Thursday, 19 November 2015


This little cheeky chops on the left grew up and graduated from Sheffield Hallam University on Monday with a BSc in Physiotherapy and first class honours.  Like all the other families there we were full of pride and I felt a bit tearful, but the stiff upper lip held out quite well.  

I love Sheffield, it's a great city and we spent a lovely three days there; more importantly, Natalie thoroughly enjoyed her big day. 

* * * 

Not much has been done about Christmas around here, there are lists but not much else.  I have plans for this Rowan handknit cotton, but I haven't left myself much time, which seems to be the story of my life!

I need to get my act together post-haste. 

Hope all is well out there ...

Jane x

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A big granny square

The big grey granny square came about because of a change of plan on another project.  The 'three shades of grey granny stripe' started life as a large dark grey blanket with maybe a little colour around the edge, then a third of the way through I decided to add a different grey and then another.  

So, what to do with the eight balls of now spare yarn?  I went back to the original plan, started with a small granny square that just got bigger.  There wasn't enough to make a bed-sized blanket but it's more than enough to cover a lap and keep feet warm too.  I ended up buying more yarn to make the edging, which is a row of double crochet, two rows of treble crochet and a further row of trebles with three trebles worked into each stitch of the previous row to get the ruffle.  It seems to take ages but I like the effect.  

I used 8 x 100g balls of Stylecraft Special DK in Graphite (1063) and 2 in Raspberry (1023) with a 3.5mm hook.  

Grey seems to be a bit of a theme lately, the latest WIP has a little grey.

And I recently picked up a bit of cross stitch (something I used to do all the time before I rediscovered crochet) and went straight for the grey!  The pattern is by Luli and you can find it here.  

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Sunday, 1 November 2015


My little blog turned two on Halloween.  I don't feel like I've been blogging for two years, more just finding my way still really with terrible photos and not much to say.  I thought about giving it up again but it's been a useful thing in recording what I've made and how; although I've come to like Instagram, it doesn't do what I want it to do so blog is still best I think.

There's been some disappointments over the last two weeks.  I'd waited all year for my big night out with some friends to see Hamlet at the Barbican but, because of ill health, it was not to be and alas, I didn't get to see poor Yorick, or Benedict Cumberbatch (ha! see what I did there?).  Then yesterday, we saw an announcement that our local firework display had been cancelled.  The 1st Hildenborough Scouts have organised a firework display for at least the last 20 years at our local rec; over the years it has got bigger and better and has become the major community event of the year.  For the Scouts it is their biggest and much needed fund raiser and so this will hurt them greatly, but the owners of the next field issued a legal challenge because of their animals (horses I think) and so that's that.  How sad.  I wish I had a field, but maybe someone who has will be able to offer them an alternative.  

On a lighter note, not going out much means more crochet and so I've made good progress on a couple of the many blankets I keep starting and some smaller projects.  

And there was a first attempt at amugurumi - I crocheted an apple.  "Why?", said my daughter, to which I could only reply "I have absolutely no idea!".  William Morris said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”  It's definitely not useful and I'm not convinced about beautiful either so its days could be numbered.  

To celebrate my second blog birthday I'm having a little giveaway, just as soon as I've decided what I'm going to give away.  Meanwhile, hope all is well out there ...

Jane x

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Autumn cowl making

I finished making a cowl this week and in good time it seems as it's been miserable here over the last couple of days.  

It was very simple to do.  It's based on a free knitting pattern on Ravelry:  'Road to China Striped Cowl' by Suzanne Middlebrooks.  I wanted to crochet mine so here's what I did (in UK terms).  

I made 41 chain then 1 dc into the second chain from the hook and continued in dc to the end so there's 40 stitches in the row.  Turn, *make 1 chain then 1 dc into each dc to the end, turn* and continue from * to * until your scarf/cowl is long enough (mine measured 126 cm long before I joined the two short ends together and it's 22 cm wide).  There are four rows to each stripe and nine stripes of each colour. 

I started with navy alternating it with the teal, then after the fifth navy stripe changed from teal to light pink and continuing with navy until there were nine navy stripes.  I then continued with the light pink and dark pink combination and then changed to the gold when there were nine light pink stripes and so on, finishing with duck egg and teal before joining the ends together.  

I used a 3.5mm hook and Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, one ball of each of the following:  Navy (008), Mallard (059), Pale lilac (608), Lilac pink (069), Amber (066), Clotted cream (065), Duck egg (026)

I hope the above all makes sense and that all is well out there ...
Jane x

Monday, 7 September 2015

Back to reality

Dove Cottage


Medieval carvings at Carlisle Castle

In Mr. MacGregor's garden

From the summit of Helm Crag

It's just over a week since we got back from the Lake District (where did that go?).  I was sad to leave, which is a good thing really, but I have a few pics and some lovely memories.  We stayed at Marlowe Cottage in Caldbeck and we walked alot - fell walking, lakeside walking and, well, just walking really!  There are some lovely walks around Caldbeck but we also travelled around a bit. We visited the homes of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, gazed at Medieval and Roman carvings in Carlisle Castle, made it to the summit of Helm Crag (which isn't a biggie - 1,329 feet - but I have a fear of heights so didn't want to be too ambitious), walked the lakeside path around Buttermere and a little of Windermere and Grasmere, visited the Beatrix Potter Gallery (which holds her original artwork) in Hawkshead, visited Acorn Bank, a fairly new National Trust acquisition and took a trip to the Theatre on the Lake (Keswick) to see The 39 Steps.  In between we ate for England but I don't seem to have put on any weight - all that walking I should think.  

On our travels we saw more sheep than people so we bought back a little flock of our own as a reminder.

