Thursday, 26 July 2007

day wear?

Will this be my day wear for the next few weeks? We are off to the Isle of Tiree at the weekend.

Tiree is technically an 'Inner Hebrides' but as you can see it is pretty 'outer' in that it faces out into the Atlantic -next stop Canada! Weather wise its in the way of whatever is coming in from the west. It does hold the sunshine record for the UK though & they do say that if you do not like the weather, wait ten minutes & it will change! The forecast is fairly mixed! We should have some sunny days anyway. The wetsuit was bought to make a bit of body surfing possible, DH & son & heir will no doubt be wind surfing, kite surfing, kayaking..........!!!!

The knitting projects have been identified -French (Yorkshire?) Market bag for a bit of journey knitting.

The yarn is called Brigantia Fussion & is actually made in Yorkshire! It came from Sheepish, my LYS, & I am assured that it will felt beautifully. I have not knitted the base 'in the round' as I didn't have any 4.5 dkp's so I went for the other option. I also have my 'yarn over' socks to finish (thanks for all the reassurance about the bind-off). The prairie shawl is going to be the 'main knit' I think but I am all ready to 'go' on the Anonymous Socknitters Sockdown, starting on August first. For those of us hooked on Ravelry this is a twelve month 'project' with targeted socks each month, choosing a pattern from the named designer or a specified design element. First up is 'Knitbug' or 'Lace' so I will I think have to knit (again!) Embossed Leaves
by Mona Schmidt, which I loved knitting & wanted to knit again. The yarn...... this yummy gifted yarn. Thank you Anne! There are 'random' prizes & no compulson to 'do' each sock. There is a two month 'window' for each set of projects. Although I am starting with a pattern I have knitted before I do intend to use some of the projects to challenge me! Fair Isle for example! I think it means that presents will be sock shaped this year! Hopefully this is what Sunday will look like & this is where we will be, Traigh Bail on the west coast of Tiree! This was taken three years ago on our first vist -can you see why we return?

Just a last bit to add, I am now a proud member of the 'Cloud Appreciation Society'!

Late note! This arrived this morning! I want to knit them ALL! Just time to slide it into the packing!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Teachers do it in the Holidays!

At last! ..... OK..... moan....mummble.....bloomin teachers.... all that holiday...... !!!!!! and yes, on the holiday front, we do OK. Yes we have no choice of dates, prices are sky high and yes, the weather WAS better in May but we teachers do relish & cherish our big hols. Mine started two days before the male part (not the dog -he is always on holiday) of the family, so yesterday the dog & I packed a picnic & set off to Fountains Abbey which is about 8 miles away. We wanted a walk that was fairly dry under paw & I thought we should make use of the National Trust membership which tends just to act as a season ticket to the car park at Brimham Rocks. We parked at the west gate. Still dry at this point, and then walked in past Fountains Hall to the Abbey itself. Its probably a couple of years since I have been to the Abbey so it was good to have a wander around again. Still dry! I then decided to walk towards the water garden & the deer park, thinking about finding a suitable picnic bench when this happened!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rain, lots of it, coming down in 'stair rods'. The very large brolly was fast into action so I stayed dry & we headed to the trees, following a sign to 'Anne Boleyn's seat'. Up at the top of the hill & in the trees this proved to be a huge, dry, unoccupied open fronted summer house, with seats & views out in to the rain and back to Fountains Abbey. Dinner time! The floor was flagged so Moss could lie down in the dry and we spent a very pleasant half hour here. We eventually returned to the car as the rain stopped & returned home to knit, watch the cricket (robbed by the weather at the death! Shame!) ........... and do the ironing! I could get used to this life!
I have finished the first 'cable over yarn' sock in Regia Bamboo. I like the pattern & the yarn but the bind off (I have had another go at toe up construction) is less pleasing. I used a stretchy bind off recommended somewhere, which was OK for Mr J's woollen socks but I am not so sure that a heavy handed bit to blocking will deal with this. What do you think? It looks OK when worn but I know its not quite 'nice'!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Garden moments

Some garden photos! Starting with the first ripe tomato of the year! A hanging basket plant.
Another first, this time a first ever pepper. There are four plants (all from Dobbies) & they are all showing promise.
I am also experimenting with growing a cucumber for the first time this year, again indoors (thank goodness) & that is moving upwards at least.
As you can see the weeds are growing well! Outdoors things are a little damp but fortunately we have not had the monsoon that has hit further south, just too wet for cricket rain. The runner beans are showing promise. In a dry summer I spray them with cold water to help the flowers set, so no worries there!

