Sunday 31 December 2017

Here's To 2018

Here we are at the end of another year with illness in the family. This time it's poor Archie. We had to take him to see the out of hours emergency vet on Thursday night as he started being violently sick, so much so that the sick turned into blood. He was kept in overnight on a drip, blood tests were done which didn't show anything untoward, and drugs were given to stop the sickness, however, then the runs started. We collected him late on Friday afternoon and we had a check up appointment with our own vet yesterday morning. He's still got the runs, but the vet said it could take quite a few days for that to stop, but he's otherwise happy in himself, he's got a good appetite, though we're only giving him chicken and white fish, and he's lively enough.

Before all this started, he'd licked out a plastic pot which had contained lemon mousse. There was no quantity of the food in the pot, just a trace around the sides. The vet said that shouldn't have caused such symptoms but perhaps he's had an allergic reaction to it for some reason. She said that these things sometimes happen and they never fully realise the cause.

So far, the visits to the vet have cost us in excess of £600, that's the most expensive lemon mousse I've ever bought. I don't care what it costs us though, I just want Archie to be okay. We'll definitely be more vigilant where human food is concerned in future though, it's scary how an animal can react to something, even in such a minute quantity.

I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who's visited my blog this year and for all the wonderful, encouraging comments you continue to leave, every single one is very much appreciated.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year.

I hope 2018 brings you health, happiness and anything else you might wish for.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

#stitchingsanta Reveal 2017

This is the third time that I've taken part in the #stitchingsanta swap which Sheila hosts on her Sewchet blog. It's a swap for crafters, a choice is made between a knitting/crochet swap or a sewing swap, so I opted for the first.

It's done as a secret swap instead of it being a straight swap between two people, so I knew who I was sending my swap parcel to but I didn't know who would be sending a parcel to me. It turned out that my parcel came from Lynn at Tialys and I received some wonderful gifts.

Two skeins of Rowan Summer Tweed in a lovely lilac colourway, a beautifully knitted neck warmer which will keep me warm and cosy whilst walking Archie, a cute drawstring bag which contained some lovely charms and stitch markers, buttons, a purse clasp, and an enamel pin badge, and two glass coasters covered in a beautiful crochet design. All these gifts have been photographed on some Christmas fabric which they were wrapped inside. Thank you, Lynn, I'm really pleased with everything.

The person who I sent my parcel to was Hannah from Quirky Hannah blog. One of the great things about any swap is making new blog friends and as I hadn't come across Hannah's lovely blog before, I had a good time reading through her previous posts and finding out what she likes.

This is what I included in my swap parcel.

I wasn't sure whether Hannah knits socks or not but I figured the yarn could be used for things other than socks if she's not keen. There's a skein of Knitglobal Sock Yarn and two 50g balls of Drops Fabel, enough to make two pairs of socks if Hannah so wishes. There's two small kits which came from magazines, one to make a crochet flower garland and one to make a fairy tree topper, two boxes of chocolate novelties, some sachets of flavoured tea and in the bottom corner you might just be able to make out some 'made with love' charms to sew on to finished items.

You may remember the Antarktis Shawl which I finished back in May. This was the first thing I completed for Christmas this year, well in advance, and it was knit with this swap in mind.

Last year, I sent my #stitchingsanta parcel to Kim at The Material Lady blog. I included a book, The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown, in the parcel and after reading it, Kim returned the book to me so that I could read it myself, which I've done. I thought that Hannah might enjoy reading this book too so I popped it in the parcel.

I've thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this Christmas swap again this year so thank you, Sheila, for organising it and thank you to Lynn and Hannah for being great swap partners.

Sunday 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Daniel and his girlfriend arrived home, safely, late on Friday night, I hadn't seen them since March so it's lovely having all the family back together again. I will be cherishing the time I'll be spending with family over the festive season.

Wishing you all and your families a very merry Christmas, and I hope it brings everything you wish for.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Aunt Petunia's Christmas Socks

Once I'd finished my Christmas knitting and the Dragon Scales Shawl, which I'd had on my needles for a number of months, I decided I needed some socks that I could wear myself on Christmas Day. I've knitted socks for all my family, which they'll find underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, but I fancied knitting a festive pair for myself.

I'd bought some West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply from Nottingham Yarn Expo in the Candy Cane and Cayenne Pepper colourways and I thought this would fit the bill nicely.

I've been wanting to knit Petunia Dursley's Double Eyelet Socks by Erica Lueder again since I used this pattern for the socks I've knit for Eleanor for Christmas, so this was my opportunity.

It's a lovely pattern, an eight row repeat which consists of six rows of stocking stitch and two rows of pattern, so nothing complicated there, but it's such a pretty design.

I'm pleased with how these socks have turned out and I think my feet will look very festive on Christmas Day.

