Sunday, September 21, 2008

Forest walk

Today we wanted to make the most of the beautiful autumn weather, so we took a walk in Salcey Forest.
The sun was just starting to rise through the trees.

We found some mushrooms too.

This the the treetop walk ...

... which takes you right above the tree canope.

New sleeping socks - rainbow version

Do you remember my sleeping socks - made from a 1970's vintage pattern?
Well here is the latest version.
Knitted in navy in pure wool, with cheerful stripes in all the colours of the rainbow.

You can find them in my etsy shop here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Etsy update

Here is my latest etsy relisting.

This waistcoat is handknitted from handspun pure wool and alpaca in their natural colours - wool-white and black.
It is wonderfully soft and warm!
Closed with three wooden toggle buttons.
Edges with noughts-and-crosses pattern.

Being made of pure wool the waistcoat requires special love and care.
Please only hand-wash and dry flat. Do not tumble-dry.

Fits chest 26"/66 cm. Approx. 3-4 years.


Oh dear. It's a long time since I have written in my blog.

Kiva is a website I came across recently.
It presents a wonderful opportunity to lend money to entrepeneurs in developing countries, enabling them to setting up their enterprises and making a living.

Here is more information from the website:

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

Interested? Then just follow this link!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Save the Children baby hat appeal

Save the Children have launched a new appeal for people to knit baby hats for children in developing countries.

Knitting a hat for a newborn baby can help save its life. Telling politicians to do their bit could save the lives of millions of newborns each year.

A newborn baby can't regulate its own body temperature. It loses lots of vital body heat through its head which make it more prone to pneumonia - a disease which still kills around 2 million children each year.

We want 10 million people to take action by 2010 for the 10 million children. Be one of them. Make sure the very poorest children aren't left to die.

You can download the knit kit and a sample pattern here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A visitor

Today a resident frog moved into our pond.
We don't know where he came from, but this morning he was just there!

I hope he'll stay for a while ...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pond update

At the weekend we treated ourselves to a few pond plants, which have reformed our little pond.
There is now also a little water feature, which helps to airate the water.

As you can see the water - which had turned very green for a while - is starting to clear quite nicely.

Our two pond snails are helping in that process. Here is one of them in action
It is a Great Pond Snail (Lymnea Stagnalis), and it looks strangely like Yoda from Star Wars. Teehee!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jam making

Working only part-time may mean that we are not very rich in financial terms - but we are rich in time!

Today was my day off, and I made some rhubarb (or should that be roobarb) jam.
I life rhubarb jam, because it keeps its tart flavour very well.

Here is the preparation:

And here the finished result. Yum!
Jam sandwich, anybody?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Today we made ...

... a pond!
So, it is only a very little pond, but we are hoping it will attract some wildlife into our garden.
Somewhere for the birds to drink.
And perhaps even a resident frog.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Slowing down

Over the last week or two I have had trouble with my wrist, leading to weakness and shooting pain in my thumb.
As a result I haven't been able to spend much time at the computer or do any knitting or crocheting.

At the same time my right knee has been playing up, so I will have to give running a rest for a bit too.

It seems like I cannot do the things I most enjoy.
It's as if somebody is telling me to slow down and look around me! So I am trying to be a bit philosophical about it, and make the most of my enforced slowing down period.

Still, it does feel strange ...
Any ideas how I could be spending my time?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The bluetits have flown ...

Following the departure of the bluetit babies I opened the nestbox.
It was packed with wonderful nesting material ... moss, grass, fleece and feathers.

I removed the contents to prevent parasites settling in.
Now I will leave it to dry out for a while ... with all the recent rain it was quite damp inside!

You get a better look at the nesting material here. Looks nice and snug, doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I just finished another three blankets for Cuddles.
"We are a volunteer, non-profit organisation based in the UK. We attempt to support the families dealing with the loss of their baby through miscarriage or stillbirth. We supply gowns, blankets and wraps to maternity units all over the UK."
I always enjoy knitting those delicate little items in 3-ply or 4-ply, and only ever knit them when I have peace of mind and nothing else going on.
I particularly like to knit blankets, because I know that parents often take them home as keep-sakes ... and that there are one of the few things to remind them of the little time they had with their son or daughter.

Here are some comments which were made by parents who lost their baby. I am sure they speak for themselves:

"We would like to thank you for your donation of a
beautiful blanket which we were able to use to wrap
our baby who was stillborn. Our little Hero passed
away last 26th April 2007. He looked peaceful and warm
wrapped in your knitted blanket."
"The midwives were fantastic and supportive. This is an extremelyhard and sad time. Knowing that there are people like you that care, makes it that little bit bearable."
"We kept the clothes that S... was dressed in. We will keep themsafe and cherish them."
"Thank you so much."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blue tits and the dreaded gooseberry sawfly ...

The dreaded gooseberry sawfly, which took a liking to our gooseberry and white current bushes last year, has come back for more ...
Raising two ot three generations during the summer, they can defoliate the entire plant, leaving only the leaf veins and stalks. Although they look like small caterpillars, they develop into a non-stinging wasp-like fly.
So I have started checking daily and picking the green larvae off by hand.

Luckily our resident blue tits are now raising their chicks, and they have discovered this perfect food source so close to their home. So I have a couple of eager helpers!

