Friday, 15 November 2013

Good Week - Bad Week

Last week was really good.

Lots of lovely things happened.

It was our 19th wedding anniversary and the children spent 3 hours cooking us a gorgeous surprise meal with lots of delicious dishes that didn't blow my diet and were still super tasty.

They had gone to the shop and bought us flowers and had also made little flags for the nationality of each dish - it was so lovely.

Then we started getting some work done on the house.

Our super next door neighbour Malcolm laid new flooring in the hall and sitting room and a stone hearth in our fireplace that had previously been concrete with holes at the corners.  Our previous stripped wooden floors were nice in theory but in reality they were draughty, dirty, broken and patched, holey and access for slugs to get in the house - nice.

Our new laminate floors are so much easier to keep clean and the house already feels warmer :o)  and amazingly the children have taken an interest in cleaning them too!

Daisy now has a part time job cleaning (or "bleaning" as she used to call it when she was tiny) for us - although we have set the maximum she can earn to £12 a week or she would clean us out - literally!

And the other really lovely thing that happened last week was a surprise parcel of gorgeousness from Missus Moog to make me smile.

 Beautiful, beautiful handspun Shetland wool (which I am currently knitting into a hitchhiker scarf).

A gorgeous flower brooch that I wear everyday.

And most excitingly, my very own draw-string bag for my fair isle knitting!

Isn't it fantastic?  I love it so much - and it was all such a surprise.

This week has been less good.

I've had to work every day - normally I do a rotation of two days one week and three the next which is positively civilised - but this week it's been pretty much full time.  Now I love my job, but I would much rather be at home knitting!

And then today poor Mr Locket got scammed by some computer hacker people so we are having to fix all of that. :o( Not a good day.

Hopefully from Saturday things will improve.  It's Mr Locket's 50th birthday on Monday so this weekend we are going up to the Scottish Borders for a night at a B and B in Jedburgh.  The B and B is on a farm and looks lovely.  We have managed to book a room that has an adjacent room for the children and I think we are going to be the only guests - and the owner is going to bake Mr L a birthday cake for when we arrive!

Then on Monday Mr Locket has a rare day off for his birthday and we will then be able to reveal his secret birthday surprise that we have been working on for the last few weeks - I'm looking forward to being able to spoil him as he's one of those men who never buys anything for himself.

So I will be back next week with happy news again. xx

Monday, 21 October 2013

Autumnal colours and "ancient" inspiration

On Saturday we all went for a lovely family walk with our friends Sally, Peter and Billy to Thornley Woods near Newcastle.  It's a lovely place to walk and we have often had fun expeditions with our friends. I'm sure if I was patient I could trawl through old posts to find you previous trips - but I'm not patient enough :o)

The river photo is actually of a fisherman who caught at least 10 fish while we were watching but let every single one go again.

The colours weren't as deeply autumnal as I was expecting but it was still beautiful and I got some nice photos - including lots of the children but I don't think they'd let me post them anymore :o(  If they agree I'll update later.

My fair isle obsession is still in full swing - I'm just so delighted that I now have the confidence to attempt to do this type of knitting.  I don't get perfect results but I have all the fun of the patterns to play with.

The plain grey hat that I had knitted for Mr Locket wasn't deep enough (because I'd mis-measured, although initially I thought it was the pattern's fault - I should have known better!) so I decided to try again so that it would have a deeper fold over for the brim -  only this time I was going to include colour work.

The first attempt:  I didn't like the colour combination - so I ripped it back

The second attempt: Again the colour combination was wrong........

The third attempt:  I put the colourwork band in too early so the brim would cover it up completely

Finally I knitted a hat that was roughly the right size, had a colour combination I was happy with and had a deep enough brim.  There are still problems - like the colourwork is now too far up the crown and the brim could have been a bit deeper but on the whole I'm pleased with it and feel confident that I can develop further hats for the children - especially after all that ripping out.  Happily Mr Locket really likes it and was very kind and modelled it for me - now he just has to wait until his birthday next month to be given it - unless he has any cold days on site planned in the meantime when I'm sure I'll relent.

The whole time I've been knitting Mr L's brown, grey and cream mittens and this hat to match I have had a hat in my memory from when I was a child.  I remember loving the pattern on the hat despite it's not very childlike colours but I always found it a bit scratchy to wear.  I was fairly sure Mum and Dad still had it in a drawer some where so when we went to see them yesterday I had a quick hunt and there it was...

