Sunday, 29 May 2011

Monkey gets her mojo back

I admitted recently having rather lost my knitting mojo. I was fed up with all my WIPs no matter how beautiful and the urge to knit just wasn't there, I couldn't explain it. Well it's back, that beginning of a sock seen in my post about camping has rather developed.

Last night I watched the Champions League Final. Mr.NM is a big football fan (as in Soccer for any US readers) he's not a fan of either team who played in the final but he likes to watch the bigger matches regardless of who is playing. He was rather pleased with the result, him coming from Liverpool and me from Leeds neither one of us is a fan of Manchester United! There were some cheers from us that Barcelona won.

I don't object to watching football but I knit through the match, I knit like the wind! I forgot just how quickly plain, stockinette socks grow, how much fun self striping yarn is and just how enjoyable it is to have a bit of completely mindless, no pattern to check, knitting on the go.

At kick off I had this:

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At half-time I had this: (20 minutes of first half knitting time were lost to me making and eaching cheese on time!)

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At full time I had this:

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They seemed to just fly off the needles, brilliant! Just what I needed to get me going again. I didn't stop after the match. This morning I had this:

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One finished sock! (also one very pasty leg...oh dear!) I immediately cast on the second and over the course of today am racing along and am on the gusset decreases. I may even have a new pair of woolly socks in time for our next camping trip, we're going to the Lake District at the weekend and I'm thoroughly excited.

The yarn is Opal Schafpate in the creatively named colourway 2712. It's lovely yarn, the colours are slightly heathered instead of being the harsh, bolder colours you get in some self-striping. It also feels very much like it has been a sheep instead of feeling over-processed and unnatural. It's just lovely and I'm very glad I have another ball of this yarn in a different colourway as I bought three when in Berlin a year ago. I've used it before on socks for Mr.NM and can confirm it's sturdy stuff and washes really well in the machine, he wears his a lot and they still look newly knit.

I'm excited to have my knitting mojo back and have lots of ideas whirling in my head for what projects I want to cast on...and I will finish my WIPs, honest!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

A happy camper

I said I'd have something exciting to post about soon, well here it is. It's exciting to me at least, last weekend we went camping. I was terribly excited to be going on our first camping trip of the year, hardly sleeping excited. We were going somewhere I'd never really been before (I'd passed through but never actually spent time there) which made it doubly exciting. We went to Derbyshire.

Much to my mother's amusement (as I was a child who had to be forced out to play and spent even the hottest months in my thickest jumpers) I love getting outdoors. There's something about being out in the fresh air that's just wonderful. Unfortunately the UK weather has been very UK-ish of late and I'll admit it was rather soggy...and windy, oh my goodness it was windy!
This is the tidiest our little tent ever looks, all set up ready for me to move our "stuff" in:


Once we were set up we were ready to explore. On the walk out of the campsite we saw this little guy up a tree, no idea what he was doing up there but he did make me laugh and reminded me of my childhood when all my friends had these little monster toys:


I don't remember what they were called but I recall you could swap them between a cuddly, cute appearance and a monster, I wanted one very much but never had one...what a cruel woman my mother was ;-)

For some reason I didn't take photos of our nosey around Ashbourne on our first evening there but I did take pictures of our day out on the Saturday when we went to Buxton. Buxton is just lovely, if you get the chance to go then do so. The Pavillion Gardens were especially beautiful.

There were many ducks and other water dwelling birds which made Mr.NM very happy as he is very fond of ducks.



I did find Buxton's yarn shop, of course! I was very restrained though, I didn't buy anything. They had a nice selection of Sirdar, Sublime and Rowan as well as some Noro and some sock yarn.


Whilst I was very restrained in the yarn there was a shop I couldn't resist a purchase in. Possible the most exciting bookshop I've ever been in. It was spread over 5 floors and sold books on every subject imaginable including some of the oldest books I've seen (and touched) outside of museums and libraries. There was little order to the books which made it all the more exciting, hunting for hidden treasures in the shelves.




There was even an organ to have a play of the sheet music before purchasing


Possibly the best bit was the little kitchen to make your own cup of tea or coffee to drink as you browsed


I did buy a book, a little book of narrative poems from the 1930s, for some reason (I'm a dimwit) I didn't take a photograph but it's very special and I'm happy with my little purchase.

After a lovely day in Buxton (and some delicious fish and chips) we had to head back to the campsite and settle down for a relaxing evening. We set up our chairs, got out some beer, lit the BBQ and relaxed for the evening.


I'm not going to lie, it was cold but it was OK. I had two very important things to keep me warm. The glowing remnants of the BBQ


And the most important keeper-warmer...WOOL!


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Still here

I was going to go with "I'm doing science and I'm still alive" but:

a. I've used that post title before
b. It might make people think I'm playing Portal 2 which I'm not because Mr.NM hasn't bought it for himself yet and he's the gamer, I'm just a keen observer

I am still here though, still alive, still reading everyone elses' blogs. Unfortunately fairies appear to have visited in the night and replaced my brain with cotton wool. Knittnig beyond the purple thing I showed last time has ground to a halt and I've not even been doing other interesting things or taking photographs to share with you. I apologise for being a rubbish blogger.

I promise to get back on track very soon. I cast on a new project last night (no I haven't finished any of my other WIPs, shush!) and I have some exciting things coming up that I will be able to share with you and that I hope will feel blog-worthy as nothing else I've been doing of late hast been.

I will be back, I promise.

Also yes it was my birthday last time I posted and I didn't get a single knitting thing, not one, not even a book about knitting or anything! I didn't even buy any knitting stuff with the money I got and have been successfully sticking to the yarn diet since March. Wow.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Welcoming the merry month of May

As a UK person working in a standard office job I must say I'm rather getting on board with this 3/4 day weeks business and will be most disappointed next week when I'm in all 5 days! Unfortunately it's also throwing me completely off balance and I'm rather losing track of what day it actually is. I knew what day it was today though as I woke up to a little pile of cards waiting to be opened.

I had a lovely weekend. We did not watch the Royal Wedding, I'm not particularly interested in the Royals or in weddings I'm not invited to/where I don't know the people getting married so I was never going to get into the wedding fever that seemed to hit so many people. I'm not complaining about the wedding though, I would never complain about an extra bank holiday!

Instead I caught up with a lot of housework and did some serious spring cleaning then went to a 60th birthday party on Sunday. It was a good weekend really and the good weather meant I could dry all my washing outdoors, I do love that line dried smell.

Yesterday was a day of baking, I spent almost all day in the kitchen making buns to bring to work today.

Chocolatey buns

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The chocolatey buns were topped with chocolate ganache made from dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids...yummy) and double cream, not good for the waistline but very tasty!

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Vanilla buns with buttercream (which is supposed to be lilac but looks a bit grey in the photos) and hundreds and thousands.

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And "Passion cake" buns which are banana, carrot, sultana and coconut, they're supposed to have nuts in but one of my colleagues is allergic so I left the nuts out.

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These buns are topped with cream cheese frosting...mmmmm

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Naughty but totally worth it! Also banana, carrot and to be one of your five a day right?!

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Worry bot though, I managed to fit in some knitting time and am making good progress on my new project, a lovely cotton and silk blend for spring/summer knitting.

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Summer is definitely on the way, I was awoken this morning by the sun blazing through our window, I panicked that the alarm hadn't gone off or I'd slept through it only to look and find it was actually 5am. I think we need darker curtains!