I woke up really early yesterday morning, read a bit more of Hidden Depths, the third book in the Vera series by Anne Cleeves and then fell back asleep for a few hours. When I woke I scrolled a bit on Insta and found I had a burning need to crochet a hexagon!
Do you ever feel like that? You just have to grab some scraps of yarn and a hook and go for it?
I’d seen Anita’s Vintage Hexagons a while back and that was the pattern I settled on. It’s free and here on her brand new website. She’s so clever with colour and original blanket designs. We’ve followed each other for years on Insta, but now she’s really taking designing up a notch. Check out her accounts.
I’ve been on a mission for a long time to finish all the things already started, or to unravel them, but I made an allowance yesterday. A few hexies, using oddments from blanket making, wouldn’t exactly be breaking the plan. I fancied something colourful. I really like the variegated Hayfield Spirit wool acrylic mix I’m using for my Coast blanket, but it’s quite muted.
Crocheting motifs bit by bit would be an ideal project for short bursts of crochet. I’d get that feeling of completing something, without crippling pain at the end of a mammoth row of a blanket. Anyway, I’m always drawn to hexagons, they’re probably my most favourite shapes.
Do you recognise my colour combo? I’ve used it a little more more than I realised. Thank goodness for my account on Pinterest. I had a quick look through my pins to spot everything made with this colour combo. My Pinterest doesn’t feature everything, but it’s a good selection. It’s amazing how many people end up here clicking through from Pinterest.
Anyway, back to yesterday…
I think I might stop here and change yarns. I’ve become used to more of a wool content, even 20%, and the plasticy look of this acrylic is not doing it for me. Or maybe I should try a different brand?
This week I may donate what I’ve made so far, and the little middles I also made, with the rest of the oddments. I could pop in a note telling the buyer where to find the free pattern online too.
What’s your go-to yarn for blanket making? I’m not about to buy a vast quantity of pure wool. I crochet and knit with wool or blends for smaller makes, as I prefer to wear it rather than 100% acrylic. It would be way too expensive and too valuable for throwing about as an everyday blanket. Another brand of acrylic, or a wool blend would be good to try. Any recommendations would be welcome. Then I can go to wool shop to have a squish…
…when I’ve completed my ‘Finish everything and do not buy any more yarn’ mission, of course!
It’s been a really rotten month. I’ve been unwell from the 1st day of the month and am still taking it really gently. I’ve never been so poorly for so long. I haven’t been on antibiotics for years, or to the GP so many times in one period. I might count up how many painkillers I’ve taken, as it kind of interests my warped brain. Is that madly strange?
My microbiome must be grey like dead coral now.
In case you’re interested…
The gut microbiome plays a very important role in your health by helping control digestion and benefiting your immune system and many other aspects of health. Healthline.com
If you want to know more about gut health, then I recommend reading articles and books written by Tim Spector. I’m reading his Diet Myth book at the moment. He’s got a podcast and has guested on others’ too. Do a name search in your podcast provider library if you’re curious.
Aiming to eat a minimum of 30 different plants a week seems to be a good goal towards a healthy microbiome. Some weeks it’s far more I find. I’ve always enjoyed vegetables and eat lots more beans and lentils now. I’ve kept a tally of how many plants I eat each week. Sometimes written as a nerdy list, or I just keep it in mind. It’s quite gratifying.
These 30 plants include: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. I also include sourdough if I eat any of the bread I make as it’s a fermented yeast culture, and is really good for the gut.
A legume is a plant with a pod, with an edible seed, eg: beans, peas, lentils. I checked that a while back as I couldn’t remember the definition.
That was a completely unplanned segue into gut health. But I find it all very interesting.
Anyway, yesterday was my first day without antibiotics, taking any painkillers – yay yay yay! – or feeling like an old lady tottering about. But I’ve still got my old friend tinnitus visiting and am experiencing some balance issues. I’m hoping they’ll fade away soon.
