January Cheery List

Well here we are in the first week of another New Year. I don’t know about you, but the week started with lots of energy, optimism and achievement, there were blue skies, there was sunshine (although it’s really cold here) everything was bright and breezy. But I often find that this first week in January is a tricky one; you start full of energy and resolve, take down the Christmas things and feel all organised for the New Year, then something happens around the 5th or the 6th. I’ve gradually realised it’s a yearly pattern. The puff seems to go out of you and you deflate a little.

Today I’ve been thinking about what usually makes a difference when a low mood appears. Here’s some ideas if you’re also feeling a bit the same: do a bit of singing, a bit of dancing, play an audio book, listen to classic comedy from BBC radio on the Sounds app (the ones which were before I was born are often so comforting, ok not particularly always funny, but somehow comforting. I can’t explain why) cook a homemade curry, (a dal counts, it’s so easy. I’ve got a throw it all in a pan and stir occasionally recipe, if you want it?) Do a bit of crafting. Immerse yourself in a good book. My current good reads are above. Go outside for a walk. It doesn’t have to be for miles, just walk for five or ten minutes, set a timer at the start, then turn around and walk back again when it dings. Call an older person and have a chat. You might make their day. Make a plan for the weekend, or next week, or the next month. Just have something in the diary to look forward to, it can be anything. Be proactive; write a list of nice stuff you want to do, learn, make or achieve. Choose one and start or apply, order or read up about it. Write a list of the stuff you’re putting off doing, because it’s hard, boring or is something you hate or dread intensely. Do one of these a day, begin to work through the list. At least start one of them, then do a bit every day. Sometimes it’s just not as bad as you anticipate. The thing has grown much bigger in your mind, than it actually is to accomplish. Ask for help or advice. There’s a good glow of satisfaction and a buzzy feeling at the end when you tick one of the horrors off. Eat a little chocolate, drink a mug of tea / coffee / hot chocolate. If it’s really, really urgh have a swig out of the gin bottle. (Don’t do this one too often!)

Terrible photo but warm fuzzies finding this on Monday

Google or check Facebook pages to find a a book exchange near you. It can be a Telephone Box library, a Little Free Library, a community Bus Shelter book & toy exchange. Leave a book, take a book. I left a fluffy Christmas novel and brought back a little Book of Desserts. I’ve lined up a new to me Little Free Library to exchange another book soon.

Join Olivia’s Random Acts of Crochet Kindness Facebook group. It’s a really positive online space.

Garlene is hosting another Year of Dishcloths KAL this year. I recommend joining in, because even if you don’t fancy making washcloths you can use the patterns as swatches to practice your knitting skills, learn new stitches and designs. Then you can always turn them into something else; maybe blocks for a blanket? Or adapt them into a cowl, scarf or whatever. I’m knitting one of last year’s, the design from March called Double Dutch. Mine are knitted with rather posh Rowan hand-knit cotton DK and are washcloths, not dishcloths, for two special girls.

I made a cosy nest and started knitting during the Crimbo Limbo week. This has now doubled.

Tip: contact Garlene through Insta or Rav and get yourself put on the email list and then you’ll get the patterns sent straight to your inbox. This is before they’re added to Ravelry.

Really Important: Make sure you save them all, even if at this stage you don’t think you’ll be knitting all twelve. If you change your mind later on, they probably won’t be available for free anymore.

February’s design is my top favourite

Let me know if you have anything to add to my January cheery list. And tell me what you’re making and reading right now? Have you got a book exchange near you?

Yarn Along – February

Knitting

Have you heard about the new KAL on the block?

It’s #YearofDishcloths and is a good chance to dust off your knitting skills, or practise following a pattern if you’re a new knitter. Or, like me, you just might fancy a new FREE pattern popping into your inbox at the beginning of every month. No choice overload or dithering, both good things for me.

I wasn’t even contemplating taking part in a KAL/CAL but saw a friend’s photo and immediately found myself running straight upstairs for cotton and delving for my needles. I’m using 4.5mm Knit Pros for mine.

