Birthday scarf

A while ago I was given two 50g balls of red alpaca 4ply wool by a friend as she didn’t have a use for it. What to make which that quantity? I decided that as alpaca is so soft and cuddly that I would make a scarf.

Now originally my plan had been to make it for myself but with someone’s birthday coming up, someone who’s colour is red I decided that it would be a birthday gift.

To give you an idea of the yarn here is what I have left. 0502-Free yarnI think this is enough to make a round the neck cowl for myself! which will keep it safe from the velcro on my coat!

I actually started the scarf a while ago and got about this far. 0502-First tryBut although I liked the rippled edge, I didn’t like the way it had developed an inverted ridge a few inches in. Obviously my bad knitting but I decided to put it aside for a while and maybe try again later.

After the garden had been done, having finished my cushion cover I returned to the scarf and decided to try another simpler pattern. Something easy as I was feeling rather tired.

And so I have been working on it for the last couple of weeks until it reached about 6ft (180cm).

Here it is just off the needles. 0502-Just off the needlesRather naively I had thought that as all the stitches were knit ones rather than purl (thinking garter stitch) that it would lie flat and have no right or wrong side!

Every other row was just knit and that seemed to create what looked like a right side. 0502-Right sideThe alternate rows consisted of yarn overs and k2togs which seemed to give more of a wrong side look. 0502-Wrong sideAnd the scarf tended to curl with the ‘right side’ on the outside!

I suppose there are those who would have blocked it but I was always taught to iron wool knitted items under a damp cloth which is what I did and produced this. 0502-After ironingNot that I think in wear that it will stay flat.

However I once had a very lovely emerald green long holey cottony scarf and that curled up but was none the worse for it.

Photo Challenge – River

I love photographing water in all its form including rivers.

I knew this would have to be an archive photograph but which to choose?

In the end I decided on this one. Photo Challenge1634 - riverA photgraph of the River Danube from a window in the tower of the Basilica in Esztergom.

So many of my river photographs are photographs of something in or near the river but this is definitely of the river.

Though I might have chosen. River AvonThe river Avon at Christchurch


River AvonSame river at Salisbury.

or 243-riversideWhat I think is the river Wye at Bakewell

orRiver ItchenMy local River Itchen.

Garden Supplement

My 500th Post!

Not having any knitting or crochet to share with you, though there will be something next week, I thought I would show you a few finishing touches I have added to my garden.

Remember this?0473-Ivy and honeysuckleWell I spent a long time thinking about the best way to protect myself from the need to be forever cutting back the honeysuckle and ivy as it forced it’s way through into my garden.

Now it isn’t as bad as it used to be after I did a mega ‘reclaim my space’ exercise.  0473-Ivy and honeysuckle cut backAnd in fact it is even more tamed now as some of the ivy you can see died as it was dependent on ivy that started my side of the fence. And I think some of that ivy was supporting the honeysuckle.

I gave hours of thought as to what I should do and as far as the ivy was concerned even thought of buying some perspex sheet for the far side of the trellis in that corner but in the end settled for garden quality plastic sheet. 0500-Ivy proofingAlthough having the sheet on this side of the fence as well is a little unsightly, it does ensure that the ivy can’t creep under the trellis panel!

I installed the plastic on Saturday and then on Sunday I moved on to some rush screening that you can just see in the above picture.

I removed the trellis panel and attached what was in fact half a 2m x 4m piece of rush screening to the fence post, wall and a plastic pole that you can’t see. 0500-Rush screening upI don’t know if you can see the ties in this photogaph but I went to the garden centre for the pole and some brown string but found something new: a sort of brown plastic tube. Hopefully this is better as I have found that garden string decays after a season or two.0500-TieI used this to attach the trellis in several places where there were cable ties in the wall as well as the posts. Of course I cut the ends down before I replaced the trellis. 0500-Rush barrier finishedAgain I had had several ideas of what to do here but although it may not prove a total barrier, I am pleased with my choice as it looks very natural.

And it does not cut down the light too much as you can see from this shadow. 0500-ShadowAnd then on Monday I gave the render three coats of masonry paint. Phew! glad that is over.

Garden update with new paving now laid!

Maybe you remember me showing you the two choices of paving and asking you which you preferred. Well I chose the one on the right, most especially because I loved the soft dimpled feel of it and indeed it is lovely to walk on with bare feet.Choice of pavingBut it is beautiful too as you shall see. (Paving is Marshalls’ Fairstone Flamed Narias – more info HERE.)

