Badges, heather, gorse and blankets  

Yesterday I went to the fabulous V&A in London, officially: The Victoria and Albert Museum. The museum’s focus is upon decorative arts and design. The beautiful rooms are crammed full of amazing objects which you can see anytime for free, they also put on staggering good ticketed temporary exhibitions. I’m lucky enough to be a member and so can go into these anytime without booking and for free. Yesterday’s was the best I’ve been to: You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970.  There are many album covers from the period on display (I’d like a full list of these, must check the website) and many badges for sale in the shop at the end. You are forbidden from taking photographs in this exhibition, which turns out to be a good thing because you’re not distracted.

I went in at around 3:30pm, totally immersed from the start in the music and clips which automatically play on your headset as you move around the rooms, reading, looking, thinking. Near the end I led on a giant beanbag watching three walls of projected footage from the Woodstock festival, held in 1969 on a farm in Upstate New York, trying not to sing too loudly! It was a mesmerising exhibition. Noticeably no one had mobile phones out (this is rare anywhere, you’ll agree) and by the end I nearly fell on the floor with surprise when I looked at my watch and it was 6pm!

This is from West Cornwall last week. The colours of the sky, rocks, heather and gorse are stunning aren’t they? Quite a few times we saw cars left in gateways, off the tiny winding Cornish lanes, as people hopped out to take a photo of the same.
This my Yorkshire blanket, the first crochet I’d ever done, when I picked up a hook and tried making trebles. It’s pretty funny that the first crochet I ever did resulted in a full blanket! Mum made the starting ring and I carried on, with her help. It’s The Yorkshire Blanket because we’d hired a cottage there over Christmas 2008 and this is what I worked on, before going down with influenza (not “flu” which is typically a heavy cold.) I remember feeling like death warmed up for most of the time! No Christmas dinner for me, I was too unwell. That’s proper ill that is!

Anyway I’m really not sure what to do with this blanket, because we started off with the claret coloured DK single stranded. I carried on using a mixture of yarn that Mum and my Mother in Law passed on to me. Others I picked up from charity shops. It’s all acrylic and the tweedy appearance is because some yarn was thinner than others, so I ended up holding it double two strands at one time. Of all the blankets I’ve subsequently made this is still my favourite in terms of colours; it’s more ‘me’ I suppose. Of course there is a real discrepancy in weight between the centre of the blanket and the rest. It was initially a ‘can I learn to crochet?’ practice piece, but turned into a full square blanket because of course I could, and I couldn’t stop. It really doesn’t work with the weight of the outside rounds pulling at the lighter weight centre. There’s been no unraveling however. My darning must have been sterling!

So, I’m wondering whether to undo it and donate the yarn back to charity shops, crochet it all back up but with a two stranded DK centre, find out some way of undoing just the red centre and redoing it or……

And my current blanket, The Unnamed Ripple, as I sat in the shade a few days ago catching up with a few rows. This one’s going to a friend who lives on a canal boat, I ought to get cracking with it so she can use it this winter.

Don’t forget that if you’re in UK you can enter my giveaway to win a copy of Edward’s Imaginarium before noon on Sunday 25th. Leave a comment on the post linked here.

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2015

It’s that time again; the last day of another year. Are they flying past, or is it just me?

I can’t believe that today is my blog’s fourth birthday! I didn’t have a long-term plan when I started this; it was simply to record my makes as I learnt to crochet. I haven’t had to make myself carry on, or set up a blogging timetable, it’s just happened organically. Admittedly joining in more regularly with the weekly Yarn Along and Taking Stock posts, every month, has helped to keep to keep the ball rolling lately; as I’ve had little new to show, with bigger projects taking time to complete.

2015 really did turn into the Year of the Blankets, despite the fact I’m sure I’d resolved not to make many. I wanted to learn some new skills, make some small things and get my sewing machine out again. I can see a 16 for 2016 list happening…

Here are some of my favourite makes and highlights of the year:

I’ve just had a little look at my previous end of year galleries in 2012 2013 and 2014. 2012 was a busy year for the country with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. Looking back has reminded me of my 200 Blocks CAL. I was still very much a novice crocheter and learnt much more through organising and taking part in the CAL. If you’re fairly new to crochet then I’d really recommend working through a book of crochet blocks. It gave lots of us a really good grounding in reading patterns, trying new stitches and experimenting with colour combinations.

