'Knitting Fog..!' Early morning mist in fields surrounding our village

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Santa Special (Poem)

The Santa Special

Over snow capped mountains and deep valley's below,
circling cities and villages where lights twinkle and glow
Donner and Blitzen lead Santa's reindeer team,
pulling his sleigh as sleeping children dream.
They travel so fast across a star studded sky
they'll be at your house in the twinkling of an eye.
Dancer and Prancer will dance on your roof,
the sound of their hooves on the tiles is your proof.
Comet and Cupid are so gentle and kind
they take care of Santa and make sure he's not left behind.
Because Dasher and Vixen are an impatient pair,
they would leave Santa in his old rocking chair,
or halfway up your chimney after delivering the toys;
these two mischievous reindeer can be such naughty boys.
Santa brings presents for all, young and old,
On Christmas night, gifts from the heart more precious than gold.
If you would like to leave Santa a gift,
Milk and a chocolate chip cookie give his spirit a lift.
The reindeer like carrots, except for our Prancer,
he prefers turnips, and he shares them with Dancer.
So on Christmas Eve when you go to bed
shut your eyes tight and rest your sleepy head,
Then in the morning rise with the sun,
It's time to play with new toys and have lots of fun.

Jackie S Brooks (c)
December 2007

Monday, 21 December 2009

Santa Special

The night before our third Sunday on the Santa Special we were worried we might not be able to get out of the village, we should have attended the annual Christmas Dance on Saturday night but there was a second fall of snow late afternoon, unknown to us until we stepped outside the house all dressed up in our costumes. We had at least a foot of snow, it had banked up against the car wheels and we couldn't get out.

Sunday morning Jim heard what he thought was a snow plough go through the village, it was actually one of our local farmers who was using his tractor with an attachment to push some of the snow off the road. It was still thick but after some digging and huffing and puffing Jim managed to get the car out of its parking space and off we went.

At the station I walked into the cafe where volunteers and members of staff were congregating over hot coffee and a big cheer went up, they had all heard we might not be able to get in.

The first train was set to leave at 9.45am but due to frozen points, frozen diesel and a cranky generator it was unable to move. So the passengers who had been able to get to the station boarded the train anyway and took their turns to visit with Santa in the Grotto. Quite a lot of people from further afield couldn't make it due to impassable roads.

The second train was able to leave the station, yet again with a smaller contingent of passengers than it should have had, by the time we reached Levisham we had been visited by all the children. Then we got stuck again as the engine had to cross to another line, make its way back down to the other end of the train, cross back onto our line and back up to link with the carriages. But the points were all frozen there too, it took a little while but finally we were on the move again on our return to Pickering. Santa and I spent the return trip walking through the six long carriages talking to the children and their parents. Lots more photo's were taken with a number of families, and then they started singing Christmas carols to us. Everyone seemed to be in a happy and jovial mood when they reached Pickering. We left the train and went back to the cafe to have our lunch, it was cut short when a family who had driven a long way and arrived too late for the train asked if they could see Santa, so it was back to the Grotto for a short time, they couldn't stay for the third train as they had to rush off to York to catch another train.

The third and fourth trains ran ok and we had a good time with the children and their parents, walking the carriages again after the third one and everyone had been to the grotto. After the fourth train arrived back in Pickering we all went into the Marquee for hot coffee and mince pies before going home.

During the day, between trains we were filmed by a BBC camera team, and Santa was on the BBC 6pm news, unfortunately for me they cut the clip short so I wasn't in it when it was shown.

When we arrived back home we couldn't get back into our parking space due to the piled up snow again, so this time Jim had to dig his way back in!

Tonight we have the local Council's children's party to attend, then we will be visiting with friends who are staying in a hotel in town, up from Hampshire in the south...at least I hope they have arrived!!!

