After looking at how many times the weather has been mentioned in my blog recently, I vowed I wouldn’t go on about it this time…but it has figured pretty large in our lives recently so I’m afraid the vow is broken already. Still, today it’s about a bit of a break in the clouds which meant we could get out for a much needed bit of fresh air. We returned to Conishead Priory, where the view across the Bay was very different given that there was even sunshine (remember that!)
Still blooming cold though, so it was nice to be back by the fire. As you can see, I’m now 50% into the socks, so one foot at least can be warm. I’m not very good at doing the same thing twice, but I’ve deliberately rushed into starting the second one so that hopefully it will be done before I have a chance to get distracted by other things!
We’re officially in the middle of a weather warning here, although it’s not so bad right where we are. We did have to get the train to Lancaster yesterday as the roads were flooded, but no that isn’t flooding in the picture, we were going across Morecambe Bay!
Times like this call for good food. Now, the recipe I made tonight could be described as ‘wicked’ or ‘naughty’ as there are some high fat ingredients in there. But I hate the habit of calling what’s basically good, honest food by negative labels. Bad food is surely over-processed, low nutrition rubbish. Okay, so this food isn’t something you should have every meal if you want to care for your heart, but every now and again, why not? Anyway, rant over, the recipe was inspired by a surfeit of leeks and potatoes, which suggested soup, then maybe dauphinoise potatoes. It’s holy eye, so the amounts are very much guidelines:
LEEK AND POTATO BAKE
600g potatoes, sliced very thin
600g leeks, washed and sliced
300ml single cream
garlic and herb soft cheese (I used a round of Boursin)
grated cheddar cheese to top
a little milk if needed.
Melt a little butter in a saucepan and add the leeks. Stir, cover and leave to soften over a low heat for around 5 minutes.
Meanwhile slice the potatoes as thinly as you can and lightly grease an ovenproof dish.
Put a layer of potatoes into the dish. Crumble over about a third of the soft cheese, then a third of the leeks. Pour over a third of the cream.
Repeat this twice more. Add a little milk if you think more moisture is needed.
Top with cheddar cheese, cover dish with foil and bake in a medium oven for an hour and a half or so- until the potatoes are tender. Remove foil for the last 20 mins or so of cooking so that the top browns.
We ate ours with simple boiled carrots. Enjoy!
Isn’t this just what childhood should be about? Splashing in puddles, kicking through leaves, scrunching on a pebbly beach and finding treasure (well, interesting pebbles at any rate!) Today we celebrated a few brief breaks in the clouds with a walk at Conishead Priory. Okay, so it rained a bit and we got a bit chilly but oh, that fresh air made coming home for a cup of tea so satisfying. Simple pleasures indeed.
More back to simple with my knitting. I just couldn’t face the Fair Isle after my pattern misreading stupidity so I’m having a break with more needles and less balls (!). Now that I’ve got going this sock is growing gratifyingly fast and I love the colours- they remind me of Fruit Salad chews from when I was little!
Okay, so to begin with last night I got all the way to to the top of the back of my Fair Isle tank top. I shaped one shoulder, went to cast off the centre stitches and thought ‘hmmm…too many stitches, I wonder why?’. It was then that I realised that through concentrating too hard on the Fair Isle and some good old fashioned ‘not reading the pattern properly’ stupidity, I had completely messed up the armhole shapings. Yes, those shapings that happen about halfway up. Nothing for it up to unravel right back to where I went wrong- and even that isn’t easy with stranded colours. Hey-ho.
Then this morning a very rare event occurred, which was my little darling deciding that he was quite happy to stay cuddled up and asleep past 8am, which constitutes a lie in round these parts. Or at least it would have done if it hadn’t been for a doctor’s appointment at 8.40am. I actually had to wake him up- good grief!
With rain and wind swirling around with the clear message that going out walking was not a good idea, the boy deciding to set the dishwasher off on a highly eco-unfriendly 70 degree wash and our friends being occupied with visiting poorly relatives it was all pretty frustrating.
