Sunday, 29 April 2012

New wardrobe for the summer. Yarn for Socks.

I wish I could say I've MADE a new wardrobe for the summer - but having done that twice now in the past I don't think I could stand the stress of it all again!
I'm sure I've blogged before the time when I decided to chuck out the ENTIRE contents of my wardrobe except for my then-working clothes some TWO WEEKS before going on holiday with a pledge to SEW EVERYTHING .. I did it.  just.  but I've never completely recovered from the experience and it still makes me feel dizzy and sick today just remembering the effect of the stress on my nervous system!!

ANYWAY. I'm not as "proud" either of my now-sized 14/16 new clothes as I was a couple of years ago when I last updated my wardrobe in 10/12 versions BUT I'm resolved to trying to lose at least a few lbs so as to look and feel a bit better.
I think that the medication I'm on has possibly played a part since "weight gain" is listed as the main side effect and I am as you know "sensitive" to meds and come out in all sorts of odd and obscure things some of which aren't even listed (but the Pharmacist attributes to the meds! - interesting, is how he described me - and complex is how the GP does and PLAIN NUISANCE the Hosp.Cons!).

Here we go:
I bought my clothes from Bhs as we have a staff discount card because dh works for the distribution site - also he had a staff bonus of extra 25% off in addition AND most of my choices were reduced in store as well - free! almost! practically?
I bought a new shower resistant 3/4 mac. (mind, looking at the weather which is again POURING down I think I needed a full wind/waterproof anorak!?)
I picked my "usual" black and then switched to this more tan shade. And I think I made the right colour choice.
Still not confident with colour I tend to stick to grey/navy/black BUT I am trying!
Trousers are my main staple garment mostly because of the swollen ankles I get I feel self conscious in a skirt these days and while it doesn't "matter" I do get fed up of fending off comments about them.
Mostly the comments come from the DR's! I'm now quite used to having my trouser bottoms lifted and a squeeze, poke and prod to my ankles including from some a peer up the leg to comment on the scar midway up .. I've got reasons to keep my legs under fabric!!
Four pairs ought to see me through.
I wish I could say I put the whole thing together! but I basically went to one corner of the shop and picked up what THEY had displayed together! still. why try putting own schemes together when the shop has done it for you? and at least they DO all complement each other? with minimal effort.

Three new tops and I have a couple of navy/taupe tees and tops and two ribbed jumpers that will match.
I'm pretty sure I've got yarn in stash that would? too? .. maybe I ought be better organised and start knitting?

I had a busy day - shopping for clothes (successful) and books for no.2.son son and YARN for me too! and then I met with knit-pal-Sally for a gossip and catch up over a pot of tea.

Finished off the day by mooching through the haby dept. and I couldn't resist picking up two balls of the LOVELY Regia Extra Twist Merino! in a lovely shade of 09351 sugary PINK I plan to knit "Marlene" in it!
I hummed and haaa'd between this and the lovely Regia Silk Color but it was the shade of pink that swayed it and when I handed it over to the Assistant I wasn't quite paying attention (because I was paying by debit card - have you NOTICED how "how much"? doesn't seem to matter? by card? as for cash? it ought. I suppose) but then something made me stop and look! £5! for the PAIR!
the receipt clearly states 2 balls of -code- sock yarn by Coates @ £2-50 ea = £5.00.
hurrah! a bargain?
IS this I wonder the price? or a promotion? or a mistake!
She'd gone on to serve other customers so I took it as correct and fled . I mean went off at brisk pace for the train home!
Luck was still on my side!
Not only did I have 3 bags of bargain discounted clothes, a fab buy of the ONLY copy of the brand new book in the shop for my son - a pair of bargain balls of wool - but I arrived at the platform just a second or two before my train pulled up! empty! I had a large seat to myself and my bags and texting home my imminent arrival a cup of TEA waiting for me as I step inside .. bliss ..
even the washing up was done! hurrah!

Sock yarn for Marlene
 All I need to do now is FINISH some projects!
Most importantly Killing sleeve one is very nearly complete, I knitting most of this last night while watching The Voice and BGT (loved this weeks ep! the Geisha! brilliant fun! scary!!) and I need to finish at least ONE sock to release a pair of needles to start Marlene!

