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Thursday, 11 July 2019

Blooming garden!

Another week speeding past!  I hope you've had a good one!  No trips on trains for me this week, although I have been out and about in the car quite a bit - sadly, no knitting on the move for me this week, though, as I've been driving! 

One of my out-and-about trips was to meet up with one of my oldest friends (oldest as in I've known her a long time, not that she's ancient!) and we always end up talking gardens; we took our gardening qualifications at the same time many years ago and both set up our own businesses at a similar time so we have a close gardening connection as well as having been close friends for many years.  This particular visit saw us both be-moaning the fact that our gardens are not as beautifully kept these days as we would like and making plans to do something about it.  

I've come home full of inspiration and good intentions, and found these dahlias flowering in the textured pot that I bought specially to foil the snails.  Hooray, it looks like it's worked!  I haven't grown dahlias for years and I am so happy to see these.  It looks like there are some smaller ones coming through at the bottom so it'll be interesting to see if anything comes of those too. 


Friday, 5 July 2019

Breakfast, trains and walks in the woods

Hello!  How are you doing?  It's lovely to see you! 

I've had a busy week as per usual (well, I would be bored otherwise), which got off to a splendid start as I spent it with my best bloggy friends.  We get together a couple of times a year to chat, share ideas and generally check in to make sure that we're doing OK; it's as close to a "work's do" that we get and it suits us very well.  We met up in Manchester on Saturday and found ourselves at this smashing place for breakfast on Sunday morning, with a table big enough to spread our yarn and projects out on and still have room for poached eggs on toast.

You might recognise this bloggy friend in the picture as she's taking a photo for her own blog ...



No?  She's doing a bit of crochet in this photo ...


It's Lucy, of course, working on her lamp post wraps for Yarndale!  And Emma (who is actually knitting socks, not whizzing up some fantastically quirky crochet cacti).  We were very spoilt with the weather and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves sitting outside until it was time to say goodbye and head off for our respective trains.


You'll see in the top photo that I've been working on the grey and pink socks.  I was on a mission to get them finished.  Do you find sometimes that you just want to get a project off your needles, not because you're not enjoying it but because it's starting to feel that it's outstaying it's welcome?  These socks needed to be on their new owner's feet, not languishing on my needles, so I decided to make a concerted effort to get them done over the weekend.

I didn't quite manage it over the weekend, but I took the train on Monday morning to an appointment that I needed to go to and made the most of the knitting time.  




By the time I reached my stop, I had finished the toes and finished my tea.  Hooray!  

Back home, the socks were soon blocking on the Aga (so many uses for this oven!) ...



and finally they were finished and now they are on their way to their brand new sock drawer.



Which means, of course, that I've got a set of needles free to start something else.  Well c'mon, don't you ever cast on something new and ignore all the WIPS shouting in the background?  I'm very good at doing that!


This bright blue is Bubblegum, another West Yorkshire Spinners yarn, and I had a lovely time sitting in the sunshine with my cup of tea and listening to the bees as they buzzed in the foxglove flowers.

I've also got an update on the Something in the peas.  I mentioned before that I was going to try digging over the patch to try to discourage whatever it is and I did that.  I also put down some cat repellent granules (just in case it didn't like those) and dumped a load of grass cuttings into the hole.  


They haven't moved and it's been a week now, so whatever made the big hole underneath the grass hasn't come back (or come out) and there are some other signs of digging but nothing like the holes of before.  I suspect it might be the gardening cat that has finished re-arranging my beans and is now looking for a handy toilet - urgh.

This morning, the dog and I went for a walk around Winwick village.  There aren't too many places that I can let him off for a run here as he's got no road sense whatsoever despite my best efforts, so I tend to alternate where we go for our walks so that sometimes he can go off his lead and other times, such as this morning, he has to stay on it for longer.

I've lived in this village for nearly 16 years and I don't think I've ever stopped to look at this view from this angle before.  It's surprising what you can see when you're not in a car, sometimes, isn't it?


