Thursday, 31 May 2012

Patchwork Socks, Sunshine and Rainbows

I've finished my patchwork socks for Susan's sock-a-long!! I love them. They kinda match which I like but there's also enough difference between to two to make them funky, which I also like, :) I finished them on Sunday sitting in my back garden enjoying the sunshine and warm weather which is so rare in Ireland. There were lots of ends to weave in but they were worth the extra work.

And with the help of my sister in law E, I got a photo of the finished pair.

I'm now on a bit of a sock buzz and up next is a pair of Hermione's Everyday Socks. I'm using Knit Picks Handpainted Stroll in the colourway Cartoons (isn't that just a great name!). The colours are so bright and cheerful and remind me of Rainbow Brite so these will be my Rainbow Brite's everyday socks instead :).

Last week, I was nominated by the lovely Rae Lynne for the Sunshine award. I was so surprised that I was nominated. Thanks Rae Lynne you are just so sweet. In return, I get to nominate others.

First up, there are some rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.  - I've done this but thanks again Rae Lynne
2. Answer the 10 questions on your favourite things.
3. Nominate 10 blogs to receive the Sunshine Award and et them know they've been nominated.

1. Favourite animal: Cat! I've two and just love them.
2. Favourite number: I've never really thought about that but I think 6.
3. Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Tea - I think I may be thrown out of Ireland if I didn't like tea ;).
4. Facebook or Twitter: Facebook, I just don't get Twitter.
5. My passion: Knitting but I'm also loving the process of making a quilt.
6. Getting or Giving: Definitely giving. I love picking out something perfect for a person.
7. Favourite Pattern: I don't think I have a favourite, it changes all the time. I love Susan B. Anderson's patterns, particularly Giraffe. I also love JacobusKate Davies has some amazing designs too.
8. Favourite day of the week: Friday night - work is finished for the week and I can relax for a while. I'm on maternity leave now and with an 8 month old that precious time for relaxing is even more enjoyable now.
9. Favourite flower: At the moment, honeysuckle. I have some growing along the wall in my garden and in the evening when you open the door to go out to the back garden the scent is just amazing.
10. Favourite country: Without a doubt Italy. Himself and I went there for our honeymoon and I really want to go back again.

Nominated Blogs:
I won't reach 10 but these are the blogs I read regularly -

1. Playing with Fi(b)re - this is my SIL's blog
2. Useful Hands and Heart - Debby's blog
3. Raili's blog Fairytale Knits
4. Jill's blog Sauceyjill
5. Adams in the North - Andrea has 2 of the cutest girls, here youngest is about 5 months younger than little man.

Ok that was a really extra long post!! 

Friday, 25 May 2012

Mmmmm mushrooms

Last night I found some mushrooms in the fridge that needed to be used before they turned bad so I decided some baked garlic-y herb-y mushrooms would be a good veggie side to go with the BBQ chicken we were having for dinner.

Today, I thought I'd share the "recipe" with you. I'm using "recipe" because I don't have one written down, I kinda eyeball the amounts.

First up, I pre-heated the oven to 180C. Then I arranged the mushrooms in an oven proof dish with the cup up. I had about 16 button mushrooms but use whatever you have, it works really well with those big flat breakfast mushrooms too. Next I added about a tablespoon of olive oil and some butter. I threw in 2 small whole cloves of garlic. This only gives a small hint of garlic, if you want it to be more garlicy (like I usually do) add more garlic cloves or just crush them. Then the herbs. I used some parsley, chives, thyme and rosemary as that's what I had to hand but marjoram works well too. Again, I used about a tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs with a bit kept for sprinkling on top after cooking. You don't want to use a lot of thyme or rosemary as they are quite strong, so I think the mix was about two thirds parsley and chives, one third thyme and rosemary but definitely a lot less rosemary and thyme to the other herbs.  This works just as well with just parsley and chives. The herbs you use is totally up to you. If you don't like one, don't use it. Season with salt and pepper. 

Here's what they looked like before I covered them and put them in the oven.

And after about 10-15 minutes cooking they look like this. Sprinkle a bit of the fresh herb mix over them if you want. We had them with BBQ chicken, baby corn and new season potatoes - yummmmm!

Surprisingly enough we've been having some gloriously sunny and warm weather here the last few days. This is surprising as up until last week we had possibly the coldest May in a long time. We had rain, hail stones, wind and did I mention the hail stones??! Himself, little man and I got trapped in the car a few weeks ago because of the hail stones. They were coming down so hard we couldn't get out of the car to bring the little man into my sister's house. Every time the eased off we'd think "ok we're good to go" then we'd open the car door and they'd come down again! We were at my cousin's wedding 2 weeks ago and up to the day before I was seriously thinking that wearing thermals maybe a good idea. As it turns out they had a beautiful day so the thermals weren't needed!

The weather is perfect for drying clothes outside. No need to be running in and out every ten minutes because it was starting to rain. Well it was perfect for drying clothes until my clothes line broke yesterday :(. We didn't have any cord left to fix it either so I've taken the next best option and set up the clothes horse outside. It has been working a treat. Tomorrow new clothes line cord will be bought, the clothes line will be fixed and I won't have to drag the clothes horse outside but then knowing how Irish weather works, it'll probably rain and I'll still be using the clothes horse only this time - indoors! 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Patchwork Sock-A-Long

There's a Sock-A-Long happening over on the Itty Bitty group. Susan B. Anderson is hosting it and at the last count there were about 80 ladies taking part. The idea is to gather up all your remnants and part balls of sock yarn and turn them into a pair of patchwork socks using any pattern you like. I'm using Susan's How I make my socks pattern, although I changed the heel flap slightly and cast on less stitches.

So I gathered all my scrap sock yarn together and this is what I have, although the red wildfoote is still attached to a baby sock (more about that later).

I cast on on Thursday and finished my first sock on Sunday. I'm about an inch past the cuff on my second sock. I randomly chose my colours although I had an idea in my head what way I wanted the colours to go! lol! I did tink back twice to remove colours that I knew weren’t working after a few colour changes and I knew if I left them there they would really bug me every time I wore them! Although there were a couple of other colour changes that I thought were questionable but I left them and they worked out fine. Here's the finished sock. Hopefully I'll have the second sock finished soon.

So what about the baby socks. Well again over on the Itty Bitty Knitters group, Pat (Plynn on Ravelry) started a thread for "Operation Shower". Here's what she asked -

"I belong to a Blue Star Mothers group (military mom’s support group) and we have the honor of co-sponsoring an Operation Shower baby shower in early July. The goal is show support for military moms-to-be or new mothers by showering them with gifts. Especially since many of these moms are going through their pregnancy without the support of their husbands due to deployment or job assignment."
Pat volunteered to make baby booties or socks for each of the gift boxes and we all rowed in to help her make the 40 or so pairs she needs. The socks/booties could be made in any yarn with any pattern but with a colour theme of red, white and blue. I offered to make a couple of pairs and here they are. Baby socks are so quick to knit and always cute! They're going to be winging there way across the Atlantic later today.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Sew, Sew, Saturday

I dusted off the sewing machine again on Saturday and actually managed to sit down and use it! :) Himself looked after little man and I managed to cut and sew another two blocks for his quilt.
Again, they're from the Farmer's Journal Quilt - A- Long. These are block 5 (week 6), Churn Dash. I fussy cut the centre square and I like the way they turned out. It looks like the animals are peeping over the frame.

So that's two more blocks down and I'm closer to the finish. I only have 3 patterns left, so a total of 6 blocks. I also started a little something for my hedgehog and hippo swap partner but I'll keep that a secret for another while.