Thursday, January 31, 2008

Happy Flowers

project 365, 31-01-08

It has been such a dreadfully dark and grey January but my heart soared to see these arriving in the shops. I think perhaps I need a vase of daffodils in every room, I cannot help but smile every time I pass them them, they are so uplifting.

I love how their joyful heads greet me, there is something relentlessly cheerful about daffodils, they force me to look forward to Spring, a very good thing on these wet and blustery days.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Citrus needs

My January need for all things zesty and citrus continues. Do you eat marmalade? I love marmalade, I like it very particularly after eating a boiled egg. I like to have my egg with one small slice of toast, cut in to hot buttery soldiers and accompanied by fresh orange juice, I then like to follow with a slice of toast and marmalade, ideally the toast should be something wheaty and crunchy, Irish Wheaten Bread is perfect and this must be accompanied my strong, hot coffee. If this breakfast is bathed in low, winter sunshine; in a warm, steamy kitchen with radio murmuring in the background and perhaps a weekend paper, then life is as good as it gets.

Strangely, I am the only person in the house to get quite so excited by marmalade. Tilly is a jam or honey girl (I like honey too and have an equally exacting ritual to when I should have honey on my toast but I will save that for another day, in case you should thing me frightfully uptight...). Dylan likes marmite and The Technical Advisor likes to stay in bed a little longer in the hope that morning will pass, taking him right through to afternoon where he is altogether more comfortable.
project 365, 30-01-08

Both last year and this year I have been lucky enough to be gifted some really terrific home-made marmalade, courtesy of my friend Clare's rather wonderful Auntie Gill, thank you Gill. In addition to my little boiled egg and toast ritual I like to put it on gammon from time to time and even better, as the star ingredient in Nigel Slater's Marmalade Cake, The Kitchen Diaries.

The heady, steamy fragrance filled the kitchen today and a slice enjoyed with pipping hot tea was good, very good.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Oh Jolien

Remember Jolien? Did you wonder where she went? Well in fact, she was completed some weeks ago and has been worn a number of times but suitable photographic opportunities have been unavailable. However, the sun appeared today and The Technical Advisor was quickly urged to action with promises of tea and biscuits to follow.

Knitted in the oh so lovely Rowan Felted Tweed and quick at that.

I like the strange, collar/armband thing, details like these lift it from the ordinary, in my opinion. Not, however, in the opinion of The Technical Advisor. He "doesn't get" the collar, but then I didn't marry him for his fashion advice and thankfully he does have other qualities, there is all that "technical advice" for one thing.

I made the small size and the pattern is in the Rowan Studio Three book. I found I used more yarn than the pattern stated which resulted in a scary moment when I ran out of yarn and discovered there to be a vast, really gapingly vast, difference in dye lots. Thankfully my LYS angel of mercy raided her own stash of odd left over balls to find me an almost complete ball of the original dye lot. Yet more proof that knitters are the very nicest of people.

The fit is generous, I could possibly have sized it down a little although I am happy enough and it is unlikely that I would wear this sweater without layering it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Haven't we been here before?

project 365, 25-01-2008

If you are a frequent visitor here then you would be entirely forgiven for swearing at the screen and wondering how many times I can knit the same thing, over and over again.

Yes, I know I have made it before, more than once, or even twice (and those are only the ones I have told you about, I made at least three for Tilly when she was a baby.)

There is nothing exciting about this knit and I could probably make it in my sleep by now. However, you will see it again (unless of course, you are so disgusted by this ever repeating knit that you decide never to visit me again). I love this little sweater and it is so quick and simple, the simplicity of the shape and design make it an ideal newborn gift.

This one is in Rowan 4ply Soft and just in case you do not know by now, it is from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Not all knitting is created equal
project 365, 23-01-2008

Proof that knitting is not always a good thing. I made this beret over Christmas using the Rowan "member Christmas gift free pattern". There were some problems with errata which took quite some ironing out and frankly should have caused me to abandon the pattern. However, I continued and what is more, I am insisting on wearing the darned thing because for one thing I am a little stubborn and feel that the more I wear it the more like Kirsten (slouchy beret herself) Dunst, I will become.

