What's On & Off the Needles

 
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It has been SO long since I've mentioned anything about my knitting projects and I really think it is very overdue.

Right now I'm working on the Milo vest by Georgie of Tikki Knits.  It's the first in my list of Christmas making!!!  I know, I know.. did you just gasp?  Don't panic, this is how I roll - I start very early because a) I am a painfully slow knitter and b) I get overwhelmed easily and the Festive Season didn't get nicknamed the Silly Season for no reason.  Getting an early start is my way of managing those inevitable stresses.  Plus, it's winter and what's not to love about cosying up next to the fire each night plugged into a Podcast with knitting in hand?  The other thing is that Milo is perfect for where I'm at right now.  Really it's an easy knit and I need easy these days.  I haven't got the head-space for sitting down to a complicated pattern at the end of a long day but yet, Milo offers just enough interest within the design to not get bored.  Another great thing about this pattern is how other knitters have placed their own spin onto Milo with some incredible designs.  Have a look at this Raveller's page - Milo gets colour-worked!  And as for the yarn I'm working with, oh goodness me, it might just about be my favourite to date!  I purchased a bunch of single skeins when at The Craft Sessions last year, each one in a different colour.  I couldn't choose between them at the time so made the decision that I would use them for small projects.  Now that I know how divine the yarn is to work with I may just have to purchase a number of skeins in the one colour and put them towards a sweater project.  All that and I still haven't actually told you the details... the yarn is Shilasdair luxury DK (10% cashmere, 10% baby camel, 40% angora and 40% merino lambswool) in Bracken.

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Off the needles is a simple chunky knit cowl.  There's absolutely nothing complicated or fancy about this one (except the yarn of course but I've lost all details of what it is hmm?  I'm pretty sure it's a 100% Merino?).  Here's a confession... I'm a bit of an Outlander fan!  I know, does it change your opinion of me?  The thing is, the costume design in that show is to die for!  Claire's in particular.  Her knits are just gorgeous and this cowl is loosely based on something I saw in one of the earlier episodes.  Without the buttons it's actually a bit dull, but oh, those buttons!!!  I went hunting on Etsy and when I came upon those ones, I knew they would be perfect.  Now, how to make the most of them is a decision I have not yet come to.  I can't quite settle on how I wish to wear this cowl and I need to do that before I fix the buttons.  Any thoughts...?

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No knitting talk is complete without a mention of Silvia.  Silvia and I began our relationship well over a year ago now and probably about six months or so ago she got put away... unfinished!  I love Silvia, really I do, but we're having a break.  Our relationship was getting intense and she was sucking far too much brain power with her sleeves.  Her front is done, her back is done, even one sleeve is done.  But then there's that other sleeve, that one is not done.  And I'm quite at peace with saying that it will not get done any time soon.  I'm putting her away for now because I simply do not have it in me to concentrate on the lace design of that final sleeve.  For a more experienced knitter, that level of stitching probably is not a big deal, but for me, well, Silvia and I are happy to take the breather. 

Next up on the list after I've finished Milo is a couple of toys for the kids.  They've each selected their favourite from our book and their choice of yarn from my Shilasdair stash, so without any angst, I shall happily move forward onto those.

So what kind of knitting or crafty project are you in the works with?

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Winter Solstice

 
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Happy Solstice friends!  Whether you are celebrating the return of light like we are, or the tilt toward dark, may this time be filled with love and contentment. 

There are many wonderful things happening behind the scenes here in my world.  Soon I will be talking all about our new water tanks, but there are other projects that will be revealed as the coming months unfold.  For right now though, I am loving settling quietly into the rhythm of winter.  My days are still full but there is now a gentleness about them, that stillness one longs for after the almost frantic energy of the warmer months. 

