Saturday, 29 August 2015

Now, that's a first!!

Excuse me for getting a little excited - but this is the
first time I've ever done any crochet designing....

Dead chuffed at having learned new techniques from doing the
  "Sophie's Universe" CAL  " earlier in the year - and managed to create
 a design all of my own!

...and  yes - I did remember to write it all down, so I can replicate the pattern!
(it may even appear here, at some point!)

Thank you for letting have a little 'show and tell' session!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Catching up with updates!

Well - a bit of a long hiatus but now hopefully back on track. Life in our household has been like a washing machine - going round and round at speed and wet!

Let me 'unpack' that a bit:

Since Spring, we have moved two elderly relatives (hubby's mother and his maiden aunt) from their Retirement complex on the south coast of England up to a new Residential Home just the other side of town from us. This makes a vast difference - previously it was a 4+hour drive each way, now it is about 10 mins!  Which means, if there's a problem you can be there and back without letting your coffee go cold!

The first 'upheval' was having to clear both their flats of furniture! It was ultimately going to hubby's sister's smallholding to be stored in a barn, pending other family members choosing anything they'd like. However, she was on on the 'high seas' sailing up to the Hebrides at the time of the move so it ended up in our conservatory, our garage, our lounge, our spare(?) bedrooms and our own bedroom (just a small trench around the bed for access!) - in fact there was stuff every where:

....... you get the drift...?

We couldn't turn for falling over 'stuff' - but eventually, after some weeks the bulk of things had been shipped out to its final destination. We still had boxes and crates of ornaments and crockery and what I referred to as 'old lady detritus' - the accumulations of 80+ years. By about the middle of June we could start to return things to normal - oh the luxury of 'space to move'!!

It was short-lived, of course.  About 4 weeks, to be precise.

The analogy of the 'washing machine' now comes into play - not only was our life turned upside down but we learned the devastation that follows a flood!

(rugs floating on top of the water-sodden carpet - you can see the ceiling light reflected in the water)

Basically, the water main just up from our property had 'exploded' and it had come down the hill, across the gardens, UNDER the neighbour's house and straight into ours! Right through the lounge-diner and out through the conservatory. The term 'A river runs through it' seems apt.

That was nearly five weeks ago - we have no carpets, lost some furniture, rescued some the so-called 'recovery team' tried to wreck and spent close on a month in a local hotel as we had industrial blow-heaters running 24/7 at 33degC - making the place uninhabitable.

We 'moved' back in a few days ago - we're back to having 'stuff' everywhere (small access trench around the bed - again :-/) upstairs. Downstairs is Spartan, to say the least - we've had a decorator stripping off the wallpaper so last night our Saturday evening in the 'homestead' looks really luxurious, doesn't it:
(like our 'temporary' media trolley?)

We have a hell of a long way to go - thank goodness the water company are picking up the tab, but I doubt we'll get compensation for the distress and trauma that's been caused.


Anyway, at least there was only one 'yarn-related' casualty - a bag of knitted squares someone had asked me to sew together for a charity blanket. I fished the bag out of the conservatory and laundered them - at some point I'll get round to sewing them!

So, here's a few pics of completed projects that got done in the midst of the melee:

This was the 'log cabin' knitted patchwork blanket I started ages ago - finally finished the border and sewed in all the ends. (draped over a sofa at my daughter's home - our secondary bolt-hole after the deluge!)

I made it through to the bitter end, getting my "Sophie's Universe" afghan finished. Learned SO many new techniques and stitches, I have no excuse not to try even more complicated things!
(it came out huge, too - over 6ft square! Try blocking that.....!)

Having learned about 'surface' stitches via the 'Universe' - I tried out this 'Spiro Star' design, by Helen Shrimpton  - I have the wool to make more blocks, but it's currently buried behind everything else in what was my workroom:
- since the flood, now known as one of the 'dumping grounds'! 

In between I've been doing lots of incubator blankets for prem. babies - our knitting group is on a mission to get parcels of blankets and baby-related items to as many SCBUs as we can - it's an ongoing project.

At the other end of the scale we're also producing lots of 'Twiddle muffs' for Alzheimers and Dementia patients. (learn more here )

We're passing them on to local hospitals and care homes -  it's a great way to use up all sorts of bits and pieces and it also means we're supporting a worthwhile cause.


Right, that's about got things up to date - it will be a month ot two until our home is back to 'normal', but at least hubby doesn't bat an eyelid when I have frequent 'yarn-shopping expeditions' to deal with the stress! 

Now I'm off to start onto another project I've been wanting to do for ages!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

"Universal" appeal!

I kept seeing lovely kaleidoscopic pictures of crochet, while noodling around the internet and discovered they were representations of a 'mystery' CAL (Crochet-a-long) designed by Dedri Uys and called "Sophie's Universe". The 'mystery' aspect refers to the fact that no-one knows what the final item will look like, as each new part is released weekly!

