Friday, 31 October 2014

Sometimes...

Sometimes it is important just to get on with the business of living: new jobs, growing kids, Strictly Come Dancing - all can distract from blogging.  Sometimes not a lot has happened which is worthy of photographing and sharing.  Sometimes we just aren't in the mood.  I'm not sure why my blog is on the back burner at the moment.  I think quite a lot of it is work taking over but I'm happy at work so that's fine I think.  Anyway, I have no intention of shutting up shop, I may be rather intermittant but I'm still a blogger and I still have things to share.

So, first of all, here is a finished object...
It is, I am sure many of you will know, a Hitchhiker made from 100g of Zinnia Ooak from Fivemoons Yarns.  I don't know how many times I have started this project in various yarns since I picked up my needles again a few years ago, I can certainly recall at least three attempts!  I am really happy to have it done and dusted. Towards the end all of that garter stitch in really long rows got a bit dull but I think the end result is lovely and it was a great match for this beautiful yarn.  Here it is again in a different pose...
I even managed the 42 spikes which I was pretty happy about.
Now I have another pair of socks on my needles and a certain crochet project has been requested by one of my little people.  They are both very under the weather at the moment with high temperatures and sore throats so we aren't enjoying half term nearly as much as we usually do.  It is a mark of how poorly she is that L doesn't even care that she can't go Trick or Treating this evening.  B says she is well enough to go, I think I'll suggest to Mr HT that he keeps quite close to home in case she takes a turn for the worse while they're out.
Still, all this staying at home has given me a chance to take some photos of recent projects and also to get ahead with some Christmas crafting, notably these Christmas Gnomes...
from this pattern.  I haven't sewn them together yet because I thought that might be best done on my sewing machine but they are lots of fun to make and offer quick gratification.  I sort of have a plan to make one for each person who comes to our house for Christmas lunch, but perhaps 13 is a bit of a stretch.

It's fun to be back, I'll make a point of visiting some of you soon.  Sorry if this post is full of typos, B is sitting on my knee and it's rather distracting.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Summer Hols: London

We were lucky enough to head up to Town during the holidays.  We love to go to London, there is just so much to do and see and even sitting on a bench becomes an experience when every corner has an entertainer or a statue to look at.  It was the first time I have braved a trip by myself with the girls but it went very smoothly.  They are not difficult children to manage and I really enjoyed having this time with them.

First up was the London Eye.  Now L and I have actually already done the London Eye many moons ago when she was ever so little, before we lived in Germany and B was born, but she doesn't really remember and I was happy to do it again at B's request.  The London Eye, for anybody who may not know, is an enormous carousel on the South Bank of the Thames, from which you get fab views of the whole of London, especially the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.  The queues were long but we maintained good humour, especially as MrHT was able to join us for this part of proceedings.  If I'm honest the photos we got whilst on board were very average but just for the sake of completeness here is one to give you an idea of the sort of thing you can see from up there...
 and here are a couple of the London Eye itself...

The houses of Parliament had far less scaffolding on them than last time I came, they really are great big neo-Gothic visions of grandeur...
I took the above picture from Parliament Bridge.  I prefer the one below from the South Bank where you get a lovely view of Big Ben (I know that it's really the bell inside the clock tower which is called Big Ben and the tower itself is official known as The Elizabeth Tower, renamed as such for the Diamond Jubilee, but let's be honest, everybody calls it Big Ben)...
After the excitement of floating above London we were all quite hungry and we headed through London on the river boat back to the Kings Road (near where we were staying).  As we walked back to the flat I took this picture of the River in the dark...
I'm fairly sure that's the Albert Bridge as we were walking over Battersea Bridge.
The next day we started early with Breakfast at a cafe on the Kings Road after which we headed to the Tower of London.  This was L's request for a trip and wow, was there ever a lot to see!  The first thing we were struck by as we walked towards it was the moat full of poppies...
This is an evolving display, so as the day went on we watched more poppies being added and this will continue until the moat is full.  In the end there will be 888 246 poppies, one for each British soldier who died during the First World War.  It is a very striking display, especially when you consider that this is only representative of the British soldiers who died during those terrible years.
The ceramic poppies themselves are very beautiful...
They will be sold to raise money for six service charities.
Inside we had a very busy and full day enjoying as much of the Tower as we could.  The girls aren't really up for guided tours so we made our own way round with a guide book.  There was plenty to see and do, we especially enjoyed finding the various animal models around the place...
Apparently Henry III was the first to keep wild animals in the Tower, a tradition which carried on until relatively recently in the eighteenth century when the were moved to London Zoo.  Those poor animals weren't well kept it has to be said and it wasn't uncommon for people to be gravely injured by them   If you are interested there is more about them here.
Eventually we felt we had seen enough of the tower and, after a brief stop to have an ice cream and watch Tower Bridge open and close...
 we headed for Covent Garden.  Covent Garden is one of my favourite places in London.  I was bought up in the suburbs and would often catch a train up on Saturday afternoon and wander among the market stores, watch the street entertainers and meet friends for a drink at the pub.  I had a feeling that the girls would like it and indeed they did.  They loved the Living Statues and stood watching them for ages.  For some reason I only got one photograph...
Finally we met Mr HT again and went to China town for noodles.  
We had one more morning in London where we met friends and went to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens for a picnic and a play.  I can't share many of my photos of that as I haven't asked my friend's permission to put pictures of her boys on my blog; but just to prove we were there here is a picture of my girls next to the famous statue of Peter Pan...
J.M. Barrie lived close to Kensington Gardens and commissioned this statue to mark the spot where Peter lands after he flies out of the nursery window in one of the stories.
So there we are.  I don't know how many of you will have got to the end of this post but I know that when I look back at it a lots of happy memories will be there for me to see and that's a big part of blogging for me! There has been knitting going on so I will be back to share that and our trip to Crete before too long.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Really love your dragon feet...