To celebrate feeling more like myself I carefully cooked a sausage and bean casserole for dinner. Yesterday it felt like autumn for the first time. It had hammered with rain all day, and by the evening felt much cooler than it has for a while. The heating’s still not on, but I don’t think it will be long. Have you made the transition to more autumn comfort food yet? Is your heating on? Or, are you heading into spring where you are now?
I’ve got massses of links to add to a September Taking Stock post, since I’ve read lots of books and listened to some podcasts. Plus I’ve started a brand-new audiobook in the last few days, since I’ve been able to tolerate more noise.
I’m still not listening to music really, as the frequencies seem to be too much for now. So I’m ignoring Spotify’s appeals for me to come back for £9.99 for three months. I did jump at an Audible offer of 3 months membership for £3.99. I’ve been a member for 10 years on and off, and fancied trying their new package. Membership now includes unlimited free in-house podcasts and certain books. I wish this was a sponsored post. Hello Audible!?! Ha!
Instagram has been absolutely fabulous for company, distraction, inspiration and entertainment. I had to lie down for hour long periods every day and became addicted to watching people’s stories on there! Friends and contacts have been so kind, asking how I am and responding to my chatty comments. Social media can be so lovely. A real force for good.
The tomatoes are ripening. We have bowls of them in sunny (well, some days) windowsills around the house. They’re absolutely delicious! A little taste of summer in early autumn. Love the flavour of the little orange Sungolds. Will definitely grow those again.
I’m trying these hexagons. I’m undoing the granny square as I crochet them. I don’t need it for my Coast Blanket. The colourway just didn’t fit with the other shades particularly well.
I reckon the hexagons with the solid colour centres look better, less confusing, to the eye. So I’m trying to start them with lengths of the same colour, without wasting too much yarn.
You know when you feel unsure about how many things you’ve got on the go? I’ve sorted out my projects and have written a proper list. Organised dot com. Three is the magic number. I have three knits to finish. (One of them is the infamous sock. I’d love to finish it as I suspect I could become a very keen sock knitter, but it might never happen. Long time readers will know why…) I also have three crochet things on the go.
Also, there is a bag of various what-I’m-calling yarn doodles. Yarn doodling happens on days when I fancy just playing around, and may not necessarily end up being anything. Bet you’ve got them too? It’s all those odd motifs and scrappy playful bits of things that you then put down and don’t necessarily continue. I’m keeping them, since some of them could turn into scrappy blankets to gift, or give away to charities like Knit for Peace. The above hexagons are in that category so far.
And finally, I have to show you these lovely pics my friend sent:
I’ll be back with a Taking Stock soon.
Hope your September has been a good one, tell me what you’ve been up to? Especially what are you cooking and eating?
It’s 27 degrees and beautiful outside today. This week we’ve had high temperatures which haven’t been reached in September since 1911. 1911! Before going to Cornwall last week I had begun to anticipate making Autumn food soon: soups, casseroles, fruit crumbles and such; but the fridge freezer is still fully stocked with salad veg and plenty of ice cubes!
This lunchtime I’ve been trying to work on my ripple but it’s really too warm to have on my lap. I’m listening to a new audio book Moving by Jenny Eclair now. I don’t think you can see the book’s cover on my iPhone, the sun’s too bright.
I’ve really got the holiday blues today; the first thing I said on waking was “Where’s the green hills and the sea all around?” It was so quiet there too. The tiny lane running past the cottage was silent most of the time, the nights were as black as pitch and the only sound you heard in the morning were noises from the field of bullocks nearby, warning each other off. Still, I’ve bought my lottery tickets and you know to find me in deepest darkest rural West Cornwall if I suddenly disappear…
It’s been a lovely weekend, the kind where you pack lots and lots in and enjoy it all. The washing machine is whirling around as I type, the carpet needs hovering and dust is floating but it can all wait.
