Sunday, 27 December 2009

Crimble bimble

Well I do hope that you all had a lovely Solstice and Christmas.
Since the last post we have been very busy. The painters finished the house and the scaffolders removed the scaffolding. Here is the house before (at the end of September) and after (on Christmas Day)

We are so happy with how it is. DH reckons that the house seems warmer because of the new layer of paint, he, he:-)
We also had the Winter Solistice Dinner Party on the 19th, a few days early but on a Saturday so that people would be able to stay later. I managed not to burn anything. On the menu was:
Roast Potatoes
Dauphnois Potatoes
Roast Parsnips
Carrots and Peas
Red Currant Jelly
Apple Crumble and Custard
Christmas Pudding and Brandy Cream

We didn't actually have any room for the Christmas Pudding, lol! so I still have it. There were also cheeses and biscuits but to be honest we were soooo stuffed we gave them as miss too.....we did have a few chocolate truffles though with some Plum Vodka (remember that?) which went down very well...mmmm.

Then on the 21st it snowed quite a bit. We usually don't get much snow here so whilst the rest of the UK seemed to be grinding to a halt under a thick layer of the stuff we got off lightly with a couple of inches. The 376 bus kept on a trucking and I was still able to get to work although the pavements in Bristol were pretty trecherous.....I did manage to stay upright,  more by luck than judgement I might add! Others were not so lucky especially on Queen Square which had turned into an ice rink by Wednesday.
Here is our house in the snow, looks very pretty. The hens are not to sure though. Miranda looks perturbed!

Christmas Day we just chilled out all day in front of the fire. We all had porridge for breakfast, here are the hens enjoying their Christmas Porridge.

It was pretty chilly outside with the last of the snow clinging on

We then opened our pressies and watched movies all afternoon, scoffed some cheese and biscuts and had a glass of wine.
Boxing Day we went to my sister and brother in laws with the rest of DHs family - his mon and dad and little sister. All in all, we had a lovely time, thanks guys:-)

The Garter Yoke Cardy is coming along fine and I have been able to do a little bit each evening and occasionally on the bus as well, although it is now getting to the stage where its a bit big for public transport. Last night I completed the body section so today I will start the sleeves. I would like to make the sleeves tapered like normal sweater sleeves so I will have to do some sums.
Anyway here it is so far....sans sleeves...

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Knitting History is made and a New House is delivered!

Yesterday something historic happened, bear with me here as this is an "Historic Knitting Happening" so it will only really be of interest to the Knittyverse, all other persons of a non-knitty persuasion may find it rather dull. The event was the arrival, by post from America, of a very special knitting pattern.

The full story of the rediscovery and remaking of the sweater can be found here at the Twist Collective
I reckon that I will probably make it slightly longer and with the slimmer sleeves....not too sure about steeks through! that might be a bit much for me and what happens if you want to recycle the yarn at a later date? you wouldn't be able to. I will need to think some more on the matter of steeks.

The Garter Yoke Cardy #2 is coming along nicely. Last night I split the body and the sleeves and am a couple of rows into the body section now. I think that I will make this one a little longer in the body and also add shaping to the sleeves so that they are more like standard sleeves than the original design.

The builders finished off the house this week. We now have a new chimney pot, a repointed chimney stack, all the render has been repaired and so have the guttering and down pipes. The painter arrived on Tuesday and cleaned and prepared the house for painting and on Thursday I came home and someone had delivered a new house! well that's what it looks like. Our little scruffy white house has been replaced with a smart cream coloured one. DH says it looks like it has been iced, like a cake. The painter is also painting the doors (front, back and outhouse) and door jams so it will look super when finished. Maybe it will be all done for Christmas with the scafolding gone as well, yipee!


We had a slight hen mystery this week. On thurday when DH went out to shut the hens up for the night he met one of them in the garden! she was trying to get back into the enclosure. Heaven knows how she got out and DH was not sure who it was as it was quite dark at the time and he just picked her up and popped her over the fence and she joined her sisters in the hen house. The next morning I checked all round the fence but there are no holes. Now every time I go past them I am counting to make sure there are still three little brown hens, lol!

