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Monday, 17 February 2020

Some New Birds on the Block


Down in Cornwall again, and spent much of the first day indoors, sheltering from Storm Dennis. And surprisingly there seemed a very different selection of birds to look at from my kitchen window. The normal groups of tits were all there (blue, great, coal and long-tailed), but there were a large number of finches. At one point I could see six gold finches, and they seemed like quite an argumentative bunch. But they also seemed to like sitting in the bushes and on the fence posts near my birdfeeders, which helped me in my aim to get a few more natural looking photos.



The River Tamar was very flooded yesterday, so perhaps these birds had had to leave their normal territories. Today the river is back within its banks, and I have not seen any sight of the finches. I slightly wish I had made a bit more of their appearance.


Apart from the goldfinches, there was also a few of this bird, which I think is a siskin, and chaffinches. I also saw a grey wagtail, and then a grey heron down on the pond. I didn't manage to photograph these, but it was nice to see the heron fishing in the pond.




 I wonder who will turn up next.


https://ginxcraft.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/ginx-woolly-linx-party-march.html

Just a reminder that there is still plenty of time left to join in my Ginx Woolly Linx party for Feburary. Click on the photo above or at the top of the page to find the party. I would love to see what you have been working on this month.

Fingerless Gloves


I had left my gloves in the country, so decided to make myself a new pair. I have used this pattern before, when I made these mittens and gave them to a friend: Margot's Garden Fingerless Mittens.  


I love the design, and fingerless is usually my favourite sort of glove. Perfect if you have jobs to do, or photographs to take. I didn't look back at the previous post, but once again I extended the ribbed sections for the wrist. 



https://ginxcraft.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/ginx-woolly-linx-party-march.html

Just a reminder that there is still plenty of time left to join in my Ginx Woolly Linx party for Feburary. Click on the photo above or at the top of the page to find the party. I would love to see what you have been working on this month.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Nuthatch and Woodpecker


Sometimes I think that the nuthatch is teasing me. "Yes ha ha, I'm here on the feeder, but I'm not going to sit on the side facing you." But eventually after watching for quite a while, he did come round to the other side and show himself, and I even think he might have been posing a bit for me.







I have the same problem with the woodpecker. He flies down to the feeders, and likes to sit on the palm tree, but frequently peeking at me from the other side. Sometimes even the minute I pick up my camera he is off. Back he goes to sit in the big oak tree. I can see him up there, but he is too far away. Again with a bit of patience I have managed to get some photos of him. He is so beautiful it is worth perservering.







https://ginxcraft.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/ginx-woolly-linx-party-march.html

Just a reminder that there is still plenty of time left to join in my Ginx Woolly Linx party for Feburary. Click on the photo above or at the top of the page to find the party. I would love to see what you have been working on this month.


Sunday, 2 February 2020

Gardening Diary


Here is the first of my gardening diaries. All the gardening books I've read seem to say that January is a quiet time of year, when you should really just be planning, but it does seem that there has been quite a lot to do. I am not sure how many will be interested in these gardening posts, but am partly doing this for myself as a record of our first year here. 

Above is our vegetable plot as we inherited it. And at the bottom of this post I am planning to put some pictures of it at the end of the month, where hopefully there will be some nicely dug areas. Perhaps like those house makeover shows I should use filters and camera tricks to enhause the difference!


I have a few areas that I am a bit worried about. The first is the area beside the polytunnel, which I think is full herbs. I can recognise quite a few: bay, sage, some that I call curry plant, as well as some fruit bushes and some rhubarb. At the moment it is just going to be left to see what else might appear in the Spring.


Second concern is the poly-tunnel itself. It is great to have it, but I am not quite sure how to use it. On one side is a vine, which I am hoping will spring into life. The previous owner had some tomato plants, which seem like a good idea. I also thought it might be a good place to grow peppers. So any advice on good ways to use a poly-tunnel would be very welcome. Not quite sure what to do with these strawberries. Are they dead, or will they spring back to life. I may see if I can rescue some of the plants, but think I will start a strawberry bed outdoors.


As it does also contain a chair, I think perhaps the best use for the poly-tunnel might be somewhere to shelter when it is raining.

The middle bed was the hardest to dig, as one end was full of teasel plants.

Jobs we have done so far are: taking down the runner bean wigwams, pruning the raspberry canes, pruning the gooseberry bushes (bit worried I may have overdone this, but it seemed better than doing nothing). And digging, digging digging.  The soil seems quite easy to work, and is full of worms. My husband got a soil testing kit, and tells me it is 7.5, but I am not quite sure what to do with this information.

This is my very rough plan for planting. I may not stick to this, as I quite like the idea of mixing a few flowers in with the vegetable, but it is somewhere to start.


My gardening book says now is the time to start chitting your seed potatoes. So we have bought two types - maris peers and arran pilot, and here they are chitting, which means putting them somewhere cool and light, so they will start sprouting and be ready to plant.



One other thing we did was buy a rhubarb forcer. I was sure I had seen a tiny rhubarb stalk, and after a bit of searching we found it again. As you can see there is quite a bit of clearing to do.

After a bit of weeding it was a bit more obvious ...

... and now with the rhubarb forcer in place

And here as promised are some photos of the plot at the end of the month. Taken from the opposite direction, you can also see see my little helper, and behind the vegetable plot, the fruit trees. Two out of three of the main areas have been dug over, despite the cold weather.



