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Sunday Sevens #123

This week’s Sunday Sevens is actually two week’s worth so may have just a few more photos than usual….

1. First week of the Easter holidays saw us spending some time on Exmoor as the warm spell continued. Mr H-L took a week off work so we decided to make the most of it while the weather was nice.


2. Tarr Steps is classified as an ancient monument and has a lovely circular walk starting and ending there that is one of the ‘must do’ walks every time we go to Exmoor.


3. One of the picturesque scenes for which the West Country is so famous.


4. This surely is the original chocolate box image?

5. The Boys had fun honing their stone-skimming skills.


6. No need to carry water bottles when you can drink water straight from the spring!


7. All that fresh air and exercise gave us an appetite for a cream tea.


8. Another day found us at a wetlands and willow centre on the Somerset levels.


9. A blustery selfie during the walk.


10. Tasty lunch back at the café afterwards.


11. Exhausted boys on the way home.


12. Closer to home, this picture was taken whilst walking the dogs in the next village. Don’t you just love the fields of yellow at this time of year?


13. Another day, another walk, this time featuring some inquisitive steers.


14. A pub lunch after the walk – it was so nice that we ate in the beer garden.


15. Plenty of opportunities to have the roof down in the last couple of weeks.


16. It’s not ALL been fun in the sun – the builders have finished the messy work so I spent a couple of mornings painting the sun room. 


17. Back to the fun stuff – another barbecue.


18. Mr H-L took us out for lunch as he was going away on business for a few days.


19. The closest I got to doing any sewing last week was hemming the mister’s new suit trousers. Like most sewers, I loathe alterations of any kind and couldn’t even be arsed to change the overlock thread, so white it is.


20. The Husband looking dapper in The New Suit. Can you see the chain hanging from his waistcoat?


21. You know the way all the pockets in new suits are sewn up and you have to unpick them, well, as I was opening the smallest one we found a pocket watch sealed inside! Has anyone else ever found this before?


22. First night on my own was craft night at mine with the girls. I didn’t do much actual knitting as I was at the stage where I needed to concentrate on decreasing, but a new pair of socks has been cast on.

23. I gave The Boys a much needed haircut!


24.


25. No.3 Son needed new football boots and chose some gold ones. No surprises there, then.


26. Whilst he was at goalkeeper training (he’s made it into the advanced squad) I took No.2 Son out to a nearby pub for pie and mash.


27. Hubby bought me a lovely gift in duty free…..


28. …..my favourite perfume.


29. Meanwhile, I had been meaning to buy another blender since ours gave up the ghost a few weeks ago. This KitchenAid one was half price – bargain!


30. Quick drink in the pub after working up a thirst playing football in the playing field behind. 


31. Progress on the socks went well as I relented and agreed to let them all watch Rogue One, the latest Star Wars film, in which I have no interest whatsoever.


32. My latest piece of sewing has been a real challenge this week. I’m making a denim-style jacket out of some sequinned, pearlescent leatherette. Yes, really!


33. I told you it was a challenge – before I’d even got to the sewing bit, I had blisters from cutting out!


34. A good friend stayed with us this weekend and we went out for Easter lunch today.


35. I was saved a job this year as the hotel put on their own Easter egg hunt after lunch and The Boys were happy to join in. I reckon the Easter Bunny would have been sweating his n**s off in this get up!


Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for a somewhat extended version of Sunday Sevens.


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First Christmas Present Hot Off The Needles!

Exactly one month ago I popped into Sew Vintage in Wells, looking for nothing in particular and happy to just drool over all the lovely things on display.


Amongst all the yarns, I spotted some lovely self striping “Regia” sock yarn, designed by Arne and Carlos for Schachenmayr. There was also a pattern for knee-high socks complete with two labels to sew in to the finished socks. How cute? I couldn’t resist it, so bought both the pattern and four balls of yarn.

(I still can’t find any see-through wellies, though!).


When I got home and put on my glasses to read the pattern, I discovered that it was written for DPNS – and I only know how to use circulars. To be honest, I think I would have had a go on circulars if the instructions had been more straightforward, but they seemed overly complicated to me so I chose a pattern from “Coop Knits Socks”, by Rachel Coopey. I bought this book at Yarndale a couple of years ago and have made several different pairs from it already.


These are the “Brighton” socks and feature a stunning fair isle design in three colours. I decided to follow the pattern for construction without following the charts for the colourwork, so the style would be the same minus the fair isle – knee-high socks with a deep ribbed cuff.


That evening, I cast on using the long-tail method as usual for a nice, stretchy top.


I love my row counter which was gifted to me in a Stitching Santa parcel last year – it makes keeping track of where you are a piece of cake.


Of course, The Dogs like to be close by when Mummy’s knitting at night. 


I’ve taken these in the car with me whilst The Boys play football. I love that socks are such a portable project.

I also LOVE this yarn!

The body of the sock is in stocking stitch and just look at how different the stripes look from the deep ribbing. The combination of colours are really lovely, too, and they’re quite accurate in this photo.