Photographic evidence would appear to suggest otherwise, it looks sort of like a headscarf and not in a good way....


Monday, January 21, 2008

Liverpool Sunday
project 365, 20-01-08

I have written before about my love of Sundays, a wonderful stay at home day, filled with walks, newspapers and a roast lunch followed by apple crumble. However, once in a while we do venture further afield and break with tradition a little. This Sunday we awoke to yet more rain so we put on something smarter than our usual Sunday attire of "anything that goes wit
h wellies" and we set out to Liverpool. This city really is not so very far from us, about hour and a half to drive there but we visit too infrequently and it does have a wonderful "big city" feel to it.

We spent a few lovely hours (OK, lovely for Dylan and I, more like pleasantly tolerable for the Technical Advisor and Tilly just wanted to know why there were no pictures of brides or princesses?), wandering through the Tate Liverpool.

It had been so long since we last visited and it is such a lovely place to browse. Dylan was particularly taken by the Stanley Spencer works, he loves a bit of religious symbolism and was surprisingly knowledgable on Picasso, I was treated to an interesting take on the Spanish Civil War "according to Dylan". From where he has gleaned this information I have no idea, not school apparently, but I really must keep a more careful eye on his reading material.

As regards Project 365, I did indeed take the plunge and sign up to the Flickr group. I have been to-ing and fro- ing as to the merits of posting each image here on a daily basis or just posting on Flickr and am still undecided (I know, not exactly life shattering decisions but you really would not believe how incredibly indecisive a person I am!) However, if you are interested, you can follow my progress by clicking on the Flickr link in the sidebar, I will make a better link at some point.....


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

project 365, 16-01-08

How do you organise yourself? Do you keep a diary? Are you electronic? Do you just use a big wall calendar? I have a really rotten memory and it is essential that I write down appointments and so on. When I worked full time, I had a large week to view desk planner diary, one with plenty of room to write down everything I needed to do that day and it was very satisfying to tick things off. I was pretty darned efficient back then. Of course back then, I only had myself to organise. Nowadays I have two busy children to keep track of, two dogs and a husband, they all need keeping up with and we have a large wall calendar which only I am allowed to write on. In addition to my desk diary, I used to carry a brown leather filofax in my work handbag, this had all my addresses and phone numbers (imagine that, back then we used to write phone numbers down?). I loved my filofax, I felt so 90s, it had lots of little pockets and tabs and things, I suppose I felt terribly busy and important.

Over the last few years my filofax has become pretty near defunct, it is just too heavy to carry around, when I am so frequently carrying around groceries and various assorted children's belongings. So mostly, I rely on the calendar and various notebooks. I am never without a scruffy notebook, somewhere to jot my endless shopping lists, memos and occasionally the odd idea that might spring.

This year I decided to bin the scruffy notebooks and have treated myself to something altogether more stylish.

A little red Moleskine diary and notebook. It is so nice to have something beautiful to write in, makes the mundane day to day business of my life seem less Rebecca and a little more Hemmingway, (OK, maybe not quite as exciting as Hemmingway's life, but you know what I mean),

and it matches my lipstick.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Baking the blues away
project 365, 14-01.08

Baking is one of my favourite retreats on a wet, gloomy day. The whole process of choosing the recipe, weighing and mixing and then that lovely warm, scented air that fills the kitchen, transport me to a happier place. Somehow, after Christmas my baking desires change, I am not so drawn to the warm, spicy scents of cinnamon and cardamom. Nutmeg still thrills me but I am not craving it. Come January my tastes are definitely fruit related, I desire marmalade cake, all things lemon, fruity muffins and cherry cakes.

