't yet, as I was worried about it getting scratched or otherwise damaged whilst rattling around in my bag.

But I have now knitted a kindle cosy:


So next week when I take ds to his swimming class, I'll be able to catch up with the latest case of Agatha Raisin!

This was a stashdown project also, as I used yarn already in stash, and repurposed a button off a pair of discarded trousers. The pattern was this nook cozy (free pattern), worked in 4mm needles with dk yarn.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Winter

It's been exceedingly wintry in England in the last few weeks.

Our road, when covered in snow, makes an excellent sledging run.


I spent a lovely afternoon out there with ds, but then anxiously waited for the snow to melt, as I was due to head north for half term week. It duly did, although some was still about on higher ground.

The photo below was taken from the top of Sutton Bank near Thirsk in North Yorkshire, where ds and I enjoyed a lovely walk.


We walked along the bank top to the White Horse at Kilburn.


It was still very cold, so cold that the pond at Coxwold remains frozen:


(We didn't scatter the bread for the bird life. Small amounts of bread is OK for birds, but it shouldn't be mostly what they eat. Look at the RSPB site for more info, if you want to help birds survive a cold spell in winter.)

Whilst I was away, in an exact repetition of two years ago, dd used up all her inclusive mobile minutes and ran up a huge phone bill. She is now in my bad books. Also, there will be no more clothes allowance until the bill is covered!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Espresso cupcakes

This weekend, I made a batch of expresso cupcakes. The recipe is from Nigella's How to be a domestic goddess; they have coffee and chocolate in the mixture.


The icing is no doubt very bad for you! Butter and dark chocolate, melted, with a couple of teaspoons of coffee powder in it:


It gives a lovely glossy look to the finished cakes:


These ones are due to be taken to my parents' house, to celebrate my dad's birthday this week.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Stalled

I wanted to post more quilt progress this week, but I've encountered a snag. There is something wrong with the tension of my sewing machine. This shot of one of the purple hearts indicates the problem - look at the zig-zag applique stitching; there shouldn't be a central line in it (you may need to click on the photo to see an enlarged version).


I got right to the end of the violet panel whilst I was in denial! What, my machine not working properly? Surely not...



I'm resigned to re-sewing the whole panel, but I think I'll be able to re-use most of the fabric in the violet scraps border sections.

My machine is now in the repair shop. That shop sells new machines too, and I am torn between sentimental commitment to my old Jones - over 30 years old, (but I only just learned to use the triple-stretch stitch!) - and the possibility of a shiny new one that has a much greater range. Mine only has four stitches!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Dishcloths

I have mostly been knitting dishcloths, recently. This is part of my stashdown effort, as I try and use up the vast amount of scraps in my stash. 

Here are some recent washcloths:

Sea star dishcloth (crochet)


Little House dishcloth (knit)


Ballband dishcloths (knit) - these ones are great for using up small amounts of yarn, and look very cheerful too:


I can now foresee a time when I have no dishcloth cotton in stash. And then, I may buy some more!