Friday, 19 September 2014

There and Back Again!

Last weekend we travelled up that motorway again!  This time it was to move Jay into his new accommodation for his second year at university.  At least we moved his belongings into the flat, he goes up there this weekend.
One of his flatmates has already moved in and she has made it homely.  Hopefully the other students sharing this flat will keep it tidy, as Jay was always cleaning up after his last flatmates!
 We popped in to see Fay, before returning home under the setting sun.
 In the car I got on with knitting my Curious Collective 2014 Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart.  I am altering the shawl slightly to make it larger, which meant working out where to start the pattern repeat on the longer rows and somehow I managed to drop a stitch, so I had to redo the lace pattern!  Actually I still wasn't happy with it when I got home, so I took it back past the lace section and added a purl row before the 2nd colour change to make it neater.  In this photo you can see where the pale heather colour pulls into the darker raisin colour.  I wasn't convinced that this would straighten once blocked so I redid it the next day! 
 We have been out and about a lot recently and our newer allotment has been rather neglected!  Sunday we harvested a lot of beans, both runner and dwarf.  The dwarf beans are almost finished, but there are still more runner beans growing.
The radishes had gone to seed, but all is not lost as the seed pods are edible.  They can be quite hot and peppery and make a tasty snack.  We eat them raw, but they can be cooked or pickled.
 This caterpillar, of the large white butterfly, was munching on some leaves in one of our raised beds.  We garden organically, so although it is annoying when too many of our vegetables are eaten by little critters, we mostly have a laissez-faire attitude to our gardening and use barriers to deter the worst offenders and use white oil on aphids and white fly.
Other than that we rub along with our mini beast neighbours and are rewarded with the pleasure of observing them.
video
Although I have to admit to wishing that there weren't so many holes in our potatoes!  Next year I plan to grow some in an old water butt that we have used successfully for growing potatoes in before.
 The sweet potato plant is growing well and escaping from the raised bed!  Hopefully they won't have so many holes in them, but I'm not holding my breathe! ;)
 I'm hoping for a good crop of parsnips
 I dug up some of the carrots
and huge beetroot.  We have been eating these roasted.
This carrot looked like an alien to me and Jay said it looked like a cartoon slug! :)
 We have been picking tomatoes from the allotment as well as the greenhouse, but touches of blight have appeared, so if they don't ripen I will make green tomato chutney with them.
 Pak choi is on the menu this week
 and one lonely butternut squash.  My pumpkins started off well at the newer allotment, but then they disappeared!  Luckily we grow most of the pumpkins at the older allotment, so I will have to take a trip up there soon to harvest them.
 I grew sunflowers along the perimeter fence
 and cosmos amongst the (non-existent) pumpkins and courgettes.
Back at work now it is like the summer holidays never happened!  This week I made this genre display for the corridor.  I'm not totally happy with it, but I'm so busy that it will have to stay for a while.
 At home I have been working on my Curious Collective Shawl.  I'm roughly at 35% now, with a stitch count of 293.  I have bought some beads to add to the final section; I just need to work out where to put them.  I have recently discovered a fabulous bead shop in a local business park. :)
Tomorrow I'm going to The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace.  If any of you are going and you see me, please come and say hello as I would love to meet you.  I have my day arranged so that I am at the needle felt decorations workshop at 11am, in the super theatre with Kaffe Fassett at 1pm and taking the weight off my poor feet at 4 pm with World Pomination in the grand make theatre.  I have sent off my 30 pompoms previously, but thought it would be fun to make some more at the fair.  I have also planned my day so that I have plenty of time for browsing and shopping! :)  I'll try to take some photos to share on here.
I hope to see some of you there.
Best wishes, Pj x

Friday, 12 September 2014

One Back, One To Go!

This month we are up and down the motorway again as our children return to university.  Last weekend we settled Fay into her new accommodation for her final year at uni.  She will be sharing with two boys that she hasn't met before.
Sunday the sun returned, so three of us set off for RHS Wisley.
 This robin followed us through the heather beds for a little while.
 There were signs of autumn throughout the gardens.
 The gardens were very busy as it was the last day of the flower show.  I liked this idea for displaying sempervivums in broken terracotta pots.

 I've never grown carnivorous plants, but I might try to do so one day.
These beautiful hydrangeas caught my eye:-
 Dark Angel
 Magical Amethyst
 Elsewhere in the garden my Husband's saw this sign!  We do have a pot of very healthy sage by our patio door! :)
 Lots of visitors to the garden meant the opportunity for plenty of snacks for the ducks.

 This year has been a very good year for fruit.
 We wandered through the orchard.
Spartan
Catshead
Norfolk Beefing
 I caught two naughty boys scrumping! ;)
 The grasses seemed to glow in the afternoon sunlight.
We liked the construction of this bench.
 I wonder if I can get my Husband to make one for me? :)
 The fruit of the Cornus kousa Wieting's Select looked very interesting.
 The rose garden was full of scent.
The Generous Gardener
Lady Emma Hamilton
 Wild Edric
 We stopped to admire the bark on this Katsura
 and were engulfed in the delicious scent of candy floss from its fallen leaves.
 The dahlias in the trial beds were a blaze of colour.

 These flower heads were huge!
 The garden was about to close so it was time to return home.
Back at home I have been pottering in my own back garden and sorting out the greenhouse, which is where I found this little fella.  At this time of year I remove most of the leaves from my tomato plants so that the tomatoes ripen quicker.  I have also staked up my chrysanthemums, which will hopefully flower soon.
 This week I have started a new knitting project.  I am taking part in the Curious Collective 2014 KAL on Ravelry.  The shawl has been designed by Helen of Curious Handmade, who also designed the Pebble Beach Shawl I knitted recently.
I have chosen Alice by Juno Fibre Arts to knit my shawl in colourways Heather Shadow and Raisin.
 This is a beautifully soft yarn.  I am using 3.75mm needles as I felt that this made my stitches neater than the 4mm stated in the pattern.  Not sure if I will need more rows to compensate for the change in needle size or not.
Helen's patterns are a delight to knit and this KAL also has been split into tribes for added fun.  I have joined the Art Deco Tribe and I am wondering whether to add some beads to my shawl, inspired by my visit to this exhibition.
Decisions, decisions!
Pj x