Sunday, 29 April 2007

A busy week!

The month leading up to the start of public exams is even more hectic than usual in school! However some knitting has been done. The blue leaf socks are finished. I like them BUT I wish I had done them longer, rather than following the pattern. They are very much 'ankle' socks. I will knit them again, maybe in a summer yarn & probably with another one or two pattern repeats in the leg. The postman has bought me some nice things this week as well. The kidsilk haze in liquor is for the Melon shawl from VKT. The colour is not so pink as in the picture, defiantly a good claret colour. The postman also bought me a parcel from 'Landsend' and included were a pair of these, which were bought for summer hols plus general 'round the house & garden'. Guess what -they are really comfy with a nice pair of hand knitted socks!Guess what these are?
Yup! Toe up socks, knitted on a magic loop! I decided on Friday evening that it was time I learnt to knit toe ups & whilst I was at it, magic loops. I found a range of instructions on the net, which I kind of mixed & matched..... Turkish cast on instructions from one site...... actual shaping from another...magic loop from another..... heel from somewhere else probably but I have not reached the heel yet! Any suggestions for a definitive toe up pattern? I am just putting a simple knit 3 purl 1 rib in as it is 'Opel Mexico' yarn which is self patterning & anything else would loose its effect. The toe is really neat & smooth, not sure about the magic loop. I seem to spend alot of time sliding stitches not knitting! The Turkish cast on IS magic!

The garden is good. The auriculas have gone outside. I spent most of yesterday morning in the garden (with & without camera). The first dwarf beans are through & so I made a second sowing, this time of 'Masterpiece' and 'Maradonna'. The first courgettes are also through & so I planted the rest of the packet (total 9 seeds!). They are F1 Tosca. All from Dobies. We are cutting & eating the first salad crop of 'French mix'. It grows back really quickly, with a second cut possible about a week later.

The picture below is 1/9 of the packet of courgette seeds.

It is, of course, now the cricket season. Son & heir also plays cricket! The weather is fairly untypical! We sat in lovely sunshine until the last half hour, when although the sun still shone the biting north east wind blowing down from the North York Moors began to dominate proceedings & we froze! If anyone had told me 10 years ago how much time I would spend watching & enjoying watching cricket I would have laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of the idea! Now I watch & listen to cricket quite happily. Watch it on the TV & listen on the radio. In fact I love radio cricket commentary. I am not an 'audio' learner so I really appreciate the quality of the descriptions -especially the off game comments, describing people in the crowd, birds on the pitch or the arrival of the 23 bus! I love this quote about village cricket: “It has been said of the unseen army of the dead, on their everlasting march, that when they are passing a rural cricket ground, the Englishmen fall out of the ranks for a moment to lean over a gate and smile.”~ Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937)Scottish playwright, author of Peter Pan. Hmm thats a bit 'off piste' for a blog thats largely about knitting!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

The Cherry Leaf shawl is nearly finished! Just needs the crochet edging. I think that I am fairly happy with my first real lace project. I hope I am still saying that once I have tacked the infamous blocking phase. The blue leaf socks are also nearing completion. I have recovered from my horror of finding out that Rowen do not do a powder blue in Kidsilk Haze. I called in at my LYS, Sheepish in Knaresborough to have this confirmed. I really had got an image of 'Melon' from VLT in powder blue as my next 'big' project. It is not to be. So I got the dark red 'liqueur' instead. So much for my 'blue phase' but iced mint or iced pink WOULD NOT DO! Colinette's Parisienne was suggested as a possibility, but no powder blue there either. If anyone has any other ideas I would still be interested - something from the land of wonderful yarn on the far side of the Atlantic Ocean perhaps?
A little eye candy from the garden! Actually this Auricula is about the colour of the KSH that I have ordered. I love these flowers. They are still sat in the polytunnel at the moment as I am loath to expose them to the cold drywinds but they also seem popular with the greenfly so they will have to go outside soon. I also need the space in the polytunnel. 140 bizzy lizzies awaited my return home on Tuesday, ready to pot on. They are now tucked away in the 'inner' polyhouse inside the tunnel. It will be at least another month before I dare put them outside. There was a ground frost in the valley on Wednesday & Thursday. Here on the hill we are spared the late ground frosts as the cold rolls down the hills into the frost pockets. Some veg. plug plants should be on their way soon. Thursday nights supper included the first home grown salad leaf of the season.

This weeks wind has taken away all of the blossom from the cherry tree but it was beautiful whilst it lasted. From the angle of the trees I guess that you will understand my comments about the wind! The photo is taken facing north, so west is left!

Friday, 13 April 2007


We have had a fantastic holiday! The crossings & the drive each way were fine. The first day of skiing was one of heavy snowfall & good snow conditions. Visibility was dodgy at times but a good day was had by all. Mr J the younger took to snowboarding like a boy born to it. He decided to learn to ride rather than ski as usual as he felt a) like a fresh challenge and b) because his friend who came with us is a snowboarder & could teach him. He still spent some time skiing as we had to video him performing various skiing skills for his AS PE practical assessment. It was funny seeing him snow ploughing as an adult. He has skied parallel since he was about nine! At least he didn't need to go between our knees to descend steeper slopes as he had done when he was four or five! The second day dawned with wall to wall (or mountain to mountain) sunshine and it more or less continued like that for the rest of the holiday, apart from a little late afternoon snow & cloud on Sunday and Monday. The views to Mt Blanc were stunning! The morning pistes were icy which wasn't to the snow boarders taste, the lower pistes got slushy in the afternoon which was a bit of a pain to those of us on skis but basically there was loads of great skiing/boarding for all! We have decided that after spending four Easters based in Bourg St Maurice & skiing in Les Arc we would like to see it when winter was in the valley as well as the mountains so we intend to try and fix that up for next February. After MANY years skiing I really felt that I have moved my skills onto a higher level this week, which is hugely rewarding. Why? I was given two pieces of advice by Mr J's older & younger that I could visualise & it seemed to click. Visibility was great, it wasn't too busy & the skis I hired were wonderful!

I finished the centre of the Cherry Leaf shawl on the drive down, which I loved knitting but left tackling the border until..... tonight maybe? I looked at the instructions last night but they may as well have been written in Flemish for all the sense they made. The return trip saw the start of ..... socks! Embossed Leaf Socks from Favorite Socks to be precise. I didn't do the two stranded tubular cast on as I didn't fancy attempting to learn a new technique whilst been driven up a french motorway at 80mph, but the leaf pattern is easy to knit & looks good so far. I already plan to do another pair in a more summery yarn -silk? cotton? bamboo? Any suggestions? I also can't wait to try more lace knitting. Maybe something oblong this time?

We broke the journey north with a stop off in Reimes overnight. The Holiday Inn Express provided a good location and all the basics to a good standard, including breakfast for 56 Euros per room. Its about 3 hours south of the main channel ports & the Holiday Inn is about 1 minute from the autoroute & next to the canal. We were too late to go into the Cathedral but were more than happy to wonder at the amazing restoration work that is taking place & then to wander towards the central square & take our choice of eateries. Cafe culture is something could get used to. Harrogate boasts a modest one, but temperatures in April do not lend themselves to eating out a 9 at night!

Apart from the usual washing & so on, gardening has been the order of the day since we got home yesterday. I have pricked out and planted a variety of salad crops & made the first sowings of French Dwarf Beans (Purple Teepee & Ferrari), Courgettes and Coriander. 40 Rubeki plug plants were waiting for me when I got home & they have also been potted on. They are, hopefully the answer to the need for 'late summer colour'. Many Impatians are due at the end of the month (like 120 I think), plus some other vegetable plug plants.