Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dad's handiwork

My dad, now 77, cannot stand to be idle.
  Whilst not academic in any way he can turn his hand to many a practical task. Instructions may confuse him but give him a picture or example to study and he's off. 

 He spent his younger days working the land, before degenerative spine disease forced him to give up the farming he loved. He's a determined old B, there's no doubt about it, when I was a child he was told by the doctors that he'd be in a wheelchair soon, but he wasn't having any of that and now over 40 years later he still isn't. He rides his bike, though admittedly you sometimes need to watch carefully to check he's actually moving (beats me how he stays upright at his snails speed) and he still works two plots at the allotments!  But come the winter evenings he wants to sit but he wants to do something too. My parents don't have a TV so that's not an option, he reads a lot but felt like a change.  He's made rugs in the past but they are now so expensive and no one wants the finished article, and he can't be bothered with all the counting for cross stitch. Though he can knit (it was actually him who taught me) he doesn't really enjoy it (yes, I know) and then one day he was talking about how is mum was always making things including English pieced patchwork and he thought he might give it a try 


Not bad eh? It's 'bagged' rather than quilted and mum is going to tie it but I'm quite impressed.
I spent quite a while reminiscing, spotting bits of my skirts, Nan's blouse, the dress Auntie Lynda made and cut out two left fronts and so on. 
Now that the lighter evening are approaching he won't be doing much more for a bit but he's already planning some cushion covers for next winter. And it all goes to show that you are never too old to start a new craft. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The perfect spot

Last autumn it was my 50th and my parents wanted to give me a present that 'would keep'.  So did they choose jewellery? Or an ornament? A picture perhaps? 

Nope - a garden bench! 
But do you now what? We put it just outside the front door (don't worry, we live down a drive and the front of the house is very private and can't be seen from the road) in a south facing corner, the house and the brick drive absorb and hold the heat from the sun, so even this time of year when the sun is shining it can be quite warm out there - and the perfect spot for morning coffee, a quick cuppa in the afternoon or maybe

A little bit of crochet.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Time flies

I really can't believe it's 2 months since I posted, perhaps the time got washed away in all the awful floods.  Thankfully we've been fine, had a few interesting drives to work, and some impromptu garden ponds but nothing worse.

I've been busy crafting and visited Unravel in February where it was lovely to meet some of my online friends from the CTnY forum.
 DD has turned 21! And changed her job from Manager of Blacks (the outdoor store) to Nanny to a 4 yr old and an 18 month old and I haven't seen her as happy in ages. The way they treated her at Blacks, expecting the impossible and more, which to be fair she often delivered but at the expense of her health and happiness, means that they have lost a jolly good worker and two little people have gained a wonderful carer instead. 

Anyway, bless her, on her birthday she gave me a beautiful bunch of lilies to say thank you for being her mum, as if that wasn't reward enough in itself 

Just lately I've had a rather unpleasant middle ear infection, resulting in me being signed off work. I knew there must be something wrong with me as I didn't feel like starting anything new, and in fact got out some old things to work on! Including my Babette crochet blanket and the mitred square knit blanket. 
I finally finished my crochet Squares Bag
All in DK cotton and making use of the squares from an abandoned project, and no, I can't remember what pattern they were from. Thank you to ToadRockStreet for the inspiration to use the squares in this way,  I can't claim any credit for coming up with the idea, she was way ahead of me with a lovely bag she made for a mutual friend. 
   
Talking of bags, I put the final stitches in my Japanese Knot Bag
Which now houses yarn and my lovely new Karbonz dpns ready to cast on the Rye socks from Tincanknits once I've finished the current SIPs (socks in progress) which I'm making as part of Socks With Sarah, (where we work a little on our socks every day for a year - more info is on her blog) 
Oh and I may just have another pair of socks otn because being so adept at dropping dpns I really didn't want to take the Karbonz, or these lovely KnitPro needles on public transport, so in the Ramona Rose sock sack I also made a few weeks back, I have TAAT two up socks on two circs which are perfect travel knitting
Well I think that's enough to be going on with, besides there's some embroidery calling me upstairs.  It will be the centre panel of a quilt one day, I started it on the day DD got her A level results, so it's about time I finished it - I will show it off when I get there. 
 

   

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Bats and Butterflies

I've often thought about trying illusion knitting, it seems almost magical, so when I needed a dishcloth for October as part of my year of dishcloths and my search came up with Black Bats illusion cloth that had to be it.  I really like to see bats flying round my garden, there's something special about them and I can watch for ages in the twilight. The family have got used to me suddenly saying "Bat!" quite loudly when I spot one.
Anyway, by the magic of illusion knitting this is the cloth viewed normally but
          
This........
           
Is what you can see at an angle. Clever eh? And all just done with knits and Purls.

The other critters I have been making are butterflies as I am encouraging our knitting group at work to make some blankets for SIBOL (a small charity who distribute handmade lap blankets to the elderly to 'bring a little sunshine into their lives') and who like to have a small butterfly attached as their 'symbol'- now I know what's going to happen, people will either want a pattern that's tried and tested, have problems and want me to 'teach' them or not want to make the butterfly at all so I've been playing with Grace Butterfly 
           
Oh, wait that looks like a doily, well with a little fold you get.....
          