Friday, 27 April 2012

A felted fairisle bag project & ebook

This week I decided to buy the lovely Liat's ebook on fairisle knitting which is accompanied by a lovely felted bag project to demonstrate the knitting and techniques.
I joined the KAL on Rav. and today bought some nice "wool" for felting from here - Katia a chunky knit on 7-8mm and according to the ballband a shrinkage of some 30-40% upon washing at 40deg in the machine.
I shall have to remember to take measurements ahead of shrinking!
After looking at some of the lovely colours, in the end I rather predictably opted for the neutral shades seen below - I think they will blend well and hopefully show the pattern being a light and dark yarn.

They are shades 09/brown and 07/beige 3 balls of each colour way.

This was a treat for having gone along to be frightened by the Dr this morning at the Hospital at the appointment booked a couple of weeks ago following my "faint" episode. 
It turns out I am rather anaemic and have been put on iron tables for the foreseeable future - the Dr said "until told otherwise!!" ..
Having been asked to hop on the couch for a quick exam of stomach I was just about to get up when he started poking at prodding at my (swollen) ankles and then deftly managed to sneak in a request I turn over! bah! still. got to be done. I suppose.  sigh. Mind, having said that having had two babies I think I've probably had just about the worst and embarrassing of experiences one is likely to have with a Dr but its the first time one has said he's just about to insert a CAMERA! .. I coughed .. he hissed .. I muttered .. he mumbled .. a camera!? hmm
Not good enough, he shot off and returned with forms and paperwork it appears have to return next week for a proper camera/look!
As I stook at the counter while the clerk booked the appointment it all came back to me as she piled in the packs of "stuff" to drink and I came over all pale and wan at the memory of the last time!
As I stook at the booking in desk the Nurse asked "how much did you manage to drink ... ? .."
all of it? ! I said .. (this is what instructed) .. oh! she said .. Good!grief? well DONE! .. all of it? yes. ALL OF IT. AS PER THE INSTRUCTIONS.
Turns out not many actually follow the instructions and I did say that it might have been helpful had the instructions hinted that "most if not all all ought be drunk" but she was still stuck on my having compliantly drunk it with out question ..
THIS time I shall make sure I've got some orange squash in! to disguise the disgusting taste!
Not sure that I shall get any results different from the repeat test, but having been told is necessary can't really refuse and still expect some diagnosis.
I tried asking about the blood tests.
I tried finding out if the blood tests told them anything. meant anything. were helpful.
I didn't get anywhere.
Dr's are very good at dodging the question and my Dr's seem to be excellent at dodging the patient! HE hopped it and scarpered while I was otherwise occupied and I turned to find the door swinging on its hinges .. oh .. thats it, then? .. goodbye ..?
I have to stop my warfarin for 3 days prior and the iron one week - I shall hope to have an explanation for my anemia if not my stomach problems once and for all. wish me luck! x

Tomorrow I am meeting up with a knit-quilty-pal-Sally for a catch up and browse at the "wool" in House of Fraser - I've been reading a lot on blogs recently about "knit heroes" you can read here about it - and my most consistent knitting-hero has got to be my friend!  Just for the inspiration and interest she takes and makes through HER enjoyment of all things woolly-knitty and I know I'm not alone in thinking this as it came up during the last knit-club as some of the ladies discussed missing her at her "old" job as Rowan DC.  We are lucky to live close enough to be able to attend the same groups and shops and it only takes one person to bring something "nice" and it sets the rest of us off and when I think about WHO that one person usually is that sets us all off (and spending ££ and casting on!) its almost always my friend-Sally! 
I had a funny moment when on one recent occasion a former colleague of hers overheard my saying that I was a "friend of Sally's" and asked WAS I a "friend"? an ACTUAL "friend"? - proper friend is what she meant! or did I just loosely "know her" - well we had a laugh about it because for the time after I kept finding myself saying "my friend! .." and it made me realise how much I appreciate the hobby interest I have in things crafty FOR the friends I've made through enjoying it with others.
She doesn't have a website, or a flickr a/c and doesn't do a lavish Rav. page so I can't share much other than say my friend Sally is my knitting-hero!
My all time long time bestest ever friend is also a knit/sew/quilt hero and she would be embarrassed if I flung open her blog and rav pages but Debs knows who she is and why SHE is my all time best friend. what a nice way to acknowlege people, I wish I were clever enough to link to the original blog post but I think if you type in knit hero to google something will come up if are interested.


