Friday, 25 November 2011

The Killing - funny clip and the jumper!

I missed the original first series, but caught the US version which I watched with no.1.son - but thanks to the ravelry thread about The Killing 2 jumper, I've been alerted to the series just started and found it on catchup tv.  Tried to persuade dh to watch it but he struggled a bit and don't think he's too keen, no.1.son isn't watching it, either, apparently due to the subtitles.
I loved this clip that someone posted - the REAL reason people are watching The Killing!
Anyway the pattern can be got here.
Or you could buy one from here!

end of an era! no.2.son's certificate evening

Well its the end of an era! the last time we shall be going to a "school" event!

No.2.son had his Certificate presentation evening for their GSCE exams and it was a nice evening hosted with enthusiasm as the Head Master was proud to announce a super set of records for high achievements for the 2nd year running meaning a good result all round for "school" and students.
Hard to get our heads around the fact that our "children" are no longer "school children" particularly as no.1.son has both worked in a job and is now at Uni studying and away from home - how fast they grow up? and yet it only seems like yesterday that they were moving up from primary to secondary school!  time plays tricks on you!  and its played a terrible trick on me this month! its very nearly DECEMBER! already? how did THAT happen? what happened to November? where did it go? I'm starting to panic! and flung half a bottle of sherry at 800g of mixed fruit and plan to bake it into a Christmas and hope to finish it before Christmas!! phew! xx

Knitting this weekend, dems, mags and books!

On Tuesday the local HofFraser hosted a knitting demonstration on the shop floor with Erica Pask who was kind enough to share practically all she knows about knitting with tips and techniques and it was lovely way to spend a couple of hours - some of the ladies from the JL knitting club were there too - shhh! not a word now, but I also bought some BOOKS too!
Talking of books, Erica hinted heavily at a very nice book coming out soon for crochet which sounds like one to buy from Jane Crowfoot.
For ages now I've wanted Scarlet and when I saw the selection of Rowan books reduced down to just £2 I had to pick those up too!
Already I've CO for Banshee from Scarlet
As well as books, I've gone mad on magazines too and after reading the chatter about the new mag Knit Now I decided to buy a copy when I saw the last one in local Sainsburys!  Its accessories only, no garments or children's stuff etc but I was attracted by the gloves! (of course!) and also by the set of cable needles which include a teeny one which will be perfect for my current Knotty gloves!!

A bit like buses! they all come at once! this morning my subscription copies of The Knitter and Simply Knitting both arrived - JUST as I was leaving for my appt at the anti-coagulation clinic and I was SO keen to come home I practically robbed the Pharmacist of all his warfarin and snatched it and RAN!! home!! to put my feet up for a quiet read before the FAMILY come home!

While out, I popped into the local Heart Foundation charity shop and saw they had a collection of cones of machine yarn - its acrylic but the colours were nice! I picked one up for doing goodness knows what with! but a bargain for just a £1 for 360m's of 4ply!?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Flamenca shawl is finished!

Flamenca is finished! You can see it here.
I'm slightly disappointed at the obvious difference in the colour but I suppose thats the downside to using hand-dyed yarns in fact its not as obvious in "real life" but I'm glad the photo has shown it up so I can say it really IS different and not just me being fussy.
If anyone has any tips to minimise this for future projects please do share!  I'm thinking if I were knitting a cardigan I'd be really narked if my fronts were so obviously different, but for this type of accessory it won't be as noticeable.
Now all I need to do is buy a shawl pin!

My knotty gloves are coming along nicely, I've CO and am set to knit the 2nd - or I should say "3rd" since I reknit the first which definitely IS a case of over-fussing - bah! and I'm going to tackle the union jack scarf that I've been trying to avoid - cough - for some weeks .. sigh ..

Tomorrow the local House of Fraser is hosting a knitting demonstration and I have plans to go along and see whats going on and will blog with pics if I take any!

