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Three children *** Two dogs *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That's us!

We've been blogging since January 2010.

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Just a thought….

"A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe."



Thank you….

  • Notmyyearoff Love that photo - the bee actually looks like he's opening the rose up to get into it! 28 Jun
  • Val We have a strong affection for 'humbly bumbles' and the poppies look gorgeous. A lovely post! 27 Jun
  • Neesie Busy busy bee...I watched and photographed a busy bee visiting a peony in my garden and it went into the petals around the outside. Until... 27 Jun
  • S.L.O.A.H. I always love poppies - beautiful and poignant in equal measure; perfect for a Sunday photo. #MMBC 27 Jun
  • Meals and Makes Lovely photos. The poppy is beautiful, its nice to capture them on camera, I don't take enough photos of our garden.#MMBC 26 Jun
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Time to smile

"God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles."

- J B S Haldane

Debs Random Writings

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What was once a knitting project…..

On the face of it, I’ve made little progress on my shawl. It has grown by 30 rows, which doesn’t account for the other 20 odd rows that went wherever frogged rows vanish to.

I’m a tad frustrated.

The pattern is not complicated. There are yarn-overs and pass-stitches-over-other-ones, but it’s not complicated. Nothing beyond my knitting experience, at least, but I cannot remember a more frustrating knit. Believe me, I’ve had time to contemplate it.

I think the problem is the yarn. It is very pretty. It is soft. It will look amazing, once it’s finished, but (you could hear that coming, couldn’t you?) it is not helpful when doing anything other than stocking stitch. Throw a yarn-over into the mix and get ready to pull your hair out.

The yarn is basically a wool-like twist and a fabric ribbon, held together by the thinnest of black threads, loosely wrapped around the other two. The colour varying every few inches. If any of those get separated, or broken in the case of the black thread, between stitches, then counting stitches or knitting the next row can be a challenge. Good luck if you want to pick up stitches.

I have undone so many rows. Grrr! I am not giving up. I’ve turned this into a military operation. This was once a knitting project. It is now a logistics exercise.

First step is a life line, which I move every other row. I have frogged back to it so many times. Next, each repeat in the row is marked by a stitch marker. I ran out on my last row and ended up using my engagement and wedding rings, as I couldn’t risk putting it down, to find more stitch markers. Third action is to count, count, count.

I overheard a conversation between two of my children, one evening.

“Don’t talk to her. She’s counting.”

“But she’s always counting.”

Hmm. I’m sure I’ve read a book with a character just like that…..

I will get there. I’m on row 58. Another 96 to go, plus the inevitable frogged rows that are yet to happen. Please no one point out that the number of stitches is gradually increasing as triangular shawls tend to do. I am in denial and ignoring this point.

The yarn is lovely. I am still wondering if I should have made it into a jumper for one of the children, as it is going further than I imagined. I picked it up from a charity shop. With hindsight, I can make a fair guess about why it ended up there in the first place. I wonder how many times.

I’ve not had much time to read my book this week, but I have managed a couple of chapters in the evening, before my eyes can stay open no longer. It’s good and I’m into it enough now, to want to find out what happens. A good sign for me!

So. What are you knitting, making and reading this week?


Sharing. Good idea.

A ball of harlequin yarn

I’ve started a new knitting project, which also means I’ve finished one. My odd socks are complete and ready to wear. Want to see them?

As predicted, they are odd. Never shall the pair match. The size and stitch pattern are as near to identical as they could be, but the colours go their separate ways.

I expected nothing else, using the casually dyed yarn that I had. Oh darn you, stash busting. The dye abruptly changed into green for half the foot of the second sock. It didn’t even have the decency to line up and do it at the same point as the first sock had shifted colour.

Ah, well. Not every craft project works out to be a masterpiece. I did consider not sharing this one, but that would be misleading. I’m not about giving the impression that every bit of fabric and yarn I touch, magically turns out perfectly. It doesn’t. I take my learning points and beat a hasty retreat to the next project.

I have to admit, there were points, when I was finishing off the second sock, where I would have quite happily frogged the lot. In reality, the time for unravelling had long since passed. Too many hours invested, by that stage.

Thanks to all your kind comments last week, I kept my focus and went for it. As these are destined to be walking socks, the colour mismatch is irrelevant, with a capital “I”. There was no need to waste all those hours of knitting in the pursuit of perfection. Draw a line and move on.