I tried it on for size just before I started turning the heel and this is when I noticed just how good the yarn is.

It’s quite expensive at £5.49 a ball, meaning that this pair cost £22.00 to knit, but they feel expensive, too, and surprisingly soft for such a high wool content (75% wool, 25% polyamide). As they are destined to be a Christmas present I felt it was worth it, especially after feeling how nice they felt against the skin.


One sock down and the second one almost finished, when I made a mistake and had to frog a whole evening’s work back. Poo!


Finally finished and ready to put away for Christmas – my first present made and it’s not Easter yet!

I’ve a feeling they’ll be worn over trousers as welly socks, hence my modelling them as such.


I’m very happy with the pattern matching as it can be tricky to find the exact spot in the ball at which to start the second sock.


As with all Rachel’s socks, the fit is absolutely perfect.


The extra deep ribbing will mean that the socks will hug the leg without slipping down.


Nice neat heels – the frogging was worth the effort!




Next up, some pink ones – another Christmas present in the making, but with some much cheaper yarn. I wonder if I’ll regret it…?


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Sunday Sevens #120

Time for another Sunday Sevens – a weekly blog series showing your week in photos. Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins.


We had my four children, two step-daughters, all of their partners, and our gorgeous granddaughter to stay at the weekend, and took the obligatory annual photo as proof!

1. While most went to watch The Boys play football, I took two of them and The Baby to Sherborne for the morning – here they are outside The Abbey.


2. Of course, we had a coffee-and-cake stop in a café. Do you think she’s enjoying her first taste of a jam tart?


3. No.1 Son bought these chocolates for me. I don’t like anything sweet as a rule, but these were amazing!


4. As many of you already know, I share a birthday with my daughter. We spent the day together at our favourite place, Summer Lodge.


5. A full body and head massage was the BEST way to while away an hour and a half, followed by leisurely morning using the spa facilities.


6. Hubby also treated us to the most incredible three-course lunch. Smoked duck breast with various different forms of apple, all steeped in alcohol anyone?


7. Mr H-L and I also managed to sneak a little lunch out on our own later in the week.


8. But……most of the week was dedicated to building work and, at last – decorating. The Koi Carp wallpaper went up in the downstairs loo!


9. I also finished gilding the mirror that will add the perfect touch of bling to the already-quite-bling wallpaper.


10. Did I mention that we are having our en suite done at the same time? Oh, the dust…….


11. It’s also well under way.


12. Do you remember that I mentioned I was searching for some mirrors, specifically the frameless type from the Forties? Well, this is what I had in mind – a wall of mirrors above the sink unit. Although the en suite isn’t quite finished, I was desperate for hubby to put the mirrors up and he kindly obliged. It was no mean feat, taking over two hours to get just right, but I already love the overall effect. En suites are modern by the very concept, and the old mirrors tone the modern-ness down a bit, especially as most of them are chipped or rusty in part.


13. I’ve still managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing which is a miracle. It’s actually for a Minerva blog post and is overdue, so I must try to finish it today.


14. I’ve completed the ribbing on the socks, too, but still need to sit down and google “see-through wellies”!!


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Sunday Sevens #71

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series started by Nat from Threads & Bobbins. Why not pop over and see how you can join in?

  1. Disaster – my hand knitted socks have a hole in them! My big toe is so much longer than any of the others that all my socks get thrown away eventually because they get holes in them. There’s no way I’m throwing these away a) because I made them b) because I invested a considerable amount of time in their creation c) because they are quite simply the most comfortable socks I have ever worn.

Guess I’ll have to buy a darning mushroom:(

socks

2. We had some late Christmas presents in the post all the way from America (thanks Robin!) – The Boys were thrilled as you can see from their expressions.

The Boys

3. This beautiful pheasant has decided it’s safer in our garden than in the fields beyond. I managed to snap it on my iPhone on full zoom, hence the poor quality.

pheasant

4. I’ve started another bobble hat for a cousin who saw it on Facebook and fancied a pink one.

Bobble hat

5. Mr H-L’s father died on Friday. He waited until we popped out for lunch and we got the call whilst we were eating pudding. We toasted his memory with a glass of his favourite whisky.

Holbrook

6. I’ve got a bit behind with my sewing so spent all weekend up in my sewing room trying to catch up. It’s good therapy, too.

sewing room

7. No, it’s not a dress, it’s the lining to my new green velvet coat!

lining

8. Mr H-L has been keeping me supplied with refreshments. Not sure that red wine, Pringles and sewing are a good combination…

refreshments

9. The hens decided that it was far nicer to be inside than wading around in acres of mud outside. They loathe the wind and rain and, if the door is left open for a millisecond, they’ll sneak in.

hens

10. The dogs detest aren’t that keen on sharing their food with the girls so, as soon as they see a hen in the house, they race to their bowls and down the lot as fast as they can.

Sometimes not fast enough.

Amber

Right, back to the sewing room for me – just the hem and buttonholes to do!

