Tuesday, 26 August 2014

End of Summer?

It certainly feels like it here in the South of England!  It has rained and rained for the past three days and the nights are most definitely chilly!  This is also the final week of my summer holidays. :(  My Husband has been laughing at me this week as he says I get more holiday than most people, but I like to point out that I don't truly get a holiday as I still have to look after him! ;) x
At least it was dry last week when we when to stay with my parents in Norfolk for a few days.  The views on the trip up to Norfolk were beautiful ~ golden cornfields, some harvested others not, under blue skies filled with the most amazing cloudscapes!
 Once we arrived at our destination we went for a walk around the village to stretch our legs and I took a trip down memory lane.  This was the junior school that I attended many, many years ago.
The views of the woodland and fields to the rear of the school were just as I remembered them.
The hopscotch and bull's eye games were looking rather faded.  Maybe the children don't play these games any more?  I can remember playing here with my friends at playtime. 
The next day the skies were still clear
 so we headed into Norwich for a spot of sight-seeing and shopping.
St Peter Mancroft in the city centre.
 The Royal Arcade.

 Some street art that made me smile. :)
 That evening we went out for a meal for an early celebration of my Mum's birthday, which is actually this week.
 Here they are laughing at me trying to hide my middle-aged spread for the photo! :)
Years ago my children used to cheek me for photographing food, but now they both take photos of their meals and I am having the last laugh! ;) Fay asked me to take this photo of her heart-shaped onion ring. :)
 The next day the sun was still out
and we headed to Holt, a market town north of Norwich.
 This is a favourite place of ours
 where we like to mosey around the many antique shops.
All too soon it was time to drive home.  I started a new project on the way home.  This is a free pattern by Faye Perriam.  I like the fact that the flags have eyelets at the top through which I will thread some ribbon/tape.  I plan to hang it outside around our patio, but that will probably have to wait for next summer now!  I am using a cotton yarn that I bought at the beginning of the year from Lidl.  
Back home and I baked some cakes as a "Thank You" to my friend G for looking after our kitties and plants while we were away ~ coconut and lime fairy cakes and lavender shortbread.

We managed to fit in two BBQ's over the weekend, before the heavens opened.

 Jay requested Mexican bean burgers, so I adapted my usual recipe by using roughly mashed red kidney beans instead of chickpeas and I cooked diced red pepper, onion, garlic and frozen sweetcorn to add to the burgers, along with chilli powder.
 We are lucky to live within walking distance of some beautiful green lanes.
So Sunday afternoon my Husband and I went blackberry picking.
 It was so peaceful ~ the only sounds were a distant tractor stacking up bales of straw and the songs of sky larks and red kites.  It was very good for the soul.

 We also came home with a bag of foraged pears from a huge tree growing wild beside a field.
 Monday the rain arrived and it hasn't stopped since!  Maurice has taken up residence on the sofa with his blanket.  A sure sign that it is cooler outside.
 As it was cooler I felt the need to bake some pumpkin scones.
Autumnal food for sure.
In the front garden the leaves are glistening with raindrops.

 This damp weather has given me the perfect excuse (like I need one!) to stay indoors and knit.
The last time we travelled to Norfolk I started this Betsy Scarf as my travel project, using Dazzle by The Natural Dye Studio.  I love the yarn and I love the pattern, but unfortunately I felt that I had chosen the wrong yarn for the pattern ~ it just wasn't showing off the yarn to its best advantage.  I was sure that this yarn would look better knitted, so I searched the Internet for a pattern that was suitable, not only for the type of yarn, but for the amount of yarn I had left after starting Betsy.
I recently discovered the very talented Mel of With Mel and she is currently hosting a KAL on her podcasts for her Menehune Shawlette.  Not only are her podcasts a pleasure to watch, but the Menehune Shawlette is the perfect project for my yarn.
So this weekend I have been knitting along with Mel and have just started the edging for the shawlette.  I have adapted the pattern slightly to make my shawl narrower to accommodate the amount of yarn I have.  I plan to wear it as a scarf in the neckline of my winter coats.
This summer I wasn't supposed to be starting another yarn project, but finishing off my existing ones. So here is my latest finished project ~
My Springtime Throw
 I blocked it on the living-room floor, at midnight before we went away, so that it wouldn't be in the way.  I just had to shoo a couple of nosey cats away! :)
 And it was ready when we returned home.  Just in time for the chilly evenings!
I was also supposed to be sewing my Artisan Apron this summer.  I have been planning how I would like to decorate it and in all honesty our home has been too busy this summer with both the kids back from uni for the holidays and with our staycation and visit to Norfolk.  So hopefully we will have some quiet time this autumn when I can finally get some sewing done.  I have also signed up for my first DKAL on Ravelry by designer Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade and I have a scarf knit-along planned with my best friend L who lives in Norfolk.  Volcano willing, my Husband and I also have a trip to Iceland planned this autumn.  We are hoping to see the Northern Lights, so please keep your fingers crossed for us.  It seems like my autumn is going to be as busy as my summer!
Is it just me or does your time fly by as quickly too?
Best wishes, Pj x

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

My Pebble Beach Shawlette

Back on 12th July I went to Unwind at Brighton, which I posted about here.  The Pebble Beach Shawlette, by Helen of Curious Handmade, was the winning pattern of the Unwind Design Competition.  A mass cast on in the Pavilion Gardens was planned, so I bought this gorgeous skein of Luminosity from the Skein Queen to knit my shawlette in. 
 This yarn is 100% mulberry silk and was a joy to knit with.  It is soft to touch and doesn't split.  It was quite forgiving too, when I had to undo a few rows towards the end of the shawlette!
 The mass cast on, with Helen on the left of the photo.  Meeting fellow knitters and knitting with them was the highlight of my day at Brighton.
 Later I just had to do some knitting on Brighton Beach! ;)
 Back home and I often took my knitting out into the garden.
 This was the first time I had knitted one of Helen's patterns.  They are so easy to follow as she writes them out clearly and at the end of each row is the % of how much you have knitted!
 That % count is very handy when updating your Ravelry project page.  Also on Ravelry Helen ran a KAL of the Pebble Beach Shawlette.  Many beautiful shawlettes have been knitted as part of the KAL and some people have enlarged the design and added beads.  Helen has run a competition for the best Pebble Beach Shawlette (I don't envy her as they are all so gorgeous) and a media maven competition for #pebblebeachkal.
 Just as I started to cast off I noticed a mistake 10 rows back!  That's what happens when I knit late at night!
 Mistake corrected and casting off again.  I was determined to finish this KAL on time, unlike last year's shawl that I haven't touched since!!  That's my next project!
 Yay, I finished on time!
My Husband photo-bombing ... as usual I might add! :)
 Fay was going away for a few days so I blocked my shawlette on her bedroom floor, using my new blocking wires that I had bought at Unravel in February.

As this is knitted in a silk yarn I spray blocked rather than wet blocked.

 Then I covered it with another towel and crossed my fingers!
 A couple of days later we had planned a beach trip and it seemed only right to take my shawl to the beach to be photographed! :)

 My first ever shawl.
Thank you Helen for a lovely pattern and for arranging the KAL.  It has been such fun and I'm looking forward to the next one.