Total Pageviews

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Seasonal musings

Advent is over, we spent it looking for our Advent Calendar, a quilted work of art that I won some 15 months ago,

we searched all those safe places where one stores infrequently used treasures, we have found other lost causes, such as bed linen we thought had gone away but fits our futon perfectly. Much time has been spent on turning out drawers, cupboards, boxes with Ian being warned not to say "it will be in the last place you look" because so far the Calendar isn't.

The Calendar is not part of our tradition, we don't go overboard on decorations, just white lights in the front bay window, a Christmas tree with lights and decorations in our lounge, we tuck our cards between books in the hallway Billy bookshelves, not so easy with landscape cards but then one can become absorbed in the book that has been moved and another hour has gone discovering serendipity knowledge that will fail on recall at the next quiz.

Just to explain why my blogging has become so infrequent, I am struggling to use Blogger on my iPad, whether it is Blogger app on my front screen or from the bar at the top of my post so in desperation I have logged into Ian's laptop and will send these ramblings from that machine.  If it works I may invest in another laptop, have not used my Toshiba much this year, it will be 10 years old this coming May so it is due for retirement. I want to tell you all about my experiments with sugar paste and the decorated Christmas cake but will leave it to another blog as the photos will have to be moved from phone to Ian's laptop.  I can type faster on the laptop but have become much reliant on predictive text of Apple products.  One cannot win, it is all a big game to thwart us. what happened to standardization? My mind jumps back to filing cabinets of grey British Standards full of definitions and diagrams.

 Note to self, double clicking the space bar on a laptop and Windows 7 does not produce a full stop and does not capitalise the next word. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Christmas cards


Cards from bygone years for recycling 

The arrival of our first two Christmas cards prompted Ian and I to organise our list to ensure that no one was missed. Our method is so high tech, A4 writing pad, names recorded by going through cards from previous years, hidden in the depths of the landing cupboard we found three different years’ offerings. 

There was laughter and smiles from some cleverly designed cards, sadness and memories when the sender is on another shore, memory searching when we didn't recognise a name and a form of bullshit bingo concerning the spelling of my Christian name. No excuses now, just check the credits on the last Bond film please. 

Slightly more difficult are negotiations about where we prune and edit the list, it needs sensitivity, links can be tenuous so each is taken on its merits. 

Need to start writing, no round robins, we have no objections to them and understand for busy folk with careers,  families, large mailing lists and interesting lives they are great and enjoyable.  We no longer fit these criteria, so sometimes add a personal update. Perhaps they should be  referred to my blog, but not all our world is here anymore. 

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Two go to the South West

Ian and I returned from Dorset today, we’d left the Metropolis on Monday, had lunch at DD’s before Ian left for Axminster to attends two day course on wood turning. The photo above shows some of what he achieved, but one cannot photograph caring for and using the special tools. The course was at the Axminster Skills Centre, very well organised, good lunch included in the fee and advice on where to stay nearby. 

Whilst he was away I caught up with my cousin, it was our Mothers who were cousins, so I am not sure whether we are second cousins or cousins once removed, it doesn't matter, we had an interesting day at Kingston Lacy learning about conservation. As a librarian I didn't know the right way to take a book from a shelf, nor did I appreciate that old books are better stored horizontally rather than the usual spine vertically.  Maybe we did learn this at I library school, it was a long time ago, nor did I learn the easiest way to ensure books are even at the shelf edge.  

We had to plod around the house with plastic overshoes on so the Carrara  marble staircase and floors weren't damaged, enjoyed the method of cleaning ceramics, just deionised water and cotton wool balls gently wiping the ceramics, mustn't touch the gold parts though. 

The following day met up with a school friend, went by train to Dorchester from Poole, such beautiful scenery, so much better and safer viewing it from train than car. Thinking about street scenery Poundbury has no street furniture, no yellow lines, no traffic lights, no zebra or pelican crossings, just a slightly raised area of a different surface where one can cross. It just seems to work and looks so visually attractive. Perhaps the appearance of some of our market towns with narrow streets and characterful buildings would benefit from copying Poundbury.

Just wish I had thought to take photos for comparison, oh well thank goodness for t’interweb!

PS Blog started on Thursday, finished Friday as gave up on trying to compose in Word, then cut and paste onto Blogger.  Why can't Apple and Blogger sort out their differences? 

