We went for a walk for a couple of hours this morning. The weather was mild and still, plenty of dog walkers were out and about. Lovely dogs and really friendly owners. Nearly everybody called them back to put on the lead. Very kind and completely unprompted. I’m glad though, because you always wonder how friendly a dog will be, not so much because of fear but because of exuberantly happy helloes and muddy paw-prints all over your clothes. As a cat person that happens to me often. The dog person walking with me will usually be ignored. How do dogs just know?
The walk was carefully timed, so that we were back in plenty of time to go and buy snacks, pour some beer, then watch the rugby. Well, one of us anyway.
I’m upstairs escaping the crunching of pork scratchings and Big Hoops, comments and excited shouts at the TV. I meant to put on Spotify and listen to Tick Tick BOOM! soundtrack, but the P&Q is nice. Have you seen it yet? A brand new Netflix film. The best new musical I’ve seen in ages. Who knew Andrew Garfield could sing and dance? I liked him as Spider-Man, but this takes him into a completely new genre. It’s an impressive change of gear.
What makes a good musical? For me I want to sing along to a song after only a minute or two. Ditto dancing. I go away singing my own made up songs afterwards too. And dance a few steps on my way to bed. Tick tick BOOM!
I’ve been singing Boho Days since last night. Pretty much every hour. I hope you have Netflix and can watch it too!
I had forgotten that I knitted this dish cloth in February/March. I missed posting for a little while, so I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen it?
The Amour pattern is part of a series of a free dishcloth patterns. One a month, throughout this year by Garlene of The Kitchen Sink Shop. I’ve linked to the pattern there, if you fancy having a go at knitting one yourself? I stopped after the first two, because it now takes me so long to knit or crochet anything now with my dodgy hand. Plus I was using Rowan cotton, which frankly seems such a waste to use on a dish cloth. They’re too nice to use, so are still folded up in a little bag. I wonder about making backing for them and turning them into oven mitts. Any other ideas?
Time for a cheeky little Saturday afternoon drink for me too now! A grapefruit margarita is being made for me. I wonder if they won? And I’m going to add another round, or two, to my Coast blanket.
What have you been up to today? How are you feeling about life, the universe and everything?
Brrrr! It’s suddenly got properly wintry cold and I’m not jumping the gun; I know we are still in autumn, but by golly it’s all changed this week. I never say by golly. I’m not an oldie, or from an Enid Blyton or PG Wodehouse book, but it just seems to fit. (I’m grinning at myself. I’ve been teased in the past for using words like poorly and gosh, but it only makes me use them more.) When you look out of the window first thing and all the conifer hedges are white, the grass is white and the cars are white… It’s definitely an old-fashioned “By golly it’s cold !” kind of week.
I’ve just been on the phone for nearly an hour and a half and added some rounds to my granny square. I can’t remember whether this is the last one I need to do, or if it’s the penultimate square. It is such good ‘phone crochet: mindless, easy and an enjoyable rhythm. It’s really relaxing too, while the conversation meanders along.
On Monday I approached a shop assistant and said I had a really bizarre question to ask her. She looked delighted and said “Bring it on! It makes the time go faster.” Bless her.
I’d lined up three or four different shades of green, and asked her which one was most Brussels sprout like? She really threw herself into it and reckoned it was this one, but then when we checked a photo decided that it could be a couple of different shades. To keep things simple I bought this one (a bargain £1.49) and promised to go back to show her a photo of the finished sprout! She was definitely keen to see it.
This all came out of a photo that my cousin sent me of a knitted Brussels sprout you can buy from White Stuff. £8! For one Brussels sprout decoration! Of course it set us both off with a flurry of messages. She reminded me that she knitted some a few Christmases ago and gave me one. I’d forgotten because all the Christmas decs are in a box, up in the loft. I hope I forget again and then it will be a nice surprise in December. We did laugh at the time, because her knitted Brussels sprouts all looked furious… we’re wondering if my crochet version will be happier. I’ll be looking for a pattern, but not until the Gingerbread Man has at least another leg and his body. Then I will be cosy and crocheting sprouts. Don’t think I ever expected to write that.
Friday night is Pizza Night this week. My sourdough starter is bubbling away by the radiator. It’s the first time the bowl has been left anywhere other than on the kitchen side, since early Spring. But it needs to be in a warm place while the yeast activates. It certainly seems happy. I can’t wait to eat a few slices of pizza while watching a film later. My no-cook pizza sauce will be spread on the dough, with toppings of red onion, peppers, salami, Kalamata olives and a good handful of mozzarella. Yum yum yum coming soon.
And WOOHOO! Friday Night is also Craft Gin Night! I cheered as I opened the door to the lovely post lady. She said she’s delivered other November gin boxes today as well.
