This and That

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This new Siri is not nearly is sexy sounding as the old guy (yes, we have male voiced Siri) plus his sense of humour sucks! (‘Sucks’ – too much Glee while crocheting. I need to watch something that’s going to increase my vocabulary, not the opposite?!) If you dictate a stupid question, you get a stupid answer – but this was important stuff.

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This genuinely made me cringe and yelp a bit when I saw it the other day. Urgh, the thought of dog lick is foul. Cats are fine though…

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Ah yes, I totally agree.

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Everywhere I go I seem to end up stumbling into ‘Christmas rooms’ and this was one of the biggest and the best. It was so lovely I was singing along to Let It Snow and realised there were at least half of a dozen others joining in too.
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There’s a thingy on the left which you can just see, where you can put you head up into after crawling under half the table top scene. It’s for children really I suppose and I wasn’t brave enough to have a go, but how cute to see the trains going past your nose and Santa flying past. Can you spot him?
Funnily as I’ve been looking at this as a large sized pic on my iPad, I’ve noticed a few things are leaning or have fallen down. The ice skater makes sense, maybe the couple of cool kids leaning against the rink is a deliberate move, but I’m not sure about the other thing.
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Winter’s definitely on the way when you see sprout sticks appearing in the farm shops. Roast chicken with roast potatoes, parsnips, sprouts and carrots, homemade stuffing with steaming hot gravy over will be happening on Sunday.

I’m going to crochet the border and darn the ends of my ripple over the weekend. The end is in sight!

There are thousands of blogs out there but I’ve realised you can only really connect with a certain number. When one becomes inactive, especially if you’ve followed them for years, you naturally begin wondering if the person is okay. When I started mine I connected with quite a number of people who were also new to blogging. We’ve been in touch for nearly three years now, but lately I’ve realised quite a few of these are only posting sporadically, or have stopped completely. I’m wondering if there is maybe a natural end to a blog? People get busy and interested in doing different things. I know I’m not posting much at the moment; but how many photos of the same ripple blanket do people want to see anyway? Have you also noticed your favourites dropping off?

More importantly: what are you going to be eating at the weekend? I do love details like this.

Happy weekend everyone.

2013

A selection of this year’s highlights. (Top of my list for 2014 is to enjoy putting the CAL blocks together, after a refreshing break. You should know I’m basically pre-empting comments here!) I’ve got many, many more photos of craft events, exhibitions and shops I’ve been lucky enough to visit too, probably enough for another gallery times ten. What a fun and creative year.

Meeting other crafty peeps has been a highlight, I see I wrote the same on last year’s gallery 2012.  I’ve always loved meeting new people and not being a shy sort find it all a bit of an adventure. Putting on some music, the radio or an audio book and settling down to make something is one of my favourite ways to relax, apart from reading, cooking or baking. But I have to say that there’s nothing like meeting others – having a good chat and seeing what they’re making. Social crafting seems to be one of the best ways to meet people too. I reckon if you’re shy then joining a crafting group works well as you can always focus on what you’re crocheting, knitting or sewing or whatever to calm your initial nerves. If you’re stuck for conversation just ask what kind of yarn (or whatever) they’re using and generally you’re off!

Have you joined any new crafty groups this year? Taken part in any workshops? Do you enjoy social crafting, or prefer it to be solely during your alone time?

Left-Handed Crochet

I’ve been meaning to put my post on Left Handed Crochet here for ages. I originally wrote it for Kat Goldin’s Crochet Camp on her Slugs on the Refrigerator blog way back in the Summer but wanted to put a copy here also for any fellow lefties who might be passing.

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Leftie crochet

After a quick Google of the percentage of left handed people globally I’ve found that figures vary between 10-15%. This illustrates a fact that I’ve always known – there really aren’t very many of us around.

It’s interesting that there seem to be slightly more men than women who are lefties, fewer who crochet though no doubt. I’ve also read statements that say left-handed people produce an above-average quota of high achievers. Bring it on! Alexander the Great, John McEnroe and Billy the Kid are listed as notable lefties in one article, which discusses how left handers are better in a fight because of the element of surprise (!) but perhaps we’d better stick to crochet for now shall we?!

When I’ve crocheted in public I’ve had sometimes comments about looking “cack-handed”, been told it “looks really odd like that” and I’ve also been asked “Don’t you find it hard – doing it like that?” The last one just makes me laugh. Actually I like being different to the majority, although when I was learning to crochet it was a different story as I grappled with instructions and illustrations where the hook was always shown held in the right hand. I tried to squint and imagine it all reversed, but this wasn’t very successful at the beginning.

