Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category


Today we tidied up the massive amount of mess we made in the front garden yesterday. We’re still not done cutting things back and making room, but Trev has plans to finish it all off tomorrow.

We took all our mess (2 x boxes of sticks, 3 x bin liners FULL) plus 4 people in a tiny Peugeot 206 to our neighbour’s allotment, where we proceeded to have a very lacklustre fire. Unfortunately the ground and a lot of our stuff was too wet or too green to burn properly, so while we made a lot of smoke, there wasn’t a good deal of fire going on. But we’ve made one heck of an addition to the compost heap.

While we were weeding and picking blackberries, my neighbour and I were talking about a few things, continuing the chat we had at lunch – where she very generously fed me with courgette soup and homemade bread. We got onto the topics of sourdough starters and keeping chickens. I hope to be able to have an update for you on the former very soon, although the latter may take a while longer. Many thanks to Natalie at the Yarn Yard for all the awesome help and information she’s provided!

But being out got us thinking about how much we’d like more space. We’re going to try and grow some veggies in bits of our front and back gardens but having an allotment and dedicated space really would be awesome. Remind me to get Trev to check where we are on the waiting list!

In the meantime, I’m making a list of crops for next year and trying to prioritise what we should do first together with what we have room for. Proving rather challenging! What fruits or veggies could you not live without?


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Whoever it was lied! We have been sooooper busy since last night and we haven’t even done everything we had planned for the day. Once I’ve finished writing this post (merely an excuse to sit down for more than a minute), we’ll be back at it!

So last night, I sewed my first ever proper project. It was fuelled by the most awesome vodka brought back from Moscow for me by a Russian colleague. It didn’t get off to a good start – I bodged my measurements, didn’t cut the pieces in straight lines and because of how I wanted to centre the pattern, almost didn’t have enough fabric to do what I wanted to do.

What was I making? A sewing machine cover for Grace. Since getting her, she has been forced to live under a blanket like this:

First sewing project

Not very dignified or pretty for such a venerable machine. So I procured some oilcloth and followed the instructions from Sew Everything Workshop – an awesome book for beginners!

After totally fudging my seam allowances to make sure it lined up and came out roughly the same size, we ended up with this:

First sewing project

Pretty awesome no? I’m really happy with it, except the top is a bit saggy. Not sure what I can do to stiffen the seams, but it does the job and fits the machine really nicely.

I also went hunting in town for fabric yesterday. We bought a chest of drawers last week when we went hunting for one (and I ended up with Odetta) but before using it, I wanted to line the drawers so that we can make it a bit “nicer”.

I ventured into our local haberdashery, where I’d only been once before to buy buttons. I knew they sold fabric in the basement, but was overwhelmed by the choice when I went down there. While they had no oilcloth (my original choice), they did have some nice vinyl. I bought this:

Vinyl for drawer linings

I only wanted just over a metre’s worth, but since it was the end of the roll, she chucked the rest in so I’ve got a load left. They had a ton of remnants for sale, loads of fat quarters rolled up into little bundles – I’m definitely going on a fabric splurge at the end of the month.

That brings us to today. Today I went with Trev to a tiny little nursery down the road. We know they sell planters, charcoal, wood, that sort of thing – but we’d never been in there. Went in there today and again found ourselves being overwhelmed by the sheer choice. Initially we were just after some stuff to put in the back yard, to make it look a little nicer, but in the end bought enough stuff to put together a whole herb garden.

Behold our purchases:

Plants before planting

All of the above for less than £25. So we got cracking. We also decided to tackle the giant budlia tree in the shared communal garden. At the moment it’s so large, that it blocks out a lot of light in our bit and we want to be able to get it ready to grow vegetables there for next year. There was so much dead stuff, we had to resort to getting out a SAW to be able to cut it all back. Even now we’re not done, and with our neighbour have put together a plan of the other bits to take off it tomorrow.

But after doing all of that, we ended up with a little herb garden:

Herb Garden

At the very top we’ve got lavender. In the next row down, we’ve got the beginnings of a bay tree (kept in a pot, so it’s easy to relocate when it gets bigger), rosemary, traditional mint (also in a pot to stop it going mental). The next row down we have sage and thyme and finally on the bottom a little row of pansies.

We’d like to probably add some parsley at some point and maybe oregano – which would sort most of our needs except for basil and coriander – which I always seem to kill. So going to have to be supermarket herbs for those for a while longer.

Fingers crossed the herbs will settle in soon and expand a bit, so it looks a bit less uninspiring than it does now – although we’re still really happy with it.

Moving on to the back yard:

We’ve gone for some hardy little plants that will give some colour all year round without dying. So here are our little window boxes.

Not sure what these are exactly, but we believe the right one is a form of sage:

Window Boxes

Then ivy in the other box (needs more soil) and the last two pansies for a bit of colour:

Window Boxes

We need to finish getting the back yard tidy and decide what we’d like to do in our other parts of the front garden, but it’s been really nice getting our hands thoroughly dirty today and getting some stuff done. Odd how at peace we both feel, but Trev’s mum loved to garden and I come from a farming family, so we shouldn’t be too surprised.

What have you all been up to today?

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Spinning for Socks

I’m finally spinning up a whole bump of “nice” fibre. When we had the Spin-In talk last week, we talked about making spinning pledges for the upcoming week. I pledged to spin up a whole bump of fibre, rather than just making samples. Although given that I’m using a spindle, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the WHOLE bump done – just wanted to start on it.

And I have! I was at Socktopus on Tuesday and had Diane help me for a bit, to start on my Texel. I want to turn this into socks for Mum – I’ve already mentioned that she loves the colour and the fibre is perfect for socks.

While in Socktopus, I also bought sock needles! I tried to cover a range of sizes that I know I need for different projects and bought Knit Pro Symfonie Fixed Circulars, in 2.50, 2.75, 3.00 and 3.25mm, in an 80cm length. I then realised that most of projects also need the 2.0mm and 2.25mm needles for Arisaig and the Endpaper Mitts… so Trev bless him, has ordered those for me too.

I’m now finished with my first ply for the first sock – here’s an in progress pic:

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club March 2009

So, still have 3 plies to go, but I’m getting there!

I’m concerned that it’s coming out too thick – the first part I’ve measured the wpi on, and it’s pretty much spot on. The later bits, I’m not sure on. But hopefully we’re ok.

I’m also worried that I’m overtwisting it a bit. But I hope that plying and finishing should sort most of the issues here, as I want it to be a bouncy yarn.

The only other thing I’m worried about, is yardage. I’ve wound the first single onto a felt ball I made, and it doesn’t seem anywhere near the yardage for a sock! It would need to be what, 180-200 yards? But it doesn’t even seem 100! I guess we’ll wait and see what happens.

As an aside, I planted a chilli plant on Friday. We bought a little kit from Tesco and hopefully in a few months, we’ll have chillis! I shall keep the blog updated with regular updates, but here we are on Day One:

Chilli Plants Day One

Watch this space!

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