Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Nice Weather For Ducks

On Sunday, we went for a walk in Golden Acre Park, a public park in North Leeds covering 55 hectares. We'd had some heavy rainfall the previous couple of days and there were lots of puddles. The ducks didn't seem to mind though.

We started off with a stroll around the lake before setting off through the woodland.

There's lots of pathways to follow so it doesn't get too muddy, even after so much rain.

Golden Acre Park runs alongside two nature reserves, though we stayed in the park on this visit.

I think autumn is giving way to winter now, many of the trees have lost their leaves and the intense autumn colours are fading fast.

It was good to get out and about after being cooped up indoors because of the rain. I try to make the most of any good weather we have at this time of year as it surely can't last much longer.

Archie had been to the groomers on Saturday for a trim. I always get him cut very short underneath as he tends to get leaves, twigs and general woodland debris tangled underneath him otherwise. I thought he might be a little chilly so he wore his coat on Sunday.

We veered off the beaten path and took ourselves in amongst the trees.

There's so many things of interest to be found at this time of year and getting away from paths and areas with heavy footfall increases your chances of finding them.

In among the fallen leaves were all different types of fungi. These red ones are my favourites.

Take a look at what else we came across.

As we made our way out of the park, it was nice to see some roses still flowering.

The hydrangeas have now faded, but they're still a thing of beauty.

Dogwoods (cornus) are known for their vivid winter stem colour. They literally glow.

There's so much to see at this time of year. Let's hope for many more nice days before winter really does set in, it's good to be out and about enjoying nature.

Monday, 17 November 2014

A Bygone Era

Garforth is a town on the outskirts of Leeds. I have lived here for the past twenty one years, and lived just a mile or two away for eighteen years prior to this. I'm always interested in local history, I've lived in this area for such a long time that I like to know about things from the past relating to it.

Whilst tracing my family tree, I learnt that my dad's ancestors all came from different areas in and around Leeds, but have traced one branch which lived in Garforth, so I've got connections here from long ago.

Garforth, like the surrounding villages, was a coalmining area, though the pits are now long gone.

On my most recent trip to the library, I picked up a book which has been published by the Garforth Historical Society. It shows old photos of the town which I find fascinating. I love to look back and see what an area was like many years ago.

This is Main Street, or Briggate as it was called then. The buildings were mainly domestic at this time and some of the terraced houses on the right of the photo remained until the 1950's.

This is Main Street as it is today, it's about a twenty minute walk from my house. There's a small Co-Operative supermarket, The Original Factory Shop, Subway and Greggs, but lots of the shops are independent. There's quite a few charity shops and more hairdressers than any small town really needs to my way of thinking. Each time a shop closes down, a new salon seems to pop up.

Taken a little further back, on the left you can see the junction with Barleyhill Road.

The buildings on the left are still here today. We have a lovely Italian restaurant on the corner where the white building once stood.

If you turn 180 degrees, you can see Lidgett Lane. Here is the view from Main Street looking towards it.

Today, the library stands on the left hand side. We're very lucky, so many libraries around the country have been under threat of closure in recent years but Garforth Library has recently been refurbished after the Big Lottery Fund awarded over £1m of funding to extend and refurbish it.

Lidgett Lane was rural back then, not a building in sight.

There's lots of buildings today, and the secondary school can just be seen in the background.

These old photos fascinate me. It was fun taking photos from the same position and seeing just how much everywhere's changed.

There's many more photos of Garforth taken in a past age in the book. It's been a very interesting read.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Eleanor's Ripple Blanket

I've finally finished edging Eleanor's Ripple Blanket so I'd like to share a few photos of it, though I should apologise first of all because the photos aren't all that good. The light just lately has been awful and as it's raining again today, there's still no chance of getting any better ones. I'm having to make do with these which I took earlier in the week.

I'm really pleased with the size of the blanket. After making Daniel's Ripple Blanket, I knew that I wanted this one to be a little bigger, and it's turned out just right.

It's a good size for Eleanor's single bed. I started off with 213 chains (15 X 14 + 3).

There's a good overhang on each side of the bed, something which is missing with Daniel's blanket which was started with only 171 chains.

Eleanor chose the colours for the blanket herself, Khaki, Meadow, Spring Green, Pomegranate, Fondant and Candyfloss. They work well together and compliment each other well. It matches her bedding perfectly.

Lucy from Attic 24 wrote a Ripple Blanket Know-how which I followed to straighten the top and bottom edges.

Trebles are used up the sides to match the colour of the top and bottom of the blanket before edging.

I used Stylecraft Special DK, the same yarn I've used for all my blankets so far. It makes really snuggly blankets which wear and wash well and it comes in such an array of delicious colours.

