Hope you like your greens

Hello All

I said that I would be practising with my new camera app. As you know photography is not my forte so it couldn't be any worse, right? Well you are right! Definitely sharper and clearer. Sorry turns out a good camera doesn't help my sense of composition or subject. If you are allergic to green look away now. I'll tell you when it's safe to come back.

I have a penchant for allotments. There I have admitted it. I love the thought of all those superb tasty veggies growing in small scale patchwork ranks. Mmmm satisfying.

On my way through to Oxenholme Station I like to wander from the main road and walk through allotment land.

Yummy goodness. Gorgeous fruit tress. No scrumping was undertaken. Honest.

Everyone has their own style. From slightly chaotic to serried ranks. You. Leeks! shoulders back, stand up straight.

Anyone remember 'The Flower Pot Men' ? Bill and Ben and most especially Little Weeeeeed? Those were innocent times!!!!!

Productive way to recycle old window units.

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb.

If you are ready for some new recipes for all those scrummy, crunchy, luscious veggies… (oh yes… you can look back greeniness is over … sort of).

I spotted this book yesterday and thanks to a kindly friend JH and her gift of a book voucher I was able to buy it and bring it home. At first I thought it might have too many fancy clancy ingredients that this country mouse would struggle to get. But as I sat drooling at all the tastiness within I realised the recipes were heart-warming, stomach-filling and easily made. In addition to the glorious food are tales of the rich Middle Eastern culinary heritage beautifully and humorously written.

Definitely got p166 Imam Biyaldi (The Swooning Imam … apparently) lined up for a warming supper. And warming is the order of the day here in the Cumbrian summer. Don't know about anyone else but I have been ffffffffreezing lately. So much so it has been even more of a pleasure to work on one of my ongoing projects, the scrap blanket.

Thankfully it has reached the stage where it is large enough to cover my legs and toes. And the scrap mountain is going down. Win win.

Hope your week is going well. What are you and your weather up to?

Until next we meet,
Moke xxx

Melange

Hello All

I feel all to pot! I’ve missed a whole week of blogging. Here then is a melange of life’s events over the last fortnight.

I started last weekend with a walk into town popping into Williams’ Wools to buy a ball of worsted wool – yes just one! don’t know how I managed to restrain myself with so many beautiful yarns to choose from  –  to knit (KNIT?!) a pair of fingerless gloves.

Having bought my veg and eggs on the market I visited the library. I was hoping to find a book on knitting that would help me brush up on my knitting skills. But I couldn’t find quite what I needed.

However later that evening when I met up with a few old friends (old in as much as I have known them along time not old as in aged….hope I’ve dug myself out of that one). AJ produced some surprise gifts. Things she had seen that she thought we’d like. Here was mine.

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Exactly the kind of knitting book I had been looking for! A book that will help me with techniques I have long forgotten.

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Good friends can certainly read your mind. THANK YOU AJ, for the now well thumbed book.

Confidence boosted I found a pattern on Ravelry by Marielle Henault for a pair of cable fingerless mitts. Needles at the ready off I went.

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Now…it is sometime since I have knitted anything in a cable stitch and I confess there has been much cursing and pulling back. But I think I have finally got it and the pattern is looking good, front

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and back. DSCI0212

With a nip in the air I had better get on with them.

JG and I have been looking forward to visiting Walney Island for some time. JG has never been there and I wanted to look at the chalets by the ocean to see if one of them could be a home for me and my trusty old cavalier. This was the weekend we had earmarked for the trip.

Joined by JG’s friend R off we set to this little island. Walney is attached to Barrow In Furness on the mainland by a road bridge . Excitingly the road lifted up as we waited to get on the island to allow a flotilla of tall masted yachts through to the channel. Magical.

Both tips of the island have nature reserves and the views are amazing. Through the static caravans of the South End Holiday Park you can even see Piel Island and it’s medieval castle.

Walney is a stunning place to be. But could I live there?….

