Blog Archive

A Weekend With My Daughter

Last Friday afternoon I took the little train from our village station, trundling merrily along the tracks, changing trains and eventually reaching Manchester, from where there is a fast service directly into London Euston.

My daughter and her partner live in Canary Wharf, and from Euston it is a short ride on the Central Line, then the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which I can remember being built!  It was so lovely to see DD and her Lovely Partner (LP) and we had lots of hugs and excited chatter.

On Saturday we had a leisurely breakfast and then headed out to do some shopping.  LP made us a delicious late lunch and by the time we had finished eating it was already getting quite gloomy so we decided to stay home and watch a film.  

Ah, Bliss.  This is the stuff of memories.

On Sunday LP made a stack of Japanese Hot Cakes for our breakfast, which are a bit like extra thick and fluffy American Pancakes.  I was just about to take a photo when the whole heap collapsed, so I captured an action shot!

We then went to the Wallace Collection, one of my favourite London Museums.  We had a good wander around...

...and then a restorative pot of tea.

I love London, my home town, and find something interesting on virtually every street.  Here, just around the corner from the Wallace Collection, I stopped to admire the red brick of these buildings and the graceful chimney stacks.

We then went for an extended late lunch.  Full to the brim, we wandered along Regent Street and Piccadilly, admiring the Christmas lights.

My daughter is a member of the Oxford and Cambridge Club in St. James, so we called in for a warm by the fire and some mocktails!

It was then time to head back to Canary Wharf, which is so beautiful at night.

DD and LP had work on Monday so I took myself for a very happy wander around Peter Jones in Sloane Square and the shops on the King's Road, Chelsea.  I decided to stop by Westminster to see if anything was happening (it's a very intense time politically in the UK!) but there wasn't that much to see, other than a few journalists preparing to do interviews outside the Houses of Parliament.  

I was pleased to visit Emmeline Pankhurst's memorial, as I had read the plans to move it away from the Houses of Parliament had been abandoned, due to widespread anger.  It was good to see her in her rightful place.

All too soon it was time to catch my train back home.  I sat on the train, reading the newspaper, doing some knitting, thinking what a wonderful weekend it had been.

Donna x 

Remembrance Sunday

On Sunday, the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War 1, DH and I donned our coats, picked up our umbrellas, wrapped Daisy Dog in her warmest coat, and headed off to the village for the commemorations.

As we walked to the village, across the river and down the lane, we met up with more and more people, all heading in the same direction. Dads and daughters, parents with pushchairs, the elderly, the dog walkers, everyone we met on this Sunday morning had one purpose; walking to the village cenotaph to mark the ending of the war, and all conflicts since, and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and those who were affected for their rest of their lives.

As we reached the centre of the village we joined the sea of umbrellas and took our place.  It was a beautiful service, comprising  the Act of Remembrance, a hymn and prayers.  Prominent groups in our community were present, and it was lovely to see all the various groups of children - Scouts, Guides, Sunday School etc. - taking part so beautifully and with such respect.  

Afterwards we looked at the wreaths and the displays so lovingly made.  These poppies were knitted and crocheted by the Women's Institute and made such a spectacular and bold display:

With thoughtful minds and grateful hearts we wandered home for hot chocolate and Sunday lunch, giving thanks for those who gave their tomorrow for our today.

Donna x 


Hello and happy Friday!

I'm having a lovely Friday.  It started with an early breakfast and a drive over to Cooper's Creative, Skipton, to meet my lovely Creative Friends for a couple of hours of conversation, laughter, tea and crumpets.  I so look forward to my time there, and find it a place of comfort, happiness and a warm fuzzy feeling of being amongst good friends who 'get' what you do.  Cooper's has become an even bigger part of  my life since I took early retirement this summer, as it gives a certain structure to the week and a huge sense of belonging.  I do love it so much.

I sipped my tea and nibbled my buttered crumpets and carried on making lanterns for my 'Vintage' Mystical Lanterns Blanket.  I am so enjoying making these and have become a little addicted to them, putting aside other projects I have on the go.  

When I got home I had a count up of the lanterns I have finished, giving each one a blast of steam from the iron (hovering over, not touching the crochet) and easing each one into shape.  I have a total of 90 completely finished, plus 10 that  need their ends sewn in (oops, Lucy, must rectify that this evening and catch up!) plus 26 lanterns completed up to round 2 (I'm working them in batches as I find it quicker somehow).  I'm planning to make my blanket a little wider than the pattern so I think I will need 169 full lanterns, plus the halves to square off the pattern.  Anyway, I'm well on the way, so I'm really pleased!

