Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Temperatures here have fallen and we are getting a taste of winter. There has been a heavy frost the last couple of nights and the car thermometer read -6.5ÂșC when I took my husband to the station at 6:30 this morning.

It was cold scraping the ice off the car but once the sun came out I could appreciate how pretty everything looked.

Even the puddles look attractive with a layer of ice

and in the ditches at the side of the road the ice formed around dried stems

making unusual patterns.

The sun is shining now and the frost is melting away.

Its the end of the road for this geranium which has been flowering since last summer. I have some cuttings on a windowsill indoors so there will be another generation for next summer.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

knitting - socks, gloves and left over yarn

Back in December when I posted about my knitted gloves and cowl, I mentioned my overflowing "stash box". It is full of small amounts of yarn, usually just part balls. This year I would like to knit a few items using some of the yarn I have accumulated.

The yarn is stored in poly-bags according to type of yarn. One bag contains sock yarn. I must have knitted well over a dozen pairs of socks and each pair takes over half a ball of wool (100g) or one and a bit balls (50g). Obviously there isn't enough yarn left for another pair pf socks, but there is enough for gloves. I grab the little fingerless gloves below when I am hanging out the washing in the morning during the winter. I also like them when driving, I like to feel I can grip the steering wheel properly and so don't feel comfortable with proper gloves. These little ones work fine.

Next up  pair of fingerless mitts using the remains of the yarn from my most recent pair of socks. This time I added some fair isle patterns also using sock wool.

I copied some of the Fair Isle patterns from The Complete Book of Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor. This book which was published in 1981 gives some traditional knitting techniques and a history of Fair Isle knitting. At the back there are pages of charts of traditional Fair Isle patterns of different sizes and pattern repeats which I find very useful if I am looking for ideas for colour work.

For these mitts I used a variegated sock wool in browns, gold and green and knitted "peerie" patterns - that is small patterns only a few rows deep. I am pleased with the colour combinations against the blue/grey colour of the base yarn, the addition of contrasting colour completely changes the look of the finished knitting.

I have enough pairs of gloves now but can always use more socks so my next sock yarn project might be wildly patterned socks with different coloured yarns. I think a little Fair Isle might make its way in as well.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

back to normal

It is the second week of January and it now feels as if we are back to normal after the holidays. Actually everything returned to normal last week but it has taken me a while to settle. There were almost two weeks with all four of us at home and although I miss that time together it is also good to be back with quiet and routine.

The weather has continued mild into the New Year, it feels good to get out into the open under blue skies.

We are lucky to have many footpaths locally giving us access to the countryside. The walls in the photo below are part of the roman town of Silchester.

It is a peaceful place to walk though it would have been a very busy centre in the past.

Along with the mild weather we have had rain, nothing compared to the rest of the country but even the drier south has had more than usual. The garden is waterlogged

although the hyacinths are emerging through the water

and in this topsy-turvy winter, I still have geraniums in flower!

The stream at the bottom of the hill burst its banks but nothing like as bad as previous years,

the temporary "lake" looked quite pretty as the sun was setting and the water levels are already starting to fall.
So a quiet return to our normal routines, time for knitting, reading and walking - good January activities.