Yarn, Yorkshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Knit and Natter Friday!

Good Morning Everyone. February has arrived and with it the promise of Spring to come.

At least up here in the Northern Hemisphere. The snowdrops are popping up on almost a daily basis. Just lovely.

My lion is looking resplendent behind the tubs of primulas.

It’s been wonderful to read the posts from those who took part in the RSPB Garden Bird Count. I meant to include  a picture in my post of the rather ingenious feeder Mr E made from a plastic bottle.

The bottom part  he made on the 3D printer. Just as brillaint is the funnel he made from another plastic bottle with another 3D printed connector to the feeder. Clever chap all told.

He’s poorly still I am afraid with what turns out to be the late-term effects of the cancer treatment he received nine years ago. Long story short, he is due an operation next week to see what can be done to help improve things. Hoping it doesn’t get canceled at the last minute. We only found out the date 6 days ago , so trying to get our heads round it all. Meantime we soldier on.

I have enjoyed reading some posts recently about people who signed up to various craft/crochet boxes. Once a quarter or once a month through the post comes a box of goodies, a little project or two, a tea bag, something tasty to eat, maybe a picture. Oh they look nice thinks I , but I don’t need any more projects, but I can do the rest my self. So I found a nice picture postcard in the newsagents and some hyacinths in Morrisons and an ornament of Mums, so all I need is a mug of Earl Grey , a tasty biscuit and some small project and I am away.

Thanks for all the help with the crochet bag last week. I honestly don’t know where I would be without you. I have stitched in all the loose ends and although the joins are less noticeable I think I shall go with the Snails idea and crochet extra flowers to cover up the seam that isn’t.

Meantime the dragon progresses.

Left wing done. Right wing awaits construction, then back feet and claws front and back. Maybe I will get him/her finished this weekend. Stand by your beds for the big Tahdah moment.

I have been swimming three times in January and have so completed the 17 swims for 2017, just four weeks late. I am still working on 14, but I resolved the 15 books read from the heap by the bed. If you recall I had faltered after 12. I had a long hard look at the ones that remained and bagged them up for the charity shop. Result, no more heap by the bed. I know some brave souls are doing 18 for 2018, how are you getting on? No goals for me this year and that is good, no pressure!

Quiet weekend for once coming up. May get out in the garden. I had an hour outside on Wednesday and chopped down more ivy. The sun was shining but the wind was positively arctic so I gave up and came in.

This morning I am off to the hairdressers, I can’t see out from under my fringe, high time for a trim, and then who knows…..

What are your plans this weekend, do tell please.

I love your comments, please do join in with the natter love to hear from you all.

Have a good day, and Be Happy,

Cathyx

 

 

 

 

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January 2018, Books

I love to read, and to share my thoughts on the books that cross my path. Please let me know if you have read any of these and what your thoughts were. This is what I read this month.

Jo Baker- The Picture Book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. Four generations of one family connected by their first names. William a sailor in the  First World War at Gallipoli. Billy his son, a keen amateur cyclist who sees action in Normandy on a bycycle. Will his son has walking difficulties and spends time in a children’s orthopaedic hospital which apart from location strongly resembles the Adele Shaw Hospital for Crippled Children in Kirkbymoorside that I researched last year. The one in the novel even started life as a hospital for wounded soldiers from the first world war, and the descriptions of the buildings and the staff were very recognisable.  Will’s daughter is Billie and she is an artist in London. A good book to start the year.

Lynne Reid Banks- Uprooted- written as an older children’s book, but shelved in the library with adult books, I think because of its story line. This tells the true story of the author’s time in Canada as a refugee  from the second world war. The language was so clever, it really captured how children aged about nine did think and speak. Her style was just like the diary I wrote at that age. It was an easy and enjoyable read.

Juilan Barnes-The Sense of an Ending- A winner of the Man Booker prize, 2011, I am going to have to revisit my opinion of books which win prizes as being weird and unreadable. This is very good indeed. Man looking back over life, themes of history, self-delusion, whether people can or do shape their lives or just go along what is dealt to them. Just a little disappointed with the end , but only a little.

Nick Hornby- Funny Girl- I really enjoyed this book. It starts in the 1960s with a feisty Miss Blackpool , who gives up her title almost immediately for the bright lights of London. There she becomes a successful actress in a TV sitcom. But it is the early 60s and a time of change, how long can a staid comedy about a married couple continue? In places the book was laugh out loud funny, not certain that a much younger reader would find it as funny. Give it a go.

Mark Haddon- The Pier Falls- A collection of short stories. I wouldn’t have borrowed this one had I realised it wasn’t a novel. What to say? They are very imaginative and well constructed, but half of them go way off and are rather odd. The ones that aren’t odd are enjoyable, but in an unexpected way the odd ones are better. Like Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl. But it’s ages since I read Roald Dahl so I might be wrong. I reckon if you like short stories and the unexpected you will love these.

