Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sockstravaganza - and other things

I decided to have an ongoing project of knitting socks. Lots of socks. Lots of colour combinations. Knitted with a mix of wool and tweed (above). 
So I've been to John Lewis a couple of lunchtimes and have bought odd balls I like. All Rowan Pure wool 4 ply (and Rowan Tweed) so far but I do want to branch out and knit some chunkier (and faster) socks. I did try to buy more of the alpaca 4 ply from the yarn store near my work, but they had none of the £5 balls left, only wool and alpaca that cost between £13 and £20 a ball, which is prohibitively expensive. Who can afford to buy a ball of wool for £20? Especially if you want to knit a jumper and would need ten balls!
Above are odd balls of 4 ply I have left from other projects. I still miss the Jaeger wool. I have some of it left - amazing elasticity and durability - and it was only £3 a ball! 
I finished my add-on sleeves and attached them to my jumper. I'm very happy with the result. Haggis still thinks it's bonkers. At least I can get some wear out of the jumper now, instead of it looking lovely in my wardrobe.
I bought this material years ago, soon after buying the hippo material from Ikea, to make more pyjama bottoms. Today I got round to washing it and was planning to cut out two more pairs of PJs but didn't quite get that far. I've dug out the pattern so will pin and cut out hopefully some time in the week. I don't like the material as much as I like the hippo material, but at £3 for 3 metres I couldn't resist! I should get two pairs of pyjama bottoms out of this. I might edge the bottom with contrasting material like I did with one pair of the hippo PJs, just for fun.
This is the pattern.

The Great British Sewing Bee is back on TV and it's so great to see it again. I've already watched the first programme twice. There's a woman who has chickens and two black goats so I like her. I'm glad they have more contestants this year, it means the programme will last longer. Eight weeks instead of four. Woohoo.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Books, husband, blue egg, coffee, rolls, eggs and MEG!

I'm finding my reading list difficult to keep up with. No sooner have I (almost) finished one book, and the next has to be started for the following week. I feel like I've been going to the class forever, but we are only on week five - halfway through. And as fascinating as I find all the books, and all the techniques, this week I found myself longing to just read a story
So when I saw this in Tesco's on Friday I bought it. I love Pride and Prejudice. I re-read it at least once a year and forever find deeper nuances in the text. I think Jane Austen is incredibly concise and packs so much into her sentence construction. Even when I'm re-reading the book, I re-read paragraphs within the book because I get so much out of it. I would love parts of the book to expand, so I can enjoy more of it. So when other writers try to expand the story themselves I'm always interested. Not that it ever turns out well (Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James - urgh - SO awful in every way). But I remember reading about this book somewhere ages ago and as it's from the perspective of the servants and I expect only intersects with P&P at progressive narrative points I thought it might do. 
Last night my husband came home from tour. The first tour of the year always takes a bit of getting used to. Over the winter I get used to him being at home and we get into a routine of comfortable companionship: keeping warm, watching DVDs and TV series, doing our chores, seeing friends, spending time with our animals, etc etc. I always feel lost the first day he goes away, and then I get into a rhythm and work on my own projects to keep myself occupied. But, it's so nice to have him home again. 
This, I hope, is a better photo of a blue egg. We think both Rosie and Pig (Cream Crested Legbars) are laying. Duck (the third Cream Crested Legbar) isn't as developed as Rosie and Pig. Her comb is under-developed, though it has got redder in the last couple of days.
A spontaneous purchase. When I drive to visit my parents I always make a half-caf cappuccino to take on the drive. It's one of my favourite parts of the trip. I love caffeine, and the effect it has on my mood, and that coupled with the stunning views of the trees and the Devil's Beeftub are just lovely. I often also listen to the audio book of Pride and Prejudice. I really should get another audio book. I make the cappuccino in an ordinary cup, and though we have a cup holder in the glove compartment, I'm always conscious of having to drive carefully while drinking it, so I'm hoping this cup will make spilling the coffee less likely.
My recent favourite thing to bake is rolls! I just use my normal, simple, bread recipe, but shape them into rolls instead. When Hagos was on tour I froze them and took one out a day for lunch. Simple pleasures.
These are today's eggs. We've had the chickens for almost two years now, and the wonder and thrill of collecting the day's eggs never lessens. I really feel like I'm collecting precious and beautiful jewels. I love the different shapes and colours. I love knowing which chicken has laid which egg. And there is something purely delightful about collecting a still-warm egg from the laying box and holding it in my hand as I walk home. 
This is my and Meg's Saturday morning ritual. After feeding all the animals (if I'm on duty) we cuddle up at the kitchen table and I drink half-caf cappuccino and look at beautiful and inspiring blogs, and she sleeps and dreams and twitches and snores on my lap. I love her.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Jumper conversion, and other things

So, I finished one of my short-sleeved conversions! I love it. It is a bit bonkers, as Hagos said, but it works really well. I decided to attach the red sleeves to the green jumper, as I found almost-matching blue wool to attach to the blue jumper, in the previous post.
This is me and my little friend, Duck. She is a Cream Crested Legbar, that my neighbours hatched from an egg. She's the least developed of her three chick sisters - her comb hasn't grown and turned red yet. Every day when I open the feed bin she jumps up onto it and I have to spoon, or hand, feed her. This day she jumped up on to my shoulder, to my absolute delight. She's so beautiful.
Today I had an entire day to myself and it was lovely. I am at my happiest when I spend half of my time by myself. The balance is currently out because I'm working full time. So I had a leisurely morning drinking coffee at the kitchen table, cuddling Meg and reading other knitting and sewing blogs; then this afternoon I finished the jumper conversion above, as well as baking some rolls. I've had a hankering for home-made rolls for a few days now. I'll keep them in the freezer and take out one a day.
The most exciting news this last week has been that one of Duck's sisters, Rosie, laid her first BLUE egg. It's the bottom middle egg in the photo. I'll take better photos and post them next time. Amazingly exciting. And so beautiful.

I've had such a lovely day today. Could really do with a repeat day tomorrow.