Thank you for reading and for your comments over the last year. Have a very Happy New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, wherever you are in the world.

On the bright side

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I really fancied doing some more embroidery but thought I’d only do a little Thursday evening so as not to aggravate my elbow. I really enjoyed semi watching, mostly listening, to an episode of Lewis (the psychology student/psychics/elephant tranquilliser one) using stem stitch to sew the letters of my personalised tea towel which is to be a gift.

The arm was indeed a bit iffy Friday but hey ho, it was still a great day. A great week in fact, and generally all is going swimmingly. That is until 11:14 pm when the most ginormous spider hurried across the lounge from under a sofa to behind the TV. There was some wine or beer fuelled discussion along the lines of: “But he’s happy, let him be.” “He’s not leaving cobwebs all over my house.” “Don’t kill him.” “Don’t be ridiculous, you know I never kill them…” All this while I’m tipping a nightlight out of a holder and grabbing a postcard (flower fairies – such a pretty card that I carry it downstairs to recycle then end up propping it on the mantelpiece.) This spider is big and aggressive, he’s sassy and won’t be caught in a tea light holder and trapped by a flower fairy postcard. But we both know who’s going to win…

…in the end after a skirmish behind the TV stand it’s actually neither of us. He gets half trapped under the holder after I execute a niffy half turn when he tries to fox me, and head back to sofa-land, and I feel a muscle at the back of my knee go POP!

OMG THE PAIN.

Actually the spider was ok, no broken legs and I’m sure he enjoyed his flight out of the window to the garden.

Today instead of a super day out nerding with one of my favourite friends I’ve been sat on the bed with an ice pack and haven’t gone downstairs once; as I had to semi crawl upstairs last night and can’t bear the awfulness of needing the littlest room and the slow hurry. It’s best to rest it as much as possible too.

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This app is great! Although after quietly downloading it and trying it out with a few good dings, then testing the ring-a-ding-ding function with a good shake Someone marched into the bedroom with a grin and said, “You can get rid of that app for a start.” “But it was my nerdy friend who suggested I get it, to help you know when I need something!”

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The bright side is I’ve listened to a little more of The Goldfinch audio book, watched the first ever few episodes of The IT Crowd, the inflating boobies episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys (thank you free catch up TV and ipad magic) and downloaded some interesting looking free Kindle novels. There have also been a few homegrown strawberries, YUM, some cheer up surprises: mini Reeces, ice cold 7Up and as requested; a yummy Greek salad with pitta for lunch. The service is pretty good, the bedside chat could be improved but it’s tricky to provide uplifting banter when an important rugby match is on in the other room.

So, it’s after 5pm and I’m feeling a bit restless. Can you tell me something interesting, a story, a fact about yourself, a snippet from your weekend, whatever? A good link? Please. Chances are I’ll still be up here tomorrow so anything will be gratefully received.

Because it made me smile the other day when I noticed how tidy the Rhubarb Ripple looks amongst the other unruly blankets in The Little Room…

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Rhubarb Ripple blanket

It’s finished! Two blankets finished in a week feels very good.
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To edge or not to edge? It just looked raw as it was, the edges appear very uneven in the photo but it’s just that I didn’t straighten it out on the carpet very well.

In the end after a fair bit of thought, and Googling others’ finished ripples, I decided that less is more. I really like the rippled top and bottom edges so just crocheted 3 rows of dc along the sides.