..... a real McCoy Shetland hat from Tullock of Shetland that I'm sure I have had since I was about 6!

The ages spent with Dot in the wool shop a couple of weeks ago trying to decide on the colours for Mr Locket's mitts would have been much easier if I had remembered this hat earlier instead of part way through the knitting!

Did I mention I love fair isle?

Thank you for all the comments on my last post - sorry I haven't replied yet. I'm not sure if I told you before, but the archaeological firm that Mr Locket worked for closed down in July so he set up his own consultancy firm with two colleagues.  He is now based at home and working hard - which means I very rarely get on the main computer where I can reply to emails!  Not that I'm complaining in any way - I think he is a complete star and as soon as I can I will reply to your messages :o)

P.S. Squeee! I've just ordered some more Shetland wool from Jamieson and Smith in Lerwick!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Too many projects

This obsession has gone too far!  

I have so many active projects on the needles that I don't know where to turn

I'm knitting socks for Mr Locket's 50th birthday next month

Mittens for Mr Locket's 50th birthday next month

A hat for Mr Locket's 50th birthday next month

  - well that's one thing finished at least

Secret mittens for a Christmas present

and a lacy Baktus that I forgot to photograph

Not to mention all the other dormant, very dormant and very, very dormant projects on the needles.

So the obvious thing to do today was to knit a little bit of three of the projects, sew in the ends on others and then cast on something entirely new!

Well I had to. It was entirely essential that I test out my new Jamieson and Smith Shetland wool to see if it really was better for fair isle knitting - it was - but it's not soft and schmooshy like my angora - it just looks ten times better.

This is my secret project before blocking

and this is it afterwards

Still bumpy and uneven but a bit better - and they are lovely and soft so I think I can live with it.  I've decided to try knitting the second one with different needles.

The first was on some slippy metal knit-pros but for the second I'm trying some blackthorn dpns that Julie kindly sent me last year

I spent half an hour sewing in ends and tried to take an arty photo of the cut offs - but photos aren't my strong point so it doesn't look arty at all but you know where I'm coming from

Then I photographed the insides of my mittens - because they look nice too

but I don't understand the current fashion for fair isle cardigans and jumpers where the wrong side is worn on the outside and the lovely fair isle pattern is hidden inside!  Bonkers if you ask me!

Tuesday: ETA just cast on another 2 projects!
The inside out cardigan was in Peacocks here

Friday, 11 October 2013


You know you are obsessed...........

  • when you are still sitting in bed knitting 20 minutes before you are due at work
  • when you persuade your lovely husband to give you a lift to work -  half a mile away - partly because you are late (because of the knitting in bed) but mostly so you can knit on the way there - for all of 3 minutes (because you know that it will all add up if you count the journey home at lunchtime and again at the end of the day)
  • when you plan to go to your favourite wool shop to buy duplicate needles as you HAVE to cast on yet another project NOW - and you fully intend to knit at least 4 things at once (not counting the dozens currently  hibernating in various places around the house)
  • when you refuse to do the weekly supermarket shop even though there is no food left in the house because that would be an hour and a half of knitting time wasted
  • when you find yourself knitting while standing in the queue for food at IKEA and really don't care if anyone thinks you are odd
  • when you make an improvised mitten blocker out of cardboard and cling film (inspired by this friend) because you are desperate to see if your stitches will improve
  • when your new sock wool arrives in the post at work and you ask your boss if you can just leave it on your desk so you can look at it while you type
I'm really enjoying knitting at the moment - can you tell?

Monday, 7 October 2013

Some things I discovered today

  • That being stung on the leg by a wasp while still in bed is not a good way to start the day - no photo
  • That Dot's plum crumble may not be on my diet - but it's very delicious and I'm going to end up eating it anyway

  • That photos of white ghost biscuits on white plates don't really stand out - but they taste really good

  • That when your eldest daughter starts to study the International Baccalaureate at sixth form college your parcels from Amazon become heavier and slightly less interesting - but you are rather proud of her for being such a clever clogs

  • That the plan to write a post about the official races I have run this year just didn't come together - but the medals look good

  • That you can't photograph 4 un-ironed participant t-shirts for the above races and make them look good - but I still ran a half marathon!!
  • That I'm not allergic to my new alpaca yarn (phew) - but that my secret knitting with it doesn't look very good - uneven stitches galore - do you think it will block out?