Tomorrow we will be back on the train again, our last day.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Alice Starmore Sweater

Inishmaan SweaterLast night I started on this sweater, I've been wanting to knit one of Alice Starmore's famous patterns for a long time. I'd love to do it in 100% wool but for now have to be satisfied with an Acrylic Aran yarn with wool. I love the welt, the honeycomb pattern makes it more interesting, and it continues up into the main pattern of cables, twists and Celtic knots. The colour I chose is Loganberry, I have a length of Harris Tweed that I purchased from Katie Campbell on the Isle of Harris some years ago and have yet to make into a skirt, the colour of the yarn matches it perfectly. I'll post updates as I go along.

Socks, and more Socks!

Broadripple Socks
I have been lazy and neglectful of this blog for a while, but I have been busy knitting socks! The Broadripple Socks pictured here I made for myself are knitted in Schoeller + Stahl Sockina Cotton. The Broadripple sock designed by Rob Matyska is normally knitted from the top down but I reversed the process and knitted them from the toe up.
Lace and Cable Socks
This variegated green pair are knitted in Loopy Legends, from Loopy Ewe, my friend Maryjo in California sent me the yarn for these, they are one of Wendy D Johnson's toe up patterns. I prefer knitting toe-up socks as theyare much easier to fit to the foot and get the heel in the right place. I used Judy's magic cast on, slip stitch heels and the Russian bind-off.

Basic Gusset Heel Socks
This pair for Jim were knitted in Woolcraft Superwash wool, on the foot the variations in colour came out as small stripes but on the leg turned into diagonal tiger stripes. Other than that they have no pattern, just a basic stocking stitch. I used JMCO, sl st heel and Russian bind off again. The Russian bind off is really great, it isn't tight on the leg but stays up.

Cable & Double Moss Stitch Diamond Socks

This latest pair I knitted for Jim in Araucania Ranco Multi, the second pair in this colour. The first pair were mock cable but I decided to make up my own pattern using my Harmony book of knitting stitches. The detail shows up better on the close-up of the foot. I ran out of wool before reaching the length Jim wanted so bought another hank with the same batch number, but the shade is different. Since the yarn is hand-dyed in Peru I guess you can't be sure of a total match. Jim now has four pairs of hand knitted socks and he loves them, they fit perfectly and he says they are really warm and comfortable. I have two more batches of sock wool to use for him, and a skein of Claudia's handpainted sock yarn for myself, but I'm going to give the socks a rest for a while as I have just started a sweater for myself.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

More Mock Cable Socks

Jim liked his first pair of Mock Cable Socks so much I decided to knit a second pair with the Araucania Ranco Multy in shades of brown. The first pair were a wee bit too big, though that hasn't been a problem. They keep his feet toastie warm and Jim finds them very comfortable.

So with a couple of changes, i.e. a few less stitches and rows on the foot width and length, and a change of needle size for the leg, he now has a pair that fit perfectly.

I really like the toe-up patterns, and this time I used Judy's magic cast on which I think gives a much nicer smoother toe line.

I used the sl1, k1 heel and the Russan bind off to finish the leg.

The cable pattern can be confusing if you are not paying attention, or feeling tired. The first three cross to the right and the second three to the left. Several times I lost concentration and went right when I should have gone left, then had to get my crochet hook to work on the offending cable, easier than having to frog a couple of rounds!

I always use my Addi Circulars for socks now, I think they are the best circulars ever.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Betty's Carpet Slippers

Betty is a lovely lady and the mother of a friend of ours, and she has just celebrated her 90th birthday. Her birthday dinner cum party was held at The Golden Ball, better known as 'Snatchems' near Heysham, Lancashire.

I designed and knitted the slippers for her, they have a double sole with a foam inner. I don't normally knit in black if I can avoid it as it is hard on the eyes, but black was requested so I brightened them up a little with the pink I-cords.

As soon as I have written out the pattern, and worked out changes for different sizes (Betty's are size 4) I will publish the pattern on www.ravelry.com under the title 'Inner Sanctum Slippers.' I intend making at least three more pairs, for another friend, myself and my DH Jim.

The soles and top gusset are knitted on 3.00mm straight needles and 3.00mm circulars for the uppers. The I-cords were worked in DK on 2 - 2.50mm dpn's. I also used a 3.0mm crochet hook to join the bottom and upper sole together using 1/2 dble crochet.

