Friday 29 November 2019

Winters Frost

I've finished my Winters Frost socks by This Handmade Life.

They were a pleasure to knit. I decided to give magic loop another try, I usually use double pointed needles when knitting socks, but I always think it's good to master different techniques. Once I'd got into the rhythm of using the circular needle I found it quite easy. I'm not sure if magic loop will become my sock knitting method of choice as I do still prefer double pointed needles but I'm pleased to have given it a go and succeeded. I managed to sort the ladder issue I had out too. Sometimes ladders appear in the fabric between the end of one needle and the start of another when knitting in the round. I struggled a bit with this at the start but it's no longer a problem.

I love the colour of these socks. The colourway is The Goblin's Revenge by Paper Stories, though I don't think this dyer is in business any more. Mick bought me the yarn for Christmas 2017 so it was time it was knitted up into something lovely.

Now it's time to get on and finish the other pair of socks which have been on my needles for some time.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Magnifying Daylight Lamps

I know there are quite a few of my readers who are cross stitchers so I'm seeking your advice.  I haven't done a lot of cross stitching in the past but when I have, I've struggled a bit to see what I'm doing, especially when there isn't a lot of daylight about.

I've got one of those contraptions which clips to the embroidery hoop, there's a small magnifier and light on it. It's okay for what it is, not brilliant, but it certainly helps. I've got a snap frame which I'd like to try out but the clip on the magnifier is too small for this and there's no way I can stitch without some kind of magnification.

I'm thinking about putting a magnifying daylight lamp on my Christmas wish list and wondered if any of you use one. I think one which stands on the floor rather than a table would be better for me and I'm sure it would come in useful for more things than cross stitch, especially during the winter months when there isn't much daylight about. I'm looking for any recommendations you can give. Do you have one of these magnifiers, can you recommend a particular one, do you find it useful, is it worth having?

Any and all advice gratefully received.

Saturday 23 November 2019

What I'm Watching - November 2019

TV and film that I've been watching this month.

I watched both season 1 and season 2 of The Crown earlier this year and since then I've been looking forward to the release of season 3. It's finally here! Olivia Coleman has succeeded Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and Tobias Menzies has taken over the role of Prince Philip. I'm trying not to binge watch so that I can string out the new series and so far I've watched two episodes and I've enjoyed them as much as the earlier ones. The new cast have taken on their roles well as we embark on a new era for the monarchy in this third series.

Cold Call is a four part mini series which was shown on consecutive nights this past week. Sally Lindsay stars as June, a woman who becomes the victim of a cold call scam. It was frightening to see how easy it is for these fraudsters to get people to believe in their rackets. It was a bit far fetched and a ridiculous final episode, but I thought it had a good plot and I did enjoy it.

I'm not a lover of sci-fi but I saw that War of the Worlds had been remade as a mini series so decided to give it a go. I began watching but it soon became apparent that even in this format it just wasn't for me. I think Mick will watch it though, it's much more his genre.

Mick was visiting my dad in hospital last Sunday (by the way he's home now and doing well, thank you for all your good wishes for him), and Eleanor was out with friends so I had the house to myself. I decided to watch a film, something I don't do very often. I had a look on Sky to see what was available and decided on Christopher Robin. Ewan McGregor stars as an adult Christopher Robin who is reunited with his old bear, Winnie the Pooh, and the animals in Hundred Acre Wood. I wasn't sure it was for me at the start and nearly turned it off but I'm glad I stuck with it as I actually found it quite charming. The perfect movie for a Sunday afternoon when you want to just sit and watch and not have to think too hard.

Have you been watching any of these? What else have you been watching this month?

Wednesday 20 November 2019

In The Making - November 2019

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

I'm pleased to say that crafting is firmly back on the agenda at the moment. My mojo has been coming and going since my mum died back in March, which I suppose is to be expected as my grieving navigates its twists and turns, but it's nice when I'm at a period where I'm getting enjoyment from the things I usually do. I've even completed a project this month, my Strictly Cha Cha Chevron Socks 2019 are off the needles.

I've been working on my Winters Frost socks. I usually knit my socks using double pointed needles but I'm beginning to enjoy using the magic loop method which I'm giving a go on these socks. The pattern is a pleasure to knit and I love the colour of this yarn. I'm knitting the heel flap of the second sock at the moment so these socks may be finished soon.

I asked for Opinions Please on my Beach Days wrap. Thank you to everyone who left a comment. I wasn't sure whether to follow the pattern and include the centre wave panel on the wrap or omit this, I didn't know if it added anything to the wrap or not. I think most people who commented on my post said that they'd leave out the centre panel so this is what I'm going to do. I shall add some extra blue and gold waves and eyelet bands instead but I need to work out how much yarn I have in order to do this first.

Only a couple of projects which I'm actively working on at the moment but it's nice to be focusing my efforts and seeing some progress. I'm hoping for another finish before my next monthly roundup.