Patterns will also be listed for free on Ravelry, but later in the month than the subscribers will receive the emailed version. Just go to Garlene’s The Kitchen Sink Shop for the links in her bio which will take you to the January pattern and the KAL sign up.

This is the beginning of ‘Icicles’ the January design. It’s looking like a Gansey style pattern to me. They’re made up of knit and purl stitches, which create simple but beautiful designs.

I delved into my yarn storage and found lots of cottons I’d forgotten, including several brand new balls of Rowan. Way-hey! It’s way too posh for a dishcloth, (and I do prefer using J-cloths) but I can think about other uses later. I may turn it into something else…

As I said on my IG post this was a proper old style Instagram. I put my knit down at the end of the row, to quickly take a photo. No flat lay styling, with randomly placed pinecones. I like it, so it’s this month’s Yarn Along pic.

Reading

I’ve just started Robert Galbraith’s (aka J.K Rowling) Troubled Blood. The fifth book in the Strike series, it’s an absolute brick of a hardback book. It weighs 1,340g. Wow! I propped it up on a cushion next to me, last night. It’s too heavy to even have on my legs for any time.

I’m also looking through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things, Liza Tarbuck’s Annual for Grownups and Freeform Crochet by Carol Meldrum. So plenty on the go book wise here.

Let me know if you can recommend a good book on tatting, please, one you’ve actually tried.

What are you making and reading at the mo?

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NOT joining in with Ginny this time as she has stopped hosting Yarn Along for now. If you’d like to link to your blog or social media post in the comments underneath, we can still see what you’re making and find out what you’re reading. I’ll miss the linky thing, but last time I tried to host one it wasn’t compatible with WordPress.

Mouse crazy

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Gerald.

Someone rather silly says he looks like a mouse wearing a jumper.

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Charlie

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The gang

I might have gone a little mouse crazy because this morning I found myself Charlie mouse sending an email to a friend, wishing her a fun time away in Sweden over the weekend!

I’ve always winced a bit when toy makers state each “have their own character” or authors insist “the characters tell the story, I just write it down. ” But these mice? They definitely have their own characters (one is excellent at flying) and each seems to come ready-made with their own name.

If you’re interested in knitting or crocheting a mouse, or ten, to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Society and to set a World Record, for a mile of mice around a football ground in October, please see the Mile of Mice Facebook page for more info. Alternatively you can join the Mile of Mice Ravelry KAL (knit along) group I’ve started.

There are many knitters/crocheters taking part around the world who are sending their mice to England. If you simply want to make a donation the organiser Libby is currently in the process of setting up a ‘Just Giving’ page.

Weeks 31 & 32: CAL Blocks #91 #92 #93 #94 #95 #96

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#91 Terraces

6 1/2″ W x 5 1/2″ H

I added 4 more rows at the top to bring the dimensions a little more into line, but stopped at completely squaring it; I might make this into something else. It’s not going to fit with the squarer blocks. Maybe it would be good doubled in width for a scarf?  I reckon small fingers might pick at the loops of the dtr if it was a blanket.IMG_2363

#92 Victorian Lace

5 1/2″ sq.

Definitely needs blocking to see the detail and straighten it out! At the moment the middle is slightly bunched up.

I’m really glad to have more of this mauve wool, it’s such an earthy colour for the garden theme. It should tone down some of the brighter blocks if I make a huge blanket at the end.

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#93 Sequenced Stripes

5 1/2″ sq.

“Row 6: 1 ch into each of the next 2dc, turn.” ?!?!

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#94 Gothic Square

5 1/2″ sq.

Not so much a gothic square in these colours as a full-on summer cottage garden. I’m picturing a flower growing against a blue trellis.

This has a really pretty middle. It also needs blocking to straighten out, but it’s sweet. IMG_2352

#95 Kingcup

5 1/2″ sq.

Kingcup has a 3 hook – challenging – level of crochet rating, but I found it easy. This was very pleasing!

My overall favourite of the Easter fortnight’s blocks.IMG_2355

#96 Light and Shade

5 1/2″ sq.

This was a block where I wished there was also a symbol pattern to go with the written version. I used the book’s photograph to check mine was on track.