Well, that piqued my interest, so I grabbed my stash and set-to hooking; I must say it has been quite an experience learning new stitches and techniques! I'd always been a fairly conservative crocheter, just using the basic chains, double/treble crochet and slip stitches but before long I was doing FPDCs and BLOs. to say nothing of the odd FPDTR! (Front Post Double Crochet, Back Loop Only, Front Post Double Treble - and if that sounds like double-dutch I also had to remember these were US terms and slightly different from the UK ones I'm more used to!)

......anyway - I started a couple of weeks ago, late to the 'party' (which began on 18th Jan and will finish 31st May) and I'm still playing catch-up. I've just finished Part 5 (rounds 1-45, there are another 67 to go...)   Although there are suggested yarn weights/types/colours I'm just using DK stash yarn - and if I survive the experience I may do another one with more specific colour choices!

So, here's a little montage of 'progress' pictures:


Sophie's Universe is expanding.... so far she measures 29" (73.5cm) but the finished size will be somewhere near 6ft (180cm0 square!

If you want to join in, use the link at the beginning of this post - this thing has gone global, always room for more!

(check out the F@ceb00k community pageF@ceb00k community page, too!)

Monday, 5 January 2015

New Year, new project! (...or three!)

Now that Christmas has been and gone and all the decorations are safely packed away until December I can at last turn my attention to some new projects that have had to sit on a back-burner (ok, filed away in the dark recesses of my brain!) while I got on with my pre-Christmas sock-knitting marathon - see my previous post.

Following on from the 'c2c' green and white blanket I'm indulging my fascination of patchwork quilts - but in yarn rather than fabric.

I started with a few colours (l-r) Sherbert, Turquoise, Claret, Teal and Midnight (all Stylecraft 'Special' DK)

Red might seem an odd colour to throw in the mix, but I wanted to do a variation of 'log cabin' patchwork. Traditionally, that starts with 'red' in the centre, representing the fire or hearth of the home, around which the strips or 'logs' of the cabin are arranged:

In this pattern, I have lighter colours one side (representing day) and darker ones the other side, ('night')

When I ordered the colours (online) it was hard to get a true idea - I think the 'Midnight'/dark blue colours is a little too much but it's growing on me.

Next comes the fun of 'playing' around with putting the blocks together!

I think I like this pattern ('fields and furrows') :

It creates the illusion of diagonal stripes (still not sure about that dark blue....)

Mind you, I'm only on my seventh block so it may all come together ok eventually, especially with a dark blue border, perhaps. I'll post progress, as and when - I'll need to order more wool, so it's just as well that as part of my Christmas present my son gave me a shopping voucher for Wool Warehouse!


Along the same lines, I picked up another project that had been abandoned in favour of the 'sock-marathon'. Similar in principle to the 'ten stitch blanket' but picking up stitches all along each new side and knitting out a few rows, I created this:

I'm using this yarn I picked up at a craft show last year: 
554-02 Wholesale

It makes for mindless knitting in front of the TV, as it's random-dyed yarn so no new colours to join in, just knit each block, cast off all but last stitch, turn 90deg and pick up stitches along the next side and away you go again. (Casting off loosely makes for easier picking-up!)

This piece is progressively looking like a piece of wood-block flooring, thanks to the yarn colour.


Living up to my Facebook icon......

......I went to Coventry with DD so she could buy some wool from our
favourite/nearest REAL yarnshop and I was just going to have
a look....honestly.....until this 'fell' into my basket!

The 'James Brett Marble' will probably become a cowl, the Robin 'Paintbox' is for a baby cardigan but the rest is all for another 'log-cabin'-inspired piece,,,,,,watch this space!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Not quite 'the night before Christmas' - but it's a close-run thing!

Never mind '....the stockings were hung by the chimney with care',  how about: the socks were all pegged up  - and not just ONE pair!

Phew!  Just about done in time for Christmas, six (yes SIX!!) pairs of socks! That'll teach me to offer to make them at short notice!

I started on 25th November and finished the final pair on 20th December - and I think I shall have a wee break from sock knitting for a while! (although I do need to make a pair for a January birthday present.....)

After knitting in 4ply sock yarn for so long, using DK yarn feels like knitting with rope!! ;-)

Still, back to some of my other projects-in-waiting......a blanket, an experiment with knitting  'log-cabin patchwork'-style,.....and delving into my stash....bliss!

Happy Christmas, everyone - I wonder what projects YOU have in mind for 2015???

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Turning a design on it's head - part deux!!


A few months ago I posted about a new crochet technique I'd come across called 'c2c' or 'corner to corner' (here)

In a fit of clearing the decks of 'WIPs' prior to a visit to the craft show in Birmingham (more on that in a forthcoming post!) I pulled the completed squares out of a bag and began sewing them together!

Thus, this....

...became this....


...and soon 'morphed' into this....

......and with a little more 'embellishment' it finally became this....

(apologies for colour quality - using phone cam under electric light :-/)

Sewing the squares together was tedious, matching the white and green wool on each seam - if I do this again I will try to find a more satisfactory/simpler way!

It was just an experiment to find different ways to use the squares - not really keen on the colours though (reminds me of broccoli and cauliflower!) However, it didn't turn out too bad! (even if it ends up as a car blanket! ;-p)