Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Knitted succour

The last few days I've been very glad of three of my favourite knitted items - my 'Norwegian' hat, Susie's Reading Mitts and Boneyard Shawl. When the weather is like this..

.. and I have to walk up to the school to get the Boy at hometime and I'm feeling all stoic and Captain Oates-y (lol, it's only a bit over a kilometre and in a town), I'm very glad of some wool and alpaca.

My daughter doesn't like her waterproof overtrousers - 'they make a noise'. On the other hand she doesn't like the snow getting in her wellies either. We have compromised - I can pull her on the sledge if she gets tired. Of course then she'll get cold.

I may be some time.


Later: I made it back, were you worried? No? Oh well.
I'm really chuffed with how that picture of my knitting turned out, the colours are Just Right.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

In which I create gold

I'm just a woolly alchemist!

It's been hectic here the last week or so and I've been thinking of blogging but just haven't had the opportunity - for one thing, I've been so tired this week and for another I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here has started again (yay!) and this is my one bit of trashy telly. Three weeks of silliness a year is all I ask! Ah, happy sigh..

But prior to that I did one more batch of dyeing. And isn't it glorious? It just makes me smile whenever I look at it!

This was my second dyeing attempt with onion skins (last attempt blogged here). I'd been saving both brown onion skins and red onion skins for weeks so had loads of them. I stuffed as many brown onion skins as I could into my dye-pan then simmered for an hour and let cool for an hour or so. Then I simmered the yarn (alum-mordanted 4-ply blue-faced leicester) for an hour and let it cool again - and it just shlurped up the dye so satisfyingly. Look, that's it in the pan!

Then I bunged another skein in what was left of the dye but as what was left appeared to be very little I decided to chuck in the red onion skins too. I had no idea what they'd do - one book I'd read suggested that red onion skins yield yellow too (there apparently being no rhyme nor reason as to what colour you get - well, obviously there is rhyme and reason in a chemistry sense but that's a closed book to me), but I'm rapidly learning that there are so many variables in dyeing that it's really a case of wait and see! And this is what I got, a really gorgeous rich brown.

And here they are together.

That's the last of my dyeing fun for a while - I'm out of undyed yarn to work from for the time being so guess what's on my Christmas list! - so I'm pleased to be ending the year on a dyeing high! I now have a whole bagful of yarn dyed by me and just waiting to be turned into balls and knitted up, or maybe even crocheted.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

and as an antidote to all that colour..

Ah, a nice bit of beige!

These are the results of my latest bit of dyeing - above, using the alder 'cones' seen soaking here. I soaked them for a week on the windowsill in what sunshine we had, then simmered the wool (BFL again) in the juice for an hour or so. It's quite a pleasant colour but I probably won't bother again. Fun experiment though!

And below, mint. I have loads of mint in the garden and use very little of it. It's a plant I like though so I thought I'd have go at dyeing this mini-skein with a handful or two of the leaves. Again it's nothing much to write home about, but I do have a nice selection of soft browns to work with now! And actually this one's quite a weird colour which has got me thinking about colour perception because it can look quite different depending on what colour it's next to.

last splash

A last bit of colour for Splash of Colour:November before normal neutral service is resumed! And it's all from my garden - it was a beautiful if chilly morning, but it's turned wet and windy again tonight so I suspect that by morning the last of my beautiful hollyhocks will have been blasted from the stem. But I've they've made me so happy this past summer I can't complain.

Sweetpea is still flowering.

And autumn colour hits my strawberry plant.

It's been said by others, but I'll say it too - when you start looking out for colour like this you become so much more aware of it. I'm also so aware what a nuisance it is that my compact camera is on the blink! I really miss having a camera with me at all times - and no, I don't have a camera on my 'phone. My mobile is the cheapest, most basic thing imaginable but... apparently practically indestructible (touch wood)! Which is a very good thing for me.

