Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bleak House

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year.

Today, I think, was the coldest.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sweet Spot

Craving something sweet last night I tried this chocolate cake in a mug from here. I used half the amount of sugar and replaced the cocoa with cacao powder and only used half, and maybe went a little over with the chocolate hazelnut spread, but it was super yummy!

I made it again today, doubling the recipe as I did last night but divvying it up between three teacups. It went down a treat especially with The Most Adorable Granddaughter#5 who came for lunch following church.

Later, we met up with her family to feed deer at the local park. Son#3, or more specifically DIL#3, had collected a huge bag of acorns and given them to Son#2 a little while ago, and the deer certainly appreciated the treat.

And before the day became too cold for little ones (and bigger ones, too)  there was time to play in the park and kick up some leaves.

Even a sun lover like me can appreciate the beauty in a winter's day. ... But it's always nice to return home to a warm fire ... and maybe another sweet treat!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Pikelet Picnic Please

This afternoon DH and I had the pleasure and privilege of babysitting The Most Adorable Granddaughters#4, #5, and #6. We decided to make pikelets and take them outside if a sunny corner could be found.

The girls found a perfect corner, DH moved table and chairs, and a picnic tray complete with cream and jam for the pikelets and a pot of Rose Early Grey tea was set.

All that was needed then was an attitude of thankfulness, a desire to enjoy what was on offer, and a healthy appetite.

Pikelets were eaten until "I'm full up to here" and it was time to do a little gardening while the sun was still shining and swap photographers (i.e. I'm no longer the one behind the camera.) By the way, Miss Almost Five (The Most Adorable Granddaughter#5) is the one with the 'eye' when it comes to interesting shots.

My Most Recent Embarrassing Moment

As an introvert I'm not comfortable doing anything that is likely to bring attention to myself. For a long time my most embarrassing moment was one that someone else had caused. (Ever had someone over a loud speaker in a crowded car park give directions on how to reverse your car out of a tight space? Son#4, who was in the front passenger seat, slid down so low no one would have known he was in the car! I doubt he has forgiven me for that one yet). But my most recent embarrassing moment is solely my fault and responsibility. Unfortunately.

And, strangely, involves a car again.

A few weeks ago my phone went off as I was getting into my car to drive home after a work meeting. Once in the car, I checked the message that was from my son and said out loud (yes, I talk to myself) that I would reply once I got home. I then threw the phone onto the front passenger seat and proceeded to drive home.

I was quite buoyed up after the meeting and as I was driving I burst into song. Michael W. Smith's How Majestic is Your Name. Now let's get it clear: I am not a singer as much as I'd like to think I am. I cannot get the high notes in that song.

Now that didn't matter because I was alone. Or so I thought.

I stopped at traffic lights and could hear laughter. I glanced around. No pedestrians and the people in the car next to me were ignoring me.

I shrugged my shoulders and kept singing.

Shortly after arriving home, the phone rang. The landline. DH answered it. The conversation on the other end went something like this ...

"Is Mum home ... Is she okay ... Has she been taking something ... ?"

Perplexed, DH gave the phone to me.

Apparently when I had thrown my phone onto the car seat I had accidentally rung Son#2 who, according to him, put me on speaker phone and enjoyed a laugh at my expense.

Now my son knows all my faults and most of my weaknesses but to prove to his wife that I am so very far from perfect was face-reddening embarrassing!

I'm just so grateful that I wasn't carrying on a conversation with myself!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Prism Shawl

(By Tania Fiber Arts.)

My Sweet Blueberry Shawl (almost done even after undoing more stitches than my heart could handle!) uses the border pattern (and other design elements) from Tanis Fiber Arts Prism Shawl. This is a beautiful design and easy enough for the beginner shawl knitter except, as I discovered when I reached this point in my own knitting, the instructions can cause some confusion.

I'm hoping to help clear up the confusion because, after charting the pattern and doing the maths and reading dozens of comments, I realised that I was over-thinking it all and that there really is a simple way to work the pattern. And it is achievable for any knitter who has managed to get to the border stage without losing their mind.

Basically, once the border is reached, there MUST be a multiple of 15 stitches on both halves between the edge stitches and the centre stitch AND the usual yarn overs that are worked before and after these stitches are still worked but as a part of the pattern - not in addition to the pattern.

Clear as mud?

I'll try and explain ... for Row One of the pattern, work the three edge stitches, then begin the pattern as charted and repeat until the centre stitch. Work a yarn over before the centre stitch (essentially you will start building a new pattern repeat either side of the centre stitch - it will become clearer in the next row). Knit the centre stitch and then begin the pattern repeats again, ending with a yarn over before the last three edge stitches.

All wrong side rows are worked as previously: that is, work three edge stitches as set, purl to last three stitches, work edge stitches.

Row Three, work the three edge stitches, work pattern repeat to centre stitch. This time you will work yarn over, knit one, yarn over before the centre stitch. Knit the centre stitch and begin the pattern again and work to the edge stitches, ending with yarn over, knit one, yarn over as in first half.

Continue in this fashion, working edge stitches, working pattern repeat to the centre, always working a yarn over before the centre stitch. By now you'll realise that you're simply repeating the pattern until you run out of stitches before the centre - i.e. pattern repeated x times, and then partly worked again until no more stiches before centre, but always finishing with yarn over before knitting the centre stitch. The second half is worked the same as the first half, always beginning with the yarn over in the pattern immediately after the centre stitch and ending with yarn over immediately before edge stitches. Don't try and get complicated and chart out both halves. You'll only discover - as I did - that working it the way I have described turns out to be exactly the same as if you'd charted both sides to be worked mirror-image fashion.

Still confused? Check out this PDF file where the pattern is written out fully for the border. (I've checked and double checked and tripled checked so that hopefully there are no mistakes. Typing up knitting abbreviations can result in some unusual auto-corrects!).

Work in progress (and yes, the green yarn is a 'lifeline' and I'm very thankful I put it in) ...


Finished but not blocked (and ends not sewn in yet) ...

Blocking (I can't find my T-pins so quilting pins will have to do) ...

Dry and now just waiting for those loose threads to be sewn in. (I could have blocked more aggressively but this is large enough and I'm happy with the way the lace and eyelets opened up with blocking. I haven't wrapped it around my shoulders yet but I estimate it would be lower than waist on me which was what I wanted) ... 

I'm super happy with the two colours I used in Malabrigo Sock Yarn: Cote D Azure (gorgeous deep blue) and Abril (purple). DH commented that they were old fashioned colours that worked together well. I think that was praise indeed!