However, I decided that I needed to embrace the time indoors and indeed embrace my somewhat neglected inner-domestic-goddess. I have learned that cleaning is worth doing, but tidying less so, as anything tidied within a toddler’s reach is seen as fair game in the ‘you put it away, I’ll pull it out again’ ritual. That way tears and more frustration lies. Every now and then the sun comes out and I get my hopes up that we could go out for a wander after all, but a more serious look out the window inevitably shows the next swirl of stormclouds approaching. After my scary, night time, flood water driving in the Lakes a few weeks back I’m a bit more respectful of when it’s wise to be out and about, especially when it’s just me and the boy.
So now it’s our somewhat optimistically named ‘quiet time’ when the boy is in his cot and the idea is at least one of us has a nap. Today it’s actually happening- peace has descended, there’s a pocket full of sunshine peeping through the window and I have a clean and tidy kitchen. And bathroom. Life’s okay really, isn’t it?
I signed up on Ravelry quite a while back (I’m on there as Annabanna in case you want to look me up), but had never really got into it. I went back on to find a pattern for an earflap hat (the boy just won’t keep hats or hoods on so I need one I can tie under his chin!) and got drawn into it- oh, it’s an easy addiction to get!
Of course, all this knitting inspiration only led to one thing…more yarn buying.
Like I reeeaaaallly needed more yarn. Okay, no I really didn’t, but I couldn’t help it- it’s cold! I’m cracking on with the Fair Isle and have nearly finished the back, but I also have chilly fingers (when I’m out and about) and chilly toes.
I found this lovely pattern from Ysolda for flip top mittens. I had some flip top mittens before and found them so useful, especially out with the buggy, that I wore through the thumbs! The Artesano is a lovely pinky red and soooo soft, I can hardly wait to make the mittens, but I’m going to make myself wait until the Fair Isle is finished before I allow myself to buy the pattern- it’s the only way.
As for the socks- well the last picture shows the result of hours of squinting at a horrendously complicated pattern full of travelling stitches. They were going to be the Diamond Socks from Yarn Forward magazine September issue, but by the time I’d knitted, unpicked and reknitted myself down to the heel, turned the heel and embarked on the foot, I’d had enough! If I even made it to the end of one sock, I’d never have the patience to make the other. So all that work has now been frogged, and this yarn, and the lovely pinky stuff above is going to be made into nice, plain, easy to knit without concentrating socks, hopefully quickly so I can get these toes warm.
And yes, I know those are yet more Brittany Birch needles- but you know, if I’m going to make all these socks, I think it’s about time I had some gorgeous feeling needles rather than the nasty metal ones I’ve used in the past. In fact that might be why the Diamond socks went wrong. Ummm…am I protesting too much?
Sometimes at this time of year different factors can conspire to close the world in a little. But rather than mourn this closing in, I choose to embrace the warmth and cosiness of small pleasures.
First the spotlit cauliflower! This is mainly here for the benefit of my oldest best friend Kitty Broon, who was all set to drive a crazy number of miles up the motorways when I told her we were having cauliflower cheese tonight. So glad to hear your good news, Kitty, but good thing you didn’t come- the cauli was delicious but pretty small (we bulked it out with lashings of garlic bread, mmmm).
Next a small but significant addition to the kitchen. I’m rather into loose leaf tea at the moment, but two different tea-ball contraptions both have the same problem that leaves (especially red bush ones) keep escaping and floating about, spoiling an otherwise lovely cuppa. Sometimes simple is just better, so I’ve gone back to the old school and bought a tea strainer from Lakeland Plastics which works an absolute treat. Proper tea bliss restored.
Lastly, a visit to the library today sees me embarking on another Phillipa Gregory novel- The Constant Princess. I’ve just finished The Boleyn Inheritance and I think I’m developing a temporary addiction to her historical fiction, set in the court of Henry VIII. I’ve no doubt some serious historians would raise eyebrows at how accurate they are, but they’re well written and real page-turners as far as I’m concerned- just the thing for a cosy night in.