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. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Opinions wanted please

There was something that happened on our Lake District holiday I didn't mention in my last blog, it would be appreciated if any readers of this would comment.

As a thank you for their hospitality we took our friends out for to dine at an hotel near Windermere, booked and chosen by them for its reputation and views, we arrived early, had pre-dinner drinks until our table was ready in the large, but mostly empty room, I think there were four tables occupied in the formal dining room.

Nothing but praise for the food and drink we had ordered whilst having pre-dinner drinks, our problem was at the end of the meal there was shouting and noise from a nearby table which was quite close considering there were so many empty tables, we noticed an iPad or tablet switched on and presumably the grandmother shouting at her grandchildren on line, these children it appeared were about to go to bed and grandmother and the three other diners joined in too. This went on for some time, it was impossible to hold a conversation at our table, the staff who were clearing a table completely ignored the racket, eventually one of our party politely asked the noisy diners if they could be a little quieter, this was met with abuse and cries of spoil sport. Noisy grandmother then told her grandchildren, and presumably their parent that some horrid people had complained so she couldn't continue, to our surprise someone from another table sympathised with noisy table and the whole party moved to the empty sofas in the bar area well away from us.

We decided to forgo coffee, went out on to the terrace to see the views over Windermere before returning home. I wrote a review about this, the response was that as the hotel had wifi it was to be expected it would be used, noisy grandmother had agreed she would be contacting her grandchildren in this way, there was an implication that we had spoilt some celebration. So why weren't we informed when booking, when having drinks or when allocated our table by the staff, or even an apology in advance from noisy grandmother.

I'm trying not to be fuddyduddy, it was the level of noise, the shouting and lack of manners as much as the use of a tablet during dinner in the restaurant, if they were residents why not take advantage of he privacy offered there.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Recent goings on.

'This seems my year for travelling north, not Yorkshire this time but nearby Cumbria to stay with friends, Val & Geoff in the tiny village, well hamlet of Elterwater, almost in the centre of the Lake District at the end of July. Ian and I spread the 330 mile journey over two days, we are out of practice on long journeys, we decided it would be interesting to see something of the country rather than motorways, our overnight stop was Stafford, we had booked in online, so had time to visit the National Arboretum. Very  surprised it was free entry, we didn't have too long there, but had a much needed tea and a bun before a quick look around, helpful volunteers had advised us how far we could go in the time available, stumbled upon this, 

Interesting for me as my eldest cousin, Roy went to Halton as an apprentice, one never knows when family history connections appear. There was a calmness about the arboretum, we would like to return to appreciate the peacefulness and atmosphere. 

Apart from our first day when rain fell steadily the whole day, we stayed in thereby missing the Ambleside Games, but with a view like this 

 from the house and finishing knitting these socks who minds?  

Rather than a long tirade listing events I will mention an unbelievable coincidence. Whilst away we went to Blackwell, an arts and crafts house near Windermere with amazing views over the lake,     this web address gives details far better than I can. Outside there were statues by Laura Ford, of which three were meant to be a child in distress but there were only two on display. Yesterday, Thursday 11th, Ian and I went to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, near the end this was spotted, the missing statue. 

On another day in the Lake District we went to the Cumbria Steam Fair, amongst all the steam, craft and food stands there were plenty of stalls selling all sorts, I rooted around the Haynes manual for my 20 year old Corsa, but none were available, however another treasure was found amongst sprockets, nuts, bolts, 4 Barbara Pym books, not original publisher but in better condition than mine, on putting the new ones away and counting up I have all her works now. Looking forward to reading them, along with book club book and knitting and crochet books

Our friends in Elterwater have a holiday flat, just for a couple, well equipped, lots of lovely extras like a full fruit bowl, free internet, off road parking, so if any of my readers are interested here is the website:-   There are no agents, do ring the owners up, they love to chat with prospective holiday makers. 

Given the vagaries of Blogger this blog will show the date I started these ramblings, so I will close with saying the blog was posted Friday 12th August, 6.12 pm. Enjoy, I hope not to leave it so long next time. 

Monday, 11 July 2016

All knitting news.

