Thursday, December 23, 2010

Enjoying the season

Recently, I've been enjoying walks in the snow:

Baking Christmassy treats:

[Chocolate bark is such a fab idea - simple and effective. I was lucky enough last year to receive a rather large bag of the stuff from my good friend Amy, so I have really just nabbed her idea. My versions are white chocolate bark topped with cranberry and pecan and dark chocolate with sour cherry and toasted almonds. Tasty tasty, if I do say so myself! ]

and doing the odd bit of secret gift knitting and sewing:

Hope you're keeping warm and enjoying the holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I started to feel a little Christmassy the other day. I popped out to the supermarket to buy some milk and I was greeted by the sound of the Salvation Army band playing carols. It made me feel all warm inside, which was lovely as my hands felt like they were about to drop off after being subjected to the icy weather outside. For some reason I seem to think that driving places negates the need for a coat and many handknit items. How wrong this is! 

When I was driving home I started thinking about all the wonderful handknit items I was given as a child. My Grandma Sunshine was a fantastic knitter. At Christmas her 5 great-grandchildren would receive a beautifully handknit jumper. My particular favourite was Mrs. Rabbit depicted in intarsia, complete with a fluffy pompom tail on the back.

One item of Sunshine's knitting that remains in my possession is my baby blanket:

It has definitely been well loved over the years, patching up the holes and returning it to it's former glory is on my to do list.  It's pretty easy to see my younger-self's naff attempt at fixing it. Rather than attempting to replicate the beautiful lacey seams I used a mixture of cotton sewing machine thread (!) and yellow-y cream wool to crudely stitch the squares together. It's probably going to take some time to do it properly.

Until recently I hadn't been aware of any other serious knitters within the family, but a couple of weeks ago I was helping my Grandma sort through her things in her loft. We came across this:


This was knit by my maternal great Grandmother for my Mum when she was a baby. This same blanket hung on my cot and my sister's. My Grandma was going to throw away this beautiful piece of knitting! I couldn't believe it, so a rescued it. When I took the above picture the blanket appeared to be quite rigid and stiff, it was almost squeaky to touch. This led me to think the it was made out of an acrylic based yarn.  However I washed the blanket yesterday and it's turned into a fluid piece of fabric, which is very soft and fluffy, so now I'm not so sure. I feel very lucky to now be the new owner of lovely blanket. 

I'm feeling inspired to create my own blanket, if only I knew of some prospective parents who needed such an item!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another homemade hat

This was my travel knitting for a recent trip to Manchester:

I've made many Gretels before, but all have been gifted away.  In the past I’ve always made the middle size, but for some reason this time I decided to knit the smallest size. This turned out  to be quite small. It took some fierce blocking to get it to the size I wanted! It just about covers my ears.

I used Fyberspates Scrumptious Aran. I love the colour but it's not a soft as I thought it would be. It's still lovely though.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Silver Lining

Over the past few months I've been telling myself everything happens for a reason. I've been trying to look for the positive elements in everything that happens.

The decision to move back in with my parents was good,as my parents own a microwave. Thus, it is possible to have an endless supply of lovely hot chocolate within 2 minutes, rather than faffing around with pans on the hob. (Although, I do have to admit it's slightly less satisfying!)

Earlier this week a job interview was postponed until next week because of the weather. This is actually really good as I have an extra week to prepare!

This morning I discovered my application to volunteer at Our Chalet next summer has only just been signed and posted off to Switzerland from GGUK headquarters in London. Despite the fact I posted it off two weeks ago, via next day delivery, and informed the individual I sent it to by email it was on it's way. My application then sat for 11 days in GGUK reception! The deadline for applications to reach Switzerland was yesterday. My dream of spending next summer hiking and enjoying the beautiful Swiss Alps has seemingly been shattered. I can only hope the manager of Our Chalet takes pity on my pleading email asking if they can still accept my signed application when it arrives! 

I failed to see anything positive in this whole mess, so I treated myself to some Baby Alpaca and a skein of beautiful hand dyed merino yarn from Ring-a-Rosie.

It's the silver lining to my disappointing day!