Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Spring time in London

Hello there! It's a dull old day here, but I am being cheered up by looking back at some photos from last weekend, when Mr JK and I were in London. The sun shone for much of the weekend, and we were able to make the most of our time. On Saturday we visited the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. We first went there a couple of years ago and have wanted to visit again ever since. The huge old glasshouses are very impressive.


Despite the rather chilly start to the year, there was lots of colour to admire. We saw a couple of plants that might just find their way into our garden next spring. We definitely need some tulips - we have pretty much every other spring bulb, but no tulips. I'd also like to plant some alliums if we can find the right spot for them.
Kew Gardens May 2013

I especially love the water lily house. There is something rather soothing about it. The giant lily pads dominate the pond, and some of the lilies were in bloom.

On Sunday we decided a bit of culture was in order, so we visited Tate Britain. We decided to take the BP Walk through British Art to get a taster of what was in the gallery. It was incredible to see some of the great works of art by Turner and Constable as well as more modern pieces by David Hockney. My favourite was a painting by John Singer Sargent called 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose'. It had a really magical air to it.  Later on we headed up to Islington so I could call in at Loop. I wanted to buy a present for Snoopydog's birthday, and managed to find just what I was looking for!! After a quick bite to eat, we went to Hoxton, where we thoroughly enjoyed the Geffrye,  Museum of the Home. Like many museums and galleries in London, entry was free. It was a fascinating look at how homes have changed over the past 400 years. The museum is set in an old hospital and one of the almshouses has been restored, although it isn't open every day.
There are also some rather beautiful gardens attached to the museum. Firstly, a walled herb garden, where the herbs are planted according to their uses.



As well as this, there are four period gardens, from the 17th to the 20th centuries. They were really beautiful. I'll leave you with a selection of photos to admire. I'll be back soon with some knitting to share with you. xx





Sunday, 19 May 2013

Craving Colour

Oh goodness, it's been so cold and grey this week, I have felt quite fed up at times. Just a little patch of blue sky and a glimpse of sunshine would be good!! We even put the heating back on and I dug out my hot water bottle again!! I hope that the weather improves in time for half term, which begins next week. I'd like to be able to sit outside and enjoy the garden. Having said that, we are still managing to get out virtually every day to see what's new! The previous owners were obviously keen gardeners and thought very carefully about their planting. We seem to be getting sequential colour which is just beautiful. It's amazing to see just how much the garden has changed over the last month.

Here's how it was on April 21st........
Spring garden (1)

Two weeks later .......

more spring garden (2)

And this photo was taken today, another two weeks on......

spring garden May 2013

New this week are the irises, standing elegantly with beautiful purple blooms.

May garden 2013 012

These have also caught my eye this week. There's so much packed in, it's wonderful.

May blooms

Flo is loving the garden! She spends lots of time bird watching (so far she's not caught anything, thank goodness!) and hiding in the borders. Tree climbing is a popular pastime too!

May garden 2013 007

The desire for colour has crept into my knitting too, trying to escape from the greyness. I've started the next colour strip on my 64 Crayons blanket. It's fun choosing which two balls to use. This time I've gone for one that is mainly blues and greens and am contrasting it with a more neutral one, but with a wicked zing of orange in the middle!! I can't wait to see how that looks as the stripes emerge.
64Crayons WIP (2)

64Crayons WIP (1)

I've also done some spinning, trying to get myself into training for this year's Tour de Fleece. I'm turning this mixture of Shetland, bamboo and sparkle from Hilltopcloud, colourway 'velvet' .......
Hilltopcloud Velvet spinning (2)

into this.......

Hilltopcloud Velvet spinning (1)

Both bobbins are full now, so I just need to get it plied. With any luck, I'll be able to show you next time.
I'm taking part in two swaps on Ravelry. I received my first parcel this week from Cynthia in Maine. She chose lots of locally produced goodies, including this beautiful skein of yarn. It's 100% organic merino and is incredibly soft.

swap gifts from Cynthia (4)

As well as some local honey and maple syrup (mmmmmmm, blueberry pancakes for breakfast very soon!), there was a pair of knitting needles. The balls on the ends are made using maple wood from Maine and birch dowels from Lithuania, before being assembled and decorated in Russia! I love the feel of them.

swap gifts from Cynthia (2)

Cynthia also included a stich counter in the form of a bracelet which I'm looking forward to trying out.

swap gifts from Cynthia (1)

I'll see you after the bank holiday weekend. Mr JK and I are off to London for a couple of days. xxx

Sunday, 12 May 2013

A weekend away

Hello there! Mr JK and I have just got back from a weekend away in Wiltshire. We stayed near Bradford-on-Avon, having gone down to celebrate the birthday of a very old friend from my days at Bath University. We decided not to venture into Bath, and spent some time looking around Bradford-on-Avon. It's a lovely little town, with some very old buildings, including a Medieval tithe barn.

Bath weekend May 2013 001

The roof is incredible. You can only admire the craftsmanship of days gone by.

Bath weekend May 2013 R 004

The Kennet and Avon canal flows through the town, and it was while we were watching the barges that Mr JK told me that he'd love to go on a barge holiday!! So for his next 'big' birthday, that's what we shall do!  It certainly looks like a wonderful way to relax and just meader along some of the UK's waterways.

Bath weekend May 2013 006

We watched as a couple of barges negotiated a lock.

Bath weekend May 2013 008

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Bath weekend May 2013 014

Bath weekend May 2013 015

Bath weekend May 2013 016

Afterwards we went to the village of Lacock. It's been used a lot for filming period dramas such as Cranford and Pride and Prejudice. Scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were filmed in the Abbey. The Abbey gardens were a pleasant place to wander around. We are looking for plants to provide some more splashes of colour in our springtime garden, and there was plenty of inspiration to be found.

Lacock Abbey flowers

I have been knitting too. I've finished the second strip on my 64 Crayons blanket and am happy with the way it is looking so far. I promise some pictures for next time. I am doing some testknitting at the moment, and will be able to share that with you as soon as the pattern has been released. I don't think I ever showed you a Citron shawl I knit for a friend's 50th birthday. I did 8 pattern repeats and decided to make it extra special by doing a beaded cast off. I think it took me around 6 hours to do that, but it was worth every minute as the beads added a touch of sparkle!
Beaded purple citron 016

Beaded purple citron 043

I also finished spinning up my 'Sliced Sunshine' fibre. I ended up with two skeins which I hope will make some matching mitts at some point.
Sliced Sunshine handspun (5)

Sliced Sunshine handspun (1)

Have a good week and see you soon! xx

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Springing into action

Spring garden

It's a gorgeous spring day, the sun is shining and the garden is blooming. I just love it all so much, I can't tell you! Every day I go outside and spot something new. Fabulous!  I am off to spend the afternoon outside knitting. Today is my first 'no socks' day of 2013, yippee!! Here's to many more! I'll be back soon with a knitting report. xxx
feet out! (1)