Preferably with comfy socks on my feet, and this pair certainly meets that criteria. No complaints about the fit of these socks and their comfort.

And look. If I cross my ankles, you’d never know the point, where the colours switch, doesn’t line up. I’ll just need to remember this, when I take muddy boots off and toast my toes in front of a country pub’s open fire. All’s well, that ends well, in terms of mismatching socks.

Moving on to my next probably ill-advised stash busting knitting project. I picked up the Sirdar Harlequin yarn at a charity shop, a while back. Only in a charity shop, am I drawn to novelty yarn. Anyway. I’ve started a shawl (ravelry notes). I’m undecided about whether to stick to this pattern, as I keep needing to undo rows. I’ll give it another repeat and see.

As it’s Wednesday (already?), I’m sharing my current book. I’m still reading The Winter’s Ghost, which I’m enjoying. It’s half term, so the children are home. This should mean more time to read, but it doesn’t seem to work that way. In contrast, they’ve been reading lots and enjoying it.

I like to think that this is spurred on by the fabulous fabric bookmarks they made at the weekend, but it’s probably more to do with their current obsession with making reading nests in their rooms. So long as they are reading.

Everyone is sticking to one book at a time, except the 14 year old. As usual, she has three books on the go at the same time. The top three in the photo. She seems to juggle reading multiple books simultaneously, with the greatest of ease and is equally captured by all of them. At the same time.

I’m loving discussing Pride and Prejudice with her. She’s reading my school copy, from when I took A’Level English, too many moons ago to count. It has my pencil notes in the margins. She says they help her. Like I’m sitting there discussing it with her as she reads. Bringing out points that she hadn’t thought about.

I suspect she is also thinking that my quick written notes are less of an intrusion than my long discussions on each point, if I was really sitting there.

So. What are you reading? Any suggestions on an easier shawl pattern, for my harlequin yarn? Not too late to frog this one.


Sharing. Good idea.

Yarn Along: Knitting imperfect socks

I think it must be the change of light or the fact I’ve knitted more rows, but I can now see what is wrong with the socks I’m knitting. Functionally they are perfect. They will fit and they will be warm. Stay up. No holes. Perfect for wearing with my walking boots. The intended purpose of knitting them will be met.

It’s just that they will always look like odd socks. Maybe from the same pack of socks, but not a pair.

The yarn was originally a natural light cream. Left over from another project. One summer, we were tie-dying tshirts and I had dye left over, so I dunked the balls of wool into it. Just because I could, more than any well thought out plan. As I knit, the yarn reveals a different amount of each of the dyes.

I knew that the toes of the first sock had a change over in colour. I’d planned a similar shift for the second sock. I did think that the yarn would become lighter again for the second sock. I guess it isn’t happening.

If I was a perfectionist, and these socks were destined for anything other than walking, I would undo them and knit it into a blanket or shawl. The change in colour could be mistaken as planned in one big, flat piece of knitting. No matching pair to highlight the problem.

There is a second reason why I should have avoided this yarn for this pair of socks. Variegated yarn does not show off all the intricate stitching. I know that. I knew that. Although in this case, it does hide the fact that I made a mistake in one section. Now nicely hidden in the ever changing shades. Silver lining!

So am I going to unravel the socks? I know I should, but to be honest, I would rather have a pair of  imperfect, well fitting walking socks, than none, at the moment. The dogs, my walking companions, don’t mind. I doubt they will even notice. As I stand, after a long climb, desperately catching my breath admiring the view, I know I’ll be more glad of comfy socks on my feet, than a blanket left on the sofa at home.

Better on my feet. I will embrace their imperfections.

This week seems to have had a theme, so far.  Take the expression “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” and substitute socks/blanket/home, or different books. Appreciating, and making the most of what I have, rather than looking at what I don’t have.

I’ve changed books again. Not because I wasn’t enjoying the Miniaturist, but more to do with having a book in my hand when I needed it.

Earlier this week, finding I was going to be waiting in the car for one of my brood to come out of school, I popped into a charity shop and spotted The Winter Ghost. It is described as a haunting winter’s tale. I’ve not read enough to know if it is gripping, yet. It is perfect for sitting in front of the fire in the evening, and reading though. More importantly, it was in my hand when I had time to read. The best kind of book.

So what have you been reading and/or knitting?

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