"There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms. A physical, an emotional, a mental and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room everyday, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person."

Rumer Godden 1907 - 1998

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Long Weekend

It's Tuesday and my weekend isn't over yet!

I'm starting this week's post with a bit of announcement, I've completed 9 months of working from my knitting stash, that's purchase free since November! Although I'm being tempted by some merino yarns in shades of soft greens and purples for a crochet project that's planted itself in my head!

I've had a bit of a re-think about my Year of Projects and this led to a tidy of all my knitting projects and have decided to hibernate the majority of my wips and concentrate on a smaller number. There's a blanket, a scarf, shawl and socks as an when I complete something I'll dig out another wip. Two of these are left over from previous years and will use up lots of stash yarn. I'm enjoying a bit of crochet as a change from knitting, who wouldn't when it looks this pretty?

Which is a small section of this:

I've worked 8 motifs over the last week, bringing my total to 53 in all. I'm trying to square the piece up to eliminate the rather odd shape and make it easier to work out sizing as it grows. I realised when posting my pictures that it's two years to the day since I started Lily. It's about time I got my act together and completed this beauty.

There's been exciting progress in the garden this week. I arrived home to find my new compost bins had been delivered, these are now in place behind the shed and I'm starting to fill the first bin.

The top terrace is almost complete, just one more length of railway sleeper to go in at the left and a huge amount of topsoil to level it ready for planting.  Moving the sleepers has left DH and I full of aches and pains, but the result is definitely worth it, as our plans for the garden are now becoming a reality.

We managed more plant shopping this weekend. I've ordered 4 packets of fragrant sweetpeas for the garden, how pretty are the ones in the picture I've linked to? An advert in the gardening supplement of the newspaper on Saturday led to buying 72 plug plants which will arrive and need potting on when they arrive. And a trip to another garden centre yielded another 4 plants which we'll take cuttings from, of most interest were 3 lovely plants from Hairy Pot Plants. The pots are coir, so when the time comes to plant what you've bought the pot is planted too! The pots are just about visible in the picture below. Finally, we ordered 175 hornbeam tree plants to use as hedging along the right hand side of the garden, these arrive in November which seems ages away, as we have lots to do the time will fly by.

Our propagator is full to the point of overflowing with lots of cuttings which will help us plant up the borders in the garden next year. There's lavender, box and artemisia all taken from plants in the garden, which hopefully will show signs of rooting by October.

Finally my only FO this week was a lovely lemon loaf, which is now half eaten:

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Purses, Plants and Plans

It's been a wonderful tiring week, I have an FO, progress on a couple of WIPS and huge changes in the garden to show off.

My FO this week was the lovely little purse that was a WIP this time last week. I've never made a framed purse before, I've learnt how to make the outer shell, line it and then insert the soft bag into the frame, where it's held in place by a cord. I'm thinking about making these as gifts for friends. To show how roomy this purse is I've put a 100g skein of sock yarn and a partially worked sock in it for the bottom picture.

My new sewing WIP is a book bag with a flat bottom, made from stash fabrics and so simple and quick! I've used the technique for making the bag base flat before. I'm at the handle making stage, and this is done using a new to me technique which is good. It'll make a good bag for carrying a knitting project when I go to knit night, or for daily use taking lunch to work. I'm already thinking about my next bag, which is another variation on a simple book bag. The handle is only a strip of material laid in place to give a rough idea of the handle size and placement.

I've been plugging away at my Spring Shoots sock as and when I have time, I'm too tired to knit my beautiful Sweet Dreams shawl, I tried last night and made a mess of the row I was working. There's no picture this week as progress is slow.

The front border I've been working on is almost complete, last weekend I replanted some Lily of the Valley so I could finish my efforts to clear the last of the weeds, ivy and gravel dressing. I dug out a huge amount of broken up tarmac and paving slabs that were buried in the front of the border. I imagine there's still more buried in there but there's only so much hard digging I can do. DH cut down the rest of the old stumps and I finally planted my second batch of plants yesterday. We've been out already this morning and now I have plants for the final stretch of the border. I'm hoping it doesn't rain today!

