Welcome to our blog.

….. Making pretty things
….. Simple living
….. Growing a family

Three children (17, 15, 12)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

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knitting

October Yarn Along

And just like that, we’re back to autumn. Can you believe it? After the whirlwind of the summer months, I’m secretly grateful for the excuse of shorter days, to take it easier in the evenings. I love my kitchen garden. I really do. Pottering around at the end of the day, is such a joy, but I’m ready for a change in pace. Especially if it involves more reading and a chance to finish some of my knitting projects.

Time for my Yarn Along update.

Knitting

I’ve made progress. Little dance of joy. My red cardigan now has a left sleeve, as well as a back and  two fronts. When I think back to knitting the purple version of this cardigan, earlier this year, it took a month. A month! The current cardigan is taking….erm…many more., but I’m OK with it. Was I really planning on wearing  it before November?

I’ve also knitted a dishcloth, which I love using. I’m on the look out for more cotton yarn, as I could do with a couple more. They are the best cloths ever.

Sneaking into the photo is another project. I’ve started my gift making. Such a gorgeous autumn colour and vintage yarn, from the 50s, I picked up in a charity shop recently. Very pleased with it. Obviously can’t say more, seeing as it’s intended as a gift.

Books (some affiliated links)

Total change. I read Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments. I’ve been looking forward to reading it, as I was completely bowled over by the Handmaid’s Tale when I first read it in my 20s. I picked the Tale up one evening and couldn’t put the book down until the wee hours, when I finished it. The story haunted me. Found echoes in the world around me, as the decades past by. It horrified and shocked me. I couldn’t watch the TV series, as the book was enough. I didn’t want to spoil it. Most definitely in my top ten books.

I may be alone in this thought, but I didn’t feel that The Handmaid’s Tale needed a sequel. It could stand alone. Yes, it was interesting to see what happened to the next generation and where the political system would take the nation, but it would never be able to shock me in the same way as the first book did. I was right.

The Testaments is the sort of book that you need to sit down and read the first few chapters, in order to follow the hopping around between the different characters’ stories, as they are introduced, and the time shifts. I found seeing Gilead from outside the regime, was interesting and definitely added to the story. It raises interesting questions, about how would you have acted in the same circumstances. The three leading characters, who narrate the story, are gutsy and you want to see them win through.

There is a twist. I won’t spoil it, but I thought it was pretty obvious soon into the story. Was that intended? Did it matter? Probably not. It is a good book. Possibly it would rate higher for me if it didn’t have to be compared to the first book. Good, but not as formidable and monumental as The Handmaid’s Tale.

I needed something lighter next. Thank you to everyone that suggested A Man Called Ove. Early days with this one, but I think I’ll enjoy it.

I’m joining in with Ginny’s Yarn Along  and Anne’s Bookworms Monthly. I’d love to know what you are reading. Have you read The Testaments, and if so what did you think?

So she knitted a humble dishcloth

I finished knitting a cotton dishcloth. Haven’t made one of these for ages, partly because they last so long. No need to replace them that often. This one is a garter stitch corner-to-corner. It is a quick knit, using 100% cotton yarn. The cotton is variegated, which I never think shows the intricate and complicated stitches up to their best. So garter stitch is perfect.

I’m not sure that knitting your own dishcloth is quite so popular in the UK, as in other countries. It certainly went through a dip. In the 80s, I remember balls of dishcloth cotton being on sale, outside the draper’s shop (long since gone), in our local market town. You bought it along with your tea towels, nets and curtains. I can’t remember what else the shop sold. It seemed to go back, like an Aladdin’s cave. Anyway, it was a small basket for the dishcloth cotton yarn, out the front. Presumably, not a big demand for it, even then. The cotton was always the same off white colour. As dull as the dishwater it was destined to sit in. Now, at least, I can find a lot more choice.

