Sunday, 29 January 2023

January in the Garden

Hello friends. How are you this week?

 

I have been knitting again in further attempts to use up my yarn stash. I had several balls of this particular one left over, and hats and scarves are always useful. 

 

The yarn is an aran weight but is incredibly soft to the touch and is very cosy. The hat was from an old pattern I had, but I made the scarf pattern myself. The scarf has two sides that appear to have different patterns, but that is because I used a 3knit 1purl rib stitch.














Now that I have completed my year-long crochet project, I have been looking for something else to focus on in 2023.

 

After looking out of my front window this week, the seed of an idea has emerged. I love my garden, and there is always something to see, so I intend to catalogue in words and pictures the changing scene out there each month of 2023.


My front garden in January is not full of colour. However, there is still plenty for me to see from my window. My January garden is architectural with shapes and textures. 


The Mahonia was cut back severely last year but is still a striking plant with its spiny and leathery leaves.

Evergreen conifer and whispering grass in a pot.

New growth on Geum leaves.

Soft new growth on the Senecio.

Tiny leaves on the sprawling shrubby Potentilla.

A large ball of fluffy Iberis leaves.

Evergreen Euonymus with cream edges.

Rustling grass heads waving in the breeze.

Subtle grey leaves of evergreen Pittosporum

Soft spiny phlox leaves waiting for lilac flowers to arrive later in the year.

Spiky succulants nestled in the gravel.

Purple red leaves of the Hebe

 

Texture and shape in the different ferns.


Splashes of butter yellow on the Euonymus.

 

How might things change in February? I shall have to wait and see. 

Have a wonderful week, whatever plans you have.

 

Take care! 😊

 

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Cosy Inside

Hello, and welcome to my small corner. I hope you have all had a good week. 

 

Thank you for all your kind comments about my blanket; it made me very happy. Thank you, too, to those who just came and visited here.

 

We have had some chilly and icy blasts with the weather this week but have escaped nearly all of the snow that some parts of the country have had. It has mostly been heavy frosts and a sprinkling of snow that lasted until lunchtime before melting away again.

 


I have not been out much this week, preferring to stay cosy and warm inside. It allowed me to start using some of the enormous stashes of yarn I have acquired.  

 

This was a blue Aran weight yarn I had left over from a previous project with a small amount of the pink yarn, just enough for two hats with fluffy pompoms.


I have also used some of the fruit stored in my freezer to make a few comforting fruit pies. This was a rhubarb pie with fruit from the garden last year. I still have more rhubarb and lots of gooseberries and apples to make other pies and crumbles. Once that is done, I can defrost the freezer ready for refilling again.

 

In the evenings, I have been cosying down with this book. I picked it up on a whim from the library and enjoyed it very much. It has encouraged me to start picking up more books to read again.


I also have 'A Month in the Country by J L Carr' to read, which has been recommended by several of you. I am keeping that for a few weeks when G and I are off on holiday in search of warmer weather! 😃

This week I have another cosy item on my knitting pins, which I call my 'Neopolitan' project. I hope to finish it soon so I can show you. It has only made a small dent in the yarn giant, but it is a start, at least.

 

Have a lovely week, and stay well x

 

Sunday, 15 January 2023

Temperature Blanket 2022 finished

Hello everyone. 

 

Can you believe that we are halfway through January already? This time last year, I started my largest crochet project so far. The crochet temperature blanket became my major project for 2022, and now it is finished.


I had seen several designs and liked the idea of showing the temperature of a year in a blanket. After much thought, I decided to make my version from a simple granny square pattern. 

The blanket would be 19x19 squares, which accounted for 361 days, with the remaining four days at each corner with a crochet heart motif. 

 

 

I mainly chose Stylecraft DK yarn and also used a few colours from other brands I already had. Before I began the project, I chose a different colour to represent all temperatures from -4C to 30C.

 

Each square represented a day, and I recorded Birmingham's warmest and coldest temperatures for every 24 hours across 2022. The inner two rounds would be the coldest temperature for the granny square, and the outer two were the warmest.