So that was my January reading. Have you read any good books this month. Here’s what I have lined up so far for February.

Should keep me out of mischief!

Great British Bird Watch.

Like many of us Brits I topped up the bird feeders and sat back for an hour this weekend and watched paper and pen in hand , counting birds who stopped by. I have a feeling that only in the UK are we slightly peculiar enough to do such a thing.

Counting birds for an hour across the country on the same weekend helps the RSPB estimate how well the various species of birds are doing year on year and provides information on our general environment. Starlings and sparrows have declined in numbers over the years since I was little. I didn’t see a single starling , whereas when I was a child they dominated the bird feeders. And as I lived then within 1 minutes walk from here, something has clearly happened.

It’s also odd that come the Spring the hedge in our garden is full of nesting starlings, so where are they going in the winter now?

I am pleased though that the same hedge is a brilliant habitat for the sparrows. I had trouble counting this year because we have a lot and they fly off within in seconds. I got to nine on several occasions but think there were more, I just couldn’t keep track of them from feeder to hedge to tree to ground to feeder to hedge.

I had 6 blackbirds in my hour, but I know that there are 8 hereabouts, but the other two must have been in some other garden. Fred my lovely blackbird with the white feathers is still very much with us.

This picture was taken last May. He first appeared in 2016, then a feisty bird who would challenge all the other male blackbirds in the garden . Last year he had clearly matured, he had his nest in the ivy behind the lilac tree and just got on with raising I think a female chick, who may have inherited a few white feathers of her own. He is more subdued now and has retreated to life near the hedges and is avoiding the younger males. Hopefully he will be with us through 2018. Having a very distinctive bird in the garden has provided me with hours of entertainment as well as let me see the behaviour of an individual bird.

As to the rest, the pigeons have cause me the greatest complexity of identification. For the first time we have got feral pigeons in the garden, and less wood pigeons. I spent a long time looking at my bird books and realised that one was actually a stock dove and not a pigeon at all. And we have three very odd looking pigeons who are white with black feathers and I can only conclude that somewhere  the white doves or maybe even racing pigeons have mated with the feral pigeons. Anyway I counted them as feral pigeons as clearly they aren’t anything else.

We have two resident robins but only one turned up. The long-tailed tit also failed to put in an appearance.

But it was an enjoyable experience, and I hope all our findings help the RSPB and the bird populations as a whole.

Unique Blogger?

I was recently nominated for the Unique Bloggers Award by Margaret at the Crafty Creek

Thank you Margaret, I was thrilled to be nominated and included in a list of some very inspiring bloggers.

The idea is to answer three questions, nominate others and then set three more questions. I loved Margaret’s questions, so decided to answer them, then set three new ones and then invite you all to answer any you wish, either on your own blog or in the comments, because I think we are all pretty unique when it comes to the content of our blogs.

Margaret’s questions

What’s your earliest sewing memory?- I was taught to embroider by my friend Jane’s Grandmother. She gave us pre printed fabric and embroidery silks, and away we went. I can picture us sitting in the kitchen/diner in Jane’s home, feeling warm and rather proud as coloured flowers appeared before us. Now that might sound ambitious for beginners, I think I had made things before in binca, etc and done simple running stitch at school, but if I can’t remember that, it’s not a memory! Jane and I both still embroider. So here’s to all the Grans and Nans who take the time to sit with children and nuture their creativity.

What have you made that you are really proud of ? Now you may all recall the hoohah I have made about making buttonholes on scary new sewing machine and putting a zip in last year, for the first time since I left school. So you maybe surprised when I answer a Dressing Gown to this question.

What happened was that I took it into my head 30 years ago to make Mr E a dressing gown, from towelling material. This was not as ambitious as it sounds as MIL was a very talented seamstress, who in the past when I had tried to make a blouse for myself, had taken it off my hands and done the difficult bits, like about made the whole thing. So I bowled along to her house and showed her the fabric and pattern. We laid the fabric out on the table and I waited for instructions. They didn’t come. Long story short, we didn’t know then that she was already beginning to suffer from Alzheimer’s, and no longer knew what to do, and couldn’t help me.

Meantime of course I had lots of expensive fabric which was supposed to be a Christmas present for himself. Well somehow I managed to figure it out what to do, and a very creditable dressing gown it was and it was in use till the fabric fell to bits. I was very proud I did it, but I wish we had all realised then what MIL was suffering.

Is there another craft you would like to try? No laughing now. No not allowed. I would like to have a workshop session with a blacksmith. My 2x grandfather was a blacksmith, and his father before him etc etc, and I would just like to try to walk in their shoes, if only for a couple of hours.

My Questions and answers

1 Somewhere you always wanted to visit? Tempted here to say Peru and New Zealand, which are true, but probably won’t happen. So more realistically I could say the lavender fields in Provence or Manet’s garden, but even those are a bit ambitious at the moment. So my answer is Lowry’s gallery, Beamish Museum or the Styall woollen mill. If I limit myself to one, it would be the woollen mill, again because I have ancestors wo worked in mills.

