Manchester

I was recently in Manchester to visit a friend from university and see Muse on their Drones Tour (they were absolutely amazing!)  But this isn’t a music blog so I’ll keep it mostly on topic.

While I was there I visited Abakhan’s fabric and knitting shop.  I could have spent hours (and a lot of money!) in there, rummaging through the stacks of remnants and bolts.  They also have 50% off Liberty fabric and I’ve wanted to try Liberty Tana Lawn for ages so I bought enough of this beautiful feather design to make a dress.

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I’m not certain what style of dress I’m going to make yet, but I’ve narrowed it down to something from one of Gertie Hersch’s books, possibly a variation on the shirt dress in her first book.  I’d definitely recommend visiting Abakhan’s if you’re in Manchester as their stock varies from what’s available online and you get to touch the fabric and speak to their helpful staff.  In my opinion, their knitting range isn’t worth going out of your way for; very standard brands that are easily available anywhere in the UK.

We followed this with tea and cake at Teacup Kitchen where I couldn’t resist ordering a slice of Rainbow Cake.  You can’t help but smile when you have this in front of you!

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I’m not a big tea drinker, coffee is my beverage of choice, but when in Rome… so I ordered Indian Chai with a touch of honey which was very lovely indeed. These people take their tea very seriously; I’ve never had it come with its own set of coloured egg timers so you can brew it for exactly 3, 4 or 5 minutes!

The trip also involved many hours on trains (one was delayed for over an hour at Nottingham!) so plenty of time for knitting.  I like to take socks on train journeys; they’re perfect small projects.  I’ve been working on this in The Knitting Goddess‘s merino/nylon sock yarn:

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I love each and every colour in this yarn, it’s so pretty.  I wanted a simple pattern that would show off the colour and not get lost in it so I used slip stitches and mini cables.  I think it works quite well and it also means it knits up fairly quickly so it won’t be long before it moves from the needles to the feet.

 

Broccoli – Old & New

In with the new…

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I’m growing a summer purple sprouting variety.  I’m starting it indoors, along with a few other seeds as I’m desperate to start sowing stuff but common sense is telling me that it’s still too cold to sow outside for most things.

And I’d say out with the old, but I’ve still got plenty of broccoli growing on the plot.

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I’m not sure of the exact variety as they were donated to me, but I know they’re a white sprouting variety which takes around 44 weeks to crop.  For ages I thought it was a failed crop but I left it in as it was keeping the weeds down.  I didn’t realise that they had such a long growing period!

I’m enjoying eating something fresh at a time of year when I don’t have anything to harvest on the plot besides herbs but I need to find more interesting ways of cooking it other than boiling or steaming.  Otherwise, my freezer will soon be full of broccoli!

In other news, I finished the top I started last Monday.  Pictures to come soon!

 

New Greenery

It’s been so very cold here recently that there isn’t much activity on the plot yet.

The only crop I’ve planted is some garlic.  I’ve read you’re supposed to plant them on the shortest day of the year but I didn’t put my cloves in the ground until mid-February, hopefully that won’t make too much difference.  With the wet and cold weather we’ve had I really didn’t expect them to do anything but I had a pleasant surprise when I visited the allotment at the weekend.  First new plant to grow on the allotment this year!

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I didn’t grow garlic last year so it’ll be interesting to see how well it does.  I nearly bought elephant garlic at the garden centre because giant garlic sounds fun, so if this is a success I know what I’ll be trying next year!

Year Two

It’s hard to believe that I’ve had my allotment for just over a year now.  The plot is like a blank canvas at the moment and its exciting to think about the possibilities this year.  Without the time consuming (and tiring!) jobs of digging over a vacant weedy plot, putting up a shed and creating paths I’m hoping it’ll be less of a frantic rush to get seeds into the ground and more thought out.

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I’m planning a lot for this year.  I’m going to try some new vegetables; cucumber, garlic, kale and squash as well as favourites from last year like spinach, broad beans and courgettes.  I also want to try some new varieties so I’m sowing red onions and shallots alongside the regular ones and purple green beans (I’m still a little disappointed they turn green when  you cook them though).  Hopefully, I’ll have more successes than failures but the hardest bit right now is waiting for the weather to warm up so I can get started!