The variety of runner beans is called 'Painted Lady'. I like the red and white flowers, which is why I grow this type. They are good to eat as well. The french beans have flowers on & hopefully will freeze well if we ever get enough heat for them to grow!

The flower garden is still pretty, despite the weather. I think this clematis is called 'Elizabeth'.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Faith restored

I have had two great days. One in the rain & one in hot sun! We have taken two groups of students to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. It was nominally a 'geography fieldtrip' and was offered as an option in the 'enrichment programme'. Yesterday we took a mini-bus full of year nine students. It tipped it with rain down once we reached Malham Cove. The students were impressed by the scenery, awed infact at Goredale Scar, paddled in the stream & a few hardy souls splashed close to the waterfall (Yes, it was in the risk assessment!). One even said 'There's alot of Geography out here Miss'! Today we took a coach full of Year 7's. The sun baked down. They picnicked, they paddled, they socialised, they watched the Peregrine Falcons & had a go at the village quiz, ate ice creams & didn't want to come home & said they wanted to come next year! The staff (the staffing was fairly generous) all felt really privileged to spend time with these kids away from school & targets & assessments. How can we measure their level of interest & engagement? The standards in our classroom? Intellectual safety? Quality of the teaching environment? (classroom climate its called!). Look at these pictures. This is why I teach Geography, damn it!

In the mini bus I was able to knit & finished Mr J's socks. Today the coach was a different proposition & knitting would have led to sickness! I have, however started knitting the Regia Bamboo into some toe-up's (I had to use a larger circular for the Turkish cast on as I have yet to replace my broken 2.5's) & with 'yarn over cable' from Sensational Knitted Socks. This is Mr J actually wearing his finished Opal Mexico sock! Colours are a bit more vibrant, but the flash seems to have washed them out.

The biggest news? I AM IN! In what? In Ravelry! Oh what a basket of delight lurks there! We break up for summer tomorrow!!!!!!!!! Forcast rain....... Guess what I will be doing? Good job I picked up on the fact that you can see where you are in the queue. My invite had come in two weeks ago & into the junk mail!

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Garden Party!

Mr J & I were out and about last night at a 'Garden or Gardening' themed party! Some folk had far more imagination than we had when it came to what to wear! We just did a 'Lord Chatterley and the Gardener' combo.He donned cricket sweater, cream linen trousers, boater & made a croquet mallet out of the tent peg mallet, I wore big straw hat, my gardening apron (very handy for mobile phone etc, rather than seed packets & twine) & carried a basket of produce! There must have been at least four Charlie Dimmock's there (of both sexes!)

The straw man was the host!

The weather was fine which was wonderful. Today has turned wet (again!) and we have been sorting through a load of things that we have deemed surplus to our requirements & have decided to try a 'car boot sale' when we return from our holidays. Part of this was a huge pile of photo/ picture frames that we have accumulated & no longer like/want. Some of them contained photo collages of us, dogs and son & heir when he was small. These are quite precious & yet getting tatty as glue has given way & cut photos have curled. Rather than create another storage problem I have spent an hour or so scanning them via Picasa. I will then upload them to Fickr or a Picasa web album to be safely stored in cyberspace until a fresh copy is required. I also found some things that I had forgotten I had done, like making a collage of memories from both Mr J & S&H's christenings!

On the knitting front, Mr J nearly has a new pair of socks, another baby item is nearly finished - a little jacket from the, in Patons DK cotton. It will not get the daisies, it may or may not get a hood -depends if I need another ball of yarn to finish the jacket. Its simple, its white & its quite cute. Its also quite big! The tension was spot on, but its more 3 months than birth or is my memory letting me down? I think my seventeen year old six footer was smaller, but then again he was a 6lb & 3 weeks early arrival! Good job he doesn't read my blog. I would be in HUGE trouble for this!

See earlier posts for what has happened since! I will photo the jacket later. I bought some really cute Beatrix Potter buttons, half price at my LYS 'Sheepish' in Knaresborough. They had a basket of really cute and unusual buttons all reduced because they could no longer get them. perhaps I do need to pop in for another look. We have an excellent haberdashers locally ('Dutton's for Buttons') but when I went to buy some for the little rainbow jacket I had a nasty shock with respect to price! The selection is excellent BUT I could have easily spent as much as I had on yarn, because it required 7 buttons. At least socks and shawls do not need buttons!