2 What is the silliest/ or least successful  craft you ever tried? Years ago, maybe 30 again, I attended a craft evening class. In the first term we tried a different craft each week. I remember making candles using wax crayon and empty baked bean tins, and pasta pictures which we spray painted gold. The latter looked like pasta spray painted gold!

3 Of all the crafts you do, which is the most relaxing and why. I think the most relaxing thing I do is knitting. If I start to knit some afternoons, warm and cosy, contented, the motion of the needles becomes quite hypnotic. I often end up needing to have a nap!

So lovely people, over to you, you are all unique and amazing. I’m off to count sparrows now, as you do , for the RSPB bird count. Look forward to reading your comments, and once again thanks to the Crafty Creek, I was honoured.

 

Knit and Natter Friday!

This has been such a busy month for us with one thing and another. Far too much time spent on hospital appointments, garages and dentists, but these things have to be done. The TV was safely delivered last Saturday, it does seem enormous to me and it is still a novelty to push the on button and a picture comes up straightaway. The last one was taking ten goes to get it to start, and it wasn’t a faulty remote control in case you were wondering.

I was able to spend the last hour in the Kirkbymoorside Repair cafe. I gather it had been a very slow day for everyone, which was just as well as not many repairers had been able to attend. A lady from a nearby town had visited having heard of the venture and is very keen to set up one in her community, so that was a big positive for everyone.

I have finished sewing in the ends and adding a black border on the crochet blanket which is to be a raffle prize for the cafe.

I was thrilled that so many people could see the dragon emerging from my knitting last week. I am still working on the same wing, so not much to show this week. I have been able to do some more crochet on the Attic 24 weekend bag, which look bigger now I have done more, but I can’t help feeling there is going to be an awful lot of leftover yarn.

Hoping that when I sew in the ends I can get rid of the joins which look awful to my mind. The instructions said to join on alternative sides and in a different place each time to avoid a seam. I think I would rather have a seam than a mess. Must be me and my poor crochet skills!

So we are at the end of a month and I am quite surprised that I have managed to go a whole month and not buy a scrap of yarn, or a book or fabric. Nothing, zilch in the craft buying department, not even a button or a piece of tape or even glue. Have I turned over a new leaf? I doubt it!!

I am hoping that February will be a quieter month and so have more crafting time. What about the weekend, do you have anything exciting lined up, was January filled with craftiness? How is your stash?

This weekend for me, tomorrow is Holocaust Memorial Day and I am participating in an event in the library, I shall be doing a couple of readings. Sunday is the day I shall do my bird count for the RSPB. According to the pet shop where I get my bird food people have been buying lots of bird food this week in anticipation. We shall have the fattest sparrows and pigeons you ever did see I reckon. Still very good that so many people want to join in and care for our feathered friends.

So over to you now, please join in with the natter wherever you like in the comments. The natter is what makes these Friday posts.

Be Happy,

Cathyx

 

Sunrise

I am not an early bird by any means and for me to see sunrise is rare, but much easier in January!

Nature is amazing!

Knit and Natter Friday!

Hope everyone has had a good week since our last chat. Can’t believe what a whirlwind of it we have had. Nothing exciting you know, car MOTs, dental check up for me, choosing a new TV, not that my input into that twas much influence. “Oh no that’s too big “didn’t seem to cut the mustard with you know who. Added to which Mr E has arranged for it to be delivered on Saturday when there is the next repair cafe.  And as there are never enough chap menders to cope with what crosses the doorstep , I shall be the one at home waiting for  it to arrive. That’s life.

Now it seems to me that no-one is anywhere near guessing what I am knitting, what about this week, do you know now?

A face

C,mon, Little Miss F is a modern Princess, to quote her “I am not waiting for a silly Prince to come and help”. What do all Princesses need. Bigger hint at the end.

I have started to crochet the Attic 24 weekend bag. It’s much smaller than I expected.

Width ways I mean. The yarn is chunky on a 5mm crochet hook. I can only manage an hour at a time as it makes my fingers ache. So far so good I think.

Did anyone have snow this week? We had some yesterday but it didn’t amount to much. Or maybe you are in Summer and having heat waves, and swimming and ice cream and lots of homegrown goodies. mmm summer.

Today I have the Family History Christmas shared lunch and quiz and get together. I think I prefer my Christmas fun in December, seems all wrong now. Still it will be fun. I shall try not to embarrass myself too much in the quiz.

OK, so how did you get on with guessing what I am knitting.

Has that helped? Any ideas, anyone?

Please…

I hope you all have a marvellous weekend. I shall be telly man waiting for most of Saturday. Wondering how much knitting I can get done. Do tell your plans,

Be Happy,

Cathyx

 

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