Monday, 26 September 2016

Normal for Here

Bear is currently watching a DVD of the Victorian Farm with me.  For those who haven't seen it, it's a reconstruction of a year working a farm in the way of the 1880s by two archeologists and a domestic historian.  It's very interesting,   Bear assured me that with a bit of help and support of the professionals he could easily manage all that.  Having seen him at Temple Newsam Farm and the wide berth he gives the chickens, I doubt it, but I nodded, smiled and murmured encouragingly.

I'm still sore, so I've done a lot of internet browsing and finished the back of the sweater.  I don't think it will take the 250g it would take if it used the correct yarn, but I think it will be around 400g, which is still pretty awesome, bringing it in @£6.  That is still cheaper than buying a store made sweater, though it will be quite lightweight.

We are currently inundated with the little fruit flies that came in with the potting compost when I potted up Dilly and Dally.  DH told me proudly that he had researched it on the internet and that he was setting traps with cider vinegar and washing up liquid or dish soap.  I asked if it was the same method that I had referred to in 'Dinner at Dark' and he admitted he had forgotten about that.  It didn't work so well earlier in the summer, but fingers crossed it will be okay this time.

I'm putting the cover photo up again because I am still very giddy at having a professional cover!  I don't think I'll ever get tired of looking at it.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Knitting Happens

I was doing really well.  I have done the back, left front, right front and both sleeves of the jacket.  Now it came to sewing up the shoulders and picking up 302 stitches.  I can't bend over.  I need to be careful.  Laying out the dratted thing and finding the wool needles and picking up the bit I've dropped are all a challenge.  Any attempt to bend over has not felt good.  I gave up and started something else until at least the stitches are out.

I had 600g of yarn that I had changed my mind about, so I had been looking around for a different pattern for a sweater that would fit me and would also use minimal yarn.  I found this.

According to the pattern it only needs around 250g.  Mind you, that's Rico Creative (currently @ £2.99 for 50g at Amazon, so @ £15 to knit).  Apparently Rico Creative knits as DK.  I have 600g of DK waiting to be used, in 100g balls, at £1.50 per pall, so @ £4.50 to knit.  It's Marriners Metro, like this

So far it's okay.  I'm around 8 inches up the back and haven't finished half a ball yet.  It's knitted on 6.5mm needles (US 10.5, I think, and DK is worsted weight) which makes the yarn go further, it's plain stocking stitch, no ribbing at the bottom or anything, and there is minimal shaping.  I'm waiting to see how it goes, as Rico Creative looks awesome but fine and fluffy.  I've had some 'fine and fluffy' moments when the dratted yarn slipped off the dratted needles but it's easy enough to rattle off while watching TV.  What is more, the cowl neck is sewn on without picking up stitches which sounds like heaven.  

If this works out then it could be the first sweater in ages that I've found that is actually less expensive to knit than buy.  However time will tell.  

I get the stitches out on Thursday.  I am hopeful that I will then go back to the jacket and finish it off. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Must Ration Bear's TV

I am a very slack parent.  Some things I am very rigid on.  Bear is used to me being uber tough about homework and teeth brushing.  However as long as it is age appropriate then I'm incredibly lax about screen time.

It has its benefits.  Bear has a remarkable grasp of all sorts of science and maths stuff thanks to YouTube.  It has got him passionate about football, and he plays in the street most days.  I keep a close eye on content.  It is tv that has always been the problem.

I'm still stuck with the problems that were caused by allowing DH and bear to watch The Great British Sewing Bee.  I am also stuck with bear's projects after watching Art Attack.  He hasn't been too bad when it comes to the Great British Bake Off but watching Eat Well for Less has caused an increase in badly chopped vegetables.  Bear even went with DH to Aldi and insisted on getting two different types of chopped tomatoes among the shopping to see which one was better.

I'm feeling low.  My nose hurts.  I'm not allowed to bend down.  Have you ever tried not bending down?  I'm groping and patting around all sorts of places to find things I've dropped.  As a therapy I've been watching the Victorian Kitchen Garden on DVD.  Bear was just passing.  'Why don't we start growing all the fruit and veg we need?' he asked.  The simple answer is that I am a bad and lazy gardener with a garden smaller than some American cars.  I suggested that we grew some salad next year.  This was not enough for bear.  He wants to grow rhubarb.  It's not impossible to grow rhubarb, and I'm not against it in principle, but DH isn't a huge fan, bear says he likes it, but he's said that before and I can take it or leave it.  Apparently it needs a year before you can start picking it as well.  I'm holding out on that one.