Over a week ago I returned from The Knitting & Crochet Guild's convention in Sheffield at The Edge, University of Sheffield's conference facility and I still haven't told my loyal readers all about the great experience. Details were announced in Slipknot, the guild's journal, I made a decision to go, well did ask a few folk for their views on travelling alone, to join over 60 strangers, all of whom knew what to do, where to go and produced beautiful yarny works. 

There was a chance to add to my ever growing stash, this Artesano British wool said "Buy Me" on the stash busting table, after some considerable thought, I did. Of course I wasn't to know that the Artesano business was to go under a few days later, their yarn Definition is in my stash too.

This sumptuous Yarns from the Plain was dyed by Nic Rudd who gave an inspirational talk about her career progression to indie yarn dyer, the Plain is the Cheshire one, the yarn is British too. This yarn has some nylon in it so it will become a pair of socks for Ian giving me an opportunity to try a rib pattern rather than stocking stitch. 

Another highlight was a visit to Lee Mills, where volunteers maintain and catalogue patterns, garments, equipment in an unheated mill. We were 30 in number, lunch was provided, we had to retain and identify the same mug so mine had yarn from the long tail of a sock I'm knitting 

Below are photos of tools and garments held at Lee Mills,

If anyone is interested in this collection and the social history of knitting and crochet may I suggest you join the guild, members can access the collection online. 

There were two workshops, one Saturday morning where we were taught  Möbius cast on by Sarah Cage to produce (eventually) a cowl, I think some may have made a hat. I had that moment when I suddenly understood what I was doing and I raced away casting on 120 stitches of Sirdar Denim Ultra.

The work has grown to this rather scrunched up knitting with a clear twist, some rounds are knit and some purl using 10mm circular needles.

The Sunday class was on mitred squares, haven't a photo of this to hand, my memory is of about dozen ladies absorbed in knitting in the closed bar. Actually there were triangles too, made by picking up stitches along the side of the square, Anne Scahill gave us tips of the trade, I certainly wish to keep going with this, perhaps it will become a cushion cover. 

Other highlights were the good food served in The Edge" with morning coffee and afternoon tea breaks each day, with delicious looking pastries; plenty of time to socialise, it was expected that delegates would knit or crochet throughout proceedings, no need for furtiveness there; interesting speakers including Susan Crawford on the Vintage Shetland Project, I learnt a lot from the Guild's Facebook moderating team, it seems that FB is taking over from Ravelry, I prefer the latter when a technical matter is raised as it is easy to go back to past conversations for this, FB is more chatty and a kind of Show and Tell than a resource, both have their place. 

A little boast, at the end of the Show and Tell, boosted by half a pint of cider, I spoke of the benefit of knitting in public, based on my experience in Florence when we were able to restore a wallet to its owner because his wife had spoken to me about the hexipuff I was making. This is the photo on my iPad of the completed quilt I passed around, it would have been too much to take the quilt by train to Sheffield. I blogged about this in great detail on 25th September 2013. 

To stand up and speak to 60 people, it was a last minute decision for I am not used to speaking in public, before the convention I was apprehensive for it was my first time at an event where I knew no one, apprehensive of travelling alone and not missing return train, of being organised to be at the right place at the right time, coping with being around a large number of people all of whom I found friendly, helpful and fun. Now I am considering attending next year's confederation in Birmingham, I learnt a lot about myself, about knitting and about avoiding travel on a Sunday, the train crawled along and stopped so often. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Events, past and future

Last night I decided to write my blog, prompted by a couple of photos taken in our front garden. The front garden will be  judged next week, Ian has entered the Borough in Bloom competition, buoyed up by his Silver Gilt award last year when he entered for the first time. The photos were taken on my iPhone so I assumed they would appear in the magic way onto my iPad photos. No, didn't happen and it hasn't happened since 6th June, so I'm a bit miffed. Yes, have transferred the relevant photos but they have gone into 'shared' not the sequence that gives dates and place. Instead of writing, I found loads of old photos in 'shared', deleted them (something I should have done long ago) in case of memory problems. Last time it was found all the photos from my laptop were also on iPad, then I couldn't send emails so different now. 

Enough of my techy problems, here are the two pictures,

and this as I was wowed by the beauty of these plants in the corner by the bamboo and privet in our suburban garden. 

Unfortunately the bamboo will be going, unlike its parent in the back garden it is putting out roots, I am sad but we need to replace it with height that doesn't take the light, changes will be after the competition though. 