The venue for the party is an old Tavern on the estuary at Heysham, now a pub/restaurant, it earned its nickname of 'Snatchems' during the days when men were press-ganged into service for the Navy, in a very sneaky way in this case. If a man drank his tankard of ale and found a coin in the bottom, he was presumed to have accepted the 'Kings Shilling' albeit unknowingly. Then the glass bottomed tankard came about, so a man could check the bottom of his tankard and refuse it if it contained a coin. (Since the pub is quite isolated, I hope those who refused a tankard stayed sober enough to avoid a knock on the head when leaving the premises!)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Spinning Wheel

My Norwegian style spinning wheel, It is a working model but spent several years as a shop window decoration, the shop is now closing down so it was put up for sale.

I have never done any spinning before but hope to learn PDQ! I have two Ryeland fleeces and two black Welsh Mountain fleeces to scour. They will also need combing or carding but as combs are so expensive I think I am either going to have to buy dog combs and brushes, or make my own combs using harness needles.

I've had a couple of practice runs on the spinning wheel, the resulting yarn is nowhere near perfect but not too bad either, although on the second practice it did run away with me a bit, and I could have used a longer pair of arms! The result was too much twist in the yarn.

I'll get there in the end, I just hope my cats don't get their whiskers in the way!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Sheep Shearing Day

Hector the Big Tup waiting his turn.

On Friday 10th July my friend Pat called me to let me know her little flock of Ryeland sheep were being sheared that morning, so Jim and I grabbed our camera's and took off for the farm. The Ryelands have very thick, soft fleece, it covers their eyes so the can't see where they are going most of the time, and it also goes all the way down their legs to their feet. Pat has two Tups, Jamie and Hector, plus four Ewes and a number of lambs born this year. The lambs are adorable, a couple had to be given extra milk by bottle and one earned itself the name Safeway, and I think another is called Morrison! I bought both Jamie and Hector's fleece, so now I need to learn how to clean and wash them etc., Followed by carding and spinning.
One of the lambs:
"Am I next?"

"Hey Maa, you do look funny!"

"I don't think we want to go there!"

Hector is almost shorn.
Hector leaving with Jamie following.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Mock Cable Socks

I started the Mock Cable socks, a toe-up pattern from Wendy D. Johnson's book, 'Socks from the Toe-up' on the 19th May. I was hoping to have them finished by the KAL deadline on the Ravelry group named after the book, but unfortunately that wasn't to be. I finished them today, the 31st May. I did a variation of the stitch pattern, so they are not strictly a cable, but more like a Celtic plait. As I was knitting them for my husband Jim, I knitted them extra long, he's not keen on short socks.
I started off with one 100gr skein of Araucania, but thought I might need another as I was knitting them extra long, as it turned out I only needed a tiny amount extra, so I have enough left to make a pair of socks for myself .

I used two 3.00mm circulars, but when I make him a second pair with another skein of Araucania that I have in Multi shades of cream and brown I think I will drop down a size.

With them being extra long, and working them both at the same time, they didn't seem to be growing very fast, anyway I am happy with them and glad that they are finished. They are the first pair I have made for Jim.

Thursday, 28 May 2009


Lilac is one of my favourite flowers, I have three bushes in my gardens, the one in my front garden is a rambling, spreading kind of bush that my husband keeps threatening to cut right back. He will take his life in his hands if he does!!

It has now spread it's branches to the pathway, the birds love to perch in it when waiting for a space on the bird table, or trying to avoid next doors cat! The close up on the right was taken last year, the photo on the left I took this morning, unfortunately the beautiful blossoms have been beaten up by the wind and rain we have had recently and are beginning to die off.

The dead tree behind it was a beautiful ornemental Cherry that up and died on us a couple of years ago, we should have removed it, but again it is a favourite perch for the numerous birds that flock to our feeders. So now I am training a Clematis around it's trunk, but sooner or later some of the tallest branches will have to be removed.

The lilac in our back garden is a deeper colour and the blossoms are not as big and showy as the one pictured. Down in our lower garden there is a third one, similar to the back garden bush. They all have a glorious scent, I'd like to put some in a vase but they never seem to last more than a few days, so I leave the blossoms on the tree/bush, that way we can enjoy them a little longer.

