Wednesday, 15 November 2017

17 ufos in 2017 - October update

Hello there!
Due to internet problems experienced by Meredithe, our organiser, this month's 17 ufos in 2017 update is running late, but better late than never! In October I worked on three of my ufo projects off the Revised List. Firstly I finished number 4, the Yo-Yo Pumpkin. We named him Jack and here he is hanging out with some pumpkin friends...


The little yellow gourd is one of two that we managed to grow here this year (I really think this will be my last attempt at growing gourds and pumpkins while we live here as they really struggle with our climate, I can keep them warm but I can't make the sun shine for them!!). The white (ghost) pumpkin is named Casper and he was bought last year a couple weeks before Halloween. We were not long back from the States and I used a sticker from Joann's to decorate him, wondering whether I would manage to peel it off to reuse when the pumpkin died. Well he has sat either on this little table in front of the window or on the floor all year. Every few days I turn him upside down to check he's not going squishy underneath and I was really surprised when he was still firm at Christmas! Then he made Easter... he was still going strong when June arrived (which led to a perplexed 5 year old asking "Gran why do you have a pumpkin in the front room?" LOL!!!) and now he has made it to his second Halloween!! I have no clue why this ordinary pumpkin is still on the go! I don't imagine he would still be good to eat but, having shared a year with him, that would seem a bit like eating one of the family now ;-) 
The second ufo I worked on this month was the stocking for the aforementioned grandson. Here is where I had gotten up to by months' end...


I am very hopeful I will see a finish on this this month!! I'm not even dreading what I think will be about a week's worth of back stitch because I am so excited to get this done! Of course next year I will need to get moving on a stocking for his little brother... 
Said little brother has a birthday in November and number 6 on the list is an amigurumi that I started for his birthday last year...


I decided I really should pull this out and decide whether or not I was still going to finish this as I had been having some issues with the pattern and was not that happy with it (which is why it got banished to the cupboard last year). This is where I had gotten up to...



While I am still not totally happy with it I decided I would persevere. I finished his body, reworked part of the leg pattern as there is a mistake in the book, and made his arms. Now he just needs ears, a tail, nose, two cheeks, and all sewn together so that has been my priority for the start of this month. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that there are no more mistakes in the pattern!! 
If I can get the lion and the stocking finished this month then that will leave me with 5 ufos (although that includes number 9 on the list which has seen substantial progress this year). At this point I am planning on carrying number 9 (The Wave cross stitch) and number 2 (the dratted Popcorn cross stitch ;-)) over to next year and am hoping to still finish the other three ufos by December 31. That is if I can stay focused and away from temptation!!!!
Thank you for visiting with me today, do pop over to The Linky to see what everyone else has been working on through October! 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Woodland walk

Hello there!
Would you like to come on an autumn walk with me? As some of you know Hubbie and I started a new regime last year where we go for either a walk or a cycle every day, we are blessed to have many beautiful places to explore in the area around us and over this winter I thought I would share some of them with you. Today we're going to Evanton Community Woodlands, a 150 acre woodland about 6 miles up the road from our house. Sometimes we cycle up here as there are mountain bike trails around the woods and it makes about a 16 mile round trip (depending on how long we play in the woods for!). But today we're on foot which makes taking pictures much easier! We park the car in the village and walk up the hill to the chapel. Right turn onto a narrow footpath into the trees then scramble up the smaller path to the left and we're on the ridge...


One of the residents whose garden borders the woods has a bonfire going today and the smoke drifting up through the trees smells of wood and wet leaves and adds to the magical atmosphere. There are lots of different trails to pick from up here, and although we have our favorite walking route we decide to take a side path and explore today. It leads us to a different ridge with a different mix of trees to our first ridge, here we are submerged in Autumn!
 

Across the forest floor down to our right a deer suddenly springs through the clearing. He was much too fast to leave anything but a blur on the camera! The one downside to going off down unknown trails in these woods is that sometimes a path that looks well used and clear suddenly comes to an abrupt end. Today's path stops above the horizontal tree root which means a bit of scrambling to get down!


At the bottom is a path we know, we cross it and take the smaller path across the stepping stones...


This is one of my favorite parts of this woods at this time of year...


