Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whilst drinking coffee this morning


I read this post and remembered just how it felt.

And I felt sad that I would not do this again and I wished that I had done it more.


For the feeling of a baby snuggled on your chest, gently sleeping, breathing that sweet baby breath upon you is such a precious thing.

And those who say that you will form bad habits, that your baby will not sleep without you, they forget that one day the chance to let your baby sleep upon your chest will be over. Babies no longer, your children will be bigger and will not want to snuggle in to your chest to sleep.


There is just a small window to do these things, before you know it great big chunks of life go by. So we must make the most of every moment, these days are short and finite.

Of course, please do not misunderstand me, I am enjoying every moment of my children growing up and every stage of development brings its own favourite moments so I hope this does not seem a sad post, it isn't meant to be sad. Seeing Six One Seven's
post just brought my own memories sharply into focus for a moment and I missed that feeling.


In case you were wondering, it's a Marmalade Cake with orange icing, from The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen. It's very good.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sudbury silks and signs of Spring


This morning I saw snowdrops on the way to school, my heart leapt at the sight and in my mind I went briefly back to Wales and thought of my little hillside there which is no doubt covered in snowdrops right now, although they may not be quite ready to flower but poised, on the point.


We had more snow yesterday and the days remain cold and grim but the memory of a strong sunny day last week is still in my memory, combine that with the sight of snowdrops and other bulbs ready to burst and I know that the back of winter is broken. The only way is up.


Of course whilst the air remains cold scarves are still a necessity and clearly the man who gives his wife eighty pink roses deserves a beautiful scarf.


Based on the Denise Schmidt patchwork scarf once again.

This time a more masculine take. I made the whole thing narrower and longer and used many, many strips.

The fabrics thrill me. Tie silks in so many colours and patterns. This area of Suffolk has strong historical links with the weaving and silk industry and Stephen Walters and Son continue to prosper in Sudbury, my local town. I was much too excited to discover their fantastic mill shop where you can buy tie silk by the half metre or indulge in a lucky dip bag of off-cuts for just a few pounds. My head buzzes with possibilities, I love these tie silks, they make my heart beat faster. I have a rather alarming urge to turn them into curtains and definitely a dress.

But for the moment I contained my excitement in this scarf. There are some daring flashes of colour, a little purple, some bright pink but plenty of sombre navy and all backed with a sombre pinstripe to balance it out.


I'm afraid the Technical Advisor has not been paying proper attention to America's Next Top Model. He proves a rather unwilling model, so I snatched what shots I could.


I must also draw your attention to the hand-knitted hat upon his head and tell you that on this half-term trip to London I had one of those thrilling moments, that only a knitter can fully appreciate, when I realised that all of us were wearing hand-knitted hats. Oh happy day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a better light



The Technical Advisor is concerned that my last post may not have shown him in his best light.




He is not sure he wants to be associated with the home-made panties thing.



It is hard to be the husband of a blogger.




Hard when you know that at any moment your deepest secrets may be exposed to a virtual world.


So I thought this post might show him in a better light.




Because he bought me roses for Valentines Day. Eighty pink roses. It was late on Saturday and the market was packing up, he bartered and struck a deal. He had to carry them through town, it was dark, the pavements were icy, it was freezing cold and eighty long-stemmed roses are not the easiest thing to carry when your fingers are numb with cold.

But he did it because he knew how they would make me smile. He knew I would laugh when he sprung them upon me, he knew I would gasp with delight and surprise.


He knew how much fun I would have distributing eighty pink roses around the house, filling all sorts of available vessels and he knew how I would enjoy photographing the results of my labours. So you see, home-made panties or not, he's a keeper this Technical Advisor, a definite keeper.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My favourite sort of gifts


I think perhaps it is no secret that I love a little baby knitting. In fact it would be fair to say that my broodiest moments of the last few years have been strongly linked to a desire to make more baby things.


Luckily I do not need to go to such lengths just yet as other people keep obliging me. I have two baby gifts on the go at the moment, one for a girl and one for a boy, pretty darned perfect then.


This is my usual go-to baby sweater. I've made it so many times but I just don't tire of it at all. The pattern is found in Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. I used to make this in Rowan 4ply Soft but unbelievably Rowan have seen fit to discontinue this yarn. Don't you just hate when that happens, I loved that yarn, I could rely on, it was always there, lots of yardage and all my favourite colours, charcoal for a boy, deep pink for a girl. It knitted up perfectly and washed well too. Sigh.


Ahh well, I guess we have to move with the times (but why Rowan, why???) So I substituted Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, it's not quite right though, I really had to fiddle about to get the tension correct and I will have to investigate other alternatives to the Rowan 4ply Soft, any suggestions greatly appreciated.

