Monday, 28 February 2011

Jury Service!

I was picked to attend for Jury service today. But wasn't selected to stay for the trial. I feel a bit let down, it would have been interesting to see how things work in the real world. (The stuff I took part in today is never shown on TV.) But I'm also not terribly disappointed, what a pain it could have been. That's me off the hook for a couple of years anyway.
*
In keeping with the more serious side of my life, I hunted all over town the other day for wooden curtain rings an essential element in my latest knitted creation. Not a one to be had, well I could have had 2 dozen!! But not four, on their own. Whats a girl to do?
I improvised, I went back to the crafty shop and picked up plastic rings,
Which I covered using yarn B.
I finished one panel and have the second one up to the fourth bobble. This could be a real fun and quick knit if work didn't keep getting in the way.
(Essential footwear. ;-p) I think I mentioned that the pattern calls for a knitted lining, but I have a fat quarter here that will go very nicely with yarn B and while I was getting the rings, I also purchased a zipper. I haven't put a zip into something for over twenty years, this should be interesting. LOL If you don't want to learn any new words, don't come near my house the day I try that.
*
Days off continue to be few and far between at the moment, between the 'winter vomiting bug' and people leaving, we're a bit short of staff. That aside today I committed to stop looking for another job and take on new challenges within my current role. (Yes that's right, once I was dismissed by the court, I went into work.) Some time later in the year I get to go away and take part in a 4 day training course. (Janice, Keith mentioned the first week in June, I do hope he's winding me up, he knows I've had that time booked for two years!) The course will enable me to grow within my current health and safety role and to deliver the health and safety training for the whole team here on the Isle of Man. I'm sure other things will stem from the course too. So, looking forward again, instead of elsewhere. It feels good.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Not quite what I had in mind....

I know I said I was off to get creative yesterday, but this wasn't what I planned. I sat with Joe in the sitting room, picked up my knitting and put it down again, picked up a magazine, and fell asleep reading it. I awoke an hour later all stiff and cross. Joe made me a cuppa and suggested we have another go at his pink meringues. Remember the ones he made at school tasted better than they looked? Well these ones look a lot better.
They taste great too, all sweet and squishy, with whole raspberries in the cream filling. Drool, I'm off to get another one. So glad you're not here, cause that means there are more for me! :-p
*
Maybe today I'll knit.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Stuff That!

I looked into this blog this morning before going to work. Janice and her husband had a visitor who was good enough to allow them to take publicity shots. He/she is a fine beastie and I just had to comment.

Just look at the word verification! I've seen this sort of thing pop up before, but never thought to get a photo.
*
And now to the title of the post......

Remember my lesson in reading book reviews? Well my sock loom finally arrived from the USA last week. Typically just after I managed to master the Double pointed needle technique. Anyway last night I finally got around to having a play with the loom. I have to say, I'm glad I mastered the multiple needle method. What a fuss and fiddle!
You're given an instrument which looks like it comes from a torture chamb, er sorry, dentists surgery. The smaller end bars on the loom itself slide up and down the length allowing you to change the number of pins you're working on, they're held in place with elastic bands. Well, I'm not impressed. The torture instrument kept catching the elastic bands and getting at the end panel which had been slid into the middle was to say the least fiddly.

It took me longer to work one round than it did to knit about four rounds on DPNs. That was after I spent over two hours with tension issues while casting on. I do not recommend this method for knitting socks. If you're determined to learn, use DPNs. Be persistent, come on holiday and visit me, I'm never be an expert, but I'll happily show you the basics. What ever you do, stay away from these things. Now if I could just figure out how to translate the patterns in the book for use with DPNs it won't be a total waste of money.
*
I'm off to do something crafty and constructive with my afternoon.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

An almost finished.......

