Sunday, 22 May 2016

AN OUT AND ABOUT KIND OF WEEKEND........


This is what's in my knitting bag this week.... not very exciting! It's a dark navy hoodie for Evie; in progress, but a fair way to go yet. It's not worth boring you with the dark navy stocking stitch, so I'll move on.


We are not passionate gardeners, but I just love seeing these blooms at this time of year. It's the best time as far as I'm concerned. I love how the flowers intermingle with a wild and unruly look. So pretty!

Here in our fine city, we have an annual two week music and arts festival that has grown over the years and features a wide range of acts to suit all tastes. This being the middle weekend, the Festival Tea Party takes place in our city centre park. All sorts of exciting free performances including dance, live music, circus, a fire-breathing dragon made out of scrap metal and sound installations. Just my cup of tea! Here's a quick look at what we experienced, some beautiful, some breathtaking, some thought provoking and some just weird!







The sun shone, the 'street food' sellers were out in force and we had a good time!

We also managed a trip to the lake this morning, so Oscar got his serving of fun too!




The goslings grow so quickly!




 It's half-term at the end of this week and we are off 'up North' for the week to see little ones! :-)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

SORRY I MISSED YOU.........



I'm so sorry I missed you last week, but we had an unexpected arrival! Little Isaac arrived rather quickly on Thursday, 5th May at 7.12p.m., a couple of weeks before we were expecting, so Mr Snoops and I made a very special trip up North. What little beauty he is, don't you think? He's still looking a little yellow in this photo, but after light treatment the jaundice is slowly disappearing.

We had the pleasure of looking after darling Evie for a couple of days: she is an absolute delight! It also meant that we were able to spend time with our other two grandchildren, Sophie and Jess, as well. A very special time was had! 


I had time to make another little sweater and a couple of hats. This one matches the grey and the green sweaters and the other has grey and blue stripes to match the grey sweater and blue cardigan featured a couple of posts ago. I don't have a photo of the blue and grey hat, as I completed it on our Thursday evening journey northwards, just after taking a phone call in the car to say that he arrived. Needless to say, a hat photo was no longer high priority! :-)


I LOVE these cute little buttons. They work just perfectly!




Since we've been home, I've made Evie a little cardi for her 'baby' doll. This is a great pattern (Little Kina), that I've used before, knit from the top down all in one piece. It's quick and easy and uses up oddments of yarn! ;-)


We may only have been away for six days, but at this time year so much happens during that time in the garden. The honeysuckle smells divine!


Fresh produce and 'first of the season's' goodies were on offer at the Farmer's Market yesterday in the city centre. We usually stool down through the park for a coffee and to buy some of this stalls wonderful produce. Just look at those lush strawberries; they tasted just as good as they look, as did the yummy asparagus; tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted for 10 mins in a hot oven. Delicious!


I just wanted to show you the new 'life and times' of Mr Snoops' feet! Two years ago came the first wearing of the knitted socks and now we seem to be going for 'how bright can you get'! These are his new socks for days when knitted socks just won't do :-(   He wanted brown! I said 'Why not stripes?' So, he went for stripes. Snazzy, hey?


Here's a pic of our beautiful boy, Oscar, taken this afternoon in the garden. He had been racing around with his pheasant, but stopped dead when he saw me with the camera, as if to say, ' You taking a shot of me Mum? Okay, I'll play ball!' Love my boy!


Sunday, 1 May 2016

MAGIC!


After very many years of knitting practice and many finished projects worn or used by three different generations of family and friends, I've taken on the challenge of learning a couple of new techniques; Magic Loop and Continental knitting. 

Josiekitten came to visit yesterday, for a knit, natter and catch-up. Needless to say, cakes were involved and the swap of small balls of sock yarn from our finished socks; to be used on our Sock Yarn Blankies (one day)!    


She passed on a couple of new skills that she had learnt from a colour work course at Loop, London. I had tried Magic Loop for sock knitting several years ago and it definitely didn't aid my sock production, so I didn't pursue the skill. However, this time it just seems to have clicked! It feels as though I have been using this method forever, rather than for about one quarter of one sock! 

I remember watching someone using the Continental method for a pair of socks several years ago at Knit Nation. She was whizzing along and seemed to be amused and bemused by our comparatively slow progress (I'm NOT a slow knitter!). I have never tried before yesterday. 

