Monthly Archives

October 2011


Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones


October 730 October 734 October 735
Kitty says: “Booo!!!”

We got home from a weekend away this afternoon with just enough time to get ready for the enslaught of trick or treaters.
October 759
Kitty helped me open the door and waved at everyone who came and helpe me hand out Spider cakes (not made with actual spiders) and some twisted guts flumps.
October 753
My Halloween rule is that all the trick and treaters have to tell me a joke and tell me about their costumes before I hand over any goodies.  This evening’s best:

  • Why did the cow cross the road? To go to the moo-vies.
  • Why did the hedgehog cross the road? To see his flatmate.
  • What do chickens do to relax? Play on the eggs-box.

October 751
We’ve had a good evening and there are even a few cakes left for us.  Happy Halloween!


In which we have tea. Finally.


A few years pre-Kitty, H went off for a hockey weekend to Canterbury, and my brother in law had some sort of cricketing shindig so Zee and I planned a day of frolics and entertainment in London. 

We were to go to an exhibition at Kensington Palace, take a trip to Liberty’s, stock up on Persephone Books and have a good afternoon tea before going to see Calendar Girls at the theatre in the evening.  All was planned, the tickets were booked and nothing could stop us.  Except the noro virus (sadly not related to yarn). 

I was struck down half way through the week and spent the rest of it in bed, desperately trying to recover in time for the Saturday and we made it to just about everything, except for the tea.  Rather than scoffing delicacies in a warm cafe, we detoured to Russell Square and I snoozed while Zee read her new books.  I promised her then that one day we would go back to Theobalds Road for tea, and on Thursday I kept that promise.
October 612
We started the day with a stroll down Marylebone High Street, window shopping Rachel Riley and the cake shops until we reached the very wonderful and delectable:

October 623
VV Rouleaux – ribbons, pompom trim in every colour under the rainbow, and glittery feather butterflies.  I love the voluptuous sample bows all over the shop and it generally takes all of my will power to come away without a length of everything.
October 628
Kitty fell asleep in her buggy as we arrived outside Liberty’s stunning autumn flower displays, so we gently coasted around the Christmas shop and then Zee settled down to browse the craft books with a snoozing Kitty by her side and I wandered around looking at yarn, and fabric, and all the lovely little haberdashery things like Liberty print bias binding, flowery letter shapes, and lavender bags.  Liberty’s is food for my soul; I just drink it all in.

October 630
We had lunch in Kingly Court, just off Carnaby Street, sat out in the courtyard under the amazing upside down covers that drain all the rain down their centres and into the flower beds.
October 643
October 631
We shopped, we navigated by the maps on the Boris Bikes stands in the pouring rain, and eventually we reached our mecca.

Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s (at 44 Theobald’s Road, Bloomsbury).  First recommended on Yarnstorm and tucked away in my brain, from the outside it doesn’t look like much, a small unassuming cafe with a couple of tables out on a busy road, it was worth the wait.  We settled in to a table next to the counter, and parked the buggy up next to the window, to match their Halloween decorations.

October 647
We ordered a Sweet Tea apiece, Zee chose her Earl Grey and I had a St Clement’s juice and then this arrived:

October 646

Scones with cream and jam (and yes small sister your heritage requires cream then jam, regardless of whatever unusual customs you may have acquired through marriage), meringues with a mango sauce, hazelnut madelines, mini chocolate brownies and blondies, chocolate marshmallows (they’re the triangles on the top layer and they were incredible) and cupcakes; red velvet with creamy frosting and raspberry and vanilla.

October 650 October 649
Well after all of that, we couldn’t just leave without taking a little something home for the boys as a treat from Kitty; cupcakes for Uncle D and a two inch thick slab of millionaire’s shortbread and a rich moist chocolate Guinness cake.
October 656
It’s just around the corner from Persephone, it has cake and comfy chairs – I think it may just be a slice of perfection.


Darn, darn, darn, darn


It is a sad fact of life that no matter how treasured, how handwashed only in the nicest wool wash, or how tucked up in a drawer next to a lavender bag and a cedar wood block, eventually a hand knit sock will wear a little hole.

October 582
Actually, if you only ever did the last then it probably wouldn’t wear out but I also wouldn’t knit any more socks for you.

H’s Mum could not be accused of such wanton disregard of the glory of fluffy knitted socks, and dons a pair every evening after her bath.  The surprise is not that the socks need repair, but that more socks haven’t needed darning earlier.

October 605

I’ve mended at least one pair before, and she has the good fortune to wear out the heel flap rather than the ball of the foot which is always the first place to go on my socks, hers are infinitely more repairable (mine get binned).

