Anne Pettigrew, married to John, mother of Adam and Ruth, living in Cambridge UK

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My new exercise plan...

Er..hum… – I… er… I… wentforarunthismorning.

Yes, I did.

The grand plan is to do the same again on Wednesday, then again on Friday.

Of course, being me, I did it first, and then came home and started researching what I should have done – I found this plan that looks doable.

In fact, it looks a lot more doable than what I did – someone told me to run for 2 min, then walk for 5, run for 2, walk for 5 etc etc – didn’t work – I started by speeding along thinking “This is just soooooo easy, I can totally do this, trainers make all the difference.” Then after about 90 seconds I decided that 2 min must be up, so I’d walk for a bit – and checked my watch for the first time. Once I’d got my breath back, I started running again – oops, check watch – about 3 min – oh well – then “O M G!!!! This so NOT easy, why am I doing this to myself? This HURTS!” I stuck out another minute, then walked and ran my way home (and yes, I’m fully aware that a step-by-step breakdown of someone’s first run is not exciting – hey, even the edited highlights are not exciting, I’ll stop now.)

But hey, I did 15 min – which is less than the recommended 20 min, but people – I DID IT! And why am I blogging it – a bit of accountability, that’s why. I’m due to go again on Wednesday. I’ll let you know…

Now for some knitting content…

You remember that Wendy very kindly sent me some black 4-ply wool – well the project is well underway:
– a pirate jumper for Adam – top down raglan – I took the inspiration from here, and then, just like she did, used Hello Yarn’s free hat pattern (the one I used for his hat for the skulls)

A bit more detail (it’s not blocked, it will look better when it’s blocked – everything looks better when it’s blocked – I’m now the number one fan of blocking… )

(To be honest, I’m rather pleased that they don’t show up that clearly. I don’t particularly like pirates. They aren’t exactly the fun seafaring adventurers of popular fiction – they, well they are (and were) brutal and violent and – oh you know – I’m not going to get on my high horse about this one – I just don’t like glamorising them – but they’re so well accepted that it’s hard to buck the trend. So I’ll knit pirate clothes for my son, but I’ll keep it subtle.)

And because he’s very excited by the whole new exercise regime – here he is stretching:

Now, if you’ll excuse me, he wants me to take him for a run too…

The Cat

Proud Mummy moment

This evening Ruth was late to bed (dinner had overrun), so Adam went up at the same time. We all traipsed up together – since we went to the library today they were allowed four stories instead of the usual three. At Adam’s suggestion we chose one each. And then he read the first story to us all. With feeling.

Forgive me while I get a bit soppy…

At long, long last...

It’s finally finished – the Shetland Garden Shawl.

It’s my first ever big lace piece, and the first piece I’ve ever blocked properly, so although I’ve read all that everyone one says about the magic of transforming a pile of laundry into a magical piece of delicate lace, I was beginning to get scared. TBH I was beginning to get very scared. It was looking tiny. And I wanted to knit a shawl, not a capelet.

But would you know it? They’re all right – lookee here:

and after:

Laundry to lace in one magical step. It’s at least twice the size, and so ethereal that it’s very difficult to photograph.

I am very excited about it, and it needs to be exciting. I’ve made it for… well, I’ll call her my godmother. She’s not my godmother, Quakers don’t have godmothers, but apart from that detail she has fulfilled that role for me throughout my life. For starters she’s called Anne (my parents assure me that I’m not named after her, although the we intentionally share the same spelling – I’m more than happy to be named after her). Then when I was a teeny wee thing just a few days out of hospital, my mother got in a bit of a flap about whether or not she was producing enough milk for me. Anne came round and sorted her out – I was weighed (I believe a spring balance was used!), fed, then weighed again – the only difference being the quantity of milk I’d consumed – somehow I was 6 oz heavier :-)

She has always been “Big Anne” to my “Little Anne” – even since I’ve overtaken her in both height and girth. (Which is the reason why I love the soubriquet “Big Ruth” for my “Little Ruth”’s godmother.) I stayed with her and her husband (another John) one summer, and there met my first boyfriend (who lasted just a year – my first non-successful long-distance relationship) – and helped to choose the wool for her to knit me a purple jumper. Yes, she’s a knitter, she’s an extremely good knitter – probably the best knitter I know. And she’s a spinner.

Another time she gently listened while I sounded off about my 3rd boyfriend’s very Baptist views on salvation. (I was by this time a lapsed Quaker – I didn’t go anywhere on a Sunday morning, but if I had, it would have been to Quaker Meeting – C’s views on this were rather uncompromising.)

We took Adam to see her when he was about 6 months old. By then she had left her house in Barnard Castle and had moved to sheltered accommodation in Abingdon, just south of Oxford.

British readers may be able to see where this is heading. It’s been raining in Britain. It’s been raining a LOT. Particularly in that part of the country. There has been flooding – a couple of nights ago, Anne was woken at 2am by a knock on the door – she had 30 minutes to get herself ready before they were going to come back and evacuate her.

