Tuesday 30 August 2011

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

A late posting of Saturday's bike ride.

The tree at the corner from down on the road.

The usual view of it from the cycle path bridge.

Roman soldiers, cycle path artwork.

Another view from the cycle path, but at this point I decide to leave it and join the road you can see in the above photo.

Looking through the trees to a ploughed field.

A lovely view over gently rolling countryside.

The swallows are still here, each week now I look for them as one day soon they'll be gone till next summer.

Big stone, little farmhouse.

One last look south over fields.

16 miles according to the computer.

I have to confess to it being one of those mornings when I really couldn't be bothered, but as usual I'm glad I made the effort. My next bike ride will be in September, how summer seems to have flown. However, I look forward to catching some early frosty mornings followed by beautiful clear days, these make my favourite weather for Autumn cycling.

Thanks to all who left such nice comments about my shawl. I've a little catching up to do on my blog commenting so hope to be round to see you all soon.

Friday 26 August 2011

Japanese Crocheted Crescent Moon Shawl

This was the first shawl pattern I ever wanted to make. I first spotted it on Ravelry over a year ago, however you had to buy a book to get the pattern, and not only was the book only available in Japanese, it never seemed to be in stock whenever I checked.

In the meantime I crocheted a few other shawls and scarves and got better at following designs. Then one day I was browsing Pomadour24's Etsy shop and found the book in stock. I decided to go for it, and while I was at it I bought some Noro wool too. In for a penny, in for a pound...

Still I took my time before starting. I'd never followed just a chart before so found this site to be extremely helpful in deciphering Japanese crochet symbols. I also checked Ravelry for other people's notes and found these forum posts useful too.

At this stage all the rows are complete with just the edging to do. Up to this point I really enjoyed making the shawl. I have to confess to finding the edging a little fiddly and time consuming, but I persevered...

...the crocheting is finished! However, the shawl needs blocked as the little clover edging motifs are all curly. It looks nice on the chair (better than it does on me!)

Another photo of it before blocking (just incase the blocking went horribly wrong!). I hand washed the shawl then gently squeezed it dry and pinned it on some foam play blocks to dry in the sun.

Anyone else see a chicken here?

Hoping it doesn't rain...

Uh oh.

It does rain! Fortunately I spot it straight away and manage to everything in in one piece before it all gets wet. I dig out the hairdryer to quickly finish the drying process before the children become too interested.

A late night shot on a hanger, the clover edging is hanging much better now.

I omitted the picot row as this was all the wool that was left.

Today I took some more photos of it in the garden.

And the final verdict? Well, I actually think I liked it best at the stage it was at before adding the clover edging (though I'm not removing it now!). I'll know better once it's cold enough to wear it though, so we'll see...

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Patchwork Progress, Early Days.

On N's first afternoon at nursery (he still says he doesn't want to go to nursery but is usually fine once there) I'd promised myself I'd check out how my hexagons for the quilt are getting on (for obvious reasons it's not possible to do this with children around!)

I thought I'd maybe done about 200...

...but there are closer to 400 of them, hurrah!

Now I see them laid out I think I need more red and green, so will get fabrics in these colours specially. Other than that the hexagons are all made of baby dresses and shirts and some of my old tops.

Covering the little paper hexagons with fabric is a rather brainless activity - good for when you've not much spare time and don't really need to concentrate.

When I have been able to concentrate I've been making this instead. I finished the last crochet stitches last night. I just need to sew in the ends and it does definitely need blocked. Soo frustrating as I'd like to be able to share it ASAP, I'm rather pleased with it!

Today N was at nursery in the morning. Now while he's there I'm catching up with housework duties (and six years of house neglect!), this morning it was A's room. I finally got it in a tidy enough state I was happy to share photos of it and did a little photoshoot of the African Flower blanket in its new home...

Of course, it's only August so it's not required yet...