My face is turned firmly towards waiting for Spring and perhaps it is my desire to feel sun on my face that causes me to crave sun warmed fruits.
Today's sunshine was most adequately provided by Tessa Kiros, Apples for Jam, Berry and Buttermilk cake. Not dissimilar to a sort of giant blueberry muffin and what could be wrong with that?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dylan, age - 8, favourite colour - red
When I saw this year's Mini-Boden winter catalogue I was immediately taken with the brightly coloured tank tops, ha, thought I, I can easily copy this and rest upon my smug shaped laurels. None the less, it took me weeks to remember and suddenly as Christmas approached I decided that Dylan simply must have one to wear at Christmas. I took this decision as the chaos that is Christmas planning began to envelope me and this little tank was the perfect way to put off doing some of those Christmassy things that I really needed to do.

The yarn is lovely Rowan Felted Tweed, such a great yarn. The pattern came from this book and was very straightforward. I may even make another!
project365, 13.01.2008

Ribbed socks for Dylan completed. Gorgeous Sundara Yarn, in Heirloom Tomato. Pattern from Harry Potter Knits. Handknit socks equal love.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More rain in Wales

11-01-2007 Project 365

There has been so much rain lately, I find myself looking at this picture more often than normal.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

10-01-2008The sun briefly pierced the gloom today, I love the shadows it creates at this time of year.

I first read about project 365 at Domesticali and remembered coming across it last year too. I am not much of a joiner and in spite of finally getting myself a flickr account a few months ago I really have not got around to using it a whole lot, however, I do like the idea of this project and using it as a means of blogging more often and using my camera more often so I have decided to follow my own mini version of the project, right here, on my blog and see how I like it. Maybe, if I really get into the swing of it I will bite the bullet and try to join the group.

I will continue with my usual blog posts of course and I hope this little photo project will not put anyone off visiting.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy New Year to all

My goodness, it's been a while. For me, it always seems that the more I don't do something, the harder it is to do and vice versa. I miss a few days of blogging and before I know it, there seems no time to blog! However, I am back and full of the joys of wool. I may not have been blogging but I have been knitting.

This yarn was kindly sent to me by an American reader, Cassie (as yet blogless, but I do hope she will join us this year...). It is Sundara yarn in Heirloom Tomato and my gosh it's good. As squashy as a sun ripened, ready to burst tomato, knitting with it makes me think of warmer days to come, very welcome thoughts on these dark, gloomy days.

One of the nicest things about receiving this yarn was that it came with a lovely letter, so nice to receive a letter these days and especially when it comes from a stranger in a far away land. A stranger, as in never met, but another of those wonderful connections formed by way of knitting, it is so comforting to think that there is someone far away who I know I could sit around the table with and immediately feel comfortable, we would easily fall into conversation as though we had known each other for years, we would chat excitedly about knitting, sharing thoughts on yarns and patterns, we would love to hear about each other's lives and families, swapping photographs and stories, never running out of talk but equally feeling comfortable enough to stop talking sometimes and just sit back and gaze at our surroundings, pick up our needles and relax to the rhythm of our stitches. Thank you for your kindness Cassie, it is very much appreciated. So perhaps, in the world of knitting, none of us are in fact strangers to each other, our needles lead us into friendship.

The yarn is already being put to work. I am trying my first non-basic sock pattern, ribbed with stocking soles, the pattern is from the Charmed Knits book and differs from the socks I have knitted thus far in that it uses the wrap technique for shaping. I am not convinced that I love this method of shaping socks but I do so love the yarn. The socks are for Dylan who absolutely loves his one and only pair of hand-knit socks and it makes me feel very warm inside to make these and think of happy they will make him.

As for new year resolutions, hmmmm. I tend not to announce these as some perverse part of me then rebels against the pronouncement so I will just say that I intend to continue blogging and practising daily yoga. Last year I resolved to have just two knitting projects on the go at any one time and I pretty much stuck to that so I hope to continue in the same vein this year and perhaps extend the rule to continue sewing projects too; that way I may actually complete the lounge curtains which have been almost completed for months!