Wednesday 29 April 2020

Ginx Woolly Linx Party May

It is hard to believe that a whole month has passed, and apart from our weekly trip to the supermarket, and the occasional parcel delivery, I have seen no one except my immediate family. What also puzzles me, is why have I not got more knitting done? I really should have, but I have been a bit distracted by the garden, and having more wildlife to photograph.

I do hope that everyone who visits here is keeping well, in body and in mind. It is very hard times, but I do think that keeping busy with creative activities helps.

Thank you to everyone who joined in the party for April. It gets more and more difficult to pick the features, and even if you were not selected this month I do enjoy looking at all your projects.

First of all Lalka Crochetka has made this wonderful old motorbike. It is just amazing in all the details.

I love this blanket, made by Sandra of Hakelfieber. The 3D effect created by the shadow is really great.

Tonna of Sew Crafty Crochet has made this, and another equally lovely baby blanket, to donate to the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society for new babies.

And finally Con Hilos, Lanas y Botones has made this adorable little baby - Ruben. If you click on the link you will see how his little dungarees can be taken off.

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. 

Thursday 23 April 2020

Birds in the Garden

We have a lot of birds visiting the garden, and I had decided to try to photograph them not on the feeders. But it is so difficult, as that is where they like to be. So I have not stuck to my new rule, and here are a few pictures (actually quite a lot of them) of birds I have seen in the back garden since the lockdown began.

The long-tailed tits are just adorable.

I am also very fond of the nuthatches, although in this pose he reminds me of an angrybird.

Blue tits and chaffinches are also frequent visitors, as well as the great spotted woodpecker.

I have also photographed some birds in the hedge next to the feeder.  I really think they have some sort of queueing system, waiting there until they can swoop in. What is difficult is focussing on the bird. If I leave my camera on auto-focus, I often get a really nice photo of a twig or leaf. But to manually focus you have to be really quick, or the bird is off.

I did not know what this bird was at first, but have found out it is a dunnock or hedge sparrow. We get quite a lot of them, and house sparrows. I am still trying to photograph a tree sparrow.

This is another bird where I had to get out my book. It is a female chaffinch.

In this photograph they are queueing and social distancing.

The goldfinches are some of the cheekiest birds in the garden.

Finally the rooks who don't often come down to garden, but have been very busy building nests a squawking in the large trees near the road. I feel a bit sorry that they don't get much admiration.

I am still on the look out for new arrivals - swifts, swallows and housemartins.  And also wonder that I have not seen a greenfinch. 

And as for the tawny owls in the barn, there was much more coming and going last night, so we think that they may have hatched and the parents are feeding.

Just a reminder that there is still plenty of time left to join in my Ginx Woolly Linx party for April. 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 19 April 2020

Completely Handmade Cushions

I put a picture a few weeks ago of some chunky wool I had, and decided in the end to make some new cushions from it. My husband was not keen on this idea, as the last cushions that I knitted looked lovely at first, but went saggy quite quickly. But I found a lovely pattern on ravelry Knitted ZigZag Cushion, and convinced him and myself that if I made these with slightly smaller needles than suggested, combined with the fair isle pattern meaning wool will be carried across the back, they would knit up into a nice firm, dog-proof, fabric.

I think I was right, but I guess only time will really tell. The pattern has a stripe of moss stitch at the top and bottom. I did start off with this, but because I did not have the right sized needles, it was much wider that the rest of the knitting. So I back unravelled this at the very end - not that easy a thing to do.  I really love the way the colours look together.

So I had quite a bit of wool left over, but not enough to make another cushion from this zigzag pattern. I started off trying to knit a very simple fair isle design, just with spots, but half-way through realised that I was going to run out of wool before it was a square. So that was unravelled too, and cushion number two is a bit simpler, just rows of stripes.

I have called this my "completely handmade cushions", as the intention had been to machine sew the fabric backs. I don't have my own sewing machine here, but thought I could use my daughter's mini John Lewis one. But unfortunately we can't get this to work - the stitch just keeps going long and then short. So the only solution seemed to be a bit of hand-sewing. I do enjoy a bit of hand stitching, but this was a bit much, as it involved removing the zips from the old cushions, sewing them into a new back, hemming the back pieces, and them sewing the knitted fronts to the thick back fabric with wool.