I like this view too, of all the flowers growing over the stone walls with the church spire in the background.  This is one of my favourites, and I love to see the flowers change with the seasons.


I never get tired of seeing our church.  I love the colour of the stone, the carvings, the fact that it has it's very own legend of a pig, and that it's so old it's mentioned in the Domesday book.  I like history, I like walking in the footsteps of people long gone and I like that there is so many years of continuity of life in our village.



Just next to the church is our local pub, The Swan.  It's had a re-furb recently and all of those blue umbrellas that you can see are new.  Now we just need the sunshine so that people can sit outside!


It was too early for a pint so the dog and I carried on walking and went to Winwick Park this morning.  It used to be the site of Winwick Hospital, at one point one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in Europe and a military hospital in both World Wars, but is now a housing estate with a wide swathe of grass around the outside edge.  It's a reasonably safe place for a dog with no road sense to run (although he has caught me out and doubled back to dance in front of the cars before now; never a fun game), and he was very pleased to be able to explore all the smells before it was too warm for us to be out.


There's a wood at one part of the park where we can take a detour off the grass and into the lush greenery of the trees.  This morning, we saw horses being walked past to another field.  Winwick's a funny place; on the one hand you could be miles away from anywhere out in the middle of country with horses and corn fields, and yet we're only a couple of miles from both the M6 and M62 motorways and the traffic noise is a constant backdrop to our walk.  For us, it's the best of both worlds and we love living here. 


By the time we reached the wood, the sun had broken through the clouds and was filtering through the leaves.



There's something so inviting about a sun-dappled path, isn't there?  The dog was getting impatient at me admiring the patches of light so I followed him along the path and back out of the wood so that we could start for home.  It was already getting very warm so I was glad that we had set out early.  The only hot dogs should be ones cooked on a BBQ!

Back home, I've been working on the two at a time sock tutorial that I promised you in my last post about this year's Yarndale Sock Line.  It's been wonderful to know that so many of you are planning to join in - thank you very much!  Creating tutorials is slow going, especially when you're taking pictures as well as trying to record video, but I'll get it done as quickly as I can.

This is the result of a pretty much a whole day's work - it really doesn't look much, does it?  I'd love to tell you that I did all of this in about 20 minutes then spent the rest of the day lolling about with my feet up, but sadly, that wouldn't be true.  Anyway, I'll get on with as soon as I can and let you know when there's something to see 😀.


Right then, I think that's everything for now - oh no, wait, there's one more thing.  I did another video at Black Sheep Wools the other week with my friend Lynne Rowe - it's a conversation about mindful knitting and crochet and it's up on YouTube now if you'd like to take a look.


Have a lovely week, I'll see you soon!


Saturday, 29 June 2019

Yarndale Sock Line 2019

It's that time of year again ... Yarndale Sock Line time!  

If you've never heard of the Yarndale Sock Line, let me tell you a little bit about it.  Back in 2015, the year that the Sockalong started, people who had started to knit their own socks asked if it would be possible for sock bunting to be hung up at Yarndale - it would fit beautifully with Yarndale's mission to celebrate craft and creativity, and would also be an opportunity for people to show what they had learnt in the few short months since the Sockalong had started.  If you've ever been to Yarndale, you'll have seen the miles and miles of bunting that decorate the entrance hall; what could be better than socks to go with it?

My lovely friend Lucy from Attic24, a sock knitter herself nowadays, was all in favour and the Yarndale Sock Line was born!  The idea was that anyone who wanted to could send in socks to hang up in the Auction Mart - but then it struck me that it would be such a shame to put them away in storage after a weekend of being on display, not to mention where they would be stored (I could just imagine my husband's face when I told him that our house was to be insulated by sock bunting!).  I decided that instead of single socks, I would ask for pairs which could be given away after Yarndale; it was a big ask in both time and money as yarn isn't cheap and socks can be quite time-consuming to knit, but but I had reckoned without the kindness of the crafting community and before long, pairs of socks were flooding in.  The rest, as the saying goes, is history!