Thursday, April 20, 2006

Spring has Sprung

At last it feels as if Spring has actually come. We were actually able to sit out in the garden Tues afternoon for a cup of tea although the wind was still a bit cold. However the cold wind has disappeared at last and hurrah! it's actually been warm at times today although showery.

I love this time of year and there's just a day or two when all the willow catkins are out so that the trees look positively golden. I was out the other morning and the swans who live on our stretch of the canal were performing their elaborate courtship ritual but typically I didn't have the camera and of course by the time I'd dashed in the house and got it they'd decided they'd had enough and were getting off the water and settling themselves on the bank.

One of the advantages of taking leave and being at home is that I actually get to enjoy the house, garden and having time to do things like bake. We're going off to Cornwall for a week tomorrow and a holdiay tradition we have is that I bake a cake to take along. When you're doing a decent walk there's nothing like a hot drink and piece of cake to give you that extra bit of energy when you're flagging. I tried a new recipe for an apple cake today and was so pleased with the result.

I just hope it tastes as good as it looks. I'm sure the cat already knows we're going away and he's going to be abandoned for the week - well not really. A work colleague is coming in to feed him, for some reason he really likes her and the feeling is mutual so he'll get lots of fuss.

I was hoping to have heard from my SP before I left and am getting a little worried since I haven't heard anything since early/mid March when my 2nd package arrived. From reading other blogs a couple of the participants are going through rough patches so there's always the possibility that my upstream SP could be one of those. On the other hand having been let down in the Holiday SP round it almost feels as if history is repeating itself. However I've been very lucky in having fantastic downstream SPs and the two packages I have received have been great. I'll just wait until I'm back.

I'd better get to bed, been really busy today, cleaning, cooking, packing etc etc and I'm like a kid when I'm going away - I'll be up and around at some ridiculous time in the morning.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Spring showers

Been up to North Wales for work today and driving through the mountains it lashed down with rain and was blowing a hoolley. But as usual there were a small number of hardy souls, fully decked from head to toe in waterproofs venturing out but looked pretty damn miserable and just had to ask yourself why? Would be much pleasanter and sensible to be esconced in Pete's Eats in Llanberis eating, drinking tea or coffee and reading newspapers or mags. Some years ago this would have been me but graduated into the fair weather camp of walkers. There were already some tents up at the best known camping sites down the Ogwen valley and pools of water standing on the fields. Ughhh!! not my idea of camping. However two and a half hours later driving back - bright sunshine although the tops were still swathed in cloud and could just still see a sprinkling of snow peaking down beneath the clouds.

Another package that arrived through the post the other day was a good ebay buy. Have hand wound some skeins of wool not knowing until recently that there were things like wool winders and swifts available. The majority of these seem to be available in the States and quite expensive so decided to have a look on ebay and found this

It's a "Hubby" wool holder = swift and wool winder. They were a bit grubby and unloved but with a good clean and polish Voila!! The wool holder is just so neat it slots together and is fully adjustable but dismantles to take up very limited space. Don't know why but the umbrella designed swifts just do not appeal, may be something to do with too many brollies having either collapsed or blown inside out on me!! This suits my aesthetic taste perfectly and the winder is pleasingly simple but so well designed with the bulbous little handle just sitting perfectly in the hand. It's also nice to know that something that was designed and made quite some time ago - perhaps during the 50's, but still works well. Who'd have thought I'd have been waxing lyrical about an old gadget but beware! I do have views and love well designed things that work well. Unfortunatley can't find anything out about Mr "Hubby".

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Well here I go!!!

Didn't think that April 1st was too good a day to start a blog so have left it a week and caught up on other things. It's been a somewhat cold wet Spring here and frost is promised yet again this evening. Got really fed up of not being able to get out in the garden and various plants, particularly the Clematis of which we have a few, really did need pruning. So a brief spell of slightly warmer weather last weekend meant we dashed out into the garden, tidied things up, pruned plants and painted lots of trellis fence and dug out a flower bed but I felt so much better for it.

It also meant I got time to enjoy my latest purchases. A short time ago Kristina posted up a swap on the Knittyboard asking whether anyone was able to get some Colinette yarn and in return she'd supply yarn not readily available in the UK. Well as the Colinette workshop is only 20mins up the road it was too good an oppurtunity to miss, especially as I needed a couple of things myself. Luckily what Kristina wanted was in stock so she was well pleased when she received my package. After prevaricating for a week or two, decided to go for some A.L de Sauveterre since I've lusted after it for so long. I've been particularly impressed by the colourways shown on her site and was interested to see quite how spot on they are. The morning this arrived was almost like Xmas, inside the cardboard box was the yarn all wrapped up in pinky purpley tissue and tied in its own ribbon and then insided was this

This is Whisper 100% Peruvian Alpaca with 200 yards per hank and is colourway Cornish Pixie. To me this does personify Cornwall which is quite special to M and me as we had a memorable holiday there before a particularly tough summer and returned 18 months later to get married there on Xmas Eve. We're returning for a week's holiday at the end of the month so I'm going to have to take some of this with me as my holiday knitting. And there was also this

Summer Berries - doesn't it just remind you of strawberries, raspeberries, cherries, blackcurrants etc. It's soooooo soft and couldn't stop wandering around with huge grin on my face.

Also delivered was a package from Amazon which contained a copy of OneSkein by Leigh Radford. This is every bit as good as the reviews I've seen and am impressed that the one skein covers small to large skeins of diffferent types of yarn. Will make several of the items especially the baby bits and things as pressies. It's also an inspirational read and makes you realise quite how much you can achieve with a single skein. The other book was Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. My lovely SP sent me Socks, Socks, Socks but still needed a basic sock reference book and this is it. Both books will get lots of use as I love knitting socks and have a pair on the go at all times.

And package three contained goodies some of which have just been posted off to my SP.