Whilst I had the ironing board out I ironed a few shirts and handkerchiefs and also gave my sleeveless cardigan pieces I had finished (and neglected this week due to lantern making!) a light steaming to relax the stitches ready for sewing up.  I'll block it properly once it's completed and the edging done and show you the finished article.

It's now late afternoon and already the curtains are drawn and the lights are on. The nights are drawing in quickly now. I need to go and do a few chores, but I don't have to cook tonight as Friday night is takeaway curry night! Yum!!

Have a great weekend!

Donna x

Knee High Socks - NAILED IT!

Helloooo!  I'm so glad you have stopped by as I am super excited to be able to tell you I have nailed my knee high sock adaptation! 

Readers of my blog will know I have been experimenting for a while, but have now pulled everything I've learned together and have come with a pattern 'recipe' that works, for me at least.  All credit for the original pattern goes to Christine, Winwick Mum.  Without her excellent pattern, and the encouragement of my friend, Lucy, Attic24, I would never, ever, in a zillion years, have been able to master sock knitting.  Thank you so much ladies (for my new addiction...)

So, to recap, after knitting socks for my husband and daughter, I made my first knee high pair here, and finding they were a little too baggy on my ankles and feet, made my second pair here.  These came up too snug around the top of my leg (and were also too short, but I think that was down to a different yarn.  More about that later.)

Both pairs also had a tendency to slip down whilst walking, so I wanted to experiment with 'knitting in elastic'

I had already started pair number three, but frogged it when I realised pair number two were too snug around the top.  No matter, better to start again and get it right (hopefully!)

I finished the first of the new ones on Tuesday and wore it all day yesterday to test the holding up properties of the knitting in elastic.  This meant a day of wearing odd socks!  Most of the day I was home but I took Daisy Dog for a walk and got talking to a nice couple with a little dog.  I wondered if I should explain my odd socks to them, but thought it was waayyy too complicated, so I said nothing (I'm probably considered the village eccentric now...)

I am pleased to say the sock stayed up really well.  There was some minor slippage after about an hour, but nothing I can't live with.  I am going to stick with this for the ribbing of all my socks now, as it really helps the recovery of the ribbing and it almost invisible.

So, here it is!!

It's not quite as long as pair number one, but the odd thing is there are 170 leg rounds in this sock, as opposed to 140 in pair number one!  I spoke to Christine (Winwick Mum) about this a little while ago and she suggested that the different sock yarns knit up quite differently, and she is absolutely right.  Look at the difference below, with the shortest sock 30 rounds more in the leg!

From this I have definitely learnt to follow Christine's advice in her 'Sockalong' and try the sock on as I go!  I have also discovered that for my own legs I need a total length of 11 inches, or 28 cm, (unblocked measurement) from the casting on of the rib to the top of the heel flap.  This measurement is far more accurate than any amount of round counting I can do, now I have learned the variance in sock yarns.

So, without further ado, here is the finished recipe I used!

Original pattern:  Adapted from Winwick Mum's fantastic Sockalong pattern.

Yarn:  King Cole Zig Zag .  Each sock is approximately 60g, which means I now need two balls of sock yarn, but I knit one sock from each ball and there is enough left on each ball to knit a sock for my husband or daughter, so I can still get two pairs of socks from two balls of yarn. 

Cast on: 68 stitches

Rib: 40 rounds, holding the knitting in elastic alongside the yarn, and knitting them both together.  Drop the elastic at the end of the rib and then weave in the end of the elastic and continue with just the yarn.

Decreasing:  Decrease one stitch each side of leg on rounds 50, 60, 70, 80, 100 (including the rib) ending up with 56 stitches (or the number needed to fit your measurement).

Leg rounds: I ended up knitting a total of 170 rounds, including the rib, but as I said above this varies wildly depending on the yarn you are using so try on as you go.  For me this means about 11 inches (28 cm) of leg, measuring to the top of the heel flap.

Heel flap:  35 rows

Foot:  56 rounds (I have UK size 7.5 feet) but again, do follow Christine's Sockalong advice and try on as you go.  There is absolutely no substitute for trying on!

Toe:  As per Christine's instructions, ending up with 28 stitches.

I cast on the second of the pair today, so hopefully I can wear a matching pair before too long!

I am thrilled to have got this cracked as I do personally prefer knee high socks and these are just so warm and cosy, and a perfect fit ;)

Who'd have thought I could actually knit socks??   I still can't quite believe it!!  Follow Winwick Mum's  pattern and you can't go far wrong.

Donna x