Yep...there are three:-)

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Frosty morning

It has been getting proper chilly here recently. On Friday morning we woke to a frosty start. The veggie patch looked quite pretty in the frost especially the chard leaves. The frost picks out the ribs on the leaves very well.

The hens, having never seen frost before, where rather perplexed at first but very soon just got on with things.
I gave them some left over chips.
They were not too sure at first .....but Miranda decided to investigate......

As soon as she started tucking in Caroline spotted what was going on....

and she went over to investigate as well......

By the time I went to work all the chips were eaten up! Chicken & Chips...ooops!, shhhh!

So that was Friday morning, but today it has been quite sunny out even though with all the rain we have had recently the ground is completely saturated so it's not really very good for gardening. Never the less I have managed to clear a lot of the garden in preperation for next years veggie growing and I have harvested all of my beetroot. Here it is, well, some of it.....

It is waiting for me in the kitchen. I think I will bake them all in the oven and then slice and freeze some of them for later and have some for tea tonight. It seems a shame to pickle them or make them into chutney when they taste so yummy fresh. Whilst I was trawling the interweb for beetroot inspiration I found this website - apparently beetroot is very good for you - bonus:-)

I have also been kintting this week. In fact I even managed some knitting on the bus..twice!. The second swatch for the Garter Yoke Cardy came out at 18 stitches and 26 rows over 4 inches on size 3.75mm needles! so thats aran (worsted) yarn being knit on little thin needles!?. I must be a loose knitter 'cos that is kind of nuts isn't it? Anyway, we have gauge which this the main thing and thats all good. The swatch washed at 30 degrees in the machine and came out exactly the same size as it went in - hurrah. So the cardy has been cast on and I am now at row 30, yay! only umpty million rows to go.
Here are some progress pics.....
Here we are on Wednesday evening about four rows in.

And this is where we are today....


Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Prettyness from Overseas

When I got home this evening there was a little cute envelope waiting for me. It had come all the way from Los Angeles, California!...... and inside were these.....

Arn't they lovely?
These Holiday cards have been designed and made by Jen aka The Fabled Needle . They are available to buy from Jens shop "Love, Liette" where you will also find all Jens lovely prints, illustrations, stationary,  knitting, crochet and sewing patterns. I think they make lovely Solstice cards.

Sunday, 29 November 2009


Well lots has been happening here. Lots of building stuff (more of that later) and hen stuff (more of that later too) but first is the knitting stuff.

I've been swatching for a second Garter Yoke Cardy. I love the one I knitted earlier in the year and my mum knitted one in pink which she gave to my niece after she took a fancy to it. It's such an easy sweater to knit and as I knitted mine in Robin Aran with Wool I can chuck it in the washing machine and it survives....which is just great for work.

So, I had been thinking about making another and I had purchased some green Sirdar Aran with Wool from my moms LYS when I went up there in September, but I kind of went off the green and fancied grey instead....with green buttons.
Que....trip to the yarn store, oh yay!

So I went to my favorite yarn store Get Knitted in Brislington, Bristol and spent a couple of very enjoyable hours squidging and squeezing yummy yarns. I did have a bit of a dilema though... between the lure of pure wool....Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, Rowan Wool Aran or Cascade 220 and the lure of convenience i.e. chucking it in the wash; Sirdar Aran with Wool and Patons Wool Blend Aran. The Rowan Wool Aran is superwash and I almost had that but they did not have enough of it and I wanted to get going as soon as I got home so I plumped for the Patons Wool Blend Aran which is 63% wool and 37% acrylic so completely washable and great for work.

While I was there I also made a few "off topic" purchases (you just know it don't you lol!)
I found some very soft and yummy Royal by Blue Sky Alpacas look......