She’s relatively lucky – apparently there is “only” about 6 inches of water in her bungalow – her carpets are destroyed, but quite a lot of her things will be retrievable. She also has a daughter living nearby with whom she can stay, so she’s comfortable, albeit stressed. It will be weeks, if not months, before she can return.

So I’m glad that this is ready only now. I’ve been chiding myself for not getting on with it faster, but maybe now is a good time for an unexpected gift to arrive.

And, just because, here are some more photos.

Thoughts on half a pie in the fridge...

For John pie is the ultimate food – myself, I’m not so sure – there’s something about a good cheese scone that beats pie any day, but still, can there be any more glorious sight than half a pie in the fridge?

The joy is three-fold:

For there is the memory of that half pie already consumed.

There is the anticipation of that pie yet to be eaten.

And there is the pure bliss of contemplating the half pie in the fridge that simply is.

Can't blog...


(and no, I haven’t finished it yet… see ya!)

Update Now finished, and desperately needing someone to talk to… (no spoilers in comments please).

Go Jessy!

Look what I found in the nesting box this afternoon:

That’s one from Martha, one from Kirsty… and one from a new girl.

So that’s what she was up to when I found her lurking in the eglu earlier.

She could teach her elders a thing or two – they took FOREVER to come into lay.

(Still spending most of her time up on the shelf though.)

Day Five

(*fx Geordie accent) And it’s Day Five in the Big Chicken House…

The girls are finally beginning to settle in. Although the Newbies (as Jessy and Lola are becoming known) are still very nervous about associating with the Oldies (aka Kirsty and Martha), and are spending most of their time up on the shelf of the greenhouse, they are beginning to gain confidence. Big Chickens John and Anne have been in a couple of times and forcibly put the Newbies down on the ground where they have access to food and water, where they have been tolerated for oooh – up to 10 minutes.

And this evening we’ve had a breakthrough – Jessy has been allowed to eat and drink – as (more grudgingly) has Lola. And they’ve both been into the Eglu to check out the sleeping accommodation.

Who are you calling chicken?

And then there were four...

We decided it was time to replace Lola, so we ended up buying not one, but two new chickens.

Meet Lola Pettigrew the second:

and Jessy:

Why two? Well, because we decided we wanted two – and Gary-from-work (Hi Gary – do leave a comment :-p) was so excited by the two eggs I gave him that he gave me a big pile of egg boxes as a thank you present – our chooks have work to do to get those filled!

And the names – well Ruth was very clear that Lola Pettigrew should be replaced by Lola Pettigrew (she’s a Black Rock – or as Ruth insists, a Pink Rock), so it seemed only right that John should name the fourth one – and since we already had Kirsty, Lola and Martha, the Bluebell’s name obviously had to start with J or N. After a few false starts (Jocelyn? – clearly more suited for the drawing room than the milking parlour, Joan, Gelignite… he finally settled on Jessy.)

So at the moment there’s rather a stand-off going on. Initially John split the greenhouse in two using chicken wire to keep them apart. Then after a few hours he took it down. The inevitable pecking started, but the newbies haven’t had their wings clipped, so they were straight up onto the shelf, where they’re still spending most of their time. They’ll have to come down and face the music eventually if they want any food, but at least they have a sanctuary.

Oh, and Jessy – already does the squatting “Do you want to mate with me? I’m ready to lay eggs” thing whenever we go near her – I’m hoping she’ll get on with it somewhat sooner than her new “friends”.

Loads of fun...

Got a hymn tune on the brain and can’t work out what it is – this will sort you out!

A long shot...

... does anyone please have any black 4-ply wool? I only need a little – enough to do a row of pirate heads round the bottom of a sweater for Adam. Thank you!

Update Thanks for the offers – I think I’m sorted now! (Oh and ‘pirate heads’?! Obviously I meant skulls and crossbones – it was late, John was hovering over me… )


Diane has nominated me as a

Not only am I hip and edgy – I rock! ;-) Thanks Diane.

So now I need to nominate 5 more. Without much ado (because this thing is going round soooooo fast and I don’t want to nominate anyone to find that they’ve already been ‘done’ ), I nominate (in no particular order):
and Jessica

You rock girls!

Update I respond well to pleading – I also nominate Annie (who only missed out last time on alphabetical grounds… )

Another update – it turns out I’m a pushover and also respond well to downright tantrums… (just DON’T tell my daughter – OK? We had a bit of a meltdown when picking Adam up from school yesterday… ) But anyway, I also nominate Daisy (whom I think I simply thought already had one – of course she rocks!)

No stopping the woman...

