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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Never stop learning

As I may have mentioned here I have been creating a Beekeeper's Quilt, made from over 400 squishy hexagons, these have been my constant travelling companions. Now that the end is nigh I will need a new yarn based creation to take in the car, on buses, trains and planes. 

After making the stripy cushion cover I had plenty of Rowan big yarn left, all odds and ends, needing to be used but not to make the same again. Not all the Rowan big yarn was left over, I have been acquiring all shades of blues and creams to male a throw or bed cover for our king size bed. 

The need was to practice before hand, yes, I know that isn't very English and it spoils the game but I am a perfectionist. As I thought I had plenty of yarn I decided to make granny squares to join together for a cushion cover for one of the pads purchased at Cotswold Woollen Weavers during our holiday.  It is many years since I learnt to make these squares, before it was in fine cotton with a tiny hook when my Mother and I went to evening crochet classes in the days when local authorities held classes for craft, I had learnt to dressmake this way too. 

Most of the instructions seemed to assume hat a change of colour was needed in every round, I had a big read up both online and in my library, then late at night when I couldn't sleep I remembered this booklet, hidden away in a bag with fine crochet thread from the time when we made doilies and duchess sets. 

It was purchased at Craftsmith, part of W. H Smith that didn't last long, this 6th edition cost 15p. No colour, no photographs, just line drawings and text but the problem of using the same colour for one round was solved. 

So, I spent yesterday making a square, unravelling many squares but finally satisfaction was achieved:-

This is pictured on my lovely pink Moomin tray, a recent birthday gift from Martha, ideal size to put bits and pieces on whilst I am joining up hexipuffs, means I don't mislay sewing needle, scissors, mobile phone when I am knitting/sewing/crocheting outside or inside. There was much consultation with my design consultant aka Ian as to whether I keep working this square until it is cushion size or whether I make lots of squares to be joined together. 

Decision has been made, make lots of individual squares, this will fulfil the portability criteria, also I will then need to learn how to join the squares together. More searching of Internet, books and UTube when the cover is ready to be assembled. The cushion is a fat 18" x 18" so plenty of squares to hook. 

Meanwhile, off to climb Mount Ironmore, left it yesterday whilst planning this new project. Edited to say that the ironing was left again, the sunshine won and I sat in the garden joining the hexipuffs and soaking up Vitamin D. 

Monday, 29 September 2014


Now it is a over a week since I joined the second Great London Yarn Crawl, still I have not come here to tell my readers all about my long day. Others have posted about the day with great eloquence that I cannot match, do head over to to read their blogs. It is to celebrate that the charity, Refuge has benefitted by £812 and 149 knitted and crochet garments were donated for mothers and children. 

The were 9 teams, all named after sheep, I had chosen Cheviot, our first shop was Knit with Attitude in Shoreditch High Street, they didn't open till 10am so we met in a nearby cafe, Lazy Social. Here our leader, or shepherd, Natalie, distributed our goody bags whilst we knitted at every moment possible. 

The team serving us, do admire the crochet granny squares around the counter. 

These two photos are the interior of Prick your Finger in Bethnal Greenso amazing that so much has been squeezed into this tiny treasure trove. 

After lunching in the York in Camden, Cheviot team headed to Loot in Camden Passage, spoken about in awesome terms by crafters, certainly a larger store on two floors, we gathered outside with our treasure. (Our leader wears a white Keep Calm and Yarn Crawl t-shirt)

From here we travelled on the top of two buses to Crouch End, on the first managed to bag a seat right at the front to travel north, so regret not using my camera, but in my defence was quite loaded with three bags, enjoyed viewing the Victorian villas and the architecture, also the area was quite hilly. The bus and short tube journeys meant it wasn't practical to knit whilst travelling between shops, The 50 minute journey to Seven Sisters station meant more progress on making hexipuffs, knitted in pub at lunchtime and whilst drinking tea in Nest. 

 Quite pleased how I coped with clambering to the top decks of buses, steps up and down to the tube stations, walking, socialising with people I had never met before, not easy for me, I worry about whether my small talk is too banal, or if I am boring my victim. 

Left home at 7.30 am travelling, with ClematisKnitter who lives nearby and was in Cheviot team too, staggered back indoors at about 8.30 pm clutching these goodies. 

We ended up at the Parcel Yard, the pub at Kings Cross Station, for the after crawl party with all the other teams, it was fun that Cheviot had a table right in the centre so we could see what was going on. Many companies had been generous with door prizes, I won an e-book download of patterns from Ysolda so yummy designs drop into my Ravelry library from:-

Mugs of tea for ClematisKnitter and myself to keep us going for the trek home on the Piccadilly and District Lines, she and  her husband kindly gave me a lift from the station. 

