Saturday, 19 January 2019

In The Making - January 2019

A roundup of the things I'm working on at the moment.

Shapely Boyfriend by Stefanie Japel.

I've come to a bit of a standstill with this cardigan. I'm trying to work a row here and there just so that work on it doesn't come to a complete halt but I've lost a bit of enthusiasm for this project. I suppose it's because it's plain knitting and a plain coloured yarn, nothing to keep me interested. I do want the finished garment though so that's enough incentive to keep me going on it.

Sugar Frost Socks by Marianne Heikkinen.

I've knit this pattern before for Eleanor and she's asked me to knit her another pair. I used West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply when I knit them before and I'm using it again this time round. Eleanor chose the Blue Lagoon colourway which I had in stash and I bought the Blueberry Bonbon colourway for contrasting cuffs, heels and toes. You can see the funny way it was delivered in my Flat Pack post. I'm just on the gusset decreases on the first sock so quite a way to go yet.

Knit Baby Jacket Set: Sweater by Yarnspirations Design Studio

Eleanor's friend had a baby girl towards the end of last year, I knit a few things for her in the first size and now I've made a start on the 6-12 month size. I'm knitting this little jacket out of Sirdar Snuggly Crofter, which Eleanor chose before she went back to uni, and it's really living up to its name, it's very snuggly indeed. I'm loving working on this at the moment. I've already separated for the sleeves and I'm just knitting down the body.

There are other things I'm waiting to cast on but I really want to make some headway on the cardigan before I do so, it's feeling a bit like a millstone around my neck at the moment.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The Other Boleyn Girl

I've just finished reading The Other Boleyn Girl. I enjoyed the other two books I've read in Philippa Gregory's Tudor Court series but this one was even better.

I've seen the film which is based on this book but it didn't grip me as much as reading the story for myself did, I couldn't put it down and I'm really sorry now I've finished it, the sign of a good book.

The Other Boleyn Girl tells the story of Mary Boleyn from the time she arrives at court and becomes the young mistress of Henry VIII right through to her sister, Anne, becoming Queen and ultimately, Anne's execution by beheading.

Many have criticised the historical inaccuracies in the book but I've taken it at face value, it's a novel and I've enjoyed it as such, however, as so many historical fiction books often prompt me to do, I've looked up bits and pieces along the way to find out more actual facts about her life and that of her family.

I've got the next book in this series already downloaded on my Kindle and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Back To Uni

It's a grey and dismal day today, which matches my mood because Eleanor is going back to university. She came home for the holidays on the 14th of December and it does seem as though she's had a long break this time, sometimes her time at home seems to pass by in a flash, but I'm still sad to be waving her off. She's still packing at the moment but she'll be leaving soon.

Our Christmas was unusual this year, just the three of us at home for Christmas dinner, but I'm not complaining about it being a quiet Christmas, it's preferable to the last couple of years when we've been hospital visiting and having to fit the festivities in around that.

Daniel and Jasmine Skyped us on Christmas Day from Colorado, it was late afternoon here by the time they were getting up. They arrived home last weekend and they're now back into the swing of work again. They had a lovely time. Jasmine's sister is expecting her first baby in spring so they'd like to go back again later this year, it must be hard for her living all this way away from her family, especially when big events like this are happening.

It always seems quiet when Eleanor goes back to university and Mick and I are left on our own again but we soon get used to it. It will only happen once more, Easter will be her last break from university before graduation. How did that happen? Three years have gone by so fast.

Just twelve weeks until she's home again, not that I'm counting or anything!

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Yarny Gifts

As usual, I was very spoilt at Christmas, I received a wide selection of wonderful gifts from family and friends and I thought I'd show you just a few which were knitting and yarn related.

This is everything all together but I'll show you each thing in a bit more detail.

Mick bought me three full skeins of yarn: a sock set from Lay Family Yarn in the Hot Chocolate colourway. This set comes with a 20g mini for coordinating cuffs, heels and toes. Biffsugar Yarns in the Waterlily colourway and Sherry Iris in the Pumpkin Season colourway which came with a sachet of tea and a lavender sachet keyring.

Mick also bought me a pack of 10g mini skeins from Hedgerow Yarns to add to my blanket and a Socker's Rule which will take the guesswork out of sizing when I'm knitting socks for other people. I've often mentioned how I like to support small businesses and how buying from them is such an enjoyable experience. The parcels are usually beautifully wrapped and there's often little extras included in the parcel but just look at everything which Jane from Hedgerow Yarns popped in this parcel. There was an extra 20g mini skein, a little scented candle and a lavender bag, very welcome little extras.