...so it's removed till needed, and A's soft toys are all reinstated, somehow she manages to squish herself inbetween them all to sleep.

Now to a little catch-up on last week:-

N and I visited the loch again, but this time we headed in the opposite direction to our last visit and went to...

...the park. It may be old and a little tatty, but this playpark is still very much loved by the children as it has a good selection of climbing/spinning/swinging "things".

We'd taken N's balance bike on holiday and he's now got the hang of speeding along on it. I'd definitely recomend a bike like this for a 3 yr old. It lets children get used to balancing on two wheels so that when they upgrade to a bike with pedals they can pretty much set off straight away - no need for stabilisers.

Loch view heading back along the cyclepath.

We also popped in to the local charity shop to stock up on some more books, there's a Jamie Oliver one at the top for me.

Sunny shadows on the kitchen wall catch my eye.

A recent drawing by A, stuck onto one of the kitchen units along with other favourites.

A robot.

And finally, the field out the front gets its second silage cut of the year, the tractor is just visible in the distance, eagerly watched by N.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Off to pastures new this morning as I decide to explore some roads in the neighbouring shires of East Renfrewshire and Ayrshire.

Off we go. I start at about 8:30am. Weatherwise it looks like it's going to be a morning of sunny spells.

Looking across a sunny field to the village of Howwood. The road I'm about to take climbs up to the hills behind.

The view back across the strath as I climb up the hill.

Kissing cows.

A patch of cloud darkens the view as we get our first glimpse of Barcraigs Reservoir.

Gate detail. I do like these gates - beautiful scrollwork and lovely flaky paint.

Further along the sun comes out and, along with the yellow ragwort, brightens up the land. Two geese fly overhead.

So far, all familiar territory, but not long after this point I join new-to-me-for-cycling roads.

Barley field.

Old red gate.

At a crossroads I came across this tumbledown old farm. The farm house and its outbuilding take up three corners of the crossroads.

Diagonally across is this barn...

...with more lovely flaky paint. (Lovely for photographing but I wouldn't want it on my own doors!)

Then straight across there is another barn, this one was popular with swallows, some of whom can be seen perched above.

Now looking behind the main farm building, more swallows are perched on the wire beside the telegraph pole.

While writing this post I tried to find out more information about the farm and why it had been abandoned. After some internet searching it seems that the farm is part of the Caldwell Estate, all of which has been allowed to become derelict, including the mansion house. I think it's a shame when old buildings are lost as it's highly unlikely they'll ever be rebuilt and some of them were beautiful. There is more fascinating information, photos, and links here, here and here. The mansion house was used as a mental asylum for children during the mid twentieth century and is rumoured to be haunted. All very interesting but rather a sad history.

Anyway, back to the biking. Shortly beyond the crossroads I pass through the village of Uplawmoor...

...then join a farm road to take me to Dunlop. This road seem popular with local cyclists, I've never seen so many other cyclists while out on a ride.

Once in Dunlop I pause beside the churchyard to decide which way to go. I took this photo through the railings, another sad tale - a family life which seemed to start out so well, then wife and son both die while very young. I wonder what happened to John Watt himself.

I decide to take the long way home, it's turned out to be a lovely morning so I may as well make the most of it. The countryside here is more open than close to home. It makes for lovely wide views but they don't really come across so well in photographs.

I wasn't going to bother but...

...there were so many of them along the roadsides...

...and the sky above was so blue...

...I gave in eventually...

...and took yet more umbellifer photos.

Well, I like them.

By this point I've passed by Dalry and am heading to Glengarnock. More lovely open countryside views.

Cycling art, found on the cycle path just past Kilbirnie. I'm back onto more familiar ground.

The last of the rosebay willowherb flowers.

And I couldn't go past the castle without taking a photo. Then home.

I'd recently found my cycling computer and had stuck it back on the bike. Distance covered this day was 37.5 miles, futher than I usually go. I average around 10 miles an hour (I make lots of photo stops).


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