Here is how the garden looked just before the workmen arrived. I had cleared out all loose items that I wanted to keep. Before work started left side Before work started right sideThe start date had been pencilled in as the beginning of July but in the end they came on the 22nd: a Friday.

The first thing to be done was to remove the paving slabs from the upper area and sort out the new trellis.End of First day (Friday) left side End of First day (Friday) right sideThey did have a problem with the skip being late in arriving which slowed them down a bit.

I was quite glad in the end that they started on a Friday because that gave me the weekend to coat the trellis and posts to match the fence. (Three coats – 24hrs (well almost) apart.)

On the Monday they removed the paving from the lower level and started laying hard core where the paving was going to be. They also finished off the top of the wall supporting the higher level.End of Second day (Monday) left side End of Second day (Monday) right sideThey did have another problem today because although the paving wasn’t needed yet it should have arrived and it didn’t!

Nothing much changed on Tuesday except that the drainage channel was added. End ofThird day (Tuesday) Drainage End of Third day (Tuesday) More drainageThe drainage was originally planned to be along the wall between the upper and lower levels but there were wall foundations that got in the way. However the one strip of drainage along the side of the house was very neat.

Wednesday. Scott had come originally with two helpers: his assistant and a trainee but on Wednesday he only had the trainee, as Sean, his assistant, unfortunately had food poisoning.

The most exciting thing happened that day: the paving arrived. Of course this is only a small part of it.End of Fourth day (Wednesday) Paving has arrivedAs you can see the weather was beginning to change and there was some rain.

The next day Scott was on his own, his assitant was not yet recovered and Scott thought he would get on faster without the trainee as he was beginning to lay the paving.End of Fifth day (Thursday) left side End of Fifth day (Thursday) right side This took longer than it might have done as Scott was having to mix the mortar as well as doing the laying.

Sean was back on Friday and so the paving laying was finished – almost.End of Sixth day (Friday) left side End of Sixth day (Friday) right sidePhotographs taken from above that day not to step on the paving.

Scott pointed out that the fence was at an angle which created a problem. End of Sixth day (Friday) problem cornerSo we decided to fill in the last few inches with slate. (My choice – Scot would have preferred gravel!) I looked at the architect plans of the site and yes that side of the garden is longer than the other. The people the other side have their garden a bit higher than mine too.

Scott had said at one point that he would come in Saturday morning but in the end he decided not to which I was quite pleased about as I find having workmen around and not having my normal routine and never able to really relax or start anything which needs proper concentration all a bit of a strain.

However on Monday Scott regretted his decision not to come in on Saturday because it was really wet. The worst day of all for rain and the main thing to complete that day was rendering the wall. End of Seventh day (Monday) left side End of Seventh day (Monday) right sideDo you see how water changes the colour of the paving?

Just a few things to finish off, like the mortar, so on Tuesday Scott came back with his young son (who was on holiday of course). End of Eighth day (Tuesday) left side End of Eighth day (Tuesday) right side Still a bit wet as you can see, though part of that was for the mortar.

I hardly dared walk on the paving for the next couple of days as I didn’t want to risk upsetting the mortar but on Friday evening I started rubbing the lose mortar off the slabs and continued on Saturday and Sunday moved on to tidying up the flower beds.

I don’t know if you can see very well in this photograph but the top half shows the flower bed on the left before I lowered it and the bottom half how it looks now. Difficult flower bedThe flower bed had long been an inch or so above the level of the paving as the original soil had been so poor that I had piled compost from my composters on it year after year until things started to flourish.

The original paving had been very uneven but had generally sloped back to front and left to right. Now the paving had been made level, left to right, not to have a puddle on the right and so the flower bed grew by several inches and had to be lowered. You’d be surprised what I dug out under the soil, no wonder things struggled.

While I was about it, I rearranged the planting. A space on the right for the two clematis I plan to grow, the pulmonaria moved to the left and a space left next to them for some hellebore. I am hoping that my snowdrops that were relocated to the left had corner will survive.

And here are some  photographs of the final garden taken without rain or bright sunshine which I hope give a feel of the general look. As before, one photograph taken looking left and one looking right. Final garden left side Final garden right sideAnd do you remember this with the clothes line up. The bed for the apple tree behind being newly created.Old rotary clothes lineWell now the clothes line has been relocated. Final garden rotary clothes dryerSo I will see the apple tree and not the washing when I sit on my settee.

