Sunday, 18 April 2010

Spring is springing

For the past couple of weeks the weather has been getting warmer, Spring is springing!.
This was the view from the field behind our house early one bright spring morning. The tree is an oak and he's in the middle of the field; you can just see the back of our house over the river if you look really really hard.

There are no leaves yet just tiny little buds which are just about to pop.

  Here's the tree from furthur up the field, its such a groovy tree and must be very old.

 At the top of the field a stile takes you through a little patch of woodland before popping you out on to a lane which follows the side of the hill. On the way through the woodland I came across these little violets which are, suprisingly, white not violet. There was quite a big patch of them and they were all white.

The lovely weather has continued into the weekend which has been lovely and sunny. In order not to waste the lovely sunshine I bought a washing line spinney thingy. You see we lost our washing line when we had the house fixed up last December. The original line was along the path at the side of the house; fixed between the telegraph pole at the back of the house and the cast iron rain water down pipe at the front of the house. When the cast iron rain water down pipe was replaced with a modern plastic one (the builder tried his best to save it but it was beyond hope) we couldn't tie the washing line to it as we didn't want to break the, no washing line:-(. I have looked and looked and no one seems to stock washing line poles, the ones that you sling a washing line between. All new washing lines are the worrly spinney sort, so I have relented (for now) and we have a worrly, spinney washing line. Here it is in action! I do like putting out washing:-)

The garden is looking pretty with lots of spring flowers blooming. Down the side of the house I have daffodils, hellebores, spurge and the flowering currant.

And the Victoria Plum tree has lots of blossoms on it so hopefully we should have lots of plums again this year

The hens have been chilling in the sunshine. DH said that Caroline looked like a teacosy, he he:-)
 She wasn't laying an egg just chillin' out and at one time during the afternoon I reckon she was acctually snoozing, very cute.
In spinning and knitting news I did a spot of dyeing followed by a spot of spinning. This was the last of the BFL fibre that I purchased from the Spinning Wheal

I have also been trundling on with the Knitty Squares blanket. I've found that the squares are really very portable which means that I have been knitting them on the bus in the morning on the way to work. Our bus has a couple of single seats one on each of the wheel arches of the front wheels and they are perfect for knitting so I have been sitting there recently. The squares knit up pretty fast and as of today I have these completed.

They are all the same size with 34 stitches on each side. The plan at the moment is to make lots of them and then pick a "joining colour", do a few rounds in the "joining colour" and then graft the whole lot together.

I hope that you have all also been having good weather wherever you are:-)

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter Knittyness

Hello Everyone and Happy Easter!
The sun is finally shining here although it is very blowy indeed and a bit chilly.

So, what have I been up to? 
Well, I recieved a lovely package from Patsie over at French Letters. Thank you Patsie.

Patsies package contained two skeins of her hand dyed and hand spun singles yarn and a skein of fussah silk which she spun from fibre from Tree Top Harmonies. The wool singles are at the back of the picture while the silk is at the front. With the yarns came a lovely letter which containes a pattern for basket cables. I'm not sure what I will make with the yarn yet but I think I will probably go for a shawl and edge it with the silk? not sure...mmmmm.

I have also be doing as spot of dyeing. This time with red, brown and green which produced this.....

The colours came out a bit paler than I thought they would but I do like them so I'll keep it like it is. The fibre (BFL) was dyed using the "roasting tin baking method" which seems to work well in the simmering oven of my AGA. It's a lot simpler and easier for me than steaming the fibre in a pan on the hob so I think I'll stick with baking it!  I haven't spun it up yet, but when I do there will be pictures I promise.

Carrying on the dyeing and fibery theme DH and I went to the Spinning Wheal where he got to see what I spend my money on! and I got to spend some, ha ha :-) I bought some more dyes - scarlet, rust and green; they are Ashford Wool Dyes for Protein Fibres I also got a couple of bobbins and some more BFL combed top. I have also been getting to grips with some of the Jacobs fleece that my neighbour donated to me. I washed a load of it by teasing it out and submerging it in hot water with a dose of Fairy Liquid added. I then put it on the hob and heated it up to 90 degrees C and held it at that temperature, with the help of my jam thermometer, for about ten minutes before rinsing it carefully. I managed not to felt it and it is definatley cleaner than it was. I just need to card it and it'll be good to go:-) Here it is after being washed. It's drying out on a towel placed on the top of the simering plate lid of the AGA.

Now the question of what to knit after the marathon that was the Snowflake Blankie has been rumbling about in my head for a while now. I did think that I would start on a crocheted Ripple Blankie and so have been gathering together lots of different colours of double knit, mainly Patons Diploma Gold, which comes in a range of lovely colours, is machine washable on the wool cycle and does contain a fair amount of wool. But I have also been contemplating a few other things as well one of which is another blanket but this time a knitted blanket.

This blanket is from the April chapter of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitters Almanac. It is made up of squares knitted from the centre outwards and then grafted together to give the impression of a piece of knitting which has been knitted in many directions at interesting! So I have been experimenting with squares and have decided on a method that I like. My method is slightly different from EZ's April Mystery Blanket and should mean that my blankie is a little simpler than hers but just as good.

Instead of yarn overs eitherside of a single seam stitch I'm going with a double increase of M1, K2, M1 so that I can join the pieces together right to the corners before picking up stitches all round and knitting an edge. As this is a long term project I'll probably be knitting other things along the way as well as finishing off some items still to be completed.

And to finish off todays post here are some Easter pictures of some of the flowers in our garden. The dafodills, which are by the back door, where being very well buffeted by the rather blustery conditions this afternoon.

Happy Easter:-)


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