Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sunday Morning Bike Ride

Birdsong and brightness - the two things which I immediately notice outside this morning.

I set off about 8am, the glorious sunshine encourages me.

At the junction at end of this road I turn left, the road then climbs quite steeply through and beyond a nearby village.

Looking across the strath during the climb. The folly can be seen in the centre, standing grey amongst the many white farm buildings dotting the hills.

Over the top and I reach the reservoir. Wild geese are honking loudly here.

The favourite gate post.

Copper hedge, green fields and red corrugated iron barn.

After this point I follow some new-to-me roads. They're nice enough but rather unremarkable and I don't bother to stop to take any photos for a long while.

By this point I'm starting to head back towards home. This lovely little beech tree catches my eye - a couple of little beech nuts still remain on the branches amongst the swelling leaf buds.

I stop off at the nature reserve and pop into one of the bird hides which affords some nice views of the loch. There is a heron in the middle distance on the far left of the photo.

Branches, I just thought they looked nice through the letterbox shaped window of the hide.

Snowdrops carpet the woodland floor. I can hear woodpeckers drumming.

Then straight back home along the cycle path, passing to the north of the folly (I passed to the south of it on the way out)

20.5 miles (I remembered to switch my bike computer on this trip!).

Friday, 25 February 2011

My Japanese Flower Scarf...

Is it finished yet...

This morning I hastily struck some more grumpy poses whilst adorned with crocheted items, and concluded that... needs to be slightly longer so that I can wear it thrown over both shoulders. Another one or two flowers required. Now, which colours to pick and do I have enough yarn...

(The pattern is the one currently doing the rounds of many a crocheter's blog courtesy of the links provided in this post by Lucy of Attic24.)

Yesterday afternoon we had a little hint of Spring. It was sufficient to encourage me out for a walk with N.
We checked out the new slide in the park though neither of us was brave enough to give it a go.


Such a gorgeous day. The sun shone and made tree trunks and branches beautiful against a pure blue sky. It was relatively warm too...

...enough to make my crocuses finally flower.

So pretty, they deserve two photos.

Later that evening...
...we celebrated hubby's birthday. Inspired by the recent partaking of a delicious cake a German friend had made I attempted a Donauwellen (Danube Wave) cake using this recipe. It wasn't a complete success - my tin was too small and my buttery custardy cream was too runny. But it tasted nice enough and I have eaten far too much of it already. I would have another go at some point but will try a different version.

Off now to check out my yarn situation.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Pleasing Things.

I've finally been lucky with my charity shop rummaging and have unearthed some happy finds...

A lovely sturdy spring green pottery jug (£1.99) and a gorgeous handpainted bowl (a mere 99p!)

A pretty little handmade pottery vase, just the right size to hold almost every single flower currently blooming in the garden (99p).

And a nice deeply coloured old hyacinth vase. I've been wanting one of these for a while so was very pleased to get this one (along with a bundle of books, a globe and a helicopter) for £3.

While visiting my parents recently I popped into the two wool shops they're lucky to have in their town. I bought these balls of 4ply with a view to trying a new crochet shawl pattern.

Not only wool shops but shoe shops too, A now has a pair of shoes other than her school shoes and her wellies. Red is her favourite colour apparently, which is a little unfortunate as...

...I'd just bought these balls of Wendy merino (the same wool as I used for my green cardigan) - an ebay bargain.

Totally unrealated but I loved these sunset cloud formations from a recent evening.

And changing the subject again, I'm enjoying playing with colours from my yarn stash to make more of these Japanese flowers. I'm not sure if they're going to work as a scarf - the centres already stretch quite a bit and the sides are floppy. We'll see, I may yet end up with the shawl/stole version.

Off now to pick some more colours and churn out a couple more flowers while watching Master Chef (and ignoring the housework!)

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Flowers, Shawls and The Gnome.

I'm just back from a long weekend visit with the children to my parents. Three evenings of nothing to do but crochet!

I used up the scraps from making my shawl to have a go at the lovely Japanese flower pattern Lucy from Attic24 is currently making very popular.

It was surprisingly straightforward despite the pattern being a chart with French instructions (I've never followed a chart before and my schoolgirl French is rather rusty to say the least). I think a shawl from these would be a little too flamboyant for me, but a scarf would be lovely. I'll be making more I think.

Talking of shawls, I finished making another Eva's shawl for my Mum. The pattern (free!) is here. Incidentally, it is by the same designer as the chevron lace crochet cardigan from my previous post, I like her patterns and it's very generous of her to make them freely available.

I persuaded Mum to model her shawl out in her garden (it was a bit baltic outside!)