Sunday, 8 July 2007

just a Gemini?

A number of projects (apart from work, garden & the like) are spinning but in real time & in my head. Its not my fault, I am a Gemini! Bit of an epic post, sorry -its over a week since I last posted & things have moved on.

After considerable kindness in finding me a copy of the EZ baby surprise jacket I frogged it after about 2 hours work! With all the colour & garter bumps it was too busy. I reverted to the EZ February jacket but just let the yarn do the talking & knitted it all in stocking stitch (apart from garter borders). It just needs a rainbow of tiny buttons & a gentle block before I give it to the Mum to be.
Mr J's Mexico socks are beginning to grow again, despite a disaster with my bamboo circulars! End of the magic loop & back to the beloved Britany Birch's! hopefully it will be replaced but I actully prefer 4 needles (except when one goes walkabout!)

I have also finished the Kidsilk Haze wrap (without a border). I liked it without, knitted about 3 inches of border & still liked it without so it is sans border! I like it. There are too many mistakes. Most are not really visible but I know that they are there & as I was blocking it I found a growing hole where the yarn had split or (more likely) I had missed picking up a stitch (or both). Its darned so only I know its there! I have now bought more stitch markers for bigger needles so there should be less mistakes! I would like to buy some 'proper' lace pins & wires for blocking lace knits but where do I find them? I am not even sure what to enter inorder to 'google' for them!

The little number also modelled on Gloria is the start of a 'peasant' skirt I intend to make. It has three tiers! It might be a bit closer to finishing if the weather gave any encouragement! Its not a bad day here today but its not floaty summer skirt stuff -more 'you don't need a thick sweater or wellies!' This will be my first 'dressmaking' for many a year, but encouraged by the creative folk out there in blogland I have borrowed Gloria from my sister, added a couple of inches to my favorite basic skirt pattern (I am not as slender as the student who used to make her skirts & dresses!) We shall see!

I have started my 'big holiday knit'! The holiday is still 3 weeks away but........ I am using the Jaeger extra soft merino wool in a deep rich brown & knitting a prairie shawl from 'Folk Shawls'. The yarn is wonderful! Sooooo soft & buttery! I have changed the lace from a garter stitch to a stocking stitch lace. The border is still garter stitch & I think that is enough garter stitch. I neatened the edges with a slip first stitch routine. It is an easy knit. I know the pattern already so it is good to go!
These are the 'real' projects I am moving between. There is the not to be taken lightly matter of which sock patterns to knit next and, if that's not enough, temptation is placed in front of me from Ireland and Celtic Memory with mentions of little & big Ganseys! Do I take on the challenge of the French Market Bag? What will I knit with the left over KSH? My mind is as turbulent as the River Wharfe at Grassington! On Tuesday we took Year 10 Geographers to start their coursework. Fortunately we were NOT planning to do river studies!

Just an afterthought or two..... now that I have unpacked the shopping following the visit from the Tesco van! We are trying hard to reduce our 'carbon footprint'. We have added two dustbins beyond the back door (cardboard & plastic) as Harrogate do not collect these (they do collect glass. tins & paper), we use the energy saving light bulbs, have stopped leaving stuff on standby, share lifts when we can & now have started using the home shopping service. The nearest Tesco's is a 40 mile round trip. Asda & Sainsbury's are closer, but they are just not Tesco! Not only does it save fuel but it saves time. So far I am impressed, although I did have a few odd orders -1 courgette when I thought I had oredered a kilo, for example. We use online ordering alot anyway for books, DVD's, yarn, more yarn......... John Kirriemuir has written an excellent entry in his blog Silversprite about the value of online shopping for remote communities. John lives on Bernaray in the Outer Hebrides & there are wonderful photos and tales about this gorgeous little island on his blog.

.....oh yes.....I have finished reading Conn Iggulden's 'Wolf of the Plains'.
Its a novel based on the early life of Genghis Khan. When Bernard Cornwall says of a book 'A brilliant story -I wish I'd written it' you know that you are in for a good read! I knew little of Genghis Khan beyond the 'came from the east' stuff & found it to be as it said on the tin 'an epic story'.