Archive for June, 2010

Blocking

June 26, 2010

I forgot to say last week, I used my new blocking boards for blocking my silver stole.  They were a thank you gift/payment from Avril, for the picture I made for her new grand-daughter.  Avril has just got back fromvisiting her daughter’s family in Australia, bringing the cutest little thank you card for the picture. 

Anyway, because I refused to accept money for the picture, Avril insisted on buying me something in return for my time and the materials used.  I asked for foam blocking boards, as usually I block my knitting on bath towels spread over the library floor.  It works, but it isn’t easy and I’ve bent any number of pins trying to get them to stay in place.  Apparently floorboards are hard – who knew?! 

So Avril got me the blocking boards:

Dianne warned me to unwrap them before I needed them, as they have a chemical smell at first.  I completely forgot.  I did discover that the smell (which started off very strong) disappeared after a few hours though, so it wasn’t really a problem. 

Luckily I did remember Catherine’s advice to use a pillowcase on them, as the colour ran slightly on hers.  I used an old sheet, and didn’t actually see any colour-run, but couldn’t have risked damage to the pretty stole. 

I’m impressed at how much difference those boards made to the blocking process.  For a start, the pins went in quickly and easily, staying where I put them every time.  The sheet made a much smoother surface than the bath towels I had been using, which was brilliant for such delicate lace.  The boards interlocked to amke the right shape and size, without moving much furniture to find space.  Best of all, once the stole was firmly pinned in place, I was able to lift the set of boards off the floor and prop them up against a bookcase, out of harm’s way.  We were able to move around the library without treading on pins, and the stole was safe from damage by foot (I’m very clumsy). 

I tried vey hard to get a good photo of the stole blocking, but the silvery yarn just faded into the pale blue sheet background and the photos were kind of hard to make out.  Never mind! 

So hooray for blocking boards, they are my new favourite.

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The usual Saturday catch-up

June 19, 2010

It has been a fairly normal week (whatever that means).  I’ve been working, including two days in Bristol.  It looks like we’ll be keeping our jobs, at least until next April, despite all the public sector budget cuts.  That’s a relief, but not very reassuring in the long term.  Never mind, something will turn up. 

A has been off work for most of this week, after pulling a muscle in his back.  He’s been on strong painkillers and has also been making use of my hot water bottle for a few days.  It’s kind of strange, seeing the hwb lying around on the sofa,  the bed or in the dining room, but it isn’t for me.  It’s usually me desperately clutching it.  I’ve had to fight an urge to pick it up every time I see it! 

That reminds me, I’ve hardly had need of the hwb for the last few weeks – I think the latest hormone treatment suggested by the consultant is actually having an effect!  I can hardly believe it, and still feel as if I’ll jinx it if I speak about it.  The pain is certainly much less frequent, sometimes I can even go a whole day without any pain at all!  I’ve also got more energy, I’m not tiring as easily.  It seems miraculous.  I had the second four-week dose administered yesterday, so I’m hopeful that it will continue to improve.  Or at least stay not-as-bad.  There are of course side-effects, but I’ll tolerate a lot if the pain stays away 🙂

In garden news…I saw three sparrows in the cherry tree.  That’s exciting (and I’m not being sarcastic – I find all wildlife exciting)!  Most of our plants are doing well, with the exception of the last tomato to be planted out and the raspberry cane my friend Mrs Jarge gave me.  They have both been stripped of all green matter on every attempt to grow.  Most of our plants get munched on to some extent as we encourage the insects as well as everything else.  But these two, and they are right next to each other, are completely destroyed every time they peep up above the ground. 

There is a rule in our garden, that everything must be able to survive without intervention, as we just aren’t reliable enough to nurse stuff along.  We water most things on most non-rainy days, but don’t do much more than that.  But I’m getting frustrated, especially at the fate of my poor raspberry cane.  I actually want to grow raspberries, especially as it was a gift.  I don’t know what I can do though, except hope the plant is tough enough. 

Moving on to knitting/cross-stitch news…two finishes! 

Firstly, my silver stole.  Finished and blocked:

That’s Gerda, made with silver laceweight yarn from YarnAddict, lovely to knit with and I only used about half of the 100g skein. 

Also, my cousin’s wife had a baby, so I finished one of the many cross-stitch pictures I have hanging around:

It’s in the post now, hopefully should be with them early next week.

So much to catch up on

June 12, 2010

So, I missed a post last weekend, just didn’t get around to it.  Over the last two weeks we have:

  • Been to Slimbridge for a day out;
  • Walked around our local ‘patch’ a lot;
  • Had a few days leave;
  • Had our nieces over to stay;
  • Tidied up the garden and planted more stuff out;
  • Given away all the excess tomato plant seedlings (we grew 30, but only wanted 12 or so);
  • Been off sick with a throat virus;
  • Knitted a lot.

And probably loads of other stuff which I’m forgetting. 

The knitting has been all about the silver stole, which just needs a border then it’s done.  I’ve completed all six repeats of the main panel and started the border, so hopefully it should be ready to go away on the boat with us.  Yay!  I don’t have a photo at this stage, as it’s so close to being finished. 

Here’s a photo of the garden instead, taken from the bedroom window (hence the weird reflections/blurring):

Both roses are now flowering, as are the aqualegia and the love-in-a-mist.  Although, neither of those latter two were specifically planted where they grow…we planted them once upon a time, and now they pop up through the cracks in the patio.  I kind of like it though.  The rain we’ve had lately has caused a massive bloom of green-ness in our garden, it has become quite an adventure to get to the compost bin, complete with a variety of cats and many, many small spiders. 

Our little garden, with its feeders (invisible behind the cherry tree), now attracts more and more wildlife.  There are many bees, and a lot of other insects.  Mr and Mrs Blackbird have not been seen much for a few weeks – I suspect they have a second brood of youngsters and are too busy for lingering in our garden.  Hopefully they’ll pop back in soon.  The mealworms we leave out for them certainly disappear frequently. 

This week there has been a lot of tweeterer activity.  Tweeterer is the name we’ve given to all the small birds which fly over too quickly to identify, usually tweetering as they go.  They have now begun to hang around a bit more though, not just flying over.  I’m fairly sure I surprised one on the feeders one day, and on another occasion looked out of the window in time to see a goldfinch on the fence.  It has taken some time, but now it looks like our perseverance has paid off. 

It makes me happy. 

Also making me happy this week is weight loss.  I’ve lost over 1.5 stone, and lots of clothes fit a lot more comfortably than they did.  In fact I got put a whole box full of stuff that didn’t fit a few months ago, and can wear most of it now!  It’s hard to maintain…I want to celebrate with chocolate!  No doubt I’ll have regained most of it after a week on the boat (did I mention that we’re going on a cruise?), but I don’t care because I know I can lose it again. 

This coming week…let me see, work.  We might go out tomorrow afternoon to see some friends in their band.  Other than that just the usual.