Friday, 22 May 2009

My New Tricycle!

A week ago I bought a Tricycle, (I always wanted one as a child, but never got one, so now I've made that wish come true, in my second childhood!!) and rode it home, a journey of just under 5 miles. I was tired and expected to ache next day, but I didn't. Wonder of wonders!

It takes a bit of getting used to on the narrow country roads, they mostly have a dodgy camber, which can pull the wheels where you don't wish to go, not to mention the steep hills around us. But I'm hoping to go out early mornings as often as possible, and try to get fit.
This morning I went for an early morning ride and Jim accompanied me on his bicycle, we only did a couple of miles this time, we had a longish steep hill to climb and I rode most of the way up before having to stop for a breather. On the way back home I coasted down that hill and the wind on my face felt good, a big white Barn Owl flew over the top of my head. I didn't see him but Jim, who was behind me, did.

I was ready for breakfast when we got back home. Glad we went out early as it started to rain again.

More Socks!

Well I am truly hooked on socks now, I finished my second pair, top down Pomatomus socks by Cookie A. I used Araucania Ranco Multi for these, I love the pattern but found chart B rather confusing.

I am now working on my third pair, this time for Jim, also in Araucania Ranco, supposedly a Solid PT490, but it does have slight variations of shading in it. I would call it a Teal colour. This pair are worked from the toe up, and the Mock Cable pattern is from Wendy D Johnson's book 'Socks from the Toe Up.' Instead of the reverse cables I have used a variation of the stitch to create a Mock Celtic Cable.

In my 'Stash' I have another 100gr skein of Araucania Ranco Multi PT500, shades of browns and creams, for another pair of socks for Jim, but will have to buy another 100gr as he likes his socks fairly long.

Plus my friend MaryJo sent me a skein of L-B's Lucky Day 100% Superwash Merino Wool from Loopy Legends, theloopyewe company, shades running from Cream thru yellow, green, pale blue to almost Royal blue. So I need to find a special pattern to use with that.

I've used a pair of circulars with all the socks, and definitely prefer them to dpn's.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Sock it to me!

It's a long time since my last blog. I keep letting myself get side-tracked with other things and forget my blog!

I've been busy working on my very first pair of socks. Couldn't start with something simple, quick and easy. No, I decided to knit a pair of Latvian style socks, with three strands, so it took me a while to get finished. But I finally finished them last night, and I am happy with them, which is good considering I didn't follow a pattern, except for the heel part. I used three different charts, two I made up myself, one for the sole, the other for the leg; and the chart for the instep was a variation of Vidzeme chart # 76 in Lizbeth Upitis book, Latvian Mittens.

Having knitted them with three strands of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino means they are quite thick, so I won't be wearing them with shoes, they will keep my feet warm next winter whenever I have to wear boots or Wellies, and they are VERY warm! It's a pity they will be hidden under boots as they look so pretty, pretty enough to wear as slipper socks.

I'm so pleased with my first attempt at socks that I've bought two Sock books off Amazon, 'Socks From the Toe Up' by Wendy D Johnson and another called 'Sock Innovation: Knitting Techniques and Patterns for One-of-a-Kind Socks' by Cookie. A' - which hasn't arrived yet - so hopefully by next winter I'll have a sock drawer full of my very own hand knitted socks.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


It has been a week of frustrations, first the head gasket blowing and having to dispose of the car because it just wasn't worth the £600 - £800 it would have cost to fix, not to mention the other bits and pieces that needed replacing on it, like tyres and exhaust, followed by re-taxing and then M.O.T.

Then we found a second hand car but, frustration of frustrations, we can't re-tax at the Post Office because the car's classification code has to be changed from a disabled code to an ordinary drivers code, we have to go to our nearest DVLA Office to do that, and it is miles away, we have no transport and there is no bus service. If we do it by post we will be without transport for at least two weeks, and there is no decent bus service from our village. Seems to me the powers that be do everything they can to make life difficult.