So what other photos were taken by my phone but didn't jump to the iPad?  These next two are from our holiday at Center Parcs:-


both were taken plodding around the site, the first I thought showed where the chalet was, think it was on the far right, then the rabbit was to show how tame the wild life was. Didn't take photos, perhaps there should have been a family group for we went with Son, his Wife, Grandson, Daughter and her Young Man. We competed in the family quiz, came second in spite of the lack of knowledge of football and other popular culture. Not going to blog much about the holiday although Ian and I decided that Center Parcs wasn't us, for one thing we don't have any tattoos. Our week away was a week of rain so any plans I had to sit outside and catch up with knitting projects were scuppered, recalling the successful Pilates class reminds me to find one nearby. Ian came top in two archery sessions so he is pursuing that as a new hobby. Best of all we had a week with Grandson. 

Need to get on, later this week I am off to Knitting and Crochet Guild convention at Sheffield University, leaving Ian home alone. Slightly apprehensive, bit concerned about being in a big crowd but not knowing anyone, travelling and finding taxi on my own, Ian looks after me so well, he will see me onto the train at St Pancras, and meet me on my return. Of course then there is the worry of what to wear, there is a formal dinner on Friday night. This is all so different from the last conference I attended, that was the Cataloguing & Indexing group of the then Library Association to launch 22nd edition of Dewey Decimal Classification. 

Right, the washing machine calls out for loading, it is Monday after all. 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Knitting books

Yesterday afternoon we went to an open day at our local beekeeping society, first time we've been, I wanted to find local honey as it seems to help health wise. Plenty of activities and fund raising, information, bee friendly plants for sale, coffee, cake and raffle tickets were purchased, Sauvignon blanc 2013 was won. 

On our way out we spotted the book stall, usual fiction and old cookery books, then treasure was found. Two hardback and four books of patterns by Patricia Roberts; Passion for colour by Sarah Burnett;  three copies of Knitwear by Nancy Vale of whom I had never heard; four copies of Vogue Knitting dated September 1967 (not to be sold separately), Winter special 1986/87 & 1988, Autumn '97. In 1986 edition there is a feature on The Great British Knitters featuring  Susan Duckworth, Edina Ronay, Kaffe Fassett, Sasha Kagan. In the same issue there is an article by Elizabeth Zimmerman on afterthought thumbs. 

Another issue has an interview with the Knitting Bishop and More Brits who knit featuring Patricia Roberts. 

The lady on the stall said she found the books when she came to set up the previous day, doubted any one would want them so asked us for just £5.00  as she wanted to be rid of them. I left a Kaffe Fassett Glorious Knitting as I have a better copy. 

These books, even though they are old so much is relevant and topical, both the articles and advertisements are fascinating, I am enjoying the serendipity of it all but I doubt I will knit the big, patterned 80s jumpers. 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Decluttering continues

We are attempting to clear Pixie Towers of items that we no longer use or need, this morning we cleared, cleaned and emptied the cabinet housing our Sony compact hifi system, date on the manual is 1990.  Details are now on Richmond Freecycle so it is to be hoped that another family will enjoy listening. 

We hope the cabinet housing the hifi will go too, we don't want the collector to sell it on say at a car boot sale or eBay so if we are not happy with respondents it will go to a charity that takes electrical items like Heart Foundation. 

Clearing is liberating, can be difficult when the item has sentimental connections. 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Carry on learning

Yesterday was a meeting of the South West London branch of the Knitting & Crochet Guild,  held as usual at Kingston John Lewis where a select group of ladies met to learn about Bavarian crochet.

We were shown a completed square, my it looked complicated, and it was, a new stitch to me was learnt, double treble leading me to realise a petal shape, the process required deep concentration on my part, I kept forgetting the number of chains and double trebles required so progress was slow but I enjoyed learning something new and practical. The time went so quickly, in between there was a quick glance at some of the knitting and crochet magazines brought in, brief chats with my neighbour as I couldn't learn and chat so I didn't even complete the second round or change to another colour.

It didn't matter, I will catch up on the recommended YouTube site but I enjoyed myself so much sitting in a rather warm, stuffy community room. Of course, without the internet I would never have known about the Guild, Ravelry, knitting groups or read knitting and crochet blogs. As John Lewis have free wifi I took my iPad so I was able to find the YouTube site there and then. 

