Thursday, 30 August 2007

Is it the end of Summer or the beginning of Autumn?

It is sunny and windy here on the hill. We are back to school on Monday, which is sometimes the trigger for an 'Indian Summer'. I actually like Autumn & look forward to many aspects of winter so perhaps I will go with 'start of Autumn'. Is this the sign of a hard winter to come or a wet summer just gone? The thing I have disliked about our fairly appalling summer (weather wise) has been the unpredictability. We had two scorching days at the weekend when shorts & t-shirt were the order of the day, yet by Tuesday I was shivering in cotton trousers & short sleeved shirt. The land & stone in the buildings has not heated up to any degree so the thinnest veil of cloud over the sun seems to set the temperature to plunge. We actually lit a fire on Tuesday evening ....... indoors! Last Thursday was GCSE exam results and as I have had a fairly big involvement with Year 11 it was time for Mrs J. to return to school, which does mark the beginning of the end of summer for me. Not such a nervy day as the previous year when son & heir got his though! School has a fantastic set of results, best we have had by a country mile! Best subject in terms of %A-C grades you ask? Geography! .... and we outstripped our target % A-C. Overall my group did really well so I am happy with that, although I doubt it will be deemed good enough by the powers that be!

Some quality knitting time has been had over the Bank Holiday weekend as we drove down to my Mum & Dad's, which is just over two hours away. I have knitted one of my brother in laws 'Gryffindor' socks although I have grave reservations about the amount of yarn left as I did them a bit longer & wider in the foot than I normally knit. We shall see. At worst I hope I will just have to frog the foot and knit on 64 not 72 stitches! Remind me that knitting plain garter stitch is BORING!!!!!! I have knitted an' Odessa' hat as well for a bit of variety & am on sock two of the 'Rapid River' socks which is a lovely pattern to knit. I need a 'big' project on the needles as well as the usual socks, hats, mitts........ but I am still waiting for my Fall copy of Interweave Knits before deciding what to start!!!!!! Where is it? The 'blocking wires' aquired from the local agricultural hardware shop & engineers were just the job for blocking Mother in Law's scarf. I bet that bloke dined out for days on this batty woman asking for welding wires to sort out her knitting!

If you belong to a broader 'crafting church' than just (sorry, did I say 'just'? Take 100 lines Mrs J!) knitting, and you happened to be in the Skipton area, then I would recommend a trip to Samuel Taylor's at Embsay Mills, about 2 miles outside Skipton & just opposite the Steam Railway & sometime home of Thomas the Tank Engine & friends. What a treasure trove for quilters, stitchers & those into paper crafts! I bought two 'fat quarters' which I used to line my Yorkshire/ French Market bag. Knitting as a craft was represented mainly by a selection of Rowen yarn! Nice but not earth shattering.

Before the Bank Holiday Mr J, dog & I managed a walk around Grimwith reservoir. It was good to stretch our legs & reminded us what gorgeous countryside we have just beyond our back door. The edge of the Yorkshire Dales National park is only 8 or 9 miles west of her & yet we don't go often enough. We vowed to make this a 'regular' thing through Autumn & Winter. S&H arrived back from school Rugby training last night with his fixture list. It looked a fairly full programme at least until January, so that deals with many Saturday morning's and some Saturday afternoon's! ........ and then there will be Sunday fixtures with the rugby club! This will probably be his last year playing rugby locally so we will watch as much as we can. I won't dwell on that thought too much or I will need tissues, lots of tissues!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

They all did very well!

Firstly all of my A level Geography group achieved a grade B in their final exams! I am soooo pleased & proud of them (There were 5 in the group & I know that at least a couple of them call in here from time to time to see what Mrs J is up to!) I don't yet know the details, but hopefully it will help them all to the uni. places of choice. Remember guys, 'Geography is everywhere'! We will have to see what Thursday brings along with the GCSE groups. Actually it was my wish to find other ways of supporting my students that led me to blogging and to this blog. So a big thank you from me to them! I know some have caught the blogging bug and thank/ curse me for it! Last Thursday was also A/S results day, so son & heir was up for his results. Not too shabby fortunately. They put him on course for his favored uni. course & as he is fond of quoting what Mum actually said 'That's OK, they are a good building block for next year'!!!! Teacher speak for OK, can do better! It will be about working smarter & just a little harder! Thursday also found me with NO KNITTING ON ANY NEEDLES!!!!!! I finished my prairie shawl & love it! That was not on! I needed something to focus on whilst waiting for THE phonecall from s&h (Mr J was at school (as a Head of Sixth Form this is his BIG day!), so I started my Christmas knitting! How many days until Christmas????? I still had huge amounts of Rowenspun 4 ply left from my Cherry Leaf Shawl, so I looked through Victorian Knitting Today & decided to knit Mr J's mom (MIL) a scarf for Christmas. Its the scarf with striped border. The border was complicated enough to have to concentrate pre phone call, the body of the scarf is an easy peasy car/ tv knit. It will of course have cost something as I defiantly need to buy some blocking/ dressing wires now! I think this pattern or something similar may feature in several christmas stockings this year.

I am also awaiting the arrival of Gryffindor Sock yarn form Bright Dyes etsey store! It was hitting the dye whatever yesterday! I will post pictures when it arrives! The wonders of t'internet!