I have heard that you can learn from or teach, a right hander by sitting opposite them and copying their actions as if they are a mirror image. I haven’t tried this approach yet. I need a willing victim to try this experiment.20130526-075829.jpg

Useful resources

In the end I found a small range of teaching aids. The best one was a smallish booklet I found on Amazon called Crochet Unravelled by Claire Bojczuk, which is for complete beginners and uses illustrations for left and right handers. I can’t tell you how good I found this simple straightforward guide. To be honest I credit Claire Bojczuk with teaching me to crochet. I don’t know her, we’ve never met or corresponded but I think I’d give her a bunch of flowers if we ever did!

YouTube videos showing left handed demos can be really useful as they’ll show you ways of holding the hook and how to scoop the yarn in a clockwise direction (as opposed to the righties who scoop it up anticlockwise.) When I was learning I watched sometimes, just for the pleasure and encouragement of seeing another leftie. I don’t know any other left handed crocheters and sometimes just watching for a few minutes can set you on your way; especially if you’re having problems visualising what to do, don’t know where to go into a stitch or are just feeling a little fed up of instructions written for a right hander.

Simply Crochet magazine has a how-to section at the back every issue which includes a photo tutorial for some stitches for left and right handers. This approach seems to be pretty rare compared to most crochet and craft magazines.

There are several Ravelry groups for left-handed crocheters, where I’m sure you would be welcome to ask questions and seek advice.

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Equipment

Although I do use left-handed scissors when cutting lots of paper or fabric, I haven’t found that I’ve needed any different tools for crochet. If you do know of something crochet related for lefties I’d love to know about it, please.

Crocheting in rows

If you’re left handed you’ll be crocheting rows from left to right. When you begin your first row (called the foundation row) you’ll be working along the chains from the left to the right.

When a pattern tells you that the foundation row is the right side of the work remember that’s the side where the cut tail of the yarn will be hanging down on the right hand-side. If the foundation row is the wrong side of the work the cut tail of yarn should be on the left. Just so that I remember I usually don’t darn this in until the end as it reminds me which side I need to darn into and which to leave.

Crocheting in rounds

As a leftie you’ll be crocheting around to the right, or clockwise. This is worth remembering when you are more experienced and start using symbol patterns. These types of patterns show the stitches going to the left for right handers, but you will be doing the same stitches in the same order but going around to the right. Are you beginning to see why the moral support of YouTube videos, books and tutorials for lefties can be so encouraging at times?

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Final thoughts

It’s just a case of remembering that the pattern will be written assuming that you’re right-handed 99% of the time. Most of the time this doesn’t matter at all, but just pause and think about the instructions before you begin. For example: if you’re going to try some colourwork you might need to reverse the instructions, unless the design is symmetrical. So, if you’re told to follow the chart with odd numbered rows going from right to left, just remember that your rows are going to be from the left to the right.

Is all this confusing? As clear as mud? Don’t worry – once you’ve got the hang of crochet as a leftie everything will become second nature and you won’t think about it too much, apart from sometimes when you might find yourself saying ‘Oh these crazy right-handers….!’

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How about you?

 

Inside Crochet magazine

At the end of last month I was contacted by the Deputy Editor of Inside Crochet magazine, the message said “Hope you don’t mind me getting in touch, but we’ve been enjoying your blog here at Inside Crochet and we were wondering if you’d like to be interviewed for the ‘Our Favourite Blogger’ feature we run every month in our news section?”

I don’t think I need to describe the feeling at being contacted by such a quality magazine like Inside Crochet do I? But I can tell you that I did some of my Zebedee bounces which I reserve for very special occasions.

I tend to chatter freely, but I must admit I have uncharacteristically stayed schtum for weeks and weeks, waiting for the magazine to come out. Well I’ve had some tweets and messages over the last few days saying my blog has been spotted in the magazine, so in case you haven’t seen a copy of issue 47 yet…

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Yarn Along

20130731-120817.jpgYes! I’m knitting a deformed cat! It’s the stripy one you can just see on the book’s cover but mine’s obviously not stripy. I’ve been having some trouble with holey M1s (I grew up, like most, knitting into the front and back of a stitch, not fiddling about picking up strands) but think I’m getting betterish.

I saw the Cats and Kittens book at the library and though I don’t generally make toys I thought I’d have a try; as it’s a short and (hopefully) sweet make while I relearn how to knit using a new technique of holding the right-hand needle and wrapping the yarn. It’s going better than it was last week.