After a good look around Walney JG had booked us a table for lunch at the locally famous Bosun’s Locker on Roa Island. After all that fresh sea air a lunch of home made cheese pie, chips and peas was very welcome. In fact it was such a hearty meal that I don’t think I’ll need to eat for several days!

Mind you I somehow managed a slice of cake and a cuppa while sitting in R’s beautiful garden. And guess what? this melange can end as it began with a hint/whisper/clack/click (?!) of knitting and happy dreams of projects to come…. DSCI0208

Thanks to JG for organising a lovely day out and to our guide R (who has also loaned me her Tea Cosy book).

Until next we meet. Moke

 

 

 

Under foot

Hello All

Of late I have found myself captivated with the rocks beneath our feet. Prompted by my latest book on the train

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I’ve started taking more notice of what’s under foot.

By exploring his past through the quarries and mines of his childhood Ted Nield piqued my interest in our local geology and how it made Kendal the little Auld Grey Town that it is. While Kendal looks north toward the hills of the Lake District – ancient eroded volcanoes which erupted around 450 million (!) years ago – Kendal Fell sits on an area of limestone and you see it everywhere. As you walk out the door

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down the lane

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wrapped in moss

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ramshackle

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sparkly new

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supporting buildings

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creating pretty lanes

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funneling chimney stacks

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and spanning arches DSCI0304

 

To think that Kendal’s signature stone was formed millions of years ago in shallow seas when what is now England was south of the Equator … amazing!

Quick before I go. As I was typing today’s blog I had a little visitor. He popped in the back door to escape a heavy downpour.

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Stayed for a while and when the clouds had gone hopped out into the foliage.

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Until we meet again, ribitttttttttt. Moke

 

Cushioning

Hello All

Cushion-making was high on my agenda when I went on leave and three cushions later my cushion needs are fulfilled. As you’ll recall I already had a flower petal cushion underway. That little flowery beauty is now cosily sitting on my sofa

One down two to go.

I originally thought I’d use the same pattern with the Herdwick from the Wool Clip DSCI0070

but in all its rough, hardwearing splendor it didn’t seem right for something as delicate and transient as a flower. I decided to look through my books for inspiration. I found it here the encyclopedia of knitting and crochet

Published in 2008 (I think there is a new version) this gem of a book gives so many knitting and crochet patterns for blocks that overwhelmed I had to sleep on it before finally deciding to use the Log Cabin from the Centre  chart to create the front of cushion number two.

I am not used to using a chart – I normally rely on a pattern – you can perhaps tell from the centre of the block that I got off to a wobbly start DSCI0075

yet once I got the hang of it I appreciated being able to play with the length of the ‘logs’ and the ordering of the colours. I was pleased with the result DSCI0108

and had as much fun making the back of the cushion by carrying through the colour blocks, edging in double crochet with the apple green and adding a bit of fun with a hodge-podge of buttons from my store.

Having costed up cushion inserts (up to £5!!!!) I decided to make my own from my (small) fabric stash and some donated kapok (thanks again JG) DSCI0105

and hey presto another plump cushion

That makes two.

Just before Easter one of my little old Cavalier Spaniels, Thomas, sadly died. Thomas was over thirteen and very frail but a great character always eager to be in the middle of things. In his last few weeks I used to wrap him in one of my old chunky jumpers ‘Big Purp’ to keep him warm at night. After he died I hadn’t the heart to throw out Thomas’ beloved sweater yet its days of being worn were over. Time for Big Purp to get the cushion treatment.

First I felted my trusty old pully. The results were ermmmmm …

…… not that promising. But after attacking it with the vacuum cleaner (it was in need of heavy duty de-fluffing) I cut out two rectangles, one larger than the other, then sewed them together with blanket stitch

The addition of a filling and a toggle made for a huggable pillow

A cuddly, cosy homage to my little old friend Thomas.

All in all a happy few days and cushions I am proud of.. is that an excuse for sit on the sofa?

