Saturday 21 November 2015

Five on Friday (on Saturday!)

Hello, thank you for popping in, especially if you have come here via Amy at Love Made My Home.  The temperatures have been so warm this autumn that it came as a shock when they dropped yesterday, but the bonus was that last night, there was snow.  Tipped off by Facebook, we opened the curtains at 10.40pm so that we could watch the white flakes swirling around in the air as we sat by the fire.  It looked and felt beautiful and it was ephemeral - by this morning it had gone, but the sun is shining and the sky is blue, a different kind of beautiful.
So, today I would like to share with you the WIPs which are sitting in my knitting bag and making me feel guilty.  Like most knitters, I love the knitting and can't stand the sewing up, especially the sewing in of ends, and so these Works In Progress accumulate as I move on to the next piece of knitting.  Naughty, I know.  I am hoping that by sharing them with you, I shall shame myself into finishing them off.
1.  Muffatees
A couple of winters ago I discovered the wonder of the muffatee - it's a knitted tube with a slit for your thumb and it keeps your wrist and hand warm when you need to use your fingers and thumb.  I have several pairs and wear them a lot.  Peter Rabbit's mother earned a living by knitting them from rabbit-wool but I knitted these from sheep's wool and I am really looking forward to wearing them once I have sewn in those pesky tails.
2.  A Gift Bag
At the moment it's a tube but once I have sewn in the tails and sewn up one end it will be transformed into a little bag to be tied with a ribbon.  Honestly.
3. A Mystery
I'm afraid I can't tell you what this is yet because it's a gift and I don't wish to spoil the surprise.  I was really keen to learn how to do stranded colourwork and this was my first attempt.  It may well turn out to have been my last - not only does it turn out that I don't hold the wool properly so it took ages to knit, but have you seen how many ends there are to be sew in??  And this is only about half of them!  That's why this beauty has been a WIP for two years.  I DEFINITELY need to grasp this nettle and finish it off.  (I hate to even think about this, but I am making this for The Teacher so I really should make another for her sister...)
4.  Baubles
These are little jackets for some rather plain and scruffy Christmas tree baubles.  I plan to make a string of them and hang them up, not necessarily during the festive season.  I know, it's a bit bonkers.
5.  Santa's Jumper
Well, only if Santa is very, very small!  These are Christmas tree decorations - I sold some in September to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and have been asked to make a few more.  Fancy that, people paying real, actual money for my handiwork!  It takes me about six hours to knit one, in the round on 3mm DPNs, and it's a labour of love, but they are very sweet and I promise to show you this one when it's finished.
So there you are, the contents of my Bag of Shame.  I'm off now to visit the other Five on Friday posts and then find a bodkin, and could I just point out that in my mother's knitting bag there are pieces of a jumper which has been on the needles since 1984?  Could I?
See you soon.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x

Monday 16 November 2015

Autumn On The Edge

It was early November, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the temperature was warm enough for us to be wearing long-sleeved t-shirts.  "Shall we go out somewhere?" he said.  "Yes please," I replied.  "Where shall we go?" he said.  "Somewhere arboreal,"  I replied.  I wanted to wonder at the trees in their autumn party dresses before they finally cast them off.
He took me to Wenlock Edge, a walk we love, and he didn't just take me, he took his camera, too.  "I'm going to take some photos for your blog,"  he said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We were just over two miles from home when we realised that it was quite foggy.  "I hope it's sunny at the Edge,"  he said.  By the time we were four miles from home the fog was thick and the temperature had dropped - fortunately, we found our emergency fleeces in the car boot and boy, were we grateful.  We couldn't see the expanse of the Ape Dale stretching out below the Edge, but we could see the trees (well, only the ones which were close to us).  I know that Blogland has been full of pictures of autumnal trees for weeks now, but this is a place to record my memories and so I am going to show you his photos.

These are old lime kilns, a reminder of industrial activity which ceased long ago - he is particularly keen on this kind of industrial archaeology.  While he went down to photograph them, I found a fallen tree trunk and sat alone in the wood.  I looked around at the beautiful colours, I breathed deeply and drew in the scent of autumn woodland (actually, I suppose it's the smell of decaying vegetation, but that doesn't sound very attractive, does it?) and my head filled with the sound of birdsong, lots of it.  It was a very special few minutes.  I think I was trying to preserve it in my memory, something I could draw on later. 
That was a fortnight ago.  There hasn't been much sunshine since that day and high winds a few days later have taken most of the leaves from the trees now.  Autumnal temperatures have been amazingly high here and we haven't put the heating on yet, which is a blessing because I'm not sure how we are going to afford to put it on at all, but I think that winter is on its way.
Things are a bit grim here at Tiggywinkle Towers so I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Karen, Karen, Rosie, Amy, Janet, Lisa and Alison for the kind, supportive comments you left on my last post.  You have helped me to see things from a different perspective - yes, life are tough at the moment but it would be a great deal more difficult if I didn't have caring, thoughtful people around me.  And in a week where the world seems to be a dreadful, brutal place, how wonderful it is that people who have never met me and know me only through what I write here care enough to leave a thoughtful message for me. 
I shall be back soon.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x

Thursday 5 November 2015

Counting my blessings

Today I am counting my blessings. 

Last week we were the recipients of three food parcels.  We stayed with my parents for a few days over half term and they sent us home with a box of delights: a bottle of wine, a small ham joint, sausages from the farm shop, good cheese, posh biscuits to go with the cheese, Italian tinned tomatoes, my favourite brand of tea, you know the sort of thing.  They have always been very good to us when money has been scarce and we have learned to put our dignity aside and accept graciously as well as gratefully.  "We've done you a food parcel," my mother said.  "Is there a red cross on the box?"  the Best Beloved replied.  "I've put a map inside,"  my father joked. 
On Saturday I went to a breakfast meeting and was given the surplus to bring home:  croissants, yoghurts, strawberries and grapes.  Delicious treats which I am eking out.  Strawberries in November!
Then we were given a box of tins from the Harvest Festival collection at the parish church.  When the curate rang to tell me about it, carefully and discreetly, I said, "I can't take them."  She knew that I was embarrassed.  "Yes, you can," she replied.  She was right.  I can.  My cupboard is now full of tins of soup, baked beans, tuna, corned beef, you know the sort of thing.  So I have just used some of those tins to cook tonight's dinner, ready to reheat when I come home from work: a pasta bake with tuna, sweetcorn and condensed mushroom soup.  I went to the little shop over the road to buy an onion and when I placed it on the counter, saying, "Big spender!" and laughing, the assistant told me to take it and refused my coins. 
Last week was half term so there was no work for the Best Beloved and so no income this week.
But today I am counting my blessings as the tears fall freely from my eyes because it has come to this. 
Love, Mrs Tiggwinkle x