And a new start. The shocking pink cardigan just needs it's buttons. I've been pecking away at closing the seams since Wednesday. Today I finally finished. I have the buttons here, I just need to get them on. A quick press and this little beauty can be on it's way to it's new home. :-)
I've been pretty busy with work, quite a few extra hours have been worked, which I intend to take back tomorrow as time in lieu. Today is a day off, I looked into my crafty room, mooched about for a few minutes and came out again with hands full of yarn to cast on a bag for my colleague. I think I mentioned a trade, some of her beautiful hand made cards, for one of my hand made baggies.
Here's a taste of the front and back panels. The pattern came in a booklet with the latest copy of 'Let's Knit'. There are several quick to knit bags, boasting they can be made in a weekend. Well I don't have one of those, so I'll get stuck in where ever I can. The pattern has a knitted lining, but I plan to use fabric.
*
'Waving' to our family in NZ. I'm so glad you are all safe. I can't help but worry about bloggy friends in the Christchurch area. I hope you are well and I'm thinking of you.
*
With one side of Australia burning, the other side under water and New Zealand trying to shake itself to bits.......kinda makes our wet, miserable overcast British Isles a little more bearable.
*
Take care all. Lou xx

Friday, 18 February 2011

Still Cloudy

The weather is still not conducive to long strolls and meanders. So today's detour was another brisk stroll along the harbour side.
*
The 'Ben boats' have carried freight to and from the island for as long as I can remember. They used to bring coal in and my neighbour drove the crane which lifted it out of the holds with a big bucket.
Going the other way they would carry timber and wool out. I'm sure they transported many other goods too, but that's what I remember. Today they bring timber in as well as lots of other stuff.
The fleet was named after the islands glens. 'Ben' is the Manx Gaelic for lady or woman, so 'Ben Maye' is 'Lady Maye'. There were many other Ben boats, all painted grey but some have been replaced with a younger newer fleet, the 'River' boats, I'll watch out for one of those. (Glen Maye)
*
And just because they were there, some snow drops nodding their heads under the trees at work. Typical, now that I finally taught myself to knit socks on DPNs my loom has arrived. I won't get a chance to play for a week or so. I promised my colleague her new bag would be my next project, not even a new lust for socks can get in the way.
*
Nice quick and easy spag bol for dinner, now that my hips have defrosted, you'll find me at the stove.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Cloudy!

That's what today's weather forecast says on a local website. That's it, just that one word. LOL Mind you, it's not wrong.
When I asked recently what it is you like about my blog and what you'd like to see here, many of you commented that you liked it when I take my camera along with me on my walks. With that in mind I took my camera along today when I scooted out to get milk. Rather than just going next door but one to the closest shop, I took a detour and went to a shop a little farther away, stopping to take pictures of course. I think most towns have their tired, worn out places, and Ramsey is no exception. We used to have a very busy harbour and regular markets. Not the trendy farmers markets we see today. Once a week the town used to take on some good country smells as the cattle mart took place. I think it was a Thursday? Anyway, those markets no longer take place here in town and the old mart buildings are abandoned. As I stopped to take the pictures I wondered what this place is like in the summer.
All those buddleia must attract a plethora of butterflies and other insect life.
It must be a little nature reserve, very close to the centre of town. Children have of course made the old cattle pens their own and the place is strewn with the remainder of old dens and rubbish, but I will go back on a warm sunny day to see who else plays there.
Another stop with my camera was the harbour side. Below the bridge is the quiet port of Ramsey, where the fishing boats and a couple of freight vessels come and go with the tides. You can see the crane for loading and unloading and the tops of the warehouses.
Above the bridge is where the pleasure craft and hobby fishing craft are moored. There is also a small working shipyard. The harbour has two arms above the bridge. The one you see here goes up river, under a road bridge and into a nature reserve. I was on the harbour side today just at high tide. There was a brisk breeze blowing which had a bit of a bite to it so I didn't linger. The cold damp air makes my hips ache, but I vowed to carry my camera more often and to take more detours.
*
I'd left veggie soup bubbling gently on the stove and came home to wonderful smells. I'm making huge pans of soups and broths every week now, sometimes twice. They are instant easy meals when I work late shifts, I take a portion to work for my meal, no matter what shift I'm working. Now if I could just convince Tony that he doesn't need a half a loaf of bread with it......
*
I'm nearly finished the shocking pink cardigan, I started knitting up the button bands last night, then I get to knit a bag. I friend and colleague of mine makes the most beautiful cards and has agreed to trade with me. :-) We did this once before, I love her cards. I'm off to stir the soup cauldron and knit.


