Thursday, 1 December 2011

Books and Beer

My sock knitting has slowed down lately - for no good reason really - but I have finished one each of my autumn leaves and embossed leaves and I'm looking forward to buying some red sock wool to knit some Christmassy footwear.

I've picked up my Hitchhiker scarf again and I've nearly finished the ball of wool - but the rows are so, so long!

But the good thing about knitting with 4ply sock yarn is that it makes knitting something with chunky really, really quick

 like this hat for Dot for her weekend away with Explorer Scouts to train for her bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition.  She is VERY excited to be going - I do hope she has a good time and doesn't get too cold and wet.

I've rediscovered one of my craft books recently

and I've been really enjoying reading it - far more than I remember when I first got it.  I think I was disappointed at the time that it wasn't a how-to book - but now I am absolutely loving it as a this-is-why book.  And Fred and I made the most delicious rock buns the other day based on her recipe

Do any of you have her knitting book?  I'm thinking of getting it for Christmas and wondered what you thought of it?  I'm not too bothered about the actual patterns and am more interested in "talk" about knitting and why it is such a good thing to do!

Finally, in this rather disjointed post, I have been inspired by Ali to get my act together and make Mr Locket a beer advent calendar which I thought about doing last year but never actually achieved.  We always have far too many advent calendars - I think there are 6 this year - but Mr Locket has never had one of his own so I think he will be pleasantly surprised when he comes home tonight to find this box of delights waiting for him!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


I don't have anything profound to say today and I don't have any marvellous photos to share but I thought I would let you know that I have finished my fox quilt and it is now hanging on the wall in the kitchen looking deliciously wintery.

Hand quilting the stars on it has inspired me to layer up my long-abandoned zig-zag quilt top that I made with the gorgeous fat quarter bundle of Christmas fabrics that Thimbleanna so kindly gave me when we met up in Edinburgh a few years ago.

This time I'm just following the zig-zags with fairly large and not very even running stitch but I'm enjoying sitting under it in the evenings while I work and I fully intend for it to be finished by Christmas even if it is a few years late!

Lucy xx

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Starting to make winter

I've been really enjoying reading Emma's posts about making winter and following her links.
I'm not sure how I feel about the winter.  I like the idea of cosy time in front of the fire with my knitting or sewing and obviously Christmas is always something to look forward to, but I don't like the cold, dark evenings and being on a diet puts paid to enjoying lovely wintery comfort foods.

But as my contribution to making winter this week I thought I would show you some of my wintery "doings".

I can't really claim that knitting socks is a winter activity as it is something I seem to be addicted to doing throughout the year - but actually WEARING those hand knit socks is definitely an autumn/winter pleasure.  I finished my second pair of Tadpoles using the gorgeous hand-dyed yarn that Quinn sent me in the new year and I really love them.

I also cast on two pairs of socks last month as part of Socktoberfest - my favourites are my autumn leaves socks made using this pattern.

I have to admit that the gorgeous yarn was initially intended for this beautiful scarf - but I did a few inches and realised that there was no way I was going to actually be able to face knitting a whole scarf - the pattern just wasn't interesting enough.  Then I cast on a different pair of leaf socks and did the first few rows of the pattern before deciding I didn't like it either.  Moogsmum and I have discussed this and I have come to the conclusion that I am an extremely fussy knitter - I have to absolutely LOVE the process of knitting the pattern to be able to do it and if I don't love it it's just not going to happen.

I've also cast on some embossed leaves to sort-of-knit-along with Lesley - except that I have done one pattern repeat and Lesley has nearly finished her first sock!  She is a demon-knitter!!

But back to making winter........... Dot persuaded me back into the sewing room the other weekend after far too long a break from it and one of the projects I resurrected was my fox quilt from Syko's lovely book.  This was a quilt that I started at the beginning of the year when I was still deeply depressed and struggling to get through each day and once I had pieced the front it just lay neglected because I didn't have any bondaweb left for the trees and it was just too much effort to go and get some.

But I love how it looks now and I'm enjoying hand-quilting very naive stars all over it - I have a horrible feeling it is going to pucker as I didn't have much spray baste to fix the layers but so far it seems to be going ok.