Queen Camilla centres around the Royal Family who have been living in an exclusion zone on the Flowers Estate for the last 13 years, along with other undesirables, due to the UK now being a republic. However a campaign is underway to bring in a New Conservative Government and reinstate the Royals. The big question amongst all the goings on is: will Camilla be Queen of the country, or stay Queen of Charles’ vegetable patch?

The (talking) dogs are really the stars of the book, along with Violet Toby who is the Queen’s next door neighbour. So far they all share the best lines. It’s all wicked satire.

I love Sue Townsend’s books. I’ve grown up with Adrian Mole and love The Queen and I which is similar to the above, they even share some characters and the location, but QC is a rewrite of sorts. If you wanted me to pick between the two for you I’d recommend The Queen and I, though I’m still only halfway through QC.

I’m joining in again with Ginny. What are you crocheting / knitting and reading at the moment?

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Blogalicious #4

This blog is GORGEOUS.

But I’m afraid that Posie Gets Cozy comes with some warnings……

  1. You may feel deeply inspired/ineffective and far less talented after reading, it could go either way
  2. You may want another house
  3. ….or camera
  4. to sign up for photography classes
  5. to buy bucket-loads of posh wool and beautiful fabrics
  6. a little weep that this isn’t your blog, house, talent….

;-)

It’s a bit like when I Googled ‘crochet’ in the Autumn of 2011, because I wanted to learn all about it, and stumbled on Lucy’s Attic24 blog. I spent days reading her blog from the first post to last. I commented on so many that Lucy emailed me a few times to remark on how my comments were bringing memories of the crochet/holiday/whatevers back. I feel like that about this blog; I want to settle down and read from the start (maybe without the stalky commenting element?!)

Of course it would be so much easier with an ipad and I did share an email I received last week that said: ‘Show someone you love them by buying them an ipad’ for Valentine’s Day’.

The reply?

“Go on then!”

Bah! :-D

Weeks 19 & 20 CAL Blocks #55 #56 #57 #58 #59 #60 #72

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#55 Centred square
5 1/2 ” square

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#56 Plain Granny
5 3/4″ square

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#57 Arrowhead bobbles
5 1/2″ square. These blocks used to be all around 5 3/4″ on average, as I’m using baby cashmerino, but seem to be getting smaller….

And, because I was in a go get ’em mood at the very beginning of a new year (and if I’m honest avoiding work) and the first two blocks were so straightforward to crochet; I then crocheted four more blocks. I won’t post next week, it’s going to be a very busy one anyway.

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#58 Peach Rose
5 1/2″ square (but wibbily at the moment obviously!)

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#59 Coral quartet (or not!)
5 1/2 x 5 3/4″ oh dear. These kind of blocks always seem to come out narrower than the length. I’ve been speculating that this is why the book is called 200 Blocks not Squares again! Unless it’s me and yours come out perfectly….

Oops it’s upside down, I must have rotated the photo without thinking.
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#60 Popcorn corners
5 3/4″ square (but a bit rounded not pointy as in square. I’ll have to see if others’ come out similarly.)
One of the middle pc looks a bit flat, it’s got squashed in the pile of blocks I reckon. We thought this “alright” nothing special after I made it, but it’s quite pretty I suppose.

It took 2 hours from beginning to darning the ends in! I know because the morning news was on, then the whole of Saturday Morning Kitchen yesterday. S made the spiced lamb shanks with pomegranate tubbouleh for dinner after seeing it made on the programme. Yum yum yum. The recipe is online, it’s one of James Martin’s recipes.

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#72 Ribbed square
5 1/2″ square
I know this is way ahead…
This and #52 Lemon peel were the two blocks I tried a long time ago when I bought the book. The other day I just fancied randomly picking any block to make. I told you I felt keen!

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The colours have come out looking so different in the shifting light this morning, but you know what they really look like by now. I’m still thinking about making two items with my blocks since my initial Cottage Garden colour scheme really feels like it’s evolved into two sets, but I’m not making any firm decisions till I stop making blocks.

How many unique designs are there? I count 126 but my maths can be pretty unpredictable.

The shrinking world

The world has become smaller since the internet has given us the opportunity to instantly link with people everywhere. Today I experienced the effect of this first-hand.

When I read that blogger Hannah was going to be in England over the Christmas break I suggested we maybe meet up for a cup of coffee somewhere. We did, today, and had a relaxed time wandering around some nice spots in Oxford. Sadly two of the three craft shops I wanted to show Hannah are closed between Christmas and New Year, however my favourite independent cafe, one of the oldest pubs in the city and a yummy (100% British beef) burger place were open. So we managed to achieve a good mix of culture, a  bit of craft and plenty to eat and drink!

