One of the (many!) problems with having moved house as often as we have (seven times in ten years) is that we've gotten pretty good at living and therefore moving, with not a lot of stuff. This may not seem like a problem, but it means we lack a lot of the things that can make a home feel like home.
The Summer Holidays is upon us and although we are totally happy to stay home and relax, there is always a pressure to “do things” with the kids!
As we were “passing through” we stopped for a visit to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Potteric Carr Nature Reserve. As it is right next to the M18 it actually makes a useful place for a travel break, so much nicer than a service station especially with young children.
Sixty percent of the area has been deemed a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The principal habitats comprise areas of open water, Phragmites reed fen and swamp, slow flowing drains and ditches, wader scrapes, neutral grassland, willow and alder carr wet woodland, birch Betula woodland, and a stand of mature oaks Quercus planted in 1834.
Potteric Carr is just one of many Nature Reserves across Yorkshire. The beauty of this visit was that as a member of YWT entry is free. The team at Potteric Carr, as with many other YWT sites, have organised a range of activities for kids throughout the holidays. At £39 per year family membership is great value and offers access to all the YWT sites and their associated activities.
Have I mentioned that I am struggling to keep up with my blog? Once or twice – oh ok!
So I have not mentioned one or two exciting bits of news that I should share.
Firstly I am a winner again! Stephcuddles makes lovely stitchmarkers Stitchcuddles and has an Etsy Shop which I may have mentioned before. She ran a giveaway to celebrate her graduation and I entered very last-minute and was the lucky winner!
The Prize was a ball of CrazyZauberball from The Sock Yarn shop, 2 sets of Stitchcuddles and a pattern of my choice. Originally I chose my zauberball in “my sweetside”, but changed my mind and went for “Floral Language”
Her stitchmakers are lovely and quirky and there is lots of choice of sweeties, biscuits and buns! They are really high quality and very realistic. I have bought from her before and love her Loveheart stitchmakers too.
The pattern I chose is one that I have been coveting for some time, but, because, I am not confident of my ability to knit lace, I couldn’t justify the cost.(Not that it was that expensive really.)
But as a gift……….
This is Fiore di Sole by Rosemary (Romni) Hill and I love it.
So thank you to Steph for generously organising this blog giveaway. It cheered me up no end!
However, I bought this from Personal Threads Yarn Shop in Nebraska in January when it was on sale. (It isn’t available in the UK and is a bit pricey to ship from the US). actually I should point out that the red one wasn’t on sale but they ordered on in and applied the sale price – these are nice people folks! My uncle brought it over for me in July while he visiting the UK. So not only did I get it on sale, for the dollar price but also saved myself the postage. And it’s here in time to be my key winter wardrobe piece!
The other piece of exciting news is that I am going to meet one of my knitting heroes! Wooly Wormhead is coming to East Yorkshire and will be running a Masterclass at my LYS. LittlehoundalesKnits. I am so excited! I was prepared to travel to meet her but the fact that she will be spending time in our little corner of paradise is even better!
I am struggling to manage all aspects of my life at the moment, so blogging has slipped. It is the long school Summer Holidays here in the UK, so as a Mum with a full-time job and a partner who works in the farming industry, summer holidays are a nightmare to manage! I have been getting into the office at the crack of dawn, leaving the household snoring, so I can get home early thus avoiding complaints of being “neglected”. Although, this is only appeasing my guilt because everyone is perfectly happy sorting themselves, particularly my daughter who has spent the summer building dens and playing in the stream with her mates. This pleases me as I have a feeling that by next Summer playing in the dirt and having “adventures” will be long behind her.
I am also suffering from POD – Post Olympic Depression. I was extremely cynical about the 2012 Olympic games as the run up to the games had been completed hijacked by the sponsors. There were major issues reported in the media in the preparation and I was more than a little bit peeved over the whole subject.
One example is the way the London Olympic Committee has handled the Woolsack project. Water under the bridge so I won’t bleat on about it but who knew it would be so hard to give away a few homemade cushions!
Woolsack volunteers have been making cushions from British Wool to give as a gift to every athlete who takes part in the Olympics 2012. I didn’t make a cushion as I suffer from performance anxiety when knitting for others! I did however take part in a “stuffing event” at my LYS – LittlehoundalesKnits. The stuffing and labels were donated by Blacker Yarns and spent a few hours on a Sunday stitching little labels into the handmade cushions. There were messages from the makers attached to every cushion – “Welcome & Good Luck” ”We don’t know each other but I thought of you in every stitch”. One cushion I stuffed had been knitted with handspun from the ladie’s rescued sheep, never has there been a more ethical gift!
This project is just one example of how the Brits have embraced these games and tried to make them their own.
Therefore the actual event was amazing! It helped that the UK scooped lots of medals of course, but that must have helped by being in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. I have been in tears on an almost daily basis and got told off for talking at work on the day of the amazing triathlon, while receiving texts on the progress of the fabulous Brownlee Brothers. It has been so exciting especially for those lucky enough to have got tickets to the events.