So, over a cup of coffee (tea for Josiekitten) and cake, we hatched a joint project plan to knit a pair of socks each using the same yarn, Opal Sweet and Spicy3 in colour way 'fruit gums'. We agreed to knit using Magic Loop and the Continental method. 



Today, Mr Snoops, Oscar and I set off in the glorious sunshine for a day trip to the beach; Aldeburgh , in Suffolk. Yes, the sun shone all day, we had fish and chips out of the paper and then afternoon tea at Snape Maltings, before heading home via Dunwich. It was beautiful and warm enough to not need coats! 


Travelling time served to get that Magic Loop working it's magic. It did! I'm hooked! How can it be that I have not perfected this skill before. It makes so much sense to knit, in effect, on two needles rather than four. It saves time! I've worked hard to avoid ladders at either side and so far, so good. they're not looking TOO bad. I'm thrilled! NO MORE DROPPED DPNS down the side of the car seats! No more needle between the teeth, whilst I 'knit on one' to avoid a ladder. Hooray! Well, at least for my plain stocking stitch Dave pattern socks. 

I'm not, as yet, having the same success with the Continental method, but am persevering. Things can get only get better it seems. In fact, they did get slightly better on the journey home, as I adjusted my 'yarn hold' to suit me better. I'll keep practising, but it'll need to speed up very quickly before I can even begin to say that I may be falling in love. There'll need to be some magic! ;-)


Sunday, 24 April 2016

SPRING GREENS........



This week has flown by! I have no idea where the days go! However, there has been plenty of action on the needles you'll be glad to hear. I'm afraid I'm in full 'baby knitting' mode at the moment, but don't worry, I'm sure it will soon pass. 'Spring Greens' was completed early in the week, but seaming avoidance tactics kicked into play and I managed to leave it in a neat little pile until yesterday. It seemed much more important to cast on yet another; same pattern, same yarn, different colour!

 I'm just loving the cute little buttons, which match just perfectly and were a snip at 5p each in a local store.


 I just love this soft grey and have three skeins sitting waiting to be used for a while now. I think there'll be a little beanie hat made to match; maybe with some 'spring greens' stripes.


I thought I'd show you another view, showing off my gorgeous 'Three Bags Full' bag. This has to be one of my favourites, with it's 'must have' spotty lining. 


We took a wander down through the city centre park in search of a Sunday morning coffee this morning; dodging the showers as we went. I've been taken by these lovelies for a week or so now, loving the gorgeous blend of soft colours and interesting variety of petal shapes. They are growing up against a tree trunk and black railings, at one of the entrances to the park. Just lovely!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

WEEKEND.................


It's been a rather relaxed first week back at school, I have to confess. Everything has been done that needed to be done, but pretty stress free and no excess! That's meant there has been some knitting time each evening; sometimes not much, but a little is better than none.

I have managed to complete this little cardigan for Evie's baby brother or sister, due in the middle of May. I've used this pattern (Anderson by Lisa Richardson) several times before and love it, although this time I've left off the pockets and the rather strange shaping that seemed to make the stitching look rather uneven and, in my opinion,  added nothing to the overall shape or interest of the garment. The yarn is Rowan many merino silk, which is warm, lovely and soft and seems to wash and wear really well. I've made the 3 to 6 month version and only used two of the suggested three balls of yarn. Bonus! It's quite tricky to see the buttons, but they have simple blue and white stripes on just the perfect matching blue. Just right for summer!


After an initial Spring burst of activity, which saw daffodils and magnolia in bloom, there seems to have been a lull in the garden; until today, that is! All the rain of the last week and the glorious Sunday sunshine today, seem to have joined forces to wake up the bluebells and sleepy winter pansies. I just love the sight of bluebells and we have little clumps in random nooks and crannies of the garden. Just lovely!


My pal Josiekitten uploaded an Instagram pic this morning of some scrummy looking homemade ginger cookies. I have to say, I could almost smell them! So, whilst the fancy took me and Mr Snoops had disappeared off to the local garden centre to buy some Growbags for the greenhouse, I set to work......... before the urge to cook disappeared. I have to say I don't often have that particular urge! They wouldn't win Masterchef, or even get me an audition for the programme, but they do taste good.



