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

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.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Barrels and Blizzards!

Yesterday I managed to knit up to the start of the top decrease section of the left mitten, after taking time off for a snooze. I literally fell asleep over my needles. I've done that before, maybe I need more iron in my diet, I'm always feeling tired these days; or maybe it is just this depressing winter weather.

Overnight someone painted the world outside white. The snowstorms from Russia have arrived, and apparently covered most of the UK in a blanket of white, creating chaos once more on our roads, at least it brightens up our normally dull, dark days. Jim went out and cleared a path to the outhouse, he was no sooner back in the kitchen than we had another snowfall that filled it in without trace!

During the night I had a wierd dream, we were in a flooded hall and sitting in a half barrel, suddenly we were swept away into town and I was frantically paddling with a shovel. I looked at Jim, he was wearing his dressing gown, then we were back in the hall about to be presented with something...and I was feeling very embarrassed....! Where do these crazy dreams come from? Maybe I had better lay off the Cranberry juice!

We were intending to take a trip into York today to B and Q, but I think I will just stay home by the fire and finish the Latvian mittens, Margaret will need them this week.
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