I seem to have done nothing but knit socks just lately, and I know many of my posts have been about each pair of Christmas socks as I've finished them, so it's time for something different now. When I finished these socks I actually had nothing at all on my needles so I've cast on a cowl, a nice easy knit for TV knitting, but now that the rest of my needles are empty it's a good excuse to cast on some new things. It'll be fun choosing which projects to start.

Saturday 16 December 2017

Raindrops On Roses - December

These are a few of my favourite things.

It's a Wonderful Life. My favourite Christmas film, I wouldn't like to say how many times I've seen this now but I never grow tired of it. 'Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings'.This is the only Christmas film I've watched so far this year but other favourites are National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Love Actually.

Hyacinths. I know that some people can't tolerate the heady scent of hyacinths but I love it. I think these are a pink variety and I'm looking forward to seeing them bloom. I don't really go in for houseplants but I have bought myself a Christmas cactus this year, it's got lots of buds so I'm hoping that it blooms in time for Christmas.

Family. Eleanor arrived home from university on the 9th of December and we're expecting Daniel and his girlfriend on Friday. They were supposed to be staying into the new year but it seems that Daniel's wanted back into the office in the period between Christmas and the new year so he'll have to return to Surrey after Boxing Day. It's a bit of a disappointment but at least we'll all be together for Christmas.

This Is Us. Eleanor watched this series when it was first on TV but I didn't bother. It was only later that I heard other people saying how good it was and by this time it was only being shown on Amazon. I was offered a free trial on Amazon Prime and wasn't going to take it up but I accidentally clicked on the icon to start the trial so I thought I might as well take advantage and start watching series 1. I've nearly finished it now and I have to say that I've loved it. Series 2 is also available so Eleanor and I are going to try and get it watched before she goes back to university.

Christmas music. I do love hearing all the traditional Christmas songs, but not until December. They were being played on the radio weeks before the big day, in fact there's stations which play nothing other than Christmas music, but I refuse to listen to anything Christmassy until December, by then I'm in full Christmas mode and I don't care how many times I hear any particular song. One of my favourites is Fairytale of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty McColl, another is Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, but Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a blast of Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade.

What favourites do you have this month? How about joining me and writing a post about them?

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Hermione's Shortie Socks

I've just realised that I never showed you the second pair of socks I've knit for Daniel's girlfriend for Christmas. In fact, I must have popped them straight in the gift drawer as I had no photos of them and hadn't even set up a project page on Ravelry for them.

They were knit from the yarn I had left over from Eleanor's Sugar Frost Socks and I used an old favourite when it came to patterns, Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder.

It's good to be able to get a couple of pairs of socks out of one ball of yarn, knitting shortie socks enables me to do this.

All the socks I've knit for Christmas are waiting to be wrapped up, I've got some lovely gift boxes for them. I hope everyone likes what they open on Christmas morning.

Friday 8 December 2017

The Great Christmas Knit Off

I included The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown in my #stitchingsanta parcel last year which I sent to Kim at The Material Lady blog. Kim emailed me to let me know that she'd read and enjoyed it over the Christmas period and asked if I'd like her to post it back to me so that I could read it too. How kind and thoughtful of her. Unfortunately, I didn't get round to reading it last year as my book time was cut short as I was ill myself leading up to the festive period and then my dad ended up in hospital so I kept it to read in the run up to Christmas this year.

I really enjoyed this book, there wasn't much substance to it, you certainly didn't have to think much, but it was just what I needed to come home to when my mum was in hospital. I don't think my brain would have coped with much more. It's a touching, feel good story with lovely characters which is perfect for reading during the festive season and having knitting as a theme appealed to me too.

Incidentally, my mum is now home from hospital and much better in herself, though a district nurse is visiting daily as she developed a DVT in her leg whilst in hospital so she'll need a daily injection for at least the next twelve weeks.

It would be a shame to just send this book off to the charity shop so I've decided to add it to this years #stitchingsanta parcel. I hope my partner enjoys it as much as Kim and I have.

Monday 4 December 2017

Dragon Scales Shawl

Now that I've finished all my Christmas knitting, I can concentrate on other things. First of all, I thought I'd better get the Dragon Scales Shawl, which I started back in July, finished.

The pattern is the Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre, a free pattern on Ravelry, and it's a simple design with a little extra decoration for the border.

I used yarn which I'd purchased at Spring Into Wool earlier this year, it's the Dragon Scales colourway by Third Vault Yarns in their Companion 4ply base, a 100% Superwash Merino. These photos don't do the yarn justice, it's a beautiful mix of greens, greys, blues and purples and it's iridescent so the colours seem to change when you look at it from different angles. The shawl's lovely and drapey.

This photo shows the size a little better, it's not a huge shawl being knit from just one skein but it blocks out to a decent size to wrap well around the neck. Just what I need now that the weather's turned much cooler.

Next project - Christmas socks for me. Well, it's only fair. I've knit socks for the rest of my family which they'll open up on Christmas Day so I'd like a pair to wear myself. I just hope I get them finished in time.