Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

As we approach midnight I want to wish everyone a happy and peaceful new year ! With everything that has gone on this year, I want to make 2013 count so will be thinking hard about making new year resolutions and setting goals .. Happy New Year xx lets make it a good one xx

Friday, 28 December 2012

Clearance yarns

So much for New Year resolutions then ..

Day one and what do I do?  Leap across to House of Fraser and fling bags into my basket!
I wouldn't mind, but I did a sterling job of talking my knit-pal-Sally out of her bargains  helping her put them back and what do I do?!  Rush to do what I don't need to do buy more wool!  Crazy.
Although, I have wanted to knit a red jumper, I have wanted to knit a garment in fine lace .. And I can't resist a bargain I hold my hands up I am hopeless!

As well as a bag of ten fine lace, a bag of 20 denim found its way into my basket too!
I wanted to knit a Kim Hargreaves cardi for ages and the pale blue is just my colour!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Crafty New Year resolutions

Talking with long standing craft pals it seems I am not alone in having difficulty setting craft goals and sticking to plans for FINSHING before looking around to cast on a new project.  Often this involves buying another new pattern .. Then there's the stash!  .. How come no matter how I look at it, it usually means another purchase!  WHY do I find it so hard to finish?
And why am I so easily distracted and find myself lusting over patterns and shove what I have got well under way into bags and out of sight?
Once put down, it's so difficult to just pick up and knit from where left off.
Well.  This year I am resolving that things will be different!  Things will be organised!  Things will be finished!  Things will wait patiently in a queue until I am ready to cast on!
There!  As easy as that!  Hurrah, I have sorted it! ..
Please, if you have tips to share on managing and organising crafty projects through from start to finish - do share with me! X

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas gifts

What a lovely day we are having!  currently the family are watching dvd sets of NUFC highlights (ought give me, what? a good 20mins then? he-hee!!) and I have had the turkey prepared and ready to cook since this morning!

We got up and got the meal sorted and underway - I like to cook my turkey the "Delia Smith" method so write it out the day before with timings and gas marks for ease of following - by my reckoning we ought be sitting down to enjoy around 3pm.

The family got up and we did the usual gift unwrapping with the cats becoming more and more exciteable as paper got scrunched and chucked!  We feed our cats the day before having experienced too many christmas day heave ups over "meat plus excitement!" they have now both retired to "bed"!!

My husband had a nice surprise of some goodies ordered from the the NUFC site and they are all watching the dvd ..

I had my lovely knitty gifts to unwrap and enjoy!
A special thank you goes to Sally and Brenda my knit pals for their yummy scrummy knitty gifts of book on squiliions of cast on and bind offs, and Knitting Goddess yarn and pattern!
Close to that my YUMMY killing III kit and the highlight = the Colours of Shetland book from Kate Davies which I love!!

Wishing everyone a super day and hoping their stockings were filled with suitable yumminess!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas!

wishing everyone a HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

The tree looks a bit dull - in real life its much brighter and hasn't as many gaps as it appears in this photo which is about the best of 4 or 5 I took!  I am rubbish at taking photographs! perhaps I ought make that a New Years Resolution to learn to take a good photo!?

no.2.son took a pile of small gift wrapped sweets in to share with his friends at College - most of our gifts are under the tree - all except for dh's!  he doesn't yet know he has anything!  but shhh! its a surprise!  We don't "do" gifts particularly between us, I tend to buy what I want and this year I have the lovely Killing III jumper kit and Kate Davies' new Colours of Shetland to enjoy!

Later on we will visit no.2.sil and her family including the "new" grandchildren who at rising-2yrs will be thoroughly enjoying the Christmas atmosphere - its lovely with small children isn't it?  I have a few friends who have small children to celebrate with this year - I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and most of all a peaceful and HEALTHY one!  The number of years we have had bad colds and sickness bugs - one year we spent Christmas Day at A&E with no.2.son badly dehydrated with severe sickness so I am grateful that ours have now grown up and out of such seasonal afflictions. 
I suppose in time it will quieter when the family are off our hands, but for now with a 17yr old and a rising-20yr old its a full and noisy household.

I am lucky that both of mine enjoy family moments, and no.2.son helped with the Christmas cake this year decorating the top - doesn't it look lovely?  Its a weigh-watchers fruit cake but completely soaked in sherry!!  We plan to continue with the "plan" once Christmas is over but for the next day or two we are resolved to enjoying ourselves and pay the consequences later on! well! it is Christmas afterall and it would be churlish to decline all treats!?

