Monday, 13 January 2014

It's been a while.....

New Year Resolutions..... you make them and break them within a week. Last year my resolution was to write my blog each day, mmmmm , didn't happen.
The computer was taken over by small boys then the hard drive died - events not related .
I also started a Reflexology course in March , and now I am a fully qualified Reflexologist just about to start up on my own.
Time passes so quickly , there always seems so much to do but I think for my sanity I will try and make time for this blog (no resolutions so I don't break them!)
Just now I am about to start on a MKAL - mysteryknitalong , woohoo , its Follow the Arrow by Ysolda . I have balled up my yarn and printed off the first clue , which one to choose A or B .

Skein Queen Russet and OMA Elodie


All Balled up!

Still working out how to use Flickr and Blogger on the new PC - need to get my 13year old to help!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Almost there.

I am nearly there in finishing my mitts.

First FO for January FAL .

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

January Blues

There was lots of bugs about over Christmas , my youngest having a particularly nasty virus with sky high temperatures. I had a cold that threatened to become something worse , and am still easily exhausted .
Christmas was lovely , and our Knitting Group Secret Santa and night out was superb. My sister even gave me a knitted gift of a leaf design scarf in manos yarn this year, which I adore .
Although feeling unwell , I did manage out on some gentle walks with DH while the children were with the Grandparents , that and plenty of rest help shift the awful cold/flu thing I had.
I always find January a bleak month , joyless , and particularly if recovering from illness , depressing. Lethargy and apathy set in , and when they take a rest , panic takes their place . It takes a huge amount of effort to tune out of negative emotions and tune in to positive ones .
In trying to be more positive , I am joining in our Knitting Group s AL , or finish- along. Although given the number of WIPS I have , this could backfire on me!
There are 22 days left in January , and I will be finishing my snowflake mitts and perhaps my purple alpaca socks . If I manage that I will pat myself on the back and start a new project in February!
By then I should feel a bit more positive .

Here is some projects I finished over Christmas.

Leaf beret hat and scarf , pattern from Ysolda' s Saturday Treats , handspun yarn from Secret Santa a couple of years ago .

And here are the beautiful flowers my friends at the knitting group have me for organizing Secret Santa .

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Its cold outside!

Minus 5 deg celsius to be precise . Still its cosy in our wee home . Lots of knitting and spinning going on just now , some may be gifts ,  some is mine , all mine! Haha!
Finished knitting the beret from Ysolda's book Saturday Treats , using some very lovely handspun yarn that Secret Santa gave to me about 2 years ago . Its a leafy green colour so perfect for the leaf beret .
Have started a kidsilk haze scarf too , with some beads , but this one will probably be a gift , as will the handspun yarn I made with some lovely fibre from Easyknits called Plum Pie .
Had a particularly lovely time last week , went down to Basingstoke to visit my DH who works there now . With the exception of some dreadful train journeys' , had a great time going into London to visit the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate Modern . Wonderful exhibition with seven different rooms each under a different heading , relating to what the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were doing at that specific time . It took me two hours to go round everything , my feet were aching but I did not want to leave . Sadly it finishes on January 13th , so won't get another chance to see it again .
On Thursday I took a very pleasant and short train journey to Winchester , ancient capital of England . Such a beautiful medieval city , full of interesting nooks and crannies and the market was in full flow when I arrived . I headed to the nearby Cathedral to have a look inside and see if I could find Jane Austens' grave . A tour had just started so I joined in , and the docent was very knowledgeable and interesting . Its such a beautiful sacred space , and not only did I see Jane Austens' grave , I found some PRB designed stained glass windows in the Epiphany Chapel! (Edward Burne-Jones to be exact) I must say the Winchester Bible gave me shivers down my spine , here was a handwritten document made over 800 years ago , beautifully done and , even with my limited latin, I could understand . Who was this talented scribe?

Jane Austens' grave inside Winchester Cathedral

Crypt of Winchester Cathedral which floods at certain times of year - with Antony Gormley scuplture

Coffee in the Refectory

Friday saw me take my youngest to the Yule night at West Kilbride , a half hour drive down the Ayrshire coast from Gourock . My friend Ange has kindly offered to feed us too , so after dinner we headed out into the frosty evening to the Santa parade , then Thom and Callum played with their light sabres (cheap nasty ones on sale in the street) , while Ange and I popped into the shops . All of them had drinks and nibbles , and very tasty it was too . At Old Maiden Aunt - Liliths beautiful studio , we stopped for a while , chatting to our friends Gwen and Rhiannon and Ziggy the dog . Poor Ziggy disgraced himself by relieveing himself by the big suitcase in the studio, Ooops!
Karie , Elaine , Lynette and their partners all came down from Glasgow for the evening , and it was great fun . The "boys" (big and small) and Lesley chatted about Star Wars , while much mulled wine and tasty baked cookies and cakes were consumed. Fabulous! Karie even brought her Danish cakes.