So last week we were back to reality and I've worked my way through the washing.  I have managed a little hooky though - priorities and all that.  

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane xx

Friday, 21 August 2015

Hotch potch

It's been a funny old summer hols.  My girls have outgrown school holidays:  Natalie has finished uni and is now three weeks into her new job at a local hospital, wearing her NHS physiotherapy uniform with pride; Alice has a summer job until she goes back to uni in September. 

* * *   

We had a lovely afternoon at Scotney Castle a little while ago.  The old moated castle, now a ruin, is the most peaceful of places.

The gardens are beautiful too and I love the reflection created by the boat house in the lake.

* * *

West Dean gardens are amazing and we've always loved the West Dean Chilli Fiesta and go whenever we can.  This year was their 20th year:  we were there for their first when Natalie was almost three and Alice only a few months old, which makes me feel a little ancient!  

Love the Friar's Hat (top right).  We came home with some hot chilli and garlic sauce (probably terribly anti-social!) and some chilli chocolate fudge.  

* * *

Having picked about 25lbs of cherries from our rented cherry tree in July, it was a challenge to use them all, but we managed!  I decided to give cherry and vanilla ice cream a go this year:  I haven't got an ice cream maker so it involved going back to the freezer every 30 mins for a few hours to give it a good beating, but it worked and is delicious. 

* * *

I've written my first pattern.  I decided to start small so I went with the little bobble-edged coasters that I made recently.  If anyone fancies giving it a go and has any problems, please let me know so I can iron them out - you can find the pattern here

The bobble challenge continues:  this has been unravelled several times, but I'm determined to get it right.  

* * * 

We're off to the Lake District at the weekend; hopefully we won't get too wet but the forecast for next week is not looking good!  Hey ho, change is as good as a rest and all four of us are going, which is lovely.  

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x


Thursday, 30 July 2015

Simply white

Put the flags out, I've actually finished one of my many WIPs.  This is my favourite make so far; I think it's the simplicity, just white and a bit bobbly, but I sort of winged it so I'm going to attempt to write a pattern in the not too distant future to remind myself how I made it before I forget.  I haven't written a pattern before, there's a first time for everything.

I just did a plain envelope back, I like my covers to be removable, and I wanted to put a row of bobbles along the edge of the opening but I didn't have enough yarn left.

I used up my lovely Jaeger extra fine merino for this.  I bought 10 balls from Ebay a number of years ago and since then it's made the flowers in my rogue flower cushion, the daisy centres and some of the white squares in alice's uni blanket, and now the cushion.  It's a gorgeous yarn to work with but it's been discontinued unfortunately.  There's still some to be had on Ebay, etc. and is well worth the experience if you can get some.

☆ ☆ ☆

Sunday was spent cherry picking in the pouring rain.  We usually have a picking window of a week and pick them on a day that suits us, but the amount of rain that fell last Friday and Sunday meant that the ripe cherries were in danger of splitting (nothing wrong with split cherries, but they deteriorate quickly), so we had to rescue them, getting soaked in the process.  The three of us looked like we'd jumped in the river, but the cherries made it. 

There's about another 20lbs in the fridge, so a good haul.  With cherries on the brain I made a little cherry-bobble coaster Sunday evening.  Might make some more of these as I'm having a thing with Rowan handknit cotton at the moment - lots of lovely colours, this one is aubergine (348).

☆ ☆ ☆

It's been a week of firsts for Natalie:  first class honours, a first car she can call her very own and preparing to start her first full time job next week.  Right now I feel like the proudest mum, I hope that doesn't sound immodest.

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Sunday, 19 July 2015

How time flies

At the beginning of the year I promised myself I would make time each week to do a blog post - I enjoy writing my blog and I enjoy reading others.  So why has it been four weeks since my last post? Who knows, I had posts planned but they didn't happen.  So, a few things to catch up.

1.  Alice and I decided to take a trip out to Down House, which is only about 25 minutes away from us.  I can't believe we haven't been there before.  Since Charles Darwin's death it has been a home to others, including a girls school, but English Heritage has worked hard to get it back to how it was in Darwin's time.  I loved his study, a glimpse of which you can get here as no photos allowed.  

Love the old glass house too, filled with carnivorous plants and other exotic plant species.

In the laboratory there's a glass beehive where you can see the bees going about their daily business. It was fascinating - lots of waggle dancing (the bees, not us!).

The queen had a pink disc on her back to help identify her - I wouldn't be able to pick her out without it, she looks very much the same as the others, just slightly more elongated.

2. The crochet WIP pile is getting silly.  I keep seeing things I want to try - either things to make or yarn to try out, the result being a huge WIP pile and a shed load of yarn.  Note to self - stop it and finish something.     

3. I won a giveaway!  I was chuffed to bits to be the recipient of one of Just Pootling Kate's giveaways to celebrate her 2 years of blogging and all these lovely things have been put to good use.  Thank you Kate.

4. Thank you for your birthday wishes in the last post.  June and July are full of birthdays for us - five of us in my immediate family and several friends, it's hard to keep up with them all.  My lovely Flora will be coming up for her first birthday next month.  How time flies ...

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Monday, 22 June 2015

Perch Hill

Saturday was an open day at Perch Hill, Sarah Raven's East Sussex garden, so as a little birthday treat [it's not actually until Wednesday, but it's nice to stretch these things out a bit don't you think? ;o)], Mr. T and me went along, and what a treat it was, despite the weather being a little bit dull. 

I came home with a little scented pelargonium as a memento and dreams of a cutting patch (if I can Flora-proof it that is!). 

* * *

Since my last post I've added to my WIP pile:  more bobbles ...

... and simple join-as-you-go grannies, all exactly the same.

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x