 We need "feely vision" because this yarn is the softest, cloudyness ever. It is sooo soft and lovely and I have enough for Margot a sweater in the Fall issue of Knitty. I'll make it after the Garter Yoke Cardy though...must try to stick to the plan!
As I had not really spent as much as I thought I also purchased this

Its a needle holder for Knit Pro needle tips and is now keeping most of my needle tips all in one place. I say most because, inextricably, it does not have slots for all the sizes they make! What's that all about then? It's missing 3.75mm and 3.23mm....mmm weird...anyone know why this is?
Anyway, I like it although it does somehow remind me of chemistry class...Mrs Nicholson would be proud...then again maybe not lol:-)

So to get back to the swatching, after all the shopping I returned home and swatched and got this

16.5 stiches on 4mm needles over 4 inches. So more swatching is needed as I need to get 18 stitches over 4 inches.

In hen news, the hens are almost fully feathered now ....
here is Callie

here is Caroline

and here is Miranda

They are almost imposible to photograph all together. They are so funny. Their little personalities are really developing now and they come over and talk to us whenever we are in the garden. I have seen them talking with Postman Paul as well. He comes down the path and stops off to say hello to them and they all come over to say hello to him cute.

The builders have been working hard and its been so wet this week it's a wonder they got anything done at all, but they have. DH reports they are very helpful and are explaining what they are doing as they are doing it. This week they finished hacking off the rotten bits of render, sealed the stone work, took down both chimney pots and repointed the chimney stack. They also started filling in the bits of render that they hacked off. This needs to dry and then they will put the finishing render on. So we need a bit of dry weather please!

So, thats kind of it for to swatch some more!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Winter warmers and builders

Today I have been doing lots of cooking. I have made...
Rabbit and pork casserole
Beef and beer casserole
Parsnip soup

Also I pulled our first beetroot today. Here it is all unsuspecting in the garden growing away and not realising what I have is store for it!

Next it is in the sink with its friends the carrots, also pulled from the garden, and ready to be cooked for our tea...mmmm yum

So tonight we are having left over rabbit stew from Friday with three root mash and cooked sliced beetroot. The other casseroles will be saved for week night dinners while the parsnip soup is for taking to work for my lunch.
I will add some linkies to the recipies later in the week.

Also, this week we have had some progress with the building work we have scheduled on the house. Basically we decided a while back that as we had some money saved up we should get the outside of the house sorted out before the winter so I had our very nice builder Mr Parnell come and take a look. All was well and we were set for the off in September but then we found out that as the electricity wires are close to the chimney stack they would have to be shrouded before the guys could get up there. So, to cut a long story a bit shorter, we all had to wait of the electricity company to come to shroud the wires, which happened last week - yay!
So this week the scafolders came and put up the scafolding and the builders have started on the render - yipee!:-) I am kind of excited because we will not be the "scruffy house" anymore. Infact we (our two neighbours and us) will all look very smart:-)
Here are some "in progress pictures"

In hen related news.......
The hens are doing well. They were pecking me today! pulling at my jeans and jumper as I was cleaning out their little house and generally chit chatting to me as well - very cute. They do not seem to be phased at all by the scafolders, scafolding or builders.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Firework Party and other things

Last night was Johns firework party. A whole bunch of our friends are firers for a firework display team - Skyburst. We had a groovy time with yummy food and the fab company of our friends. Here are some pictures of our evening.

Here is Martin setting up a battery of mortars!
Yes, they were BIG and they were LOUD.

Here are a bunch of rockets.....

......and here they are on the frame used to launch them. I think there were about 50 in total.

The guys got all dressed up in their gear; here they are lighting their firing sticks.

We all had to wear hard hats and goggles because it was a lot of very large fireworks in a small city garden!!
Here are some pictures of the explosions. I have never taken pictures of fireworks before so bear with me:-)


In other news the hens are continuing to do well. They have put on more weight and feathers.

While I was cleaning out the hen house they were very busy helping me. 

Also, now that the trees around and about have nearly all lost their leaves there are some cool shapes....this is next doors Walnut tree. I think it is a truly beautiful tree.

 And these are interesting don't you think?

They are runner bean beans from inside the runner bean pods. I have cut all the pods off of the bean plants and am going to save the beans to plant next year, as a bit of an experiment. Also, in the post this week arrived this.....

There are some really interesting old varieties of seeds, in particular peas, that are as tall as runner beans and crop over a longer season than the peas that are available from "ordinary" seed merchants I fancy trying them, along with some Pole Beans and various types of Summer Squash.
Take care,


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