The games have been made by two groups of people in my opinion. Our Armed Forces, who stepped into the breach when a private sector company failed to deliver its contract to supply security staff for the event. Members of all of the sectors volunteered and stepped in at the last-minute. Obviously “volunteered” in the services means they probably got time off in lieu but ultimately the services picked up the cost at a time when they are suffering from budget cuts. As our current government is busy telling is that public services should be delivered by the private sector the irony of this arrangement has not been completely lost on me, even if it has on everyone else!
But the real heroes of the event for me were the Games Makers who were real volunteers.
People from all backgrounds and areas who the UK who turned out to help run the Games for no reward other than being there. They were involved in all aspects of delivery from helping the athletes to building the medal podiums. The greeters met the spectators on arrival with smiling enthusiasm, high fives and a sense of humour. There is no doubt that without these people turning up before, after and during the events the budget for the event would have been enormous! So Thank you everyone!
So now it’s over I am bereft and lamenting just how rubbish the TV programming is in the UK. Oh well roll on the Paralympics!
I am ploughing through some large projects at the moment so actual finished projects are few and far between! However as I have started on some Christmas knitting and am sorting through stash I can share an FO this week.
I used some yarn from stash. The lovely blue was a clearance bargain from Skein Queen. It was lovely to work with and probably far too luxurious for a toy some might say, but this toy is destined for a thumb-sucking baby so needs to be very soft as it will not doubt spend a lot of time close to a face. The beige colour is some leftover Milla Mia yarn, which is a “go-to” baby yarn in my house, as it is soft and luxurious and washes well.
I loved working on this, although a little bit fiddly in parts and not a travelling project but fun and quick to do. I have another one started already!
I haven’t posted for some time and I have decided that the reason is definitely due to the fact my ipad is not an easy tool to use to blog with. Any suggestions on how to improve this situation gratefully received, however I really miss the pleasing bounce of a real keyboard while typing and even using an external ipad keyboard hasn’t satisfied me!
Anyway I have an FO. These are the “No More Tears Socks” designed by Erin from “Mommy Needs Yarn“. The pattern was designed to fundraise for Autism Speaks. The yarn is Dazzle Sock from Natural Dye Studio. The colourway was the Yarn of the Month club and I can’t remember it. It was the first yarn dyed at the new premisis in Devon, so quite special hence I am keeping these!
Technically these were finished last week but as they were a birthday gift I didn’t want to publish in case the recipient saw them.
These have been knitted in one of my favourite yarns from Knitting Goddess, which is available locally at Littlehoundales Knits. This is her self-striping sock yarn in “Jellybean”. I really love the colour combination.
I posted them late along with some jelly beans, so I hope they have been recieved before she sees this!
Last week I was lamenting about the other Ishbel I was working on. After hemming and hawing over how much or little I like the variegation in the yarn with this pattern, I have decided not to rip it, but it can stay in my UFO (unfinished objects) drawer for awhile while I work on some other things. Since I only have about 14 rows left to finish it, so ripping it seems like a waste.
Don’t get excited this is not a blog about “50 shades of Grey” or any of the other books in the trilogy. Although I have to say I am enjoying “50 sheds of grey” on Twitter!
There has been another break in the wet weather, which allowed me a couple of solitary hours on the allotment after work. Good job too!
We were rained off on Sunday before I had chance to net some cabbage plants that I had planted. I knew this would turn out to be a mistake. The poor things have been completely stripped by the local birds.
These had 5 or 6 good leaves on them when I put them in on Sunday! Darn pigeons! They treat the whole site like their own mega supermarket!
The other pest I am struggling with a the moment is slugs and that is because it is perfect weather for them in the UK at the moment. I am trying everything to keep on top of them. So far I am using a combination of organic slug pellets (buried under soil so the birds don’t get them), bran (which they are supposed to gorge on and then it swells in their stomach causing them to explode), beer traps (which aren’t very useful in the rain) and nematodes (as yet it is difficult to ascertain how effective these have been). Nothing is stopping them, so suggestions on a comment always welcome!
Good news is that I am finally seeing some flowers for the bees to enjoy. I spotted a red-tailed bee amongst the broad beans while slug hunting. (it has to be said that photographing these bees is no easy task!)
Bee conservation appears to be de rigueur at the moment. Apart from Pooter, which I mentioned a few days ago, I have also had an email from Friends of the Earth to ask if I would sign a petition and spread the word about Bee Cause. The aim is to draw attention to the importance of bees and to press our Prime Minister into calling for a Bee Action Plan. So please sign it if you have a mind.
The Bee Conservation Trust is also calling for help from the public to record bee numbers for a database. Their website is worth a visit. And for balance I ought to mention Plan Bee, which the Co-operative have been running, which is also worth a visit.
So basically I am not the only one slightly obsessed with bees at the moment and if you haven’t realised by now, they are a teensy bit important to us all, so take some time to make a difference please.
I am trying to make a small contribution. I have planted borage next to my strawberry beds. It isn’t flowering yet but I live in hope.
In May I was walking in the woods nearby and I saw something up in front of me that was unfamiliar. As I got nearer I could see it was insects over a large puddle of water in the middle of the path.
As I got closer I could see it was bees. I had never seen them drinking before and I went closer to watch them.