Do you ever spend a moment wandering around your home or garden with a camera in hand, just taking pictures of the corners you love?  I do.  All the time!  It's actually one of the things that calms me.  You know, in those moments when the little people in your life are pushing and sucking you until you're teetering on the brink (insert the wide-eyed emoji here).  I have never used the 'time-out' technique with my children, but I have sure used it on myself ;)  Sometimes I perch on the stool inside our pantry - door closed - with my secret chocolate stash (yes, I really do), but more often I grab my camera and head outside.  It is those times where I really pause and take note of the many special things in which I am surrounded, especially if the afternoon light is catching them just so

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Do you like our new birdbath?  I just unloaded it from the car a few minutes before this photo so it hadn't yet had the chance to settle in, much less fill with water.  It's a belated 40th birthday gift from my Mum.  I have wanted one for so long and I absolutely LOVE it!!! 

Do you like our new birdbath?  I just unloaded it from the car a few minutes before this photo so it hadn't yet had the chance to settle in, much less fill with water.  It's a belated 40th birthday gift from my Mum.  I have wanted one for so long and I absolutely LOVE it!!! 

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Over the past week we have enjoyed the very best winter has to offer.  There has been spectacular sunny (almost warm) days when the late afternoon sun bathes my garden in the most delicious golden glow.  Matched with the cold, dark wet days Mother Nature has chosen to deliver us right now.  Perfect Winter Solstice weather in my opinion. 

The kids are both at school today and I have plans away from the computer, but the fire is going and later the three of us will gather again for a little Solstice ritual of our own.  Solstice Soup, hot apple crumble, a little Norfolk Punch (I may add a wee nip of something extra into mine), candles, sage and ceremony. 

Wishing you all much joy in your Solstice celebrations.

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SouleMama and A Tour of My Garden

 
Image courtesy of Amanda Blake Soule... AKA SouleMama

Image courtesy of Amanda Blake Soule... AKA SouleMama

I wouldn't be at all surprised if you were already familiar with the beautiful, charming and inspirational world shared by Amanda Blake Soule on her blog,  SouleMama.  Amanda began blogging eleven years ago in 2005 when the first of her five children were still babes.  Five kids!!!!  It's fair to say she knows a thing or two about parenting but her words and the thoughts she shares hold so much more and if you have a few minutes (or a few days because let me tell you it's easy to get deliciously lost in her archives) I know you will love all she has to offer. 

Since those early days, her blog has attracted loyal readers from every corner of the globe, she has been written about and featured in various publications, has authored three books (co-authoring the third with her husband, Steve) AND is Editor-In-Chief of the gorgeous magazine, Taproot.  All the while, she homeschools, nurtures, homesteads, crafts, knits (you have to check out her Ravelry page!), spins (her own sheep's fleece!), sews, makes soap, plays midwife to birthing ewes and nannies, milks the occasional cow (once when they babysat a friend's dairy cow), grows produce galore, and even with that list I know I have left some things out!  I have been following along with the Soule family's journey since about 2009, before Noah was born and when Evie was just starting to move from her baby years into toddler-hood.  During those six or seven years I have taken with me ideas, tutorials, wisdom, laughs and inspiration aplenty. 

So, with that introduction, it goes without saying that I was completely delighted when a few days ago I woke to an email from Amanda asking permission to share a tour of my garden with her readers.  Each summer (U.S. summer - by the way, I forgot to mention that, Amanda is based in Western Maine) she posts garden updates.  As the snow clears, us readers enjoy the first seeds as they are sown, all the way through to garden pests, trials, tribulations, successes, harvests, storage, preserving and the family meals she creates from that produce.  This season however, instead of focusing so much on her own garden, she has decided to mix it up a bit.  Towards the end of May, Amanda invited readers to share a tour of their own gardens.  Predictably, due to her vast following, she was inundated with offerings and has had to select a small handful to share on SouleMama over their summer.  Perhaps next summer (2017) she might choose to continue on and we readers will be treated with sneak peeks into more incredible gardens around the world. 

For now though, I am thrilled to be the third garden featured this season, so please click on over and join Amanda and myself in a tour of my ever progressing garden.  I do hope you enjoy and don't hesitate to leave a comment here or on SouleMama as I would LOVE for your feedback, advice, thoughts... or all of the above!

Happy weekending, my friends xo

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