NO! another project beckons….

Fan that I am of public transport I set off to see friends B and JK in Windermere.

Here comes the bus…. DSCI0090

to take me to another platform (i.e. not Oxenholme)

to sit in the brilliant sunshine admiring the views

before hopping on a train bound for Windermere DSCI0097

Although I was in a bit of a rush to meet my friends I still had time to grab a few snaps of my favourite bookshop

pop my head inside the door to say hello to B’s husband R before arriving at Cafe Italia where me, B and JK happily put the world to rights before it was time to part. Here’s where the next project comes in. I did not leave Windermere empty handed.

B had been busy cutting up old t-shirts and swapped me balls of wonderful stretchy t-arn (if plastic yarn is plarn?……) for a little trinket basket I’d crocheted her. Aren’t they fabulous?

Now what to make?  I am thinking rug. KC I know would suggest cat cave but I don’t think the t-arn will go than far.

What do you think? Ideas gratefully received.

Until next we meet. Moke

Three Cakes Saturday and Mummys’ Sunday

 

Pop-up day arrived. 7.15am saw sometime Commando Gardener sometime Library Lady sometime craftswoman KC and me wend our way up to Oxenholme Station…..trusty wheelie cases in tow.

Having set out our wares – Library information for KC

my Moke’s Makes10152738_10152282518235816_2080991688_n

and (as if KC hadn’t been busy enough) Kinga’s Bags

– it was time to admire our pop-up neighbour and tuck into our first cake…yummmmm….

KC had brought the most incredible apple crumble cake. Full of fruit, HUGE and delicious. Tea and coffee accompaniment naturally.

As the trains whizzed past and the morning wore on we had a cheerfully chattery library ladies get together as we were joined by CMc and JG and happily munched our way through cake number two, gooey, chewy, hearty artisan baked flapjacks (I had lemon and ginger…amazing), brought by JG.

It was nice to see our wares laid out DSCN1404 and lovely to see everyone but soon it was time for home. Our friend (also a Library Lady) AW arrived to run us back. With her came cake nos. 3! a slice of her melt in the mouth chocolate cake which I wholeheartedly enjoyed back home with a large mug of freshly brewed tea. Aaaaaaahhh.

Thank you to Virgin Trains for arranging these community events and the Oxenholme Community Champion, Alison, who gets it all up and running at my favourite little station.

Mummy’s (Sun)Day and what a splendid sunny Spring day it was. A long chat with No1 son set the day off to a great start and then along came No 1 daughter with all the makings for a High Tea (including the china…I’m strictly a tea mugs household),

wonderful gifts,

and most poignantly a memory board of our small but beautiful family.

There were pictures of a youthful me and my parents – Omi and Opi – when they were young,

and happy times with Omi and my fantastic aunty May(ble),

No1 daughter is our family archivist and it was special to remember times with Omi and her sister May two lovely mums themselves who were there to support us when times were difficult and help give my children a childhood that I know they both treasure.

 

P.S. Marilyn Monroe was not part of our family! She is just the normal resident of No1 daughter’s cork board.

Pop-up madness

Back to work I go. Back to my daily walks and visits to Oxenholme station to await the early morning Pendolino. Of course there are compensations. The walk is good for my health, almost 4 miles a day is not to be sniffed at if I say so myself, and there is always a cup of tea to look forward to as I settle down to the latest ‘Book on the Platform’.

Oink was an additional cheery feature of this Monday morning.

Then there are always the station’s community events to look forward to, DSCN1362

and – even better – take part in, DSCN1361

and so the wonderful, distracting pop-up madness begins.

For one pop-up day only – I’ll be there on Saturday 29 March – Moke’s Makes has been revitalised, DSCN1391

remaining stock readied,

and new items created….