As everyone does, here are lots and lots of photos. I did try for a whole blanket shot but it’s so tricky and the light was bad in the bedrooms. If Summertime I could have laid it on the grass and stood on a step-ladder, but it would probably have flown away today! The thing to do is get your tape measure out, squint at the photos and visualise the finished blanket. :-)
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Pattern: Attic 24

Measurements: 125cm x 180cm

Weight of finished blanket: 1.236g

80 stripes: 2 rows = 1 stripe

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK

Hook: 4mm

10 colours:

1188 Lavender

1084 Magenta

1065 Meadow

1241 Fondant

1083 Pomegranate

1390 Clematis

1061 Plum

1432 Wisteria

1019 Cloud Blue

1003 Aster

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I’ve now crocheted 4 complete blankets, with a 5th in progress at the moment. The Rhubarb Ripple is my favourite which is funny as I just grabbed a few colours out of my pack of Stylecraft to try the ripple stitch for the first time. I liked it so much I just carried on and it evolved into a blanket!

It’s Blog Law that you photograph blankets you’ve made folded up together, so here you are:
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Crochet village

Aren’t these beautiful? They really add a homely touch to a school setting, and made me feel v happy to see them being used and enjoyed.
There is a shop nearby which has started to sell old and new crochet blankets. They’re proving to be really popular with the resurgence of knitted and crocheted items.

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Dublin #2

At Kilmainham Goal I noticed some crochet. Impressive given the conditions I saw in which the  prisoners would have lived. Also, it just shows how versatile those little old granny squares can be.

Sorry for the poor quality, I was rushing to join the guided tour of the original cells where the political prisioners were held, but I thought as this is technically a crochet blog you might enjoy seeing this ‘blouse’.

Walking back to the hotel later I spotted all this. Is there no bin at this person’s house?! I can picture an arm extending from a window to throw an empty out with a vague promise to self to tidy up later. I have to admit that something about this scene made me laugh as well as recoil a little. I can’t justify myself.

You’ve seen Molly Malone and her assets, Oscar reclining in the park and now here’s Phil Lynott, outside a rather nice traditional Irish pub. The Dubliners do seem to like their statues, as well as their drinking holes. I viewed a few traditional pubs, inside and out. It has to be done as part of the full holiday experience.

This was outside another bar, I love it! It reminds me of Father Ted.

Yes; I did just follow the ‘Fine Food for Feck All’ poster with cherry blossom from Trinity College. It’s my blog and I’ll be random if I want to (singing the ‘It’s my party’ song in my mind as I type that)! :-)

The Book of Kells was great and the information about how the scribes made the colours was fascinating, but the best part by far is The Long Room. If you go then take a big breath in as you enter the room. The smell is incredible. If you have no idea what the Long Room is then Google is your friend. ;-)

The Liffey and some of its many, many bridges. I wandered across the Millennium bridge, that you see in the foreground, after snapping this picture and into The Temple Bar area….

….to hear some superb live Irish music at The Quays. Sunday is a good day for relaxing with a drink in hand and a tapping foot to the music.

A few strange looks were garnered as I photographed the floor, but I liked it.

And finally here is some street poetry I passed on my way back from the live music and foot tapping.

I hope you can read it.

Dublin is great city, with so much still left unseen and undone – I’ll have to go back for a third visit one day.

And in crochet news: I’m on the last 8 or so colours of the Rainbow Granny Stripe, so expect a reveal ta-dah thingy post any time within the next few weeks. It’s slow progress compared to other stripey blanket bloggers since I am also dipping into my Rhubarb Ripple Blanket, making more Spring Flower Squares and edging some Alternative Granny Squares. Then there’s the random little other crochet makes I am side-tracked by also.

But it’s all good fun and very relaxing.

Reuse, Recycle, Enjoy

Recently I’ve read soooo many posts written by people saying they are darning in the ends as they go; so it’s not a horrid job waiting to be done. Or, they’re waiting till the end and dreading it. There’s even some who’ve put off finishing a blanket for a year(s) because of darning in those dratted ends.

I enjoy this part! It’s the finishing off of an enjoyable project. I’m actually looking forward to this restful, rather therapeutic, activity. I admit I’m actively saving it till the crochet is finished. By that time I’ll probably need a change from trebles, trebles and more trebles.

Those ‘dreaded ends’ have been known to end up serving another purpose….