Friday, 23 May 2008

Strange times!

This week has been a bit unsettling. First we had some more news about my Mother-in-law. A worrying time but we have been assured that she should recover well. Then I developed a very bad migraine - possibly a reaction to the worry and stress. I thankfully don't get them very often but when I do they can be quite severe. It is such a shame that this week has been so horrible as we had a great weekend.

On Saturday I went to Christchurch and had a wander around the Priory and Quay. It was very overcast but I spent a happy afternoon experimenting with my camera.

The foundations of Place Mill, on Christchurch Quay are over 1,000 years old - it is mentioned in the Domesday Book.

On Sunday we spent some time at the allotment. Our fruit bushes are developing well and we should have some blackcurrants, raspberries and blackberries this year. In the afternoon we went to look at a garden nearby which was open under the National Gardens Scheme. This is a great way of a raising money for charity. People open their gardens to the public for a few days each summer and the entrance money is donated to their chosen charity, in this case Cancer Research, which is a cause very close to my heart. The garden was absolutely stunning. Then we wandered home and I made a meal of fresh pasta and the first of our own homegrown broad beans and asparagus.

Our rather overgrown herb patch. I have promised my Other half that I will help him sort it out!

The beautiful garden opened under the National Gardens Scheme.

This weekend is a Bank Holiday so I am looking forward to spending an extra day with my Other Half. The weather forecast does not seem very promising so I am planning to do a lot of beading. The City & Guilds Summer Exhibition is looming and I want to finish my passionflower vase in time for it. Hopefully I will post some progress photos next week.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Beads and Knitting

Although I have recently been distracted by knitting. I am primarily a beader at heart. Whilst knitting some socks recently I was irritated that I could not use my conventional row counter on double pointed needles. So I found a pattern for a beaded row counter bracelet designed by Kate at West End Design Knits. Great - an opportunity to use my beads to help me with my knitting. So I raided my substantial bead stash and half an hour later I came up with this.

I had some trouble with the coloured tiger tail (not my favourite beading thread) so the toggle bar end is not as neat as I would like but otherwise I am really pleased with it. It works on an abacus principle. Each time you complete a row you move a pearl through the beaded ring (strung on elastic thread) and then when you have done 10 rows you move a crystal through as well, and so on up to 99. Then you start again. I can't wait to try it out with my next pair of socks.

I have finished the Prismatic scarf for my Mum using the Manos del Uruguay hand-dyed yarn. It is beautifully soft and is a pleasure to wear. Although it is a bit too hot to wear it at the moment - it is currently around 24 degrees C outside.

My next project will be for my Mother-in-law and I am going to make her a lace shawl. She is in hospital at the moment. Thankfully her illness is not as serious as we first though but she is still has a long recovery period ahead of her. It will be nice to sit and knit it for her, sending lots of positive thoughts and hopes for a speedy recovery. One of my friends, who has recently learnt to knit, was entranced when I said that the movements would start to flow as soon as she relaxed and enjoyed what she was doing. She said that she could imagine thoughts and love flowing through her fingers into her knitting. What a lovely idea. I will try to do that when I am knitting the shawl.

I saw this hydrangea flowering outside my neighbour's house so I had to stop and take some photographs. I would like to use it in my beading, although I am not sure exactly how. I will add it to the dozens of potential projects currently swirling around in my brain.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Socks update

Just a quick update as I promised to post some pictures of my finished socks. Now that I have my camera back again I have been able to take the following photos. They have proved a great hit so I am aiming to make another pair - possibly from the toe up this time - as soon as I have finished the scarf.

Plus here are some more pictures of the Gardens in the centre of Bournemouth, which are looking absolutely stunning at the moment. I was waiting for my Other Half yesterday evening and couldn't resist taking a few shots.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Bank Holiday Blues

This Monday was the May Bank Holiday, normally a time to spend with family and friends and enjoy the Summer weather. The weather was not too bad but unfortunately this weekend was marred by sadness, as a close relative was taken into hospital unexpectedly at the end of last week. She has a potentially serious health problem so we could have a stressful time ahead. Her test results will come back at the end of this week so we will know more then. So, I was in a very sombre mood when I arrived for work yesterday morning. As usual my friends and colleagues were a great help. Lunchtime spent with two friends sitting in the sunshine lifted my spirits. I rarely take a real lunch break, often eating at my desk, so it was a real treat. In the evening I attended our craft group where we chatted, laughed, knitted, sewed etc. and ate Jaffa Cakes! Who could remain blue after a day like that. When I got home my Other Half was also feeling a bit more positive about things too, so the day ended much better than it had started. Such is life!
My current knitting project is a scarf. I was tempted to buy some Manos del Uruguay yarn recently which is absolutely beautiful. It is a mixture of silk and wool and is hand dyed, so every skein is unique. It was quite a challenge to find a pattern that does justice to such a stunning yarn, but I am a member of the Ravelry online community and I found the ideal pattern on their website. It uses slipped stitches to break up the coloured patches on the yarn and so make the most of the brilliant colours.

The Prismatic Scarf designed by Huan-Hua Chye.

The slipped stitches show off the beautiful yarn to perfection.

The reverse is just as beautiful as the front.

I have my precious camera back at last from being repaired. I collected it on the way to work this morning. It is such a beautiful day that I took some photos of the Gardens in the centre of Bournemouth whilst I was standing at the bus stop. As you can see, Summer is well and truly here.