On top of that I sent off a cheque to my rent office and forgot to sign the wretched thing, I can't get to them either so have had to post out a second one, signed this time!

On the knitting front, I knitted a pair of Raspberry Bed Socks using Aran weight instead of DK as I intended using them as travel slippers and wanted something a little sturdier, I also used larger needles as the pattern only went up to a 9" foot and mine is 10" - but I over-compensated and the slippers fit my DH, so on our overnight trip later this month he had better not leave the hotel room in them or he would probably get some very funny looks, they are a sexy red with a heart-shaped pattern of bobbles on the toes, at least the ties are a masculine brown! Now I am working on another pair but have gone back to the needles stated in the pattern.

Today I bought 200g of 4 ply Araucania Ranco, 100g in Multi - shades of blues, purples, pinks and turquoise, and 100g of Solid in a dark teal. I want to use it to knit the 'Latvian Dances' socks. I also bought 100g of 'Sprinkles' in a variegated Blueberry, to knit the King Cole Teddy Bear on their pattern leaflet # 2000.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Blown a Gasket!

I haven't been blogging for a while due to not feeling too well lately, plus I've been busy typing, formatting and printing our church newsletter again, for a bi-monthly it seems to come round rather quickly; and I'm counting my last Air Ambulance cans, two more batches and I'm done, permanently, we decided it was getting to be too much as we cover a very large area, so we are retiring as voluntary collectors.

Last week was quite stressful, the car was playing up, we'd blown a gasket, no we hadn't, Oh yes we had! Two days ago, in a cloud of steam, we crawled into our local friendly garage and they confirmed it, a crack in the head gasket was spewing water. Today we managed to drive it the 8 miles into our local wreckers yard, poor thing wasn't worth saving, not at approximately a £700.00 cost to fit a new gasket. I remember back in the 60's I actually cut out a gasket from a sheet of cork for a vehicle we had then, things have become so complicated and expensive. If it wasn't for Veterinary bills I'd be tempted to go back to a horse and buggy! (With a bucket and shovel on board for the Rose fertiliser!) So for the time being we are without transport. We caught the bus back to the next village to ours, (we don't have a a decent bus service to our village) and started walking, fortunately halfway home a neighbour drove up and gave us a lift the rest of the way, as Bill Cosby might say, "It's up hill both ways." Sounds crazy but it's true.

This week I started knitting Deluxe Chux Tux for my friend Margaret, she lives in the village with the bus service! She has just aquired 4 rescued chuks, one isn't too badly off for feathers, two are partially clad and one is practically bald, poor things were classified as 'Free Range' in spite of the fact they only got to see the inside of a barn with thousands of other chuks. They arrived home yesterday and this morning Margaret found three eggs waiting for her, they were busily exploring their new domain this afternoon and scratching around the apple trees, they sounded happy.

I've also started knitting a pair of Raspberry Bedsocks, (Ravelry Database) but I will be using them as slippers when we go down for an overnight trip to London later this month. Got to travel light, that will be a major accomplishment for me! I'm knitting the small size in Aran instead of DK yarn, and on 4.5mm and 5mm needles instead of 3.25mm and 3.50mm needles as the pattern doesn't have my size listed. (And no, I am not Big Foot!) They seem to be working out OK so far.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Film, Slide Show and Decluttering!

Finally got to see Slumdog Millionaire last Thursday, and really enjoyed the film, it was an eye-opener, seeing those vast areas of slum dwellings and the terrible way the poorest people have to live. The children constantly running the alleys, rooftops and huge rubbish dumps, being chased by police, or worse, religious fanatics who hate them, for any child getting away from that kind of life, and the people who would take advantage of them, would be a miracle. Someone on TV yesterday described the film as 'depressing' - but for all the depiction of life in the slums, the beatings and cruelty, sadness etc., the film still managed to show a lighthearted and funny side to things also. The sound track was a mix of Hindi and English, with subtitles where necessary and it was easy to follow. The happy ending for Jamal and Latika was great, and the closing scene of people dancing on the station platform which was shown after the credits was uplifting too.