I made some tiny bloomers to match and I was very pleased with this petite grey/pink combination, I held the little bloomers up so that
the Technical Advisor might join me in admiration and he said "Oh, you made yourself some panties". !!!! Yes, words failed me too.



Of course, I suppose it is not entirely beyond the realms of possibilty that one day I just might make my own panties.


Add one smartly dressed lady mouse and this gift is complete, my broodiness momentarily satisfied.


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Sunday, February 07, 2010

The whole crazy comment thing


First of all I must point out that the pictures accompanying this post have no relevance to the content at all but I felt that the only relevant pictures might involve my pulling my hair out and no one wants to see that!


I have had a little trouble with my comments of late. For a long time I had been using Haloscan rather than the default Blogger system. This worked reasonably well, not perfectly but I found it easier to respond directly to comments that with Blogger. In fact Blogger then improved their system making it a little easier, well easier if commentors were registered with Blogger, but at t
he time it was simpler to just stay with Haloscan and save messing around with importing/exporting comments and what not (naturally I write this with no actual idea of the messing about required as these sort of tasks do of course fall to the dear Technical Advisor).


Then in December I received an email telling me that Haloscan would be no more and I must pay to upgrade to Disqus or risk losing my comments, the deadline was 26th December, so in a post-Christmas panic I just paid the money and did it. There were way too many other things on my mind at the time.


Sadly Disqus has not been so good, I know that a number of you have struggled with the new system and from my end it has been somewhat haphazard too so this weekend the long-suffering Technical Advisor has taken the matter in hand and replaced Disqus with Blogger which I hope will be easier all round. The old Haloscan comments are not visible at present but I do still have access to them and comments on the most recent post were received and enjoyed but just not visible at the moment.

So, let's hope that is a firm line under the whole matter and that things will be a bit more normal around here and I do hope that you will all continue to comment because I do so love those comments, it's nice to know that there is someone out there... Thank you.

Edited to add: The very long-suffering TA has just pointed out that I missed out a great big step in the comment journey. In fact the Haloscan enforced upgrade was to JS-Kit's Haloscan replacement which turned out to be not at all what I needed and the dear TA spent too much of his precious free time hours surfing around and doing all that messing around in changing from JS-Kit to Disqus. Yes, the poor old TA has spent a great many hours messing around with my comments these last few weeks which is perhaps not what he wants to spend his spare time doing, given that he spends long working hours messing around with computers. I think perhaps another batch of rock buns may be in order. Perhaps I should make him a batch all to himself.

Friday, February 05, 2010

no apologies


I have written about these before but I make no apologi
es for mentioning them a gain. It's early February and winter is yet to take the hint and leave us be so I keep baking. Baking my way through the cold, grey days, bringing sweet delight to warm our souls.


Peanut butter and chocolate tick all the boxes. Salty, sweet and squidgy, does it get any better?


Blondies from the excellent Bake by Rachel Allen. I have certainly mentioned this book before, it's a good one. I fully recommend the soda bread recipe too, I am dipping hot buttered slices of it into lentil & bacon soup at this very moment. Oh warm winter lunch, how I love thee.


Hmmm, winter had better leave soon or my hips will be firmly wedged in this chair!

Monday, February 01, 2010

a little Libby


When I first saw the Friend to Knit With Libby cardigan last year I immediately joined the voices calling for the pattern and was duly rewarded when Leslie gennerously made the pattern freely available. Leslie took her inspiration from the Boden catalogue and funnily enough that same Boden cardigan had caught my eye too and I immediately wondered how easy it would be to create my own. However, unlike clever Leslie, my thought remained no more than a thought in my head.

I love this cardigan, Leslie did such a good job. Her version is in fact a simplified version of the Boden one, there are no cables but the simple garter stitch details marry perfectly with the swing shape and I think I like this version even better.


It was quick to knit, even taking into account the need for me to do a little maths in sizing the pattern down.


I used Rowan Felted Tweed which I suspect may be a little lighter than Leslie's yarn choice but I swatched a couple of times and eventually got gauge.


I am particulary impressed by how well Leslie's sleeve caps work. Neatly setting in sleeves often gives me a headache but Leslie's seem to work perfectly, the neat, sharp line shoulder line gives me huge satisfaction.


Another interesting note is that the sleeves are slim fitting and I love this, I often knit sleeves that seem ridiculously loose and baggy, in fact in recent years I frequently find myself having to ignore the pattern instructions on the sleeve size and re-writing to suit my preference for a neater fitting sleeve. It is not that I or my children have particularly slim arms but it just seems that many knitting patterns come with very wide fitting sleeves, perhaps it is to enable the wearer to keep all manner of strange things up their sleeves?


If you have been considering knitting Libby but are worried about re-sizing then please do not let that put you off. It was really easy to work out what adjustments to make and I promise you that I am very bad at these sort of calculations but this didn't even have me swearing. So come on, no excuses, just go for it.