Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I've been enjoying my crochet so much that when I saw a set of colourful hooks on eBay I decided to treat myself (well that is if you consider a whole £1.55 a treat). They came all the way from China in double quick time and they're not bad given the price - not quite up to the KnitPro Wave or Clover SoftTouch standard but, for something to cart around, they'll do the job nicely.

They came in crackly cellophane pouch and just cried out for a nice little case so, after a quick trawl of the Internet I found a tutorial, and on Boxing Day while DH was out flying his model planes I set to using a fat quarter I've had for ages (- an apology from when I went on a quilting workshop and the irons blew the trip switch so we were without power for some of the time) and I made a cute little case
The TUTORIAL was really good except that it didn't point out that the inner pieces should be cut so that they are the right way up when placed on the outer - (yes, I know I should have known better, and I did really, but it's been a very long time since I did any sewing ) and after I re-cut the inner pieces,  the design is great and I had room for a pocket for scissors and one for sewing up needles as well so I'm all set


And this being the last post of the year, as is traditional,  I want to record all the books I've read in 2013 and they are

  • Safe House by Chris Ewan
  • The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark
  • The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond
  • Breaking Even by Kathleen Kole
  • Coming Home by Melanie Rose
  • A Dreadful Murder by Minette Walters
  • A life for a life by Tim Ellis
  • The Wages of Sin by Tim Ellis
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • The Flesh is Weak by Tim Ellis
  • A Mother's Wish by Debbie Macomber
  • Never Apologise, Never Explain by James Craig
  • In the Land of the Long White Cloud by Sarah Lark
  • Tangled Lives by Hilary Boyd
  • Christmas at the Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

A total of 15, (same as 2012 and 1 more than 2011) 

This New Year's Eve will be a quiet one, DH has man flu, I'm at the end of the second week of the same cold (and it's getting boring now!) and DD has just arrived home with a migraine, so I think I'll do a few rows of my Rugged Ripple blanket and then it's hot water bottles and early nights all round.
Happy New year. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Serves her right

DD is always teasing me about my knitted dishcloths, it came to a head when we went on holiday and I was trying to find wifi to get the next clue for the mystery dishcloth KAL I was doing at the time, she ribbed me no end. 
Well a few days before Christmas I was trying to think what else to pop in her stocking when the light dawned. As she recently moved into a flat I had been adding odds and ends of useful things so I decided to make her a dishcloth. I found a nice crochet pattern and it worked up so fast that one became three

Much to my surprise she was actually delighted with them.

It's been a long time since I did much crochet (apart from a quantity of poppies, but that's not quite the same- you just get started in time to stop) and I'd forgotten how enjoyable it could be. That got me thinking and then when I stumbled across the charity KOFIA (Knitting for Our Friends In Africa) who send hats and blankets out to areas where the babies are born in such deprived circumstances that some die simply because they can't be kept warm, I knew what to do.
Initially I crocheted a couple of hats 
And then I found the bag of DK oddments I'd been given because ' there wasn't enough of anything to be of use'! and popped them into the new bag DH gave me for Christmas, got out my lovely new KnitPro Waves crochet hook and hunted on Ravelry for a Ripple Blanket Pattern as I've wanted to make one for a very long time and so far I have this

And I'm really enjoying myself



Saturday, November 30, 2013

Not enough hours

I just can't believe it's been 3 months since I last posted.  The time just disappears, but then again since I work full time and though I only live 8 miles from work half of my journey involves sitting in traffic so I'm out of the house for 10 hrs a day. By the time I've cooked, shopped done the house work etc as well as being sociable to friends and family and slept, it doesn't leave a lot of spare time, so it was wonderful recently to go on a cruise from Southampton to the Canaries
View from the balcony along the side of Queen Victoria

And eat wonderful food

And enjoy lovely sunsets
Sunset over 25th April Bridge, Lisbon

And enjoy the company of DH and DD while none of us were stressed from work and lap up a little sunshine in November, not to mention having time to read, knit and even visit the gym - well, I had to do something to work of those wonderful scones for afternoon tea.

Back at home I was finally able to gift the knits I'd made for my wonderful manager who (sadly for us, but happily for her) has finally gone on adoption leave to become mum to a 7 month old baby girl.

Honeycomb Blanket made in Stylecraft Aran, which I started as soon as I'd heard she had been accepted to adopt (and believe me that was a trial and a half that she had to go through) and at that stage all we knew was that her little one would be under 2,  so I decided on a multi colour blanket suitable for boy or girl, baby or toddler.
And then I couldn't resist
Missy Mouse (as H immediately christened her) who is actually a Bear Buddy Comfort Blankie but I have to admit the muzzle did come out a bit long so she does look more like a mouse.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nats 2013

August bank holiday weekend can only mean one thing for the Modelwidow family - it's the National Model Flying Championships at Barkston Heath airfield in Lincolnshire. 

