Saturday, September 22, 2018

100 of 10 - Day 26 - Leeds Urban Bikepark again...


We had another trip to the Leeds Urban Bike Track today - it's such a fun place, and the cafe isn't shabby either! ;)  

Friday, September 14, 2018

100 of 10 - Day 25 - Anemone


Another shot from yesterday's impromptu photoshoot. Anemones are probably one of my favourite flowers. I have a weakness for that daisy-shape anyway, the simplicity of it appeals to me, but Anemones in particular have such a delicate beauty, and they come so late in the year, when a lot of the other perennials are already starting to die back. 

I never actually planted these Anemones. When we moved into our house, the garden was a huge wilderness of  brambles and nettles, with just one narrow path through it, from the back door to the orchard at the end, flanked by brambles that came to over head-height. It took a long time to make  sense of the garden and to reclaim it from all the weeds, but when we did, there they were - a few big, well-established clumps of Anemones and a few rose bushes, all of which somehow survived underneath all those brambles. They've come  back every year since, and have even spread. 

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

100 of 10 - Day 24 - Hello Ladybird!


Boy #1 and I had a mini photo expedition in the garden yesterday to try out different manual settings on the camera and I found this little guy, having a rest. This is such a late-summer image for me, the dying perennials, but there is warmth and sunshine, and the garden is still very much alive and buzzing with life. 

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Glaze Firing...

It's been a long time since I've done a glaze firing. I did a couple of biscuit firings but that meant that things were really piling up in the workshop and I was pretty much running out of space to even put things down. I needed to get on with it and glaze some things so I could make some room, you know? 

Glazing is not my favourite task. I obviously love the look of nicely glazed ceramics, but it's such a fiddly job, and so prone to going wrong, that I dread it just a little, because the danger of ruining a much-loved item is so very real. 

Take that, and add to it that glazing materials are hazardous and best not used around children, and you've got the perfect playground for some heavy procrastination. ;)    It's taken me months to get to the point where I could shut the heavy kiln door and programme my controller.

That said, once it's done and everything is loaded, it's all very exciting. A kiln firing takes a good 12 hours, and after that it takes another 48 hours or so for the kiln to cool down to ambient so it can be opened safely and without danger of cracking any pottery or glazes due to thermal shock. That's a whole lot of nervous waiting, because you never quite know what you are going to find once you crack that kiln door open - is it all going to  be shattered, or will it have worked?!

This firing was to stoneware,1220 degrees C. I switched the kiln on at around 8am in the morning and because Betty is quite an old kiln I checked on her several times that day to see if she was doing her job. She was, and by the afternoon when I checked once more, there was the tell-tale glow from the air hole at the top where I'd removed the bung to help the kiln breathe. Can you see it? 


Closer look...


The temperature at that point was 1147 degrees and rising.


It's always fascinating to me how the inside of the kiln starts to glow once it gets to the really high temperatures. This is the glow through one of the ceramic bungs in the door, which, by the way, are not normally transparent. 



Betty reached temperature at around 8pm that evening and then started to cool down. It was a loooong wait, because after the initial fairly quick drop in temperature down to around 600 degrees, which she managed overnight, things slowed down and it took a further day and a half to get to around 45 degrees, at which point I couldn't take it anymore and cracked the kiln door open. It was still a little early, and there were a few ominous pings (that's the glaze cracking...), but nothing too dramatic happened, and I don't have anything in there where a few minor cracks in the glaze should matter in the least. 

I forgot to take a shot of the kiln right when it was opened, so in this picture a few items have already been moved. 

 

Overall it was a  very successful firing, but a few things did go wrong - right on the top shelf I had a big plate that I had glazed in white, with small chips of blue glass to melt in all the little indentations in the plate. That part went well, but apparently I had not taken off enough glaze at the bottom of the plate and the whole thing got stuck to the kiln shelf and, because it couldn't expand and contract the way it needed to during firing, cracked in several places...



Ah well, you win some, you lose some...

On the other hand I had a few things that turned out quite lovely:










I think, overall, I'm pretty pleased with this glaze firing! 

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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Old FO - my Casual Orange Jumper

I actually finished this jumper a little while ago but then never got round to blogging about it. 


It was one of my stash-busting projects and I pretty much used up every tiny scrap of this yarn to finish it. Originally I'd hoped that this would be a cowl, but cowls take a lot of yarn and I had only three skeins of Jaeger Shetland to work with. 


This is knitted bottom-up and when I got towards the neck I made a quick decision, scrapped the cowl, and went with a simple scooped raglan neckline instead. I had kept a bit of yarn aside for the sleeves and I basically knitted them bit by bit, together, so I could figure out how far the yarn would go. 