I’m chatty (are you surprised?) and so it turns out is Hannah, so there was no struggle to find topics, I think we covered a pretty wide range in the time we shared.  As we already have the common interest of crochet (& knitting) we indulged in a tiny bit of yarn chat, compared craft shops (or lack of in Hannah’s case) and talked about the blogs we have in common. I wonder if the ears of Trish Jill Lucy or Heather  were burning as we talked about them and their blogs a little?

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When you meet someone who is wearing a scarf, hat and pair of gloves you recognise, because you’ve already seen them (and read all about their conception) online, you understand again how small the world has become.

Blogalicious #3

Here’s another blog you really need to check out….

I loved this blog post (spot the bobbles?!) the other day. It made me want to walk in the woods, drink hot chocolate with marshmallows (I did) and create another hat.

I really do like the beautifully clear photos, style of writing, the purpley blog background (it’s just a bit different to the usual) and the crochet projects, of course. Check out Em’s Granny Square Snood the colours are so autumnal and gorgeous.

Check out Lulu Loves and add it to your blog list as it’s just so damn good looking!

 

The End

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A hot water bottle cover for Vikki, as requested.

Saturday morning: Bake 2 Devil’s Food cakes

Saturday afternoon: Darn the ends in (lots of them!) and crochet the two HWBC pieces together. Find buttons. Arghh! I have mainly white, black and navy from old shirts etc. Nothing funky or bright. Use little transparent flower shaped Mollie Makes giveaway buttons. Write ‘buttons’ on my Christmas wishlist.

Saturday evening: Drop off the cover (plus the hot water bottle I’d borrowed from Vikki last weekend, so it fit perfectly) at the stage door of a West End Theatre in London making my best ‘It’s a VERY cool thing in a jiffy bag actually’ face. Three minutes later get a call from V saying thank you, she loves it. Phew! Very bright stripes may not be for everyone so I’m relieved.

Run to the tube with S. to meet friends and go to the Hammersmith Apollo for a charity comedy gig for tigers with ZSL .

That was a very good day. :-D


Posted on Facebook this morning with the caption “So, Rachel crocheted me this yummy water bottle cover, and it was immediately stolen by the cat. Predictable.”


If you want to check out V’s blog I recommend it. It’s a mix of writing and craft. Not the usual ‘everyone’s making X and so I am too’ stuff, most are unique creations. It’s cool. Very cool. Well, what do you expect from someone who works on one of the hottest London shows doing pyrotechnics and stuff?

Blogalicious! #2

I have to share this blog with you, just in case you don’t know about its fabulous-ness!

Cassie is an art teacher in the USA, she is also a stunningly talented sewer with a vintage dress addiction. This is a lady with a great sense of humour, she must surprise and amaze the kids with her outfits on a daily basis. If you think I exaggerate or you don’t believe me take a look at her 1970s Dorky Teacher skirt

Or see the I-See-London-I-See-France dress!

I can’t wait to read her promised future post on her closet space since she admits she never throws away anything, and has clothes she bought and wore in high school!

I think I have a girl crush! :-D

PS: I forgot to mention that Cassie will also introduce you to designers and artists, you will learn lots!

Martha’s school dinners

Have you heard about Martha (aka ‘Veg’) Payne’s blog NeverSeconds?

There was an item about it on the Radio2 news this afternoon and intrigued I logged on to look at Martha’s blog (along with hundreds of others; I’ve never seen a blog counter increase as fast!) You must look too. Read and look at the pics from her first post at the end of April to today…. and beyond….

If you are also impressed with what this clever girl has accomplished then make a donation to Mary’s Meals.

What a girl!

Technical hitch!

Hi Rachel,

Thanks for your email, I’m not at all sure what’s happened to the voting for our Little Blog Awards but it’s definitely not working! I’ve passed it on to our web team who will hopefully find the problem and fix it quite soon, so I would try again in a day or so and fingers crossed all will be working again.

Good luck in the awards!

Best wishes,

Dorset Cereals Ltd

Oh well, it was lovely to be nominated and thank you for all your messages saying voting wasn’t possible :-)

Squeal !

Would you like to vote for this little blog for the Dorset Cereals Little Blog Awards? It is a lovely and very unexpected surprise to see it has been nominated.  I’ll quietly crochet on with The Rhubarb Ripple and Spring Flower Blankets in the meantime

:-D

http://www.dorsetcereals.co.uk/fun-stuff/little-blog-awards/nomination/6628

( or click the image at the top of the sidebar >>>>)

Blogalicious!

I discovered this blog According to Matt and I LOVE it!