A proper SERIOUS chocolate cake : Mud Pie

Mud Pie

This is a serious cake for self confessed and confirmed chocoholics with a VERY sweet tooth only! (or, alternatively, greedy people like me who don't as it happens crave chocolate as such but do enjoy CAKE and PUDDINGS!).
Too much I think for no.2.son who IS a chocoholic and addicted to cake, but I think the richness of all the cream and marshmallows not to MENTION .. shhh! .. the secret ingredient of a large dash or three of Jack Daniels - hic - means I need to get some vanilla icecream to calm it all down.
DH who doesn't normally enthuse was very keen on this!  I think he meant it as a compliment when he muttered that THAT was quite easily as good as chocolate pudding you'd get after a pub meal! .. hmm slightly BETTER I thought!  considering the amount of fresh cream and the JD ..

The recipe came from the current crop of library books I've been enjoying - The Hairy Bikers best loved cook book.   There are several recipes in here that I've made and plan to look to buy this book when I see it on "offer" some time; in the meantime its a loan from the library for me!

Also on loan from the library, another knitty book which although a bit basic has some nice gloves and scarves in it and I do like to read books and find that loaning from the library offers a chance to decide if a book is one you WANT to own/buy and saves costly mistakes particularly if you buy without seeing them first online.

I've got several titles mostly knitting that I'm waiting to come in and will share as I get them.

I'll leave you with a last picture of chocolate cake to DIE for ..

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Finally we got to see our son !

On Saturday we drove all the way down to Colchester to see no.1.son for the first time since we left him there at the beginning of Oct.  I'm sure if any of you have done or are doing the same as us - seeing our children "off" into grownup-land you'll know what a mix of emotions it is?
On the one hand we're glad to see the back of them! joke!! but equally we want them to stay home with us for ever and ever .. anyway we were pleased and reassured to find our son had NOT faded away into a malnourished skeleton! was managing to keep up and understand his studies! and best of all - sadly for me?! I am proud to announce he can operate the launderette facilities AND sort his washing out all by himself!!  ok, I admit hugging him and planting big kiss on his cheek and announcing "GOOD BOY! WELL DONE!" is a bit on the mumsy side, but well, thats what MUMS do best? afterall? embarrass their children with over fussing on domestic matters.

Anyway its about a 4hr drive for us and I took along my knitting! you can see too that I'm wearing my recently completed "Tender" so I was all set for a lovely journey down ..

We'd taken a pile of food and useful stuff and ate our lunch with our son before heading off to nearby Colchester to have a look around .. now! I promise! I had NO IDEA that we'd drive straight into a carpark on the first street right round the corner from a branch of FRANKLINS .. but! I'm not sure who spotted it first all I remember is a mix of shriek - excitment! (me) groaning (no.2 son) sigh of defeat and despair (dh) and a brave attempt by no.1.son to give mum 5mins! and he must have missed us as he duly complied with taking far more photo's of ME outside the shop than I took of HIM and, it has to be said, at least his shots were mostly in focus whereas mine appear to have come out severely jaundiced ..
Anyway I had to pop in and look around, this shop has two floors and the yarn was upstairs and I could have spent loads more time and money but luckily for the family I was quite restrained and came out soon with a bag of two balls of wool ..

After all that excitement we took our family for meal.  Not at the pub we'd looked up and planned - they had a private party that evening, but luckily we'd gone past somewhere that looked nice and we ate around 6pm dropped our son back at his Uni and set off for home around 8pm ..

half way home dh announced he was in need of a break so we stopped off for coffee and petrol and I don't know if it was the excitment and relief of seeing our son and/or the caffiene/petrol but we completely got the giggles over some tale I was regaling our no.2.son with who unfortunately mistimed swallowing a mouthful of his drink with choking down a laugh and forgot - apparently - HOW to breath! and found he couldn't breath OR swallow and turned quite pale before looking somewhat blue!  We think he had a strange form of panic attack because his hands went all tingly and his face numb and he was still laughing but couldn't "do" anything with it to stop it! In the end I ordered dh to take him to the loo.  this is another of my usual "mums" advice if its all going wrong, just go to the toilet! lol!! anyway after several mins of him clutching at his head and insisting he COULDN'T breath or swallow and dh was looking nervous at the prospect of the staff dialing for an ambulance we finally managed to walk him out into the fresh air after dh took him once more to the loos to splash cold water on his face! 
I think we were all a bit over excited!

