Friday, 20 January 2017

Can't helpits.

That's what I've got, the can't helpits and don't intend to try. That's what my Gran would have called it.
I feel as sluggish as a sloth on a go slow and cannot seem to drag myself out of it. Oh I haven't seized up or stayed in my bed, all the normal things have happened, just very slowly.
I am not too bad in morning the  but by 2:00 I am fit for nothing more than the knackers yard.
I fall into bed feeling as though I could sleep for a week, only to toss and turn until I am in a hot and sweaty tangle.

I am on countdown to my hospital visit, I just hope that it will be worth it and I get some guidance.

I have managed to finish Fran's socks and have sent them off to her, I did take a photo but haven't put them in the lap top yet.
I have cast on a pair for myself in a self striping WYS yarn. Pastel shades that remind me of the jars of rainbow sherbet that were on the shelf in Mr Catchpole's shop when I was a child.

Knit and Natter was fun and we made tentative plans to have a mini bus trip to Wonder Wool in April. Fingers crossed.
I have seen a few pod casts from the Vogue knitting live show in New York, amazing.

I had planned on going to 3 last year but for various reasons only managed 1.

I am sorely behind on blog reading so if I can't sleep tonight I will start going through my reading list. 
When I checked earlier I had over 300 emails,most of them were simply deleted and the rest will get their turn tomorrow.

On that note I am off, Ben needs a last thing wee and then I am off to bed. 

Have a good weekend.

                     TTFN                                                  Pam

Monday, 16 January 2017

All Gone Now

The snow, thank goodness,was not waiting for some more to join it and has completely gone. It was lovely to see and I am quite happy to wait another 12 months to see a little more.
It was a different story when I was a child, probably up to the age of 45 when my first batch of grandchildren decided that they no longer liked it.

I have had a few iffy days and have had to rest a bit more than I like to. Mind you the knitting proceeds apace. Fran's Hermione socks are being knit in tandem and are ready for heel flap and turn. I have done a bit more work on my chunky sweater and I have 2 more pairs of socks impatient to be cast on.

Saturday's pizza was delicious, instead of a tomato base I blitzed the left over veg chilli and spread that on the base. Oh My Goodness the flavour explosion was almost too much, not hot but the blend of spices that had blended and intensified was amazing.

Sunday was a "wait and see what I find" dinner, I admit to having a rather greedy slice of left over pizza for lunch and was pleased to just have a smallish chicken Kiev with a pile of salad for dinner. These came from Tesco, marked down to 60p for 2 fresh Kievs and another 30p for a large bowl of mixed salad. Lovely, dinner for 2 for 90p and some more Kievs in the freezer. I don't often buy ready made but at that price I just had to.  They were not as good as home made (not at all shabby though and better than some I have had out) but were a fraction of the price and so easy for a lazy dinner.

Changing my shopping day to Sunday looks like a wonderful idea, the money that I save will be paying for some days out this summer.

Tonight's offering is a cheesy pasta and veg bake that I tucked in the freezer a couple of weeks ago with another bowl of salad.
Easy Peasy squeezy the lemon, that will be over the salad and came from my own tree.

Tomorrow is knit and natter and I am looking forward to it, as always. I have some magazines for one of the group and a pair of socks for another. I also found a couple  of little boy things in my present store that are too small for Junior, and far far too big for Leo. They has slid under something large and were missed at the right time, I am hoping that one of our group who has boys will find a use for them.

I have dug out a large note book and marked it up to record my knitting this year. Also to record my stash and future buys, none of the latter for at least 3 months!!
I did include my Christmas Eve cast on socks for Fran, a bit cheaty but hey it's my book, and with the pair on my needles I will have moved 700 g from stash, not all of that has been knitted as there is left over yarn from each item.
With some of the sock yarn I have another skein in the same colour, and may just get an extra pair out.
If the colours work some will be used for contrast heels and toes in other socks. 
The Hermione socks are having this treatment as the yarn I am using is a very soft Merino blend, using the strong sock yarn for hard wear areas will prolong their life. The next 2 pairs will be the same. 
Consequently I will have a larger amount of yarn left over from each pair, this will become stripy socks for me.

At least that is the plan so far, but the best of plans have been known to go awry.