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I notice there are many blocks with a 1 hook – easy – level of crochet coming up, which is good since I feel I want to zip through the next few weeks worth of blocks. I’ve got my Mile of Mice bodies to sew up, tails to attach and features to stitch (rude comments about the linked post will not be approved Jill & Trish.) Also, I’ve knitted another cable piece for my first-time-I’ve-ever-cabled bag. I need to sew them up and attach the handles. My cousin’s going to help me sew a lining for it over the next few weeks.

Thanks for all your likes and comments about my Wool Money post. I’ve had a few more items arrive in the post after I spent some more of the winnings (JD as he should now be known, short for Jammy Dodger, has ordered an expensive fishing jacket and there’s still lots of loot left. Woo hoo!)

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I had reluctantly taken the Knitting & Crochet Bible back to the library, so it seemed sensible to buy my own copy. I found a brand new one for a little over £11 on Amazon, which compared to the RRP of £26.99  is an absolute bargain. I can imagine using it as a reference guide, particularly for knitting stitches, for years.

What are you making at the moment? Do you also have a list of items to complete before you start any more projects?

Week 29: CAL Blocks #85 #86 #87

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#85 Lemon stripe

5 1/2″ square

There was some talk amongst some of the CAL block makers that the pattern was wrong and should say to make 4ch in the corners of R5&6, not 3, but I stuck to the pattern and mine’s fine. But then my tension’s not tight at the best of times, you can try it both ways and see what works best for you.

This is not an attractive looking block, in any combination of colours in my opinion. In fact if the BBC Dr Who production team are looking for a fabric covering for aliens then I suggest they look no further.

Nope, still not a fan of the ole popcorns!

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#86 Sunray

5 1/2″ square

I crocheted this a few weeks ago, along with the other blocks of week 28, as it looked straightforward to make while watching something good on telly. I just can’t remember what it was now.

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#87 Peony

5 3/4″ square

After trying once with my usual 4mm hook I used a 5mm for the 2ch foundation chain, then carried on with the 4mm. It was much easier, far far less fiddly and as you’re going to darn in the end nice and neatly, which always tightens up the initial ring, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a bit loose to begin.

There are a few ‘ss into the first of the 3ch’ instructions at the end of some rounds – but you haven’t begun with 3chains. Oops yet again.IMG_2268

None of these blocks make my heart go pitter patter, but the top Sunray block is probably my favourite. Lots of these in nice colour combinations would be a fun throw; I’m thinking rusts, browns and autumnal colours.

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Mile of Mice News: There are now 40 mice knitters in my KAL group on Ravelry. Just look for the Mile of Mice KAL group and come knit a mouse or two along with us. It’s for a very good cause to raise money for The Alzheimer’s Society, and the project will also attempt to set a Guinness World Record in October here in the UK.

The organiser Libby is sorting out a crochet pattern at the moment. If you’re on Facebook and have a mouse crochet pattern, which will make an approximate 9″ mouse from nose to tail, please get in touch with her via the Mile of Mice group.

I’m so embarrassed about my mice bodies pictures (thanks for pointing out why I should be Patch) I’m not even going to link to the post, and you know how much I love linking things. I’ve knitted 7 bodies now. I must knit some ears soon as I already need 14 of the fiddly little things!

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The other day I was watching The Gilmore Girls season 7 and there’s an episode about Stars Hollow holding a knitathon to raise money for local bridge repairs. Just try to see that episode and tell me how many of the actors can actually knit, or look as if they’ve ever held a pair of needles and yarn in their lives?!

I’m new to the lovely Gilmores, it crept up on me slowly from the 5th series or so. At first I thought they gabbled on all the time talking soo fast and were a bit too slick but I’m now watching to the end of the series. I record episodes shown on the Freeview 5* channel which shows one a day at 4pm on weekdays; if you’re also in the UK and want to see what I’m talking about. I then plan to rent the series from 1-4 and see Rory grow up. It’s a bit like Benjamin Button (terrible film!) going from OAP-baby.

Enough waffle! I’m off to heat up the River Cottage parsnip & ginger soup I made earlier and cook some lamb kebabs for dinner. :-D