We are looking forward now to bringing our son home in December for Christmas - won't be long now ..

My baking (pastry!) is improving

One of my other interests is baking and cooking generally so its nice that it seems to be quite fashionable at the moment to be talking about cake! and eating it too!  When we visited our no.1.son at his Uni last weekend, I was interested that one of his flatmates was keen to bake "cupcakes" and was happy to talk about this and fling some of the rather fiercely over-red iced and sugared cakes I'd baked for our visit!  Its nice I think to read that young people are cooking and one of the things that dh and I found reassuring was that ALL of our son's flatmates were cooking "proper meals" ie from scratch and not the ready-meals/takeaways ..
It does take a little effort to cook and you have to learn and with experience and practice you do improve which is certainly the case with my PASTRY.  no.2.son remarked recently that my pastry was the best yet when I flung slices of "pie" at them for dinner!  this quiche was actually BETTER than it photographed - I promise!!

Delia Smith's classic quiche lorraine recipe

What I like best of all is that when cooking for yourself you can be flexible with what you make to suit what you can pick up cheaply and last weekend a bag of perfectly nice rhubarb was reduced to 50p and became this! rhubarb crumble! yumm...

Knitting Progress

First of all the lovely Flamenca!  what a lovely and super quick easy to knit pattern this is! As you can see I've nearly reached a point of almost finishing and as the stitches are reduced it makes each row that bit quicker to knit and I can't wait to finish not least because I have two more shawls waiting to go OTN's!! 
I'm enjoying both the knitting and the yarn which is slightly sparkly and think the colour is lovely - what do you think?

Next my lovely Knotty gloves! or I should say glovE.  well, I'ive got TWO but as I'm reknitting it I've actually got two right hand gloves!  I'm glad I decided to reknit it; I was desperate I admit to use my "new" 9" sock circ.needle but really needed the 2.5mm for this and reknitting it has given me an improved fit as well as the chance to reduce by 2stitches to ease in the slight "fold" across back of hand that results - we think - from the stitch pattern change from rib/cable to  I didn't do as was suggested in the end, and what I did do isn't quite "right" but a blind man would be happy to see the flaw in my theory (as my LateMum who was herself half-blind often used to say.  mostly when I was fussing over 1/8" seam .. bah!)

anyway, I'm loving knitting this pattern and having knit it twice already, feel sure that my left hand/second glove will be perfection!!

finished right hand glove, 2nd attempt

The pattern is Knotty and the thread in which the "fold" is discussed can be read here.

here are some more pics showing the glove being knitted in various stages, I used the 9" 2.75mm circ for the first attempt, switched down to 2.5mm's and for the fingers/thumb I used DPN's.

Knit and Natter - local club

Some of the ladies at knit'n'chat
Well it seems strange to end with where I started .. I mean this is the first chance today to catch up with events over the last week or so and of course it appears on the blog in reverse!  (geographically challenged! you remember.  ignore me. I ramble.)

After all the excitement of the lovely Fibre Flurry event, the following Saturday my knit-pal-Sally and I decided to meet up for one of the twice monthly "knit'n'chat" groups held at local JL coffee shop and run by the local Rowan DC, Helen, who had brought along one or two of the newer knitted samples to show off .. my pal demonstrates one of them here, (sorry, I can't recall the pattern name, the yarn OR which book it comes from!)

demonstrating a sample knit for Rowan
We both admired the lovely beaded scarf worn by one of the regulars and looked with interest at some of the new whirly scarfs being knit (or crocheted) and Sally brought along her new and SIGNED copy of this LOVELY book!
Having actually seen - albeit briefly - this book I can say with confidence that its a book I really fancy buying and not just for the patterns either.  Perhaps for Christmas? ..
(another book I fancy is this lovely book by Kim Hargreaves .. and while we're on the subjects of what I wants I wants this kit too!  after looking at Mooncalf's fabulous scarf and reading her favourable reviews and comments received about it.  somehow I don't think "Santa" is going to be quite sew-generous?)