And just to finish off a closer look at the paving.

The range of colour of the paving is from grey to red with lots of gold in the middle. Paving slabs contrastHere are some of my favourite patterned slabs. Paving slab 1Paving slabs 2 Paving slab 3Paving slab 4And a last view from above. 478-12 Final garden view from aboveBut you must imagine the colours even a little bit more intense. Lowering my view of the screen does it for me!

Photo Challenge – Summer

Another topic where it would have been great to go out and take a whole portfolio but I am very tired now the garden paving has been completed and there is lots more work for me to do to get it in shape. (Post about the work on the garden and how it looked when the workmen had finished later this week if I can spare time/energy from continuing making it look good.)

Regular followers will have see this photograph recently but I did think that it captured a feeling of summer at it’s best in this country. Of course people huddled on the beach eating sandwiches in the rain might have done as well! Photo Challenge -1632 Summer


Cushion cover revealed

First a bit about the side made out of thirty six one-colour squares.

I started by making some squares out of yarn I had left over from my blanket. Blanket on the setteeLipstick, Pomegranate,Shrimp, Saffron, Citron, Meadow, Sage, Aster, Violet, Plum.

As I mentioned in a previous post the idea was to use these round the outer part and have bi-colour ones in the centre but I couldn’t get that to work so I chose two more colours: Aspen and one colour I had not used in the blanket but had bought as an impulse purchase: one of Stylecraft’s new colours, a dark blue called Lobelia. I thought it was prettier than Royal.

This gave me three each of twelve colours, a total of thirty-six.

I had worked out that a 7×7 square would be too big and a 6×6 square a little too small for a side of the cushion, so I chose to make a 6×6 square with a border. Finished side
This time I decided to crochet the squares together using slip stitches on the wrong side. Slip stitchingThis was much quicker and easier than sewing. Not that I regret sewing the other side of the cushion cover as that would have been tricky to crochet because of the different sizes.

Some information about the other side. Cushion cover - first side that was madeThere I had used only seven ‘rainbow’ colours: leftovers from the blanket again – Lipstick, Pomegranate, Shrimp, Spice, Saffron, Citron, Meadow, Sage, Aster, Violet, Plum. Again I had added the Lobelia as an ‘indigo’ colour.

And here is the finished cushion. Final cushion first sideand the other side. Final cushion second sideIt was hard to decide how to close the cushion so I decided to crochet all the way round leaving the ends easy to get at so if I needed to wash the cover at some future time I could pull out the crochet round the last side and re crochet afterwards.

And here a couple of picture of my old and new cushions.Two cushions first sidesandTwo cushions second sidesThese are two cushions not four! I can just mix and match which side is showing.

Photo Challenge – Water

When I saw this at the beginning I thought it would be a good oportunity to take lots of photographs, as I love photographing water, but with July a bit dominated by waiting for the work on the garden to start and the work being done at the moment I have had to look back on photographs from the past and so I give you one of my favourite water photographs.

I know a lot of people like to take long exposures of water but what I like best is freezing time and seeing water that looks like glass. Photo Challenge1631-water

Monthly Montage – July

This month there were photographs for another four topics for the Photo Challenge: Repeat, Round, Zest and Strength. I also put together a photo post about a trip to Christchurch and Mudeford.July montageHowever I did manage to fit in some knitting and crochet with an update on my temperature scarf, now half-way to completion, and a reveal of the squares for a new cushion cover and three ways that they could be arranged.


I had another adventure!

Well I suppose calling my outing adventures may seem over the top but when I was a child and I read the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton and other books by an author called Malcom Saville I longed to have adventures of my own. Then one day I realised that any outing could be an adventure if you approached it in the right spirit and this trip to Christchurch and Mudeford was something of a journey into the unknown! More unknown than expected!

I had planned to have had far more outings by this point in the summer but the uncertain weather and a certain sense of holding my breath until the garden was completed has militated against it.

But last week reading that the following day was going to be the hottest so far and knowing that the work on the garden was likely to begin the day after, I decided that it was the ideal time for a trip to the beach.

I went to the station to catch the 1024 to Christchurch but maybe all the heat was messing up the signal boxes because the train was about fifteen minutes late. A fifteen minutes standing up watching a steady increment to the expected time. So I was very glad when the train eventually arrived. Train arrivingA quiet journey knitting a bit more of my temperature scarf then a happy arrival at Christchurch Station. Christchurch stationAs I left the station one of the first things I noticed were these poppies by the side of the road. PoppiesI love field poppies, so of course I had to photograph them.

