Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Knitting, Travelling and DIY: The Urban Cottage in 2014.

I've spotted lots of people doing a year in review on their blogs, going through their blog stats to see what has been most popular each month. Never one to miss an opportunity to look at the numbers I decided to join in, so here I give you 2014 at The Urban Cottage; a year of knitting, travelling and DIY.

January. The year got off to a rocky start as we confessed that our house had sprung a leak. We never did find the source of the problem, and it hasn't dripped since - waiting to surprise us on a wet and blustery day I've no doubt.

This year we've been writing about our favourite games, and in February it was our post about Go, the 60's travel game, that won the most visits.

In March the latest series of the Great British Sewing Bee finally gave me the courage to play with some tartan fabric I'd bought the year before resulting in an a-line skirt.

April was a sad month as we has to share the news that we lost Fizzy to un unknown illness.

Making our guest room a proper bedroom proved very popular in May - with the big reveal making the top spot for the month...

... while in June we continued our DIY stint with some extra wiring for our bedside tables.

July's blog peaks both came courtesy of some good friends with a tantalising extract from Chloe Banks book - The Art of Letting Go, and photos of her son in some of my knitting vying for top spot.

In August you all helped us get excited as we explained the details of our plans to flee the country for three months, 

and finally we were off with September's highlight being our Canadian travels from snowy rockies through to sunny Kelowna.

October was the month that saw us leave our WWOOFing hosts for five weeks of camping, only to have our tent break 10 days in! Our post explaining the change of circumstances and the run for the North Island and campervan hire was the winner on this occasion.

Of course no-one can resist the charms of the hobbits - and it seems you couldn't either, with our photos from our trip to hobbiton in November becoming one of the most popular posts this year.

Finally, December's post about my travel knitting - the Vernal Equinox Shawl - finished off the year nicely. 

And so it just leaves us to say a massive thank you all for your visits, comments and support over 2014 - it means a lot to know that our writing here is appreciated. Have a happy 2015!
Read More

Friday, 19 December 2014

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Homespun Hat

When we got home a couple of weeks ago I had nothing on my needles and was on the hunt for a project. I had two criteria for a new knit - it had to be the compete antidote to thin and lacy, and it had to be simple enough to do while tired from travel. Actually tired doesn't really cover it - for some reason this final leg has really knocked me for six. Essentially this project had to cope with me falling asleep on the sofa halfway through a row without causing complete confusion!

The yarn was an easy choice. Last christmas Joe spun up some bulky yarn that I've had my eye on for a while. It looked about enough for a hat, and Jake's Cabled Beanie was the answer to the pattern. A simple hat with a few cables for interest; bonus points for wintery-ness.

Despite the general sleepiness it only took a few evenings to complete and proved as easy as it looked. The only question left is should I add a pompom?
Read More

Friday, 12 December 2014

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Vernal Equinox Shawl

Its time to reveal the results of my Travel Knitting plan. My Vernal Equinox shawl has been finished, for the most part, for about a month now - but only this week did I get a chance to block it and boy does that make a difference!

I loved making this shawl - it was always interesting to work on, and just when you think you've memorised one of the pattern blocks a new one would come along to spice things up a bit. Only when tired at the end of a days WWOOFing did this fail to hit the "something to relax with" spot - and that just meant more time to read!

A large quantity of laceweight wool did prove to be the ideal travelling companion. The 300g we took with us made not only this shawl but Joe's loopy scarf, and a simple feather and fan cowl that occupied me once the shawl was done - and we brought some of the wool home again untouched.

I've not knitted with such thin wool before, or attempted lace on such a scale and I've thoroughly enjoyed the challenge - but it has left me with a craving for some knitting that's neither thin nor lacy. One chunky hat coming up...

p.s. I have no idea how best to wear this thing... any tips?
Read More

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Life's a Game 12: Best of British

This year we're sharing with you our game of the month. These are all favourites from our collection, or ones we play with our friends.

December's game is Best of British.

Time for the final game in this years collection, and its a good'un. You may have noticed a lack of trivia games in these posts - time now to correct that. Over the years we've had many a fun evening playing Trivial Pursuit, Dingbats, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Bezzerwizzer, but the one in our current collection that we've played most is this one. Best of British.

Part of the same family of games as the Logo Game, Best of British is a nice gentle quiz all about the things that make this group of islands a fine place to live. You might get questions on anything from cream teas to Coronation Street, from breeds of cow to people called John, from castles to things that are pink. It's the huge range of questions that makes this one a game that can be enjoyed by a large range of people. 

Questions come in groups of four on a theme and the game comes with a randomly multicoloured board. Each question is coloured and if you answer correctly you jump to the next square of that colour. Sometimes this will be a frustrating one step but you can also make huge leaps forward with just a couple of correct answers.

If blue gets their next red question correct they'll move six squares, the red person on the other hand only gets to move one.

We'd definitely recommend this game, as I said, its a good'un.

Read More

Friday, 5 December 2014

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

December in the Chicken Coop

We might have been away from home for months, but our three girls have been getting on with life very much as before. They seemed a little surprised to see us when we got back, but a few rattles on the crucial corn tin and they came over to check out what was going on as usual.

With nothing much growing at the moment they've got free reign on the vegetable patch as well as the rest of the garden, hopefully helping with a bit of fertilisation until we're ready to get the veggies growing again next year.

Its always hard to spend much time with the hens at this time of year as we're at work from dawn til dusk, and they're asleep from dusk til dawn - but popping out each morning to see how they're getting on has certainly been one of the nicer parts of getting back into our routine this week.
Read More