I have not started adding up the stash yarn, that is scheduled for Wednesday, I have selected a volunteer to help but not informed them yet.

I made bread today, one wholemeal loaf and a second loaf from the same dough batch but with finely chopped black olives, green olives stuffed with garlic and some red jalapeno chillies. It does smell divine and I may have to have a slice to mop up the sauce on my plate at dinner.

One large loaf lasts us for a good week, sometimes two, so once really cold I slice and freeze it.
 I will do the same with the olive bread but in thick slices as it is for eating with soup. 
Light bulb moment, I want to get a pot of soup on the go later.

I arranged to have some people come in to look at the roof, it is not in too bad a condition. There are places were the  slate has been patched and I am concerned that a really violent storm could see them coming off, like a deck of cards, and leaving the house open to the elements. Anyhow, one chap promised last Friday, then Saturday. He finally turned up this afternoon, when the light was fading, with two other chaps. I am afraid that I took one look and thought "Bodgit, Scarper and Son".

Another one came this morning, had a very thorough look and went off to prepare a quote. He did say that he would add in a contingency amount just in case he found something unexpected. What a contrast between the two, it does help that he lives close by and has years of experience with the same type of house.

One more to come and then it will be a case of waiting for estimates to come in.

Ben has told me that it is tea o'clock, for both of us so off to the kitchen I go.

                 TTFN                                                   Pam

Friday, 13 January 2017

We Did

The snow dropped down into the valley late yesterday afternoon and we have a glistening blanket of white. By some standards (mine included) this is not really snow, you would struggle to make a snow baby never mind a man.
There is more forecast so I am hunkering down and keeping busy indoors.
I will not be driving to Bethlehem even though the roads are clear now. I would hate to leave the hall at 4:00 to find that the roads were covered. I have driven in snowy conditions but only when the journey was necessary. There are more than enough essential vehicles on the road, casual drivers ought to stay away in bad conditions.
I cast off my sock yesterday evening and cast on a pair of bed socks for my chilly footed friend, they only take a day to knit so if the weather doesn't change I will put them in the post tomorrow morning.
Francesca rang last night to say that her new socks had arrived and that she was wearing them. She also ordered another pair and ( if I have time) another thick sweater, the one I gave her for Christmas has only been off her body to be washed. This helps to justify my yarn stash as I have enough chunky yarn to knit her half a dozen sweaters.

Back to the weather, the East Coast has had dire warnings and many have been evacuated. This is the worst time of the year for high winds raging from the sea, the tides are very high and that wind factor makes it very dangerous. I am very happy to be living here in my valley sheltered by the mountains.

I am off to make my breakfast, and another cuppa, so keep warm and safe. If you are living in the sun remember to slip, slap, slop and keep cool and safe.

                 TTFN                                        Pam

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Will we, Won't we

Get some snow?
I can see snow from my windows, not on the garden but on the fields on the Mountainside. Our day started wet and warm, well maybe not warm but not cold either. 
Ben was not reluctant to go for his first walk but the cold is dropping down upon us and his second walk was virtually non existent.
As he gets older he really does not like the cold and wet together, one or the other and he is fine.
I am working on the foot of my second Hermione sock and have yet to decide what pattern to do next. My Lara Neel book, sock architecture, arrived today and I have had a dip into it. There are patterns galore in it, each with instructions for top down and toe up.
I may decide on one of those although I have a couple of patterns in my folder waiting to be knitted.
Once this sock is cast off I want to dig out my sweater in the round and do some work on that,before casting on another project.
I know that some pod casters have multiple projects on the go, it would drive me doolally trying to decide what to pick up next.
And now I am about to prove myself a liar, I was given a bag of random wool last week. In it there were several balls of mohair, probably blended as it is very soft and not at all prickly. I have picked out 3 colours and want to knit a shawl, I do have a pattern but need 10mm needles. I will wait until next Tuesday and see if Debs has any, or some  interchangeable points.

I am hoping to go to a crafting get together in Bethlehem (near llandeilo) tomorrow, but it all depends on the weather. It runs from 10:30 -4:00 once a month and I have been wanting to go for ages. This time is the first that nothing else is planned so fingers crossed.

My veg chilli was delicious and there is just enough to turn into an oggy for tomorrow. Today I have pork chops marinading in a chilli, honey and liquid smoke concoction. They will go into the oven with jacket potatoes and some peas and sweetcorn should do nicely for veg.