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

We have two winners.

Well I dragged it out to post number 601. But better late than never. Joe brought a friend home with him last night, so I got them each to play along with my give away. The bowl on the left was the draw for suggesting a name, for the quilt with no name. Michael kindly drew out 'AnnieO'.
The bowl on the right was drawn by my Joe, it had forty slips of paper all vying for the chatterbox prize. :-) Joe drew out Janice. I've emailed both girls and will get packages away soon.
What are they eating? Joe's Raspberry meringues. There was red food colour everywhere, you should have seen Michael's face!
*
I didn't make it up into the sewing room yesterday. Instead I did some more knitting. I finished off the back of the cardigan and cast on both fronts. This is a new trick for me, working on both fronts or both sleeves at the same time. Like I said yesterday with no pattern and not even a raglan sleeve, this is quite a boring knit. I'm glad I added the cream coloured rib. I think the whole garment made in this pink would be very over powering for a baby.
Hopefully it will be a quick knit and I can get back to something more challenging soon. On today's jobs list is the need to find some buttons that will match. Hopefully in shocking pink!
*
While my Hunney and I were discussing not going out for dinner in order to save money, I did suggest that perhaps he not spend quite so much on flowers as he normally would. He took my advice. In a departure from the usual Stargazer (Christmas) Lilies and red roses he took notice of my interest in the tulip bouquets. This is not the best of pictures, the flowers are all washed out, but they are beautiful. Thank you Hunney.
Our dinner went well. I made a starter of home made pizza wheels, home made coleslaw and home pickled beets with a little green salad. We followed with Beef Wellington, (perfectly cooked! Yippie!) roasted sweet potato and pea pods with a red currant sauce. I'm still stuffed, but Tony managed to eat one of Joe's meringues.
*
Take care.

Monday, 14 February 2011

The big 600.

Happy Valentines Day. I sent my lovely off to work today with Heart shaped cuff links, some heart shaped chocs in his lunch pack and of course his apple cosy. :-) We exchanged cards before he left.
*
This being my 600th post I promised to do a draw of all the comments on the last few posts in order to have a give away, but we were so busy being lovey dovey this morning I forgot to get him to do it! I'll get Joe to do it later. Just so you know, there are 40 names going into the hat for the 600th post give away and twelve names for the name that quilt surprise. Some of you will have more than one entry, because you commented on more than one post. :-) I still didn't decide on a name for the shirt quilt! Hence the need for a draw to decide who wins! LOL
*
Speaking of Joe, during their cooking lesson today they have to make something for Valentines, but were told not to do heart shaped cookies, or cup cakes with heart shaped decorations. After a bit of thought I came up with Raspberry Meringues and Joe agreed. Yummy, can't wait.
*
The only time I spent up in my sewing room recently was to pull out my button tin and collect the iron so I could do the boring household ironing. :-( Instead I've been busy knitting. I finished off the Aran jacket mentioned in the last post. It consented to go together with no more dramas or ripping outs! LOL Remember my post, grumbling about socks? Well my knitting magazine turned up, with a free set of sock pins and a sock knitting guide. Look what I did!
I've actually made three socks, but the first one had a couple of ventilation holes! So I tried again. You can't really tell here but they are only tiny, size 0 - 6 months. The yarn is Opal's Circus Clown. I have another sock yarn here to play with, but that can wait for another time. For now I've cast on another cardigan using the bright pink yarn which I bought way back here. I got about half way up the back last night. I must admit to being a little bored with it. After knitting up the Aran, then the steep learning curve with the socks, learning to knit on 4 needles, turn a heel and make toes all inside a day, the plain stocking stitch of a very plain little cardigan is boring! LOL I was however able to watch a movie while I knitted and have finally seen Avatar.
*
It's my long weekend off work, so after a busy couple of days with Tony, Joe and Mum, I finally have time to relax. Though today I plan to make a special dinner for Tony, we agreed not to go out this evening as we're trying to save our pennies. It's Beef Wellington for dinner. Followed, I hope by Joes Raspberry Meringues.
*
Time to play. (Spell checker is not working! If there are any clangers, you'll work it out!)