The date for next year has been announced, it is my intention - health permitting - to do this again, it follows my mantra of living for the day, learning new skills and I do like the charitable element too. Next time I will know to knit or crochet more goodies for Refuge, not just the one cowl I made. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Autumn term

Most years it seems to me that the weather improves just as the academic year starts, maybe I am more aware of this, my birthday is at the beginning of September and it is rare that the sun doesn't shine.

It was so this year, warm too as we walked to the Twickenham Stadium for the London double header, first match was Saracens against Wasps. Secondly, London Irish against our local team Harlequins, who won their match but it wasn't a very exciting game, we left about 20 minutes before the end to go home and change before going out for a meal.

 Oh, haven't said who 'we' means in this context, as well as Ian and I, Martha and J. her boyfriend who drove up on Friday night, stayed till Sunday morning. Now I don't want to get into a rut in my life but it to be fun, to try different experiences, learn new skills so I booked Martha and I into one of the local nail bars to have a manicure and paint. The last time I had my finger nails painted in a salon was on my wedding day, over 35 years ago. So delighted with my new elegant look that I plan to have my nails done more often, perhaps in a more zany colour another time. Anyway, this is a view of the nails, taken from Ian's cropped selfie, his shirt is in the background. 

Just took this picture using the iPad camera, seems to show the orangy colour well, couldn't work out how to include the thumb. :) 

  Martha had arrived with this beautiful scented bouquet for me, pity iPad cannot convey a sense of smell. Well for flowers anyway.

Showed the flowers, they are so photogenic, had other lovely gifts from family and friends details of which I don't wish to post here. 

Celebrations extended to yesterday when Adam and Juliet came over with gifts and birthday cake, also we admired their new car, I liked the bright scarlet red colour. There was discussion a few weeks ago about how dull car colours are, grey, silver and black predominate, it is rare to see new colourful vehicles, no British racing green nowadays. As both of our cars were preloved we had no choice in the colour so have ended up with grey and silver like most of the others in the car park and our road. 

If my comment about car colour seems girly it is the least important factor in a car for me, reliability and safety must be priority, she says with memories of a Californian Blue Hillman Super (?) Imp breaking down frequently on rainy Friday nights at Hatton Cross Roundabout. The AA man used to say, oh no, not you again! 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Kew Gardens and special yarn bombing.

Ian had one of those days where we are tourists in our own town.  Well that is the idea, sometimes our plans work, sometimes we end up doing something else. 

We decided to go by boat to Westminster from Richmond, however the boat from Richmond leaves mid afternoon so little time to be in London. As we were wondering what to do instead a boatman shouted they were about to leave for a 45 minute round trip to Teddington Lock so we jumped abroad right to the front. One other couple were seated at the front, we sat the other side and enjoyed familiar landscape from the river. the other couple left at Teddington, giving no indication they had enjoyed the trip at all, both looked very grim. 

On the return trip the boatman and his wife chatted with us so didn't take more pictures. 

After lunch in Richmond we went by 65 bus to Kew Gardens, just beyond the Palm House we spotted trees draped in colourful and beautifully worked knitting and crochet. I'll let the photos speak ....

Monday, 1 September 2014

It's over

Just to say that everything went well on Saturday, two teeth removed. only a couple of gripes about the process, I was one of the last of the morning session to be taken to surgery, fair enough as it wasn't complicated, I don't have diabetes so no problem about fasting but I would like to have known that it would be nearly five hours wait, seven hours since I had a drink of water. Other gripe - the ward was a bit chilly, it was the air conditioning so glad I had a warm dressing gown to wear over the nearly backless hospital gown. 

However, great praise to all the staff, they were pleasant, helpful, cheerful, I was able to read some of my book until distracted by my surroundings so knitted four half hexipuffs instead. So glad I had knitting with me. Home accompanied with Amoxyllin and strong painkillers, haven't needed too many of the latter but taking antiBs as prescribed. 

Lovely surprise as I opened the car door, Ian had planted the recently cleared bed with pansies, one of my favourite smiley plants although not his. 

Not only alongside the driveway but also around the rosemary and other pots at the back, and in other beds. Not only have pansies been planted but many other colourful plants so the whole look of the garden has changed with the colourful perennials.  

Needless to say I have been well cared for by Ian, delicious meals prepared so I felt well enough to go with him today for his appointment with his tinnitus consultant. Great boost as he is coping so much better than expected, learning to live with the condition, the conversation became more of a relaxed social chat, ending up with me showing her my completed knitting on my iPad. Such good care from NHS, Ian can email or phone to talk over any problems between now and the next  six months before the next review. 

This afternoon I have cried off attending U3A monthly talk, felt tired again but have sent Ian, why should he lose out. After writing this I will tackle Mount Ironmore, it is Monday, washing day in the old days, so we can go out to play later in the week. 

More examples of colour in the back.