My shopping list is very small again for this weekend, milk, veg, bread and a bag of strong wholemeal flour, not forgetting food for Ben. I hope there will not be a heap of bargains as I will have no room to store them.

I plan on making Pizza over the weekend, I have some butternut squash that once roasted is a good topping with some kale. I also want to plan a meal to use some of the chicken fillets from last weeks bargain buys, Ben has tried them and approved greatly. At less than £1 per kilo they are a cheap treat for him, every now and then.

Ooh yes, I watched the Martin Clunes program, set on the Australian Islands, last night. Part of it was on Norfolk Island where they have their unique dialect. One of the residents has written poems and books in the dialect, to keep it alive, and read some out. Well quite a bit of it sounded much like the broad Norfolk that I grew up with, but when Martin read it he made it sound West Indian! 

On that note I am off  to do a bit more Knitting and then a bloggy catch up reading session.

Stay warm and safe.

                    TTFN                                             Pam

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Woolly Bargains

Knit and Natter was very busy yesterday, a full house and some new faces. The shop was heaving, and at times just a teensy bit noisy. 
There had been a delivery of new yarn and to my joy there were bargain packs of pure wool, both British and some Merino blend. Packed in 12 x 50gm balls, I snapped up some for both colour work and a sweater for Fran. I now must keep my purse locked up until I have worked my way through most of this.

This is my bargain wool, the bottom colour in Merino is destined to become a sweater for Francesca at some point, as long as it is ready for her birthday in November. The other colours will become part of a colour work project. I have seen some very pretty (free) patterns on Ravellry. I have not done this kind of knitting since the early 70's but am excited to try.

My Hermione sock, I am very pleased with it and will be casting on the second one this afternoon.


I was not sure about the heel, usually I knit a slip stitch flap with a clearly defined stitch to pick up for the gusset. However this pattern left a row of little bumps instead and was just as easy to knit. I did drop down to 60 stitches rather than the 64 asked for in the pattern. If you remember I was going to use the Mercury pattern, but this sock fits very well so I may use the smaller count on my next pair.

Oops,I have gone off piste,back to my bargains.
Debs is wonderful when it comes to these special offers, she passes on the savings to her customers.
If you are in the area I strongly suggest that you pop in for a look, I cannot see them staying on the shelf for long.

Dinner was a stir fry with some sausages and spicy beans with a little mashed sweet potato, a real mix it up and use it up meal. I tipped a pack of salad leaves onto the stir fry to wilt. We didn't let it linger on the plates for many minutes. Fruit for pudding later if needed. 

Tonight I plan a vegetable chilli and will serve it on a bed of shredded, steamed cabbage. I may even add a few kale leaves as well, the splash of very dark green is as pleasing to the eye as the palate.

Now it is time to wrap Francesca's socks and get them sent off.

                     TTFN                                          Pam

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A Double First for the. New Year

Woo Hoo, I found a new Podcast this morning, Mara Knits. just a short one to begin with, a very friendly and chatty 20 minutes or so.
Mara has her You Tube channel ready loaded with some tutorial videos for the new knitter. I 'fess up to not looking at them yet, but I will later, they were put up as a favour to some of her friends but are available to everyone. I hope that she carries on sharing, mainly as she is an avid sock knitter, and I like her relaxed style. 
She has a knitting project on a pair of HUGE needles that look like rolling pins. I  could not consider trying them, my hands curled up just looking at them.

My other first is an Indie dyer, Rosie's Moments, from Winscombe in Somerset. I was watching the last Bakery Bears podcast yesterday morning and her wool was shown. Well I had to slip over and have a look, and there it was a delicious  looking little morsel,  80% superwash Merino and 20% nylon  called Sprinkles.

I have opened the skein up so that you can see all the little speckles. I think they look like cake decorations, sweet and moreish.

The skein came with a little lavender bag so it smells delightful.

There was also a pretty little stitch marker, I will use this once I cast on.
I ordered this straight away and to my delight it arrived this morning, now of course Iwant to wind it and cast on.

I will be making socks from this yarn, to me it has a subtle look of Christmas about it, the right colours but not bold and in your face. I may have to try and make this my Advent knit, we will see how good my will power is.