One little plant deserves a a mention all of it's own! My sister gave me a small plant some weeks ago, it has leaves that start out pink and eventually go green, I think it will also have autumn colour too. I planted it last weekend, and it's already thriving and throwing up new shoots. We think this is a Sobaria and if you look closely, you can see the new growth at the base.

Progress on the back garden has been huge. We started about 10 days ago with this:

The slope ran from the down to the steps and at the same time from the cream wall to the far edge, we've used two Albanian builders who work for my BIL and that's really made things happen fast. This time they've worked for us we've bought in a mini-digger to make building terraces easier. We now have four level terraces from the top of the garden downwards:

Yesterday we shifted what we estimated as about 3 tons of chalk, concrete and rubbish that was dug out from the garden and the path around the house. Our plan for later today once I've planted my newest purchases is to start to put in the railway sleepers in front of the top terrace and to start to build a raised border in front of the wall. On Tuesday we have an electrician coming for the day to get power up to the shed so we can light and heat it if needed.

I visited a blog yesterday that I always find inspiring: Attic 24, I love her crochet patterns. I've been inspired to make a couple of Lucy's projects, although her choice of yarn isn't mine. My current long-term crochet project isn't a Lucy project, having browsed and caught up with what she's been hooking I'm going to dig out my Lily blanket, pull out a few of my small balls of yarn, the pattern and my hook put them in my new project purse to give me an easily portable project.

Now to order some fragrant sweet pea seeds to start off ready for next year.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Not a Lot of Knitting

I didn't get a lot of knitting done this week, when not at work DH and I have been in the garden. This sequence of photos shows what started as a trench to get an electricity supply to the shed. This has since become a major excavation project to cut terraces into the garden.

Wednesday morning, terraces marked out, some rubbish cleared:

Thursday morning, using a mini digger, top terrace cut, second terrace in progress :

Thursday night, both terraces cut, waiting for retaining walls to be built and rubbish cleared:

The top two terraces are cut and need walls to retain them to the side and front, these are being built as I type. There's then a further two terraces to be cut and we are there. As we have two builders working for two days we hope to get most of that done by the end of tomorrow.

I have finished sock one of Spring Shoots, apart the grafting. Even though it looks baggy, it fits really well and I've started sock two:

I decided I needed a new pretty knitting project bag for my sock knitting, so after a lot of searching online I decided on a bag from u-handbag. I like the lining fabric better than the exterior so I've swapped them over. Here's progress so far:

I also treated myself to Lisa's book The Bag Making Bible, which is chock full of techniques and a lovely selection of bags to make and customise, I'm already planning a few as gifts and for putting crafty projects in.

The plan this week: to complete my project bag, make progress on Spring Shoot socks and finish my planting in the front border.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

FO Friday and WIPs

I had a bit of a moment last Sunday, I was convinced I had a super social week, with both knitting and quilting. Knitting was on, quilting wasn't, its in fact this week!

First up this week an FO Friday, this is Caretta Caretta socks, which I said I'd fit in at some point, cast on last Sunday evening, finished on Friday:

Next, progress on my Spring Shoots Socks, these are constructed in the most unusual way: toe up, then closed heel and finally the foot is steeked to enable an afterthought leg to be worked! The heel is then grafted together. The sock is very misshapen, for all that it looks very cheerful.

My other projects haven't moved on at all this week, so there's no other pretty knitting pictures to put up today.

In addition to my knitting wips, I also have a stack of quilting wips to work on. I'm going to take along a small quilt worked from a Craftsy class to the quilt group so I can finish the quilting. The only slight drawback is I'm not sure where I've put the rayon floss I'm quilting with! This little quilt is about 18 x 24' and is made entirely from scraps in my stash, the semi-solid green-blue is one of my own hand-dyed fabrics from about 15 years ago! Amazingly this fabric looks really good with fabrics that were bought this year.

There's no gardening progress this week, other than the purchase of another batch of plants, we had showery rain yesterday so I couldn't get outside to do any planting. Hopefully today will be a better day and there'll be pictures next week.

I thought I'd include my knitting stats each week, although I can't quite work out how to adjust last week's figures, so I've revamped it a bit. Any way seeing progress is a bit of a boost:

Total projects: 26
Cast-on: 0
Hibernating: 3
WIPS: 23
FOs: 1- using 297 yards