I use my dishcloths for cleaning surfaces rather than dishes.  I mix up a homemade white vinegar and rosemary cleaning solution to wipe the surfaces. I’ve been refilling the same bottle for 17 years. As old as my Eldest teen, which is no coincidence. From the start, I didn’t want her coming in contact with harmful chemicals. I’ve stuck to the same recipe ever since. I’m sure, in years to come, my children will be hurtled back to the memory of their childhood, kitchen table, at the mere whiff of rosemary. Before you ask, the smell of vinegar does not stick around for long.

Back to the cloths. Maybe it’s just me, but I find the reusable cleaning clothes, on sale, a tad thin. They feel too light and flimsy. They don’t feel substantial enough to stand up to the elbow grease that’s sometimes needed.

Begone you congealed gunk, from last night’s feast.

In contrast, the knitted cloths are much easier to scrub with. They work better than towelling or a square of fabric. It is something to do with being knitted and chunky. My knuckles are safe and don’t feel like they’re in direct contact with the counters. Once I’ve finished cleaning, they are easy to clean. Ready to be used again.

Being cotton, they don’t shed microplastics every time they go in the washing machine, which is a plus. Cotton does have a down side in the environmental cost of producing it, but this cloth will long outlast its microfibre cousin. There is at least one brand of recycled cotton yarn, which I’d like to opt for next time, to cut down on the impact on the Earth’s resources. Small? Yes, but it counts.

Also, I’m going to wait until the right ball of cotton yarn crosses my path, rather than dashing back to the craft shop. It is amazing how well this approach works, believe me. Someone else’s clutter. Alternatively, if the right fabric comes along, I will use it to make my own knitting yarn.

I like knitted dishcloths. I like knitting them too. It always gives a good buzz to finish something that is going to be useful. Not much more basic and functional than a cleaning cloth.

Have you ever knitted/crocheted dishcloths? Do you use them? Would you like to give it a try?

Linking up with Rosie’s October Going Green Linky

A Green and Rosie Life

 

September Yarn Along

Hello September. Good to see you. You always feel like the beginning of the warm and cosy months. I’ve already baked a couple apple and blackberry crumbles, so no surprise that you’re here already. Evenings are spent processing food from the garden, rather than outright gardening. Time to read and craft. I like the gradual switch.

The start of the month also heralds the time to share my current books and knitting project. I’ll start with knitting.

Knitting

I’ve made progress. I do love to knit. I love how my twisting and wrapping yarn around two sticks can produce something wearable. Inch by inch it grows. Pattern slowing appearing.

I’m working on my red noughts and crosses cardigan. (Purple version here.) I finished the back in August, and am working on the first sleeve. I love knitting the cable panel. Just one more sleeve to go before I can put it all together. I’m feeling confident that I’ll be wearing this before autumn/fall has run its course.

Books (affiliated links)

I finished Good Omens  by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen. Loved reading it. Slightly different from the TV series. Part left out and another added. It was worth reading. I’ve also finished The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. A really good read. It is not a beekeeping book, but interesting how the story wove beekeeping in and out of the characters’ lives, with a subtle touch. I’ve been sending love to every bee I encounter, ever since reading it. It dealt with family relationships, loss, racism and belief, set in the South Carolina during the 1960s.

I’ve also been digging into the Lost Words Spell songs. This is a truly fabulous book. The sort of book that makes you aware of a sob, so deep inside you, that you have no idea where it came from, or even that it was there. (That might be just me, of course.) A feeling so strong that you know it will explode if not let out.

If you’ve read Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris, then the Spell book is the next step. It comes with a CD, featuring the nature poems set to music. The resulting music is haunting and deep-down thought provoking. The creativity is fascinating. As are the illustrations in the book.

Not sure what I’ll read next. I find good books always need a slight pause before a new book can even be contemplated. Time to savour the story a moment more. I’ll give it till the weekend.

Linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along and Anne’s Book Worms Monthly. What have you been reading this month? Any yarn projects on the go?

Photos

There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don’t just take. Written permission only. Don’t pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It’s not nice.

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