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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

U3A 25th


A couple of photographs to show display at Kingston U3A 25th celebrations, spot my Beekeeper's Quilt displayed vertically 

It was a very long day, tiring but worthwhile manning the display for the Knitting group. As I wasn't involved with any other group I sat and guarded everything, especially my Beekeeper's Quilt from about 10am till 4pm whilst trying to explain how I made it, about magic loop,  casting on to for the 'pocket' , about increasing and decreasing to obtain the hexagon, about stuffing before completing with three needle bind off. It did help that I am using magic loop to make socks, had my Work in Progress with me of course so that helped my explanation. 

Quite surprised to see people I knew in my other lives who are not U3A members but had dropped by so the occasion was a good catchup. Looked around other displays by different groups, there aren't any others I wish to join, I attend a Pilates class locally where there is no parking problems, the book club is local too, also just have no time to undertake more activities. 

Finally a picture of the fruit cake to add to the celebrations, appropriate as I am watching Bake off final whilst typing this in notes then cutting and pasting in Blogger which is playing up again. 

Please ignore the odd character and lack of punctuation!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Archeological wallpaper

Our favourite decorators, Michael and David have been smartening up our kitchen, the scullery/laundry room/extension plus those parts of our new downstairs shower room that require painting. Whilst rubbing down the wall behind the fridge freezer M and D found the remains of varnished wallpaper behind the fridge freezer. After much discussion it was decided the paper was probably 1930s vintage that had been varnished. I reckon it looks like a design for a knitted blanket squares. In nearly 19 years of living here we had never come across this paper before, it was assumed that the wall had been plastered and painted, at least 3 or 4 times by M and D.  It was reckoned they have been decorating our homes for about 27 years. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Domestic details

Rather pleased that I have managed to line up the stripes at the start of the second sock, would like to have these finished in less than six days so I could display them at Kingston U3A's open day along with the Beekeeper's Quilt. This event is to celebrate 25 years of existence, apart from displays of knitting and patchwork groups' work, there will be ongoing Scrabble games, singing, a bike to reflect the interest of other groups.  Not sure how discussion groups will display their activity, will try to report back afterwards. Details on their U3A website if any of my loyal readers are in the vicinity of SW London - it is Kingston upon Thames, not upon Hull. 

At Pixie Towers there  is plenty of opportunity to knit, decorating is continuing well, there is a lot to do as we have a large original built in dresser and a larder to be painted, all of which have had to be emptied out. Earliest use by date found was 2009.

Having typed this on Note app will now try to upload and save it on Blogger. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Small things

I may have mentioned that I am a volunteer at the Local Studies library, recording information, none of which would be done however many staff the authority employed without the use of volunteers. Last week on my way out passing a huge notice board I spotted that it is now possible to download magazines through Zinio app using my library card number. Briefly, I have managed all on my own to download three of the magazines, the ones that I would look at in W H Smiths or Waitrose but couldn't justify buying for one or two articles.  Country Living was a particular weakness, ironic really I am such an disorganised person to live miles from anywhere. Actually not all the magazine is countryside, there was an article about a local garden centre and its cafe situated in this London borough. Next thing will be to clear my pile of back issues, just keeping ideas that would suit Pixie Towers, like illustrations and sources of herringbone parquet flooring or craft ideas. 

Ian has now registered too so the impulse buys of New Scientist are a thing of the past. 

Last weekend went by train to Dorset, slower but less stressful than driving over 100 miles each way in a 20 year old Corsa so much knitting of Ian's sock was done. As I am doing these socks one at a time so I line up the stripes I am very careful to record the rows using five bar gate system, pencil and paper too.

Much progress since this photo was taken, I am now decreasing for the toe, then will be using the left handed version of Kitchener stitch to provide a  neat join. 

For some time I have been having problems with Blogger app jumping back to my front page, I am going to write my blog in a copy and paste in Notes or maybe Word. 

Meanwhile back to making a pineapple fruit cake.  

Monday, 3 October 2016

A challenge

Today I celebrate finishing a 20cm square of knitting after four attempts using the yarn supplied, plus a trial using my own yarn. 

At the Knitting and Crochet Guild convention way back in July I signed up to knit a 20cm square using instructions from one Gladys Jeskins, then forgot all about it until we came back at the beginning of August from our Lakeland holiday to find yarn, instructions and a photograph of pattern 841. The yarn is King Cole merino blend 4ply superwash, needle size is 3.25.  

Today I cast off the square, now the ends need to be sewn in before blocking, spraying with cold water and leaving to dry.  The project has been quite a struggle for me, it was complicated to establish the number of stitches for the square had to be 20cms, the pattern was in blocks of 12, apart from the last 11 stitches.  Additionally there was to be a border of 6 rows of garter stitch top and bottom and three garter stitches beginning and end of each row. Needle size was 3.25mmm, the rows were 12 border, 2 foundation rows and 56 rows of pattern as 8 rows completed the pattern.

The instructions didn't use standard knitting abbreviations, also I had never come across a stitch before one drops a stitch down four rows before, knitting it together with the four 'rungs' of the ladder formed. 