Friday, 5 November 2010

A bit of colour, a bit of darkness

A pile of fleeces - 2 jackets and a blanket. Miss Mouse rediscovered the red jacket today. It's actually the Boy's but a bit small for him now, and he got the turquoise one recently. I love how zingy the red and the turquoise look together!

And now for the dark bit..

Ooooh! Aaaah! It's Bonfire Night, when adults suddenly realise they can't remember the details of Guy Fawkes* and wonder why we still care. Truth is, of course, we don't - like so many other celebrations it's an excuse for a laugh! And it's one where you can spot the vintage of the speaker by what they think the night is analogous to: 'It's like Beirut/Baghdad/the Somme out here!'. Well maybe not the last.. Funny how we enjoy explosions though! You wouldn't have thought that was innate.

And sparklers, yay! They terrified me as a kid and actually I still wouldn't want one myself but they're great fun to photograph.

This was my own kids' first go with sparklers and they seemed to enjoy it - and were very sensible with them too.

* And thanks to the utterly brilliant Diana Wynne Jones and Witch Week, I'm even vaguer on it than most.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

keep splashing that colour

My cold was a good bit better this morning and I spent much of the day on the settee, knitting and watching Midsomer Murders DVDs. Between that and the weather, not much of the seeking of glorious colour was happening - above, my knitting, coming along nicely. I'm loving the yarn - 100% acrylic but beautifully squishy-soft and not at all squeaky. Wonder how that happens - clearly All Acrylic Is Not The Same, though you'd (or I'd) think it would be.

And below, a picture from Monday, of my freezer - a work of art. Or several works of art. That's the good bit - further down there are Disney Princess stickers *mutter mutter*.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

splashing a bit more colour about

A gloomier day today so getting actual colour by electric light was a bit tricky, hence the slightly gloomier tone of today's pics. So I'll start with an old picture:

I have to confess that I like that tea-towel hanging behind the cat so much that I've never used it for fear of ruining it!

And onto a bowl of fruit. Mmm, we're into satsuma season - how I love satsumas! See, winter's not so bad!

Those flowers I bought myself the other day - I don't even know what they are but I'm enjoying them.

And zingy colour in the form of my stash of sock-yarn - how gorgeous is that? But to end, a non-colourful picture just because I love it. It's a detail from a picture my son drew of Mrs Pepperpot up a tree, and I particularly love the cuckoo. How do I know it's a cuckoo? 'Cos he told me!

I have acquired, at stunning speed*, a cold. I've spent the evening curled up on the settee with a hot-water-bottle, knitting a scarf**, drinking hot toddies and watching the new series of Kirsty's Homemade Home and a recording we had of James May's Man Lab from the other day. If James were a girlie he'd be a knitter. In fact I bet he'd enjoy knitting but Clarkson would never let him live it down.

There are worse ways to spend an evening, though I could have done without the sneezing. And so to bed. With another hot toddy.

* since lunchtime.
**with James C Brett Marble Chunky - so soft! Such a huge ball! And so cheap! If I get the scarf finished by Friday it'll be a retirement present for the Boy's teacher.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Splash of Colour: November

Hello November, hello soothing cosy neutrals on the calendar! But it's the first week of silverpebble's Splash of Colour, so enough with the neutrals and on with the colour.

It was beautifully sunny this morning and I had no kids around so I took the opportunity to go for a walk and get some pictures of the autumn colour which has been tremendous this year! And I'm very glad I did take the opportunity because by school pick-up time it was chucking it down and windy and the Boy's school playground is very exposed and quite high so now I'm looking quite wind-swept.

I'm rubbish at tree/plant recognition so I don't know what these pictures are of.

And now for some of Miss Mouse's loot from guising last night. I just grabbed the bucket on the way out of the house but it wasn't nearly big enough - people are generous! My friend made up bags for the kids who came around and I think another year I'd do that too. We just had a big jug of sweeties that we poured into the bags of the guisers who called on us, but it's difficult to be fair that way.

And finally my utensils pot, looking its best in the sunshine!