  •  the colours of the blog: the simple white background and the glorious photos
  • the straightforward writing style
  • also I admit it’s the fact that I’ve found male crocheters whose stuff I actually like (nice colours, designs, enthusiasm and inspiration plus plus plus, and aren’t they easy on the eye too? ;-p)

Have a look at this, this is the winner for me, a gorgeous blanket…though I also love this thick grey ripple blanket. There’s even a tutorial for learning how to crochet a jammy dodger! I grew up eating those yummy biscuits.

Do share some of the blogs you love with me below, I click on people’s side-bars but I think more current links are neglected to be added sometimes.

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This week I’ve had some tea breaks, using my pint mug which says ‘the bigger the better’ around it (!) and worked on:

PS: I cleaned the tannin stains off my mug yesterday, in case you keen eyed clean-freaks noticed them :-D

Should I change my blog name?

I’ve wondered for a while if it sounds like ‘the little room’ as in the euphemism for toilet.

And then someone commented upon the same thing last night :-D

Please vote even if you don’t care either way. I’ve had over 3000 hits on this since it started on 31st Dec and if I’m going to change I’d better do it fast!

If you think YES! Please leave a new name suggestion, the only one I’ve come up with is Rachell’s World and that might be a bit yakky. It doesn’t actually have to include the name ‘Rachell’ at all.

Crochet as a meditation

Bingo!!!

I was really hoping that the blogger who wrote the post I referred to yesterday, about how to turn crochet into a mindful meditative activity, would post a link.  I’ve received quite a few comments expressing an interest in reading about the subject, but just couldn’t remember where I’d seen it….

Thanks Jess of  JP’s Crochet Blog for reminding me it was yours.

Also, for my own interest I’m reminding myself of Jess’s useful page on reading reading charts.

:-)

A wealth of talent

Morning!

Have a look at this little lot, there are some really interesting patterns. I favour the granny squares and triangles nearer the bottom of the page best.

However I need to learn how to read symbol diagram patterns before I can try any. In person with someone else pointing at the beginning place would be best. It’s far easier when you can ask questions and learn alongside another. Anyone in Southern England who fancies having a keen pupil?! Failing that can you recommend an instructive blog/website/book please?

I found the link for the above site on Aunty Mum’s blog by the way. :-)

Also I’ve been meaning to share the link to this blog for ages; purely for the name ….oh what an original name! It really made me look twice when I stumbled across it.

Thank you for your tweets and comments on my I’m-so-poorly post yesterday. I am beginning to feel a bit more human but still don’t feel like talking much today…that’s a sure sign I’m unwell!

I’ve got to perk up actually as I’ve got crochet homework to complete soon! I asked Adrianne of Teeny Weeny Designs if I could have the pattern for her flower key cover as I have a stash of cotton and want to use it on nice projects. Adrianne’s written it up and asked me to road-test it as an English crocheter…exciting! Then she will make the pattern available in her Etsy shop.

Here’s one Adrianne made earlier….

Beautiful isn’t it?

International Crochet Blog?!

Views:

United Kingdom 305

United States 62

New Zealand 45

Netherlands 18

Turkey 15

South Africa 12

Australia 12

France 7

Italy 4

Denmark 3

Hong Kong 3

Canada 3

Belgium 2

Egypt 2

Slovenia 2

Macedonia 1

Argentina 1

Greece 1

Norway 1

Lebanon 1

Sweden 1

Poland 1

Bulgaria 1

Ooooh!!! WordPress has a new stats thingy and I love it!

It’s called Top Views by Country. How fascinating!

I’ve travelled lots, and really find it a fun thing to find out where crochet might be an interest.

I notice there’s nothing from India, Japan or China… are they not so into crochet blogs? Or maybe the search engines aren’t available or don’t link to our crochet blogs?

I think I might know the viewer who has visited three times from Hong Kong; and he’s due home in a several hours. Woo hoo! :-)

Here’s my first attempt at crocheting a hat (before the pink hat, which became the pink beanie.) This photo was taken last November and wasn’t set up, it just wibbled it’s way down, but when it’s cold you need to keep a warm face, huh?!

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!!!!!! (…Saturday to my New Zealand  & Australian lovlies! ;-p)

Nice to meet you, by the way

I’ve had some comments on here already and I’m sooo pleased. I do love to hear from others. When trawling through blogs I comment on everything that impresses me, makes me think or when I want to ask a question (I’m full of questions most of the time) and hope you will comment here too…

Next time I’ll show you my crocheted jar cover. I spent last night, Friday evening, making it. How cool am I?!

Rachel