On Saturday I went to ExCel, at the London Docklands, with a good friend for the Simply Christmas craft show. I haven’t been before and imagined sparkles, tinsel and decorations galore. It all began with a bit of a bang as we entered the space; a woman with a lot of bags was trying the dodge the staff on the way out. A member of staff was shouting that she couldn’t leave until security had been called. Apparently the woman had been caught stealing a few items and had more bags that hadn’t been searched. When my friend bought fat quarters from a few different stalls none gave receipts, so how to prove you’ve paid for items? We decided you’d need to make memorable comments, or talk with a really weird accent, during purchases just to make sure of being remembered.
The sleigh and everything you see above is made from sugar. The Grotto was full of sugary Christmas scenes and smelt absolutely delicious!
The main focus seemed to be paper crafts and fabric. Black Sheep Wools had a stand and there were a few other small yarny tables, but not many. It’s probably for the best. Most of the show was just plain stalls selling what they might sell at any other time of year. The majority hadn’t decorated at all and there was a distinct lack of any sign of Christmas. We weaved from the beginning, along the stalls in row A, and so on, and by the middle we found a decorated tree and a couple of singers performing seasonal songs. Things seemed to be morphing into Christmas.Then we saw the sugary grotto and the display of Christmas makes above.
I particularly enjoyed watching some art workshops. Two or three fairly large groups of people sat imitating the artists who stood at the front with a fixed camera showing their techniques as they worked. This was shown on a large screen so the participants could listened to explanations and paint or draw along, using watercolours or pastels. They all ended with their own representations of the same picture, it was rather impressive. I wish I could draw!
Mmmmm chocolate. But I’m not buying any until we go to Brussels on a jaunt to the Christmas market. I’ve never been on the Eurostar train which travels under the English Channel, it’s going to be fun.
After ExCel we headed to do the really cool thing we’d run out of time for last time; The Fan Museum in Greenwich. Maybe it’s not the most exciting visit, but there is impressive painting and workmanship. If you’re really clever and concentrate you can name all the parts of a fan and explain how they’re made. As you walk inside the rather lovely town house you can imagine the Upstairs, Downstairs lives played out there in the past.
We’re both a little addicted to Groupon, Living Social and Amazon Local deals so anything gets seriously considered; especially if it’s under £5 or £10. This year we’ve done all sorts of outings and activities, as we take it in turns to book the next thing. My friend bought the Fan Museum deal as it was £2 (it’s £2 if you’re a National Trust member anyway, by the way.) The next deal I’ve booked for us is a Charles Dickens London walking tour. We’ve been on the It’s a Ripper and Ghost walking tours this year, and I figure we’ll need the post-Christmas exercise in January.
We then went for a wander in Greenwich park as the light began to fade and wondered where we fancied going next.
Generally, if in doubt, a pub is always a good choice. I haven’t drank in The Gypsy Moth for ages. It was still light when we arrived and only 11 degrees, so we sat in the garden looking at the twinkling lights as the light fell. There was more, but I’ve run out of photos and it really involved more tube travel, the O2 and dinner. And that, was another good day.
On Sunday the Mr and I went to Blenheim Palace to see the Christmas decorations and rather speed walked through the rooms as we’d already seen the Ai Weiwei exhibition. I bet the attendants thought the pair of us were philistines, only there to visit the shop.
The stilt walker was hilarious, Someone wondered how he ties his shoes…
I wouldn’t mind eating Christmas Dinner at the Marlborough’s table.
And home for a mug of tea and some crochet. I promised myself that when all the ends were all darned I could download and read the new Inside Crochet. Apparently I always say “Next time I’ll darn as I go.”
And she’s off….!
I’d planned to finish the zesty raspberry ripple by the end of the month. I was soooo close. Last night I did darn in the rest of the ends, and trebled along both sides. Tonight I’m going to complete the rest of the border, if it’s only a day off that’s not so bad, is it?
This was taken last night under a lamp, so the colours are rather muted. It’s so soft and warm, I know it’s going to used lots and appreciated. I’ll do a ‘FINISHED’ post with all the yarn details soon.