More Yarn Will Do The Trick

Saturday, 30 November 2013

A lot to be thankful for ☺

My American friends have been celebrating Thanksgiving - a time for reflecting on the things in their lives that they're thankful for. Got me thinking it might be good to consider this every day, so starting with today...

... I'm thankful that P's hernia op went well yesterday and that he's home and not in too much pain this morning

...I'm thankful to celebrate Rowan's birthday today - and to remember his birth all those years ago on a foggy and frosty November night when we'd been out until after midnight visiting friends in an old banger car. As soon as I got into bed my waters broke and four hours later he was born - the speediest birth and at 9lbs the heaviest of my babies. I'm one of those lucky women who gives birth easily and with minimal problems or interventions. I can almost say I enjoy it -  but I suppose people say you always look back through rose tinted glasses, otherwise you'd never have another baby. However true that might be, the births of my three sons were definitely the three best days of my life.

...I'm thankful that my wrist is healing and I can play music again. Playing guitar is food for my soul and never fails to lift my spirits. Me and my guitar have been through a lot together, so it was hard not to be able to pick it up, let alone play it for three months.

Malabrigo lace weight yarn
... I'm thankful I can knit again and looking forward today to swatching a new idea I've had brewing for a couple of weeks 

...I'm also thankful that I taught myself the Continental method, as I still haven't got the grip to knit English style.

That's enough for one day. I think I need to do this every week as a reminder to focus on the positives in life.
Getting out the advent tree is the start of the Christmas festivities for me
Hope you're all enjoying this yummy time of year. I love how the year's passing is punctuated by the celebration of festivals, and I'm looking forward to searching out the advent tree for tomorrow.
New York's fabulous Chanukah celebrations
It's also the fourth day of Chanukah today, so wishing you all a happy and healthy one - let there be light throughout the world xox

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Let there be light!

November has flown by, barely time to catch my breath. I love this time of year tho, starting with bonfire night, then my birthday. I'm fortunate in having lots of lovely friends, and am still basking in the golden glow of all your birthday wishes. No dirth of prezzies either, this bowl was one of my faves, brought from Kalamata in Greece by Kate, along with a lemon from her garden.
We somehow had to fit in a trip to Wales, to sweep up the leaves and put the garden to bed for the winter. Not that this is a chore, I love being in the garden and find constant inspiration in the changing seasons. Over the past few months, with my broken wrist, the garden was in need of a healthy dose of tlc, so it felt good to be able to give it just that - I'm always amazed at how quickly you can knock things into shape.

When we got here a few days ago it was pitch black and ab-sol-ute-ly freeeeeeeeeeeeezing! So all systems go to get the heating on, Rayburn lit, wood stove burning and some leek and potato soup in the pot for later.
The house is made of stone so always takes a while to heat up, so while we still had the hot glow that comes from being on the outside of two hearty bowls of soup, we decided fill a few hot-water bottles and have an early night.
Woke up to the most gorgeous morning - clear blue sky, pale wintry sun making the frosted plants sparkle like diamonds. I dashed out to look at the garden, then realised I couldn't take any pictures as I'd left the lead for my phone in York and i-cloud only works when it pleases here... arrrgh! So I consoled myself by picking the last few hydrangeas to bring indoors. I love it when they decide it's their last chance to stay alive and put down roots into the jug, so you get the bonus of having new plants too.

I can never manage for very long without being able to take pics, so a mercy dash to Aberystwyth to get a lead was high on my priority list.

Back by coffee time to witness the amazing light being cast around the kitchen by the crystals at the windows. The rainbows they create always cheer me up, but at this time of year when the sun is at a very low angle, they're at their very best, so you can imagine my delight to have my phone up and running again to capture them.

Last night was even colder - we had a delicious supper with our dear friends Toej and Wyck and on the way back the temperature was -2 and falling.  We thought nothing of it that Django wasn't here on our return as both cats often go out hunting at night. We went off to bed, thankful for a lovely evening and that the house was warming up at last.
Another glorious morning - I opened the window and took this shot as I was getting up, then got so excited by the light across the garden that I went straight out in my pyjams to take a few more.

At this point it hadn't occurred to me that I still hadn't seen Django, but on coming in to feed the cats I realised that Arlo was still on his own. I reckoned Django would be back soon as he rarely misses a meal, so wasn't too bothered by his extended absence.
After breakfast I got sidetracked by this wonderful little rose, newly planted this year, that was not only blooming but also had the intention of continuing with many more buds.
Where are you Django?
By coffee time tho I was getting really worried about Django's no-show (altho if you follow this blog, you'll no doubt realise it's not unusual for him to disappear). Our house is about half a mile from the next house, so I rang the neighbours to see if they'd seen him or whether he'd got locked in one of their sheds, as has happened before with Django. No luck. I then searched house and garden along with Arlo, before driving up to our other closest neighbour, only to find out they hadn't seen him either.
Come out, come out, wherever you are
This is no fun now Django, please come back!
I give up, see you at teatime
So it's now 24 hours since we saw him and we've done everything we can to find him. I can't bear to think he might be injured somewhere but know that he'd come home if he could, so this is not likely. We'll just have to wait with everything crossed, hoping he turns up this evening.
Latest news on Django: A couple of hours after I posted this, Django swanned in through the cat flap looking a bit bedraggled, but completely unfazed and looking for his dinner.  No idea where he's been for the past day, but he's now had an extra large meal and is fast asleep in front of the wood stove dreaming of his travels.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Happy Samhain!

From sunset on the 31st October till sunset on the 1st November, the Gaelic festival of Samhain is celebrated. It marks the end of the harvest and all the preparation for the cold, dark months of the year, and the beginning of the winter.
Samhain Jacket from Knits for all Seasons
I love the rhythm of the seasons, especially this time of year. In fact nature's constant cycle provided the perfect inspiration for my second book, Knits for all Seasons, way back in 1993, featuring the Samhain Jacket in the November chapter.

No surprises then that I'm pretty keen on Halloween.  Ever eager to get as many reasons to party as possible into the calendar, from the very moment that an American friend introduced us to trick-or-treating when the kids were little, we've had some gloriously memorable celebrations.  So when the grandlings started to arrive a  few years back, I was more than happy to rekindle the tradition.

We take pumpkin carving very seriously in our family, so in the afternoon we started work. After deciding the larger one should have a traditional face with a few moons and stars on the back, Tristan reckoned the second one should be a tad more interesting and mentioned a design he'd seen bearing a cat. This got the creative juices flowing and we too eventually decided to go for a more radical design. Pumpkin carving can be a stressful occasion, but this year we all collaborated rather well on a joint effort - I drew it, Tristan carved it and Philip photographed it!
Witch on the front...
...and a cat on the back
Isabella, Ava, Lyra and Louis quickly got into the spirit -  their costumes, hair and make-up immediately transforming them into fully-blown witches, ghouls and vampires. 

Ava starting the transformation
Before ⬆ and after ⬇pics  at the hair and make-up session - purple lips, blue hair, with green faces for the witches and an alabaster one for the vampire...

Luckily the rain held off, so we made a jolly round of the street, scaring our tolerant neighbours with blood-curdling cries of trick or treat as soon as they opened their doors!
It was one of the scariest nights ever for visiting trick-or-treaters - we were relieved to hand out the treats to this spooky crew!

Couldn't bear to waste all that lovely food inside the pumpkin, so we nibbled on delicious roasted pumpkin seeds, followed by pumpkin soup for supper.