Sally was wearing once again something new she'd crocheted and I was glad I took my camera along, its nice to see what you look like when wearing stuff isn't it? I think she looks lovely in this!

The excitement ended when we visited nearby House of Fraser and each picked up a bargain bag of yarn, my pal got a bag of 4ply reduced twice over and I was pleased with an assortment of Belle Organicdk Rowan down from £35 to £15.  gloves? I think? more gloves!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Picking up projects and starting afresh, new needles/yarns!

Well if I had lost any enthusiasm for knitting (which I probably hadn't!) I've certainly got it back after attending Fibre Flurry last weekend I found myself totally MAD on knitting SHAWLS!
I can feel another of my obssessive compulsive enthusiasms coming on ..

anyway, OTN's and knitting up very nicely is the lovely Flamenca.
I've really got established with this pattern and finding it a pleasure to just sit and pick it up and knit a set of rows to relax while watching tv or waiting for something to bake in the oven!
The yarn is nice, and I do like the sparkle but I'm glad that I didn't use sparkle yarn for SOCKS, I wonder if it would irritate? the sparkley thread? hmm

Flamenca Shawl
As well as the pattern and yarn I'm also enjoying the NEEDLES.  I'm knitting with 4mm knitpros and do find these a nice needle and I'm developing a small collection now of sizes.  Open always! to alternatives! I nearly bought a pair of square knitpros and in one way I wish I had just to say I've got a pair and to try them! But I'm pleased that I was tempted in to buying a pair of hiya-hiya 9" sock needles from Brownberry yarns last weekend.  they are slightly tricky to get used to as the tips are small to handle/knit with but the actual process of the knitting in the round is much easier!  I suppose it would be? I know you could stop at any point with DPN's or ML, but somehow you really CAN stop anywhere with these!
I wanted to CO for Marlene a sock pattern I've had planned for ages, but in the end I didn't have the right yarn for it and when a few of my craft-pals expressed some interest in knitting gloves decided instead to CO for these!  a pair of gloves! in this! yum!!  I think what I'll do is get some jitterbug for Marlene - in pink!

Knotty Glove
The colour is actually not showing correctly, its actually a defnite "green" this looks more blue, but it might be the light/shot, I'll try and take another one and update the photo but you can see that I've knit most of the 6.5cm cuff already.  I bought it from the fibre flurry "shop" - Natural Dye Studio.

Elsewhere back OTN's is the hem border for Cloud!  which was temporarily abandoned for some reason I can't recall and I dug it out and decided to pick up where I'd left off - after ages trying to worth out WHERE in the 36rep row pattern sequence I had left off and HOW to resume the border in the end I pulled it OFF and started again.  Tiresome, as I had done about 1/3 of it but thats what you get for leaving projects without adequate notes detailing exactly WHERE you left it at the time!?

I started this before I had my little "head" problem, but since last Sept I have had difficulties with some aspects of my memory and now I find that this is a pattern I need to sit and concentrate on, again I ought perhaps to have knit this in one go at the time when I could knit it! never mind, I wasn't expecting to go all woolly in the head now was I?

Anyway, this is a photo I took after 1 complete set of the pattern and as you can see its GREEN! hmm. I seem to be definitely attracted to green at the moment.  Already I have planned another project from this book - this time in a nice shade of brown/calmer.  but we'll see.  I have further plans for another project from Rowan 50 using this.

Pattern repeat for Cloud border
FINALLY to round the week another batch of baking! yum this time some easy-peasy Rock Cakes from the Hairy Bikers mums know best book I've still got from the library.  really nice and spicy I got 9 generous sized cakes from the mixture which is handy given there are 3 of us in our household at the moment ..
Rock Cakes
Tomorrow I'm looking forward to meeting up with knit-pal-Sally and we're going to go to the knit and chat am session - with our knitting!!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

me wearing Arielle

this was about the best photo even though it does have the lamp thing appearing to be plugged into back of my head - and I've got rather scary-hair too!! more of a summer knit and looks much better on the model in the book but I'm pleased with all the same!  see? I'm wearing my badge too! eat/knit/sleep!