Sunday 17 November 2019

Opinions Please

I've been knitting a little more on my Beach Days wrap and have now got to the point where I start knitting the centre colour block.

What I can't decide is whether to follow the pattern or omit this centre panel of blue and gold waves and just continue with the design I've followed so far, blue wave, eyelet band, gold wave, eyelet band, and so on. The centre panel looks something similar to the blue and gold waves that I've already knit at the end of the wrap and I'm not sure I like that block in the centre.

What do you think? Would you follow the pattern or would you miss out that centre block? Help me decide please.

Thursday 14 November 2019

Under The Weather

I've had the lurgy, in fact, I've still got the lurgy. It's not often I'm ill, which is just as well as I make a bad patient when I am, but this time, I've had it well and good.

I started at the beginning of last week with a really sore chest and it developed into a dry cough, I coughed so much that I was physically sick. It's not a cold, I haven't had a runny nose, but my whole body has ached and I've had a high temperature.

It wouldn't be so bad if my dad wasn't in hospital. We took him to A&E on the Sunday night before I was ill as he had chest pains and he was having trouble breathing, his ankles were also very swollen. They hooked him up to a heart monitor, took blood to test and did a chest x-ray and they discovered that his kidneys weren't working as they should. My dad's got prostate cancer and he knew that he'd lost the function of one kidney completely and was down to 27% function in the other kidney. They wanted to keep him in hospital but he refused point blank so they allowed him home, but on the Monday he received a phone call from the urology specialist asking him to go in and see him on Tuesday. It was the first day I was feeling off it so Mick took him to the appointment. He was told that the function of his one remaining working kidney is now down to 16% and that they needed to drain it. He wasn't impressed that he had to stay in hospital but Mick eventually talked him round and he's been in there ever since.

I didn't think it was a good idea being in close proximity to my dad, or anyone else in hospital, when I'm obviously carrying germs around so Mick's been doing all the toing and froing whilst my dad's been in hospital, not that I felt able to get there anyway. I don't know what I'd do without him.

Mick also had a big interview last week and has just earned himself a big promotion. He's worked for his company since leaving school thirty six years ago and has worked his way up through the ranks so his promotion is very well deserved. He's now responsible for all his company's UK factories. We haven't celebrated yet but I'm sure we'll do so as soon as I feel up to it.

I've still got a really bad cough but I'm feeling a lot better in myself than I have done over the last ten days so I'm hoping that it doesn't last much longer. I'm also hoping that my dad gets sorted out soon and is allowed home. It never rains but it pours!

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Strictly Cha Cha Chevron Socks 2019

I've been taking part in the Strictly knitalong which is being hosted on the Little Drops of Wonderful podcast. I took part in this same knitalong last year, and in fact, knit the same sock pattern which was last years official Strictly knitalong pattern. It's the Cha Cha Chevron pattern by Sandra Paul and though I don't want to knit anything too complicated whilst watching the dancing, it's interesting enough for me not to get bored.

My knitting mojo has been coming and going since my mum died in March but taking part in a knitalong has been keeping the momentum going on this project. It's also encouraged me to pick up other projects and knit on those too.

These socks have been knit whilst watching Strictly Come Dancing, the results show and its sister show, It Takes Two which is shown on weekdays. It's been a while since I've had a finished item to show so I'm very pleased to have got these done. I've used a hand dyed yarn which I received in a swap which I took part in on Instagram, I don't know who the dyer is but the yarn is so soft, it's been a pleasure to knit with.

Unfortunately, I started the toes a little too soon and the socks are a tad too small for me, but I don't mind, they'll make a lovely Christmas gift.

Sunday 3 November 2019

Still Me

I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes back in 2016 and absolutely loved it. I'm always wary of reading sequels when I've enjoyed a book so much as they rarely live up to the first offering and unfortunately, I found this in After You, which I read the following year. It left me wishing that the author had left Me Before You as a stand alone book.

When I saw that a third book in the series, Still Me, had been published I decided that I wouldn't bother reading it, however, after reading a few reviews and people telling me that it was much better than the second book, when I saw it for sale in a charity shop I picked it up.

"Lou Clark knows too many things...

She knows how many miles lie between her new home in New York and her new boyfriend Sam in London.

She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to meet someone who's going to turn her whole life upside down.

Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it'll hurt.

Lou won't know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything."

At first, I thought I'd made another mistake reading this book, I found it quite slow going and there were definitely characters which I didn't warm to. I'd have to say that it's a book of two halves, I could have quite easily put the book to one side even when I was half way though, it was probably the last third of the book which I enjoyed the most, though it was very predictable and I guessed the outcome of each storyline well before it was revealed.

Would I recommend the book? I think I'm probably expecting too much after loving the first book in this series so much so perhaps I'm being over critical of the following installments. Still Me is probably a good enough story in its own right for me to recommend but I still think that the story of Louisa Clark should have finished at the end of Me Before You.