Wednesday 29 February 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

So February is almost over, things are definitely improving with long sessions tidying the garden, lighter nights and exceptionally high temperatures. I've noticed a difference in me too, I've had a sudden attack of niceness.
It really began after I won that lovely yarn from Josiekitten and made the scarf. JK contacted me to ask if I would like some more in different colours and after some discussion during which she refused to take any payment, I received another and larger squashy parcel.I have agreed to make a donation to our local Cats Protection League in lieu of payment and also sent a little thank you to JK which has arrived safely.I've made a couple of pairs of socks to give as presents, I've knitted a couple more of the purple cowls again for presents and I've received some white dk from Pam to make something for her next grandchild expected soon. I sent off a little cardigan to Amelia which she was pleased with even if the sleeves are a little short, that girl is growing far too quickly. Please note no yarn has been purchased (recently) to make any of these items, all material used was from my stash.We've had friends round for dinner, I met the working girls for a lunch and spent time with a neighbour who is unwell and off work. I also received a couple of boxes of chocolates, Lindor are my absolute favourites and the chocky covered walnuts are delicious and different.
So what a good start to the year, I can't guarantee that I will continue to be so pleasant, one can but try, let's hope it's not just the leap year effect or there'll be a long wait till it happens again.

Thursday 23 February 2012

A step too far

I'm a big fan on online shopping, in fact I can't remember the last time I went into the centre of Edinburgh for a browse round Jenners, John Lewis, Harvey Nics et al. I also love those smart mail order catalogues that pop through the letterbox and can happily spend half an hour with a coffee imagining myself floating round in a costly but crisp linen kaftan with a sumptuous cashmere wrap draped over me. Todays catalogues are almost a magazine in themselves, a far cry from the dreary old Grattans catalogue my mother in law used to use. The spring edition from Wrap that arrived recently includes this photo, a variation on my cowboy dreams, the boots are almost £300. I was pleased to receive the latest Celtic Sheepskin catalogue yesterday. This company has an excellent eco friendly policy and unlike many indicates where the goods are manufactured, many of them in Britain and some in Cornwall where they are based.However these on the back page are quite shocking - sheepskin flip flops I think not and at £45 a pair they go against all my principles of flipflop wearing.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Like a Rhinestone Cowboy

It could be the onset of spring but I'm definitely going through a strange phase at the moment. Still knitting and gardening of course but I'm also doing a lot of cowboy fantasising. I love cowboy films, I spent a lot of my childhood watching John Wayne etc and reenacting shoot out scenes with my brother and his friends. Growing up on a farm it was easy for us to create the wild west, an old hen hut for our shack, straw bales, cows to rustle of course, we rode round on our bikes wearing bandannas and stetsons. I remember once making myself with string a set of reins to steer my bike though that really only worked when riding in a straight line. I don't actually like horses and was very reluctant to ride my cousins pony even for the sake of reality.I also love those cowboy/country and western songs and have been listening almost none stop to Glen Campbell recently. I truly love his voice, Wichita Lineman, By the Time I get to Phoenix, this morning I was singing along with him over breakfast - such are the dreams of the everyday housewife. So it was no big surprise for me to find myself lusting after a pair of bright pink cowboy boots the other day. Sadly, Glen now 75 was diagnosed last year with Alzheimer's, there is a very beautiful video here if you have the time to look. “I don’t pay any attention to it,” he said. “It’s like when the devil comes knocking on your door. Don’t pay any attention to it.”
Enjoy your weekend and your fantasies, yeehaw.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Neck wear

Gosh I'm feeling jaded today. We were at a friend's house in Edinburgh last night for dinner and didn't get home till almost 2 am. Far too late for a couple of pensioners to be out if you ask me but we did have a lovely evening and all week to recover.

I need to show you the finished scarf from my giveaway parcel, its really lovely and I am delighted.I am equally delighted with this cowl, I'd been looking for a pattern for something chunky and cably, this fits the bill perfectly. I used some Italian yarn that is 40% alpaca, 40% wool, I followed the pattern repeats for a great fit, very soft and cosy with just the scrunched upness I was looking for. I wasn't so pleased that I had to go into the third ball of yarn, I used just over 100 g. Last of all I can now show you my other completed project. This was the second installment of our wedding present for Joanne and Stewart, it's Debbie Abrahams' beaded sunshine cushion from a kit I've had for a while, I'm not sure if its still available but it is very lovely.

Right I'm of to watch the rugby, not that I understand it just too exhausted for anything more strenuous than slumping on the sofa. Have a good week.

Monday 6 February 2012

The softer side of knitting

Mr FF's jumper of barbed wire is finished, I washed it in the hope that it might soften up but that didn't really work and when he finally tried it on I howled with laughter. It is truly awful. As can happen the twist of the yarn has caused the knitting to twist, the whole thing is slightly out of kilter and I believe it has been banished to the depths of the wardrobe, or abandoned somewhere deep in the countryside I'm not sure and I'm certainly not going to show it to you.
However I will show you how I've moved on to finer things. I finished and posted this little jumper for Amelia. I've used this pattern from Louisa Harding's Miss Beas Rainy Day and this 100% pure wool before. It's fairly plain but with some interesting cable in the rib, such a pity the yarn discontinued it truly is soft and colourful, apparently Amelia was delighted and wore her jumper straight away.I've also made these socks using Regia World College Color which was and possibly still is on offer at Kemps, take a look £3.99 plus postage for a 150 g ball you can't go wrong. Usually I prefer 4 ply for socks, this is dk, but they do seem cosy and Regia is such hard wearing yarn that I'm hopeful they will last.
And I've been cracking on with my super soft giveaway yarn from Josiekitten. I finally selected Lace Ribbon as the pattern for my scarf, reminds me slightly of Clapotis and makes me keen to knit another of those soon.

We heard at the weekend that our house in Italy is under 2 feet of snow but apparently fine. I bet all our friends in the village regret telling us how much they'd love a proper snowy winter, our neighbours didn't get out for two days while they waited for a snow plough. Extraordinary that we have barely a dusting of the white stuff here in Scotland.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

So Sarah Ravens

I am such a huge fan of Sarah Ravens to the extent that sometimes I like to imagine I am her. So when Lyn said she was going to share her SR calendar with us every month that really wasn't enough for me, I had to have my own copy. There was a sale on Sarah's website so I got myself a calendar, currently hanging in the utility room and a diary, which would be really useful if I wasn't planning not to grow so much this year as we will be spending the summer in Italy.I also found this Amaryllis Sumatra on offer just right for growing in my vase and some hyacinth Woodstock greatly reduced, not the ones in the picture those I prepared earlier. And just in case you think I'm a complete spender, here is the Christmas cactus that was a cutting I took more than 30 years ago, still flowering every year, still gorgeous, Sarah would be so proud of me.