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Poor Lilly - no teeth!

Poor Lilly! last week we took her to the Vets for a "dental" (we thought she'd have a sort of cat version of scale and polish!) it was later on in the evening before she'd come round sufficiently for us to be allowed to collect her and bring her home.
The Vet Receptionist advised she'd had "several" teeth removed .. and thrust a pack of meds at us for administering during this week and booked an appt for her to attend for a check up yesterday ..
I sort of had a feeling she was missing a few teeth .. dh got hold of the wrong idea and thought her followup appt for for fitting of "dentures" .. imagine! fitting a cat with dentures?
We muddled through and managed to get the tablets down her throat but it wasn't easy!
anyway, this is lovely Lilly lying quietly in a corner recovering on her comfort blanket which was donated with the two cats from the lovely Cats Protection at the time we "adopted" them.

Poor Bertie knows something is up! he's kept a very low profile! we think he knows its his turn next! but that will be some time away - it cost the best part of £170! ouch! still - can't have pets and not be prepared to pay the vets bills for their wellbeing .. we need a bit of a rest now from spending to recover - its been an expensive month with various things, and a busy one too domestically.
Hopefully now the lads are back to their respective college/uni and dh to work MY routine will become more "normal".

I'm still struggling with these iron tablets for my anaemia - tomorrow I have an appt at the Hospital to frighten a new Gastric-Cons with my irritable stomach! I'm not holding out much hope, but you never know! ONE of the blood tests taken at the time of  my "faint" might just prove "positive" .. for SOMETHING! .. anything! .. at this stage, I'd settle for anything so long as it had a "name" and a proper diagnosis!

finally! what can I say? but APPLE PIE! yum! I made this the day before son.1's return to Uni - he likes apple pie and I used the recipe from the Hairy Bikers cook book - very nice I'd make it again.

Finally! dh's Niece, Claire Lomas, was featured on a slot on Breakfast tv/bbc1 this morning as she set off for day FIVE in her attempt at the London Marathon - she anticipates approx 3 weeks to complete and it was nice to see her smiling and sounding positive despite the horrible weather we've had!  Please wish her luck and visit, if you can, her webpage - she is doing the challenge using a new "rewalk" system of "robotic legs" in order to raise awareness and funds for Spinal Research and has gained support from a stack of sporting and celeb corners with some offering to "walk" with her along her route.
According to her FB status, she expects to be featuring in tomorrow's itv Daybreak breakfast show between 7-8am so if you are able, please watch ..

Knitting Socks and Fairisle knitting

No.1.Son's socks

I set myself the deadline of completing no.1.son's socks in the 2nd of three colourways of this lovely regia world college sock yarn bought at bargain price from Kemps recently.  I had just under a week.  I made it! just! The toes were "kitchenered" late Sat pm while watching BGT just in time for taking him back to his Uni digs on Sunday!
I love them! the pattern is lovely! the stripes are lovely! the yardage is lovely! knitting them was lovely! what can I say? I LOVE them!
I still have one more colourway and might keep those for myself!
In the meantime, a rather BRIGHT stripe sock for me:
I've just finished knitting the first sock - its the same ribbed pattern as the other socks and looks better on/worn than just as it is now here lying there all limp!
I used my addi lace 2.5mm 100cm circ but this time for the picking up stitches and gusset, as per my other socks I decided to switch to DPNs for ease of knitting and keeping track of decreases.
I had to with the other socks as I was using a 9" sock needle but it made me realise how much I ENJOY knitting with dpns!
Unfortunately I prefer to knit the socks in one go ML style too much to drop the technique in favour of dpns for the whole of the pattern - I just find it easier this way - but it was nice to switch just for this part.

I've got back into my knitting!
I'm feeling enthused and inspired!
My projects list has grown! my queue is so long now I've calculated I need to make it to 313yrs ..
All joking aside, I've decided that I will finish my "killing" jumper and order a ball of yarn to complete the "frill edged jumper" and try NOT to think about new projects!

My killing sleeve 1 is on a circ and I've decided to do the version with the motif above the cuff.

