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Sockie, Scrappy Blanket... FINISHED!

Hello friends,

Well, it's finished!  The sockie, scrappy blanket that was meant to be a really long, ongoing project, became therapy.  I worked away at those little 4ply solid granny squares at every opportunity.  I was fortunate enough to be gifted lots of sock wool leftovers by my lovely, yarny friends, so I kept going and going until I ran out of the background colour.  I couldn't get any more of that so used every last piece!

Here it is!!


The finished blanket is 12 squares by 19 squares, so 228 squares in total.  The finished size is 130 cm by 83 cm, making it a really lovely lap size.  The solid granny square pattern is courtesy of my lovely friend, Lucy, Attic24, and can be found here.  I did an extra round, to make them slightly bigger, as I was using a finer yarn.  I used a 3mm hook. 

I edged my blanket in some plum coloured sock yarn, which sets it off quite nicely I think.  I did three rounds of half trebles (UK) and then a final round of crab stitch.  



The background colour is Patons Diploma Gold, and felt a bit scratchy, so I used the trick that Christine (Winwick Mum) told me, which is to soak the finished item for five minutes in warm water to which a good squeeze of hair conditioner has been added.  It really does soften things up nicely!

I laid it on the dining table to photograph and then wobbled about on a dining chair to try and get a decent picture.  I tried an arty photo too ;)



I have loved this project so much and was a bit sad when the final square was done.  However, last Friday Lucy very generously gave me all her sock leftovers... (Sock Yarn Leftover Heaven!)



...other ladies kindly rummaged in their project bags and I was so excited I made a start straight away!



I am planning on making this a full size blanket, and will buy some wool for the background colour.  I was originally planning a natural colour, but am thinking of a pale grey, as the two sofas in one sitting room are a grey Yorkshire wool, and I think this would look rather nice.  I shall keep pondering.  And making squares... :)

Donna x 


Chillies!

Hello Friends,

I absolutely LOVE chillies! I love them in arrabiata pasta sauce, sliced onto homemade pizza, quesadillas, well, just about in any dish I make!  Despite their somewhat exotic appearance they are surprisingly easy to grow.  They can either be started from seed, early in the new year, or small plants can be purchased in the spring.  I normally grow them from seed, starting them off in my little heated propagator on the kitchen window sill, but this year I was a bit late in getting around to this so I bought some tiny plants and potted them on.

The most important thing to remember is they need warmth; chilli plants positively hate the cold.  I usually keep them on a sunny window sill inside until all danger of frost and cold nights has passed, and then move them to the greenhouse.  This year I forgot to move them (can you see a pattern here???) and they grew quite tall and unwieldy on my sewing room window sill, so I have left them. This has turned out to be a happy accident, as they are thriving!  I've also picked my earliest ever chillies.  In addition to this they make a lovely bit of screening from the afternoon sun.  I have decided to do this every year now!

Chillies also need to be grown quite 'hard', that is by restricting their roots by not using too large a pot, and not overwatering them, (but not allowing them to dry out either).  Watering frequently but sparingly is the key.  If you want a bushier plant, pinch out the growing tip once it starts to produce flowers.  I may have forgotten to do this too this year, (yep - definitely a pattern!) but I still have a decent harvest, so not too much of a disaster.

Once the chilli plants start to produce fruit you can feed them from time to time with a feed suitable for tomatoes.  

This year I have six plants - a Cherry Belle, which is very, very mild, an Apache, which is very, very hot (!) and four Hungarian Hot Wax, which were an absolute bargain from Aldi!  These are somewhere in the middle, heat wise.  


I like my chillies red, so I pick them as soon as they are an even colour, nice and glossy.  


My plants produce more than I can use straight away so I either make chilli chutney (great in sauces too!) or I freeze them.  They freeze very successfully and can be removed as needed, thawed slightly for literally a few minutes and then sliced up and tossed into recipes.  

In order to not have one solid lump of chillies I freeze them first by spreading them out on a baking tray and carefully placing this on top of a freezer drawer.  Here they are, nicely frozen, with their little frosty overcoats on.


Once they are firm I transfer them to a freezer box and they stay separated and easy to use. 


If you've never grown chillies, I would certainly suggest having a go.  It really is worthwhile!

Donna x 

PS:  Thank you for the lovely comments on my last post and through Instagram.  I am very touched and humbled by your supportive words.  Things continue to look very much brighter and I look forward to even sunnier days to come xxx

Resurfacing

Hello friends,

I've been gone a long time, I know, and I have missed writing and sharing snippets of my life with you.  Things have been very difficult here, as one of my own has had a lot to deal with and, as our lives are intrinsically linked, I have found it to be a very upsetting time.  I tend to retreat at moments like this, as I find it hard to focus on anything else.  My sewing machines have remained covered and I have not taken as much pleasure from gardening as I normally would.  As for knitting and crochet, I have mainly been making the little squares for my sockie, scrappy blanket.  I have welcomed the soothing, repetitive nature of working the little squares and picking out the different colours.  

I am pleased to say, whilst not entirely settled, things are on a much more even keel, and the future looks sunnier.  

Simple things have joy in them again, like these lovely sweet peas picked from the vegetable garden, and displayed in my Mum's old handpainted jug.  


It's good to be back.

Donna x