Saturday , we took the kids into Glasgow to see the lights , visit Forbidden Planet (boy heaven!) and have some Pizza . It was mobbed , but we did what we went up to do , somehow the boys got early "gifts" at forbidden planet - Dr Who figures and a James Bond book . A bemused German chap asked about Dr Who , apparently they have just started showing it on German TV.

My two crossword buddies and I went back into Glasgow on Monday , a bit more civilised , coffee at Tinderbox in Princes Square while the school choir was singing , a look around the Continental Market down by St Enoch Square , a bit of Christmas shopping and a bit more eating .

I guess Christmas has begun!

Monday, 12 November 2012


Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday , and with two boys in uniformed organisations there would be at least one in the local Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service . Poppies were purchased by the dozen and STILL most got lost .
However , while the maturer among us were thinking deep thoughts , and feeling all very moved by the tragedy and sorrow of war , my two little angels
found this a wee bit difficult .

DS1 felt the Parade would be too long and cold , and interfere with his social activities , not realising that most of his friends would be there too! Three tee-shirts under his Scout Shirt didn't convince him he would be warm enough either , but I was trying to avoid the Michelin Man look , so that's all it was! "Why is is so cold on Remembrance Sunday?" , "Its November !!" said I .

"Whats the silence all about?" asked the youngest , having been taught for most of his life what it was about . "Its a bit boring!" he said . "Yes , darling , I am sure the poor soldiers getting shot to pieces remarked that it was boring too!!"

Its strange but that two minutes does seem like an eternity. A baby cries and has a dummy stuck in its mouth to sooth it , it doesn't work . Some joggers and cyclists pass by in brightly coloured gear , focused on their activity , giving the parade a backward glance . A toddler purloins a bag a sweeties from Daddys' pocket while he is deep in thought , and the Ex-Service Men and Women at the War Memorial look like living statues , immovable as the stone memorial they face . And an elderly lady squeezes the hand of her husband , who stares straight at the parade , and remembers a different day . The Town officials lay their wreaths , as do the uniformed organisations , all very solemn as it should be . The clergymen speak loud and clear in comforting tones , and even the National Anthem does not get carried off in the wind but sounds respectful .
And it is bitterly cold and beautiful. A beautiful remembrance.
The children are quiet afterwards as they drink their warming hot chocolate , and return to their normal activities .
A trip to the battle fields of Flanders for every school child ? Yes Mr Cameron , and hurry up about it!

Have started a great deal and finished not a lot , but progress is being made .
Started these Snowflake mittens in March , have ripped them out about 5 times now , but am progressing at last - did this while watching/listening to Operation Iceberg , super programme .

Also got back into spinning a bit more - here is some of my spun yarn - lovely merino/silk on left , merino/silk noil/angelina on spool and BFL on right .

Also managed a weaving class this month taught by the lovely ange of knit1girl1 blog , and made a moebius scarf . It was great fun , but the tension in my shoulders from the concentration , aarrgghh! Am being persuaded a bit more on the weaving , may try it out a bit more soon , especially the new techniques we were shown . Its great fun!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Wakey Wakey Rise and Shine

Its back to school today for my younger son , luckily for my elder , the Secondary Schools have an extra in-service day so he is still off school . Still getting up at the usual school time , and helping mum with the shopping isn't what he had hoped to do .
The latter part of last week was so wet and windy , and we canceled our Dumfries trip , and made do with visiting the Science Centre , which the boys adore . Although my older boy is now teenager in training , so "no photo's please" and "really this is too young for me now " are his sorta mantra's .

You can tell from this photo - "we are not amused!"