I am really pleased with the finished cushions, but am not going to sew anything by hand for a while. Finally I can start on my mail order wool.

Just a reminder that there is still plenty of time left to join in my Ginx Woolly Linx party for April. 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.

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Gardening Diary April

We are making good progress in the vegetable garden. To be honest I am probably spending a lot of time gardening because of the lockdown. It is lovely to be outdoors in the fresh air, and as well as the gardening there are birds, insects and animals to see every day.

Having said that I am enjoying the animals, I may also be turning into a bit of a Mr McGregor. I am being very careful to shut the gate so that the rabbits can't  get in, but I am also worried about the rooks. A large amount of noisy rooks are nesting near the plot, and I do wonder if they will be interested in the plants. So we are still thinking of a scarecrow, or other ways to keep them off the plants, but haven't done anything about this yet. We do have some nice bits of bent wire fencing, that the previous owners left, which are very handy to place over the young plants. It also keeps our dog off. She seems to be getting the hang of gardening.

So for a few weeks we have been planting, with not much sign of anything coming up. But in the last week things are starting to get going, and it is exciting to head up to the plot to see what new shoots there are. Probably experienced gardeners don't get the thrill that I am from this. I tried taking some photos of plants shooting, but to be honest they did not look that exciting, so for this month you will have to make do with reading.

So far the early potatoes are doing well, and there is also signs of some peas, broad beans, jerusalem artichokes, and carrots I think (although they are very small). 

I have also planted today straight into the plot our runner beans (perhaps a bit early), sunflowers, radishes, and rocket.  Rather pleased with out bean wigwams.

In the polytunnel I have some tomatoes that have just come up in a propagator, as well as some sweetpeas, squash and courgette of which there is no sign yet. The vine (which had looked rather hopeless) has sprung into life.

I feel very sorry for anyone who runs a garden centre, as there must be so many plants going to waste at the moment. I have found it fairly easy to buy seeds online. This is perhaps making us attempt to grow from seed, whereas we might have bought some young plants if we could have. 

Other things we have done is put a net over the gooseberry bushes, and quite a lot of weeding in the herb area. I am now feeling quite pleased about that digging we did in January, as I think it has made the work now a bit easier. 

So rather than a photo of the vegetable plot, here is the area that I walk up to get to it. And at the top of the page is a very early view of the sun coming up. I am planning to try this again, but it is oh so hard to get up before the sun.

Just a reminder that there is still plenty of time left to join in my Ginx Woolly Linx party for April. 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.

Monday 6 April 2020

"I Love You Blue Kangaroo"

Does anyone remember the book "I Love You Blue Kangaroo"? It was a book I read to my children when they were little, about a girl called Lilly who has a blue kangaroo. It was a book really about getting a new younger sibling. In the end Lilly gives all her other toys to the new baby, but not Blue Kangaroo.

I thought I would have a go at making a blue kangaroo from my new Kangaroo Family Pattern. I've decided to give everything that I make from this pattern to an Australian environmental charity. Something has happened recently that has made me think hard about why I write my rather obscure patterns. (I may write about this when it is resolved.) On one of my mornings off from my proper job I volunteer for an environmental charity, and fortunately can go on doing this from home. I am going to try and write more patterns for endangered animals, and donate any profits to charity. Last year I spent a really long time trying to knit a realistic pangolin. I couldn't quite get it right, but may return to my notes and have another go.

Watched a documentary about pangolin last Christmas.

They are such fascinating creatures - not reptiles but a mammal with scales. They are critically endangered because of the market for their scales.

So thinking about children's books, I would love it if you would like to leave a comment with your favourite children's book. Either that you read to your children or grandchildren, or perhaps from your own childhood. To get the ball rolling I am going to start off with any books by Shirley Hughes, especially the Alfie and Annie Rose stories.

Meanwhile my progress on knitting a cushion with the wool I showed you is going well. I love the way the colours look together, and will show you the finished cushion soon. I have also ordered some wool online, so now have supplies to knit socks for husband and a sweater for my daughter, so I have quite a lot to work on during this confinement.

Just a reminder that there is still plenty of time left to join in my Ginx Woolly Linx party for April. 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.