Garden at the beginning of April 2017 

The lawn is looking nice and green again after rain in March. This is after I’d solved the immediate problem of gardening with a toddler by booking some annual leave and doing lots of gardening whilst LO was at nursery! 

So, the beds are looking tidier, perennials cut back and weeds removed. Plus beds mulched. 

Getting the bulk of it done on annual leave (I estimate I did three hours a day over four days) meant I could get all the patio containers repotted, and also prepare a few to grow herbs in – LO then enjoyed helping to plant those. She especially enjoyed watering. In this pic the front four haven’t been planted yet. 

I had nine bags of compost delivered from the garden centre and used six bags of it for mulching, and the rest for repotting. 

Tulips flowering and the (self-sown) lavender beginning to emerge amongst the sedums. That container is almost entirely gravel but those plants seem to love it there. 

View towards the shed. The tulips here flower above the raspberries which will then grow past them. It’s a nice way of getting a couple of seasons of interest from one bed. 

And I got the lawn edges done too! 

Close up of the raised bed, freshly mulched. I didn’t divide the Heuchera Marmalade towards the front, but it started heading off in different directions so I waited to see what would happen. It looks great mingled with the sedum there! 

Primroses. These are all self-sown from one plant I purchased in, I think, 2013, from a lovely garden centre near my Mum’s. Cost £1.50! I think I should probably divide these and spread them to some other places.

And, finally, lots of apple blossom! 

Socks finished! 

Finished the Broadripple socks in Cascade Fixation. They have turned out well and are comfy to wear. I’m still not sure what I think about the yarn but it’ll be nice to have a pair of knitted cotton socks when the weather gets warmer. 

It’s DK weight yarn so they are quite thick to wear but fit inside my trainers ok. I hope the thickness won’t make my feet hot though! That used up almost an entire two balls of Fixation from my stash. 

So, it was time to cast on something other than socks. I’d had Hey Teach in m queue since it was published on Knitty and Pakucho Organic Cotton yarn in my stash since I ordered it from Elann a very long time ago when interest rates made North American yarn very bargainous. Must have been pre-recession in 2008?! I think it must have been in my stash for at least eleven years as I definitely bought it before relocating south. 

LO thought that winding up ten skeins into balls was very exciting and insisted on helping. Consequentially it took ages. 
What have you knitted from your stash that’s been there a while?! 

Baking 

I wanted to get started doing some baking with LO now that she’s big enough to kneel/stand on a stool in front of me and ‘help’. Until now she has done some supervising from her high chair, although that generally means she’s seeing how many times Mummy will retrieve her spoon from the floor before getting fed up! 

These heart shaped biscuits were in a Beaming Baby leaflet so I thought we’d give them a whirl. 

Before:

After. I altered the method as I only had a small heart shaped cutter, whereas the recipe was for 6-8 bigger biscuits. Didn’t want LO eating one that size! And you’re meant to put a dollop of cherry jam on top of each but I didn’t have any, and thought it would be unnecessarily complicated for biscuits this size. Plus, she doesn’t actually need the extra sugar! 

The biscuits taste really nice – they are shortbread and very almondy. LO loved them and also enjoyed rolling out the dough, and pressing the cutter in to cut out the shapes. 

As we didn’t really need a huge pile of biscuits to eat at home(!) we took them to church next day where they were much appreciated. 

More socks 

Finished the Tootsie Rolls socks and got them to match as well! They are comfy to wear although I’m glad that I didn’t do the rolls on the sole. I have called them the Very Hungry Caterpillar socks as they bear a strong resemblance to one of LO’s favourite books. 

This is my latest pair of socks- Broadripple. I made a pair several years ago but wanted to use the Cascade Fixation I had in my stash which the pattern actually calls for.

Fixation is weird to knit with. It’s cotton with a small amount of elastane in for stretch so you have to be careful not to pull on it too tightly when knitting with it, otherwise the finished knitting will be distorted and not stretchy. As you can see in the picture above, the slightly rippled look to the knitting is where I’ve pulled a bit too hard! 

Beginning to feel like I want to knit something other than socks…

Not socks 

This is Hey Teach in progress, I love the way the pattern has knitted up. The yarn, Pakucho Organic Cotton, is lovely to knit with and doesn’t feel harsh on the hands as some cottons can.

I knitted the front and back, then joined the two with three needle bind offs at the shoulders.

And blocking. I washed some of the yarn at the same time as it is designed to shrink slightly and I didn’t want to sew it up, then find the seams shrank! I used a sleeve modification pattern I found on Ravelry to make longer sleeves, as I thought I was unlikely to use a short-sleeved cardigan, but that three quarter length sleeves were more useful. I could have worked the mods out for myself, but just don’t have time at the moment – my knitting time consists of collapsing in an exhausted heap in front of the TV at about 9pm on most evenings!

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So, the sleeve mod is where it went wrong. The sleeves have ended up too tight to be confortable. I can get it on, but it isn’t practical to wear over anything but a tight-fitting t shirt, and I’m not sure how comfortable it would be to wear for long. Disappointing after this much work, so I have put it one side for the time being and think I will reknit the sleeves in the next size up once I rediscover some umph.

Tell me about your knitting disaster and cheer me up!

 

Garden at the beginning of March 2017 

Wow, so much has started growing in the garden in the last month, and I desperately need to get out there to do some gardening!

The lawn is still mossy and rather squelchy under foot.

There are crocuses and daffodils everywhere, looking lovely, bright and cheerful. After a cold winter the beginning of March has been warmer than normal so there are plenty of signs of Spring around.

The only herbs I’ve got left are this pot of chives, which has just started sprouted again. I did have herbs planted in the raised bed at the back of the garden, but we had to lose that section when we had the building work done last year. I never got round to doing anything about replacing them last year as LO was still so small and took up lots (!) of time. This year I’m planning to grow the herbs we use most often (rosemary, thyme, basil, mint) in pots on the patio, where LO will be able to see and smell them easily (and probably also pull them up!). 

The Camellia buds are waiting to burst open. Any day now. 

More signs of new growth. This is the first sign of the Dicentra appearing. Within weeks it’ll be big and covered with beautiful heart-shaped flowers. It has self-sown some seedlings nearby too, which you can see towards the edge of the photo.

I love these Hellebores. I grew them from seed taken from one given to us by our neighbour. The original had much paler flowers but these have turned out to be deep pink. Our garden is quite sunny but this area in the front garden, tucked in behind the wall, is shadier and seems to be better for growing woodland type plants. 

The containers I planted up in the Autumn with some help from LO. Tiny daffodils with some winter-flowering pansies. Quick, simple but effective! I need to cut back the Japanese anemome stems from last year to the left of the picture.

Think that’s all for this month. Have your Spring flowers started to appear too? 

Garden at the beginning of February 2017

Bit of a drizzly wet grey beginning of the month here, after a cold January with lots of frost. The green containers at the side are seed trays which I found full of slugs and snails so I left them near the bird feeder in the hope that would solve the problem! 

There isn’t much flowering at the moment, just the winter flowering clematis, Wisley Cream

First sign of snowdrops, and the fact that it’s almost light when I leave home to drive to work and almost light when I leave work, means that Spring is on the way.

First time the Daphne has flowered too! looking forward to smelling the delicious scent.

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago- frost on a spider’s web on the front gate. Isn’t it pretty?!

Do you have any gardening plans for this year? I am hoping to do more gardening this year now that LO is walking and can ‘help’. I’m also intending to take advantage of having to use up some annual leave whilst she’s at nursery to get some of the bigger tasks like mulching done.