Please note the addition of a new badge to my side bar! It is a the “Talking Knitting” Badge - Required for all Knitting Scouts from Brenda Daynes brilliant podcast 'Cast on'. It states that 'The recipient must conduct himself/herself in such a manner as to talk knitting whenever an opportunity presents itself. Not easily fazed by looks of disinterest from friends or the act of “zoning out” by well-intentioned loved ones'. Easy! I must load the latest podcast to my MP3 player -I like to listen whilst taking the dog for a walk. He doesn't think its at all odd when I get excited about some new pattern, yarn or technique that Brenda mentions!

On a final note. My day seems to start & finish with a trip to the poly tunnel to tend my plants & remove slugs and snails!!!!! I am trying so hard to be 'organic' but after they destroyed all of the Calabrese heads & some of the cauliflower it is verrrry difficult! However we have eaten some home grown cauliflower (& I am guarding the last few carefully), carrots & cabbage. ..... and oh yes, runner beans, lots and lots of runner beans! The cucumber plants is also doing well & the peppers are growing slowly.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Two finished projects and some eye candy!

The ironing has all been done but I have managed to complete the Yorkshire (French!) Market Bag (including felting!) and the Anonymous Sock Knitters August Sockdown. There are pictures!
The bag before felting:


The bag after felting (two trips in the front loader on 30 degree quick wash produced a shrinkage of about a third & lost the stitch definition -one trip =25% and some stitch definition remained)
It was accompanied by one of the dog's towels, which has a slight browny hue now!
It was then blocked on a box wrapped in a towel (also belonging to the dog!):PICT0196

The finished (but not lined) bag:This afternoon it went to market..... well at least to the butchers in Pateley Bridge & did the job very nicely thank you! (No pictures- it was chucking it down with rain.... again!).

I saw some yarn on Ravelry...... I had to have it .....I found it on ebay...... it arrived this morning!

Its Trekking XXX in colourway 100. Colourway 187 came too! Well, you save on postage if you purchase more than one skein, right?
The sock yarn that I actually NEED though is some in Gryffindor House colours! Whislt on holiday my sisters Mr requested a pair of socks, he was reading Dark Hallows at the time so I suggested Hogwarts House colours. He did an online Sorting Hat quiz & he was sorted into Gryffindor -so gold & dark red it is! Any suggestions? Me? I am in Ravenclaw!

The Embossed Leaf Socks are finished & ready for proud(?) display on Ravelry. I am very happy with my first (kind of) KAL.

Thank you all for the lovely comments about my photographs from Tiree. I will throw in another one...

Sunrise from Stevie's Bothy. Taken by Mr J. I was fast asleep! Glad he took it, means we can all share it!

Sunday, 12 August 2007


Tir-iodh, the gaelic name for the Isle of Tiree, means land of the corn. The island was as lovely as ever. As you can see Moss was happy to be there.We have had a great holiday, despite a couple of lows. One low (or several) was low pressure, bringing a few days of rain but that was OK. The other was son & heir having a) a bout of tonsillitis & b) an emerging & very painful wisdom tooth! Its along time since teething had an impact on our holidays! However he is recovered & managed to get some excellent windsurfing & surfing in, especially in the sunnier & windy first week. The cottage in week one was OK. It had an excellent location near the windsurfing base & west coast & had all the right equipment but cottage two 'Stevie's Bothy' was superb! Gorgeous inside and out & right on the beach edge near to the south east tip of the island. We were joined by my sister & her DH for the middle 8 days of the holiday & despite their excellent company, plus that of S&H & my DH I managed some quality knitting & reading time!
Somewhere in Ravelry I found the question 'Where will you read the new Harry Potter book?' -answer is here....... or at least some of it, whilst finishing the yarn over cable socks & waiting for the two Kayaker's to arrive after a paddle up the east coast of Tiree from Crossapol Bay to Scaranish. I knitted the socks a bit long for some reason but they are OK when worn.
The 'Yorkshire' Market Bag provided easy driving in the dusk/dark knitting & a bit of ferry boat time (We had to be on the dock at Oban for 6.15 am!). We actually arrived in the middle of the night & drove down to the Kerrara ferry & grabbed a couple of quiet hours sleep there. DH really enjoyed the empty roads & the drive across from Stirling! The Market Bag is nearly finished. I did start on the handles last night but I think I am going to frog back to the main bag after a look at some finished French Market Bags on Ravelry. Some re-positioning of the handles might be a good adjustment to make. The Brigantia yarn is a warm treat to knit with & I am a) looking forward to and b) a bit nervous of the felting bit! The advice from my LYS is 'go gently' so I guess that means start with a 30 degree quick/ mini wash programme & see what happens?

The prairie lace shawl from 'Folk Shawls' was my cottage knit & is also nearly finished. It grew fairly quickly & is soft & toasty warm. If we had been camping & would have finished it! The gale force 6 north west wind kept temperatures down for the first 10 days although there was plenty of sunshine. The 1st August was the start of the 'Sockdown' in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry. Chosen project for August was for me to be a lace sock. Again nearly finished (Half a sock to go!)..... The yarn has knitted up really well & the colours are great. A long post if you are still with me! I will update as I finish the WIP! A large pile of ironing awaits!