Phew, what a busy week it’s been! I was away for a few days last weekend and as much as I loved and appreciated the rest, it does take a few more days to get back into the swing of things, doesn’t it? This week seems to have passed by in a blur of laundry (why does it seem to be a rule that however long you go away for, there’s always six weeks’ worth of washing to do when you come back?), dog walking (he was sulking when I came home so I’ve needed to make it up to him), knitting (because four days away with nothing else to do other than knit just isn’t enough time) and planning (there’s nothing like a bit of distance to give you perspective!).
This morning, small daughter was out at an event so I decided not to waste my time driving home and back and instead sat with my knitting in a cafe and watched the world go by. I had a lot of practice at doing that last weekend but it’s one of those skills that unless we work on them, it’s easy to lose and we get fooled into thinking that we should be rushing about instead. I’m doing quite well at not rushing so much this year, although it is only March (nearly April) so I’m going to reserve judgement on whether I’ve really got the hang of it or not.
I mentioned last month that I was giving bullet journaling another go and now that I’ve got my head around the fact that it is just a book of lists, I’m well away. I like lists. I like to write things down and tick them off. Sometimes I like to write things that I’ve already done onto a new list so that I can tick them off straight away. It’s taken me a short while to get over the need to leave sufficient pages in my notebook to fill out – bullet journals use an index so there’s no need to leave space; you just start on the next page and list them in your index so that you can find them again – and I’m still not tempted to buy stencils or doodle with watercolours (#bulletjournal on Instagram if you want a rabbit hole to fall down) but actually, this is working pretty well.
My current list is all about the garden – specifically the seeds that I want to sow this year. This is my flowers list and I’ll be writing up a veg one later (oh, the joy of pages of lists!) When I was away last year, I spent some time at the gardens at Kiftsgate and RHS Hidcote and took LOADS of photos to give me some inspiration for re-vamping the borders. Back home, I tracked down seeds for some of the plants that I liked, and also trawled the internet for ideas for slug-free borders. I don’t think I’m ever going to get rid of the slugs and snails and to be honest, life’s too short for me to be leaping around the borders at night with a torch flinging them into a bucket of beer (although it wasn’t at one time … 🙂 ) and I’m really lazy about emptying slug traps so I’m going to plant things that they don’t like to eat instead and hope that they move on to tastier pastures.
I always used to start my seeds off in February but found that the light often wasn’t good enough and I’d end up with windowsills full of leggy seedlings that couldn’t go outside because it was too cold. My Dad’s view was that seeds planted later will always catch up so it’s better to hang on for a couple of weeks. I found this blog post recently from three years ago (three years?!) and my seedlings were well on the way by this time (ish) but I haven’t even started this year. Well, until today as I’ve now got my sweet peas in this tray …
I used to save my seeds every year but eventually came to the conclusion that they are so cheap and easy to get hold of that it made more sense to buy a new packet every year. I like to chit my seeds before planting them so have soaked them in this seed tray with some newspaper. It’s quite usual to soak sweet pea seeds overnight before planting them, but I like to wait until there’s a shoot appearing before I put them into the compost. If I’m using a smaller tray I’ll use kitchen paper but newspaper works very well with this one (all of my smaller trays had drainage holes and I was avoiding a mess!).
Once the peas are safely on the newspaper and have had a good soaking, I put another layer of newspaper on top and I’ll make sure it doesn’t dry out. In a few days, with any luck, the seeds will have swollen and there’ll be signs of life. The good thing about doing this is that the seeds are already becoming seedlings by the time I plant them and it also shows me how many are going to germinate before I plant them so that I’m not waiting for seeds that aren’t going to grow.
I’ve sowed some of the seeds that I showed you just now and they’re safely in the propagator as it’s not that warm at the moment.
I’ll need to think about sowing my veg seeds soon as well. I’m going to have another go at sprouts this year but I will need to keep them covered up after last year’s caterpillar massacre. I’m thinking I’ll use a light mesh netting to let the light and the rain through but not those pesky butterflies. I’m all for supporting wildlife but it was like “Invasion of the Caterpillars” last year even after I’d picked loads of them off the sprouts. After they’d eaten everything on the plants (and I mean everything), they all started moving very determinedly towards the house in something reminiscent of a horror film (Never mind The Birds, this was The Caterpillars) and climbing (crawling? caterpillaring?) up the walls and windows to the eaves. It was most peculiar and more than a little eerie, and I am not keen to relieve that particular experience.
On to less-caterpillary things … let me show you how the Christmas IOU socks are getting on. Big daughter’s are almost finished – one sock done and just the toes to be finished on the other one.
You’ve seen that I’ve made a start on the Ginormous Socks too (they’re the ones with the mug of tea at the top of the post), and they’re knitting up nicely. The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Candy Cane (I did point out that they weren’t going to be Christmas socks but the pair of them still wanted it) and it does knit up quickly so that’s something to be grateful for.
I’ve nailed down the final pattern for the new book which is a bit of a relief – I’d had a few ideas which just didn’t work out when I came to swatch them, so when this new pattern introduced itself to me I was a bit nervous until I started knitting. The new book is all about building on the skills learnt in Super Socks (which is now available at Wool Warehouse as well as Amazon, here on the blog and a few local yarn shops) and will have both tutorials and patterns in it. It’s at that stage at the moment where I think I’ve pretty much got everything that I need for it but now need to sit down and start putting it all together. My plan is for it to be ready for Yarndale so I’ve got a few months to work on it before I start to feel my deadline looming – if I keep telling you where I’m up to then that should keep me on track, shouldn’t it? I am sure you’ll be able to keep me accountable! There’s not really anything to show you just yet but I’m sure I’ll be able to share some pictures as I get a bit further down the process.
It’s later now than I expected it to be when I posted this – dinner’s in the oven and we’ve got a family night with a movie in front of the fire planned … and more knitting of course! What about you? Anything exciting? Have a great night!