Skyscrapers and String


Back Home!

Hello everybody!

Well that was a fab week in Sardinia!

Yesterday was a blur, travelling, the gripping anxiety of air travel – following the tragic loss of the Malaysian airliner some months ago, the world now knows that airplanes are run with no more technology than a child’s wind up torch.

At the airport in Sardinia, in view of the heightened security alerts last week, we saw some German passengers insisting they didn’t have to go through airport security as they were late for their plane, then there was a woman who had so much jewellery on, and she wouldn’t remove it to go through the metal detectors, we stood there for so long whilst she argued, we nearly missed our plane and she was taken off to one of those little rooms, I dare say for a more “private” examination (my eyes are watering…). Why? Why not just do what you are supposed to do? It’s for everyone’ s benefit.

On the way home from Luton, there was a lightening storm and such heavy rain, you could not see anything outside the car. Bearing in mind we were in a brand new Mercedes, the windscreen wipers did nothing to clear the rain from view and we snaked home, yearning for our little house, the child and the cat.

Here you can see the bright full moon in Sardinia on our last night:

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Here you can see our dear cat, shining with happiness that our little pack is reunited:

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Today it has been busy busy busy.

With Jon’s help throughout, I got up, sorted the laundry and tidied round a bit.

Then I baffed the cat. It purred throughout.

We made bread, and whilst it was rising Amber and I went for a walk to Asda to buy some coffee and fish. We missed the rain, everywhere was drenched when we emerged!

Jon fed the washing machine the entire time we were out and the cat dried a bit. It has sat on me continually.

The packing for the holiday took a good four weeks of careful assembly. To unpack took half a day, what a faff about, sorting what lives upstairs, and what goes in the bathroom and so on.

Whilst I was away I knitted a shawl, which sits in a pile with the other shawls I made recently, so this coming few weekends will have to include blocking sessions, where we can fit them in.

Also, I have a half finished capelet, which looks lovely:

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This needs some thought before it can be finished.

So apart from the pile of shawls that need blocking and the unfinished capelet, I have a little yellow cardigan on the needles to finish for dear Russ’s baby, and a golden cardigan for myself, a bag which just needs sewing up, and if I actually look properly there’s some more things need finishing in my work basket.

Before I left for my holiday, I bought some brooch backs from China for my charity poppy knitting, which I should start soon. They arrived while I was away. I bought 100 of the little devils, so I will be a busy girl!

I also came back to a customs bill for the extra wool to finish my golden cardi that is discontinued which. I had to I buy from the US! £14! Ouch!

The other thing that has been bugging me is the pile of Rowan Calmer upstairs. I want to do something with it. Also I decided the thick variegated
yellow cotton yarn will make a good bath mat or two.

But also, I have a new fab soft grey brown scarf trimmed with bobbles, and I want to knit something to go with it. Now!

And I’ve found a wonderful pattern, called Zuzu’s Petals, by Carina Spencer, and I think this will make a wonderful addition to my accessories repertoire, as it is a cross between a shawl and a cowl. Once I get the hang of the pattern construction, I will be able to improvise perhaps with other yarn weights and stitches. It is an extremely clever idea.

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You might understand I am a bit overwhelmed with all these musings, plus also on holiday I took loads of inspiring pictures of flowers and foliage, and of course my mind ran wild thinking about colour, and the yarn waiting at home for me as well, tempted me endlessly with ideas.

Look how lucky I am, what more can bring delight than a fabulous holiday, all this inspiration, coming home to all my yarns and and the pleasure of mulling over an endless stream of possibilities.

It is so lovely to be home!


Holiday Musings

Hello everyone!

I hope your week is going well.

I am just back from holiday in Sardinia, a magical place with beautiful landscapes, wonderful food and no litter. It has the kind of weather England should have, even on an overcast weekday morning you can sit outside on your balcony in a nightie and not freeze to death.

On previous holidays crammed into the August school holiday peak window, daily weather of 34 or 36 degrees has been the norm and I have literally been fried.

Sardinia, in July, is about 10 degrees hotter than at home, and you can walk on the sand during the day and you could wear a little cardi after dark if you are still gadding about.

Anyhow, I digress.

Holidays, by the general nature of one’s removal from the structures of housework, the commute and the daily grind, allow you to reflect on your life so far, to miss and appreciate being at home, and to ponder on those bits of yourself that need some attention.

This holiday, I must admit, it took a good four or five days to unwind from work. I love my job but being put under pressure to complete too many things in the days before you go when you’re trying to get ready to decamp to another country for a fortnight isn’t funny.

