Archives for the month of: November, 2013

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That’s not strictly true. I like to knit anything. I’m largely a process knitter; I get excited by the prospect of trying new things, and I don’t let trifling things like whether I will actually wear the finished item confuse matters.

Shawl patterns are attractive. There’s that addictive way they increase; urging you on and on, luring you in with easy garter/stocking stitch sections before hitting you with the sexy lace!!

The shawl above is the an Afternoon Tea, a fab free pattern from Knitty. The crescent shape sits nicely on the shoulders, and the rounded edge instantly looks more modern than the more usual triangular style in my opinion.

See, I like to knit ’em but I can’t wear ’em. It’s a subject oft discussed on Ravelry; the wearability of the shawl is a divisive subject. Some hipsters throw them around their neck in a insouciant manner, but they just seem to slide off when I try it. Even the kerchief styling (back to front with the edges wrapped round each side) doesn’t stay put. However it starts, I inevitably end up wearing it traditional, ‘old lady’ style. And, at 37, I’m too old to pull that off ironically.

So the beautiful sparkly bottle green number above (Krafty Koala yarn, lovely to knit with), is destined to be scrunched under a winter coat most of the time, but it will sit over my shoulders when I’m sat at my draughty desk.

This has been a two shawl week! The second is a gift for my lovely friend Clare, who turns 30 this week.
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It’s a Damson, a tried and tested pattern that I have knitted before. Sadly, the photography lets this one down here. It’s a lovely simple and effective knit, and it’s construction means it has longer points, so it stays on easier. You’ll have to take my word for that; I have my end of week face on and it’s not camera friendly enough for a front shot!

The grey yarn is a Knitting Goddess club yarn. The delicate, soft grey is not something I ever would have chosen to buy, but it’s definitely my friend’s taste. The pink trim was a necessity; I ran out with only 3 rows to go, something that I should have remembered from last time!!

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I rarely do more than give a cursory glance towards the costume jewellery stands in charity shops. Not that I don’t love a bit of bargain bling, I absolutely do, but they are invariably merchandised all lumped together on a couple of hooks so you can’t quite see what’s hanging there. Plus, like all the other racks, they are overstocked; meaning you can find yourself in a bit of a vipers nest should you try to inspect something hanging towards the back.

However, this little beauty caught my eye as I was browsing, sitting as it was towards the front of a display. It was when I touched it though, and felt its significant weight, that I knew it was worthy of closer inspection.

A bit of a disclaimer: I know nothing about beads, necklaces or jewellery making in general. So this post will be littered with inaccurate terms and guesswork. I am genuinely interested to learn more, so if any readers are clued up, I’d love to hear from you.

It’s strung with glass beads in matt black and a beautiful amber colour, cupped by delicate filigree metal findings. It was only closer inspection that I noticed the oval faceted amber beads are cupped on one end, so they look like little acorns.
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There are some lovely squashed wheel-shaped beads, and all are in excellent condition. It’s clearly not a precious metal, but the gold effect chain is largely untarnished. The only part that shows some age is the clasp which is beautifully made in the fish-hook style, and also provided a clue that this was more than another Accessorize piece.
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I’ve been doing a little research on the t’internet and all of the necklaces I can find which look similar to this are Czech glass. The beads aren’t seamed, but they are some very slight differences, in the size of the facets for example, which make me think they are artisan made rather than very modern/mass produced. I am keen to age the piece, and indeed all the similar pictures I found are of Edwardian necklaces. I am very excited to think I may have discovered something 100 years old in the local charity shop, but that is certainly looking like a possibility. I thought it might be vintage, but antique? Wow.

You won’t see me on Antiques Roadshow anytime soon (similar items seems to sell for £30-£50), but I will get a little thrill wearing it whilst watching Downton Abbey next week and wondering if Lady Mary might have worn similar.

HOUMOUS

Almost a week in and I’m not flagging! Here’s the story so far…

Workday mornings are proving a struggle. My timings are so hectic since I already get up at 6.30am and refuse to rise any earlier out of principle. It’s all I can do to race out of the house with a banana in my hand and a coat pocket full of walnuts. I’ve missed the dry body brushing the last couple of days too. I remember as soon as I’ve jumped into the shower, but by then it’s too late. You can’t dry body brush a wet body.

The rest of the routine has been largely a breeze though. This is absolutely not going to be a weight loss plan. I am eating LOTS. Much more than before. In fact, I feel like I’m almost constantly eating to quiet that nagging voice that keeps telling me something is missing. Probably sugar. Porridge with fruit for breakfast, houmous on rye toast around 10am, big lunch of bean chilli/rice/soup/salad, more houmous on oat cakes…. Really, there is loads to choose from.

The children were off school yesterday (the heating broke, although our house is ironically even colder so they were no better off), and preparing fishfinger sandwiches on soft, white bread and doling out leftover Halloween sweeties was an unexpected challenge. Of course, one could argue that if I altered their diet to a healthier one too, that could have been avoided. However, wrestling the biscuit tin from the vice-like grip of tiny carb-junkies* is not a task I was up to in my temporarily weakened state. One battle at a time please.

Revelation of the week has been goats cheese. Just how frigging gorgeous is a slab of chevre heated up in the oven? Yeah, see earlier point about not losing weight this month. Seriously, it’s a taste sensation! While it may be nicer with a glass of red wine, for now the oatcakes and lemon water are doing their job. Absolutely sublime.

Last night’s virtuous roast dinner was a small amount of free -range chicken, with olive oil roasted spuds and lots of vegetables. I passed on the gravy, but reader, I did cheat. I make amazing Yorkshire puddings. But what I once considered a gift became a bit of a curse yesterday as I just couldn’t resist. That’s dairy and wheat in one fell swoop. Urgh. Still, it wasn’t a lot. And the lack of any severe reaction (I’ve been reading horror stories on the net of vomiting, hives and pain) has confirmed that I don’t have any heightened sensitivity. I felt slightly bloated afterwards; enough to put me off cheating again if I can help it. Someone at work asked if I had lost weight. I haven’t, but my tummy feels noticeably flatter and my face is looking a little slimmer.

Sadly, I had my phone stolen last week and have yet to sort a replacement, so you are spared any pictorial selfie journey. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Wow, 10am already. Must be houmous time.

* I exaggerate, they eat lots of fruit and veg and stuff too. Please don’t judge.