I'm a real humbug about Halloween and never really get into the spirit of it and wouldn't have even carved pumpkins this year if a neighbour hadn't donated two pumpkins to me on Monday because her grown up daughters no longer wanted them for their parties.  So one got carved for Fred and put out on the front wall to welcome the trick-or-treaters.

Daisy went to a party straight from school and came back dressed like this - fortunately that's a spare school shirt that doesn't really fit! And Fred got dressed up in Gina's dare-devil outfit to open the door to give out sweets.

 I am quietly promising myself that next year I will get myself organised to take Fred out trick-or-treating too as it is something I have never really done with him and the girls are now old enough to be organising their own activities or not doing anything at all if that's what they want.

And today I used the other pumpkin to make myself some delicious pumpkin and cumin soup for lunch and it was so tasty I ate the lot.

I have been struggling with my diet since our holiday but I've lost 2 stone 5lbs over the last 6-7 months and need to get focussed again to lose the next 3 stone to get to my dream weight.  It's getting harder as the novelty has worn off and the children keep baking gorgeous cakes and biscuits and delicious apple crumbles.  But my Slimming World leader gave me a pile of magazines to hold the other night that weighed 2 stone to remind me that I really didn't want to put it back on  so I won't be comfort eating - much as I'd like to!

Finally I thought I'd show you the beautiful cushion that Dot made for me using a tapestry pattern from the Cath Kidston Stitch book

- she's done it beautifully!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Decision made

Thanks for all your advice regarding the crochet blanket.  In the end I pestered the rest of the Lockets who unanimously agreed that they liked the non-bordered squares best so I have been busily crocheting along and I'm now running out of wool so I'll have to have a shopping trip later in the week.  Shame.

I've never quite got the hang of joining the squares as you go so I am chaining them together and it looks ok. Not professional and smart but ok enough for me. I would have liked to have joined more but I have run out of the turquoise wool that I am using.

What is really interesting is how very different it now looks compared to Julie's blanket that inspired it.  The colours started out similar but the growing blankets are so far apart!  I love the calm, serene nature of Julie's blanket but I also love the rather more chaotic and loud blanket that I am now making and I'm still incredibly grateful to Julie for inspiring me and helping with the colour choice.

In knitting news I have finally finished my Candlepower socks

This is a gorgeous pattern - definitely my favourite sock pattern so far and I'll be knitting some more before too long.

The only problem now is that I have been spoilt for other sock patterns.  I have cast on three times with this gorgeous "heather and thistle" yarn

and have finally decided to knit this pattern but I'm not loving it as much as the candlepowers.

I'm hoping to get quite a bit done as part of Socktoberfest so I'd better get off here and get knitting!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Taking inspiration

Sometimes you see a colour combination or idea that looks so lovely that you are simply inspired to make something similar - straightaway - and this is what happened when I saw Julie's "Me Old China Blankie".  The colours were just delightful together and it kept calling to me.

So on Saturday I HAD to go to the wool shop - despite the fact that there were plenty of other things I should have been doing and I had plenty of empty days this week when I could go.  I just couldn't wait any longer - I NEEDED new wool.  My candlepower sock could wait.  The Granny Stripe blanket that I had started a few months ago was forgotten.  I was going to make something new and woolly.

But I didn't want to COPY Julie exactly.  I wanted to see if I could pull together some colours using her basic selection of 10 as a guide.  I also wanted to use slightly less luxurious wool because I know any blanket in the Locket house will get a very rough life and we have a problem with moths so using super-gorgeous yarn would be soul-destroying if the pesky moths got to it.

So I went for King Cole's Merino DK which had a lovely palette of colours and Dot and I had a happy half hour selecting, rejecting, re-selecting and finally agreeing on 9 shades with one Sirdar Country Style in deep pink.  Jacqui and Louise in the shop were really helpful and patient and gave lots of good advice without which I would have definitely ended up with the wrong colours.

I started hooking as soon as I got home and have managed to do some each day and now have 15 squares.

But I have a dilemma which I hope you can help with..............

Should I do the squares as they are here with all the different colours on the final round?

Or should I add a cream border to each one which will make the joining much neater?

I'm not sure because adding the cream completely changes the look of the blanket making it more like this one which I love..........but is it too cream?

Decisions, decisions!