My Dragon Socks are finished, on the blockers and have found their way into my heart...
I can't say I loved every minute of making them, there are a couple of errors in the stitch pattern where I was too busy watching Person Of Interest and forgot to bring the yarn forward so they probably required more concentration than I would usually like, but they were definitely worth the extra effort.  I think it is worth remembering when knitting socks that nobody will be looking that closely at your feet, they honestly won't judge.  There was no way on earth I was going to unpick five rows to put it all right and I love them no less because of a couple of flaws.  They are really going to cheer me up on cold winter mornings to come and will remind me forever of my holiday in Crete, though I managed only a few lines of them while we were there.

Last night I had a disaster when winding my most beautiful stash yarn...
Sorry about the awful picture, it was late and I was tired.  I don't know what I do wrong but whenever I try to wind one of those lovely figure of eight skeins I end up with a horrible knotty mess.  It took me hours to sort out and I ended up not getting the early night I really wanted but in the end I was victorious...
If anybody knows of a good tip for winding these I would be grateful.  I am in a quandary about this yarn.  I had originally thought I would make a Hitchiker with it.  I've tried a Hitchiker before with little success (several times actually) but this yarn would look stunning and is such beautiful Autumnal colours that I am inclined to give it another try.  Perhaps you have a suggestion about what to do with one beautiful skein of sock weight yarn?  Of course I could always make socks but I already have a plan for some of those...
Today I am linking up to a new place, Fibre Arts Friday, perhaps you would like to join us?



Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Dragon Socks

Welcome back to Hilly Town, it's been busy here as usual!  The end of term was crazy, as will always be the case for teachers who have school aged children, and then we went straight off on our holidays to Crete. Even though we haven't been back for very long it feels like an eternity.  We have never had a family holiday like that before and it was wonderful, it reminded me again that there are all sorts of benefits to going back to work!  I will be blogging about our holiday in the next few days but Mr HT has not finished processing the photographs yet and as he took almost all of them it seems a little rude to use them before he is happy with them.

As for my crafts, they have been on the back burner a little bit of late.  I do have something to share with you though, I call them my Dragon Socks...
Is it just me that thinks the stitch looks like scales?  I found this pattern for Show Off Stranded Socks through the Yarn Harlot website, it's a free one from Ravelry and I like it a lot.  I am using my usual sock pattern and then superimposing the stitch pattern on top of it if that makes sense. The socks are gaudy as can be but as they are going to worn under boots in the winter I can't think it matters very much.  A word of warning if you decide to give this great pattern a try, I found that even my Knitpro Carbonz weren't pointy enough to lift the stitch over and had to order a set of Steel Hiya Hiya sharp steel needles to knit them on.  They are very slippery and this had caused some problems but more importantly they are hurting my hands as they have no bend to them at all.  I bought some Hiya Hiya sharp bamboo at the same time so those will be the next ones I use to give my hands a break.