She even changed into her blue jumper. I was worried at first that the colour changes in the yarn were perhaps too subtle and that it would turn out a little dull, but it hasn't at all and is just perfect for my Mum. The yarn is Drops Delight yet again, this time shade 04.

Also in the garden...


And my Dad's gnome. A joke birthday present I gave him some years ago, but he has weathered beautifully and is starting to look rather stylish (I like to think!)

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Chevron Lace Crochet Cardigan

Ta da!

It's finished and I'm wearing it now. It's lovely, soft and cosy...

and it fits!

The pattern (Chevron Lace Cardigan by milobo) is available free on Ravelry here. I followed the 42" pattern size and used a 9mm hook for the chain and first row (and also for the chain under the arms) then a 6mm hook for the rest.

The wool was another Kemps wool bargain. It's Wendy Merino Bliss and was £2.30 per 50g ball. They don't have the green available any more but there is a lovely purple on offer (it was a hard choice between green & purple for me). I used 8 x 50g balls.

I'm quite a novice crocheter and I found it relatively easy to do. It's a bit tricky getting started (as most things are) and you've to watch out for row 5 (the pattern changes slightly and is easily missed), and I had to fiddle the sleeves a little but noone will ever notice that unless they want to examine my armpits very closely.

I'm happy!

I would like to make another one without sleeves (which would take 6 x 50g balls for my size), I've already seen wool I like...

Monday, 7 February 2011

Outofdate Crochet Update

I've three main crochet projects currently on the go.

First, there's the blanket...
...yes, yes it's still the same one. It's all done apart from sewing in the ends which I have a go at now and again. I've set myself a deadline of May 31st to finally finish it...

Next there's the green thing...
...which not so very long ago looked like this.

Then it turned into...
...this (excuse the dinosaur, 50p CS bargain, N loves it).

I still had two balls of wool left so I've decided to add sleeves.

I tried to take some photos of me wearing it without the sleeves just so I had a record. N kept wanting in on the action, it seem unfair to hide my face but leave his so here we both are (and the dinosaur).

One sleeve is now done, I hope to have the cardigan finished for the end of the week and will post the pattern links (it's free!), etc then.

Finally, I'm making another Eva's shawl, this time for my Mum hence the rather muted blue yarn choice.
It survived being run over by the new truck (£2 CS bargain) and has since grown too.

By the way, although we've been lucky with toy bargains in the charity shops recently, any nice vintage finds are few and far between. Anyone else having better luck?

Off now to get hooking...

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Breakfast: 1 roll with butter & banana, 4 bourbon biscuits (would have had more biscuits but I was interrupted/discovered), glass of water.
Weather: Grey but not actually raining and not too cold.
Depart: about 9am.

Patchwork fields and tree. I often take a photo of this view if I'm starting off in this direction. The colours of the landscape change so much with the seasons and the weather that the resulting photo is always different.

A little ridge of trees silhouetted against the sky. Centre left a rook is perched on top of one of the trees, far right a plane has just taken off and is climbing into the sky.

Another tree and perching bird silhouette (a recurring theme, I like them). Rain soaked hills in the distance.

Reflections in a big puddle covering the road. It's not too deep - I make it through without getting my feet wet.

Soggy landscapes. We've had a bout of stormy wet weather the last couple of days. Water is all around gushing and gurgling down the sides of the roads and fields.

The wind during the storms has blown branches and other debris onto the roads. Pine cones are strewn around and look like an glut of fat slugs. They're actually rather pretty (prettier than slugs any day!) and I gather a few to take home.

Horses and raincoats.

Mossy velvety stone walls and balls of cotton wool sheep.

Renovation project anyone?

Here I liked the lines of trees, hedges and field colours.

Some bright colour - copper leaves and emerald moss.

This weeks cow shot. My turn to interrupt a breakfast.

Yes, the roads really are this quiet. It's rare to meet a car on the little lanes - just farm vehicles really as there are enough main roads around to accomodate the traffic and they are quicker and more direct for car travel. I often amble along in the middle of the road or on the wrong side, - depending where the best views lie.

Bike shot. Almost at the top...

...made it, now looking over the other side across the Clyde to the hills of Cowal.

Lovely! However, all these downhills take me back down pretty much to sea level so there are plenty more uphills to come before home.

I struggle a little with the hills this week. It's a longer and hillier route than last week, however, pausing to catch my breath allows me to admire the view. This view back down the hill is "enhanced" by a cheery orange traffic cone perched on a fence post.

I don't take many photos on the way home, but I do stop when I see...
...lambs! I think I must be one of the first with my new lamb photos this year, surely. They're a special breed which produce early lambs so it is cheating, a little.

This amazing bank of snowdrops also stops me in my tracks. Just long enough for a photo, then I'm off home, just in time for lunch.


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