Special Date


Saturday, 30 November 2013

 A long time ago I knew someone whose birthday fell in the first week in April and once in a rare while* her birthday would fall on Easter Day which made her particularly glad. I know how she felt because once in a not quite so rare while my birthday falls on Advent Sunday. It just feels right when Advent and December begin on the same day and this year they do.

Tomorrow I will celebrate my birthday by dusting off our Advent calendar which has enough windows for each day in Advent no matter how long or short it is.

Pudding, cake and mincemeat are made, the turkey has been ordered and, yes, I am afraid I have done all my Christmas shopping.

But don't be alarmed by the pictures below, I have not put up my Christmas lights. Charlie bought new lights yesterday and plugged them in to check they worked and I couldn't let the photo opportunity pass. They will be strung around our living room no earlier than the 15th December.

But today it is still November and before I go and make myself a birthday cake here is November's sampler for you.

* Not quite as rare as when Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coincide

A Bitter Pill


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Remember this ?

Barely four weeks later

And it is pilling for England.

All that lovely textured stitchwork

blurred and bobbled.

Knitting and yarn experts I need your help!

The yarn I used was the beautiful soft Malabrigo Worsted, clearly it is prone to pilling and not suitable for this sort of textured pattern. Please tell me which yarn I should have chosen. There is, after all, an upside to this and that is that I shall have to knit another wrap, but next time I want to get the yarn right.

Meanwhile sock on.


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The Colour of Mincemeat


Saturday, 23 November 2013

If I didn't already have my dream job I would like to be the person who chooses the colour names for yarn. That's a job right? Someone gets to do it. Madelinetosh has an inspired namepicker. I'd much rather knit something in Stovepipe, Steam Age, Smokestack or Baltic than in grey or blue.

If I were in charge of the naming of yarns I would make sure there was a sock yarn called Mincemeat*. I think it would make fabulous socks. They'd be the perfect thing to knit at this time of year.

Alas I have no Mincemeat sock yarn, but I do have Tropical Fish sock yarn from Meadow Yarn. Now, where did I put my pointy sticks?

*It's Delia's recipe with apricots instead of currants, the addition of cherries and rum instead of brandy. Tomorrow is Stir Up Sunday. Time to make the Christmas Pud.

Small Delights (III)


Monday, 18 November 2013

The last quinces. Not fit for eating but good to look at as they lie glowing amongst the wet leaves.

A squeaky savoy cabbage. I wish cabbages were smaller: I'm the only one who will eat it.

20 kg of spuds for a fiver.

Leaves and berries the colour of flames. Flickering in the rain.

A hat to match. But now I have run out of knitting. Sad face.

A dish of baked apples to cheer up a yarnless knitter.

For the Fallen


Monday, 11 November 2013

WITH proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal        
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.        
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning        
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time
They sleep beyond England’s foam.        

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,        
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon 1914

November Posy


Friday, 8 November 2013

Spoilt for choice. I picked orange leaves, red hips and berries, black seed pods, purple sedum and rosebuds of peaches and cream. Also a quantity hitch-hiking creepy crawlies.

Tom's hat is finished. A lovely pattern to knit although I haven't done the ribbing very well and one half of my stocking stitches are vertical -why? I think it is too big but Tom seems to love it and has been wearing it constantly including at the dinner table. He says his friends think it is cool which is cool.

And the Christmas cake is made. Mary Berry's classic rich Christmas cake recipe from her Ultimate Cake Book. It's a piece of cake to make, just mix everything together and bake.

Mud Wrap


Sunday, 3 November 2013

The leaves on the cherry tree have at last begun to change from green to gold to orange.

But indoors things are mud coloured. There's a lot of mud around at the moment, quite a lot of it in my hall, even my knitting is mud coloured.

I ran out of yarn with fourteen rows to go, just a couple of inches. My tension was evidently a little loose. Luckily the extra skein of yarn arrived quickly and I finished and blocked it yesterday. Goodness, those blocking wires make such a difference.

Each time I knit something I learn a new technique to add to my repertoire. This project taught me how to do a long-tail cast on, a sewn cast off and how to use blocking wires. I also find myself with surplus yarn so I'm knitting my first hat, it's for Tom. I'm using this free pattern from Tin Can Knits. It's one of eight fabulous free patterns which aim to teach the beginner a wide variety of techniques. I want to knit them all.

 In fact I want to knit all the things*. I really 'get' knitting now and I'm trying to work out what it is about knitting that I find more pleasurable and rewarding than crochet. I still enjoy crochet but knitting has something more. What that something is I am not sure. I have ordered some second hand copies of books by knitting gurus Elizabeth Zimmermann and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Yarn Harlot) in order to discover what it may be.

But, for now I must resist the siren call of my knitting and clean the mud from my hall floor, bake a gammon joint, make a pudding, do the ironing and go for a walk wrapped in my new mud wrap.

*stupid meme used far too frequently in our house

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