So much for feminism, where I work most bosses are chaps who have wives that do not work, and they have no clue what working and running a home is like. For example, they will politely ask about your weekend, and you’ll say, “Oh I found time to make Jam” or something, feeling all chuffed, and they’ll say, “Oh Caroline always makes jam”, and I think, bloody Caroline doesn’t work and you live on a farm, and she comes into London to have her hair done in Sloan Square at £500 a pop.

Apart from reading a couple of books, and knitting, I can honestly say it has been a supremely relaxing break.

One of the most interesting bits has been the daily mulling over the previous nights’ dreams. At night my dreams have been very vivid, generally going over some area of my previous life, and presenting me with some interesting insights.

For example, I have realised that the difficulties I have been through are merely prep for the cold hard winds of real life. Whilst I may have been awoken in a state of rage at some broken promise, by the time I thought about the previously forgotten issue realised it was forgotten because I had gotten over it already. I feel very lucky to be so resilient.

Anyway. First day back at work today, it’s bonkers. Now I’m heading for a swim! And relax! But not at this pool lol!

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Lessons From Ishbel

Ishbel is a shawl design by Ysolda Teague.

It is more than just a shawl, it is the Three Peaks Challenge rites of passage in knitting that translates you from a casual, ambitious and moderately successful in a “fudge it all together” way, into a proper, competent lace knitter.

This holiday I finished my third Ishbel, I ran out of yarn before I could complete all the planned chart repeats, but even though it isn’t perfect, it is the first Ishbel that actually looks like one! The first two I did are wonky fails.

In the first paragraph, I have put a link to the Ravelry site and if you’re a member, you can see over 13,000 Ishbels. That’s amazing isn’t it!

What a successful design! How it has captured the imagination of so many knitters.

But the secret of Ishbel is not about churning out cunningly spaced yarn overs and so on row after row.

Well it is a bit, I suppose!

What I have learned from Ishbel is this:

* Sometimes I make mistakes due to not understanding what I am being asked to do

* Often, all I have to do is exactly what I see before me, no interpretation is needed

* If I take the time to do some research on other people’s experiences with the same thing, I might learn there are more options open to me than I first thought

* Success is always composed of small steps, consistently taken to move you forward

* Also stoically and persistently pushing through tricky patches with the end goal in mind

* Willingly learning as you go along

Here you can see my completed Ishbel, it is exactly the same colour as the sea here in Sardinia. It will be beautiful when I’ve blocked it once I get home.

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10 Things About Sardinia

* Everything is clean. There’s no litter, anywhere, it’s spotless

* Noone smokes, the only shop selling tobacco is a dodgy bar on the road out of town

* Everyone smiles, and says hello, everyone has beautiful manners

* Dinner is usually four courses, at least two are pasta, but everyone is thin

* Everyone recycles. Its the law

* The little dettori corner supermarket is universes better than any deli/ food shop in england. Just make sure you have the right change

* The pavements are level and every restaurant has a disabled toilet. All the buildings are finished

* The sea and the pools are freezing

* Noone cares how you shovel your spaghetti into your mouth

* The house white is better than anything you have ever tasted in the UK, ever

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Inspiration Strikes

Hello all!

I hope you’re all having a super week so far.

My week has been hard. I am delivering several projects simultaneously, for the same bunch of people, and they each enquire about my progress on their project as if I live in a bubble, and the other projects and my day job are nothing to do with me.

Tonight I am home late and slumped, exhausted in my chair.

Today however has not been a bad day, I have had a super time.

We had Knitting Club, Amber and Sindhu trekked up to join us. We exchanged stories of estranged relations, mysterious letters and implied obligations.

Again we had a blast. Somehow we ended up singing one of the songs from “joseph and the amazing technicolour dreamcoat”. Amber was mortified. I laughed so hard my ribs ached.

Inspiration can strike in the most unlikely places.

Today I saw this lady on the escalator in a summer dress. I loved the colours. I am thinking a crochet afghan. Look at the colours! Aren’t they glorious!

Imagine the black squares with the summery apricot, peach and rose middles.

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Noisy Coffee Machine!

Hello everyone!

After a fabulous and luxe weekend of deep happiness and much making, work today was like frog shock.

Even though I only do 4 days, it is all a bit much with the reorganisation. I feel a bit overwhelmed by whats going on.

Anyhow. Onto happy thoughts!

My little coffee machine is my friend. It makes the best coffee and I love using it. Unlike the old coffee machine which fired little grounds of coffee over the entire house.

The sticking point is for the three minutes it is switched on, the entire worksurface judders and it all makes a giant racket. I can hear it from my bed.

No more the noise, I have cured it!

4 crochet granny squares.

