Crochet! Crochet! Crochet!

Here’s the eye catching postbox topper that my friend’s WI (Women’s Institute) put together for Remembrance Sunday.

Can you spot any of the crochet poppies that I sent her?

Offering to make some poppies was the best thing for me really. We had such a hot summer. I don’t usually do much crochet when it’s warm and even less so this year, as England had some of the highest temperatures since records began. But since I made some poppies I’ve got my crojo back again, with a vengeance. It’s probably the darker evenings and the cooler weather too.

I’ve been buzzing. I’ve looked through my crochet books, read the latest issues of Simply Crochet mag on the e-library site PressReader (it’s free! Great app. Really, really good) and dived into my storage cube to see what was in my yarn stash.

Making a resolution not to start anything new, but to finish off projects I’m already halfway through this year has not been that exciting. I’ve made some headway, but felt bored, so then ended up doing little.

I checked to see what yarn I already have, but of course I didn’t actually use any of it! I mean we don’t, do we?! That’s why we build up stashes in the first place. Mine’s modest because I’ve sent a friend some and donated other bits to a charity shop, so I reckoned I could buy a little something. I chose some brand-new Hayfield Spirit DK. I really like it. When there’s even 20% wool content it’s much nicer to work with than pure acrylic, and looks better as well. It should be warmer too. I never usually make wearables with 100% acrylic, but of course it’s far more affordable for big projects, such as blankets.

I started a virus shawl. Here’s a quick snap that I sent to a friend when we were sharing what we were making one night. It’s not a great photo, but it was enough for her to see what I was doing.

This is the autumn colour way, the people at Hayfield (Sirdar) must have been thinking of autumn flowers, such as dahlias and asters, because the colours don’t say autumn leaves to me.

Then although I was happy with how it looked, I realised I would probably never wear it. I’m more a scarf or cowl wearer. I unravelled it and started a virus blanket. I bought the pattern from Jonna Martinez. Here. There are lots of You Tubers whom you can crochet along with (fun thing to do) as you start your own Virus shawl or blanket. I did that to begin.

Jonna brought the Virus pattern back to the fore and made it famous – go viral. I have read that the Virus design is actually based on an old pattern from Rumania or Russia. This wouldn’t be a surprise; I don’t think there’s really much that’s original in crochet, we’re all replicating stitches and patterns that have been done over decades, maybe centuries.

Pretty colours, aren’t they? But you see the problem? You see what’s really, really, REALLY annoying me, that means I’m going to have to unravel it?

All I will say is that I am looking into the standing stitch and checking out various ways to do it. One crocheter made a video to demonstrate one and it really made me laugh, because she can hardly get her hook through the loop. I’m not sure about doing that version. Might give it a swerve and find another!

Simply Crochet issue 128

And then when I was reading Simply Crochet, issue 128, I found a Bobble Cowl design by Sue Pearson, that I really fancied making. Pattern available here too.

I remember how much I like crocheting bobbles. I started the cowl without really checking what size I would prefer, but happily it’s exactly the height of my favourite knitted Edenvale cowl. Here it is, I wear it all the time in the winter.

And that is what I’ve been making, making and unravelling, making and measuring, then sighing with relief when it’s right.

What about you? What are you making? Any unravelling going on? Any new yarn purchases?

I’ll be back soon with a new books post.

October

Making: It’s soup season again. I’ve made lentil vertes & vegetable, Nigella’s split pea with lime chilli and ginger (really tasty, but needs more vegetables, it’s very split pea heavy. I would recommend an adaption…) Chicken & vegetable soups, Fish chowder and this week a Beef & Vegetable. Dinner in a bowl

Am planning to make Rachel Roddy’s lentil & tomato. If that sounds good to you check out the Guardian, it was featured recently

Experimenting: I’ve harnessed the slow cooker once again and tried it out in the garage (!!!!) It worked really well, no smell wafting around the house for hours and hours

Cooking: Birthday cakes

The Roman Baths, Bath
Museum of Bath at Work – fascinating and quirky place to visit

Surprising: someone with a birthday trip away for a couple of days, it was lovely. Thank you Bath

Sipping: Nespresso cappuccino in the mornings, it became a habit this month, after having the machine years and using it only sporadically for a treat. I bought some lemon and ginger herbal teabags in Louth Aldi and I’m cutting down on caffeine again

Reading: back on to another Ann Cleeves after reading a few proof copies of forthcoming books. I’ve just started The Seagull, which is another in the Vera series

Waiting: for Sunday lunch today

Looking: forward to his roast chicken, gooseberry crumble (which I’m making with homegrown goosegogs, which have been frozen) with good company later on

Listening: to Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers, an audiobook I’ve had for awhile.