On a down note I received 2 letters from the hospital yesterday
One was to cancel my appointment for the 31st and the other was to offer me a new one for Feb 8th. Both sent on the same day from the same hospital, 2 letters, 2 envelopes and the postage cost for 2.
No wonder our health Service has cost issues.

Leaving that behind I have finished the first Hermione sock, just forgot to take a photo. I will later for another post, I am pleased to say that my Kitchener stitch is improving greatly.
Today is Knit and Natter and I am looking forward to it, I have a WW11 sock to work on so no concentration required and I can natter with the best of them.

Now it seems to be tea o'clock so I will leave you here.

                      TTFN                                      Pam

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Oops! no title, feel free to make one up.

Fran's socks are ready to wash and block before I post them off to her, the second sock was so much better to knit once I changed needles.

Thanks to Annabeth I whipped through the Kitchener stitch with no lost stitches or naughty words.

I had to cast another pair on using one of my new yarns. I decided to use the Drops Fabel Long Print and the Mercury Sock pattern. But as you can see that morphed into Hermione's Everyday socks, I knitted the rib and at that point changed my mind.

Since taking this I have done the heel flap and am ready to turn it.

The pattern does not show up very well, once finished I will put it on one of the blockers to see if it shows better. This is a very simple 4 row repeat and has a modified Eye of Partridge heel with a garter stitch border. I am not sure about the heel but decided to go with the pattern, once I pick up the stitches to continue knitting the foot I will pass judgement. Obviously I will use the same heel pattern on the second sock, if I don't like it I will use the normal slip stitch heel if I knit the pattern again.

The weather here has gone from clear skies and a smidgen of sun shine to  heavy mist rolling down the mountain, that mist is now receding but there is no sign of the sun.
I saw the situation in Poland on the news earlier, Eastern Europe is really suffering, I can only hope that it does not drift our way. Just fancy, snow in Greece! I daresay that the price of Olives and their oil will rocket, along with other foods that we import. This weather may have a devastating effect on this years harvest of many foods.

One of my favourite treats is Kalamata Olives with my own preserved garlic cloves, I have 1 jar of the olives and may buy another couple, just in case.

I am off to the shops later, I need to fill up with petrol as well as do a little essential shopping. I will use the opportunity to time this to do a bit of bargain spotting, this will be my first shop since New Year's Eve and apart from a calendar I just need fresh fruit, veg and milk.

I have not been to look at the sales, there is nothing that I need and nothing that I just want. I hate crowds and often feel that sales are second cousins to jumble sales, the ones where you get a black bag for £x and then fill it as fast as possible. It is all sharp elbows, swinging shopping bags and an overpowering air of desperation to grab as many so called bargains as possible. I once saw 2 women fighting over a garment, each had a good grip and were pulling as though their lives depended upon winning. Of course neither won anything as with a loud ripping noise each was left holding part of the original garment.

I was chatting to my friend Mary yesterday and we were both saying that January was to be a use it up month and both of us were leaning towards a mainly vegan meal plan. Later as I was washing up and planning the next days jobs, it struck me how fortunate we both are. We have well stocked pantries and freezers and can chose what to eat every day. I can only wish that everybody was in the same position.

We both live very comfortable lives on retirement pensions, we were both fortunate enough to have well paid jobs and saved.  Most importantly we had the best upbringing. We were taught how to cook from scratch, make the best of what we had and forage in hedgerows for free food. I only have a tiny portion of the gardens that I have had in the past but I grow a good amount of food. I still have leeks and some small cabbages growing from the stumps where I have cut the large ones. There will be as much Purple Sprouting broccoli as I can cope with, and some to give away.

I have apples, rhubarb, gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries and jostaberries as well as honeyberries and blueberries all growing well. With the kilos of blackberries,  rosehips and crab apples that I gather from the wild I could be self sufficient in fruit and jam.  I also have a lemon tree and a fig tree, both young but I have had a few lemons and there are young fruit which I hope will ripen later this year.
But I like bananas and pears and I buy seville oranges for marmalade. These are wants though and if I could not afford to buy them I would still have fruit in my diet.

Oh dear this has turned down a completely different path than I envisaged, I don't want to preach or proselytize so I will stop now.

                  TTFN                                                 Pam