Here is my efforts so far in yellow Stylecraft DK, I took blue for the contrast, bright cheerful colours. No beige. 

Friday, 13 May 2016

May happenings

Yesterday morning on Facebook details popped up about a new British charity, Bronchiectasis Foundation, so of course I looked at the website for more information. So helpful, I never realised that sinusitis and tiredness were  symptoms of Bronchiectasis  but it does explain why some days, fortunately not too often, I feel exhausted shortly after a good night's sleep. Although my symptoms are mild I was breathless yesterday after climbing the stairs from the District Line to the exit at Embankment station. 

Please give details of this charity to anyone who lives with Bronchiectasis, the information in the web site has assisted me to understand what is 'normal' with this.  May I add I do have great support from our GP practice, the borough Respiratory Care Team and the Royal Brompton Hospital. 

Now to knitting, completion and ongoing projects:-  

Noah's jacket has been finished, it is Beyond Puerperium, as a flexible pattern I made it navy and white stripes, size was for 6 to 12 months, Noah was born last December, as can be seen the cardigan fits him perfectly now, it is not as if he is an outsize baby. I should have been more aware of pattern note that it was designed to be worn over a single body hugging layer. Noah's Mother is very happy with the cardigan, but I feel he won't get too much wear if he has a growth spurt. 

Ian's new socks are providing another knitting conundrum, the Opal yarn came in one 100 gram ball so I would the first 50 grams into a round ball, well actually it was 49 & 51 grams to be precise, I like to knit a pair socks simultaneously on two magic loops, so cast on both socks in green, the rib then came out different colours, as I plodded through the leg it became apparent that the pattern was upside down on one sock. 

Ian isn't bothered, he is happy for me to carry on.  I am puzzled as one sock started at the beginning of the original big ball, the other technically started half way through, so was the dyeing pattern reversed half way through?  I have looked through Ravelry, no one seems to have had this difficulty, nor is there any for sale on  Ravelry,  to allow me to make two more socks to make two pairs, each matching. Alternatively one sock could be undone, the wool rewound so I start second sock at the other end.  Does seem a lot of work, although I have kept a record of number of rounds for rib and the leg, not even at the heel yet either. 

Whatever I decide to do in future when shopping for sock yarn the wool will  in 50 gram balls or if in 100 grams will not be multicoloured. 

The date on the top of my blog doesn't reflect the date it was published, which was 23rd May, it was 10days before that I started jottings that became this blog. It will be back to paper and pen for my initial ideas. 

Loose Ends

Today has felt like a day for wrapping up loose ends, the floor was laid in the new bathroom, Builder appeared for snagging and final payment,  dresser drawers were tidied to cries of "Oh, didn't know that was in there" or "Why are we keeping that?" 

So to wrap up a loose end, I had promised a picture of the Hitchhiker scarf being worn, of course now the weather is a bit warm for woolly scarves hence the Summer top:-

The sudden jump in temperatures has meant a quick reappraisal of my wardrobe, lighter weight garments were examined, sighed over in some cases when I realise just how long I have had them. I do have plenty of clothes, some are favourites, some worn occasionally especially if it is a chilly Summer, some are never worn outside the confines of Pixie Towers as they are so ancient and a little dated shall we say. 

When I retired one friend said to me whatever you do, don't get into the habit of slobbing around in jogbots, I haven't for I don't do casual clothes very well, I prefer dresses and cardigans, boosted in winter with thick tights and scarves. This fits our life style, we don't go to dressy events, no one seems to dress smartly for theatre or restaurants. 

What is needed is a decision, do I dump garments I have had a long time and become bored with, then keep a small wardrobe of relatively recent purchases, worn intensely and discarded within two or three years. There will always be classics, like my much loved Burberry trench coat, a white shirt, a handknitted oversized cardigan, jeans that fit sometimes but will stay. Is it noticed if one appears in the same clothes, as a teenager I worried about having enough variety of clothes when I went to work, still haunted by that pointless fear I suspect although I'm not in paid employment now. 

It doesn't seem very green to throw out perfectly wearable clothes, however the hospice charity shop will benefit if I go for the small wardrobe, intense wearing option and have a clear out.  