After much preparation we headed off again to run the stand for the magazine.

DD and I are the 'shop' assistants and have a great time being part of DH's world for the weekend.


As always we met some lovely people and some not so lovely (and a few who frankly just need to get a life - like the chap who told us, for the third year running, that one of the plans he bought from the company's predecessor about 20 years ago was a millimetre out on the ribs!)

There are some funny moments too, like the little lad who looked around and announced loudly to his dad "Well there are a few planes, but it's mainly comics!" - out of the mouths of babes.......

Lots of people camp, and we have done in the past, but I figure as a working girl I could do with a decent shower (not fighting with thousands of model flyers for the couple of plastic tardis showers available - and no I'm not exaggerating, well about the numbers anyway, they don't literally fight for the showers, actually come to think of it by Monday that can become quite evident if it's been a hot weekend - eewww! ) and a nice bed doesn't come amiss either, so at the end of the day we pack up our wares and head off to the nearby Premier Inn, which means meals in the Brewers Fayre next door and feet up in the evening with time for yarny things. 
 Previously I have been caught out without enough yarn but this year I took my Tiramisu blanket with me to finish and made a stretchy hat on the car journeys to and fro and still had projects in my bag untouched but I was very happy with my end results



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sock yarn Blankie ahoy!

For a very long time now I have been wanting to make a Blankie out of sock yarn left overs (mad I know)  but I wanted it to be a little different and also portable. Much as I love the mitred square, join as you go type blankets, mine needs to be something I can pop in my handbag and whip out to knit a bit when I have a few minutes. 
I think I've decided on hexagons knit from the outside in (once I've actually tried one I might change my mind though). And then I thought "I need a little bag to carry it in" so off I trotted to the cupboard to see what I could find. Now when we were back packing the other week I found that one of the little ziplock bags  meant for sandwiches was the perfect size and shape for a small ball of 4ply, circular needles and notions, so, based on that and using a piece of shower curtain I created a bag.  
(And who knows when I might need it's shower proof properties again, it wouldn't be the first time I've had to spread my knitting out to dry - along with the entire contents of my rucksack, including £10 notes, despite the raincover. Mind you, there wasn't a stitch on me that was dry that day either and I had full waterproofs - our room in the Bridge of Orchy hotel definitely resembled a Chinese laundry that night!)

Then I decide I would need 6 small stitch markers, one for each decrease point with a different one to mark the start of the round, so out came my beads and bits and voila


Don't you love the cute little 25g ball of sock yarn in rainbow colours? I couldn't resist buying it when I was in Needles & Pins in Keswick. 

I wonder if all this sudden need to make things had anything to do with the fact that I was trying to avoid settling down to write a case study for work!! 

Anyway, now all I need to do is actually start knitting! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Nearly recovered

It's rather typical that we should have chosen the middle of a heat wave to go back packing in the Lake District, but you just don't expect up to 30' without the slightest drop of rain up there, for days on end, even in July. Our Youth Hostel rooms and B&Bs were booked and the route planned so that DH could 'tick off' a few more peaks (he's trying to bag all of Wainright's peaks, and of the 214 he now only has 11 left to do!) So off we went.

I've done plenty of long distance walks, and miles and miles in the Lakes, but this is the first time I have carried all my stuff - it actually worked out fine thanks to a well fitted rucksack and a careful choice of what (not) to take.

It was so hot one day that DH skipped breakfast and set off very early as he was determined to bag Lingmell having failed twice before due to bad weather making it inadvisable.  (but not at 3am as the shepherd of the farm we were staying in did, to gather the sheep for shearing before the heat of the day, for the sake of the sheep and the dogs
This left me to have a leisurely breakfast in the lovely old farm house and then make my own way across the pass to meet him later on.

                                              The view back to the farm
This was another first for me, walking on the fells alone, but it was a reasonable path and folk were friendly to a single female. We miraculously arrived at our meeting point within 10 minutes of each other despite DH setting out 2 hours before me and the completely different routes we took. 

The heat continued and by our 4th walking day we were very glad to only be going 7 miles part of which was on the wooded (and so nicely shaded) path along Derwent Water 

                                          Elevenses on the banks of Derwent 

Now, I may have had to cut down on everything I wanted to take, but there was no way I was going without knitting, I mean there were the long train journeys for a start, but I had to keep it minimal so I gathered some oddments of 4ply and the Perfect Preemie Hat pattern, and then in Keswick, in the lovely wool shop, Needles and Pins, which I always have to visit (a condition of going there!) I bought a ball of yarn and knit my memory square on the way home.


