Sunday, November 22, 2009


I finished one beady bed sock. I really like it, but it took me much longer to knit than I expected. When I bought the wool I chose the colours because I liked them for myself, but I also had half a mind on a friend who might like them too. So, depending on my other knitting and sewing commitments, I may or may not give them as part of a Christmas present to a friend. It's a shame they don't knock up much more quickly because otherwise they could be my thing to make and give this year! 

The colour in the top photo is truer, but I like this close-up shot.

Meg and I are very happy that Hagos is home. I picked him up from the airport on Friday morning, dropped him at home, then went back to work. It was very hard going back to work, but I know from loooonnnng experience that the first day back off tour is given over to decompressing: vagueness, distractedness, sleeping, bewilderment, so I was better off at work letting him go through all that himself. We had a lovely Saturday of going up town, having lunch in one of our favourite cafe-bars, then home to light a fire and potter around it all day. Bliss.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

New Beady Bed Socks

Inspired by Anna's Secret Santa present to Mia last week, I decided to treat myself to a new pair of beady bed socks, as my old pair are looking well worn (though I still love them, and they're still my socks of preference when I'm in my pyjamas).

I don't usually like socks that are flat-knitted on two needles, rather than knitted-in-the-round on four needles. I don't see the point of not knitting them on four needles. But this pattern works due to the rib hiding the seam once they're sewn together.

The pattern is from the Rowan Home book, and I'm using Rowan Pure Wool 4-ply. This wool appeared at the same time as the Jaeger 4-ply disappeared, and I assume one was supposed to replace the other, but this new 4-ply doesn't quite have the softness or elasticity of the Jaeger.

Anyway, it seems to soften when steam pressed (through a damp tea towel).

I was BOUNCED awake this morning at 7.30am by my sweet little cat Meg. We always open the bedroom window during the night. The window is Velux and is positioned right above our heads and Meg very cleverly stands on the window and jumps up and down so it makes a noise. She also miaows along to the bouncing, just in case the bouncing isn't loud enough (it is). I hasten to add, she has a perfectly servicable cat flap that she uses quite happily to come in and out of the rest of the time. I had already been miaowed awake at 5.30am for breakfast (I know, I'm far too soft). It used to be 6.30am, which wasn't so bad but cats don't know about British Summer Time and Greenwich Mean Time, so it's now 5.30am.

So, I have stayed up, hung out two lots of washing, had breakfast, etc. And what do you think Meg is doing now?

Yep, she's snuggled down to sleep for a good 14 hours. Isn't she cute though? That's how she gets away with being so cheeky. As soon as I look at her I'm so stunned by her beauty and attitude I give her whatever she wants.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Make-it-Yourself Secret Santa

It has become a tradition that the crown court team does a Make-It-Yourself Secret Santa sometime in autumn. I think we first did it four or five years ago, when only Anna and I took part, making a present for each other. We have since recruited more members, though with colleagues coming and going the mix is always different. The only condition for taking part is that you have to make the present yourself. ANYTHING that is home-made is allowed. What I really love is the inventiveness of what people come up with, particularly colleagues whose first reaction when asked if they want to take part is, "But I can't make anything."

The photos I can show are: above, Mia holding up her Beady Bed Socks, knitted by Anna (pattern from the Rowan 'Home' book).

Mia made Katie this delicious bread (we all tried it), with her name lovingly spelled out on top. No need for a gift tag.

Katie made Anna the most delicious, soft oaty, choc chip biscuits.

Jo made me chocolate and syrup cornflake cakes.

And I made Jo this Postcard Pouch! It's a fairly simple design, inspired by Amanda Soule's Gratitude Wrap. Jo LOVED the Go Elephant exhibition that was spread all over Norwich last summer. I was struggling to decide what to make her when I had a lightbulb moment as my sister was paying for her Christmas shopping; the postcards of the Go Elephant elephants were displayed next to the till. I was originally planning to put recycled envelopes in one of the pockets in the pouch, but I couldn't find any envelopes the right size, so I defaulted to postcards in both pockets and added the stamp pocket and a pen holder in the middle. It took me a bit longer than anticipated (I was finally able to go to bed about half eleven last night!) but I was pleased with the result.

I love the outer Amy Butler material, and the velvet green ribbon just finishes it off beautifully.

I also made, for the first time ever, Treacle Toffee! I've wanted to make it for years and never got round to it. When I was a child one of my neighbours made Treacle Toffee every Halloween, and it was a race to go round all the neighbours who made the good stuff first (one did Treacle Toffee, another did Toffee Apples, another did Fudge), before going round the rest of the neighbours who gave out monkey nuts and fruit and shop-bought sweets. The home-made stuff always got snaffled up first.

The Treacle Toffee was the best I've ever tasted, though I did take it off the boil perhaps a little early. I ended up having to roll each piece in baking parchment as it all stuck together when left in a tub. A definite winner. The recipe was Mrs Beeton's