Monday, 26 September 2011

Some Crocheted Flowers, a Blanket Update, and Other Stuff.

I've been playing with flowers...

...and seem to have created a little crocheted flower garden.

Most of the patterns (the best ones, in my opinion) were from this book. I started off with the auricula, shown on the right hand page above. Fortunately I had all the necessary colours in my stash and thought the shades looked so lovely together that I carried on with a few more patterns.

I've had a few people ask which brand of yarn I use for my blankets and get surprised responses when I answer that most of it is from pound shops. Three of the balls above were indeed from the pound shop and the mauve one still has its band on, so the brand I most often use is Premier Value DK" and sometimes "Premier Value Baby DK". It's just 100% acrylic and is fine I think for blankets and cushion covers, etc. If I'm making something to wear I'd use yarn with a lot more wool content. When I bought much of my stash a 100g ball did cost £1, however most shops stocking it now sell it at £1.25 to £1.50. We don't have a handy good local yarn shop (I have a little daydream of opening one!) so the pound shops were the next best thing. I also didn't want to spend a lot on yarn at first as I wasn't sure if I'd be any good at this crocheting lark. Charity shops and ebay have supplied the remainder of my blanket yarn.

Returning to the flowers, I do have plans for most of them, as you'll find out later...

I decided to take a proper photo of the blanket as it was at this time. I think it's developing nicely though I'm rather worried I'll run out of some of the key colours - yarn which I bought on ebay but didn't keep a record of the brand or shade at the time. I know better now.

Have some more cherry strudel cake.

OK, here's how some of the flowers from earlier (plus a couple of ones from even longer ago) look now. I've sewn on little beads for centres and have then sewn them onto fabric covered hair bands. I'm sharing a stall at a forthcoming nursery shopping event (it's on Friday, eek!) so wanted to get the hair bands ready for then.

I also made some butterfly hair bands in brighter colours (I have to confess to not knitting these butterflies but buying them from someone else who can knit!)

A picked the bright pink one to keep for herself.

We've also been back to the loch again. It was a school holiday today so we packed a picnic and the bikes and set off.

The simple joy of bikes and puddles.

More hogweed to keep me happy.

The view from our picnic spot. It was a little cold at this point, but brightened up and developed later into a sunny afternoon.

A swan and cygnet. Apparently it's the last cygnet left at the loch, all the others having already flown away.

The swan standing is the resident whooper swan (yellow beak) who remains at the loch year round as he has a damaged wing.

Knapweed in the sun.

And just to finish off, a very recent photo of the blanket taken under lamp light just before starting this post. It is now 7 squares by 6. If I have enough yarn I'd like to make it 8 x 10 which is another 38 squares, almost double the size it is now. Hmmm, I think I might need to settle for 7 x 9, "just" 21 squares more, if I can...

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Fine weather is forecast for today - hurray! I begin today's ride by heading north.

A sheep watches me from beside one of the nearby pylons.

I like this little ridge of trees topped by some impressive clouds.

I pass the tree on the corner. I take a little detour to take this photo from the bridge in order to record how it looks in September.

Beautiful clouds.


I do like this old fence post! Today it's posing in front of golden stubble.

A little further on and I spot some straw bales.

I like fields full of straw bales too. I'm easily pleased.

A nicely framed tree-topped hill.

A glance back up the road reveals this pretty view.

Nice old farm sign.

Love the twisty tree trunk on the left. To its right, nestling among the trees, it's possible to see one of the buildings from the Formakin Estate which I'll be passing by soon.

Looking down I spot this squashed Irn Bru can. Just the other day I bought a card with almost exactly this image on it (I'll stick a photo at the end of this post for comparison). If you've never tasted Irn Bru (tagged as "Scotland's Other National Drink) It's a sweet fizzy soft drink which I once heard described as tasting like liquid bubblegum which seemed a pretty good description to me.

I'd forgotten how lovely some of the views from this road can be. Nothing terribly grand, just very pleasing.

Now I head past the buildings of the Formakin Estate. They're very attractive. All are privately owned though it's still possible to gain access to the estate grounds.

Although the estate buildings look like they date from hundreds of years ago they were actually built in the early 1900's for a wealthy local stockbroker.

Birds on wires, another favourite photograph subject.

A lovely view of the firth of Clyde to the right of this road.

Looking past a field of sheep to Dumbarton over the water, Dumbarton castle can be seen at the foot of the large rocks (said to look like a sleeping elephant) on the left.

I pause for a while beside this field full of flowers and watch the swallows swooping for flies. They're still here after all, I manage to capture one with my camera.

Ooh, what's this...

I couldn't resist it, just look at the blue of the sky.

And here's another one while I'm at it, lovely!

Looking back east down the hill.

Looking west, the direction I'm headed. A rook poses on a telegraph wire, he flies off before I get any closer to him.

I'm being pursued by a woman on a horse. My route has been uphill for the last few miles and will remain so for a couple of miles more as I'm about to head up the hill to the left of the farm house in the middle of this photo. Horses can go faster up hills than I can but I don't want the horse and rider to pass me as it will spoil the delicious downhill waiting on the other side. Not quite Frodo and the black riders, but it certainly made me cycle up the hills faster than I normally do. I managed to stay ahead, and zoomed down the other side reaching 30.3 mph, beat that horsey! Actually, I've just checked and horses do gallop at around 30mph. However this lady was just sauntering along, as they do round here, personally I don't see the attraction at all - I'd rather cycle - better excercise and no mucking out. Much cheaper too.

An Inca pyramid? I think it's a WW2 pill box though I can't find out anything about it on the internet. One day I'll get off the bike and go take a closer look.

Shortly after this I pass through a nearby village. They have a charity shop, I stop and browse and buy. I stuff my purchases into the empty tub I'd brought along for brambling, the brambles will need to wait for another day. Then it's on to the cycle path for the rest of the ride.

Beautiful green rolling fields.

Early Autumn colours starting to show on the trees here.

Past the centurian...

...and his company.

Then home. Just over 25 miles today.

In the charity shop I bought...

...this pretty little jug for 50p, already in use with some flowers from the garden...

...and this vase for £1. It's rather a dumpy shape, this is the back which I think I slightly prefer to the front which is decorated with a flower.

And here is the card with the squashed Irn Bru can image.


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