Thursday, 31 October 2013


Yay, go me - cramming another blogpost into October! It's not an exciting one, just a bit of Hallowe'en fun (I think I may be the last person left using that apostrophe) and some autumn colour. I made neepie lanterns again this year. No injuries at all, not even bruised knuckles. No injuries to me that is. I did get a bit enthusiastic with the bigger neep's eyes though and sliced right through to the top. I left the smaller lantern on our doorstep and took the larger lantern out with me when I took the kids out guising.

 In progress 

The weather was a bit wild today - at ten to four there was heavy rain followed by thunder, lightning and hail (briefly). I can't say I was actually looking forward to taking the kids out, but fortunately by the time we went out the rain had stopped and the sky had cleared - we even saw some stars. It was chilly and quite breezy so my lantern's candle kept blowing out, but at least we weren't wet.  We met up with my friend from over the road and her kids. The kids had some terrible jokes to tell, as tradition dictates of course. For example:
-Knock Knock
-Who's there?
-Europe who?
-No, you're a poo!


-What does a witch want in a hotel?
-I don't know, what does a witch want in a hotel?
-Broom service!

The first one had my friend doubled up laughing every time (it was her son telling it - with great relish!).

But enough of Hallowe'en and silly jokes.  I went out for a walk the other day  - on an intermittently wet day.

It was sunny for these pictures but chucked it down again five minutes later. Refreshing though.

I like this footpath:

It looks leafy and mysterious though it actually just leads to a children's play area and more houses. The white dot in the middle is a cat who was trotting purposefully away, on some cattish mission no doubt. Secret one. Ssh. Don't tell a soul.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Fluffy stuff and nonsense

It's the night of my biannual pondering - how many of our clocks will change themselves automatically? As is traditional, I'll be wandering around tomorrow morning comparing various clocks, watches and electronic devices and getting thoroughly confused as to what the time actually is.

So farewell British Summer Time, hello GMT - it was a good summer but it's long gone now. It's been very dark in the mornings this past week and it's been tricky convincing Miss Mouse, who's not a morning person, that yes, really it IS time to get up for school. Yes, I know it's dark. No, it isn't still night-time...  The week before was the October break and we were quite lazy, given the opportunity, so the gloominess of this past week has been a shock to the system. I'm not a morning person either and I like my bed.

Here, have a splash of colourful fluffy stuff:

It's a very fuzzy picture, unfortunately, from the Glasgow School of Yarn event - this was one of the stalls in the marketplace and was gorgeously colourful. I should have taken loads of pictures but I was having too much fun catching up with people - including my friend schoolfriend H. We hadn't seen each other for, we think, about 17 years, but it was as if no time had passed. She has also ended up living near Glasgow, though the other side of the river, and we've meant to try to get together but never quite managed it. I'm glad we did this time! I also caught up with a few other people I've not seen for a while, so even before all the knitting fun, retail therapy opportunities, cake and stew I had a wonderful day out.

That's my loot. I'd like to say I was restrained, but I wasn't. I was making up for last year! I really went for warm golden colours this year. I do try to break out of my usual colour tastes now and then and these golds were just calling to me.  I went to Liz Lovick's Shetland Lace workshop and although I wouldn't necessarily say I learned anything I didn't know, I came out with more confidence with lace knitting, a clearer idea of how the stitches work together and I'm happier with lace charts too, which I've always found faintly headache-inducing until now, so it was worth it! When I came out of the workshop I headed back into the marketplace which was winding down a bit by then and bought some laceweight, the orange in the middle of the picture, from Natalie Fergie (The Yarn Yard).  I haven't dared try laceweight before because I feel so clumsy and giant-fingered using fine yarn and comparatively big needles, but I think I'm okay with the idea now.  I've got things to finish first though.