With treats in mind! I love finding things that have a knit or yarn theme to them, and earlier on I "found" a lovely candle with a cable pattern and last week while in Waitrose, I came across some gift food items with a "fairisle" theme and couldn't resist!
I love the shopping bag!  I bought four and have put my knitting WIP's inside for a festive feel and it doesn't look quite so bad as having lots of knitterly stuff strewn about the lounge.

I am looking forward already to The New Year! and this year I am planning to compile a list of resolutions one of which will be to take control of my growing stash and never ending queue of "must knit this!" patterns and projects.  there are techniques I want to explore and patterns I want to try, and yarn I need to knit!  but it appears I am rather better at starting than finishing!!
Next year I plan, too, to doing more sewing!
We'll see?
So on that note, wishing everyone a very happy and "merry" peaceful AND healthy Christmas! xx

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Getting into the spirit of things!

Tesco had a good price on the lovely scrummy YUMMY JD honey infused bottles recently and one found its way into my trolley for and .. for ME! .. fast becoming my new fave drink and just in time for the festive period!
dh and I have both been weight-watching some weeks now and while HE is thrilled at losing just a lb shy of one stone - I on the other hand have scraped a 9lb total this week.  Its SO UNFAIR! it takes SO long to lose!  I had hoped to have lost about a stone or thereabouts by Christmas but at this rate its going to be next Christmas!
In the spirit of things I have rather bravely I feel, put aside my "presents" for this year under our tree unopened and still sealed!
For two reasons: mainly because I dare not become sidetracked by the loveliness within and MUST MUST MUST do some FINISHING but starting yet another project .. I have some lovely plans for shawls in my queue but, again, am resisting casting on but its hard!  I don't know if I'm a slow knitter or whether its because I'm so easily distracted but lately it seems like I have bags of the stuff!
To that end, I enlisted the help of no.2.son and we did a big tidy up and I have banished many of my projects upstairs to sewing room and only letting remain those that I can commit to spending time knitting - its a risk - not least because its so much easier to get tempted into juicy new fresh projects while the older ones sit wrapped upstairs out of sight out of mind ..

This weekend we collect no.1.son and bring him home for the holiday! 
This week we took our cats to the Vets for their annual check and injections, worming tablets etc and disappointingly we are told "officially" that Bertie is no longer just a "big muscular healthy" cat - he is officially a FAT CAT!  the Vet confirmed he has put on weight and what we thought was thick cat-fur is in fact FAT!
Poor Bertie has to go on a cat-diet - well both dh and I are fully engaged in Weight Watching so he won't be alone - the Vet has ordered him some "low carb" cat biscuits and we are encouraged to get him playing/exercising more but it won't be easy - Bertie does lay about the house sleeping for most of the day .. (and night! which is, I suppose part of his predicament).
Lilly, on the other hand, little scrap of Lilliness is slightly under weight from last year, but classed as "normal" - we're told that she can eat the biscuits too and that they settle the cat's systems better as they are more nutritionally suited to a cats natural diet being "mouse based" .. the Vet was quick to point out that there is no actual "mouse" in the food .. I think dh found that comforting ..

It has been a funny week of getting things ready for the festive period - our shopping is now complete - the tree is up! and our gift shopping done too ..
Inspired by the theme of knitting Christmas bits and bobs I was thrilled to see that a lovely snowman pattern was included in the current editiion of Yarnwise!  I went a bit mad and knitted up a few!
dh requested a "NUFC" supporting snowman with black and while scarf and hat and has taken it to sit on his desk at work!

Elsewhere in knitting news, my two gifts for myself arrived last Saturday! and they are still sat wrapped in their packaging under the tree and waiting for the Day!  I treated myself to the new Kate Davies book - Colours of Shetland! and also the lovely series three Killing grey chevron kit from the super people at Knit'n'Caboodle who are kind enough to oblige by sourcing pattern and yarn for at least two of the Killing inspired "Sarah" jumpers.
I dare not open them!  I will become inspired to CO anew! and I must FINISH! first!

My festive treats!

the lovely snowmen!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Lovely Scrummy Yummy Yarn!


Fyberspates Laceweight in bright gold!
 I think I am a bit addicted to online purchasing!  Having had a rush of offers, deals and discounts I now find I have classes to download! and yarn and patterns coming at me from the postman at all angles!