Monday, May 27, 2013

West Highland Knits

I spent a wonderful week and a bit walking the West Highland Way at the beginning of the month - 96 miles from Milngavie, just outside Glasgow, up to Fort William. The scenery was stunning and the weather plentiful - think Chinese Laundry and you will have an image of our hotel rooms some evenings. It was a physically demanding but mentally relaxing holiday, all we did was eat, sleep and walk......oh and knit, of course :0)
As we live in the South East getting up to Scotland involves lovely long train journeys = loads of knitting time. I was nearing the end of a couple of larger projects at home so I didn't want to start anything that I wouldn't get finished whilst away so I took some odd balls of yarn, assorted needles and patterns and .......

This is what I came back with
My April and May dishcloths and a soap sack for a charity Christmas box, a preemie set comprising a mini BSJ, a pair of Easiest Fastest Booties Ever and a Perfect Preemie Cap and then I'd run out of yarn! So I bought a ball of cheap purple chunky - all I could get in Fort William - and made a square for my memory blanket and still needing something else to do I knit the bear as the pattern is in my knitting bag at all times just in case.
Not a bad little selection even if I do say so myself.

What! you want to see a picture of the scenery - oh alright then
I loved this hotel, literally in the middle of nowhere, the rooms were a little tired but the atmosphere was so good. Everyone was friendly, we ate in the bar and it was laid out in such a way that you couldn't help but end up chatting to other walkers, and as for the food, I had the most wonderful Venison Casserole and the White Chocolate Cheesecake was to die for, the best food on the entire walk :0)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Where there's a will

Well.....I am now sporting a very fetching (not) hand splint having been taken to A&E a couple of Mondays ago by one of my lovely colleagues who decided that my continual wincing and rather grey/green palor caused by any use of my extremely painful left hand must warrant some medical attention despite my saying, through gritted teeth, that it would be alright soon! I guess that's what happens when you work with nurses.

I've no idea how, or why, but I have inflamed nerves and/or tendons which will take a few days to a few weeks to go. I'm determined it won't be weeks, cos it's too flippin' awkward. Anyone tried filling an electric kettle safely one handed? Never mind buttons, and as for knitting :0( I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms rather badly.

My woolly friend from ToadRockStreet suggested crochet since my right hand is ok, so I thought I'd give it a go (not sure why I didn't think of that, perhaps the knitting deprivation was too all consuming!) I'd recently seen an idea for a Tunisian Entrelac Blanket that I wanted to try, so....

Ok so it might be a slightly unusual way of tensioning the yarn - but hey it works! and by resting on a cushion on my lap and holding the yarn down against it I'm playing with stick and string again :0)

Sunday, April 07, 2013

It heard me!

Finally! spring is here, the weather must have listened to my last post and today has been lovely, sunny and nearly warm (we won't mention the snow we had most days last week.)

DH had to work today so I went off for a walk on my own and I just love the way the sunshine makes this footpath really look like there is light at the end of the tunnel

And my knitting seems to think it is spring too as I have just finished
made with some Debbie Bliss Cotton Denim Aran that has been sitting around for a while with the plan that it will keep my hair out of the way and the chill from my ears when I'm out walking but don't need a whole hat!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring? Where?

Dear Weather
I feel that I should bring to your attention the fact that, according to the calendar, it is now Spring. As far as I am concerned this should mean milder temperatures, green shoots, spring flowers and a little gentle sunshine. However, you do seem to have overlooked this.

I was not impressed that I needed 4 layers as well as a hat, gloves and scarf to go for a walk this morning

A light white dusting may look pretty but I do consider that it is unacceptable behaviour as we are well into March, especially given that this same weekend last year was so warm that we walked in T-shirts and rewarded ourselves with an Ice cream at the end!

I would ask you to spare a thought for the spring flowers who have every right to be blooming now and should not be expected to have to struggle on in these conditions.

And I was very unhappy to find that the bench where we like to stop for coffee was covered in snow and frankly rather unpleasant to sit on.

Now I know that things are considerably worse in other parts of the country, but this is the South East, and currently does not look much like the Garden of England and I do not think it is unreasonable to ask that, since I shall be walking a long distance in Scotland at the end of next month, you do your utmost to get your act together and behave in a rather more appropriate way in the next few weeks.

Yours sincerely
Cold and Muddy of Kent

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I've just realised how appropriate it is to be posting my March dishcloth today
St Patrick's day Washcloth
It seems it's third time lucky for the year of dishcloths - I really like this one, and (as far as I can tell) there aren't any mistakes this time :0)

I've also made a March hare - well rabbit actually
A little friend to join Frankenbunny - I'm much happier with this one having made a couple of modifications (no false seam and slightly shorter)

In my non-knitting life, we have started building up the mileage ready for our holiday and yesterday DH, a friend and I walked from the Dome to the Eye in London (12 miles) getting in some practice. Coincidentally we are all walking the West Highland Way in a few weeks though our friends are going up as we come back! Nothing personal I'm told!
As you can probably guess from the way G and I are dressed it wasn't the nicest of days weather wise but we still enjoyed it and came home damp and tired but happy.