 The sun has shone out all day long today and we made the most of it with a trip to Whitlingham Country Park, one of Oscar's favourite places and only a five minute drive from home. He can sniff, run, chase his ball and swim to his heart's content.


 I can't imagine life now without our beautiful little companion!

Have a good week!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END...


 

The Easter holidays have been and almost gone! The two weeks have been a very welcome chance to unwind, relax, meet up with family and knit! We spent the second week in North Yorkshire and although the weather was not the finest, we had a lovely time. Oscar did too!

These gorgeous foot warmers were started as travelling socks on the long journey northwards, but the beautifully bright self-striping yarn made for pretty addictive knitting. The pair were completed in record time!

I started this little cardigan for Evie's new brother or sister, due to be born in May and managed to complete on the journey homewards on last Friday. Here it sits awaiting seaming. It might have to wait patiently, as it's a job I hate!


This morning, the final day of the holidays,  dawned bright and sunny with a stunning clear blue sky, which was very welcome relief after the cold and rain of yesterday. The beach it had to be! We were up, ready and gone by 9.30 a.m. and on the beach after a speedy cup of coffee. Holkham, on the North Norfolk coast has to be one of the most beautiful of beaches anywhere. In fact, it IS the most beautiful! 



To avoid the cardigan seaming job, I started a cute sweater for the new baby too. I hope he or she is going to like my thoughtfully chosen 'spring greens' colour! I'm not so sure my daughter will ;-)

We stopped off for a bite of lunch at Blickling Hall, before heading homewards just as the clouds began to roll in.

All in all, a lovely Easter break!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

THE TIME HAS COME....


It's heavenly to be able to cast on and knit without a head full of things that I feel I really should be doing instead. To just sit, knit and complete a soft, squishy bundle of yarn goodness. It's been a long time coming, but now the time has come I'm determined to make the most of it!

We have come up to North Yorkshire for a week and after a very, very cold day at the coast before we came away, I decided the time had come to make a warm, woolly hat for my very own head. I have to say, that this was quite a momentous moment, as I have never, ever worn a hat; not a wedding hat, a sun hat, or any other kind of hat come to that. There is just one exception...... a dark green school beret! Needless to say, the offending item didn't appear on my head as often as it should, which led to 'penalty points' and detentions during my grammar school years. Since then, I've managed to escape the need of any form of head attire, very nicely.


The pattern and scrummy yarn that have helped to bring about this turnaround have produced this little beauty! It's Anne Hanson's 'Squish Me Cap' (a very addictive little number!) and the yarn is John Arbon's 'Knit by Numbers' KBN04. I've not used this lovely 100%merino yarn before and I have to say I have been unexpectedly surprised by it's amazing softness. It feels as though there must be a whole cuddly alpaca hidden inside, but no it's purely 100% merino. A delightful find. It does specify hand wash, so I hope the washing of it will not disappoint. The finished hat is fab. I love it!


I can't seem to be without a pair or two of socks on the go at the moment, so this pair of Rachel Coopey's 'Dave Socks' had to make their appearance on the evening before we made our long journey northwards. I always like to cast on and get the ribbing done, before they become my travelling companion.


As you can see, it was quite a long journey ( and I drove for almost half the way)! After this afternoon's coastal trip I've now almost reached the toe. Smiles! The yarn is from my stash (even bigger smile!) and is a Regia Color yarn in colour way 03726. I'm just loving these bright and happy stripes. 


I've also begun the first of some baby knits for Evie's little brother or sister due to be born in May. He or she will be our fourth grandchild. I don't have pics yet, but a a little 'Anderson' cardi by Lisa Richardson is under way. I'll post a few pics next time, although I have to confess that the happy sock stripes keep calling out for my attention!!!! 


Needless to say, Oscar has been loving his Yorkshire break and making the most of any beach time.


The time had also come for some family catch-up time. It's always tricky to co-ordinate when they live a distance away and we are all so busy with careers etc. School holidays are the only suitable windows of time. Our eldest daughter and her gorgeous family visited for the weekend and our son and his lovely family are taking a day trip to see us on Tuesday. Easter weekend was happily spent with our younger daughter and her partner, so we will have managed a catch-up with them all. Hooray!