The Knitting Goddess hand dyed laceweight cashmere

With a discount of 20% I couldn't resist purchasing this lovely pair of semi solid silver laceweight handyed cashmere from The Knitting Goddess - I am embarrassed to admit I couldn't get the discount to apply and had to ask for HELP!? lol!  Luckily the lovely Joy sorted it for me and after some dithering about whether one or two skeins would do, I ended up with two!  plenty of yardage there, then, for just about any pattern!?

I bought a fun book! too!  its a bit of nonsense really but fun and gave me a chance to test out downloading direct to my kindle ..

Also off the needles this week a lovely snowman jumper!  its a sirdar leaflet 2375

Quick to knit this is the smallest size and was quite fun to knit too but I'm glad its finished although now my dh and no.2.son have got interested in "christmas jumpers" and after seeing the lovely selection from Patons free to download I have had to say a firm NO! - the thought of rushing at this short notice through two adult sized intarsia "novelty" patterns is too stressful to even think about!
I'm not even including the link! I am forbidding myself from even THINKING of casting on ..

Finally! good news I think .. ?  the lovely ladies over at Knit'n'caboodle have FB a status to confirm they are going to be selling a "kit" for the Series Three chevron "Killing" jumper  .. (or at least thats how I read it! gulp! well I shall have one dropping through the letterbox soon as I've pre-ordered it so I hope I did read right!)

COLD! here it looks like winter is well and truly on its way, we've had terrific downpours this week but, thankfully, no flooding - dh had one or two mildly scary moments with local flooding on his route to work and I found myself wading knee deep across a busy main road but aside from that its now pretty much settled into dry but COLD ..  time to get the winter woollies out?  I'm still knitting Merrion and hoping to finish second front this weekend and concentrate on the sleeves and finishing!

My 5-in-1 glove adventure continues .. I've managed to rearrange both thumbs and three fingers now, and these are progressing nicely - this is a Craftsy class that I am enjoying hugely as I am a big fan of glove/mitt knitting this is perfecting my technique of knitting in the round and I plan several more ..

Weight watching wise, I am happy to report a loss of 8lbs as I head into week 4 and dh is similarly losing weight too so we are both happy and I am enjoying the online aspect and glad I chose this option rather than the traditional attend a group/class.  I am fully embracing my online life and find it really useful - even no.2.son is asking what we've got for "dinner" now!

In a couple of weeks time our elder son breaks up for the Christmas holiday and we can collect him from his uni digs and start feeding/fattening him up!  In his second year now he is thoroughly enjoying his studies and its lovely to see how he is blossoming into a lovely confident and funny young man - I think its doing him good to be independant!
Our second son is lining up Uni's for next/this year - I am not even thinking about how quiet the house will be when he goes ..

Monday, 19 November 2012

A few goodies from The Knitting Goddess

I simply couldn't resist placing an order with The Knitting Goddess last Friday - Joy had included a special discount for subscribers of 20% which is quite a lot and I promptly ordered some yarn and stuff and voila! as if by magic it arrived this morning!  what fun! what good service!

Joy's parcels are always beautifully packaged and a pleasure to open which is one reason for going back - the other reason is simply that her yarns have that special quality about them!  You can tell a KG yarn - a knit-pal of mine uses her yarns a lot and I decided to order a pink 4ply SparkLynne sock yarn for some future project.
Additionaly I added some little button thingies that can be clipped to hold a scarf or shawl OR clipped to a leather strap to make a bracelet - finally "never not knitting" sums me up in a badge. in a PINK badge at that ..

Feast your eyes on my goodies - MINE though ALL mine!

Packaged in purple

Lovely yarn and badge in pink
clippy things to make a bracelet

I might have said, or maybe not? dh and I have joined Weight Watchers!  part of the fun of tracking is in finding new recipes, or lower pointed replacement alternatives and I've been pleased that some of our favourite meals popular with the family are FINE to continue enjoying but one thing that is heavy is quiche! and followed by CAKE!
I worked out my regular "Hairy Bikers" recipe for rock cakes are a massive 8 each - FINE if I have just the one, but one or two over two or three days is not so fine!
Last week I discovered a blue berry muffin recipe which went down very well and at 4 points a bargain too!  This week I changed the blueberries for chopped baking chocolate and came up with choc chip muffins for 6 points! 
Even better - an alternative for the popular quiche!  its made with filo pastry and milk with extra egg and much less cheese than Delia's receipe which has double cream, a rich shortcrust pastry and LOTS of cheese - in fact the family expressed a preference for this "lighter" version so I am now keen to explore others!
This week I shall try a coriander and spinach soup recipe and some sort of chicken and sausge gumbo which sounds like it might be fun to make or eat!?

