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Saturday 6 April 2019

Gothenburg Botanical Gardens

I feel so lucky that mini-breaks are now a thing in my life, and on a long weekend break in Gothenburg, Sweden, last weekend I finally got my spark for photography back. Amongst consuming pastries the size of a dinner plate, chugging back litres of (full caff) coffee and perusing the art galleries we visited the Gothenburg Botanical Gardens

Our garden in March

In March we had rain......

But our teeny raspberry bush has started to thrive.....

As are the primulas we planted in the tree pit outside our house last spring.

and you know.....more rain....

I asked over on Instagram when people would recommend pruning back a hydrangea. The responses were really mixed, some had already done so, others recommended waiting until there is no further chance of frost. I decided to wait which I think was a good idea considering the 1 degree mornings we have had this week. 

OUr sweet peas have shot up.....I think we need to provide them with a cane soon as they have started to clutch onto the strawberry pot, and the strawberry plants look to be STRUGGLING. 

Our tulips look like they are starting to bud and I cannot wait to see what colours we planted!

Sunday 17 February 2019

Our garden in February

I'm starting a serious of photos "Our garden in...." with one post a month, documenting our garden  over the seasons. I need a photography project to get me back into taking photos, a hobby that I used to love. 

In February, as our garden comes back to life, I hope that my passion for photography does too. 

In February, we are starting to see the appearance of daffodils....

In February we are excited to see that our Hydrangea is showing signs of new life....

 In February our raspberry bush that we thought was no more has these tiny new shoots.....

In February the Primrose is in full flower again...

In February the 'Red Robin' is sporting these rather lovely looking buds....

In February, our sweet pea that I planted far too late last summer has grown some new leaves and curly tendrils, maybe it will even flower this year?

Professional Finishing Techniques- Black Sheep Wools

We've all been there.....spent hours (and hours) (and hours and hours) knitting something and when we get to finishing it off, sewing it up, jigsawing all the pieces together it looks a bit, well bleugh, and not at all reflective of the knitting time and effort you put in. 

When I first started knitting I mostly knitted toys. Lots of tiny individual components knitted flat which the needed sewing up. My seaming was so bad I always thought that it completely ruined the finished project. I never even thought of trying to knit a garment for this exact reason.

Fastforward five or so years and I am now slowly starting to build myself a handmade wardrobe. I have knit a Flax by Tin Can Knits (more on this in a future post) and a Carbeth Cardigan by Kate Davies. Flax is a seamless, top down design, knitted completely in the round (ie no seams) but the Carbeth Cardigan, whilst essentially knitted in one piece required picking up stitches for the button band, and around the top of the button band for the neck. It took me almost as long to add the finishing touches as it did to knit the whole thing. 

So far I have avoided garments requiring seams, garments requiring a provisional cast on, garments requiring proper button holes, as I thought my dodgy finishing techniques would not do the end product justice. 

Black Sheep Wools in Warrington run a course that covers all of the above and more. Perfect! Run by a knitting expert from Rowan, Nicole, we were guided through mattress stitch (mind-blowing) both for stitching side seams, and attaching sleeves, picking up around the neckline, button holes without any dodgy looking loopy bits, and shoulder shaping using short rows. We were taught how to make sure our decreased lean the right way, how to make an invisible increase (no more m1) and which cast on method is most suited to different types of project. I'm so glad to have mastered the provisional cast on for 1 x 1 rib. 

What Nicole really emphasised was that you really need to take your time. A cardigan that takes you two months to knit should not be sewn up on a Saturday evening in front of the TV with only your evening mood lighting to see by. To do a good job of it set aside a weekend, or an afternoon. Make sure your pieces are blocked and dry first. This aint a rush job. 

This course has not only given me the knowledge, but also the confidence to adapt techniques in patterns, change the cast on style, add some short rows for fit, change the shoulder shaping. I would definitely recommend to any frustrated knitters, like myself, where the end project never quite matches up to your expectations. There is another course soon- click here to have a look.