One of the books I read on holiday was "Rivers of London" by Ben Aaronovitch.  It's about a policeman who discovers and becomes part of the magical underworld of London.  There are lots of interesting snippets of London history and insights in police procedure.  I have no idea how accurate these insights are but they are fun to read about.  I've already downloaded and read the second in the series which I enjoyed as well.  I am holding back from downloading the next one, they are just the sort of books I like to read over the winter so I'm saving them.  They are fun and untaxing to read but there's a small element of horror there as well which means they aren't a sort of twee adult Harry Potter thing.  They definitely get a thumbs up from me.

Today I am linking up with Ginny for the Yarn Along and Tami's WIP Wednesday, I'll be seeing what everybody else is up to later today.

Now, I wonder whether the rain will hold off this afternoon, I could really do with getting these children out of the house...

Friday, 4 July 2014

FO Friday, more socks!

Oh how I loved making these socks.  I have waxed lyrical about the colours before so I won't bore you again but I remain besotted by them...
The details:  The yarn was Opal Little Prince (7767), the free opal sock pattern is available in most shops which stock Opal yarns (I added the slip stitch heels for fun), my needles were 2.5 knit pro carbonz which I find very comfortable to use.
So there they are, all finished.  They behaved very well during the making process, no unpicking or dropped stitches or any other disasters.  Just a word about my sock blockers, they were made for me by my Father In Law and I love the way the socks look on them.  I had no idea how much difference blocking would make to the finished sock but they came of the blockers looking absolutely immaculate.  If I were the sort of generous hearted person who gave socks away then I would definitely block them first.
It's nearly the end of term and I'm so looking forward to spending some time in blog land again.  I hope you are all well and happy!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Wednesday link up

Before I start I would like to show you this beautiful double rainbow we spotted last night, we see so many rainbows from this house, it is one of its charms...
It's not a good photo but still, I just wanted to share a little happiness.

I wasn't going to post today but I'm feeling the need for a little crafty moral support.  You see my project this week has a chequered past.  Last week I trundled over to one of my favourite yarn emporiums (Bluestocking in Cainscross for any local friends) and treated myself to some really good quality wool from Rowan which I intended to turn into cushion covers.  I tormented myself with these cushion covers for a few days.  First trying to make a pattern up from a stitch dictionary, then going back to Bluestocking to exchange some of the yarn so that I was making them all in ivory, then buying a pattern for cushions and not enjoying making them, then deciding to crochet the covers instead of knit them.  Now I realise that none of this is terribly important in the scheme of things but in a moment of clarity I realised that no matter what I wasn't going to like these cushions, the colour was wrong for the sofa, the patterns weren't working and all in all I wasn't enjoying it.
Enter the Lady Marple.  I can't actually remember where I found this pattern but I've been thinking of having a go at it for some time.  I had no intention of making it in ivory originally, I had a deep red in mind, but then I spotted this project and was smitten.  Hence last night, as I vegetated in front of my current Netflix obsession (Numb3ers, seriously silly but curiously compelling) I found myself doing this...
Casting on a project which is clearly too hard for me and for which I am endlessly going to be begging for support from the blogging community to help me find tutorials and advice.  So you have been warned and I can only apologise in advance for any irritation this may cause.  I also had to return to Bluestocking for two more skeins of the yarn (Rowan Pure Wool Worsted), I think the lovely owner has now actually come to the conclusion that I am short of a marble or two.  She is not the first to reach this conclusion.

As for my book, I have never read The Little Prince and as it is the centenary of its publication and also the inspiration for my current favourite sock yarn from Opal I though I probably ought to. It is whimsical and very French, as a result it is utterly charming.

Linking with Ginny and maybe Tami if she posts today.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Some bits of pretty

This week has had its share of little highlights I would like to remember.
My girls have rediscovered Lego, and found it to be a different experience altogether when helped by a mischievous cat...
I love to see them playing with lego, we have some fancy Hobbit lego which they enjoy building with their father but normal lego has a charm all of its own.
We made our way over to Slimbridge WWT and my husband took some pictures of the birds...
We are members so make the effort to go over there quite often, I have to say that the girls are mostly interested in the flamingos and the adventure playgrounds but we manage to persuade them to look at some of the other birds occasionally.  I like this one with the bright blue bill, when they dive down into the water they seem to stay there for an eternity, we like to follow the trail of bubbles and predict where they'll pop up again...
I've also been enjoying catching up on lots of blogs this week and making time to comment.  If I haven't got to yours yet I'm sure I will in the next couple of days.