The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Seeing Stars

Two weeks on from the planning stage and I have completed 60% of the back...

Changing yellows every two rows.

Changing greys every three rows at most.

I have used silks for the star outlines.

In theory I only have three colours per row but at times on the first star I was juggling ten balls of wool! Now I prewind the silk into balls of four strands and life is a lot easier.

And it looks pretty good on the wrong side too...

But I have now reached the point of casting on the stitches for the sleeves. Three more star repeats for each sleeve.

So I have managed to get the extra stitches on the needle - just. But I am concerned about how squidged it is. When it comes to stranding the yarn at the back when I start the stars it may well pucker so it is all systems stop.

Luckily I foresaw this may happen and have bought some 48" circular needles, but they probably won't arrive until I get back from Malta.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Long Bank Massacre

The time had come.

Loppers, secateurs and garden saw...

The start of the long bank dead shrub clearance.

Three hebes and a senecio down.

And a lot of cleared space.

A nicer day today - procrastinating over the fate of the mahonias and photinia.

Gentle weeding of the long bank extension, potted up a few self seeded heucheras and relocated a lot of baby foxgloves up to the high bank. Still got a load more for when I am ready.

I am back on to pea watch. Two weeks on from the first sowing (old seed) and only about a third of them have come up. But the mangetout (new seed) sown the following day are almost all up and thriving. So a trial now - I have sown all the peas that I saved from my own crop last year. And I have extended the trial to the runner beans and dwarf beans - pots sown with both old beans and my own saved ones. Oh the excitement of it all :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kaffe Fassett Outlined Star Jacket - Planning Stage

I gained a lot of confidence from knitting my first KF jacket and immediately started scouring his Glorious Knitting book for what to do next.

And this is what I decided on...

I just loved the vibrancy of the yellows, from pale primroses through to in your face golds, with the calming influences of the greys stars. Contrasting colours for the star outlines in pastel shades was recommended. He says the colours are based on seeing the costumes and sets of the Peking Opera.

Design put into spreadsheet and play around with the colours. It may look a little odd but it is knitted in one piece - front, back and sleeves.

Unfortunately I possessed very little in the way of the required colours in my stash - a couple of odd balls of yellow and a few part balls from some of the mixed lots.

So on to ebay and start bidding on required colours/yarns. A sustained campaign over several weeks with some failures and a few side-tracks but I now have enough to go for it. What I have found is that not much yellow yarn is on there, and what is is keenly fought over. Bodes well if I want to sell on what is left over. And I also bought the last of what I needed from The Black Sheep, along with a few other odd balls...

And here it is - jacket in kit form:

Background (needs about 600g total):
Some rather strange gold/yellow tricel/nylon £0.99 120g
Patons Cotton in a gold/yellow £3.20 200g
Silk/Wool/Cashmere bright yellow £6.65 150g
Silk/Wool/Cashmere yellow £6.45 150g
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino chunky mustardy yellow £6.51 150g
Debbie Bliss Pale Yellow cotton £3.33 200g

Stars (needs about 400g total):
DK dark grey £2.80 100g
DK grey/white mix £2.58 100g
Variata flax/wool silvery grey £2.20 400g

Star Outlines (needs about 200g total):
DK wool mauve £1.40 50g
DK acrylic/mohair mauve £1.56 150g
Silk/Wool/Cashmere turquois/coral/pink £6.23 150g
Debbie Bliss peachy orange cotton £6.50 200g
Jaeger 100% silk pale blue £12.50 275g (bargain- retailed at about £10/50g)

I also have got the buttons... an absolute snip at £1.24 and enough here for 3 jackets.

And not forgetting the postage - £19.15, although I take that into account when I am bidding. The silk/wool/cashmere appropriately has come all the way from Inner Mongolia!

A total outlay of over £100 plus some oddments I already had, but I will use under half of it on this project...

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Busily Doing Nothing

I really don't know where the time goes. I would never be able to fit work in again...

A few busy days in the garden followed by an enforced rest due to gale force winds. It is now very clear that I have lost a lot of shrubs due to the severely cold winter. The long bank has suffered badly - most of the hebes, both mahonias, the photinia as well as the previously mentioned brooms. And in the herb patch all the lavenders and both rosemaries.

However, I decided to continue on my plan for the high bank rather than attack the long bank at this time. I fully removed the previously hacked back spiraea - a good physical work out with fork, secateurs and loppers but eventually I prevailed. Paul volunteered for more slash and burn duty. The honeysuckle that I guess was meant to climb up the telegraph pole but actually layered more and more growth on top and forwards had to go - every year I tried to control it and dismally failed. And then the spiraea behind it that had been neglected due to previous lack of access. Once Paul had finished I made an attempt at removing the root but even after a good hour of digging around it it remained solid as a rock. I satisfied myself with just digging over and removing as much root as I could find in front of it.

The second acer that was living in a pot has now been relocated into the cleared space.

The work done has completely changed the view of the left side, now allowing me to see the previously hidden top of the high bank, which necessitated one more trip up there for bramble control. I plan to split and transplant primroses/primulas and a lot of foxglove seedlings that I have found in the LBE up the top to supplement the daffodils and bluebells that are already up there. A trip to Lamberton/Edrom nurseries is also on the cards as the area is well suited to some woodland plants - damp shade...

I am really loving looking at the LBE - almost every day I see something new flowering or bursting through the ground - and not just weeds :)

On the knitting front I finished the Kaffe Fassett inspired jacket and now have to decide whether to change the buttons. I didn't win the buttons I originally wanted on Ebay so bought some others. And just after I had sewn them on I got a second chance offer on the first ones! I decided to get them and they do look a lot more suitable...

I then embarked on my first pair of socks. The first sock is done and I have got to the toe of the second. I have found knitting on two circulars is a lot easier for me than a set of DPNs.

Another reorganisation of my wool stash and ebay buying strategy into colours. Not quite a rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green, blue and mauves/purples and black, white, pink and brown... I have been busily buying different shades of yellows and oranges in different fibres ready for my next couple of KF projects.

The bridge season is coming to an end. A topsy-turvy season for Berwick A, but great relief on Monday when a winning draw in our penultimate league match meant we were safe from relegation. Great relief for our opponents too, who like us needed a single point for safety. It is going to make my captain's report at the AGM a lot easier...

Ongoing scrabble study and I hit the 30000 mark on 8s a while back. Now keeping cardbox under control, going back through 7s and revising 4s again. BEST match is organised for the 13th April and then off to Malta in May.

Blog Archive