Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Birthday treats and a colour crisis

Birthday celebrations here yesterday as I turned another year older (but not necessarily wiser!). Where does the time go?  I turned 50 four years' ago and it only seems like last year; so here I am, a fully-fledged 50-something with a waistline that's expanded slightly.  I had a lovely relaxing day and some equally lovely presents:

Green & Black's chocs should help the waistline along nicely!  The jug is by Gisela Graham and the sweet pea posy with hand made paperweight is from a piano student.

Virginia Woolf's Garden (from Hubby) I've wanted for a long time (the book, not the garden, although that would be nice!) and On Looking (from one of the Miss Ts), all about observation (as the title suggests) should make an interesting read.  Five seedlings from a friend - two purple Alstroemeria and three surprises.

An amazing scented leaf geranium and some 'citrus'-coloured chrysanths.  The tree is a Vitex, or Chaste Tree, so called because the potions made from the berries are supposed to have helped monks maintain their vows of chastity.  I've never seen or heard of it before, so googled it and when in flower it looks a bit like a budleia.  

Out for celebratory dinner last night, which was lovely.  Apparently, there are more treats to come: thoroughly spoiled girl.

* * *

Some progress on the grey blanket has been made, though now I find myself in the middle of a colour crisis.  The original plan was for it to be all grey with a thin bright green border, but I've deviated.  I thought I'd try to break it up with two rows of double crochet two or three times and I like the idea, just not sure whether the bright green is the right colour to use - it is really (neon) bright.  

I might have to put it on the back burner for a couple of days and switch to another WIP, of which there are many:  my current WIP count is eight, but I'm sure there are plenty out there who can top that ;o)

Hope all is well out there ... 
Jane, 54, housewife, musician (well, I like to think so) and serial WIP starter  xx

Friday, 20 June 2014


I think it's probably time for an old friend to retire.  

I made this blanket years ago, when the girls were small.  It was a marathon knit and I spent months on it.  It was worked in Jaeger Matchmaker yarn with one square in Jaeger Persia, a lovely boucle yarn.  Sadly these yarns are no longer available.  It has hugged us, comforted us and kept us warm on chilly winter nights but now it's showing its age and looking a bit tatty.  There are holes (some rather badly mended), bobbles and splitting seams and to make it worse, the last time it was washed I washed it at the wrong temperature and the Persia square shrank so is now smaller and sort of felted. 

So, time for something new to take over its duties.  I like the combination of greys, black and ivory on the old one and I may reproduce it at some point, but for now I'm going dark grey crochet, granny stripe pattern without stripes ... 

... although I may add some crazy bright green.  

I'm not sure I've explained that very well but it will all work out in the end.

* * *

Meanwhile, in the garden, this lovely rich velvety crimson rose, William Shakespeare, has started to flower.  We bought this, unsurprisingly, on a weekend visit to Stratford-upon-Avon.  

I like the way the dark red stripes on the Nigella seed heads complement it, but this is just a happy accident and nothing to do with any planning on my part.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
(Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare)

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A square stack, a mandala, scented beauties and Sissinghurst

It seems ages since my last blog post.  Thank you to all who commented on the Chelsea pics.

The squares are all done for the blue blanket but there is still a way to go - making up my mind whether to crochet or stitch them together would be a start, then there's the blocking and a border.

I finally got round to a mandala for Yarndale, thought I'd missed the boat on this one but there's still plenty of time.  I'm a bit nervous about covering it with PVA glue on the back but all the others seem to have survived it.

The colour scheme is loosely based on these scented beauties from my garden

Sarah Bernhardt

Geoff Hamilton

Rhapsody in Blue

Wish I could share the scent.

Miss T the younger has finished uni for the year and is home looking for summer jobs which is easier said than done.  We decided to take a break from all that on Monday and went down to Sissinghurst Castle to wander round the magnificent garden created by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson.  

Sissinghurst has a varied history - Queen Elizabeth I had a three-night stay there and in the 1700s it was a prison.  Today, Sissinghurst is famous for the series of 'garden rooms' that Vita and Harold created, the most well known of these is the white garden.  It is now owned and maintained by the National Trust.  

The shots below were difficult because I'm scared of heights.  They are taken from the top of the Elizabethan Tower shown in the first pic (the climb up the stairs was a bit of a challenge too!).

I've been there so many times and I never tire of the gardens, they are so beautiful, but I'm not sure my photos do them justice.  

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x