I’ve opened the box, but won’t show you the contents yet. I don’t want to put any spoilers online, as I’d hate to think that I might ruin the surprise for any member who reads this blog. It always feels a bit like Christmas, or as if a birthday present has been delivered. I will put a photo of the contents here soon. I will say that I absolutely love the gin bottle label and am intrigued about the where it’s come from… as young woman my Granny worked there as a Nanny, a long time ago.
If you’re in the UK and want £20 off your first 2 boxes, you can use this referral code for Craft Gin Club Gin Pals. I get points, you get 2 big boxes of half price goodies. Then you can cancel and not have anymore ever. Bet you will though! If you clicked the code when I mentioned it before, I hope you enjoyed your tipples and treats.
This week we’ve had some absolutely stunning sunsets. Last night I could see something orange glowing through the frosted glass of the bathroom window, before I pulled the blind down. I went to the bedroom to have a look and WOW! As the sky got darker the orange and gold seemed to intensify. It was fantastic.
My current read. I started an advance reader copy last night (in return for an honest review) and I have found it difficult to put down. I loved Joanna’s debut The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and enjoyed Three Things about Elsie, so am delighted that I’ve got her third book. It’s out next Spring. I’ll let you know nearer the time if it’s worth buying or reserving at the library. So far, so good.
Do you also find that themes or characters seem to continue in your next book? I just read another ARC called Other People Manage by Ellen Hawley and the main (USA) character Marge was a very tall and big girl. Often she felt awkward or uncomfortable around others. Linda (British) in this story is the same. Similarities often jump out, with settings or characters. It’s completely random too, as I often do not know much at all about the books I choose. I just quickly scan the blurb, or not at all if I know the author, as they give too much away.
If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere are you staying cosy? Or are you in the Southern? Is it a warm Spring?
Most importantly: what are you planning to make, eat and are you reading anything you can’t put down?
It’s been a really rotten month. I’ve been unwell from the 1st day of the month and am still taking it really gently. I’ve never been so poorly for so long. I haven’t been on antibiotics for years, or to the GP so many times in one period. I might count up how many painkillers I’ve taken, as it kind of interests my warped brain. Is that madly strange?
My microbiome must be grey like dead coral now.
In case you’re interested…
The gut microbiome plays a very important role in your health by helping control digestion and benefiting your immune system and many other aspects of health. Healthline.com
If you want to know more about gut health, then I recommend reading articles and books written by Tim Spector. I’m reading his Diet Myth book at the moment. He’s got a podcast and has guested on others’ too. Do a name search in your podcast provider library if you’re curious.
Aiming to eat a minimum of 30 different plants a week seems to be a good goal towards a healthy microbiome. Some weeks it’s far more I find. I’ve always enjoyed vegetables and eat lots more beans and lentils now. I’ve kept a tally of how many plants I eat each week. Sometimes written as a nerdy list, or I just keep it in mind. It’s quite gratifying.
These 30 plants include: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. I also include sourdough if I eat any of the bread I make as it’s a fermented yeast culture, and is really good for the gut.
A legume is a plant with a pod, with an edible seed, eg: beans, peas, lentils. I checked that a while back as I couldn’t remember the definition.
That was a completely unplanned segway into gut health. But I find it all very interesting.
Anyway, yesterday was my first day without antibiotics, taking any painkillers – yay yay yay! – or feeling like an old lady tottering about. But I’ve still got my old friend tinnitus visiting and am experiencing some balance issues. I’m hoping they’ll fade away soon.
To celebrate feeling more like myself I carefully cooked a sausage and bean casserole for dinner. Yesterday it felt like autumn for the first time. It had hammered with rain all day, and by the evening felt much cooler than it has for a while. The heating’s still not on, but I don’t think it will be long. Have you made the transition to more autumn comfort food yet? Is your heating on? Or, are you heading into spring where you are now?
I’ve got massses of links to add to a September Taking Stock post, since I’ve read lots of books and listened to some podcasts. Plus I’ve started a brand-new audiobook in the last few days, since I’ve been able to tolerate more noise.
I’m still not listening to music really, as the frequencies seem to be too much for now. So I’m ignoring Spotify’s appeals for me to come back for £9.99 for three months. I did jump at an Audible offer of 3 months membership for £3.99. I’ve been a member for 10 years on and off, and fancied trying their new package. Membership now includes unlimited free in-house podcasts and certain books. I wish this was a sponsored post. Hello Audible!?! Ha!
Instagram has been absolutely fabulous for company, distraction, inspiration and entertainment. I had to lie down for hour long periods every day and became addicted to watching people’s stories on there! Friends and contacts have been so kind, asking how I am and responding to my chatty comments. Social media can be so lovely. A real force for good.
The tomatoes are ripening. We have bowls of them in sunny (well, some days) windowsills around the house. They’re absolutely delicious! A little taste of summer in early autumn. Love the flavour of the little orange Sungolds. Will definitely grow those again.
