Sunday, 22 May 2022

Sunday 22nd May - Daily Drawings

 But first, my first ever baby surprise jacket, knitted in 1986 from the pattern in the Sunday Times.  

The original pattern was for a double-breasted jacket. Later versions are single breasted, with an additional bit for increasing the overall length, and also some very slight shaping to the sleeves at the cuff.

I remember that I was running out of yarn, and had difficulty in managing the cast off - the result was that the jacket was so tight around the neck that I always buttoned it as single-breasted! Also, Never, Ever use these cute fancy buttons on a knitted garment for a baby. They were an absolute nightmare to fiddle through the buttonholes. I've kept very few of the baby clothes from when my children were tiny; this jacket in one of them.

I'm still on track with the daily drawings. Sometimes it is a bit of a problem thinking of what to draw. I have been tempted to just write 'this page intentionally left blank'...

Sunday 8th May; I met the three ladies from Ukraine staying with my cousin on a zoom call. They are wonderful! 

Friday 13th May; we used to have the same problem with our previous cats as our neighbour has with theirs; they used to follow us when we went for a walk. Next door's cat gives up and goes home after a short distance, but ours kept on and on, so that I often had to go home and shut them in the house. They were a liability on a walk, as they would attack any dog on sight...

Friday 21st May; I have at last settled on a design for this month's embroidery. I don't think it is going to be as complicated as this drawing...

 The design Ang chose is one of the ideas I had been playing with - she has posted pictures, but the parcel hasn't arrived just yet. I can't wait to see it for real! 

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Saturday 21st May - No Tea!

The worst has happened - we have run out of ordinary, 'brown' tea!

I like to go out into the garden in the morning with a mug of English Breakfast tea and see what is going on.

I have all kinds of ginger tea, peppermint tea, 'relax', peace', night time', 'refresh' or 'revive' tea, 

but no English Breakfast Tea. At least, not until tomorrow, when normal tea drinking can be resumed.

I did discover an ancient packet of Darjeeling in a dark corner, marked 'best before October 2020'. It was certainly a long way past its best and was promptly tipped into the compost bin.

The compost bin that I bought maybe 25 years ago has been worth every penny that it cost. It contents have survived a smouldering fire, (too many grass clippings) and drowning, (too many rotten potatoes from a sackful that went off faster than we could eat them) and now I am hoping it will survive relocation.

It is a green johanna, (now faded to grey with age) designed to operate in a shady spot, and since the shed was dismantled six years ago it receives full sun for half the day. Quite often we find all the worms have climbed to the top, waiting for an opportunity to escape the heat it generates. It has coped with everything we put into it including bones, meat and fish scraps, egg shells as well as the usual vegetable waste. I've even used it as a sort of shredding machine, tearing up papers into strips and stirring them in. Everthing, that is, except apple stickers, peach stones and tea leaves. And we do get tomatoes growing in surprising places in the garden after using the compost.

The plan is to empty it and move it to a place in the shade of the new shed. So far we have he has dug out about 50 litres of beautiful compost from the base, leaving it more than half empty. The last, and smellier, contents will need excavation, and then I'm hoping we can roll it to its new position. 

 I'm very anxious that Johanna should survive the move, as the same bin costs about £130 nowadays! 

I know there are others, which are cheaper, but the dear old Johanna has proved to be predator proof - living near open ground and a stream there are plenty of opportunist foxes and rats about.   

The vegetable patch is looking wonderful; those are potatoes sacks in a row at the front, spaghetti marrows and tiny kale plants in the middle row and then lettuces, broad beans and Brussel sprouts in the third row. I spend a lot of time here, just looking and watching.

Then there is the garlic, with tiny little radishes just coming through, and behind that the tomato plants. Today I discovered a couple of sunflowers left over from last year making their way up through the forest of broad beans.

The plastic bottles make good cane toppers and bird scarers.

This part of the garden is still a work in progress. The three wooden barrels, from left to right are sweet peas and sunflowers, poppies, and herbs. I've also got courgettes and dwarf beans behind; the plan is to train the courgettes up canes like vines, to keep the courgettes off the soil and away from pests, and for space-saving, and because it might look pretty as well.   

But I've no idea where to put the pumpkin!

Friday, 20 May 2022

Friday 19th May - Dozy sort of week

 I don't know where he time went - things just kept happening. Nothing majorly major. 

Every so often, about once in two years, I get distracted when sorting out 'morning pills' and 'evening pills'. If I'm lucky (!) all that happens is that I miss a complete set. But just occasionally, I take the wrong set. Like on Monday night. I woke up at about 2am thinking 'there was one of those shiny blue capsules in that handful I took at bedtime, which means I used the 'morning box' instead of the 'evening box'. So I spent the rest of the night waking up from time to time and trying to work out if that is what happened, and what to do about it... if I had actually taken the wrong ones...

The worst consequence was only a disturbed night's sleep - I came to the conclusion that as long as I didn't take the morning pills AGAIN, everything would probably be fine. And it was.

But Tuesday was another disturbed night - too hot. 

I find that a couple of 'non-sleeping nights' can really slow me down the next day. It would have been okay, but several piano pupils have changed their lesson times this week and that always throws me as well.

Sitting and knitting might have been restful, but I had ripped out the Adult Surprise Jacket I had started, as I was feeling very doubtful about the measurements I had concocted. I went on the Schoolhouse Press website and bought the digital pattern, downloaded it, read through, recalculated and cast on again. I was right in that my previous attempt was wrong.  

In my befuddled state it took several attempts to write up the figures for the size I am making, cast on 268 stitches and mark the decrease points, and then get the first couple of rows done but eventually (several hours later!) all was well.

Do you know about knitting bowls?

It is a wonderful accessory. The surface is highly polished, and the rim curves inwards just a little, enough to persuade the ball of wool to stay inside. The curly whirly slit comes into its own when the ball becomes too light to stay inside of its own accord. I used a small wooden bowl until I was given the real article as a birthday present. The bowl was OK, but nowhere near as good as the real thing.

I have been going through the bookshelves and CD stacks and music (piano music) piles to see if I can sell them to The reject pile was twice the size of the accept pile, but I still had enough books to be able to arrange collection by courier. Here's hoping they will still be happy to accept them once they have seen them. Meanwhile that's about two feet of bookshelf space cleared.

I'll try the rejects again when we go through the next set of shelves. Maybe they will take them then. Otherwise - there's a fete happening soon on our local common and a flyer came through the door for contributions for the bookstall. They are about to get lucky! Or unlucky...

We have been sleeping much better since we changed the duvet from the all-season one to the summer one on Wednesday night - even Wednesday's thunderstorms didn't keep us awake. Hopefully a couple of night's sleep will clear the brain fog...