My dad had asked Mick if he knew anything I particularly wanted for Christmas and asked him if he'd get it for him and my mum to give to me. Mick bought me a set of KnitPro Zing interchangeable needles last year and had remembered me saying that I'd like a set of the double pointed needles in different sizes so this is what I got from my mum and dad, along with some money to treat myself. There's six different needle sizes in the set which will be very handy for hat and sleeve knitting along with other things which are knit in the round.

Eleanor bought me a skein of yarn from Ducky Darlings in the Confetti colourway which came with a couple of sweeties but they were scoffed whilst I was still opening presents, but the piece de resistance were the little piggy progress keepers.

She'd bought these from Scruffy Dog Eco on Etsy, a shop I'd never heard of before. Aren't they the cutest? I have a thing for pigs!

My family know me so well, they always buy me the most wonderful gifts, I'm very lucky.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Twelve Days Of Christmas 2018

Once again, my very good blog friend, Lisa, from Jumble and Jelly, and myself have done a Twelve Days of Christmas swap. This is the fifth time we've done it and it's still as much fun now as it was that very first year back in 2014. We send each other twelve small gifts, one to be opened on each of the twelve days of Christmas, which extends the festive fun right into January.

These are the lovely gifts I received from Lisa this year.

Let's have a look at them a little closer.

The box of crackers were opened on Christmas Day before we ate dinner so we each pulled one. They contain a wind up Santa which you then use to race with, lots of fun and there are three crackers left to use next year. A pack of tasty Highland shortbread in the shape of mini scottie dogs, so cute, and a sachet of Dorset Tea in the strawberries & cream flavour, some hand & body lotion and a packet of cute sheepy tissues, citrus scented mini wipes and hand gel.

Lisa knows that I enjoy old films and Gone With the Wind is one of my favourites. I shall enjoy sitting down to watch this DVD. There's a spatula and some sugar stars to decorate the next cupcakes which I make, a Christmas garland and a trio of lip balms.

Umbrellas are always handy to have with the weather we get in the UK, such a lovely design too. A pack of colour your own greeting cards and some heart tags, a handy tote bag and my favourite Green & Black's chocolate in the salted caramel flavour.

Thank you Lisa. Once again I'm really pleased with everything I received.

These are the gifts I sent to Lisa.

I usually include a Christmas themed book in the parcel as I think it's nice to read something seasonal over the festive period. This year it was The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft. An adult colouring book and colouring pencils, I thought these were really clever, twelve pencils but twenty four colours as they're pointed at each end. A cute sloth notebook and an IQ quiz.

A box of Toblerone Tinys and a packet of mini gingerbread men, I thought these looked very tasty. A pair of cute cosy socks and five wine glass charms. These are a good way of not getting each other's drinks mixed up.

Tubes of hand cream and lip balm, always handy once the cold weather arrives, I always get chapped hands and lips. Some snowman earrings and snowman bath fizzers. A cute little tin cat ornament which I must admit I had trouble parting with.

Here he is again. It's hard to get a good photo of him, or perhaps it's a her with those eyelashes.

Thank you, Lisa. I received some lovely gifts and I had fun again this year with this swap.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Flat Pack

Eleanor has asked me to knit her a pair of socks similar to the Sugar Frost Socks which I'd knit her for Christmas 2017. She wants the same pattern and is happy with the West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply that they'd been knit out of so I showed her the other colours I've got in my stash. She's chosen the Blue Lagoon colourway but, being striped, they knit up much nicer if the heels are knit out of a contrasting colour so that the stripes aren't interrupted. I don't have anything which would go with this colourway so I've ended up resorting to buying a ball of the Blueberry Bonbon colourway from a seller on Ebay. I was flabbergasted when it came.

It had been vacuum packed, all the air had been sucked out of the packaging and it was just millimetres thick. I suppose this cuts down on postage costs.

You can see what a difference it makes when laid next to the ball of Blue Lagoon from my stash. It's quite comical actually.

I was very surprised when I cut into the package, the yarn sprung back to how it should look immediately without any help from me. I really didn't think that it would.

Now to get on with the sock knitting. My first cast on of 2019.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Find Me On Instagram

No more procrastinating, I've finally set up an Instagram account.

Engage in social media was on my 50 Before 50 list but I never set up an account in the two years that I worked my way through this challenge.  Better late than never. I thought that Eleanor could help me set it up but she's away from home staying at her boyfriend's at the moment so Mick and I muddled through the set up process, it was like the blind leading the blind, though Mick says we wasn't even that good. Goodness knows what I'm doing with it but I'll give it a go.

Please come and find me if you use Instagram, you can find me if you search jothroughthekeyhole.

I now need to find out how I find and follow people on there. Please leave me a comment with your Instagram user name and I'll do my best to find you.