Friday 29 January 2010

I've been out

Yesterday I travelled down to Darlington with Mr FF who had meetings there. Even though it meant getting up at 6 am and leaving home well before 7, something I am really not used to, I had a lovely day. Mr FF dropped me off in the town by 10 and I relished the prospect of 6 hours to please myself.
I did a little light shopping, some pillow cases in the final sale reductions and this pretty sequined silk and linen clutch bag I found in a charity shop for less than £5. I thought it would be a glamorous way to carry my sock knitting but now I wonder if it might be better suited to a smart evening event or a summer wedding. I'm such a sucker for labels.I called in at A Fine Yarn as I needed to buy a couple of presents that I obviously can't reveal. I also came away with a colourful set of Knit Pro needles for me, shown here with my travel knitting
and a new pattern book, Sugar and Spice by Patons, that includes this pretty bolero that takes just 100 g of 4 ply cotton. I thought at first it was a crochet pattern but no its knitting, the effect without the effort suits me. There are several patterns in this book that I will never use, the knitted dress on the right is an example but there is also a cross over top I might attempt some time.I showed great restrain in not buying any more yarn, in fact I think I showed great retail restraint all round. I also met up with a friend I hadn't seen for over 20 years though we have kept in touch. So much to talk about that I was late meeting Mr FF for the journey home and my head was so buzzy last night that despite the early start I couldn't sleep, too much stimulation I suppose, it was my first real day out this year.

Saturday 23 January 2010

Colour me happy

The world is a much better place now that all the snow is melting, living with so little colour for the past weeks has been grim but knitting never fails to brighten the day and I've completed quite a few items.This child's jumper in pure cotton
These socks using the wool I bought in Lucca, Italy a while ago. For some reason one came out zig zag and one stripey, strange because both batch numbers were identical, I have no objection to the same but different result
These Regia socks are for Mr FF, I wasn't sure if he actually wanted a pair as bright as this, all the others I've made for him have been in sensible single colours but he said they are the best ever. I gave them to him last night, as usual he hadn't noticed what I'd been knitting, and this morning he said again and without prompting how much he likes them.
And finally a little pair for Amelia from the pattern book I received from a friend in the States, thanks Barb. Knitted in exactly the same way as an adult pair, I hope Amelia likes hers socks much as her great uncle likes his.
The final spot of colour in my life at present is of course my bruise, it has now developed some interesting shades of purple and black, but its going to be fine so thank you all for your concern.
PS on Sunday Since there have been questions, the green jumper is Bobby by Louisa Harding from Rowan's Tadpoles & Tiddlers published 1995 and still available. It's a book worth having, I've used many of the patterns several times. And I'll try to give more pattern information in future, share the love.

Monday 18 January 2010

On the mend

Happy days, the thaw continues, at last we can see the drive, garden paths and patches of green, what a relief
Mr FF spent Sunday putting back some of the gutters that had come down, this time with more than one screw in each bracket (thanks builder) and the front of the house at least is repaired. The side elevation isn't so urgent as the water discharges onto the garden path and not onto the steps where we walk in and out. Today I've washed away all the debris that came down with the gutters, we've had some sunshine and I'm in totally denial about the snow forecast for Wednesday.
My leg is fine, no permanent damage though the bruising is still coming out. Sympathy here is in short supply, in fact the only response I had from Mr FF was 'you do bruise easily'.The garden is bouncing back too, after being under snow for a month pots of winter flowering pansies and primulas that I'd forgotten about are still in bloom and these plants at the front door have defrosted and I'm hopeful will survive. The weeping silver pear was almost bent to the ground for weeks but has started to right itself and I'll stake it once I can get to it. Its been quite a start to the year but nothing compared to the disasters so many people are suffering, for that I am very grateful.

Friday 15 January 2010

Saved for the Nation


The greenhouse is saved, the temperature is rising, we have a thaw.
Yesterday afternoon Mr FF after various inspired but impractical engineering solutions decided that we should attempt to remove some of the snow from the roof above the greenhouse to lighten the load that might come down on the glass. He went up the ladder knocking the snow gently onto the greenhouse roof where it slid down and I shifted it away from the glass sides to relieve the pressure. Although the gutters above the greenhouse had by this time completely broken away the build up of ice was so thick that it stayed in place for a while then suddenly broke sliding down the glass without damage but slap bang into my leg knocking me over. I wasn't hurt badly though a swelling about the size of a mango quickly appeared and today I have spectacular bruising and some soreness. These are the offending ice slabs and broken gutter.

Today we have about 3.5 degrees above freezing and dripping everywhere, especially around the 30% of the house that is without guttersIce is overhanging the front door, the gutter has gone but the leaf debris that was in there is still frozen to the ice and I have propped the gutter up to catch some of the drips. Mr FF is now worried that since we haven't taken snow off the double storey section of the house, for obvious reasons, when that comes down it might demolish his satellite dish taking away his weekend football watching.
This afternoon we look like this, much better with more snow taken off the roof so I'm off to elevate my sore leg, browse the seed catalogues knowing I have somewhere to sow them and cast on another sock

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Pride comes before a fall of snow

