Monday, September 19, 2011

Signs of change

There's a definite seasonal shift going on around here. Autumn has its feet firmly under the table with chilly mornings, darker evenings and holes in the lawn where a naughty squirrel has been burying nuts nicked off our twisted hazel tree.

In Moog's House we have our own little signs that herald autumn every year. By far the most important is seeing one of these perched by the dining table. Five wonderful gallons of Mr Moog's homemade Pinot Grigio, burbling away and making my whole house smell like a brewery!

 The chilly mornings have led to the heating clicking on for an hour or two, just perfect for drying my favourite type of laundry. Yup, it's time to dig out the handmade socks again - lovely.

This time of year always makes me want to snuggle down and indulge in a little nesting. After a summer of sewing, doodling and sketching I've rediscovered my knitting mojo and I've thrown myself into all things woolly with great gusto!                                 
 My lovely knitty friend Mrs Stashbasket was in no small way responsible for the return of my urge to knit, having sent me the most gorgeous skein of Rowan Colourscape with which to knit myself a lovely new winter hat. This is a fantastic pattern - Quincy by Jarel Flood - very cleverly knitted flat, given a little twist, joined and then the crown is knitted. It took me just a few quick hours and is quite simply the best fitting hat I've ever made.

Once I started with the knitting needles there was no stopping me but I resisted the urge to cast on a hundred new things and got cracking on some finishing off. First it had to be my lovely loud Hexagon socks - wearing them right now with a new pair of shoes bought specifically to show them off :o)

Then, it was a matter of a few short hours to finish off some new socks for Monster. These were a gamble. I started them back in May and since then that big boy's feet have grown like mad but luckily they turned out to be a perfect fit!

 Another languishing work in progress was my second attempt at an Ishbel shawl. The first attempt nearly ended in tears a couple of years ago but this time I was determined, if a little slow, to finish it. This is knitted in the most gorgeous pink laceweight yarn, very kindly given to me by Maria - it was like knitting fluffy fresh air but oh so gorgeous! This had also sat there nagging me in the WIP pile for several months and naturally took a matter of just a few hours to finish off.

Although no photographic evidence here, that leaves just one knitting project in the neglected pile - another pair of socks that were cast on in May! However, sock #1 has been completed in the past week and sock#2 is now on the needles.

Of course, I now need to replenish the works in progress and have already made a start on achieving that particular goal. This little screwed up heap of knitting will soon be a beautiful Augustine shawl.

And this will soon be a pair of Charade socks - a fabulous pattern that is perfect for just picking up whenever the fancy takes as there are only two rows that make up the pattern so it commits to memory very quickly.

I was pondering this autumnal urge to knit and realised it has a great deal to do with me returning to work and the whole busy school thing starting again for the children. For me, knitting is the perfect manageable creative outlet for times when life is full steam ahead. I can pick it up and just knit whenever I get a  spare few minutes. There's no need to get loads of stuff out or clear loads of stuff up in order to produce something creatively satisfying.

I have no desire to add extra work to my day by getting out piles of sewing stuff or paints and pencils which will only need to be put away again when I'm finished. Sadly, the housework fairies don't help out if I ignore the dust and the ironing and they certainly don't help tidy up my crafty doings.

Knitting, and sometimes crochet, therefore wins every time. For me.

What's your enduring creative outlet that you always turn to when times are busy?


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Well, I hadn't anticipated taking quite such a prolonged blog-break but after my last post our summer got much busier than expected.

We've had visitors, lots of visitors. The children were whisked away to London by dear friends of ours and I was lucky enough to have a whole day all to myself.

Naturally, I ignored the housework in favour of sewing, crochet and doing more sketchbook work. 

 Minx caught the arty bug and spent many happy hours sketching - talking non-stop the entire time, of course.

In fact, that girl of mine talked non-stop for the whole five and a half weeks!

She even managed to squeeze in plenty of bickering, arguing and niggling with her beloved brother.

She went back to school yesterday, and headed straight off on a whole week residential trip.

It's very quiet here this week!

Despite the noise, she did redeem herself with the odd bit of baking.

It seems I'm all but redundant when it comes to fairy cakes these days, being required only for oven lighting and the fetching and carrying of ingredients :o)

She can do a mean chocolate brownie too, and her ginger biscuits were a resounding success. I've come to realise this girl of mine is at her happiest (but not quietest) when she's busy doing - preferably busy doing with me by her side, lending an ear to the continuous stream of chat that she emits.

We both got rather heavily into making bracelets a couple of weeks ago. This cute daisy bracelet is from a very old beading book that's been gathering dust for rather too long.

It took about an hour, with Minx chit-chatting next to me....

....are you noticing a bit of a theme to my summer?

During my one and only day of silence this summer, I managed to finish off a bag that I'd been crocheting. I was hoping it would be mine but the mother in me ended up giving it to Minx, to make up for her having a poorly day the week before - she  must have been ill that day as she was quiet for about three hours!

She loves her new bag.

Hasn't used it once.

If it had been mine I'd have almost worn it out by now!
The penultimate week of our summer break saw us spending a very relaxing, and surprisingly dry, day on the beach with my lovely friend Trashy, while various children and dogs kept themselves entertained :o)

Old black dog, exhausted by the silly puppies.

So, before you know it, September is here. Another lovely summer has been and gone. There's the chill of Autumn in the air and it's back to work for me and back to school for them, although for my boy it's no longer junior school but the big and scary world of secondary education. Yup, my baby started secondary school today. I watched him go into school with his shiny new uniform, looking far too grown up and wandered back home with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.

Now, if you would kindly excuse me, I must go and throw the computer through the window - blurry Blogger has gone all 'new and improved' while I've been away and I can't get my words or photos where I want them....grrrr!!!

Happy blogging!