I’ve been busy with my 2.5 mm double points.   Here is the start of my Christmas knitting, socks for Mum and Dad.  My Christmas knitting, especially for socks is a big long list this year because I haven’t knit socks for a couple of years and I can see the sad faces of all those that love my socks whose own are wearing just a little bit thin.  This should keep them going for a bit.  Whether I finish my sock knitting for Christmas before running out of steam remains to be seen, I may have to alternate it with cabled hats to add a little variety. Socks 1 Socks 2 Socks 3 Socks 4 Socks 5

Birmingham for Lunch.

Son no.1 and I decided to take a quick trip into Birmingham for lunch and to sort out his iphone, and apparently to get dragged around to a gaming shop.  Actually I really liked the gaming shop, I did not understand it at all, but I did understand the buzz of the customers and the almost unconstrained excitement that son no.1 was exhibiting as he examined the merchandise. It was like going into a wool shop – but it wasn’t wool.  The custard factory is a lovely place to explore and I hadn’t been since son no.2 was ill, sadly the yarn shop is no longer there, happily son no.2 is still very well.

Kenilworth Castle.

After our trip to Chesterton Windmill we sped off to Kenilworth Castle, home of many childhood exploits both for my son and I. Kenilworth Castle was built over many centuries, founded about 1120. It was significantly enlarged by King John at the start of the 13th century, John of Gaunt turned the medieval castle into a palace fortress in the late 14th century and Sir Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester expanded the castle once again in 1575 to host a 19 day extravagant reception for Elizabeth I . It was ruined due to war in 1649 and became a tourist attraction from the 18th century onwards.   Its a lovely place to go for a wander around.  Here are a few piccies of our day out.

Chesterton Windmill.

Last time I was home in Warwickshire son no.1 and I had a couple of days out to see what we could see. I fancied having a closer look at Chesterton Windmill as I’ve been driven past it since I was knee high to a grasshopper, yet never convinced anyone – and trust me I’ve tried – to go and and have a look at it, but son no.1 jumped at the idea, so off we went.Chesterton Windmill 9

The windmill is truly beautiful both in the distance and close up. It was built in the 17th century, about 1632 and stands high on a hilltop, near the Fosse Way, a Roman road that links Exeter to Lincoln, approx 230 miles long. (That would make an interesting mini holiday wouldn’t it – forget Route 666, lets do the Fosse Way!) Chesterton Windmill 8

Its sandstone construction has with the help of three major reconstructions to keep the sails in good order stood the test of time. Chesterton Windmill 3

One wonders what it would have been like to work this mill, whether the miller would have been lonely or inspired, Chesterton Windmill 5

by the lovely views surrounding them. Chesterton Windmill 4

Whatever it was, it would be lovely to hear the sound of the Chesterton Windmill 6

millstone spinning slowly around once more, whilst watching the finely milled flour shuffle towards an opened sack. Chesterton Windmill 2

We spent an hour, wandering around, talking, laughing and enjoying the touch of a slightly cold wind whip up the hill. Chesterton Windmill 10

It was good to spend time, together, Chesterton Windmill 7

just us two.


Its ages since I made pasties, I mean to say years.  I don’t know why, I suppose they just went off my radar, but I do love a good homemade pasty and you can pop anything into them to use up, they soon become much more than the sum of their parts. Pasty 1

I made my rough puff with 250 g of salted butter, 500 g of plain flour and cold water.  (half fat to flour as we were always taught)  I roughly chopped up the very cold butter and added enough water to bind.  I don’t know how much it was I just use a big bladed old fashioned butter knife to turn the ingredients,  water being slowly added into the flour and when it starts to come together bring it together by hand.  I then turned it out onto my work surface and rolled it out into a long oblong, folded it so there were three layers, turned it 90 degrees and repeated twice more, wrapped it in cling film and popped it in the fridge.  It literally takes 5 minutes, although I can remember being 14 and it taking at least half an hour.  I do like a flaky pastry, but that’s a little bit more work, but you do get a more even flake as the butter is added more evenly.  For pasties I don’t think it really matters. pasty 2

And while my pastry was resting in the fridge, I peeled and chopped the potatoes and onions, grated the cheese and snipped what was left of the bacon.  When the pastry came out I evenly portioned it out and rolled each piece into a circle of pasty.  I don’t bother using a plate to cut a perfect circle, you can if you like, I am more of a bodge it, feeding a family, country cook and I don’t like adding the pastry scraps together and rerolling them, they’re never the same and you often end up with a tough little piece of pastry which your never quite sure what to do with – and jam tarts weren’t on the agenda.  You do end up with odd sized pasties, but I don’t think they are any the worse for it.  I then brushed them with milk and popped them in a moderate oven, turned down after twenty minutes for fifty minutes.

pasty 3

I was going for dinner plate size, so hubby and I could share one on our picnic and it lessens the pastry load. I made five out of my ingredients. pasty 4

Fresh out of the oven, half went in the freezer, half went into me and it was delicious.  The cheese had provided the aromatics with the butter pastry and every mouthful was heavenly.  And as I’d hoped they would, they provided the perfect picnic food for our little jaunt to Brighton.