When we built our house, 20 years ago, we made sure to put lots and lots of insulation in the loft space as well as the partition walls and always felt a little bit smug when there was snow on our roof while our neighbours were obviously loosing heat and their snow was melting. It kind of backfired on us this year. The snow on our roof has seriously built up and the gutters are blocked with ice so there has been lots of dripping over the last couple of days when we've finally had a degree or so of thaw. We knocked down the icicles and moved some of the snow away from the gutters to try and relieve the situation.I've spent most of my time chipping away ice to keep our steps and paths clear, I found under the ice and unblocked the drain on the balcony so melt water could get away, I thought we were doing really well and the end was in sight. Then last night, just after I'd come in I heard a terrible noise like something crashing into the house and looked out to see that half the snow on the front roof had come crashing down onto the terrace bringing the gutters with it. Disaster. Mr FF is away on business for a few days and not home until late tonight but I spoke to him and he thought that my fears of the balcony collapsing under the weight or the rail being pushed over were unfounded, and I believe the engineer, he designed the structure. This is the view from the room that opens onto the balcony.
Just before I went to bed I heard the same sound as snow came off the side of the house and that has brought down more gutter.
I took a walk round this morning, keeping well away from the house, and found to my dismay that the guttering over the lean-to greenhouse is opening up with a huge amount of snow and ice looming over the glass roof. That is very worrying though there's nothing I can do apart from wait and see. I did dash in to rescue a few pots of spring bulbs, very foolish but I thought if I loose everything else they might make me feel a bit better and they are now safe in the conservatory, which isn't at risk.
Not a great disaster in the scheme of things and I am trying to concentrate on the plant buying possibilities, at my age I have a motley collection of plants that I keep going just because I have them, may be time to start again
While I wait I've cleared the pile of snow that landed outside the garage so Mr FF can get his car in when he comes home tonight and dug a pathway to the fuel store. The coal man had been early this morning and clambered over a metre high pile of snow that was blocking the way to the bunker, three times I assume as he'd delivered three bags. People are so kind, he will be getting a big thank you very soon. It's getting difficult to find places to heap all the snow, at present there is no hope of me getting my car out of the garage but that's not a problem I don't intend going out on my own just yet.
Now to wait for the crash, maybe a little sock knitting and some trashy tv will calm me.

Saturday 9 January 2010

Cabin fever

This is the view from my kitchen window. I hadn't been out apart from difficult walks round the garden and along our little road for 10 days and was exhibiting symptoms of cabin fever
  • Restlessness, well maybe not so much of that in fact I am in danger of permanently dinting the sofa, need to move to the other side for a while
  • Irritability, yes plenty of that but nothing unusual
  • Forgetfulness, again I've had that for ages
  • Laughter, Mr FF complains that I laugh at anything and I do
  • Excessive sleeping, always in the morning but in this cold spell I've been sleeping so well, cosy with the duvet pulled up over my ears and an extra wool blanket on top
  • An urge to go outside even in the snow and dark, actually none of that whatsoever

The worst should pass now because we managed to get out yesterday and stocked up on fresh fruit and veg plus a few essentials that will keep us going for a while. It took three attempts to get the car out of our road, a good application of ash from our stove fixed the worst bits and we were off. The main road into Edinburgh was fairly clear with huge heaps of snow stacked at the sides and the temperature dropped to minus 14 in places. The shops were quiet with a slightly limited selection of stock, damp floors and hunched up people, not a life enhancing experience. The postie hasn't been for 4 days now, the bin men haven't collected for 3 weeks, and no sign of a let up in the weather. Never have flip flops days seem so distant. Keep warm and safe.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

It goes on

More snow again today but now its everywhere, the whole of the UK seems to be under the spell of winter and you are probably getting bored with snow scenes but just for the record
We haven't left home for over a week but are managing on what we have in the house, gradually emptying the freezer, running out of fresh fruit and veg but basically doing fine and we could get out if we were desperate. I heard on the news that there is panic buying in England, one person spotted purchasing 17 loaves of bread whilst shops run out of supplies. Sometimes I despair of the human race.
Mr FF continues to clear the snow, the postie and the milkman are walking into our road, life goes on and I've kept myself busy in the house, so busy in fact that I can't hoover or clean much more, I've even had my crevice tool in corners that didn't know I owned a hoover.
So on a brighter note I've been knitting socks with the Regia yarn I got on sale at Kemps, an absolute bargain at £1.20 per 50g ball, such cheerful wool I've just ordered some more, well if I can't get to the shops I must do my panic buying on line.

Sunday 3 January 2010

First of the year

03 January 2010 and how has the year been for you so far, for us extremely lazy apart from Mr FF's daily routine of shifting snow then watching more come down. I don't think we've ever known such a long period of winter weather in the 21 years we've lived in Scotland and there may be more to come. Our little road is impassable but luckily we stocked up on provisions when we drove home from Yorkshire, the milkman has managed to walk in and we are fine. We've spent many lazy days reading, watching old films, crafting and dozing, its perfect, almost hibernation.
I wanted to show you a few of my craft related Christmas gifts, firstly this knitting calendar that has over 100 lovely usable patterns, gloves, scarves, baby clothes, so many that I want to make. And a book of simple crochet patterns, will this be the year I eventually learn. I really do want to be able to crochet but I think I'd be better having someone to teach me in the old 'sit by nellie' way so I might look into classes once the winter is over.
These lovely patchwork bags that came from a friend in Taiwan who took early retirement last year and enrolled for a course. I am amazed at the quality of her work (and slightly embarrassed at my own poor patchwork efforts). For now I'm knitting socks, I started a pair to knit in the car and enjoyed them so much I started another. Uninspired but so relaxing, I could tell myself I've started my 2010 Christmas crafting early, that'll be right.