Saturday, March 31, 2012

The zenith of plum blossomyness

Plum tree buds oxford 10 Mar 2012

Plum tree buds misty morning 15 Mar 2012

Plum tress buds swelling 18 Mar 2012

Buds and first plum blossom 25 Mar 2012

Sunrise behind blossoming plum tree 27 March 2012

Soft morning sky plum tree blossoms 29 Mar 2012

Soft morning blossoms 29 Mar 2012

Branch of blossoms and buds 29 Mar 2012

Branch of blossoms and buds 30 Mar 2012

Sunset on plum tree 30 Mar 2012

Plum tree blossoms and evening sky with moon 30 Mar 2012

Plum tree blossom branch in evening sun 30 Mar 2012

Plum tree in full bloom 31 Mar 2012

Plum tree in full bloom close up 31 Mar 2012

Full plum tree full bloom 31 Mar 2012
I've been waiting and watching for weeks as ole plummy has been promising to burst forth with clouds of white loveliness and today I am wondering it I can call it peak blossoming time. Last Saturday I found the first open bloom and all week drawing back the curtain has revealed soft sunrises behind an ever increasing curtain of flowers. Possibly the height of blossomyness was yesterday as a few petals started to fall by the evening but there are still so many buds waiting to open so maybe today we will reach the moment of maximum fullness. Every year I am overjoyed by this wonder right outside my bedroom window. I just want to make myself a nest right in the middle of all that prettiness.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sea air

24 hours of sea and a surprising amount of sunshine and I'm feeling like a new woman. A little knitting, qt with the tb and a quick lunch with my elusive brother all helped too of course but that sea air is magic. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A little Squam starter

Some deliciously beautiful yarn arrived today. The colourway is Deepest Depths, one of two, inspired by Squam lake and gloriously dyed by Jill Draper for last month's offering at the Squam store. I had plans for this to be the Pinehurst mitts that were designed to go with it but a certain one true beloved is rather taken with it and had it snuggled next to his neck moments after the tissue was opened before pronouncing it ideal for a hat. His socks are nearing completion and he's giddy with hand knit wanties! I'll  have to let the yarn sit a while and tell me what it wants to be.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sewing Sunday

Well for a few minutes anyway. Next Saturday is my sewing lesson and I thought I'd better break my habits so far and do something since the last lesson - especially as I seem to have lost my homework on bound buttonholes! Oops, will have to claim the cat ate it. I chickened out of using my rather fine Alexander Henry fabric straight off so found some very sweet and super bargainous cotton at Watford market to make the pattern up in first. Good job as I seem to have made it rather short - even after my teacher made me add a big chunk to what I had drawn out - I am bad with a tape measure - but I will get better with practice!

I think it's time to add the facings next but as I wasn't too sure and I haven't done those before I quit while I was ahead; best not to have to start the lesson ripping out eh?

Two key lessons learnt - sometimes cowardice is wise and sewing is your friend if you don't bite off more than you can chew. Sewing is also friendlier with The Colette Sewing Handbook around. Highly recommended - neat little lessons in the front and very sweet patterns.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time capsules

There was a vintage haberdashery sale at work. One of my colleagues was raising money for the hospice that had cared for her late aunt by passing on her notions to good homes. Her aunt had asked her to promise that she wouldn't throw them away and I think she found the perfect way of honouring that promise. I love picking up used haberdashery and thinking about the projects the remains were part of or the hands that held the tools. We talked about the patterns her aunt had made for her and it was all even more real.

I also love the amount of information you can glean from, and the memories triggered by, something as simple as the price label on this thread. 6 1/2p. Suddenly I'm back in the sweet shop spending my few 1/2 pennies carefully. This must be older than me though; they stopped clarifying theses were decimal pence being charged some way before I could ever read a price label.

I've never seen linen thread before - so strong though - it makes perfect sense. I'll be using it next time my coat button comes off (I've sewed it on three or four times already!) and my thoughts will be of a different time.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Project bedroom - phase one complete!

Inspired by the definite signs of spring and this rather gorgeous picture I came across yesterday via Heart Handmade UK I have engaged on a project long overdue. I call it Project Bedroom of Joy! I'm not aiming for something that looks like that particularly though I love all of the elements. I just want  something that gives me the same feeling of deliciously mixing freshness and cosiness.  We've never finished the work that we began on our room when we moved to our home in 2005; the floor is done, my Pa built us a fitted wardrobe and we got as far as painting a couple of tester patches on the very dull magnolia walls. Undecided about those and with other more pressing work it got pushed aside and we're very good at finding plenty to keep us away from DIY! Hopefully this new found springy motivation will see some big progress. Phase one involved just a bit of a clean and a tidy but it promises to be rather life enhancing as I finally cleared the top of my teeny bedside table and threw out the broken magazine rack that between them were bearing the weight of the endless knitting and craft magazines, knitting and craft books and novels I like to have to hand for bedtime reading. All now stashed equally within reach but out of sight in a large wooden drawer that fits neatly under the bed. So simple I can't believe it's taken me so long to think of it.  As a little treat for the little table now clear and clean I finished up another project that's been hanging around for a while.
Pattern: Apple Coasters by Louise Howe
Yarn: Mercerized DK cotton
Hook: 3.25mm
Started: July 2011
Finished: March 10th 2012
Ravelry page

I made a set of all red ones for a housewarming gift for a friend and thought I'd make up another set to have on hand to gift when needed, this time I fancied making a mix of solid and sliced apples. I got as far as one, was proud of myself for working out how to add the stem and then couldn't decide what to do about the seeds. Today with a new purpose in mind I spent the few minutes required to embroider some seeds in the same yarn used for the stem and lo project coaster and phase one of the bedroom project - clear floors and clean windows - both complete!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Dreaming of shawls

I am making slow progress on my pretty little lace scarf but that doesn't stop my fingers itching to be knitting a full shawl so I'm cataloguing some of the dreams here to stave off the startitis a while longer. Some of these patterns are for small shawls but I think all would be easy to make larger or maybe small would be a good place to start. Some have been long loved, others new discoveries. I've used the photos from the Ravelry details page for each pattern and linked those back to the pattern. Am I missing anyone's favourite? Anyone know which one I should start with?! I was all set for Ysolda's The Orchid Thief in a vibrant pinky-purple Araucania Ranco but since playing with my sock yarns I think Cladonia in a zingy blue and green combo might be the current favourite.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Weaving and waffling

The Mr had a good claim on the next pair of socks to be made. According to Ravelry I last made him some socks back in 2008 - 16 pairs ago! Searching the webs for a pattern seemed like too much effort and I had no man socks in mind so out came my old trusty sock knitting manual - Sensational Knitted Socks and I thought we were away.

Turns out my memory really isn't so great.  As well as assuming I knit his last socks last year or the one before at a push I forgot that this man has skinnier ankles than any six foot six giant in the world. I cast on 80sts in a woven stitch and they were looking LARGE. I had a thought of saving the ribbing but when I put it on yarn for him to try sense won out and I went back and cast on 64sts. If only I'd checked Ravelry first - the last plain socks I knit for him were over just 60sts. Ah well we're away now in Waffle Stitch II, a ribbed pattern for increased cosiness around those twiglets. Simple but rather smart I think.
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