So apologies for the length of this post, and I will keep you updated with what is going on in the garden next month. I will probably post mid-month, as doing it at the end seems a bit of a clash with my link party. I would welcome any advice in the comments column, as I am very new to this and am sure to be making some mistakes.

And to finish off some pictures of other parts of the garden. Just to show that there are a few signs that Spring is on its way. Much of it is quite wild, and I am trying hard to rethink my suburban garden ways. "No need to sweep up all the leaves, and nettles will be good for butterflies next year."



https://ginxcraft.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/ginx-woolly-linx-party-march.html

Just a reminder that there is still a little bit of time left to join in my Ginx Woolly Linx party for February. Click on the photo above or at the top of the page to find the party. I would love to see what you have been working on this month.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Ginx Woolly Linx Party February


Welcome to the February Party. For some this is a difficult time of year. The weather is a bit cold, and Spring still seems far away. But for those of us who like to work with wool, this can be a good time. Not too many distractions, and nice to snuggle up by the fire in the evening, and work away on a project. Thank you to everyone who linked up last month. It is always lovely to see what you have been working on.

If you need some inspiration from the January party.

Selbst-die-Frau has made this lovely crochet cardigan. It is so elegant, know if I had this it would be something I would wear all the time.

Ulrike's Smaarting has made some Fred and George (Weasley) socks. I have not seen this pattern before, but love the reversal of the colours on each sock.

And I may have a bit of a theme as Flickensalat has also made some cheerful socks inspired by Harry Potter.

And finally Handmade by Amalia has embroidered this lovely little house in the woods. Please remember you don't just have to link knitting and crochet, and I would love to see other crafts, or anything you have made from yarn or wool.



You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Remember if you were picked as a feature you can put the "I was featured" button on your blog. 





Monday, 20 January 2020

"Sloths are Trending"


I mentioned that I was working on a new pattern for a slightly more unusual Christmas decoration. As is usual I didn't get it made in time. There were prototypes which weren't quite right (I will show these below), and reknitting to check the instructions made sense. 

Now the pattern is complete, but the question was do I publish now, or wait until next Christmas. But "sloths are trending" said my daughter. And she is right, I see them everywhere - sloths on cards, chocolate sloths, a sloth on a hot water bottle cover .... Have you noticed how there are definite trends in animals? Llamas and alpacas are also everywhere, the unicorn trend has been going for a while. Do you remember when flamingoes were all over the place? Actually it is not just animals - cacti were big last year, and before that there was a time when there seemed to be a lot of moustaches about.


I wonder how this happens. Is it marketing companies, or perhaps since we are all online so much it is powered by the people? I would like to think that "sloths are trending" because I heard David Attenborough say in an interview that the animal he would most like to be is a sloth. I wonder what the next fashionable animals or motif might be?


So because "sloths are trending" I am releasing the pattern now, and may do something to promote it again before next Christmas. He doesn't have to be a seasonal decoration, and I can imagine them pinned on a pencil cases or rucksacks, or keyrings.

As with most of my patterns you could make it from oddments, and it will not take you long. There are a few fiddly bits, with casting on and off, shortrows, a chart for the face, and I grafted the top of the head, but it is fine if you want to just cast off and sew a seam. But on the positive side there are just 3 pieces to knit (the body and arms, the head, and the stomach). So if you are not used to some of the techniques I have mentioned, don't let that put you off. A small project like this is quite a good way to learn something you have not done before. The pattern is available in ravelry, LoveKnitting and Etsy.


My sample sloths are going to my Etsy shop, and if you would like one in a different colour just message me. With the first two I was going for realistic, but then could not resist making one in pink. 


I would love to hear you predictions of the next animal or object to be trending ... Perhaps I can try to get ahead of the game next time.

And finally just to show you the evolution of the sloth. Husband calls the first two attempts "evolutionary deadends".




https://ginxcraft.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/ginx-woolly-linx-party-march.html

Just a reminder that there is still a little bit of time left to join in my Ginx Woolly Linx party for January. Click on the photo above or at the top of the page to find the party. I would love to see what you have been working on this month.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

2CV Cushion


My last new pattern was for a 2CV cushion. I got the idea for this project from Jo, who saw my Henrietta 2CV pattern, and sent me a message on Etsy to see if I had a pattern for a cushion. I didn't, but I thought it was such a good idea, I set to work make one. And when it was done I sent her a copy. She has sent me some photos of the cushion that she made, and I have been holding them back so as not to spoil the Christmas surprise for someone.


She had done a fantastic job, and very quickly. I really like her method for the back of the cushion. Much more practical than mine, which may have to be unpicked at some point, when it needs washing.

I have really had very little interest in the pattern, but actually suspect it may be one of those slowburners. But my own 2CV cushion has sold, and is now in  France! Very happy about that, and am thinking of making another one.  

Also I have just thought that I would mention that I have rethought my pricing of knitting items on Etsy. I have removed all the postage fees, and adjusted the pricing. It was almost impossible to keep the postage accurate, as it seems to go up so often, and the rules about weight and size of packages seem quite hard to follow. I also find it a bit annoying to put something in your basket and then find that the postage puts it beyond what you are happy to pay. So I will see what happens ....


https://ginxcraft.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/ginx-woolly-linx-party-march.html

Just a reminder that there is still a little bit of time left to join in my Ginx Woolly Linx party for January. Click on the photo above or at the top of the page to find the party. I would love to see what you have been working on this month.