Here are some pictures of the blue tit parents flying in and out of the nest box. They are taken from my son's bedroom widow. Not the best quality, but you get the idea ...
(I especially like the blurry shape of the bird flying off!)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Christian Aid week 11th - 17th May 2008

This week is Christian Aid week.
If you get an envelope through the door, why not give generously?
Or donate through the official website?

Here is some information about the aims and activities of the organisation, taken from their website:
"We work in more than 50 countries, for example Afghanistan, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Colombia, Nigeria, Kenya and Brazil. We are frequently not alone: Christian Aid often works with sister agencies, such as Action by Churches Together International, in disaster relief activities.

With our partners and allies, we uphold a commitment to honesty, professionalism, mutual respect, accountability and diversity. We are committed to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Code of Conduct, meaning we never link aid with evangelism.

Our staff share the diversity of nationality, faith and ethnicity yet are all committed to the essential purpose of Christian Aid and its role as a Christian relief, development and advocacy agency.

Christian Aid is a voice for the poor, not afraid of getting political. We believe that God does not want poverty, injustice, discrimination and unsustainable development in the world. So we campaign for change, challenging structures and systems that make and keep people poor. The values of justice, peace and love must challenge the world’s values and our own, prompting us to re-examine how our lifestyles and decisions affect others. That is our charitable purpose and part of our Christian vocation. It does not mean getting involved in party politics but it does mean confronting with the truth people who have the power to change things. Christian Aid does not try to hide its anger when poor people are exploited."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Running update

Here is my latest running update:
This morning I went for another run. Luckily I made it back home before the sun decided to break through the hazy cloud cover.

I am now up to 60 minutes of solid running - covering approx. 9 km in the process.
Some improvement on the 6 km I managed when I started back in February ...

This morning my route took me past the Grand Union Canal and along an old disused canal arm, which once went to Buckingham.

Here are the locks at Cosgrove:

Friday, May 2, 2008

Garden update

Now May is here and the weather forecast for the week is pretty good, the beans have moved out into the garden.
They are looking fine after their first night out.

The alpine strawberries caught my eye, so I took a picture of them too.
Spot the little ant!

Sock mania

Here are my latest socks, UK size 5-7 (approximately 2-3 years).
I love the bright sunny colours, so I call them the 'Walking on Sunshine socks'.

They are knitted with a peasant heel (also called 'afterthought heel') - a pattern which I have been using for a few years now.
I wrote my own pattern which gives 8 different sizes, ranging from newborn to adult size. It is very versatile and can, with a little practice, be adapted to fit any foot size.

The pattern can be purchased in pdf format from my etsy shop. Full instructions and two pages of pictures included.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Baby booties

Yesterday I finished a new pair of baby booties.

I love these, because of the rim running around the base of the bootie - making it look like a 'proper sole'.

These booties are make from 100% new wool, and they are beautifully soft and warm.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Things happening in the garden ...

Hedgewitch has inspired me to post my own seedling pictures.

The last year was such a poor growing season, that we have been a little late with sowing our seeds.
But, finally, here they are!
From left to right: cucumbers, runner beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes:

And these dinky things are going to be our salad greens:

And while I was out in the garden, this array of colour by the old wooden stumps caught my eye:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cotton basket

This cotton basket took me ages to make ... after all, I am a nutty knitter and not a nutty crocheter!

I really like it though, and it is very versatile.
Made from from natural cotton string, it is strong and yet flexible.

Can be viewed in my etsy shop

Saturday, April 12, 2008


My daughter wanted to crochet Totoro for her friend Poppie's birthday. Typically for her, she thought about it two days before the party - so we had a frantic couple of days!
Here are some pictures we took:

In our excitement and rush we forgot to take a picture of the finished item.
Here are a couple I found on the web:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Blue tits nesting

We put up our nest box years ago, but it was only last year that a pair of blue tits chose it to raise their babies.
This year they are back (or, at least a pair looking just like them!)

To help with the nest building process, we have hung a piece of unspun wool outside. It didn't take them long to find it, and we can watch them pull at it with great enthusiam, taking small amounts into the nest box.

If I manage to take a picture of the blue tits in action, I will post it here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Just when I thought spring was on its way!
This morning we woke up to the most snow we have had all winter.

Here are some pictures my daughter took first thing this morning, in her skimpy pyjamas:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Spring is here ...

We haven't started growing anything in the garden yet, but my needles have been busy ...
This scarf reminds me of spring with it's gentle colour and the vibrant flowers.

May our garden look like this soon!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

More illusion knitting ...

Here is a little shoulder bag, lined with cotton, which is for sale in my etsy shop.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Illusion knitting

Illusion knitting is something my husband brought to my attention recently, after he had stumbled across it on the internet.

It is knitted in stripes of two colours.
When looking down on it, it appears just like a stripey fabric, but when looking from an angle it reveals its secret:
A hidden image, created by ridges in stocking stitch!

So it was time to try it for myself! Here is the stripey cloth:

And here is the hidden image:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Feeling old-fashioned ...

Rummaging through the local charity shops is one of my favourite things to do when I have spare time.
I found several great knitting patterns from the 50's, 60's and 70's.

Here are some 'sleeping socks' I made.
Rather than making a heel, the shape of the sock is created by using shorter rows in the front - thereby keeping the top of the sock shorter than the rest.

The socks are actually very comfy to wear.
They can be found in my etsy shop.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Etsy for Charity

Here are some items from the Etsy for Charity shop. Please come and visit:

The charity chosen for this month is SightSavers.