For the last few days I have been too busy decluttering and dumping unwanted stuff, and shampooing the living room carpet to do any knitting. Now I have to start typing up our church bi-monthly newsletter to be published by the first Sunday in March. Then we need to go up into the attic and start decluttering up there too. Spring must be in the air - somewhere!!

Last night we went to our local camera club meeting where a man presented a slide show of the trekking holiday that he, his wife and 11 year old son took in the Annapurna range of the Himalayas back in 2007. Not a well known trekking trail either, in some places the trail was not evident at all to us, just extremely steep shale covered or rock strewn mountain slopes, and rickety wooden bridges crossing 300 foot gorges. They must all be extremely fit people, and brave. His photos were really spectacular.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Quick Thaw, Green Comet Lulin

Our big black cat Jet was watching birds on the feeding station just outside the window, but he appears to be looking at the Christmas Robin I painted on the window.

Overnight we had a quick thaw on the low lying area of the Vale of Pickering, so now the rivers have burst their banks again. The Hawardian Hills to the south and the moors to the north still have a lot of snow on them. My snow cat has disappeared most likely, I haven't been down the lower garden to look, it is just too soggy down there.

We have been watching the night sky over the last week and are fairly sure that we have spotted the green comet Lulin, between now and the 24th it should definitely be visible to the naked eye. It is described by NASA as a rare green comet of great beauty, if you want to read about it, go to: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/04feb_greencomet.htm?list1058870

Yesterday I knitted a second neckwarmer with the remaining Wendy Velvet Flake and gave it to my friend Margaret. Now she won't pinch mine!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Snow Cat found resting in Little Barugh garden

Found this snow-cat in my lower garden this morning!!
It is a sunny morning today and the snow has already melted off the trees, but is still very crisp under foot.
We had to cancel our trip to the cinema last night, a friend who lives in Malton who was to be with us called to tell us all roads into town were gridlocked, and people travelling home from York, usually around a 35-40 minute journey, were stuck on the road for four hours. There are two very steep hills on that road, one a notorious black spot.
The film is still showing next week, so hopefully we can still get to see it.
Off to make some warming winter soup now, and maybe do some knitting later.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

It's Snowing again

The view from our bedroom window at 07:40 this morning, you can just see a little bit of snow left on the Hawardian Hills on the horizon. It was slowly melting away.
Whilst in town this morning the snow started falling again, by 14:22 it looked like this, and it has not stopped snowing since. It is getting really thick now.

The same view as # 1 - from our bedroom window at 14:22 - it was still snowing and the Hawardian Hills have disappeared

Our front yard. Jim filled up the bird feeders and the bird table, there are bird tracks all over the snow.
Tonight we are going to the cinema to see 'Slum Dog Millionaire' with a couple of friends. I hope we don't get snowed out of the village!!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Jacsels Neckwarmer Pattern

I used Wendy Velvet Flake for this pattern, it is equivalent to Aran 10 ply. As it doesn't lend itself to patterned stitches, I used plain garter stitch. If using plain Aran yarn, you could use any pattern stitch you fancy.

I used less than 100g

1 Pair 7.5mm needles

1 Pair 4mm dpn's for I-cord

Using 7.5mm needles cast on 40 stitches.

Work 20 rows

21st row: *K1, K2 tog, repeat from * across row (27 stitches remain)

Work 90 more rows (You may need to adjust here according to neck size, 21st row to last row on needle should meet comfortably around neck.)

112th. row: K1, *K2 tog, repeat from * across row (14 stitches remain)

Knit 2 more rows.

Cast off 10 stitches, transfer 4 remaining stitches to 4mm dpn's and work the I-cord, approx. 20 rows, cut yarn and thread through the 4 stitches and fasten off. Stitch I-cord to beginning of cast off row to form a loop.

Pass the wide end of the Neckwarmer through the I-cord to hold in place.

The neckwarmer can be turned into a Turban-style hat by wrapping around the head with the loop at centre front, pass the wide end through the loop and lay over the back of the head. It can also be worn as a headscarf, fastening under the chin. Use the link below for a downloadable .pdf file.