Fortunately bear has shown no interest in Strictly Come Dancing.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

I Confess...

Today is not my birthday.  It's one of the weird 'little ways' that I stick to.  It isn't hard to work out where I live or a lot of my background - but I hold on to the secrecy of my birthday as if it was a state secret.  So I am sorry if I have got birthday wishes under false pretences.

They are gratefully received, though, as I am feeling rough and achey today.  A very kind neighbour took bear to school and brought him home.  My nose is covered with a bloodstained dressing and some stitches are showing - not really leisure wear for the school playground.

On the bright side, I'm whizzing up the second sleeve.  I hope to reach the frill by Monday.  That's when it will get interesting!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


It could have gone worse but it could have gone a lot better.

Bear can't look at me, he says he feels sick.

Other than that - things could be worse.  But I will be glad when it's all settled down.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Just Passing Through

That's what I'm trying to stick to.

You see, there has been huge amounts of drama since Friday - swathes of it.  The police have visited the street on a regular basis and there have been lots of ladies (including me) standing with their arms folded during a low toned gossip.  I've been very much on the edge of it.  The police have not needed to even knock on my door.  However there has been a lot of tension.

I could write all the juicy details.  I've picked up plenty from the other neighbours and I've seen more.  Part of me can't help but make a massive story out of things, shifting the focus to this and picking out the details of that for the best effect.  If it was a story it would have been very satisfying.  But it isn't a story.  Some people have just gone through an incredibly tough time in their lives.  Anyone who wants to find me can - I'm not very good at hiding.  I can't air someone else's dirty linen.

On the other hand, it's been all drama.  Bear hasn't been able to play football and I've stalled on the garden.  We have had to have plans to get back into the house safely after school pick up and while bear was very keen to act very much the protector, it was hard on a nine year old.

So there's nothing really to say except I've finished the first sleeve on the jacket, started the second, I'm optimistic I'll finish in the next ten days and I go in for my very minor operation tomorrow.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Random Thoughts

I've had one of those days when my thoughts were less focused than usual.  I'd read something about someone making hot chili jam.  I thought it sounded nice.

I've never made hot chili jam.  I tried to do apple and mint jelly once, but I let the stewed apple drip through overnight next to a dehumidifier.  I didn't get much  juice.  I could probably find a nice hot chili jam recipe, but I wouldn't eat it, bear wouldn't eat it and the odds are that DH would forget.  I've just thrown out a few jars of neglected condiments, including the mint sauce that he has repeatedly said he adores.  He does love it.  I've seen what he puts it on.  He just forgets.  

I once made some rather pleasant gooseberry jam when I was unexpectedly given gooseberries.  The set was a little weak, but it was perfectly fine on toast.  I don't like jam much.  It was before bear was born and DH didn't really bother.  It ended up in the bin.  It is only bear that likes jam, really, and as he goes for weeks between deciding that he needs jam on toast I now get the expensive individual portions so I don't end up using a jar twice before it grows fur and has to be thrown out.

Then I remembered the time I tried to make home made ginger beer.  It sounds great.  It sounds like the sort of thing everyone raves about and how it's so much nicer than bought.  Mine wasn't, it was too hot.  Ginger is incredibly spicy in concentration, and I don't like very hot spices.  Not only that, but I made too much.  The recipe was for gallons of the stuff, and I followed the instructions, put the dratted stuff into old plastic pop bottles and we didn't drink it very fast.  Not only that, but as it used yeast, it carried on fermenting.  It was starting to get unreliably alcoholic.  I understand that natural fermentation stops at around 14% alcohol, but I wasn't sure that I wanted any alcohol at all.  Then I thought about pressure building up from the fermentation and even though I had reused fizzy drink bottles because I thought they were designed to withstand pressure, I thought I had better check.  So I opened the first bottle and the froth just fountained up.  It just kept coming and coming.  It wasn't like a carbonated drink where the gas just goes, it just went on and on and on and the kitchen smelt, well, like lots of fresh ginger and lemon and I was wiping sticky stuff for hours.  It wasn't just all over the floor and counters, it managed to work it's way into all sorts of cracks so I had to pull out the washing machine and I also had to wipe it off the ceiling. 

DH and bear both prefer processed white bread.

My last attempt at biscuits was an epic fail, though I could have kept them for next time I need gravel.  

Bear and DH both utterly reject sweaters.  I could knit as many as I liked for them, they would stay in the cupboard.  I am still scared of the sewing machine.

I'm coming to the bitter realisation that I'm not cut out to make a handmade home.