Tuesday, 12 August 2014

My Pebble Beach Shawlette

Back on 12th July I went to Unwind at Brighton, which I posted about here.  The Pebble Beach Shawlette, by Helen of Curious Handmade, was the winning pattern of the Unwind Design Competition.  A mass cast on in the Pavilion Gardens was planned, so I bought this gorgeous skein of Luminosity from the Skein Queen to knit my shawlette in. 
 This yarn is 100% mulberry silk and was a joy to knit with.  It is soft to touch and doesn't split.  It was quite forgiving too, when I had to undo a few rows towards the end of the shawlette!
 The mass cast on, with Helen on the left of the photo.  Meeting fellow knitters and knitting with them was the highlight of my day at Brighton.
 Later I just had to do some knitting on Brighton Beach! ;)
 Back home and I often took my knitting out into the garden.
 This was the first time I had knitted one of Helen's patterns.  They are so easy to follow as she writes them out clearly and at the end of each row is the % of how much you have knitted!
 That % count is very handy when updating your Ravelry project page.  Also on Ravelry Helen ran a KAL of the Pebble Beach Shawlette.  Many beautiful shawlettes have been knitted as part of the KAL and some people have enlarged the design and added beads.  Helen has run a competition for the best Pebble Beach Shawlette (I don't envy her as they are all so gorgeous) and a media maven competition for #pebblebeachkal.
 Just as I started to cast off I noticed a mistake 10 rows back!  That's what happens when I knit late at night!
 Mistake corrected and casting off again.  I was determined to finish this KAL on time, unlike last year's shawl that I haven't touched since!!  That's my next project!
 Yay, I finished on time!
My Husband photo-bombing ... as usual I might add! :)
 Fay was going away for a few days so I blocked my shawlette on her bedroom floor, using my new blocking wires that I had bought at Unravel in February.

As this is knitted in a silk yarn I spray blocked rather than wet blocked.

 Then I covered it with another towel and crossed my fingers!
 A couple of days later we had planned a beach trip and it seemed only right to take my shawl to the beach to be photographed! :)

 My first ever shawl.
Thank you Helen for a lovely pattern and for arranging the KAL.  It has been such fun and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Staycation Part 2

Out & About
During last week's staycation we went out for day trips.
There was a WWI fete being held locally which was very interesting.

 There are some beautiful historical buildings in our area including this tithe barn.
 Throughout the week went Geocaching in various places, including on our bicycles which hasn't happened in some time!

One Geocache took us to the grave of Fanny Adams.  A gruesome tale and the origins of the saying Sweet Fanny Adams.
On the Monday we visited Bracklesham Beach.
My Husband clowning around as usual!
 Portsmouth in the distance.

 We choose Bracklesham Beach as we wanted to hunt for fossilised sharks teeth.  Jay found these three right where we were sitting!
 Another time we stopped off at the Long Barn to look at the lavender there.

 We sat on the terrace and had a pot of tea each.
I choose lavender tea.
 It was very hot and someone else decided to clown around that day, by wearing the "sun hat" his Father provided! :)

 At the end of the week we walked around the Roman walls at Calleva Atrebatum, but first we made new friends

and looked inside the 12th century church of St. Mary.
 The Roman amphitheatre is a short step away from the ruined city walls.

 Not my best photo, but I was dressed for walking in the hot sunshine! :)
 So my Husband is now back at work, but the children and I are still on holiday.
Last night my Husband and I stood in our garden for a short while and watched the Perseids Meteor Shower.  I saw 3 of the brightest shooting stars that I have ever seen!  My camera and photography skills aren't up to capturing meteors so I took a photo of the moon instead.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Staycation Part 1

Home & Garden
This summer we planned to have a Staycation as we are going abroad later in the year.
I have been enjoying sitting in the garden knitting my Pebble Beach Shawlette.  It is now finished and I shall do a separate post about it.
I have also been joining together the mini squares of my Springtime Throw.  Nearly finished the joining and then I will add the double crochet edging.
There have been a few showers of rain, some heavy, but it is good for the garden so I'm not complaining!
This year the sweet peas have been the best I have grown and I continue to enjoy a posy on my kitchen window sill whilst doing the washing up.
 The zinnias are providing vibrant splashes of colour throughout the garden.
 The bees love this eryngium aka sea holly.
 The Japanese anemones are so pretty at the end of the garden.
 I grew these echinops from seed last year and this year they have produced these dramatic heads of flowers.  They are like exploding fireworks!
 This has been my favourite colour of sweet pea this summer ~ cerise and peach.
The sunflowers have been brightening up the borders too.
And we have had a visitor!  Possibly after the bird food, but he is wary of the cats; rightly so as Ella chased him away and I chased Ella as I didn't want her to catch the squirrel! :)
In the greenhouse the tomatoes have finally started to ripen.  They have been slow this year.
We have been eating them with lots of basil that is also growing in the greenhouse.
 I have also been using my Jamie Oliver Shaker to make basil and garlic sauce for pasta.
Up at the allotment all this rain has meant a lot of weeds have grown!
Whilst weeding I discovered two of these Elephant Moth caterpillars.

 I relocated them to a safe place.
 I planted some more parsnips.
 We have been harvesting beetroot and carrots,
 dwarf beans and runner beans,
courgettes (no surprise there, just the size of some of them!)
 plus lots of raspberries.
 Not all of the raspberries made it home!
We have grown Chioggia beetroot this year for the first time.  If cooked they turn pink, so this week I peeled a beet, thinly sliced it and lightly drizzled raspberry vinegar over it.  It was a lovely crunchy addition to our BBQ, I especially liked it in my chickpea and lentil burger which I had stuffed with goats cheese this time.  Delicious!
 At the older allotment my Husband has been digging up some of our potatoes.
This year we grew some Salad Blue for the first time and I boiled some last night.  They actually keep their colour once cooked.
 I harvested some of the lavender, but left most of it for the bees.
I used some of the lavender to flavour a yogurt cake.
 I also tried a new-to-me brownie recipe I found on Pinterest.  This one is lovely and moist because it has grated courgette in it.  I tweaked the recipe slightly to make it more chocolatey and will add it to My Recipes blog soon.
Also from the kitchen this week:-
Mushroom burgers, stuffed with spinach.  Recipe here.
And lots and lots of wild plum jam!  My Husband and I picked the plums Saturday afternoon before the predicted storm arrived and I said to him, "Don't pick too many as they take a lot of preparing."  I knew he would get carried away! :)
I spent most of yesterday in the kitchen making this jam!  I like to cook the plums until the skins split, then I can remove the skins before cooking the plums until the flesh separates from the stones.  Most of the time is spent prepping the fruit, as the jam making is a quick process.  Jay and I like the sweetness of the yellow jam, whilst Fay and my Husband prefer the tartness of the red jam.
 Finally last night saw me outside with my camera trying to capture the beautiful super moon.
 I am trying to use the manual settings on my new camera.  Note to self ~ M, 1/500, F8.0, ISO 80.  I'd never remember otherwise! :)