 

 Initially, I used bright red for the hottest temperature of 30c. However, when the temperature rose over 32c, I had to find another similar yarn colour to represent those higher temperatures. I chose a bright red yarn with sparkles. I also used sparkly black yarn when the temperature dropped below -4C. Thankfully, only a few days required either of these two colours.


Joining the squares together took longer than expected but using the white helped each square to stand out better. And then, there were all those ends to deal with. I did try and sew them in as often as possible : I think I might have given up if I had left them until the end.

 









While working on the temperature blanket, I noticed a few things. The most used colour was primrose yellow (9c): sometimes representing the warmest temperature and at other times the colder temperature. It was the only colour that I needed a second ball. The colours for 8c, 10c and 11c were also well used in 2022. 

 

We had an unusually warm January 1st 2022, with a high of 14c, reflected in a yellow-orange first square.

 

Interestingly, there were also times in the year when the same colours/temperatures often fell on different rows simultaneously.

 


I have enjoyed the steady progress of this blanket reflecting my small corner of the world—a crochet time capsule of 2022 weather.

 

 I shall take a break from crochet blankets now, but it won't be long before the need to pick up yarn and hook will return here. 

 

2023 is still a new year, and so I have new projects to plan and enjoy. I hope you have plenty to look forward to yourselves.

 

Have a good week, and enjoy what makes you happy x

Sunday, 8 January 2023

A Few Things I Did in 2022

Hello, and welcome to this small corner. I hope 2023 has started well for you and you are looking forward to some things this year. I know I certainly am: I have one of those '0' birthdays this year, a holiday to enjoy, and gardening, house and crafting ideas. Plenty to keep me out of mischief!

 

But that is looking ahead. How did 2022 work out? 

 

I enjoy looking back at the previous year and what I've been able to do. Sometimes it can feel that I have achieved very little, but I have this space to prove otherwise. 


In the Summer, Birmingham hosted the Commonwealth Games, which was wonderful to be a part of. Family and friends were volunteers helping things run smoothly, and I enjoyed watching many of the events.

 

In August, we visited Yorkshire for a holiday and thoroughly enjoyed the break.



The comical ducklings at the lodge we stayed at still make me smile when I see the pictures.

Then in October, G and I were cruising again in the Adriatic, visiting Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. 



Back home towards the end of the year, we saw this Museum of the Moon presentation displayed in Lichfield Cathedral.

 


Between Christmas and New Year, we visited this market hall in the centre of Ledbury and enjoyed coffee and a light snack.


The gardening year started with this lovely Amaryllis, which produced colourful blooms and reached for the ceiling for several weeks. It almost reached the ceiling.


My little apple tree produced so much blossom and then had a bumper harvest of fruit later in the year.


The loofah plant was a new gardening venture which almost grew to triffid proportions. I want to grow this again with a few adaptions.

 

D returned home to the family nest and had her first gardening experience; this was her first little patch. She grew sunflowers and sweet peas better than anyone else. Look out, D; the battle is on for 2023 😊

 


A new plant for the front garden was this one, 'Callicarpa bodinieri' with  purple berries lasting well into the end of the year.

 

D has made some wonderful cakes, traybakes and other sweet delights which have been very much appreciated. It has been fun baking together.

 

 

I used blackcurrants from the garden to make a few pots of Jam.

 More of D's baking delights.

 


 


 Here are a few of the crafting projects from 2022.

 

 A useful shopping bag


 A new friend for Easter

 

Happy cross stitch flower.

D painted this bauble for the Queen's jubilee. It was good to show appreciation for Her Majesty before her sad loss in September.

 

 Time for tea with a cosy cover to keep the pot warm.

 

 A revamped canvas picture.


 A mirror project for free!


 Seasonal cross-stitch


These were new additions for Christmas.



My biggest project of the year was the crochet temperature blanket. I finally finished it, and I will show you that next time. The photo below was taken back in January 2022.

So those are a few snippets from my 2022. I hope you have created some good memories of your own. Best wishes for 2023.

 

Beverley x