Friday, October 13, 2006

Off Again and Knitting-To-Go-With

Karen from next door brought around a large bag of grapefruits from someone-down-the-road's girlfriend's tree. Karen returned home with a large bag of greens, quite a few loquat clusters and a bunch of parsley and I got some of the best tasting grapefuits ever.

I started by sizing them and then washed and used the smaller-sized collection on the right for juicing, zesting and rind cutting. That all went in the freezer for later marmalade cook-ups. The blood orange and red grapefruit marmalade with ginger sold really well at the market this week and the four fruits with cointreau was popular too.
I ate two of the large ones, cut up and sprinkled with dark brown sugar and I juiced and drank the last of them. Well actually, I still have one large one left but that is because I have two breakfasts to go before I leave to visit my Mum and family in England again.

Yes, I'm off again!

I have had quite a few comments about the frequency of my trips but although we are not well off I can afford to go, because I haven't got a car, I don't need to pay accommodation, I don't buy a lot of clothes and I'm a frugal shopper. I'm also lucky that Robert is happy to stay home and look after the cat and the garden and himself for three weeks, while I go and look after my Mum and sister Cathy, who has MS. I rent a car and we go places with her collapsible, motorised scooter in the boot. She has promised me that this time we shall go for lunch in Ireland!!!

OK, it's the name of a village not far from where she lives in Bedfordshire, and the beautiful old pub in the village does a top lunch menu. She also likes to do a shopping centre or two because her husband gets a bit sick of shops. Does she sound like she has a rare husband?
My other sister and brother and their families always manage to get to Cathy's for a big get together while I'm there and I shop, cook and put on a spread for 14 people.

Robert and I go to the airport on the shuttle-bus. It's so easy and stress free. Now we have had our pavements re-surfaced we should be able to drag the case a bit more quietly than with the old wonky pavers creating a terrible noise. It's only about 500m to the pick-up point at the roundabout. He makes sure I have got rid of my luggage at the check-in and then we have a drink and he tootles home on the shuttle bus again.

Of course, I have a problem with what to do on the flight. This time I daren't even take the knitting nancy that makes mindless metres of I-cord. It needs a POINTY thing to lift the wraps over. So, I treated myself to a couple of magazines on antiques and collectables to browse through and I have a crossword book to finish off from last time. My new knitting magazine arrived from England this week but I read it without thinking!!!!!

But..... what to pack in the case!
I find yarn is much more expensive in the UK so, although I might treat myself when I'm there, it will only be a ball or two, so I take projects with me. When I am sans-computer I knit a lot more. So I shall take...

1) The domino teacosy to finish and tart up a bit. I shall use the green to finish off the top and the lining with some stripes of the other colours. Shall I add mini pompoms to the lifting edge? And do you think the green is a bit dull or shoud I use a brighter or weirder colour finish?

2) I shall also take the black wrap, knitted with an old angora wool mix called Fuzzy Wuzzy. It is 4ply but it still doesn't look as lacey as the pattern, which uses Rowan Silk Haze. It's a two row pattern from the "Exquisite Little Knits" book and I'm doing it on 5.5mm anodised needles, because the old yarn has gone a bit slubby and breaks more easily than I would like, so I need nice slippery needles.

3) And of course there has to be a pair of socks on board. I've got the plain pattern with me but so many people have mentioned the Jaywalkers that I thought I'd take the pattern and have a go at them with the Miami yarn from Bendigo. I have all the necessaries in the transparent plastic zip-up pencil case and all of the above will be packed into the case awaiting my itchy fingers to unpack them at the other end.

I have not made any progress with the green cardi because the domino knitting has been such fun and also, I wanted to establish the black wrap on a needle size which would suit the pattern and I have got to my third, large swatch and am, at last happy with the 5.5mm and so will pack those needles and the wool.
The cardi will get in the case if there is room, but I'm itching to do a piece of ready patterned cross stitch and they do such beauties in England that I might just get one of those if I finish my other three knitting projects. Yes in fact that's a good idea. I shall leave the cardi at home.

Washing and last bits of ironing are being done now and packing will be done tomorrow. Lots of garden watering too.

Keep well all of you and I'll be back on line soon after the 6th November and anxious to read about how you have all been doing. This blogging gets to feel like part of the family routine after a while and I'm loving it.
Cheers Gillian

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Change is as Good as a Rest

I swatched the lacy pattern for the cardi in the picture two posts ago, with some Bendigo cotton 8ply. The swatch bore no resemblence to the size indicated on the pattern. This may have been because the pattern required mercerised cotton or it may have been cos my bamboo needles seem to have swollen with age and use.
Anyway I thought "let's not bugger around anymore". I searched my patterns and came up with this one. OK, so maybe I still want to be blond and slim but I have always liked a jacket-style cardi, with a collar. Also it designated a non-mercerised yarn and my swatch was within my accepted guidelines of a stitch each way.

So here it is in progress. i have done the back and the left front and picked up the band from the bottom and knitted up and around the collar to the halfway point at the back. It's going quite well but it's one of those patterns that expects you to undertake three steps at once every2nd, 3rd and 4th row to get the tailored shaping at the collar rever.

I drew up a chart and scratched it off as I went and so I will have to do the same for the other side too. At least the sleeves should be a cinch.

To keep myself sane, I have started the teacosy in the recent interweave news letter here .
I'm using some 5ply Bluebell and Heirloom crepe. I have done two diamonds and am enjoying the challenge of it. I hope it turns out as cute as the one in the pattern.
Cheers to all