 


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#stitchingsanta Update

Just a quick post to show you what I’ve been putting together for my #stitchingsanta swap. This is the knitting/crochet category, although I have more to show you from the sewing swap, too, in a later post.

This blog was new to me and I spent a lot of time reading through the archives, researching all about her likes and hobbies. She is a very skilled knitter and I’m hoping I haven’t embarrassed myself with my comparatively amateur offerings!

I spent my budget on something I am pretty certain she will appreciate – two skeins of utterly gorgeous 100% Superfine Alpaca 4ply yarn, perfect for socks, in a lovely shade of blue that reminds me of the sea.

Artesano yarn

Artesano yarn detail

I found a free sock pattern and printed it out as a suggestion of what to make with it.

Artesano free Tiffanie sock pattern

I knitted this berry-red cowl in a chenille yarn which is so cosy and soft to wear that I will find it hard to part with!

Knitted Rib Cowl

This fair isle headband was fun to make and the reverse side is very neat, I am proud to say, with all the yarn carried across the back tidily. It coordinates nicely with the cowl, picking out the red.

fairisle headband

I will probably add an appliquéd something to these tweedy fingerless gloves, just to liven them up a bit. Maybe in red to tie in with the cowl and headband.

gloves

I am hoping to find some bits and pieces to add to the parcel as I have a pound or two left in the budget. It will have to be clever shopping though, or more homemade things at that budget!

How are you getting on with yours?


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My First Socks!

The inevitable has happened – I’ve finally succumbed to the irresistible urge of The Handknitted Sock.

I bought this 100% Merino wool at Yarndale last September and cast on immediately back in our guest house bedroom…..and that was it until May.  It was initially that Christmas gift making took priority but, as the New Year came and went, other projects in familiar territory always seemed to be picked up in preference to The Socks.

The last couple of months appear to have featured proudly made socks on every other blog post that popped up in my Reader, until I could no longer ignore the voice in my head whispering “knit me, knit me!”…..

Creeping shamefaced into my studio, I liberated the embryonic stocking from its woolly prison and unravelled the sorry looking cast on, ready to start afresh.

Flicking through “Coop Knits Socks”, Rachel’s face smiled back at me and I remembered how helpful she was when I bought her book, which she very obligingly signed for me.  Ten pairs of brightly coloured hose jumped off the opening pages at me, each one a work of art and seemingly beyond my virgin sock-making capabilities.  So did I sensibly decide to stick with good old stocking stitch whilst trying to solve the puzzle that is sock construction?

Did I heck!

I chose “Pennycress”, an eight row repeating pattern on several different charts to follow, which was mirrored, not identical, on the second sock.  Keeping to the pattern and mastering circular needles was challenging and a few mistakes were made, although they’re not noticeable at all, luckily.

These are top-down socks, so start with the ribbing.

 I really enjoyed knitting the leg section, especially after I eventually worked out where I was going wrong with one stitch on every row. The heel flap was a revelation in a harder wearing slip-type stitch, much easier than I had convinced myself it was going to be – why had I procrastinated for so long??  Again, turning the heel was no problem…..  

 ……and the gusset was a doddle too.  Adjusting the foot length to fit was made simpler using Rachel’s size guide at the back of the book.   Just shaping the toe left to do…       Kitchener’s stitch made for a brilliant, totally invisible seam-free closing, which is also demonstrated step-by-step in Rachel’s book. Finally, eight months after first casting on, a little under two weeks of knitting has produced My First Socks! I have to say, I LOVE them!    Whether or not it’s beginner’s luck, the fit is perfect all the way through.

   I now understand what all the fuss is about, why there is no going back to shop bought, despite the £13.95 price tag of a single skein of Fyberspates 100% Merino Superwash.  They are supremely comfortable underfoot, hold their shape well and don’t appear to smell or need washing after being worn just once.

 I have already ordered more yarn in different colours and consider myself addicted!

If you love knitting socks too, I highly recommend “Coop Knits Socks” by  Rachel Coopey which you can buy here.

 I believe she has a second book out now with even more gorgeous designs. It may well be my next purchase:) 

  
  

  


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Sunday Sevens #37

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series hosted by Nat at Threads & Bobbins (www.threadsandbobbins.com) – sorry Nat, but I couldn’t work out how to add a proper link on the mobile app:)

Here follows seven-ish photos of my week: –

1. Opened the barbecue to find a huge nest had been built.  Three Blue Tit chicks chirped loudly back at us!  2. Had a French manicure in preparation for our holiday.  3. Took The Boys out for an ice cream sundae before an early bedtime – we had to be up at 3am to catch our flight.  4. The Boys reading on the ‘plane – bye bye Blighty!  5. Auntie M’s villa, home for the next two weeks. View from the roof terrace.  6. Finishing the second sock relaxing by the pool. 6. Enjoying the Flamenco dancing in a local bar.  7. The Boys writing their daily diaries in lieu of homework with the promise of a morning in the pool. Hope you all had a great week too!