I really enjoyed this, but oh the ending! So unnecessary and abrupt. You almost feel betrayed after for listening for so long and then feel let down at the end. Have you read this book?

Wishing: in August I wished for a dibber, a friend read the post and sent me one of her mother’s. In September I wished for rain. After I published the post it began to drizzle. So…. I need to think about this one carefully! **

Buckets & spades and donkey rides on a sunny start to half term

Enjoying: remembering walking on the beach in the sunshine last Saturday in Mablethorpe, with a good friend

Sipping: Mulled Cider a couple of times this October. Check out Nigella‘s recipe from her Christmas book. I sub the rum with whatever we’ve got, sometimes Armagnac or Calvados

Missing: these cheeky little girls! I went up to Lincolnshire to cat sit and I’ve missed them all week

Appreciating: all the warm sunny days we’ve had this month. I know that on 29th of October we should not really be sitting outdoors in England, coats off, drinking coffee and eating cake in a museum garden. But it is really nice, I really like it, although I know it’s global warming

Deciding: To start crocheting a new blanket, I know I’ve got to finish my Coast blanket and my knitted Stripey blanket, plus a few smaller items. I’m seeing such a lovely mix of autumn crochet on Instagram that I want to buy some different colours and start something new

Contributing: crochet poppies for a friend’s WI forthcoming yarn-bomb for a postbox topper for Remembrance Sunday (I’ll maybe try to take a decent photo of mine before I pass them on.) Here’s her knitted ones, they look so good

Munching: apples from Apple Weekend at Waterperry Gardens

Eating: Licorice torpedoes I’d bought at the sweet shop on the seafront at Mablethorpe, and catching up on Taskmaster last night. Actually, I caught up with half of Taskmaster as I fell asleep for half an hour, and kept waking up periodically to say can you stop laughing so loudly, it’s waking me up? Unreasonable half asleep & tipsy behaviour? I reckon so!

Liking: Stuck which is on BBC iplayer. Only 15 minute episodes. Dylan Moran! You know? Black Books Dylan Moran. Yay

Loving: sharing links and “What’s for dinner?” messages in the first few weeks of the month, with a very likeminded foodie friend. We were all about lentils, pulses and soups

Buying: A pink leather friendship bracelet from the pop-up artisan’s shop in Witney yesterday

Watching: the leaves change colour. It’s one of my favourite things about autumn

Hoping: for a sunny few days this week to catch up on some more laundry and to wash the kitchen floor. It’s really magic when you wash it and it starts drying instantly, I know, I’m so, so boring

Wearing: pjs

Noticing: The luxury of an extra hour in bed this morning but I’m not looking forward to the darker evenings

Recommending: The Guard film on Netflix. Very funny

Also recommending: The Jazz man’s Blues on Netflix, watched on Friday night. Liked the realistic ending. Although I did feel there was one iffy plot thing, but no worries because it didn’t overly affect the story. I really enjoyed the music and played some of the soundtrack afterwards on Spotify, through the TV. I streamed Netflix to my friend’s TV when I was cat sitting, via Chromecast. The magic of technology!

A walk at dusk

Following: Ancestors’ journeys and careers, using censuses and local information, talking to local historians

Sorting: summer clothes into a bag and to the top of the wardrobe. Then the weather became very warm again and I regretted my tidied away T-shirts and cropped trousers

Coveting: one of those all in one instant pots, they seem to do everything from yoghurt making, slow cooking, pressure cooking and rice steaming, plus more

Visiting: Witney Blanket Hall

To be in the building alone is a treat, but there’s also a superb shop with scarves, socks and blankets all made in this country, plus a selection of nice gifts to purchase, The Pie Shop (a cafe), a garden with the river Windrush flowing at the end, a museum and a really nice woman called Angela

I had no idea that thousands and thousands of Witney blankets were sold by the Hudsons Bay Company in Canada
Made into a cosy coat
A Banbury Cake for me

Feeling: lazy, but I need to Hoover, do a little bit of spot cleaning and make some crumble mixture with some brown sugar. flaked almonds, porridge oats, spices, butter and flour

Hearing: bird song

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What about your October? Has it been a challenge or a pleasure? A mix of both? Please share a few things…

** I know, I wish for one of those Ninja Foodi Multi-cookers