... aka a Kool Aid dyeing photo story…

Take yarn (or fibre, I did both). Soak yarn/fibre (just water is fine – no need to add acid when using Kool Aid). Mix Kool Aid* (and because it’s made to be a drink, not a dye, take a sip – see, no need for any more acid!). Lay yarn/fibre on a sheet of clingfilm. Apply dye to yarn/fibre (I just poured it on). Wrap yarn/fibre in clingfilm and squdge about a bit to make sure the dye has penetrated well. Put in microwaveable bowl and zap on full power for about 2 min. Repeat until water is clear (I did this 3 times for each of the yarn and the fibre – I may have been a bit over the top.) Tip into bowl of hot water (make sure it’s close to the temp of the yarn/fibre to avoid shocking and felting). Give it a good (but gentle) rinse, then remove and (for yarn) hang to dry or (for fibre) lay out to dry. (Be careful handling wet fibre as it wants to fall apart… )

Wait very impatiently for fibre to dry so you can spin it up and compare the results with the dyed yarn.

For a much more thorough tutorial see here.

(For the record I used pink lemonade, grape and lemon/lime.)

*Don’t add sugar!

For Liz...

... I done been doing spinning:

First bobbin:

Second bobbin:



It is all rather subtle and unsaturated, but having spun from the fold I’ve managed to tweak it so that there’s a moderate amount of brown plied with brown, and yallery-green plied with greeen – I’m very very much looking forward to seeing it knitted up – I’m still pondering what to make though…

Dyeing in the kitchen...

... when I was in my late teens, and away from home at university, I was reasonably good about phoning home. So why did my mother torture me one time by coolly announcing that my father was “dyeing in the garage”? (It kind of loses something when you read it – that ‘e’ is silent on the phone – and it’s a very important ‘e’.) As it turned out he was dyeing silks for leno weaving – a hobby that led in time to him making this stole for my wedding day:

But that’s a photo of a photo and doesn’t do it justice, and I’m digressing massively…

... Back to the plot…

Today I was dyeing in the kitchen. But not in my own kitchen. Liz very generously offered to teach a bunch of us from KTog how to do acid dyeing. Being an idiot I forgot my camera, but others were better organised. Being an awkward soul, rather than using pre-spun yarn, I took a bundle of shetland tops from Bluefaced (from which it feels as though I’m buying locally as they’re in the town where my parents live, but since that’s the other side of the country isn’t local at all really… ). But I do have a camera at home, so I can proudly present my first attempt at dyeing fibre:

The green bits seem to be getting bluer and bluer as it dries out, which is a little odd, but I still love it, and can’t wait to get it spun up. It has felted a very little, but it’s going to be fine. So a big big THANK YOU to Liz.

And I still belatedly owe a big THANK YOU to Rosie my birthday present. Apparently she thought of me when she saw this:

And some bizarreness. DHL tried to deliver a parcel on Thursday when I was out – it was a mad day what with a dentist’s appointment for Adam and a hair appointment for Ruth (she’s had her first ever hair cut, and yes, I’ve kept a bit… – I’m soppy, I don’t care!) They redelivered on Friday, and it was a complimentary copy of the Knitting Pattern-A-Day Calendar, with my pattern on 28th Jan. Whoo Hoo! I’m published!! (Except that I don’t remember them telling me that they were going to use it – I know I’m in the Stitch’n’Bitch 2008 Calendar (linking to KnitPicks because they refer to “lots of hip, edgy patterns” – hip and edgy, that’s me ;-)) – but I explicitly told Debbie Stoller before she accepted my pattern that it had already been self-published on my blog, so it was already in the public domain, and that was fine. So that’s alright!


Knitting and spinning – not a lot to report really – a BIG bundle of Shetland arrived from bluefaced last week, and although I’m intending to dye most of it at Liz’s on Saturday, I’ve been using it to practice with while it’s still white too. (And I’m getting better – but there’s no way you’re going to see the results of my attempts so far at Navajo Plying (which made so much more sense once I realised that it’s basically crochet on a very large scale). Knitting – the main item is unbloggable, and I’m plugging away at the Shetland Garden shawl (I’m on row 158 of 174 – about 11 hours work to go… ).

So I shall distract you with foody things:
– I made lavender (lavender/lavendar? – one of those where the more I look at them the more they both look wrong) ice cream last week – lavender (I’ll stick with that) from the garden, eggs from the garden (well, from the chickens, but they live in the garden) and served with raspberry sauce made from rasps from the garden.
– we’re not that keen on blueberry muffins in this household – they seem a bit pointless – yes, they have pretty blobs of colour in them, but they don’t taste of anything much. So yesterday I made redcurrant muffins – now those DO work – little morsels of tartness – although if I make them again I’ll add a touch of cinnamon.

And if that’s not distracting enough – I’ll distract you with a small and dishevelled girl:

Oh, and I’ve been rubbish with Saturday Sky recently, but I did get this Tuesday sky:

(And I need to do a big thank you to Rosie for something, but it’s currently buried under a pile of washing up, so I can’t photograph it, and it deserves its own photo… )