Monday, September 29, 2008

29 September: Shawl and socks

The knitting has progressed; the two major projects near completion. Here's a photo of the shawl, knitting finished, tidying up to do, then blocking -

Shawl blocking or dressing seems to be quite complicated, from my reading on Ravelry - involving wires, lots and lots of pins, and a large area to spread it out. My effort will certainly need to be stretched out, as it is too small at the moment. I used a pattern (shock! horror!) for this, as I wanted to understand the shape, and I am not experienced at lace knitting. I am now planning a smaller project to my own design.

The waistcoat has been considered, and a decision made about the edge treatment; a start has been made on the front band, with about 350 stitches on the needle (small beer when compared with the 890 or so rows in the shawl border).

Having done these 2 larger projects, both of which needed full attention all the time to avoid mistakes (and I didn't!), I wanted to have something no-brain on the needles. So, yet another pair of socks, this time very plain, for DH, so a matching pair, using some Trekking sock yarn I dyed recently -

The green touches looked a bit odd in the skein, but they make the dull brown a little more interesting in the fabric. And the pale grey should match his new beard nicely....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

21 September: More autumn

Definite signs of autumn in Hamsterley Forest;
puffballs -

Fungi on dead wood -

and among the fallen leaves -

and on rocks by the track, lichen like Australian art -

or cup and ring markings -

Elsewhere, my green and black waistcoat progresses slowly. The right front is done, and here is a photo of the stitches ready to start the left front.

Then there's only the armhole bands and the front band to do. It would have been done more quickly if I hadn't decided to start a lace shawl as well.....

Monday, September 15, 2008

15 September: Some autumn colour

This morning was a bit misty, and a hint of a chill in the air.

The leaves are turning -

The apples are ripening -

While some flowers are not yet fully open -

and others look very much the same when the flowers are over -

some are definitely fading -

and gently decaying -

As much as spring, autumn is a time for starting.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

13 September: Little blue jobs

Perhaps it's all the rain we've had lately that is creating so many home-maintenance issues.

No sooner were we home from holiday than our next-door neighbour came to tell us that our water overflow pipe had been dripping all week. The ball valve on the inlet from the rising main to the large cold water tank in the loft was not working properly to cut off the incoming water.

DH hesitated to try a DIY repair, lacking the right tools and the confidence to tackle a task that might so easily go horribly, dramatically, and expensively wrong. So we got a plumber to do it - 15 minutes including making out the invoice, and it's all OK again.

Then the little light in the cooker hood blew when I switched it on. The fuse must have blown, as the fan was also out of action. But for several days we couldn't find the d*mned fuse. Not in the fuse-box, not with the cooker fuse, not in the cupboards next to the cooker (though we did find the switch for the hob pilot lights).

Then it came to light, in a manner of speaking. Above the cupboards is a trim which conceals some extra lights, several large spiders, and a huge amount of dust. Over the cooker hood , behind the plastic pipe that takes the extracted air to the outside, is a fluorescent tube. Behind this, and not visible at all, only located by touch, is the socket and switch for the cooker hood, with a fused plug! Once DH found it (and I never noticed it when I painted that bit of wall recently), it only took a few moments to change the fuse. (Spare fuses live with the spare light bulbs in the Jolly Useful Box - every home should have one.)

And now the kitchen roller blind has begun to fall down, about every third time we try to raise the blind. It is of course necessary to climb into the sink to reach the kitchen window, and simultaneously locating both ends of the 6 foot blind in the plastic supports is not easy, especially when the first attempt usually results in the winding mechanism being upside down, requiring a second attempt; by then the arms are failing, and the knees and back are protesting at the crouched and twisted position in the sink/on the worktop/on the windowsill. And all this in the pyjamas - the neighbours in the kitchen opposite have probably videoed the performance for UTube.

The house is 6 years old. I'm certain I've lived for many more years in previous houses without the fixtures and fittings needing so many repairs and replacements. Is it a case of "Fings Ain't Wot They Used To Be", or just chance?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

10 September: Beads

Yesterday was not suitable for continuing the garden tidy-up that was started when we got back from Suffolk. Heaps of prunings were shredded and returned to the borders; the sodden ground meant that weeds were easily extracted, but the dog turds were not so easily scraped up off the front lawn. The best argument for paving your front garden is the neighbours' dogs (sorry, Murph, but not everyone who has dogs is as responsible as they could be).

Anyway, I got out the bead boxes. A little while ago, I made some bead stitch-markers -

but found that I don't like using them, and have gone back to using scrap thread for marking.

I used to make lots of bead ear-rings, and I sometimes alter them when I find that they are too big/ too small/ the wrong colour. But there are still loads of beads in packets in the boxes, and recently I bought some fasteners in the bead shop in Durham (called LeBeado - ha, ha!), so I made some necklaces -

Great fun, and a change from knitting.

Must go now - in the middle of carding some recycled plastic bottle fibre.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

6 September: Suffolk again

A nice relaxing week near the Suffolk coast. For people with a low boredom threshold, who have never previously been to the same place on holiday twice, our third trip to Suffolk looks like a developing obsession. We even stayed in the same converted barn as last autumn.

I took very few photos, and most of DH's are of dragonflies or butterflies.

And anyone who was expecting a post-card, we didn't get round to sending any. Sorry.

We had some wonderful walks, along the coast, across heathland like this -

and in woodland. In Rendlesham Forest, we discovered some carvings of woodland creatures, deer, rabbit, snake, fox -

and this fellow, evidently providing an unusual location for an orienteering control - "Crocodile, S. side" -