Silence. Well nearly.

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Bag Heaven!

Hello everyone!

We’ve had constant sunny weather in the UK, which often is quite unheard of.

I’ve been mad busy, this morning I trimmed the shower curtain, emptied all the kitchen cupboards, chucked some old stuff away and then put them back straight, and wow! They look amazing now.

For the first time in my life I feel like I have a modern, functioning kitchen.

This afternoon, I sat and sewed a new lining for my beach bag. I did a pretty good job if I say so myself!

Here you can see the bag with the lining removed (the zip broke shortly after I bought it):

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The lining was made from a vintage apron I’ve had in my fabric stash for a few years. Bright pink, blue, white and yellow. With an iPhone pocket!

Below are some pictures showing the different stages of sewing and inserting the zip:

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Here is the taa daah of the finished bag:

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I am also in the middle of making a second bag, this is a knitted bag with a crochet pocket.


Home Made Bread

Hello all!

At the moment, in the UK, we are having glorious weather.

Amber has finally finished her A Levels, and she helped with a day’s workshops at Amnesty International’s HQ in Shoreditch today. I am so proud of her, her kindness, her huge heart, her beautiful clever mind and her gentle soul.

Our home is filled with an atmosphere of peace and love, and it’s wonderful.

On the side bar of this blog, you can see the link to the blog where I learned to make sourdough bread at home. Lucy from Attic 24 pointed it out and she brought it to my attention first. She makes smaller loaves than me, I like making quite a lot at once.

I took some pictures today of the dough and so on, to share with you.

There’s cheese bread, using strong cheddar, and the other bread has cinnamon and mixed fruit added, both are really yummy!

Here you can see my new Cath Kidston flour shaker. Invaluable if your making this stuff!

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Here is the sticky dough once turned out of the bowl:

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Here you can see the cheese to go in one of the loaves:

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Once the fruit and cinnamon are folded into the loaf on the right, and the cheese into loaf on the left, you can see them here waiting to cook:

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Here you can see them baked, don’t they look grand!

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A bit of the cheese bread stuck to the cast iron pot, you have to imagine what it tastes like mmmmmm:

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Here you can see the finished project, watched over by the tiled Splashback of my cat behind the cooker:

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I urge you to try the recipe. It is life changing. Feed the people you love good home made things, love them and make yourself happy at the same time.

I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend!


Holiday Makeup

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Hello everyone!

I have worked really hard today – phew!

First of all I got out all my regular holiday things and sorted throughout them. Last year I took Way Too Much Stuff away with me and I felt stupid.

After much hauling out and trying on and puffing up in front of the mirror I settled on a handful of vest tops, a sarong, one cossy, one pair of Birkenstocks and my walking sandals, my trusty Havaianas, some shorts and some light evening dresses, knickers and a bikini top. Sorted! Oh my how light will my suitcase be this year!

I will also take my bathrobe, my two tiny towelling turbans, and a thin but big beach towel that dries quickly.

Then I hunted out my holiday jewellery. Again, last year, I had a whole kilo of beads and necklaces and it got on my nerves trawling through it all. This time I have five necklaces, some beaded bracelets and two pairs of earrings and two rings. This small stash was culled from a selection that covered my entire double bed!

Above you can see my makeup collection, I sat and made a “look” for myself to wear at night, it is hardly a fraction of one percent of my usual makeup packing.

From left to right you can see my “tanned face” bareMinerals pressed powder, Body Shop tea tree bb cream – so cooling! A sparkle pale honey bronzer by Body Shop, my current mascara by Soap and Glory, a Leona Lewis Body Shop blusher bought in a sale, and kept put by for holidays as too dark for winter use.

Also, my absolute current faves are a pale gold and a mushroom Kiko eyeshadow stick – these are fab as they don’t irritate the eyes, crease or flake and they last all day. I have one in every colour. But I’m not taking them all this time! Lol!

As an experiment I’m taking a peach coloured Clinique lip balm chubbystick which I’ve never really used since I bought it and an Avon pink champagne lipstick pencil which I do like. I am hoping I’ll get some wear out of it if it’s visible in my handbag.

Next there are two Body Shop glosses one orange, one crystal sparkle pale and a brown Next glitter eyeliner between them. Then my favourite Clinique lipstick in melon, a By Terry lipgloss in pink/gold that cost a packet, then my Chanel blusher brush. I’m worth it!

Hopefully these few key items will reduce my holiday packing overload.


Wordsworth: About London

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge

3rd September 1802

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Many thanks to the fabulous mylifeinknitwear blog!

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A picture I took last year in Camden on a bridge over the canal and locks.



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