  • That if you improve your tension on your second fair isle wrist warmer and stop pulling the strands so tight it is going to end up quite a bit larger than the first one - but hopefully only you will notice

  • That it isn't very easy to take a good photo of said wrist warmers - but look, my rings fit again now that I've lost over 5 stone so I don't care ;o)

Monday, 30 September 2013

Today (and a bit of yesterday too)

Daisy rejected the flowers I had picked for Dot to welcome her home from her Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition yesterday.

She then scoured the garden for alternatives.  Largely unsuccesfully.  This Japanese Anemone was the only flower she could find.  So you can imagine her disgust when a petal fell off when she was arranging them.

Her solution?  

To glue it back on of course!

And she did.  And it worked!

I wonder if it will still be hanging on there when all the others have dropped?

This is just the kind of mad Locket moment that I want the blog to record - because I know I'll forget otherwise and that would be a shame.

Today I made my first ever attempt at chutney.  I absolutely LOVE chutney and over the summer Mr Locket, Dot and I made a point of buying new chutney and local cheeses on our (many) camping trips (more on them in another post) - so we ended up with about 7 jars in the fridge!  I don't care that it's not really part of my Weight Watcher's diet - it's just too good to resist.  So I don't know why it has taken me so long to make my own.

It's Old Dowerhouse Chutney from Delia's big black cookery book and it used up all the plums I carried back on the train last week after a lovely day with mum and dad and my BIG sister. (I had so much garden produce in my bag that I felt like the Town Mouse returning from the country)

The apples came from the tree in my garden - and were picked by Dot, who unfortunately got her crochet jumper rather tangled up in the tree, so she took it off and threw it to one side where unfortunately it landed in a big yellow bucket of slimy weeds and rainwater!

The only problem with the chutney is that I went off to watch a film and left it bubbling - and burnt it.

Hopefully the rather bitter caramelised taste will become something we learn to appreciate over time.

My knitting is going a little better.

I have finished another of Julie's Seasonal Dresses so now I need to knit the fox to wear it, and I have got a bit further with my Alfredo mittens although I'm finding the thumb insert really tricky to work out.  I've tried looking at the other examples knitted but no one else seems to have had a problem so maybe it's just me.

And finally, here is another gratuitous photo of all my new alpaca yarn - just because it looks so lovely!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Better late than never...

I seem to have given up on blogging which is a shame.  And a real life(!) conversation today with the lovely Jo of French Knots reminded me why writing a blog is such a good idea - because it is the best record of daily life and makes for fascinating reading when you look back over the years and are reminded of all the little things you had forgotten. 

I had thought it was pointless blogging now that people aren't really reading or commenting so much - but I had missed the point entirely.  I should be blogging for myself and gratefully receiving the lovely comments, if they come, as a bonus.

So over the next few days or weeks I am going to try to catch up a bit with what we have been doing in Locketland - and I'm going to be trying to read and comment on more of my friends' blogs too.

So this is going to be out of order but I'm starting with today...................when I travelled down to Yarndale with friends from my knitting group.

It was busy and crowded but lovely too with loads of great stalls (when you could get near them!) and I got to meet Jo too which was lovely.

Since knitting Julie's Little Cotton Rabbits and foxes and the seasonal dresses (see above) I have discovered colourwork which is something that had previously terrified me.  Now, I'm still not very good at it but it is my exciting new "skill" - almost as if I had learned to knit for the very first time.  So naturally I am obsessed, and naturally I spent rather a lot of money buying all these shades of Drops Alpaca 4ply so I can "fair isle" to my heart's content!

I have so many plans - all for little to middling projects and now I just need to hone my skills as my tension isn't great. 

This is the first of a pair of wristwarmers - it's a bit lumpy and dense but I'm pleased with it as a first attempt at multiple colours - and it's really warm.

Today I cast on these mittens (on the bus home from Skipton so it was slow progress) in the blue/grey and brown yarns at the top right of the photo above.  I'm onto my second glass of wine now so I'm not sure how fast the progress will be this evening but I'm looking forward to sitting in front of the fire with my knitting for the rest of the evening :)