Sunday, 25 November 2012

Still on Slow Time

Early sunlight on hazel 
I can't seem to get up to full speed after various bugs and ailments, so am reducing the frequency of posts for a short while until I get back in the swing.  

I found this old picture taken last autumn and it called to me.  I like the way the sun has gilded the coppiced hazel and picked it out against the backdrop of the fallen leaves which look purple in the shade.  

Sunday, 18 November 2012

By Dose id Bugd Up

Common Toadflax
Managed to come down with yet another bug and am going to go quiet for a few days.  I'm a bit fed up, so looked for something to cheer me up.  Common Toadflax photographed on a walk at the end of July on the one day it wasn't raining and the whole world was alive

Friday, 16 November 2012

Lucky Girl

Last week I was given the most enormous and most wonderful bunch of flowers  -  all different varieties in autumn colours.  Someone knew that while I love pretty pinks and whites those aren't really the colours that are at home here.  All these reds and rusts and golds fit with the wood, the ox blood walls and and the firewood stacked in the fireplace.  It's a funny old house, not everyone's taste, but sometimes I'm rather proud of it.  
Wonderful depths of colour
Unusual shapes and shades

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Innocent Times

A Girls' Night In - Late 1920s / Early 30s
Advertisement from the back page of a Weldon's Knitting booklet.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

My Name is Gracie

Gracie is a 9" dolly
I got her in a car boot sale
And dressed her in a 1950s layette
and made a little pillow with lace edging for her head to rest on
All very silly, but I learned so much from doing these little bits of knitting.

Friday, 9 November 2012

It's All Very Dolly

Blocked and Ready to Sew
I've been knitting little bits.  It's all blocked out - I raced around yesterday morning early before work pinning and damping down because I have a day off today and can have a day of sewing up.  There are...

- Wrist warmers on behalf of my mum for  her great niece for Christmas.  Mum so badly wants to knit and has great ideas, but she struggles now, so a bit of it comes my way to finish.

- Dolly clothes from a 1950s (I think) pattern. 
Lots of Fun in a Sixpenny Pattern
 In my previous post I talked about reducing the needle size to get a better fit on the dolly.  This was a disaster - I now have a dress in a size for which I don't have a doll. So, went back to the original needle size and we'll see how that goes when all these little bits are put together.

Pretty, Pretty
There are also experimental Christmas bits in red green and white slip stitches - my favourite stitches.  I'm checking out how knitted gift bags might work.  Possibly a bit weird.  I enjoyed the knitting though.

Gift Bags? I Hope So

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Reading Again

King Charles brocade
The stitch on the yoke of King Charles I shirt when he went to his execution
Took me ages to finish ...

'A Gambling Man', the book by Jenny Uglow about Charles II and his Restoration to the Throne after the execution of his father King Charles I and the Interregnum by the Parliamentarians.
What a difficult life he led and he behaved gallantly and impeccably most of the time, except where his poor wife was concerned.  His extra-marital affairs are the stuff of legend, he had several illegitimate children and was a target for any ambitious courtier who could find a handy female to use in their power play.  He simply couldn't resist. His wife, Queen Catherine had repeated miscarriages and had to sit by as she was humiliated by his mistresses.

I hadn't realised before what a heroic part he and his brother James played during the Great Fire of London.  When the officials panicked the royal brothers took charge, got out there, organised fire crews and demolition of buildings to create fire breaks, stood in bucket lines and worked through the night.  Don't let those curly wigs fool you.  They were pretty tough.

Now reading

The Beach by Alex Garland
It's gripping.  You just know it's going to turn nasty.  Off they go to Eden, to get away from the world, taking all their cultural references and emotional baggage with them.  Funny and tragic.  I don't know how I'm going to follow it up.  Jane Austen might be a bit of a cultural leap from this.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Reluctant Cook

Mine is the 4th edition printed in 1956
The Reluctant Cook, yep, that's me most of the time.  I have a huge collection of cookery books and I refer to them a lot.  But I don't do more cooking than I absolutely have to.

However, this week I made my special mincemeat recipe.  I don't like shop bought mince pies - too rich.  Here is a  recipe for Lemon Mincemeat cut out of a Woman's Weekly magazine long ago.

Lemon Mincemeat (vegetarian)
Makes 3 and a half pounds (1.75kg)

Rind and juice 3 lemons
8oz (250g) caster sugar
1lb (500g) cooking apples
8oz (250g) currants
8oz (250g) raisins
8oz (250g) vegetarian suet
Pinch salt
1/2 level teaspoon cloves
1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 level teaspoon ginger
1/4 (150ml) sherry

Pare the rind off the lemons with a potato peeler.  Put in a pan, cover with cold water and simmer for 20 minutes.  Drain and chop finely.
Strain the juice of the lemons and put in a bowl with the rind and sugar.
Peel, core and grate the apples and add to lemon mixture together with the rest of the ingredients.
Mix well.  Cover and leave overnight before pressing firmly into jars.
Store in a cool dry place.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Sometimes, When it all gets Too Much

Dolly Pattern - Early Fifites?
I've not been feeling too well this last couple of weeks and I find that I go for comfort food (which is often a mistake), comfort reading and comfort knitting patterns.  Comfort reading usually involves cookery books.  Comfort knitting usually involves something very straight and uncomplicated.  But this time it's dolly patterns.  I'm having a try at this one.  The blue edging is done with a slip stitch - my favourite.  I've started the little dress in pink with cream edging.  The pattern proudly says 'THICK WOOL'.  I did a tension swatch and it's actually 4ply.  Those were the days.  Everyone knitted for themselves in 3ply and for the dolly and baby in 2ply.

The pattern is for a 10 inch dolly, but mine is 9 inches and much slimmer round the chest than the pattern has been made for.  So, I'm knitting on 3mm needles (old UK size 11) rather than 3.25 (old UK size 10).  Too weary to do another tension swatch to test it.

We'll see what happens.