Lucy x

P.S. sorry about the terrible photos - I really hate my new camera - colours just don't work on it and it is very frustrating.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The big Four-O

The consolation for turning 40 was obviously the fabulous presents I received which included beautiful scarves, perfume, notebooks, a bucket-barbecue and picnic rug, earrings, a Cath Kidston wallet........
............Colonsay inspired goodies and a handmade clay tile from Daisy............ beautiful Cath Kidston tapestry from Dot and some dinosaur decorations with Colonsay pebbles from Fred...............

..........some lovely "home" decorations.........


...............a beautiful cushion, purse, bracelet and corsage from the fabulous Mrs Moogs........


..........and my very own wool-winder and swift!

But one very special birthday present went on a very special journey to reach me in time for my birthday.......... may recognise the little bird drawn on the envelope..........
....Yes! It's a parcel from the one and only Silverpebble containing a super-special commission from Mr Locket and the Little Lockets.  

Emma had contacted Mr L to say that the present would be posted in time for my birthday but when she realised that we were actually going on holiday before it could arrive she did the necessary detective work to contact the lady in charge of the post office on the island to arrange for it to be posted to me at Kiloran Bay Cottage, Colonsay!

So I expect you are interested to see what was inside???

A special Emma Pebble box of course!

And inside that?

My very own, specially-designed-for-me, Silverpebble necklace with a seagull, bucket and spade, sandcastle, shells and sea-glass - and I LOVE it!  I wear it all the time and always get complimented on what a unique piece of jewellery I have.  I don't have Emma's skill in photography but I think you can still see how stunning it is!

So turning 40 wasn't all that bad really! ;o)

Thursday, 15 September 2011


We finally got to go on our long awaited holiday to the Scottish island of Colonsay.  To say I was a little bit excited about this holiday is definitely an understatement.  I can't remember having been as excited about a holiday for a very long time.  Unfortunately this made it very hard for the actual holiday to live up to my excessively high expectations but we did have a lovely time.

Our cottage was quite small and very cold, but lovely - and we spent a lot of time playing cards (albeit sometimes wrapped in blankets), reading, knitting and eating lots of naughty things.  Oh yes! I ate LOTS of naughty things - bread, jam, cheese, salami, pizza, crisps, sausages, burgers, and lots and lots of cake! (more about cake later........)  The diet really took a very welcome holiday but even after having a curry once we'd come home I managed to only put 3 1/2 lbs on over a week and a half of being very bad indeed!

The beach next to the cottage was beautiful - known as the best beach on the island and there were two ways down from the cottage.

The first was along the little road

and the second was more "cross-country" and involved a steep climb up the rocks - but the route had been signposted by some previous visitors..........

There was a little stream to cross to get onto the beach itself and sometimes we used the stepping stones but other times we just waded through.

We took the children on as many walks as we could get them to go on (not many!).  I think they were rather put off by the epic walk we did at the beginning of the week to visit an isolated beach - along with half the other holiday makers it seemed!

But by far their favourite activity was visiting "our" beach

- especially if they could run and jump in the sea in all their clothes...........

next year I'm going to look into getting wetsuits!

The cows enjoyed the beach too.

Another top activity was visiting "the cake house"......... Daisy was very excited to be nearly there..........

Okay, she was actually jokingly running to meet Fred but the cake house was at the end of this bit of road.

There were a couple of signs saying "Cakes for Sale" and when you approached the cottage there was this sign gaffer-taped to the door......... we opened the door and found this HUGE box FULL of the most delicious cake along with a box nearly as full of money!

We had a barbecue one evening with the children wrapped up against the cold and the midges (although fortunately we weren't really bothered by midges actually biting us - I don't think it was warm enough for them)

I also celebrated my 40th birthday while we were away and had a lovely day with lovely presents - including a very special one that was posted to me on the island.............

...but you'll have to wait until another day to see what was inside (as I haven't taken a good enough picture of it yet and it really deserves to be photographed well)

...........and I even had homemade cake and a card from the family staying in the cottage next to ours - such a kind thought.

So we had a lovely holiday - I just wish we had been there longer - and after all my weeks of searching for the perfect sock knitting pattern to take with me I wish I'd taken a different one as ended up ripping it out on the ferry home!