Having put this down some weeks ago before my son came home from Uni and I got all distracted with hats and socks I decided I needed some "help" and purchased a copy of the lovely ebook on Fairisle knitting by the lovely Liat Gat who also has a lively Ravelry group to accompany her website.
I plan to buy some "wool" to knit the felted bag which demonstrates the techniques and get some practice in ready for my big challenge - the rams and yowes throw!!
I am trying, too, to learn to knit continental style and you might remember I managed to "learn" the "knit" stitch with confidence and getting the tension right during a trip down to see our son at Uni - some 4hrs worth of travelling - while knitting a garter stitch scarf over some 300st's!
Well, this time I CO for my regia stripe sock (see pic above) and tried to practice using this style over a "proper project" ie with purling and with rounds. 
I feel much more confident but in need of some "tips" to help perfect the technique so am looking to purchase either Liat's continental knitting course, or Anniken's continental/norwegian purl version.
hmm. not sure. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Claire's Marathon

As I said last week, Claire Lomas, dh's Niece, is walking the London Marathon as part of her quest to raise funds for Spinal Research and today long after the runners have passed by Claire continues at her own pace bravely covering every mile under her own steam using the rewalk "robotic suit" which she has trained for some several weeks now ..

Her Blog, FB and Twitter are being continually updating with progress reports and messages of support you can read her lovely husband, Dan's first few updates here.

She is being supported and accompanied along the route by various celebrities too and widely reported.

Here is Claire's just giving page for anyone wishing to sponsor her.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Three knitted socks, The Marathon, a birthday and knit club!

Well I thought might as well put it all into one post!
First off the socks!
I love this pattern from this book I've Raveled it here and these are the socks I've knitted so far using 2 of the 3 colourways I bought from Kemps in their recent sale/offer.

no.2.son's socks

no.1.son's sock

I like the way the colour stripes are nice and evenly spread and knitting the two pairs from different colourways makes it interesting to knit a 2nd pair as I can judge how the stripe effect will flow.
Both lads have seemed to favour the handknit socks - I do think its the sort of thing you need to wear to fully appreciate how nice they are and once you've experienced a good handknit sock you are spoiled for ever!
At the weekend I went along to the regular knit'n'chat group at local John Lewis and enjoyed the morning in the company of other local knitters - I do enjoy seeing in "person" what people are knitting and in the same way as nothing beats seeing a friend and their project so to is buying "wool" from a "proper shop".   There are benefits obviously to online yarn purchases but its always that much nicer to visit a LYS and its such a shame we can't manage to keep one going in our area especially when there are so many knitters out there - we must be doing something "wrong"?
Anyway I didn't linger - usually I have a good mooch about the yarns but this time I was going on to my sil's home to catch up and see her grandchildren as they celebrate being "one" ..

Completely spoiled in the nicest possible way: baby-Maisie! at one year old standing confidently and taking beginning steps to walk!  We went at the weekend to visit and take birthday gift and a small Cadbury's easter egg (she knew it was chcolate and wanted more!!  its nice to "spoil" someone elses baby isn't it!?)  Its exciting and interesting to watch a relative's baby develop their character and they change so much from baby to toddler don't they?
We didn't get chance to see baby-Arthur on this occasion but hope to on the next visit which will more likely be the summer now.  it was nice to take our own adult "children" as its the last week before they return to "normal" routine of College and back to Uni-digs ..
Lovely Maisie with Mum - Claire!
We all wish Claire the very best of love and luck for her massive venture to "walk" the London Marathon this weekend in her new "robot suit" and hope she achieves the target she plans for the charity Spinal Research.

Claire Lomas' Virgin London Marathon 2012 Interview on ITV's Daybreak (2...

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Happy Easter! - a sock & a ride in ambulance!

First of all : Happy Easter!
Although my lads are "grown up" they still require chocolate easter eggs.
This year we have a younger generation of "children" in our family with my sil's two grands and we're hopeful of visiting them very soon and looking forward to seeing their progress which includes walking their first unaided steps but this will be after Easter/London Marathon now.
dh's niece, Claire, is progressing very well with her "robot walking suit" and is nervously gearing up for the challenge of the London Marathon

ribbed socks
Progress as you can see is coming along nicely for my second ribbed sock from the lovely pattern in my Vogue sock book and I've tried to make them as close to identical as I possibly can mainly because they are for my no.2.son and he WILL notice if they are not the same!
I've knit down to the point where I start the heel flap and will switch now from my 9" sock needle to a set of DPN's until I complete turning the heel and decreasing the gusset back to commence the foot section.
Having another twoxballs of this lovely sock yarn I shall have got my money's worth out of this needle, but I shan't buy any more in different sizes!  its fiddly to knit with such TINY needle tips.