At this point the climbing path with the rooty bank on our left always reminds me of the hobbits' first encounter with the Black Rider in The Fellowship of the Ring...


Can you imagine him sitting on his black horse at the top of the bank there? Thankfully we are untroubled by Nazgul today! As well as remembering to look behind us we must look up too...


Just look at those colors!! They truly make my heart sing 💛💚💛


Turning right at the top of the hill we soon pass the path leading down to Black Rock Gorge, as the link says back in 2004 they spent 10 days filming here for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Most of that must've ended up on the cutting room floor because even though I know where in the film it's supposed to be I find it really hard to recognise any of it! We're not going down to the Gorge today (maybe another day if you want?) and soon we take a path on our right that leads down to the dipping pond...


It's very peaceful here today, but there are picnic tables and an info board all about what you can expect to find in the water and I think it's rather busier and noisier here on Saturdays in the summer holidays! The path winds around to the left and we crunch through a thick carpet of leaves...


Once again we are in a part of the woods where there are more pines than decidious trees, this isn't so noticeable in spring or summer but now the splashes of color that the beech and oak bring really stand out...


The breaks in the clouds are growing and the sunlight suddenly streams through the trees ahead...


We reach the broad path that runs parallel to the ridge and we look up...


We walked along up there at the start of our walk but now the smoke has gone and the trees are silhouetted by the late afternoon sun. We turn left down the broad track that leads to the woodland classroom and the childrens' play area...


Well who else would you expect to see in a Highland play park?! 
The woodland gives way to fields on our left and we spot two more deer grabbing some late tea...


They don't stay long before they bound away back to the trees...


Tea sounds like a good idea! We take the tree-lined track back down to the village and the car...


I hope you enjoyed your walk! See you soon!





Monday, 23 October 2017

October stitches

Hello there!
Today I thought I would share with you some of the projects I have been working on since we returned from our trip. Firstly, I spent some happy hours in the sewing room enjoying the seasonal color in my Autumn wallhanging while I sewed. On this project I decided to try out a different fusible than the one I usually use for my applique. I had heard good things about Steam-A-Seam 2 so picked up a packet last year when we were in the States. To see how it compared I used my regular fusible (Heat N Bond Lite) on some of the shapes and the Steam-A Seam 2 on the rest of them. Result? I think I might be a convert! I definitely liked the repositionable aspect of the Steam-A-Seam and, when finally fused, it held better than the other shapes when I left the project sitting for a few weeks. I blanket stitched around some of the applique shapes and I have left some of the Steam-A-Seam ones alone so I can see how well it holds over time. I wouldn't do this on an item that would be going through the laundry but, as I don't have small people throwing food at the walls anymore, this should be fairly safe ;-)


I echo quilted the main panel around the shapes and stitched diagonally across the patchwork blocks. In the green right hand border I used my flexible curve ruler to draw and then stitch a stem for my sunflowers...


Although they had little self adhesive dots on the back I secured the felt sunflowers in place with fabric glue for a more permanent hold (they were another acquisition from Hobby Lobby last year). I used more of the black solid to bind it and added a sleeve to the back so I could hang it on the kitchen wall...


Although I am trying to be good & focus on projects with a deadline (Little C has a birthday coming up & then there's Christmas) two of the knitting patterns I picked up at Yarndale wouldn't sit quietly in the stash & called to me until I gave in & started them both! Last year I knitted up a lovely orangey pinky ball of yarn into a pair of Fruit Salad socks (named after the sweeties ;-)). Pretty much as soon as I started wearing them I had requests for Hubbie to get his own pair but I had had the yarn for a little while and it was now discontinued. Then at Yarndale I spied some Tequila Sunrise sock yarn by West Yorkshire Spinners -perfect! Also on my shopping list for Yarndale was the Simple Rib Sock pattern by Winwick Mum (in fact it was my first purchase of the day!) and I thought this pattern would make perfect Fruit Salad socks for Hubbie. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to try out my new tiny circular needle - it's just 25cm long and a little like knitting with toothpicks! I got used to it pretty soon though and it didn't take long to go from this...


...to this!!