A 3D butterfly - another clever, eh? moment


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hooked

I've been enjoying my crochet so much that when I saw a set of colourful hooks on eBay I decided to treat myself (well that is if you consider a whole £1.55 a treat). They came all the way from China in double quick time and they're not bad given the price - not quite up to the KnitPro Wave or Clover SoftTouch standard but, for something to cart around, they'll do the job nicely.

They came in crackly cellophane pouch and just cried out for a nice little case so, after a quick trawl of the Internet I found a tutorial, and on Boxing Day while DH was out flying his model planes I set to using a fat quarter I've had for ages (- an apology from when I went on a quilting workshop and the irons blew the trip switch so we were without power for some of the time) and I made a cute little case
                       
The TUTORIAL was really good except that it didn't point out that the inner pieces should be cut so that they are the right way up when placed on the outer - (yes, I know I should have known better, and I did really, but it's been a very long time since I did any sewing ) and after I re-cut the inner pieces,  the design is great and I had room for a pocket for scissors and one for sewing up needles as well so I'm all set

                        
   

And this being the last post of the year, as is traditional,  I want to record all the books I've read in 2013 and they are

  • Safe House by Chris Ewan
  • The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark
  • The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond
  • Breaking Even by Kathleen Kole
  • Coming Home by Melanie Rose
  • A Dreadful Murder by Minette Walters
  • A life for a life by Tim Ellis
  • The Wages of Sin by Tim Ellis
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • The Flesh is Weak by Tim Ellis
  • A Mother's Wish by Debbie Macomber
  • Never Apologise, Never Explain by James Craig
  • In the Land of the Long White Cloud by Sarah Lark
  • Tangled Lives by Hilary Boyd
  • Christmas at the Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond

A total of 15, (same as 2012 and 1 more than 2011) 

This New Year's Eve will be a quiet one, DH has man flu, I'm at the end of the second week of the same cold (and it's getting boring now!) and DD has just arrived home with a migraine, so I think I'll do a few rows of my Rugged Ripple blanket and then it's hot water bottles and early nights all round.
Happy New year. 



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Serves her right

DD is always teasing me about my knitted dishcloths, it came to a head when we went on holiday and I was trying to find wifi to get the next clue for the mystery dishcloth KAL I was doing at the time, she ribbed me no end. 
Well a few days before Christmas I was trying to think what else to pop in her stocking when the light dawned. As she recently moved into a flat I had been adding odds and ends of useful things so I decided to make her a dishcloth. I found a nice crochet pattern and it worked up so fast that one became three
                              

Much to my surprise she was actually delighted with them.

It's been a long time since I did much crochet (apart from a quantity of poppies, but that's not quite the same- you just get started in time to stop) and I'd forgotten how enjoyable it could be. That got me thinking and then when I stumbled across the charity KOFIA (Knitting for Our Friends In Africa) who send hats and blankets out to areas where the babies are born in such deprived circumstances that some die simply because they can't be kept warm, I knew what to do.
Initially I crocheted a couple of hats 
                      
And then I found the bag of DK oddments I'd been given because ' there wasn't enough of anything to be of use'! and popped them into the new bag DH gave me for Christmas, got out my lovely new KnitPro Waves crochet hook and hunted on Ravelry for a Ripple Blanket Pattern as I've wanted to make one for a very long time and so far I have this

                                       
And I'm really enjoying myself

   


     

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Not enough hours

I just can't believe it's been 3 months since I last posted.  The time just disappears, but then again since I work full time and though I only live 8 miles from work half of my journey involves sitting in traffic so I'm out of the house for 10 hrs a day. By the time I've cooked, shopped done the house work etc as well as being sociable to friends and family and slept, it doesn't leave a lot of spare time, so it was wonderful recently to go on a cruise from Southampton to the Canaries
View from the balcony along the side of Queen Victoria

And eat wonderful food

And enjoy lovely sunsets
Sunset over 25th April Bridge, Lisbon

And enjoy the company of DH and DD while none of us were stressed from work and lap up a little sunshine in November, not to mention having time to read, knit and even visit the gym - well, I had to do something to work of those wonderful scones for afternoon tea.

Back at home I was finally able to gift the knits I'd made for my wonderful manager who (sadly for us, but happily for her) has finally gone on adoption leave to become mum to a 7 month old baby girl.

Honeycomb Blanket made in Stylecraft Aran, which I started as soon as I'd heard she had been accepted to adopt (and believe me that was a trial and a half that she had to go through) and at that stage all we knew was that her little one would be under 2,  so I decided on a multi colour blanket suitable for boy or girl, baby or toddler.
And then I couldn't resist
Missy Mouse (as H immediately christened her) who is actually a Bear Buddy Comfort Blankie but I have to admit the muzzle did come out a bit long so she does look more like a mouse.