On Thursday just gone, I woke feeling unwell with a bad stomach and feeling sick, managed to get to the bathroom, didn't manage to get into the shower - nor did I make it back to bed!  instead I hung on to the towel rail and waited for the waves of unwellness and faint feeling to wash over me before ending up flat on my back on the floor still clutching the towel rail which I'd apparently pulled out of the wall!
My Husband "found" me.  Thought I was dead! panicked! phoned 999 and next thing I remember was a sharp "toe" to the small of my back - I yelped! HE said "oh! yes! its ok! she's def. breathing!" down the line to whomever it was that had obviously instructed him to confirm I WAS breathing .. or not .. we can't decide IF he was told to administer a sharp kick - I suspect not and on the quiet I think he agrees! still least it meant I was awake if a bit groggy!
Weird feeling - "fainting" - I tried to get up - couldn't - and the quick response from Paramedics confirmed that I had very low BP and best off not trying!!  Essentially I was advised to go to Hospital for check ups due to abnormal ECG (which proved "normal for me" due to my co-existing Atrial Fibrillation and A-Flutter).
My husband followed in our car with our sons despite my insisting that there would be a lot of waiting around in a dull waiting room for hours and they were best off left home, my eldest son was to accompany me in the ambulance but I suggested he didn't - of course he took no notice and simply got in the car with his dad and brother!!
On the way my BP dropped further and the ambulance man in the back decided we needed to get there FAST and instructed the driver to put her foot down!  Poor dh was confused at the route the ambulance had chosen and wondered if they were taking me to another local Hospital and then found himself on the road by himself as we took off with all lights going and huge sirens!
Anyone who has gone by ambulance in a fast ride will know that its very very bumpy and I was clinging onto the edges of the trolley, had my head dropped down and tried to lift it! my feet raised, trying to lower them! and being told "not to WORRY!" ..
Some several mins later we arrived and - yes! you've guessed it! the MINUTE the Dr came to me my BP returned to normal! bah!
I knew - gut instinct! ha! - that it was nothing to do with my heart and that it was just a "faint" but even so had to have several blood tests a go on the ecg and a ct scan (because of bump to head/warfarin) and ANNOYINGLY my results came through at the same time as an emergency so I was shuffled off to the dreaded CDU which is the Department from which there is NO HOPE of an early release whether ones behaviour is good or otherwise!
Truly this is the WORST department you could ever find yourself!  We've had two or three experiences of it and I think that next time it happens I shall leap off the trolley and flee before they get me there!!
NINE HOURS LATER .. they released me!  TWO HOURS were taken just to write my GP discharge letter and find some iron tablets!  And even then I still had a needle in my arm!   I was told I'd have to wait for possibly a further hour for a Nurse to remove it - I said I'd remove it MYSELF if they didn't do it themselves NOW! grr! so they decided perhaps on balance best doing it for me and shoving me out of the door!
Well the bottom line is, I am "anaemic".  hmm.  we'll see.  I have iron tablets.  And have to await results of blood tests to see if its for any reason.

I managed to get some knitting done in the last few hours when I'd recovered enough to be fit to sit up and do something and I'm grateful to my family for thinking of flinging in my sock to knit! they know me well!?
Although it wasn't their fault - I ended up being in the Hospital for several HOURS without anything to eat and only one small cup of water which made its way to me after I'd politely asked for a drink - I did explain to the Nurses as the day went on that I had only just "got up" and had not had either a drink, breakfast, nor, even, my am tablets!
Funny system for meds in the Hospital.  Apparently you can't take meds even if are supposed to without "permission".  I had my own meds with me which included "warfarin".  I wasn't supposed to take this - they said - unless a Dr authorised it.  I tried without much success, to SAY that it was THEIR DR originally that put me ON the wretched tablets!  In the end a Dr was fetched and he looked at the meds I take including the warfarin and pondered a while before suggesting I a/ wait till I get home and taken them? or b/ wait until no one is "looking" and then take them (in hospital/now) .. truly I didn't know what to say!  I think I snatched the bag off him and probably said something rude but I can't recall accurately .. I then asked "ok, am I to take the iron tablet now then?" (which they'd just fetched for me - no. apparently. not even this one even WITH permission! how MAD is that? this can't be "right"? I thought the whole point of having medicines is that you take them whether IN hospital or at home (unless they are changed to suit the circumstances)?