Copyright (c) Jackie S Brooks 2009


Snow, Fog and Neckwarmers!

This morning we woke up to another fall of snow during the night, not a heavy one, but enough to cover the fields and hide the grass, soil etc., Jims' cleared footpaths are now covered again. Also the fog came down with it and all we can see from our bedroom window is one tree just a few feet away. Not a good day to go driving, especially as there seems to have been a lot of crazy driving recently, must be getting close to a full moon again!

As for the knitting, I still have not got around to looking at Sweater patterns, nor have I obtained any sock wool. So last night with my hands itching to grab a pair of knitting needles, I went looking for something to do. I found some left-over yarn from a previous project, Wendy Velvet Flake, in a lovely Lilac shade. It feels very soft and warm, and as just lately I have started wearing a woolly scarf versus a silky one I decided to knit a neckwarmer. I'm not using a pattern but making it up as I go along and writing it down too. So if it works out OK I will publish the instructions on my Blog when it is finished. I am about 55% finished, using 7.5 needles makes it go quickly and I am just using garter stitch, the yarn is very nobbly (or should I say flaky!) so fancy stitches would be lost anyway. The yarn is equivalent to an Aran weight so if plain Aran was used, a stitch pattern would be nice.

Yesterday Jim decided to start decluttering the outhouse, so today we will be visiting the local Tip. Lots of unused buckets and boxes, plus a few defunct household article, two old toasters, two old kettles, and various tins of paint that have solidified over the past few years..etc.,etc.,etc.,

18:07 - The fog has stayed with us all day, it's damp, cold and miserable outside. We went to the dump, did some banking for YAA, and went to see what is on at the Cinema this week. Yay - 'Slum Dog Millionaire' is showing, so I've booked for four on Thursday night. Jim won a voucher for four in a Christmas Raffle and this film sounds worth watching. It's won plenty of BAFTA awards. I haven't been to the cinema for ages, in fact the last film I saw was Mel Gibsons' 'The Passion' when it was first released over here. So Thursday night Jim, me and Margaret, plus one other, will be off to Malton Palace Cinema, we even get free popcorn and drinks!

Now I am off to do some more knitting on my neckwarmer while I wait for my home-made 'Tikkastrone' soup to cook, it's just the night for something hot and spicy.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Rappy and the new Oven TV!

My new Belling cooker.

Rappy is fascinated with
it, he even crawled inside
it last night after I had
removed the racks and
shelves to wash off the
protective coating of oil.

Right: Rappy watching
Oven TV!

Left: "Ooh Pizza!

"Is it done yet?"

A watched Pizza never cooks!

"Isn't it ready yet?"

"Is she going to cook our cat food in there too?"

"What's that other cat doing in there?"

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Heart stopping delivery!

I nearly had a heart attack this morning...! My new cooker was delivered in the midst of a snow shower, and just as they reached the door and started to lower the hand truck carrying the cooker, it fell forward. The man in front fortunately caught it, but not before it had damaged a front foot that cracked and fell off. We had to go back to the shop for a replacement foot which Jim will fit tomorrow with the help of one of my next door neighbours sons. It's a big improvement on my old cooker, it's much bigger, it has a double oven, the main one a fan oven, a ceramic hob, and is wide enough to take most American cookie sheets, though not the large Wiltons unfortunately.

Still pondering my next knitting choice of sweater, though I think I might just go buy some 4 ply wool and knit a pair of socks. I have one of Ruth Greenwalds patterns that I bought last year, for her 'Leafy Green Socks.' They are a pretty design and I've never made socks before. (I don't count the Christmas socks!!)

The snow we had today quickly turned to slush, a sloppy wet yukkie mess and I found my 'walking' shoes are not waterproof, I guess I need to go buy a pair of winter boots. The rivers Derwent and Rye are still extremely high, when we crossed the Rye today it was very close to the top of the dyke on one side of the bridge and over the bank on the other. If all the snow melts very quickly it will flood some of the fields.