I’m trying these hexagons. I’m undoing the granny square as I crochet them. I don’t need it for my Coast Blanket. The colourway just didn’t fit with the other shades particularly well.
I reckon the hexagons with the solid colour centres look better, less confusing, to the eye. So I’m trying to start them with lengths of the same colour, without wasting too much yarn.
You know when you feel unsure about how many things you’ve got on the go? I’ve sorted out my projects and have written a proper list. Organised dot com. Three is the magic number. I have three knits to finish. (One of them is the infamous sock. I’d love to finish it as I suspect I could become a very keen sock knitter, but it might never happen. Long time readers will know why…) I also have three crochet things on the go.
Also, there is a bag of various what-I’m-calling yarn doodles. Yarn doodling happens on days when I fancy just playing around, and may not necessarily end up being anything. Bet you’ve got them too? It’s all those odd motifs and scrappy playful bits of things that you then put down and don’t necessarily continue. I’m keeping them, since some of them could turn into scrappy blankets to gift, or give away to charities like Knit for Peace. The above hexagons are in that category so far.
And finally, I have to show you these lovely pics my friend sent:
I’ll be back with a Taking Stock soon.
Hope your September has been a good one, tell me what you’ve been up to? Especially what are you cooking and eating?
Yesterday, on a beautiful crisp newly minted autumn Sunday morning, I sat up in bed all cosy listening to Liza Tarbuck’s Saturday radio show on the BBC Sounds app and undid every single stitch I’d done of my Coast Blanket while in West Cornwall last week (I told you its name would probably change lots of times) and restarted it.
I don’t want the square tilting so I had tried three different ways of turning each round and have now found a method I’m much happier with. I don’t think you can see where I’ve turned the hook and square? Tell me if you can see, I won’t mind. I won’t be undoing it again as I’m happy. I know no one visiting me and snuggling under my blankets would have noticed unless they were really looking, and probably non-crocheters wouldn’t at all, but they were bugging me. I’m a sometime perfectionist.
I can hear you shouting the word “Swatch!” And I’m shrugging back at you.
I managed to redo this yesterday. Too much for my hands but I enjoyed it. Today Ouch!
I’m one of a group of people on Instagram who are currently making simple granny square blankets. Motif, tapestry and intricate showy-offy colourwork crochet is all very well and good, but they don’t make the heart sing as much as a good old granny square! Sometimes plain and cosy is enough and beautiful in its simplicity.
I feel like I’m spotting granny square blankets on nearly everything I watch right now. For example: The Duchess on Netflix and Doc Martin on Britbox this weekend. It’s really fun to shout “CROCHET!” at the screen. I’m not sure how anyone else feels about this habit. I’m not asking because I don’t want to stop…
I believe crochet originated as a thrifty way to use up leftover wool from knitting projects, or to reuse it from old garments. I love it when you see people doing similar with leftovers, albeit in these times of plenty. That’s how I came to be making my Tilted Squares Blanket actually. I wanted to use up the remnants of the one and only yarn pack I’d bought when I was a new crocheter, before I started to choose my own colour combos.
I know my Coast Blanket isn’t in the waste-not-want-not category in the slightest (See here ) but I’m absolutely loving this Hayfield Spirit variegated yarn. I’ve never used variegated for a blanket before. It keeps it interesting seeing the colours change. There will be lots of multicoloured rounds as it grows bigger, but it’s so pretty I don’t think it will grate. There’s going to be fewer weaker spots, because there won’t be very many ends to darn in all compared to changing yarns on every round. Hardly any darning = big win.
I think I’ve read or listened to everything Tracy Chevalier’s written. I love her blend of historical fact and real life people blended with fictional characters. You can visit or Google most of the places in her stories too.
I enjoy stories set in America, especially during pioneer times. When I saw this paperback in one of favourite charity shops for £1 I grabbed it for my holiday read.
1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuck – in the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio. They and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land, buying saplings from a local tree man known as John Appleseed so they can cultivate the fifty apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle. James loves the apples, reminders of an easier life back in Connecticut; while Sadie prefers the applejack they make, an alcoholic refuge from brutal frontier life.
1853: Their youngest child Robert is wandering through Gold Rush California. Restless and haunted by the broken family he left behind, he has made his way alone across the country. In the redwood and giant sequoia groves he finds some solace, collecting seeds for a naturalist who sells plants from the new world to the gardeners of England. But you can run only so far, even in America, and when Robert’s past makes an unexpected appearance he must decide whether to strike out again or stake his own claim to a home at last.
I’m probably about 95% of the way through. It’s been a satisfying read, but I wonder if the story will abruptly end? There seems to be so much more to say and very few pages in which to say it. This is probably another way of saying that I don’t want it to end!
Joining in late with Ginny’s Yarn Along once again, but better late than never, right?