And a trip to Gran and Grandads' for the kids meant I could visit Glasgow University Public Study Day entitled Re-inventing Scotlands' Woollen Tradition in the Lighthouse on Mitchell Street in Glasgow .
There it was lovely to see were many familiar faces of knitty friends whom I hadn't seen in a while , and some beautiful knitted garments being worn and shown!
I got to see the famous Shetland Cobweb Shawl knitted by Lilith for Elaines' wedding day , and it got filmed for STV!
The talks were interesting , and the Knitting Salon benches by artist Trevor Pitt amazing . There was a lady knitting a gansey and there were several gorgeous ganseys on show . There was a slide show about the Mirrie Dancers , and a presentation by the Shetland Museums curator on Fairisle - visit Elaines' blog as she has a superb post about it .

One of the lecturers from Glasgow University gave a talk on the introduction of a new Post-grad course on textile conservation , and the lovely Karina from Rowan was demonstrating crochet using Rowans British Sheep Breeds wool .

I even got to treat myself to some fibre lovelies courtesy of Ripplecraft and Fibre Forager - aren't they gorgeous!

I have now completed the front and back of the baby sweater , and hopefully will have the sleeves done soon . Its for my niece who is one tomorrow! I look after her a day a week , so will probably keep it here so I can look after it too !

Hopefully getting out tonight to knitting , it has changed to a Tuesday evening , which is good as my youngest is starting cubs on a Thursday. However with DH working away , getting a babysitter can be awkward , hopefully Grandpa will make it though .

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Local Heroes

It is the October Holidays , or mid-term break to give it the official title ,and one of our favourite holidays . Usually , the weather is cold but bright , and the trees leaves are turning gold , red and brown making the landscape very colourful .
We are forgoing the usual trips the theme parks , and having a "staycation" instead ,with a wee trip to Dumfries in between .
Yesterday afternoon , we visited the Riverside museum , which contains Glasgows' transport collection , and berthed outside is the Tall Ship .
Its an unusual building , designed by the architect Zaha Hadid , but once the children stopped running off in every direction , or constantly asking for something to eat , we were able to enjoy the layout and design of this lovely building . The windows which make you feel you are looking at a landscape painting , the way to can view the exhibits from the floor level and then see some more of them from the first floor level . The Main street (old Glasgow street) with its old shop fronts AND interiors were great fun too .
And obviously it had its Shipbuilding section , with two wonderful Stanley Spencer paintings of the Clyde shipyard workers at work . These paintings were taken during the second world war , when Stanley Spencer was employed as a war artist at Port Glasgow and Greenock Shipyards , and show the detail of shipbuilding , the cramped conditions , the physical and often dangerous work . I also loved the detail of the clothes the men wore , one an had on a very intricate fairisle sweater .(One of my favourite Stanley Spencer paintings is of "the Glen" in Port Glasgow at the end of the war , it shows very bright and colourful children , spinning over the railings , skipping and having fun -this one is housed at the Glasgow Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.)
As with most children , the attractions of the exhibits wane and the siren call of the cafe and shop take over , so after a restorative drink, and a wee look round the shop we headed home .
But mum was on a cultural roll , so today we visited the local Inverclyde museum , "The McLean" in Greenock , housed behind the (James) Watt Library . It is a really wonderful old-fashioned museum , and has stuffed animals , trays of butterflies and insects as well as some Egyptian/Japanese/Chinese/Indian exhibits . There are sections on the local industries , Shipbuilding , Shipping , Sugar-refining , Pottery , Ropes and Woolen Mills and so on . There is also some excellent paintings (a few JD Fergusons , a Cadell and Peploe for starters!) There were obviously a lot of wealthy people , and a huge amount of industry in the area that this beautiful wee museum feels a bit small too contain and display it all .
Sadly , what is missing is a comprehensive history of the area , which would celebrate the intellect and talent of the area , the beauty of the architecture that wasn't destroyed , as well as inspiring the local inhabitants . When we fail to document our history we lose it and our sense of identity . People can then dwell on the negative things about the area , instead of being inspired to reach for something better , and improve the area they live in .

The boys got bored - they do not share my passion for history , unless its about electronic games! Time for home.
Well , at least I get out to my knitting tonight - have been fighting with the little baby sweater I'm knitting , it may have been better if there had been a chart for the lace section , still it is taking shape .
Sorted out my stash and projects the other week , and am determined to make my way through the projects until I get (some of ) them finished . It would help if I stopped casting on new projects!
I think my wee (not so beautiful) stash cupboard IS struggling to contain it all.
Still socks don't count! Nor do gloves!
However I think the chunky cardi that is in the lastest Rowan book might - but not if I knit it quickly .
I am being pestered again - why do they need to eat!