Thursday, 10 February 2011

If at first you don't succeed

Rip it out and start again! Sigh......
That seems to have been an issue with this little jacket. I tore the hood out several times before the pattern instructions 'clicked' into my head. The button hole band was the same.
Even this photo shoot! I tried several different times, on different surfaces, with and without flash.....It's not at it's best here, it's not even finished, I still have to close up the sleeve and side seams and find some buttons. But it's close enough to being finished for me to post here, and tomorrow Tony can take it to work and hand it over to Freya's Daddy.
*
Speaking of buttons, look what I found yesterday. The little apple pin I spied in a charity shop window, nestled amid all the red items on display. While I was inside paying for said apple, these buttons just hopped out of a box on the counter and begged to come home with me. (The tea spoon is just for scale) I had camera issues with these too, you're not seeing them at their best. I adore them.
I've no particular project in mind for them though, so they'll go into the tin and come out when they're needed.
*
For those who are counting, this is post number 599! Last chance. You may only have 24 hours, on the other hand, you may have 4 days. I'll need those four days and a little more in order to finish your gift. The threads I want for it are not available from my usual OLS so I shopped around and found them somewhere else and I just had a call from them saying they are out of stock! I've agreed that they can send the closest possible match. I'll see how that looks, if it doesn't work, I've already started thinking about plan C.
*
I'm off to make a cauldron of soup and close up those seams. I might even have time for a new start before I go to work. :-)

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Days off Flutter by......

For post 598 we return to quilty content. As I said, I've been inspired by our friends baby to revisit a UFO. This started out as a Butterfly Fling Jelly roll. I played about with it some time ago, but it never really took off, I think because I wasn't following a pattern and had no definite purpose for it. If you remember I took out all of the blue strips, I don't know why, but they have returned and are playing the role of corner stones and I also see a blue border somewhere in the (I hope) near future.
It's not a great photo I'm afraid, but hopefully enough to let you see where I'm up to.
*
I'm on a day off today, I really needed it, the head cold caught up with me and wore me out. I had a lovely lie in this morning and have taken my time puddling about upstairs in the sewing room. I'm just taking a break to get the dinner started, Chilli Con Carne, Yum. Then maybe I'll sew some more, or maybe I'll do a little knitting.
*
As I said at the top, this is post number 598, only one post left to go. ;-)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Works in planning and lack of progress

After a recent tidy up and sort out, Gina agreed to have a little swap with me. I sent her a bunch of magazines, and she sent me a bunch of Navy Blue fat quarters.
Look at all of this! Gina not only sent some pretty fat quarters, she also had a look through her scraps and found some largish Navy Blue pieces in there and sent them along too AND she enclosed a cute Rudolph pattern. Thank you for swapping with me Gina. You know how I love blue and white quilts? Well probably in about 20 years........ LOL
*
I've been playing about a little with the Butterfly Fling blocks adding some sashing. I'll play about with it some more today and see where it goes. I don't think I ever really had a firm plan for this one, maybe that's why it became a UFO. Now that there is a baby girl to create for it's taken life again. It's slow progress though, I've got a sinussey head cold thing happening which is causing a distinct lack of concentration and enthusiasm, fortunately sewing precut sashings onto blocks is pretty mindless, the little knitted Aran jacket has ground to a halt though.
*
I'm going to play for an hour or two.
Oh by the way, this is post number 597!! We're getting up there.