Being a daily customer of the friendly and ‘welcome sight’ Caffeine Rush van (handily parked on the southbound platform 1), DSCN0604

takeaway cup cosys were top of my must-makes list,

if only so KC* and I can enjoy a long lasting hot cuppa without singeing our hands. The pattern was designed by Danyel Pink. It was amazingly satisfying to hook-up and gave me a few happy Crochet on a Train moments this week.

Then there are the Attic 24 inspired Forfar Birdies filled with fresh smelling French Lavendar…aaaaaaahhhhh…. DSCN1370

chunky crochet flower brooches, DSCN1369

trinket baskets made with yarn crocheted over string:

I made this little fellow up ad hoc much like my display basket,

when I get my head together after the Pop Up madness I will share with you how I made them.

*Now as if all this crafty fun wasn’t enough my good friend KC will also be having a table at the pop-up event. She will be promoting the library service but she will also be providing some of her beautiful sewing for the Moke’s Makes stall. Remember the wonderful bag she made me?

I can’t wait to see what she has been busily sewing up. I know her creations will be marvelous, perfect Mother’s day pressies, and welcome cheerful additions to the Moke’s Makes stall.

Before I go a BIG THANKS is also due to the other half of the Commando Gardeners MR for my superb new header. Isn’t it smashing? I love it.

Crochet on a train…chooo chooo….

Something had to be done. Time was running out. Can you imagine? no time for crochet! EeeeeeK. I was on the brink of making a chart so things were critical. Nil desperandum.  I put on my ‘time management’ head ( bit difficult because usually I wear my scatter-brained head) and came up with a plan. Crochet on a train!

It goes like this. Waiting for train read book (easy to stash as soon as train comes into view) on train 40 minutes of undisturbed crochet. Aaaaaaah that’s better. Now what to make? Of course I turned to the library and JG produced a new(ish) addition from the craft section, 51NpzMiZpgL-1

There are some brilliant ideas in here and I have mentally noted a few as possible Christmas (too soon to mention the C word?) pressies. But first I have been thinking that my beautiful new teapot DSCN0574

might like a cozy to keep her warm now that there is a definite nip in the air. Some time ago I made an owl cozy for B from Herdwick wool and every time I visit I look wistfully at it sitting proud atop of her teapot*. About time I made my own. And so begins my first ‘crochet on a train’ project.

The first few rows underway, IMG-20130906-00001

I know, I know it doesn’t look promising right now. But it will blossom. I promise. The sharp eyed among you will notice that this is a Patons’ pattern. If you follow the Patons link and search for ‘Owl Tea Cosy’ it will bring up the pattern – among many other wonderful cosy patterns.

I love working with Herdwick wool. Herdwicks are one of the most famous Cumbrian breeds of sheep. They have beautiful ‘teddy bear’ faces and their fleece changes colour as they grow older, starting off as almost black on the lambs and turning a misty grey/pale beige as the sheep ages. Its a very course wool and I am told by spinners not always a joy to spin. The yarn is, truth be told, a wee bit scratchy and not really something you want to wear next to your skin. Although years ago I crocheted a Herdwick jumper which is a perfect top layer for cold winter’s days up here in the chilly Lake District. It will certainly keep my tea piping hot!

If you want to know more about the wonderful sheep that produce this ‘self-dyed’ wool then I can highly recommend $T2eC16JHJHkFFlt,w)JRBSHnzgfnZ!~~60_35

This lovely book won a prize a few years back in the Lakeland Book of The Year Awards and certainly earned it.

That’s the crochet sorted. What about the ‘book for the platform’? JG came up with a title for that too, 7193K7hq1wL._SL1000_

JG had just finished it and said she couldn’t put it down. Recommendation enough for me. So I pootled into Kendal Library yesterday and there it was waiting for me on the requests’ shelves. Thanks JG.  Of course I couldn’t wait for a platform to read on so I started it last night….its not for the faint hearted but it is certainly gripping…but there is washing to do so I must…well…maybe another page …or two…

 

* The lovely B sent me a photo of her using said Owl Tea Cosy…..

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so I just had to do a quick edit and include it. Thanks B.