I hadn’t taken a paper map but was relying on the map on my phone; however I began to realise that with the extremely bright sunlight not only was reading the map on the screen phone extremely difficult but also, without a viewfinder on my camera, knowing if the photographs were any good was going to be an issue. (I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the photographs turned out okay, though the bright contrast of a sunny day is not ideal for photography.)

I had seen from the map that Mudeford, which was my ultimate destination, was about three or four miles from Christchurch but I thought that was a distance I could manage without difficulty.

On the way I saw many things.

There was this wool shop The Crafty Knitterbut I resisted the temptation to visit it as I have plenty of yarn in my stash and a long list of future projects for using it up.

There was also a sewing shop The Little Sewing Companybut again I resisted the temptation.

(These shops were both on the other side of the road and, with a steady stream of traffic, getting a vehicle free photograph was quite tricky.)

This display did get my attention however Hardware shopas I had noticed an influx of ants, some of them with wings, in my sitting room at the corner of the patio doors and I was out of ant powder! So I went in and bought some.

Reading the map, as I said before was difficult but I had remembered that the road I needed to take was a little bit north of Christhurch Priory and I had thought to visit for a quick look. Christchurch PrioryIt was only a quick look as time was getting on.

I had to photograph this more old fashioned sweet shop in spite of the reflections.Sweet shopand these ruins. RuinsSo many reasons to come back another day.

I had to cross the river along Castle St and Bridge St, stopping to take a quick photograph as I did so. View from BridgeThis was such a soothing and tranquil sight, I could have stayed there all day.

I took a quick view towards the harbour the other side Other side of bridgebut decided that crossing the road was unwise!

After this the road seemed endless as it curved gently round towards Mudeford.

I saw a few more items of interest though.

Stanpit Recreation Ground. Something to explore one day maybe.Stanpit

And this sign

Tuttons well sign
This will enlarge if you want to read it

Just a tribute to the original not the real thing Tribute wellbut it looked a peaceful place to rest if I had had the time.

My first view of the sea First sight of the seabut the end was not yet.

Eventually I reached the beach and I saw there were people having fun with their dinghies Having funbut I was hungry and thirsty by now and lunch was my first priority. So I found a place in the shade. LunchHalf a home made scone based pizza and a banana. There should have been more olives but I had run out!

After lunch I looked at the steady stream of boats hurrying towards the harbour.

There were motor boats and sail boats Motor boat and yachtand some that clearly had both. Sail and motor boatAlthough it was very hot, unlike the previous day which had been very humid, there was a cool breeze and the sea was quite lively as I watched it splashing up against the sea wall. Sea on the sea walland More seaI walked along past a row of beach huts in muted, pastel colours Beach hutsthen I ventured onto the beach and my eye was caught by this arrangement of sticks and stones Sand and pebblesas also by other detritus. Other detritusI had been to Mudeford many, many years before and I didn’t recognise it. Then it had seemed a quiet beach where you could amble gently along to Highcliffe and beyond. Today it was heaving with people. CrowdsI was told later that it had changed a lot in the past thirty years and it certainly seemed to have a lot more facilities (and people!)

It was very hot and I didn’t feel I could face all the crowds and the noise, and the sea seemed a bit rough for a paddle, Rough seaso I decided to return to Christchurch and maybe visit the Priory. Going backI had noticed a bus stop on the way there and didn’t feel up to the long walk back so I waited for the next bus. Bus stopMaybe another time (if there ever was one) I should take the bus from Christchurch rather than walk.

I did indulge myself with a stem ginger ice cream (how can you have a summer outing without one and I am very fond of ginger!) before going and sitting in the Priory just taking in the silence and renewing my strength for the journey home. Aren’t these Norman arches beautiful?Nave of Christchurch PrioryI took a couple of quick photographs, Stained glass windowthinking that I may come back later for a proper visit.

Waiting for the next train there was a delay of about twenty minutes, as I had had in the morning, but there were a couple of trains in the other direction that were about an hour late: signalling issues again! So I suppose I should think myself lucky!

I was very pleased when it arrived. Train home

I hope you enjoyed coming with me to Christchurch and Mudeford. As you can see, if you are ever in the area, there is lots to explore.