One pair of Simple Rib Fruit Salad socks! I am definitely going to be knitting this pattern again, it was very well written and seemed to whizz along (even for size 12 feet!), I might try it with the contrast heel and toe next time round?
The other pattern that was begging to be started was the Vinter Votter mitten pattern by Anniken Allis. Spurred on by the success of these fingerless mittens last year I had already bought another ball of Baby Crofter 4 ply and a solid shade to coordinate for a pair of mittens for myself. I knitted up a swatch and decided this was the pattern it had been waiting for. I started happily knitting away, trying the mitten on every now and then until I got to the thumb placement round. I had made a slight gauge change to accomodate my skinny wrists but everything was fitting fine so far. I was having so much fun watching the pattern emerge and the colors change but as I approached the shaping at the top I started having this sinking feeling - it was coming up too short from the thumb to the top of the fingers! Hoping I was wrong I kept knitting to the top and then opened up the thumb hole (it's an afterthought thumb) so I could try it on. Nope. Way too short. Apparently my gut knew what my brain had been trying to deny for the past hour. I measured and counted rows, worked and reworked my math and I still don't understand what happened! Yes, my gauge was different from the pattern but I was getting less rows per inch not more so, if anything, it should have made the mitten longer? Well however it worked the end result was that I needed more rows from the thumb hole to the top and this pattern has a bigger size with a different chart so I took a quick photo of my doomed mitten before I pulled it all out...


Now the bigger size was both wider and longer and I really only wanted to add length as the widthwise fit was perfect so I photocopied the chart and cut out some columns and stuck the bits of paper back together. It would add four more stitches to the width but I could live with that. Based on my math from the first mitten I still needed to add a few rows to get the length I wanted so I added some plain rows after the ribbing and moved the thumb placement row down. Also the colors were reversed on this chart with the snowflakes being worked in the background color whereas I wanted mine in the paler color so I wrote that on the chart too. I started over taking notes as I went. This time it fitted fine down the length of my hand so I picked up the thumb stitches and stared getting hopeful of a finished mitten. But it wasn't to be. After 15 rows of the thumb I tried it on and it really was too tight around my thumb to be comfy. I know I won't wear them like this and the only way I know to fix this is to rip it all out back to the thumb placement round and knit more stitches off onto the waste yarn at this point - arrrrgggghhhh! I am trying to be positive about this and think "well I like knitting and this is just more knitting" right? But that's not what I'm feeling about it right now so the mittens have gone into a timeout.
In the meantime another pair of socks has jumped onto my needles! Do you remember that bright orange skein of yarn I bought at Yarndale? Well it was just what I had been looking for for this sock pattern by Maggie Van der Stok. October is my favorite month of the year, where some folks might wish it could be Christmas all year round I would happily settle for twelve months of October :-) I especially love the rich colors of the trees, the crispness in the air, and if we get a blue sky and sunshine to make those colors really glow I am in seventh heaven. Also I have been known to be a tad obsessed with pumpkins and the color orange ;-) So the other night I started winding that orange skein into a center pull ball. Would you like to see my high tech winding gear?


Haha! Yup clothes hangers, pegs, and a cardboard box! I followed the tutorial here with the omission of the lazy susan (I do have one but found it was just as easy to put the box on the gripper mat on the floor and it takes up less space to store my winding gear without it). A little while later I had a yarn pumpkin! 


Yes, I am easily amused... 
I have not attempted toe up socks yet so I'm working these from the cuff down instead (which basically means just reading the charts from the top down) and I'm having great fun watching all the little pumpkins appear. See, easily amused lol ;-) 


Well I am going to go back to my little pumpkins, I hope you have a lovely week however you are spending it!











Saturday, 21 October 2017

Early Autumn at Bolton Abbey

Hello there!
This afternoon Hubbie & I enjoyed a beautiful walk in autumnal woodland locally and it reminded me that I hadn't shared these photos with you from another lovely walk we took a few weeks back! On one of our days down in Yorkshire we decided to go explore Bolton Abbey. This 33,000 acre estate is mentioned in the Domesday Book and it has changed hands several times down through the centuries; since 1755 it has been the domain of the Devonshire family and is still the Yorkshire seat of the 12th Duke of Devonshire. We parked in the village car park and walked through to explore the Priory first. Founded in 1154 part of the buildings have been ruins since the 1500's...


...but one part is still a fully functional church...



These beautiful stained glass windows were in the north facing wall...