On Friday morning hubby and I got up and headed out to Victoria Station to catch the train to Brighton.  Brighton 1

On the journey I carried on with a Christmas present sock, more on that another day whilst hubby surfed the net to see what he could see. I’ve been wanting to go to Brighton for ages and although I knew I would only get the smallest of tastes, what with it being nearly lunch time by the time we arrived,  I was still giddy with excitement.

First off,  (due to Hubby’s specialised knowledge of all things his wife will love) Brighton 2


Now if there was ever a yarn shop that you would just want to happen across, this would be it.  Such beautiful yarns,  Dye for Yarn (oh how we love thee), Life in the Long Grass (just yummy), The Uncommon Thread (merino wool, alpaca and silk, just so soft), Malabrigo, (such gorgeous yarn, such gorgeous colours), I could go on, it was simply lovely to wander around admiring the beautiful yarns, gorgeous books and exquisite needles (Brittany, ChiaoGoo and HiyaHiya) Brighton 3

You can have a sneaky peak. (Note the big gap in the skeins of Malabrigo!)Brighton 4

I don’t think there is a better way to start a shopping trip. Brighton 5

Than to immerse oneself in a beautiful yarn shop and YAK is everything a knitter of fine yarns could ever hope for, it was the perfect start to the day. Brighton 7

We then found ourselves wandering The Lanes, a lovely mix of twisting alleyways of independent and very creative shop keepers.  Beautiful antique shops, the items of museum quality, reclamation yards stored in a Victorian shop,  specialists in native American artifacts. One just never knew what was in the next shop, let alone what may be around the corner.  We padded around for a happy hourBrighton 6

fuelled by still warm maple syrup and pecan crumbly fudge.Brighton 8

I know a few knitters that would agree with this statement – You Know Who you Are ! Brighton 9

Then we headed down to the pier, not least to eat our home made pasties and drink coffee. It was lovely to see this carousel. Brighton 10

So beautifully painted.Brighton 11

And who could resist this helter skelter. Brighton 12

Brighton has its own ferris wheel, Brighton 13

and a big tall spike (extreme left of the picture) which with the help of google I believe is a moving observation tower, or will be when its finished in 2016.Brighton 14

And then we went down to the pebbly beach, which was really pretty.  Brighton 15

The sea was like a mill pond. Brighton 16

So very, very calm. Brighton 17

Brighton 18Brighton 19Brighton 20

A few snaps later and we headed off again. Brighton 21

with a quick wave goodbye to the pier. Brighton 22

We headed to the Royal Pavilion.  Too late in the day to get the full use of a ticket to explore the inside, but not too late to have a good wander around and sit a while absorbing the glorious architecture of the palace.Brighton 23

I’ve always wanted to see it for myself, its just so spectacular. I loved it so.Brighton 25

The gardens are just still in flower, having their last hurrah. Brighton 26

Just a few little flashes of colour, Brighton 27

here and there. Brighton 28

The squirrels are very hopeful. I thought this one was just about to leap onto me in his quest as to see whether I was carrying any peanuts about my person. Brighton 29

And then we headed back to the pier to see if we could see any starlings creating their murmurations.  Sadly I saw a few  twisting and turning in the distance but by the time we were able to get near enough they were chattering and roosting underneath the pier.  This is just a few seagulls heading out to sea.  Maybe next time we will get a few photos of the starlings murmurations,  apparently its early in the season it needs to be colder. Brighton 30

A quick shot of Brighton starting to light up and then we headed home. Brighton 31

Remember that Malabrigo.  Hubby and I are just wondering if I should wear it like this, it still felt warm and I wonder if anybody but knitters would actually notice!

Just Playing…

I must apologise for my lack of blog posts of late, the main reasons for not posting have been that I have been running around London popping into various exhibitions, combined with sock knitting and some deeply therapeutic sewing, and my blogging mojo just got mislaid.

So I’m going to try and catch up in the next couple of weeks, and to that end I’ll show you what I was sewing last week.

This is Vogue v1385 a lovely blouse that fits like a dream and I can see many more of these being made for my wardrobe, I already have the fabric for at least another three – I’m not sure about the time though.  I wouldn’t say it was a fiendishly difficult pattern, but one did need to take the time to mark thread the darts, especially around the collar and cuff, the thread marking alone took me one whole evening.

It was an enjoyable process and I really like the length of the sleeves, there is something about a three quarter length that I’ve always enjoyed wearing and the way the shoulders fall is rather pleasing too, I altered the length to fit me, being taller than the average bear.  In a critical moment I can see where a millimeter or two taken away from the upper chest where mine is slightly concave and so there is a gnats whisker surplus fabric could be achieved, but this is rather picky and I’ll probably just leave it.  Overall I think its a pretty good fit.

Its made in a tana lawn cotton, I do so love a cotton shirt.  I’d tramped around Richmond Park before these photos were taken so its a little creased, but it is a pleasure to wear. Vogue blouse 1

Vogue blouse 2

Vogue blouse 3Vogue blouse 4I just love that little bit of humour that I feel drawn to include into my sewing, on this occasion a very sweet cat button caught my eye and I just had to include it.