November 23, 2010

Pillow sham (test knit)

One of the great things about knitting in 2010 is you the wealth of online patterns, not to mention the number of other knitters out there who are ready to give advice and share their knowledge on sites like Ravelry. Yesterday I finished testing a beautiful pattern through Ravelry's Free Pattern Testers group, and I'm so pleased with it I want to share the results here.

This pillow sham was fun to knit and the end result looks great. It was designed by Lindsey at PreciousKnits, and the pattern should hopefully be available to buy at her etsy shop fairly soon. I highly recommend you check it out.

So my only question now is: what to knit next?

October 10, 2010


Yes, the leaves on the ground mean it's definitely time to say it's no longer summer, despite some fairly balmy days in the last week. Yesterday I finally walked over to Cherry Hinton Hall (the first time I've been when there was no Folk Festival in full swing), where I got to watch some very cute children feeding some worryingly large swans. When I think of Cambridge's abundance of green spaces I think of the obvious - Parker's Piece, Jesus Green, Midsummer Common - but I always wish they had a few more trees, and that's one thing Cherry Hinton Hall grounds has an abundance of. I'm thinking this is somewhere I should visit more often.

In other news, a new job just six miles from home has led to me rediscovering an old activity - cycling. Someone said to me it's the wrong time of year to start cycling again, but I think autumn is the perfect time of year, while the weather is cooling off but it's not too icy to breathe. I have to say it feels pretty liberating to be out in the fresh air instead of cooped up in my car on the A14. I love my route, which takes me across the river and through Petersfield to the station, out of town past the hospital and through the fields into the village - I love the way the character of the city changes every five minutes.

What I don't love is the way bus drivers appear to have no ideas about giving cyclists personal spaces, which is why I have today invested in a cycle helmet. The last time I owned a cycle helmet, I was 11 years old and I always took it off as soon as I was out of my parents' sight, so I guess this marks my entrance into sensible adulthood. I'm going to look sooooo cool.

September 05, 2010

Silk purse - first design

Ages ago I made an undertaking that I would try and get some pictures online of various things I've been knitting. Given that I take on projects in spurts and post to this blog rather infrequently, that hasn't happened yet, but I wanted to post now because I'm rather proud of this purse I made - in particular because I designed it.

It's knitted with Rowan Pure Silk DK yarn, which I had a small amount of left over after making a cushion for my grandmother-in-law as long ago as Christmas... and I finally finished it last weekend. Glueing the frame was a bit of a messy business, but so far the whole thing seems fairly stable. I'm pretty pleased although if I attempt any future purse designs, it would be nice to get the bottom a little less, um, bulging. Still - not bad for a first effort!

September 04, 2010

Allotment progress pictures

Having just eaten some potatoes dug up earlier today, I figured now would be a good time to post some of the pictures showing the progress we've made. First I've uploaded a before and after picture showing what it looked like when I first planted the seedlings I'd grown in the kitchen, and what it looked like after a few weeks of rain last month, albeit before the carrots and lettuce started showing themselves in the plot at the very bottom of the photo.

And just to be smug, there's also a picture of today's harvest, including rhubarb, a courgette and potatoes. I'm still astounded by the fact that all of this comes from a few seeds - I will never stop being amazed when those seeds start turning into plants and those plants start bearing fruit and veg! I can now nod my head in agreement when people talk about how much better freshly-picked sweetcorn tastes, and I can't wait to see what this little patch of ground can produce when I've got a full year to work on it. Watch this space...

Allotment update... and a new job!

Well, it seems I've finally found something I can stick at - it's been slow progress, but the allotment is looking pretty decent and we've been harvesting courgettes, sweetcorn, rhubarb and potatoes (as well as some very small onions).

Only half the plot is dug over for now but I've got plans to start digging over the other half in the next few months, and I've made a start on planning what will go where next year. I'll try and get some pics up soon.

In other news, I am no longer a reporter - I've started a new job as a press officer for a fantastic national charity that's doing some really important work. The nerves have subsided after a few days in the job, as everyone has been really lovely and helpful and I've already got plenty to be getting on with. An extra plus is that it's much closer to home - meaning I no longer need to commute up the A14 and I can get home with lots of time to do things in the evening - like working on the allotment. Bonus!

April 28, 2010

Starter Plot 1

I think my metamorphosis into Felicity Kendal is finally complete. I've got an allotment!

After months on a waiting list, and having resigned myself to the conclusion that a plot would never become available, I have been offered Starter Plot 1 at the Cambridge City Council-managed Maple Close site. Eeek!

I am both excited and a little anxious - I'm really hoping I'll be able to manage it properly, and actually successfully grow something. It's a really small site (there are two massive plots, and two other starter plots), so I'm hoping the neighbours are friendly and won't look at me with disdain as I struggle to get any green shoots - weeds aside - to come out of the ground. We've discovered a cut through from our house that reduces the journey to a whole five-minute walk, so at least I can't make the excuse that it's too far away.

At present the plot is full of weeds, but they're pretty new weeds so digging them out shouldn't be too much of a struggle. Meanwhile, I've planted tomato, courgette, aubergine and pepper seeds that will hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, be ready for planting out. Look at me and all my plans!

Of course, the real point of all this is to slowly up the pace on my Total World Domination Plan (tm) - but shh, don't tell anyone...

January 23, 2010

Productive weekend

For once I feel like I've been doing something with my time off: today I actually pulled myself out of bed at 8.30am (this is unheard of for me on a Saturday), to go down to Greenwich with Simon. Okay, so he was going to collect an eBay purchase, but while we were there we took the chance to go and look around the Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum. And both are free!

The post-Christmas weeks have been a bit strange; what with the first anniversary of Mum's death, the snow (which I'm grateful has now cleared) and the inevitable lack of money that follows the festive season, I've been feeling a bit blue. I finally feel like things are looking up though, and today's trip definitely helped. Tonight will be my first trip to the pub since New Year's Eve, which might explain my cabin fever somewhat... and tomorrow I have plans to make myself go and talk to the allotment people at the end of our road, in an effort to force myself to spend more time outdoors. Sad to say, this could be one of the more productive weekends I've had in a while. I think this means I need a life.

Now, roll on February!

October 19, 2009

New pastures

We're in!

Today I closed the door on the old flat for the last time. It felt quite odd looking around the empty space, and posting the keys back through the letterbox knowing I will never see the inside of it again. I hope the new tenant likes it as much.

We had some good times there but I know I will end up loving the new place. It doesn't quite feel like home yet, but already I'm loving how much room we have, and I'm really enjoying being able to cook in the new kitchen. We're close to friends and Dad, we have some great places nearby and we can still be in town in a 30-minute walk - all in all we're much better off. I know Simon is happier being here all day than he was in the old place. Oh, and I'm hoping my bike will get more use, having discovered how dusty it was when I rode it here yesterday...

In other happy news, we have a new person at work who lives in Cambridge and I've discovered that car-sharing is a wonderful thing! Not only do I no longer have the guilt about driving all the way to Bury by myself, but I'm saving petrol and the journey feels twice as fast with someone to talk to on the way. Who knows, I may even get some knitting in on the weeks I'm a passenger. Score!