Sunday, 30 November 2008

Knitting (and maybe sewing)

It is cold and wintry here, definitely scarf wearing weather. I really have enough scarves but that hasn't stopped me making another one.

A nice little project that was soon finished, I knitted this one sideways using some of the natural Shetland I spun back in the summer combined with some kidsilk haze in a very bright orange. I usually go for muted colours so orange is a bit of a change but I like it mixed with the soft natural colour of the Shetland yarn.

It is knitted in garter stitch with a few rows of yfd k2tog to give it a more open feel.

I changed between using both yarns together and then a couple of rows with each one separately - really I just made it up as I went along. I am pleased with the result, it is so soft and warm.

With the scarf finished I have another little project started, this time it involves sewing. I haven't done much sewing (other than mending!) for years but today I am hoping to make some progress turning this little pile of fabric into a draught excluder.

A perfect activity for a very grey, damp, cold Sunday.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Winter sunshine

Its been almost two weeks since I last posted. We are all fine, we have just been without the computer for most of that time. What was supposed to be a simple upgrade seemed to create more problems than it solved but I think we are all back to normal now. I am just very grateful that my husband is able to work these things out, I would have no idea where to start with computers.

We have had some cold weather lately and the transition from autumn to winter is now complete. The cold weather has brought clear blue skies and bright winter sunshine. The sunlight always seems more precious at this time of year, not only do we see it less often but somehow it seems more fragile, low in the sky casting long shadows.

At this time of year I always feel like hibernating. I find it increasingly difficult to get up in the dark mornings and there is a definite fall in my energy levels. I think this is a natural response of our bodies to the shorter, darker, colder days. For most of human existence there would have been a lot less activity in the winter months and people would have stayed inside for safety and warmth.

It is a downside of our busy lifestyles in the 21st Century that we don't have the luxury of slowing down anymore. Working hours are the same all year round and when it gets dark we just switch on a light and keep going.

Perhaps as fuel prices increase and fuel shortages kick in we may return to more seasonal living making use of the natural hours of daylight for our activities and finding time to rest in the darkness.

One thing which works for me when I find myself suffering from the "winter blues" is time spent outside, so while I like to curl up inside on damp grey days, if a sunny days coincides with a non-work day, I'll use any excuse to go for a walk.

Theses photos were taken last week, there is still a lot of light and colour in the countryside when you take time to look at the details.

I spotted these emerging celandine plants amongst the fallen oak leaves. Celandines are such cheerful spring flowers but I've never seen their leaves this early, a reminder that even as we shiver through winter, spring is on its way.

Friday, 14 November 2008

A day in my life

This months "day in my life" seems to have come round very quickly. Today was a very ordinary day but then that was really the point of this project - to create a record of normal, routine, ordinary days rather than just noting the important dates and occasions which we tend to remember.

Friday is a work day for me and so it was the usual routine, alarm at 6:15am, a cup of tea, then packed lunches to make, soup to reheat to take to work in a flask, chickens to be let out, washing to be hung on the line, dinner to be put in the slow cooker .... sometimes I feel as if I've done a days work before I even leave!

Work was busy but not rushed and by half past three I was home again. There was a lovely smell of lamb casserole when I opened the front door which was very welcoming. The best thing about a meal from the slow cooker is that I don't have to do anything when I get home and I was able to sit down and chat with the boys while knitting.

This is the knitting that is taxing me at the moment. I have an idea in my head of a long skinny jumper to wear with jeans but what I am knitting is not matching up with the picture in my head. I have redone the neck twice and now I've decided that I don't like the ribbing and it might be better looser with some sort of hem. I do like the narrow edging to the neck though

and I'm quite pleased with the stranded colour knitting,

I just haven't got the rest of it right yet. Sometimes knitting just goes right and it turns out as I imagine it, yet another time it just doesn't seem to happen - perhaps I should stop for a while and knit another pair of socks!

After much tea, chat and knitting it was time for dinner, a half shoulder of lamb cooked with potatoes carrots and kidney beans. Lamb seems particularly good cooked slowly, it becomes really tender and just slips of the bone.

Now in the evening I am drinking Rooibos Tea and writing this post. My husband and the boys are watching TV downstairs and I am enjoying some solitary time with the computer.

I'll end with this photo which I took a few hours ago just so I have a record of the wonderful colour of this amaryllis.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Six random things

A couple of weeks ago I was tagged by moonroot for the "six random things" meme. I haven't done one of these for a while so I've decided to play along.

The rules are:

  1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Write six random things about yourself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

So, my list of six random things

  1. I was born and lived the first eighteen years of my life in Somerset. I left to go to university and never went back and although I've lived in Berkshire for over half my life, I still think of the West Country as home.
  2. I have rented my allotment for twelve years now. When I first started growing vegetables, it was not so fashionable and there were lots of empty plots, now the site is full with a waiting list.
  3. I don't know whether gardening is hereditary(!) but both my grandfathers grew vegetables and my great grandfather was head gardener at a large country house.
  4. My father is a keen photographer and had a darkroom at home. He gave me my first camera when I was about five. I still have a little packet of black and white photos that I took at that time.
  5. I have been knitting for about as long as I have been taking photographs. Both my grandmothers were keen knitters - perhaps knitting is hereditary as well!
  6. I write a lot of lists, shopping lists, to do lists, menu plans, planting lists - I think that may be why this meme appealed to me.

I now have to tag six people. I have chosen

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Not fireworks

No fireworks for us tonight although I can hear some in the neighbourhood. We must be getting very boring in our old age because not only are we not marking bonfire night, we completely ignored Halloween as well!

When the boys were little we always had a few sparklers on 5th November and went to the school bonfire but we have never really celebrated Halloween. I think it has only become very popular over the last few years and the boys have never shown much interest.

So as I have no seasonal pictures of bonfires, fireworks or pumpkins, I am posting photographs which are a bit firework-like!

I took these (and loads more, it proved quite addictive) from the car as we were driving one evening. I was a passenger by the way! I turned the flash off on the camera and then photographed lights while moving the camera. These are a mixture of street lights, car headlamps and brake lights.

It was good fun to experiment with different effects and light levels, perhaps not quite as much fun as real fireworks though.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Traffic light trees

Acers in sunshine - isn't autumn wonderful?