WW's quiche

WW's choc chip muffins

Friday, 16 November 2012

How lucky am I? a super box of gifts for me!

After the celebration of the completed Ravellenics earlier this year my new knit-pal - Peggy - and I decided to do a "magazine swap".  It took us a while to gather stuff as we had each decided to go for specific holiday or celebratory issues and in that time slowly added much yumminess to go with it!

I'm afraid very much that I am on to a winner here!  LOOK at all I got in my parcel which arrived in speedy time and conveniently my day off - absolutely PACKED with all things knitterly and beyond!

first though, I can show what I made (and sent) beginning with a London themed sewn project bag with yarn and a pattern and the lovely magazines The Knitter issue 50 with its "50 patterns" and Knit Now which had a lovely supplement.  Of course no parcel would be the same without a few bars of Cadbury chocolate! and a pack of Twinings tea to enjoy a cuppa while knitting!
Luckily my friend, Peggy, was thrilled but I still feel I am the luckiest ! x

SO .. TODAY I received in the post a huge parcel and look at what I received!

My parcel
contents revealed
Magazines! yay!
Bertie offers to help unwrap
Tree decorations
no harm came to tree decoration while Bertie "inspected"
chocolates! wow! hurry home no.2.son!
Malabrigo Rio and cowl pattern! yum!
And deliciously dark plum Cascade Heritage sock yarn!
last two boxes!
Hand wash soap! I love it! smells vanilla-ry!

and a scented candle already positioned
The full parcel revealed - ta-daa! how lucky am I?

My Christmas is complete! a lovely handmade card too x
The box doesn't go to waste either!  Bertie initially claimed it as his - the poor cats have had to wait for their biscuits to be topped up - far too busy opening up parcels and screeching at contents, I had the package off the Postman, signed for it and shut door with toe in undignified haste, the other toe kicked the cats aside (they always want to investigate parcels and love boxes!) hurrah! the swap has been FUN and I am looking forward to enjoying the magazines in full later on!

These days its too expensive to sign up for lots of these swaps, but this one came about after sharing a team place in the summer's Ravellenics and its been the most fun putting it together and of course hearing that the other person has taken safe receipt and is thrilled - I have screeched loudly my thanks and I'm pleased that we undertook it it rounds off the year just nicely!
NOW to choose which yarn to knit first!!

Christmas has come early for me! I hope everyone else is as lucky as I am now on the day ..

Monday, 5 November 2012

Knitting progress and haby bargains!

This weekend the local House of Fraser had a bargain box of goodies all marked down to clear - seems they are switching from Prym to Milward and they had lots of metal and bamboo straights for £1 a pair.
I picked up bits and pieces ranging from 0.10p to £2 and particularly pleased with the bamboo DPN's for £1 a set.

I can't remember if I shared the little earrings and stitch markers I made recently?  anyway here is another photo - sorry if its a duplication!

Nearly finished the back for Merrion and am resolved to sticking with one project in effort to get something FINISHED!  I shall return to Ice Queen as I'm knitting this in a ravelry KAL but I'm pushing to complete the back so I can feel virtuous!

The weather has turned cccolddd and I am glad of all the shawls and scarves to keep the chill at bay!

Happy knitting! and keep warm.

Friday, 2 November 2012

More Beads and a healthy warming lunch

Yesterday I had a mini lesson in general beading techniques and I came home inspired to have another go!
I have decided I am not particularly interested in making jewellery, but rather some nice stitch markers and my friend showed me how she does hers!  easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!
Inspired by how easy the technique I decided to try earrings!  lovely?

stitch markers and earrings

Maxsworld pink stud earrings
Of course there is nothing like having them professionally made!  I saw these featured in a recent knitting magazine and ordered them from here!  they arrived the next day despite my dithering and cancelling to reorder with surgical steel posts!

Healthy Lunch

 I much prefer the winter for foods and eating/baking etc and now its definitely turned wintry I am back onto home made soups for lunch, this is my particular favourite - roasted butternut squash soup with chilli - yumm!  my lunch today!

This is a seriously WARM scarf!  last night after knit night dh and I went for a drink and I was glad of wrapping up in this lovely scarf - I love it!