...and this beautiful mural was above the altar...


High in the roof of the lobby I spotted a white Yorkshire Rose in the center of the ceiling...


This beautiful stone cross was one of the memorials outside...


We walked down to the riverbank and crossed by the bridge - it had rained heavily the night before and there was far too much water to use the stepping stones today! Can you see where some of them are disturbing the flow of the river?


We picked the path which climbed up into the woods and were soon rewarded with this magnificent view looking back across to the Priory...


It was warm but signs of early autumn were all around us and the path continued to climb through the woodland...


In the dappled sunshine this mossy wall seemed to glow...


There were quite a few benches along the way but, due to the rain, they were pretty wet, so when we spotted this little stone shelter we decided this was our picnic spot ...


It turned out to have a spectacular view through the trees to the river below!


After our lunch we walked on until we could see through the last few trees on our right to open fields and the moors beyond...


A little further ahead of us the woodland thinned and we saw the river again...


The path descended to the grassy banks and we crossed the river at this rather grand turreted bridge. It is an aqueduct and apparently the pipe carrying water from reservoirs at Nidderdale to the towns and cities of west Yorkshire is hidden in the stone work...


On the other side the path followed the river downstream, back into woodland, and soon bringing us to The Strid. At this point the fast flowing 30ft wide river narrows dramatically and in places it really does look like you could jump across, but, as lots of warning signs tell you, people have lost their lives here. The banks are extremely undercut by the water and underneath them lie caverns and tunnels, no one is certain of the extent of these or the depth of the water at this point and no one who has fallen in here has been recovered. It really looks quite innocent on the surface doesn't it?


Below this the river widened again and the path continued down through Strid Wood, an ancient woodland and SSSI. We emerged from the trees at the Cavendish Pavilion which was bustling with people enjoying refreshments in the late afternoon sunshine. On this side of the river the bank was open and grassy and we had sweeping views downstream....


Finally the path started to climb above a large lazy bend in the river...


...and we enjoyed our last views of the Priory before reaching the road leading back to the village and the car park...


It really was a beautiful day and I hope you enjoyed coming along with me!












Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Crafting on the go

Hello there!
So today I thought I would share with you the projects that I took with me on our recent trip. Usually long car journeys mean crochet for me but my current blanket is too big to sit on my lap in the car now and I am determined to finish it before starting another one! Of course it still came with me to work on at other times while we were away, this is where I had gotten to with it before we left...


I managed to add about five stripes to it while we were away so now I'm working on the last stripe of each color (I'm working six color repeats for this blanket). While I'm working on it I'm thinking about possible borders for it, I have a few in mind but no outright winner so far...
Earlier in the year I bought some patterns from Tin Can Knits and I plan to knit matching Antler Cardigans for my two grandsons for Christmas. The sleeves and bodies are pretty much plain stocking stitch which makes for perfect travel knitting so I decided to make a start on the smaller one. Being as Little C is quite a small dude this came together pretty quickly and I was soon up to the yoke where the interesting stuff happens! I worked through part of it but decided to leave the decreases for when we were home and I could concentrate more. It really didn't take long once we got back, would you like to see the finished cardigan? 


Because this was still sitting on the needles I couldn't start the one for his brother while we were away so I had taken something else with me as back up. The North Shore  sweater (also by Tin Can Knits) has been on my Ravelry favorites for a long time and this summer I decided it was time to do something about it. With the yarn and pattern bought it was sitting all ready and waiting for me. It is basically the same bottom up seamless construction as the Antler and Bergen cardigans or the Autumn in a Ball jumper. Plain knitting all the way up to the yoke and then some fun, a pretty Fair Isle pattern in this case. I picked a similar main color and one of the contrast colors as in the original but three different colors for the other contrasts (I'm going for autumn trees). Although it will be a while till I'm up to the yoke! While we were away I knitted the two sleeves and made a start on the body... 


Now we are home I'm trying to concentrate on projects which have a deadline (ie Christmas) in an effort to take the pressure off November and December. Well that's the theory, I'll let you know how that works out in practice! So far I have succumbed to the temptation of starting two of the patterns I bought at Yarndale - and neither of them are Christmas related!! Well I hope you have a lovely week whatever you are working on, I plan to be back here soon with a few more photos from our travels.