What are your small pleasures? Do share…
The weather has definitely turned and although it’s very cold today was clear and sunny, so we headed to Broughton in Furness to walk along the old railway line. Tried putting P in a padded all in one suit that someone donated second hand. Bless him, he was cosy but it wasn’t exactly flattering! Perhaps it was revenge then that made him decide that today was the day to fully explore mud and puddles. Of course mummy had cleverly decided to leave his wellies in the car… still, as Meg on Sew Liberated said in her lovely recent blog isn’t that just what you’re meant to do when you’re little like him?
The last pic is just a little update on the Fairisle. So far, so good as far as tension is concerned (both across the back of the knitting and my own!). It certainly isn’t the sort of knitting you can do with your mind or your eyes on anything else, as several unpicked rows can attest, but I love seeing the pattern emerge.
Well, we’ve probably been fairly lucky with the amount of good weather we’ve had this autumn, but now the rain is here, it’s really here! We went up to Grizedale Forest today and managed a long time in the (very nice) coffee shop and a short time outside in the pouring rain.
It’s always been something of a habit for us to end up having a pub lunch of a Sunday, although before P came along we usually didn’t end up eating until mid-afternoon. Today though we continued the habit, but at the right time of day. The Eagle’s Head had all that you want from a country pub on a wet day- open fires, locally brewed beer (for him), lovely food and surely the hardest working landlord in Cumbria- he was serving at the bar, taking and serving food orders and setting up for a band that night simultaneously. With a smile on his face!
We retreated back home and soon I was faced with what I think will be a familiar sight as time goes on- my husband and my son completely engrossed in fiddling about with a bike wheel. I’m not entirely convinced that P was exactly helping this time, but as I’ve mentioned before he definitely seems to have inherited the grease-monkey gene so I don’t think it’ll be long.
So here is the birthday request that took all that cabling. I prefer to think of it as an homage to the Burberry version, rather than a rip-off! I’m really pleased with how it came out. The cabling pattern was from the ‘Helsinki’ wrap in Rowan magazine 42 and I made it using Sublime organic merino- so soft! Apparently the birthday girl is pleased, and I’m looking forward to pics of her modelling it.
Next up was the hat promised to my brother. If you’re reading this T I’ll get it in the post tomorrow! The request was for dark colours and stripes. I know red is a bit of a bright, but the tones of Rowan Felted Tweed (I know, again! And wait until you read on, you’ll think I’m sponsored by them or something!) are quite soft and subtle and it knits up very soft but with a sort of…integrity I suppose, certainly a good structure. Any way, hopefully it will fit and will please the wearer to be.
So then I should be cracking on with the tea-cosies I’ve been planning for oh, ages then? Well yeeeesss, but noooooo. The thing is, the red of the above hat was so lovely, but I had quite a lot left over. Then I got to thinking that I was pretty sure that the slipover that I really liked in Rowan 42 had some red in it and I was fairly certain it was in Felted Tweed. It was, so somehow on a dark and dreary night I found myself ordering a rainbow-ette of other colours and then a few days later scooting out to Williams Wools in Kendal for some new 3.75mm Brittany needles and before you know it, I’m tackling some serious fairisle. Well, I haven’t knitted anything for myself for ages, so those little brown teapots are just going to have to stay chilly for a bit longer!
The weather continues to throw itself wildly against our little corner of the world at the moment, but having finally found the boy’s waterproof suit (AWOL since the move) we went out nonetheless. A short and very windy walk by the sea at Walney Island gave us an appetite for being indoors again, so while P found new and ingenious ways to endanger himself by climbing on various pieces of furniture I did some phone work on a writing project I’m doing at the moment. Also managed a tiny bit of knitting, although most of this was last night’s progress.