I had had enough of the nonsence and along with feeling tired due to all day lying about doing nothing but feeling "unwell" not to mention still dehydrated and hungry I decided to get myself HOME and phoned for dh to drive up to meet me!  Its such a shame! though? that the whole experience of being in the Hospital is "spoiled" by the peculiar system and rules of this one Dept?

Anyway, apart from another nose bleed on Sat following a trip to the local town to suss out "phones" for no.1.son I've been mostly "well" and just pottered about mainly in the kitchen!  Super classic Victoria Sponge and a less than perfect batch of chocolate cookies and a leg of lamb completes our Easter!
I managed to pick up a copy of the latest "Knit" magazine which is to be renamed "Yarnwise" in a couple of issues time, so that will be my Easter reading.
Wishing everyone a peaceful Easter weekend and bank holiday ..

Monday, 2 April 2012

Knitting progress - a sock and 2 sleeves

There has been knitting! lots of knitting and some yarn stashing too!
First off - confessions - this is what I've bought:
A few more Knit Pro needle tips to add to my collection and another cable all with a 20% reduction from the lovely Fibre Flurry shop which has now sadly and suddenly "closed" for business as a "shop" (but the owner hopes to continue with an online yarn shop in the near future and we all wish her well in this venture).

At the same time I have had my eye on some lovely colours of the Almerino dk Rooster yarn and decided to go for it and buy it for a striped top in the current issue of The Knitter but now I'm having second thoughts and might look for an alternative short sleeved top/cardi of some description.
if anyone has any pattern ideas or suggestions, please DO comment and share!

I love everything in the current edition - 43 and want to knit the following!
This is the yarn I purchased to knit Lori, but I think I may revise my plan as said above.

I'm fascinated by steeking at the moment and need to practice on smaller projects before I commit to starting the lovely kit for Rams and Yowes purchased recently.

I'm also interested in lace styled patterns and want to knit the sideways cardigan in some stashed yarn gifted from a prolific knitter and sewist/quilter but need to ask my good friend Sally who is just the best knitter I know HOW to increase the length of this by a few inches to suit my preferences!

Well I reckon that makes me around 103yrs by the time I've made a dent in my planned projects lets hope my eyesight keeps going!

I've got a couple of nice scarf and shawl patterns in mind from a library book, along with two patterns for jacket styled cardigans .. really I have too much filling up my head with ideas for my own good ..

Its nice to end on a nearly happy moment of a project NEARLY FINISHED ..

The lovely Frilled Edged Cardigan nears completion with just the sleeves to knit before attempting the knitted on edging for neck and sleeve hems with a contrast yarn after to finish the project BUT am running out of yarn and I'm hoping that I can get the remaining outstanding ball so as to be able to finish it!  fingers crossed! 
Originally this was to be a garment knit for demonstration at the LYS, however as this is now closed for business the owner has kindly gifted me the project and promises to send on the final ball which is kindess itself considering the upsetting decision she's clearly been forced to make - I shall call this my "fibre flurry jumper" from now on!

And even better a FULLY FINISHED .. SOCK! ok, I know a finished PAIR of SOCKS would be better! but this is the best I've done so far so it will have to do.

I knit the sock down to the heel flap on one car journey back and forth to collect no.1.son from his Uni digs for the Easter holiday and finished the sock this weekend!  I love it!
I have used the pattern "Ribbed Socks by Vintage Vogue" from the lovely sock book Vogue Knitting : the Ultimate Sock Book and there are a few patterns I'd like to knit from here too (but I think that takes me up to around 107yrs ... lol)
I purchased the yarn from the lovely Kemps Wool which have fantastic prices and I shall weigh the remaining wool after I've knit the 2nd sock.

I used my newish 9" circular sock needle purchased from the lovely Brownberry Yarns at a past knit event for all but the heel flat/gusset section which I knit with my DPNS, its a tricky needle to get used to - the idea is good but somehow you have to grip the short needle tip tightly but at the same time remember to loosen slightly the grip AS you knit .. takes a while to get into it and isn't as "easy" to handle as regular circs in ML or on dpns and I definitely would NOT do a "pattern" sequence!

Finally! yesterday was both April Fools Day and my late-Father's birthday - I think that might have put him in his 80's but my maths is poor at the moment.