Dropped in on Margaret to deliver some goods and a book for Reg, they were just off to hospital for an appointment. Margaret was wearing her new mittens.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Sad News - Day Out

On a sad note, one of the young girls that had the sledding accident yesterday, and was helicoptered to hospital, died later of her injuries, she was just 16 years old. Two of the remaining four are still in hospital.

We made our usual monthly 120 mile round trip to our nearest Airbase today. We always travel the quieter country back roads normally, as it is a much more scenic and stress free drive, I wished I had had the forethought to take my camera with me. We drive through a lot of forested area and as we got farther out into the country the snow was still fairly thick on the ground and the trees were laden with it; they looked really beautiful. In some places there was snow laid over ice and driving was slow as the road is both hill and bendy as well as narrow. Passing a few large trucks along the way had to be done with caution as the snow banks had narrowed the road even further.

We decided to drive back along the main roads as we needed to get back fairly quickly in order to stop in town for a special errand before the shops shut, the main roads were all clear. It tried to snow but just a few tiny pathetic flakes, though another heavy fall of around 8 inches is forecast for some areas. Not a great depth in most other countries, but enough to bring the UK to its knees apparently, we are just not used to it here.

While in town I picked up three books that were on sale, #1 - The Soup Bible - I need another cook book like an extra hole in the head, but I couldn't resist it. #2 - A pocket size book of British birds, and #3 - The Countryside Remembered by Sadie Ward. - The latter is full of old black and white photographs from the 20's, 30's and up to the 50's, mainly showing the old methods of farming using horse and plough, corn stooks and haystacks, large flocks of sheep (500-600) being driven on foot through towns, they would cover 40 miles over a couple of days. It also has photos of people practising old crafts like peg making, basket weaving, spinning, thatching, as well as Wheelwrights, Blacksmiths and various Woodland crafts. Local customs and traditional festivals, most of which have died out now sadly. Photos of Gypsies and their Vardo's, and a real eye opener for me, a family of eight- parents and 6 children all aged under seven - living in a tiny tin shack in 1948. I was eight years old then, I remember seeing the corn stooks and the haystacks, I used to play on a farm with the farmers children and learned how to milk cows by hand, they also had working horses, big beautiful creatures. Its a fascinating look at life back then and brought back some memories, it may look idyllic but it was a very hard life for most.

I still haven't made up my mind as to what I want to knit next, I'll have to go through all my patterns I think.

Well I am off to play with one of my cats, Rappy, he doesn't like it when I go out all day and goes absolutely crazy when I come home again, so I'll go chase him round the living room a bit, he loves that, it wears me out in no time at all though!!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Mittens finished and delivered, River in flood.

I finished the mittens this morning, and delivered them to Margaret this afternoon. She is thrilled to bits with them.

So, what next? I've knitted a cardigan for Jim, a Starsky-Hutch jacket for my son Mike, so I think it's my turn now, I just need to make up my mind what I want to knit - or crochet, I've got some double knitting yarn in a lovely jade colour, and some Aran in Purple, that I bought to match a length of Harris Tweed I bought while on holiday on the Isle of Harris (Outer Hebrides) several years ago. I keep promising to make a skirt for myself with it. An Alice Starmore sweater would be nice!! I also have the pattern for the Calla Lily Cowl sweater from the Mission Falls book, 'Mission Falls Goes Crochet' - but I haven't decided yet what colour I would like to use.

The snow certainly caused chaos down south yesterday, many schools closed for the day and the children had a chance to go sledding. Today there were still 5000+ schools closed around the country, except the one we visited today where we do our weekly drama. They were closed yesterday due to teachers being unable to get in, but overnight it rained heavily so the snow is melting quite fast in our part of the world, but now the river is near flood stage and the fields look like lakes. We are supposed to get more snow soon, but I hope not for a couple of days, I have places to go and don't want to get stuck anywhere.

There was a serious accident today, several young girls used part of a roof that had been cut from a car, as a sled, turned upside down it probably seemed ideal but being metal it moved downhill very fast and they went through a wire fence, then through a wooden fence. One girl has been critically injured and airlifted by helicopter to hospital, the others were also badly injured and taken to another hospital by land ambulance. I hope they all recover very quickly.
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