I'm actually pretty happy with this project - I've not worn it much yet because I finished it in July and it's been so hot since, but I'm anticipating getting quite a  bit of wear out of it this autumn and possibly even in winter if I layer it with a long-sleeved top. 



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Saturday, September 08, 2018

100 of 10 - Day 23 - Skye


The weather is dreary and the light is bad, so I'll have to leave you with a slightly older shot of pretty little Skye, surveying the land from the balcony of her rat castle. :)  

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Friday, September 07, 2018

100 of 10 - Day 22 - Hobbit Hole


I took this shot during a recent bikeride in the moors. It's a rabbit hole, but it reminded me so much of a Hobbit hole, with it's perfect circular opening and the grass and heather above it. :) 

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Wednesday, September 05, 2018

A Year of Projects - Red Riding Hood

Ah well, it's only... wait... three days late? Hardly anything!

In any case, here is my contribution to A Year of Projects for this week. It's been a bit of a step side-ways, it has to be said. I suddenly fell in love with hooded scarves on Ravelry and just had to make one. I ordered yarn, bought a pattern (which is really not necessary - they are the simplest thing to make! If only I'd known!), and off I went.


It was a very very quick project. With super-bulky yarn and a huge 10mm crochet hook this one was finished in 2 days. I did mess around with it a bit afterwards, but that was because it came out a tad small - clearly I should have gone up another hook size or two - but overall this was so very quick that I don't think I'll be able to resist making another one at some point. And boy #3 has already announced that he'd like one, so there is that...



As it was, although I followed the basic pattern I added quite a few rows to the hood and scarf and even lengthened both ends of the scarf by about 20 stitches on each side. The seams are visible, but since it's all wound round and round it's not particularly noticeable. 


I think if anyone were to make this, it's probably better to go by length rather than stitch count, because the pattern (being a scarf with an attached rectangle) is so simple and it would avoid any of the issues with gauge. 


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Monday, September 03, 2018

100 of 10 - Day 22 - Yorkshire Moors


Had a little break from the 100 of 10 series (as well as all other blogging), so to start it up again, this was taken during a bikeride across the Yorkshire Moors. Beautiful wild moors, we love you so. :)  

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Year of Projects Update Post

I didn't upload anything last week, but hey, better every other week than never, right?

As usual, I'm finding it a little tricky to stick to a timetable. Will I ever learn? I'm in my mid-40s now so the chances that I'm going to completely change into an ultra-organised person are not so good I feel... But I have got better. I used to be notoriously late for everything, always apologising, always rushing, and my organisational skills have improved over the years. It's mainly down to having to balance kids and work I think...

Enough of that, though. Let's get to the main topic of this post - my Year of Projects update. I've not been terribly productive this past couple of weeks. Obviously I'm in Germany right now (though about to head to the airport), so there is that, but also, I suppose it's part of the whole summer holiday thing - the days stretch out and by now we are all thoroughly used to not doing very much at all (not D, though, he's back at work, poor thing). We get up late, have breakfast even later, tinker around the place, play a bit, perhaps see some friends, loll around on the sofa, and the boys have alternated between quite a bit of gaming but also quite a bit of biking. As I mentioned a few days ago, D has built a mini bike track in the back garden and boy #3 in particular has been going round and round on his little mountain bike.


I did get a few rows in on my mohair cowl, so I'm up to the armhole decreases now, and it's the only project I've brought with me to Germany so it's received at least a bit of attention. The yarn knits up pretty well, and considering how much this project has been carted around it also seems to wear fairly well.

Other than that, I've been thinking about projects rather than actually working on projects. I still have all this stash yarn, you see, and I think I've finally found a few projects that might work. Look at this, the Mohair Cowl Pullover. I think it will do really well for this yarn:


And this, the Grocery and Produce String Bag - I'd love to make a few, which will deplete my cotton stash a bit.

The Sunday Chunky Jumper might be just the ticket for the remainder of this rather scratchy bulky yarn that I still have lying around.


But then I also really fancy this Curvy Crochet Cowl? And I've never crocheted a jumper, so that makes it quite tempting too! Perhaps I have enough of this yarn left for it:


And what do you think of either the Frosting Pullover or Maria for this Fleece Artist single-spun mohair yarn?


I'm also contemplating another crochet blanket - perhaps another wavy one  - because of this:


I think there are just enough left-overs for a blanket - though I'm just as likely to run out at the crucial moment so I have to emergency-buy more yarn that I then have to use up in turn...

And there you go, I think you can see my problem. There are just too many potential projects! I'm obviously sticking with the blue Mohair Cowl that I'm working on right now because I want to see it finished in time to actually wear it in the autumn, but I think  I could perhaps add one more WIP to my current list - which one is it to be?!

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A Year of Projects