A short baking post & tv catch up

Next to knitting and sewing etc, I like to bake.  I also don't mind cooking generally - although do find it a bit of a chore because its so relentless? isn't it? finding something "exciting!" to make for dinner tonight .. well I've decided IF the family wants "exciting" or "different" then they can come up with a few suggestions or pointers else they'll have to end up cooking it THEMSELVES!!
This is the one aspect I don't like; I don't expect to get a warm response everytime I present a plate before them of "dinner" but it does go down rather well if I at least get some acknowledgement of my effort .. all I seem to get is "IS there any SWEDE IN IT?" and variations on the theme that ok so I once came clean and confessed to "hiding" "food stuff" in with the stew, pie or mashed potato topping ... but really do they have to look so accusing at me like I've confessed to adding something "nasty"??
(ok. I grant you to them adding SWEDE to mashed potato IS "nasty" but thats WHY I hide it!!?).

I like things different to what my family enjoy.  I like butternut squash, lentils (and swede!!) and fish.
Now that no.1.son has come home for the Easter holidays from his Uni the first thing I thought was HURRAH FISH PIE!!
He is the only person that not only will eat but LIKES my fish pie!
I made this version using a left over section of ready made puff pastry and it was delicious!
I based the filling on a recipe in the Hairy Bikers cook book.

Another faddy thing is that of baking cooked fruit pies and sponges.
I had a fancy to making a rhubarb crumble this weekend, but then on Fri the Lorraine Kelly cookery slot showed a nice mini rhubarb steamed pudding that I thought might be nice/different!
It was/is!!

I had enough of the sponge mixture to make the six with rhubarb and two "plain" which no.2.son claimed as his!  Delicious, served with icecream.

We've been eating a lot of cake at the moment.  I think I've put weight on and half blame the cake baking!  but I think the richness of this latest lot of chocolate cup cake with fudge topping has just about seen everyone through to asking "no more cake! please!" - we need a break.  So I'm trying my hand at BISCUITS this week! starting with a nice shortbread recipe ..

This is my favourite book at the moment!

and I'm enjoying their current series on tv too.

And talking of series on tv too - these are some of what we're currently watching and enjoying (in no particular order!)
  • The Apprentice (and its accompanying prog you're fired!
  • BGT (loving David Walliams!)
  • The Voice (not sure how its going to work but so far so good)
  • Desperate Housewives (plodding on with it to the bitter end just because it nearly IS at am end it got a bit tedious a few series ago and ought have ended long before now!)
  • Once upon a time (we're all watching this and think will go one way or other soon
  • Alcatraz (no.1.son caught up with first 2 eps. to follow it with us while home - we're all loving it!)
  • Titanic (glad its a short series! but 3 of us are sticking with it although suspect dh only for the accompanying glass of wine to see him through it!!)
  • Mary's Bottom Line (just me, but I enjoy Mary's programmes and being textiles I like this one) the only issue I have here with her theory that £10 ought not be too expensive for "a pair of quality made in England knickers" is that NO its not too expensive for a pair however one needs SEVERAL PAIRS - buying just ONE isn't an attractive idea and buying several at £10 ea well for some of us we can't justify that expense no matter how much we might want to, and agree with and with to support generally a UK manufacturing venture.
  • The Big Body Squad (guaranteed to clear the room! hurrah! an hours knitting in total peace and quiet! I think it shows the side to obesity that we don't see from elsewhere and the difficulties in managing and coping from several people's points of view including the person themselves and its filmed tastefully and sensitively)
  • Supersize vs Superskinny (oh! another hour to myself! I'm going off it a bit lately, I think I preferred previous series where they've featured groups of people handle their eating disorders over a number of episodes or featured a "diet" or "food group" but this series interest in American obesity and what is being done over there is interesting - my favourite moment was when the American Nutritionist took the Dr along to a fast food outlet to demonstrate the response SHE gets when seeking to sign them up to record the cal. content and nutrional values to their menu options - basically they had to run for it! the owner was NOT going to play ball on any side!!)
Programmes we've finished watching include Dancing on Ice, The British Empire, a Chinese short series whose title I can't think of, and we've got two episodes of Upstairs Downstairs to finish the season, Pan Am which we struggled with to the end, Body of Proof which we enjoying in the end.

Next time I'll do the books that I've had out of the library and enjoyed!