It's a year since I started this blanket but I've really enjoyed every stitch that's been put in to it. I like having long term projects, something which can be picked up and put down again. The ripple is so relaxing, there's a rhythm to it and once you get going, it just seems to flow from the hook.

Eleanor's really pleased with her blanket and she's already putting orders in for more, she's got lots of ideas. I'm not sure what I'll start on next. I was bought a pack of Stylecraft Special DK for Christmas last year which I wrote about in my Christmas Yarn post. I haven't used that yet, though I'm still debating what to use it for. I also have my Yarn From Skeggy which I haven't broken in to yet either. I'd like to start another blanket but I'm not sure what style I want to make. I think it's time to put my thinking cap on.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Autumn In The Park

After a deluge of rain on Friday and Saturday, it was good to be able to get out and about on Sunday. It was a beautiful, mild morning, so we decided to take Archie to Temple Newsam for his morning walk.

Many people had the same idea as us, there were lots of people there, and it didn't help that half the car park which we usually use was closed off as it was being used by outside broadcast lorries. There wasn't any filming happening whilst we were there, but it meant that we had to use a different car park. It gave us a chance to see an area of Temple Newsam we usually miss. We started off walking up the tree lined path.

Football matches were taking place. I thank my lucky stars that Daniel's game was cricket rather than football, altogether more civilised playing in summer. I'd have hated standing on the touchline in wintery weather.

Temple Newsam has a totally different feel to it now that most of the leaves have fallen from the trees. It's usually so green but the browns of winter are now showing through.

By now we had walked to the area we're more familiar with. The lawn in front of the house was totally empty, you wouldn't think there were so many people there enjoying a Sunday morning stroll.

Some trees were making an attempt to hang on to some of their leaves. One gust of wind and I think this one will be devoid of its summer foliage.

There's some beautiful autumn colours to be found, but I feel that autumn is giving way to winter now and most of the vibrant shades are becoming more muted.

There seems to be berries wherever you look. A sign of a harsh winter perhaps.

The lake is as pretty as a picture no matter what season it is. The mix of trees around the lake creates interest with their different colours, textures and shapes.

A quick walk through the woods and we were back to the car park. Needless to say, Archie had managed to find every puddle, and there were many of them after all the rain of the previous two days. He was content to sleep the rest of the day away.

We, on the other hand, arrived home to find that Eleanor had somehow managed to drop her phone down the toilet. What she was doing with it in the bathroom is anyone's guess. It was no surprise that the phone was ruined so we made a quick dash to Tesco so she could buy a new one. Heaven forbid that she should wait until Christmas for a replacement. How on Earth would she survive for six weeks without a phone? Could she have an early Christmas present was her plea, but it fell on deaf ears. If she's silly enough to take a phone in the bathroom then she has to suffer the consequences. Her bank balance is now a little lighter.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Happy Birthday, Mum

Here's my mum as a little girl.

Today, she's 80 years young.

I called round this morning to take her cards and presents. Unfortunately, she isn't up to celebrating, her arm's still Black and Blue and she's still in a lot of pain with it. We'll make sure that we do lots of celebrating when she feels better.

Happy birthday, Mum.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Learning To Sew

I'm hopeless with a sewing needle. I had very few textile lessons at school and my mum isn't a sewer either, so learning to sew sort of passed me by. I recently watched the Children In Need Great British Sewing Bee and though some of the celebrities taking part had never touched a sewing machine in their life, they did ok. I think the Great British Sewing Bee programmes are really inspirational and make you want to have a go yourself.

I still have this Ladybird book from my childhood all about sewing.

I know I attempted this simple needle case as my mum still has it.

Eleanor developed an interest in sewing at an early age. I wanted to nurture this interest as I think it's such a good skill to have. We bought her a sewing machine one Christmas and she chose Textiles as one of her options at school and subsequently took a GCSE in it.

I thought I might borrow Eleanor's sewing machine and have a go at teaching myself to use it. I came across My First Sewing Machine Book by Emma Hardy and thought this might help. I know it's a children's book but I often find that they explain things in simple terms which makes it much easier to understand. It's also got some great, easy projects in it.

There's information on techniques, templates for various projects in the back of the book and each project comes with step by step instructions.

There's some very easy projects like these cute Pin-On Popsicles, but harder projects too for when you've learnt the basics.

Each project is grouped in to four different chapters:- Clothes and Accessories, Bags and Cases, Things For Your Room and Toys and Games.

There's 35 projects in all, I'm sure that even I'll manage to find something I can make, and as I build up the skills, I'll be able to move on to something a little more difficult.

I've never touched a sewing machine since I was at school, and I wasn't very successful with it then, so it's definitely going to be a steep learning curve.

I've got some Christmas knitting projects on the go at the moment but I aim to get started in the new year. Who knows, I may want my own machine once I get going.