Also in the October break was Miss M's 7th birthday. I'm quite taken aback at being the mother of a 7-year-old - it shouldn't be that surprising given that I'm also the mother of a ten-year-old but it's the baby who's seven now. I always think seven is the age at which they stop seeming little. Six is still little, barely more than a toddler in many ways, but seven sounds, well, quite grown-up all of a sudden.

The cake was a bit of a mess, as you can see. She'd already had supermarket cakes for her birthday party and on her actual birthday which was while we were up north visiting my parents, but I always do a homemade cake too. The icing kind of slid off this one, as you can see, but it tasted nice. I prefer butter icing on a chocolate cake but the kids like water icing so that's what they get. I messed up the consistency for the batch that went on the sides of the cake and it was too thin.  It would never do on the Great British Bake Off but thankfully my kids are less picky than Paul and Mary when it comes to decoration. I'd love to see a Bake Off contestant decorating with chocolate buttons one day! I wonder if they've ever done a child's birthday cake on it? I didn't see the first two series. Could be a good challenge! I can just imagine Paul saying 'I wasn't sure about the decoration but the smarties and chocolate buttons really work here. But the cake is just too sweet.'  Little does he know that a kid's birthday cake can never be too sweet...

I bought some flowers the other day to brighten things up in the kitchen. More gold. I think the season has been affecting me!

This tree has been looking glorious - heart-liftingly bright and cheerful even on the dreich days.  The other day was quite breezy and the autumn leaves were just raining down, well, like rain. It's amazing how many leaves there are on a tree. At the rate they were falling off it felt as if the tree should be completely bare in 5 minutes. I'm glad that autumn still surprises me.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Thinking sheep

I'm off into Glasgow tomorrow for the third Glasgow School of Yarn, a woolly event organised by my favourite wool shop The Yarn Cake. I'm excited. If I can stop sneezing I will be very excited.  I don't wish to sneeze all over the goodies in the marketplace, or through the Shetland Lace workshop I'll be attending. I know, Shetland Lace, coals to Newcastle, eh? But I've only recently started doing lace, I'm really more of a Fair Isle person, so it'll be interesting.

Illustrating this post is a photograph of a photograph, which can more or less be subtitled 'What happens when somebody gets bored of painting the house'. This was many years ago, and Dad was the culprit. On three sides of our house were fields of sheep so this fitted in quite well really. (No, it wasn't permanent. Alas. I could have lived with it like that!)

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

and there was rejoicing

I found my missing skein of Yarn Yard Marchmont!

I found it while I was looking for something else (pesky needle gauge - so useful but vanishes all the time) and in a bag that I swear I had already looked in six or seven times. But who cares how it managed to hide itself from me for all this time, I've found it now and can go on with my Kirkja shawl!  Once I've finished the various things I've been working on in the meantime that is..

My Hitchhiker scarf for one - 36 points out of 42 completed now, yay! I noticed some people on Ravelry called this a quick easy knit, but, easy though it is, I haven't found it at all quick. I think the problem is that I so rarely use garter stitch that I'm not very skilled at resolving any minor mistakes - picking up a dropped stitch that had run for example. I had to figure that out with the help of Youtube and it took forever. It seems it was just a problem I'd never encountered before - or not since learning to knit at school, when all disasters were quickly resolved by our knitting teacher - and I struggled to get my head round it.  Still, I know now.

Today I was trying to do a provisional cast-on for the first time, again with the aid of videos. I've always managed to avoid provisional cast-ons so far but the pattern I was trying out called for it and I told myself I ought to learn for the sake of it. Urgh. Well, that was a frustrating hour or two. It's not so much the cast-on itself as getting the first actual row (or round, in this case) going properly when the stitches are on 'waste yarn' that suddenly resembles a snakeskin made of shredded rubber. Again, at least I've learned from it. Though mostly what I've learned is that I haven't much patience and will no doubt continue to avoid provisional cast-ons as much as possible (hey, half the time they aren't really necessary). Self-knowledge, I haz it.