October 574

The blue socks were knitted with a short row heel so to mend them I picked up the heel half of the last round before the short rows above and below the heel, then unravelled the remnants of the heel back to those stitches giving me a ’round’ of 60 stitches.

October 580
From then on it was simple, I knit a round, and then a toe.  It’s exactly the same as an afterthought heel.

The green and yellow monkeys had the traditional heel flap so I picked up the bottom of the heel flap, re-kit the short rows and then grafted them to the bottom of the foot.  That’s the crib notes version anyway, there’s a more detailed explanation and some photos here.

A few spare moments and a little Downton Abbey and we have four socks, not exactly as good as new, but with a new lease of life.

October 607


In which we are cold but happy


It seems an unusual affliction, particularly for a self-professed process knitter, but truth be told, I like to finish things.  I often have several projects and several crafts on the go at once, but nothing ever sits around for too long. 

However, when I put the blinkers on to work for Christmas presents, a new baby’s layette, or, plucking an example from thin air, decide to knit seven elephants in not quite as many weeks, whatever was on the needles at the time gets plunged to the bottom of the knitting basket, only to see the light of day when the piles of baby cashmerino have been herded away.

And so, as I rounded the corner on the cast off of Kitty’s little dress, I faced a dilemma.  Way back in August in those halcyon summer days, I’d excavated the stash for some very special yarn, and cast on a nice pretty little top.  At the time of the commencement of what I’m sure will in time come to be known as ‘the great elephant delivery of 2011’ I’d got about half way up the back.

Fast forward two months (and a bit). It’s cold, I’m wearing socks, and a scarf, and on Friday I wore mittens while waiting for a train on our very windy platform.  Do I finish what I’ve started, or put it away for more clement times? Linen mix sleeveless top in October? Why that would be perfect!

Let me introduce you to Flow:
October 525
The pattern is from Norah Gaughan volume 2, knit in Berroco Seduce; a slubby mix of rayon, silk, linen and nylon spun as a wrapped cord.  It makes a crunchy but flippy fabric that swishes and swirls.
October 528
In essence it is a flared stocking stitch sleeveless top, with reverse stocking stitch at the neck and shoulders.  But that doesn’t do it justice, that’s just words, the poetry is in the way that the fabric drapes, clings and curves.  While the heat today was only in my imagination (positive mental attitude being key if you’re going to go out in the frost with no sleeves), when the damp and steamy thick heat of an English summer returns, this will be perfect with a long skirt, flip flops and perhaps a little shawl.

The colour is Verdigris; it’s reminiscent of Oxford college domes, weather vanes, and leaky water pipes.
October 533
I bought the yarn many moons ago on my last trip to Florida when my shape was not quite what it is today.  I think I meant to knit the size 34 but bought an extra skein to add some length so I had seven to play with.

Having read all the notes on Ravelry about even the most petite knitter needing to add a little length, I cast on for the size 38 with more hope than expectation, and added a whopping four inches to front and back before the armhole shaping (yes, that’s four as in 4), fully anticipating needing to acquire an extra skein or some leftovers from someone.  But for now the knitting muses are with me, and whilst I wouldn’t say I have oodles left over, I had plenty to sew the seams and knit the borders without ever once having to knit faster so that I finished before the yarn ran out.

So do I count it a success?

October 552
Well I’m either thrilled with it, or absolutely and completely freezing and desperate to get back into the nice warm house because we are taking pictures really rather early in the morning as H has to get to a hockey match.  Perhaps it’s both?

Family Kitty

The here and now


There is a moment that comes on the best of days.  Towards the end of the day, but before H arrives home from whichever far flung extreme of the Midlands he’s been travelling to.  The chores are done, or at least I’ve made my peace with the ones that aren’t going to get done, and the house is at rest.

October 473
We used to spend the time in the garden, cloud gazing and reading stories but the squally showers that swept though this week, and the rose bramble making insistent and repeated requests to enter through the window make it clear that those days are gone for now.

October 476

So we sing, we make funny noises with cardboard tubes and many shaky rattley noisy toys, we play tents, and we snuggle together to read a story, before Kitty takes on the most important task of her day; emptying the bookcase (again).

October 471

It isn’t a saccarine-soaked picture of rosy-cheeked perfection, straight from a Mabel Lucie Attwell drawing; sooner or later there will be a nappy to be changed, a little hand will stretch for some out of reach contraband, and given Madam’s predilection for Mummy’s big books, something heavy will often be carelessly discarded on my toes.  But it is my present and my memories, and to me it is perfect.