Saturday, March 02, 2013


When I first saw the pattern of Hazel and Pipkin in Knit Today I immediately knew I had to make some for charity. I realised they were slightly stange little creatures but I wasn't quite prepared for how odd my offering would look....

but do you know what? He's really grown on me, to the extent that there is another little Frankenbunny on the needles in my lunchtime knitting bag. This time with mods to eliminate the bits I was unhappy about - particularly not doing a purl stitch to make false seams each side, I mean, why would you want a false seam on a toy? It reminded me far too much of the ladders I used to get when I first started magic looping. This next one won't be quite as tall either, but I may do the legs a little longer, and hopefully have enough of the main colour left not to need an odd foot ;0)

And as a little PS to the last post, I wore Simon Cowl whilst out walking this morning 'Over the hill and far away' as we call our 6 mile round trip and it was perfect! Beautifully soft and provided the right amount of warmth without getting itchy and no bulk to annoy. I'm a happy (Franken)bunny!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February - Dishcloth and disasters

Well it had to be hearts for the February dishcloth really, didn't it? There were several hearty patterns suggested in the Dishcloth Mania group for February and I chose

Grandma's Favourite Heart Shaped Dishcloth
Except it was coming out so small that I had to improvise a bit - and not necessarily that succesfully - oh well! it's only a dishcloth. Hmm, touch of deja vue there, I seem to recall saying that last month too. Lets hope March turns out a bit better.

February has been a very chilly month here in Kent, I am getting distinctly bored with being cold and was rather pleased when I finally blocked my

Color Affection Shawl
and wove in the ends as it is 75% wool and had been lovely and warm draped over my lap as I knit miles and miles of garter stitch.
I lovingly wrapped it around Doris (the dressmakers dummy) for a photo shoot and admired it, then decided to try it on for size - ahem! It's ok for Doris, she doesn't have arms getting in the way, it just wouldn't sit right and no wonder - it's 10' long, it's only 18" wide at the widest point, and so I either end up tripping over the ends ( or at the very least have them dangling out of the bottom of my coat - very tempting for 7 month old Hugo the pussy cat, as well as looking decidedly silly!) or I am so wrapped up I feel like a Mummy!
Once I have got over my disappointment I can see this one heading for the frog pond :0(

And then there is my

Simon Cowl
It's o-kay, and the yarn (Regia Bamboo) is lovely, but it isn't as big as I would have liked it - I had the amount of yarn the pattern specified but ran out long before I would have liked to, and as this has been sitting in my stash for at least 5 years there was no hope of getting any more. Unlike the Color Affection I will wear it but all the same....

And just as I was beginning to think I should take up doing jigsaw puzzles instead of knitting it was time to give the

Blanket Buddy
that I had made to a co-worker at the baby shower we held for her.
Bless her, she thought she was going to a team meeting only to find us lot with food, drink and gifts waiting for her! I had been slightly uncertain about the bunny but as it was opened to a chorus of "How cute is that?" I think at least that worked out ok.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

A trip to Canterbury

Last weekend DH headed off on his annual business trip to the Fatherland to the Spielwarenmesse (International Toy Fayre) in Nuremberg and so as usual I found myself something different to do for a trip out.
This year, with no craft fayres on, I decided to visit Canterbury as I went there a couple of years ago with DD for a Uni interview and I've been meaning to go back ever since.

It was a bitterly cold day but I put on my 'silly hat' since I wouldn't be seeing anyone that knew me and headed off on the train.
After a lovely walk along the river

and admiring the old buildings

I headed into town to find somewhere to warm up

Once fortified I had a very nice browse around the shops and finally spent my birthday gift voucher (only had it since October!) on a book because it made me smile

though I am sure I will knit something from it either for charity - or one of the cute little sheep just for me :)

And then it was time to come home, and as always I found a way to keep myself amused on the way back

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Year of dishcloths

Over on the Dishcloth Mania group on Ravelry we are doing a themed one-a-month dishcloth KAL and very appropriately, looking out of the window, January's theme was snow with the suggested patterns being a couple with snowmen on and this Snowflake pattern that I decided to make

I wanted it a bit squarer than the original so did an extra 4 rows of stocking stitch before and after the snowflake and I decided to make it in cream rather than pure white for practical reasons.
It was the first time in ages that I have followed a written out pattern for knits and purls (rather than a chart) and making it late at night, I now remember why I prefer charts ......strategically placed bar of soap in the picture? no surely not!