Another loose end, our push along mower has gone to cut grass in another garden. The mower, a

Husquvarna was bought for £5.00 in the house clearance of a friend's grandmother over 36 years ago, was used regularly until we had a brand new lawn for which we purchased a battery charged mower. A request for a hand push mower was made on our local Freecycle so we let it go.  When our daughter heard she commented the sound of this mower was one of her childhood memories, one rarely hears a hand mower around here in spite of fairly small gardens, it is a pleasant sound of Summer. 

Sunday, 1 May 2016


Ian found the allium stem was broken, popped it into this vase, later I was cutting chives to use in a potato salad, realised quite a few were flowering so added them to their cousin to provide floral decoration to the scullery windowsill.  

Sometimes we put a vase of flowers on the kitchen table, anywhere will add colour and a smile to our lives like these daffodils in a corner of the dining room, the 1930s blue vase which belonged to my great aunt, fits the style and colour scheme of the room. 

Monday, 25 April 2016


I am so excited for I have had an personal audience with the Queen of crochet and inhabitant of Cooper's  Cafe and Attic24. Needless to say Lucy was charming in spite of this mad old bat interrupting her workspace whilst she was making beautiful leaves for her twigs and completing today's blog. 

This was all by chance, on Sunday 25th April Ian and I came to Skipton in a  U3A party of 37 to stay at the Rendezvous Hotel, on Monday we went to Skipton itself by canal boat, before a detailed tour around the castle, finishing at midday. We had then to be back in the coach by 1.40 to go to Howarth and Bronte Museum so not much time for lunch and pottering around independent shops for I had determined to find and eat in Cooper's Cafe to support a local business rather than big business. Undeterred, with great use of maps on our mobiles we found it, ordered paninis and drinks, I just happened to mention we had come there because of Lucy and was asked if I would like to pop up and see her! Would I? What a question to ask, so up the winding staircase to knock tentatively and be so welcomed. 

What did we talk about? Everything, I rabbited on about how I returned to knitting after a 20 year break, discovered blogging and Ravelry, about the leaves that were on the table, my Hitchhiker scarf I was wearing, knitting socks for Ian as he doesn't wear shop socks now.  It all finished as Ian called me to say lunch and drinks were getting cold and time was getting short for meeting with the coach.

The first part of this blog was written on Monday evening, I was so exhilarated and chuffed with what had happened, needed to put fingers to key board even though it wouldn't be posted until we were back in Pixie Mansions. 

Over lunch it would decided that we wouldn't go on the afternoon visit, we are recovering still from the bathroom shenanigans, Sunday was up at 6am for the early start to Yorkshire, so we pottered around the town. Purchases were made, including a 1971 Vogue guide to crochet: all you need to know to become an expert. If anyone needs a pattern for a crochet bikini I can now supply this:-

Then there is this wedding dress, so much social history in these books. Also, a blog needs pictures and, if appropriate, some humour. After all, some one may be laughing at our choice of clothes in the early 21st century. 

Off now to download photos from my camera, actually used it a bit, but often forgot, not much point taking pictures of buildings when there are better online. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Almost there

We are waiting John Lewis to arrange a date to fit the flooring in the new bathroom, then it is finished. The second heated towel rail linked to the central heating was installed this morning, working already as it is a bit chilly here today. 

The view from the hall.

The toilet in its original position,

The electric shower rail and wash hand basin in the 'new' extension.  All the walls are tiled, easy to keep clean, no need for painting, we chose white and black to match the upstairs bathroom, also this would fit any future owners' decor. Not that we want a future owner, we consider this our forever home, it fits our needs. 

Another cause for celebration is the dining room is no longer a storage facility, we have made use of the upheaval to declutter and a number of items such as vases made their way to the charity shop this morning. Probably need to discard more, so much has sentimental connotations, other stuff was needed in a former lifestyle but our ways are not the old ways for we eat and live differently today so do we really need multiple baking tins of the same capacity?

Haven't mentioned any knitting lately so it is with great pleasure that I show this scarf, called Hitchhiker for it has 42 points.

Not the easiest of garments to display, I have draped the scarf over a white towel on the ottoman,  a photograph needs to be taken when I am wearing it, given the cold today that will be soon.   Now I need to complete the Beyond Puerperium Cardigan for great nephew, then will make socks for Ian and a jacket for Edward.