Another reason I feel very cheerful today, apart from the sunshine, is that we went to a Beetle Drive on Saturday night. Good old fashioned fun in aid of Whitton Network, a local voluntary organisation that arranges for volunteer drivers to take people to medical appointments, do some shopping, just help out.  The Beetle Drive equipment, including dice, cups, photocopied sheets, whistle all date from the war or immediate postwar era, I suspect we should have worn vintage dress as we moved up and down or not in my case. I had the honour of winning the prize for the lowest score in the second half. 

Yes, four bottles of raspberry Lucozade, so needed after my Pilates class, we know how to live in suburbia. 

Sunday, 25 September 2016

PixieMum updates

This blog is coming to you from my new iPad Air 2, purchased last Monday and now in a new red leather case, we were advised by JL and Apple to buy the case online.  Last Saturday Martha and  I had gone to the Mothership (aka John Lewis Kingston) to investigate why my iPad didn't like me clicking on links, it would sulk, expand everything on the screen before freezing. Basically, it was worn out. The store was so crazily busy that I returned with Ian on the Monday when all was calm. It had taken much persuasion for me to have an iPad nearly five and a half years ago, yet now it has become a tool for living and organising my life. For example, this afternoon I Facetimed Martha, she was sewing a fine seam in her sewing room, I was able to be there with her and crocheting whilst  she finished and modelled her skirt. 

Earlier in the afternoon  I was at JL (again) in their community room at a gathering of the Knitting & Crochet Guild, it was so useful to look up projects, there was a discussion about the Beekeepers Quilt so I could show hexipuffs. In a gentle way I was teased about the meticulous detail of the yarn I had used. As they said, once a librarian, always a librarian. 

Brief interruption of this blog construction whilst Ian and I swop our cars around; our drive takes just one car so the other lives outside in our suburban street. Overnight the big 3 year old Qashqui lives on the drive as per the insurance documents, it is slightly more valuable and bigger than the 20 year old Corsa. Interestingly taking the Corsa off the drive didn't affect the insurance costs, we can't physically have two cars on the drive and wouldn't sacrifice the garden for an old car. 

Other musings that have been occupying my thoughts include wondering why the notices in quiet carriages don't include requests to keep the conversations between passengers at a low level, there are just instructions concerning music and phones. Now, what happened to the rule about keeping to the left? It is ignored, especially in railway stations, on stairs and in tube and underground tunnels. Going up and downstairs I need to hold onto the handrail, especially on the upward haul, verifocal lenses are another hazard for steps but three more separate pairs of specs would be too much - I have reading glasses and prescription sunglasses in addition to two pairs of verifocals.  

Now to end as it is gone 10pm, need to go up the wooden hill, so to close a picture of grandson with whom we have spent a couple of days. When he is not teething he is a cheerful chap at the delightful stage when he suddenly realises he has stood up and walked. 

Saturday, 10 September 2016


When I was at Library School in Liverpool many years ago, someone mentioned that they knew I was from London by my clothes, I was reminded of this earlier this evening whilst catching up on the first of two programmes about Vogue magazine in its centenary year and recalling our visit to Liverpool this week.  

It is becoming a tradition for us to go away to celebrate my birthday, Florence a couple of years ago, Dorset county show last year, this year Liverpool to see the changes since my student days. For most of my life the weather has been good on my birthday, it is as if the weather gods know the Autumn term has started, this year the week has been warm, humid and sunny until today. 

Not sure I like the ride on West Coast line trains, felt bit unsteady if moving about but we were efficiently transported, no delays either way and on time. First shock was the openness of Lime Street station, glass instead of solid walls making the whole so much lighter, once in a taxi delayed by diversions caused by building works. No Skelhorn Street bus station where the maroon Ribble express buses gathered, also where were the Liverpool Corporation green goddesses? Gone, replaced by Arriva, or was it Stagecoach, certainly no longer distinctive from any other city. 

The view from our hotel in Princes Dock, overlooking the Leeds & Liverpool canal, this has been extended to run into the Mersey relatively recently, the river and Birkenhead can be seen in the distance. The hotel, Crowne Plaza had those tiny extras that make me feel good about them, efficient lighting for reading in bed, face flannels, fluffy towels and lots of fresh fruit on the breakfast menu. 

In my mind I had a wish list of places to see, assuming they hadn't been part of the great rebuild, one was the the then College of Commerce, now part of John Moore's University in Tithebarn Street. 

Here it is in all its scruffiness

On my birthday we went to the now finished Anglican cathedral for the 12.05 Communion service in  the Lady Chapel, seemed appropriate, it is some time since we have used the red Common Worship books and to await the announcement of which prayer was to be used, it was D. The Dean who had presided spoke to us afterwards, it was our impression it is unusual for tourists to attend this service. 

Ian took my picture in the cathedral cafe, I consider it my birthday portrait, 

and another on the roof of Liverpool public library, 

Big bag with handbag and knitting inside. The dome behind me is the roof of the Picton library, little changed except the old bound green catalogues have gone, however the rest of the library is a beacon for library buildings. 

What a lovely birthday gift I have been given, memories that don't need storage, cleaning, a chance to see more of England and to remember that very first train journey of over four hours to Liverpool for my interview for the college, an interview that lasted barely 10 minutes. Fortunately train times speeded up by the time I started my studies.