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Finally! The laying and sanding of our sitting room floor has unfortunately eaten up rather a lot of knitting time, but after a few hours in the car last weekend visiting friends and the odd row snatched here and there, my Jared Flood shawl is at last finished.

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It consisted of three sections, all knitted using different techniques, which kept it interesting, although I was ready for it to be over with by the end!

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I did try take some photos of it without the use of children and dogs as props, but the colour just didn’t look right. It’s a gorgeous Shilasdair yarn dyed using tansy flowers. My sister is the recipient- I hope you like it Sophie!

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A quick jam

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There really is no such thing. Even when a friend has kindly given me 3kg of apples, and I have all the jars, vinegar, sugar and raisins to make chutney right here in my cupboards, the actual process of preserving always takes so much longer than I think it will. Even with the aid of my apple master, an ingenious contraption that peels, cores and slices even the tiniest of apples with a few twirls of the handle, I got a bit fed up after 2kg and endless jars of chutney.

So I used some of the remaining apples with rosehips to make a jelly, which meant only rough chopping and no peeling or coring.

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Even this took longer than expected, with the picking of the hips, boiling, overnight straining and then boiling again with sugar. As much of a faff as this all is, the resulting jars of chutney, jams and jellies is more than worth it. Just- not quick.

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A new bed

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For Otis. As I sit every night at the moment, huffing and puffing grumpily into a dust mask as we scrape and sand hundreds of reclaimed hardwood parquet blocks, I try to remember that not every purchase of second hand goods from gumtree means blood, sweat and tears. Although Otis’ antique brass bed, acquired at a price to make the bargain hunter in me very pleased indeed, did require some serious polishing and a bit of repair work on three decorative spindly bits, it was nothing compared to the mammoth task of restoring Sol’s bed.

I really wanted a metal bed of a similar age to sit next to Solomon’s, which meant waiting a while for the right one in a reasonable location to pop up. But pop up it did, and we’re all really pleased, none less so than Oti!

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I’m finally on the final section of Jared Flood’s Shetland hap-style shawl Quill. It’s taking forever, and as the second part was knitted in the round and increased gradually, it’s all bunched up on the circular needle and is quite difficult to see, size-wise. I’m trying not to count exactly how many stitches I’ve got left around the perimeter to consume by the lace edging, in addition to the edging itself…

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I haven’t quite reached fever pitch with the preserving- I’ve made some elderflower cordial, which wasn’t bad, and two batches elderflower gin, which is rather too good, but otherwise my jam pan has lain quietly. The appearance of one or two of these little ruby gems by the roadside, however, is a sure sign that the Scottish summer is reaching its peak. 

Sugar stocks in the local supermarket will plummet and I suddenly won’t have enough jars as plums, brambles, apples and all manner of transient delights rain down, begging to have their fruity loveliness extended into the snowy winter months.

It gets a bit hectic, and I could nip out and buy a lovely jar of raspberry jam for a fraction of the cost: monetary, effort, time and nettle stings. But it just wouldn’t taste as sweet.

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