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Sunday, 14 April 2013


I am very pleased to announce that two hundred hexipuffs have been knitted, my target is 384 for a 3 x 4 foot quilt, very encouraging to me that I'm more than half way.

Here they are, filling up a very old shopping basket. The picture doesn't show the variety of colours, there are about 19 different yarns used, a few have a mixture of odds and ends of yarn that needed using up. The big challenge will come with joining them all together.

Faced a different challenge yesterday evening when we drove back from Sussex. We had driven down early, well early for us, in the morning in sunshine to daughter's home, not long after we arrived the rain started and never stopped. The reason for the visit was to transform the bathroom walls from bright blue to a subtle magnolia, which Ian did. Because he did the painting, and almost more important all the preparation of filling holes etc. beforehand, I took on the task of driving both ways.

By travelling early in the day we had hoped to be away before darkness but the paint tin said six hours between coats so it was almost dark when we left. The drive was so scary for us, rain, darkness, fog, roadworks, the coordination needed to switch from main beam to headlights when other vehicles approach, the deep puddles, unseen potholes, my lack of long distance driving practice made me fearful. Another problem is that the pain of the rotator cuff tear has returned so although I had the driving seat quite forward the bones in my right arm were hurting. It was agreed when we saw some where to stop safely Ian would take over, in the darkness and rain we never saw anywhere. Rather than face the narrow stretch of A24 we went via M23, M25 and M3, driving was easier on the motorways for by then it was spray rather than rain on the screen.

We take few long car journeys, so apart from the heavy rain and darkness much of the journey's problem was I was out of practice so it was good that I met the challenge rather than us sharing driving. I had anticipated a different problem that morning and had ensured my prescription sunglasses were on the dashboard on our way south.

To keep myself and everyone else out of danger on the road I have an appointment to discuss shoulder with Doctor and an appointment for an eye test. Should I risk updating prescription sunglasses in preparation for the Summer?

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Mirror mirror on the wall

In my previous blog I mentioned the mirror that my Mother made, well not the glass, the design in hammered pewter was hers.

Charged up the camera battery and took a couple of photos.

Bit difficult to take picture as the mirror is convex but this should give an idea, below I have attempted to capture more of the detail.

Another talent was her ability to carry a colour in her head, is this unusual? 

Friday, 5 April 2013

One thing leads to another . . .

This morning I decided that it was time I attacked the mending pile, well it is not very big, just a couple of items that have become unstitched at the seams. Also, there's an old shirt of Ian's so I will take the buttons off from that to rebuild up my button collection. At one time I had a large tin of buttons then there was a Freecycle appeal for buttons wanted to be used in a craft project so I gave them away. At that time I had abandoned knitting, also didn't sew much either anymore so no need to have a collection of buttons.

Back to the mending, searching in my sewing basket for navy blue thread was nearly impossible as the ends of thread from reels had joined together so the only thing was to tidy up the basket. Some of the reels must be over 40 years old, dating back to my dressmaking days, I can remember the garments I made and wore with pride. Other memories emerged from the chaos, Cash's name tapes, a blue gingham needle case I made at junior school, a felt pincushion made by son, 8 pairs of scissors, a darning mushroom. There's an index card on which my mother had written instructions for crocheting an American square. I have other examples of her handwriting, but this recalls when we went to Evening Classes together to learn to crochet. She was brilliant at handcrafts, embroidered, made beautiful lampshades,  I prize the mirror edged with hammered pewter in her design of oak leaves. Needless to say she knitted, I remember her knitting an outfit for a doll for my sister and admitting she had to stay up very late on Christmas Eve to finish it. One of the last items she embroidered before Parkinsons robbed her of her skills was an Irish linen tablecloth for our first wedding anniversary present. It is in use on a table in our lounge, still in use of course.

So back to the sewing box, there was no navy blue thread so this has been purchased and I need to sew a fine seam.

Here's the chaos whilst I was searching for the right colour, on the left is the tangle which will be used to stuff

a hexipuff,below one can see the white card with the crochet instructions.

Another view of the box shows the gingham needle holder with red embroidery stitches. Anyone else around who went to Latchmere Road School in Kingston?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Knitting again

Just a mini posting to show you all the completed second Forest Canopy shawl using a random sock yarn so the colour pattern is rather strange! Livens up the grey sweater dress but this yarn doesn't drape as well as that used for the first shawl.

Working backwards, here's the shawl being blocked, hi tech stuff this pinning it out through a towel on carpet, but hey, it worked and the pointy bits show!

Finally, the yarn before I started to knit,

It is Aviemore 4 ply from Stylecraft Yarns, 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon bought for £6.00 for 100 grams from Squires Garden Centre. There is a little yarn over so that will be used for hexipuffs. Total is 189.

Monday, 1 April 2013

April Fools' Day

The cold weather has kept us indoors, oh how I long to tidy up the garden but it must wait until the wind drops and temperatures creep up a little.

Of course we haven't been in all the time since my last ramblings, last Monday was special,  we ventured to town for Ian's birthday lunch at Simpson's in the Strand. We like presents like that, experiences rather than dust collectors. The lunch lasted about three hours before we grabbed a taxi to Tate Modern for the Lichtenstein retrospective.

Simpson's was fascinating, it was some time since I was there, this time we were downstairs, not in one of the famous chess booths - rather enormous for the two of us - but at the back near the magnificent fireplace so I could people watch. One of my (many) idiosyncrasies is that I like to be at the edge of a room, especially when the room or venue is large, so I don't have people behind me but so I'm on the periphery and it was so at Simpson's.

Whilst viewing the other diners I as surprised how dress standards have changed. There were quite a few wearing jeans, not even with smart tops, one diner looked dressed for light gardening, there were shorts worn, fortunately with thick tights under given the bitterly cold weather but a very scruffy top. To balance, there was one table of city gent types, all in suits and ties, bar one open neck shirt. I'm very old fashioned but I still consider one should dress to reflect the environment but this does make me worry at times when I think I'm not correctly attired.

Many years ago a friend took me to the smart London restaurants, like Café Royal, Simpsons, Stone's Chop House and my Mother, bless her, insisted that I bought some smart outfits so I would feel comfortable and at home in these august surroundings and so I would not let my friend down.

To continue the foody theme, for the first time I have made a Simnel cake, here it is browning the marzipan under the grill,

then the finished cake. Having tasted it a few minutes ago I am mighty pleased, although I think perhaps a few minutes less cooking would have been fine as it is slightly dark under the marzipan but it is not dry.

Not evenly browned, but still tasted fine so if any of my readers are nearby we can offer cake made by me, bread pudding and bread made by Ian. Sorry, all the hot cross buns Ian made have been eaten!