I’m in my happy place

When my friend Gill messages me to find out where I am in London, sometimes I’ll just reply: “I’m in my happy place.” Then she knows where to come and find me immediately. I really enjoy a good mooch around the haberdashery department of John Lewis, Oxford Street, London. I’m often not the only one spending time waiting for a friend, or just having a really really good look around. I think the staff are used to it as well, they’re very laid-back. 

It’s not a huge area, but is full of really, really good quality wool (there’s not a huge amount of acrylic yarn going on here.) I have to admit my spending is mostly confined to a few balls of this and that. I’ve never had a major splurge; probably because I’m always going out and about from there and don’t want to carry a big bag of wool around with me. Plus I haven’t won the lottery yet…

This time I really fell in love with Martin Storey’s Folk Cowl. I actually started gathering some of the Rowan tweed DK I’d need but realised at £7:95 per ball it was going to be a really expensive little make. Drat! I think I’d neeed to find an alternative brand, though the Rowan colours are absolutely perfect. 

Do you think I can try that thing radio DJs do when it’s something like National Pie Week and they throw out masses of hints about wanting to try some? In result they get sent freebies to the radio station… Yes? Anyone want me to test knit this Folk Cowl pattern with these Rowan colours? Do you want my address? I’m really happy to do it for you, that’s the kind of lady I am.

I’m planning to blog every day in May, this is day two and I’m only slightly regretting my decision!

Nine Random Things

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I stopped my subscription to Simply Crochet a few months ago because I was a bit bored, I reckon it’s stuck in a bit of a rut. When they asked readers to complete a questionnaire some months ago I requested more garment patterns. I know I’m not alone in feeling fed up of patterns for small items you don’t want or need. However ( a little positivity coming up now!) I really fancied crocheting the scarf pattern I’d seen Heather of The Patchwork Heart posting pics of on IG. So I picked up a copy last week, there was the added temptation of pretty pins too…but oh! They are mostly rusty – albeit silver coloured rust, not rust coloured, but it’s rust all the same. I can’t use them at all. Boo!
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Ooh now this is a good magazine related bit of news – I’ve been given a year’s subscription to this beauty. I’ll turn into a green eyed monster at times (beautiful homes and expensive lovelies to buy) I know, but I am very pleased.
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This is my catch up reading pile. I asked for my birthday subscription not to be continued for a third year to Mollie Makes, again it’s feeling in a bit of a rut. I really can’t face yet more patterns for felt animals and the target audience feels like it’s for young twenty somethings. That’s fair play especially if it’s encouraging them to develop or learn some crafty skills; I just realised that I hadn’t used any of the mini packs, let alone made any items from the magazine for ages and ages.
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Just because I saw this in a gift shop in Broadway, in the Cotswolds, and it made me smile. It’s one of those things you’d love to say when someone’s being all one-sided me-me-me.
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While I was wondering around Broadway I kept hearing yelping and barking. I ducked down an alley to pop into the Sue Ryder charity shop and saw two pens of hounds. They must belong to the local hunt. I’m a baby where dogs en masse are concerned so this is as close I got.
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I’ve seen these chargers in airports etc before, but how handy to find one in John Lewis (High Wycombe) for free charging.
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My friend gave me a bumper lot of thoughtful presents including this lovely tin. It’s my new things crochet tin as the other was bulging at the seams, especially with a new bigger notebook. Isn’t it similar in design to the Cath Kidson tape measure and needle book? It’s such a good match and right up my street.
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Warning. Warning. Tomato talk incoming! I’m still cooking with my home-gown tomatoes, this time it’s a bacon and olive sauce. Yum. I usually halve the olives but this time left them whole. The house is full of bowlfuls in various stages of ripeness. I never imagined eight plants could produce so much fruit (or did QI state they are wrongly regarded as fruit, when in fact they are the vegetable we all grew up believing them to be? Or have I dreamt that?!)
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I’ve been wincing at sightings of the C word; usually in relation to crafting for ………… but look at what fell out of the new issue of Country Living. With the change of weather and the end of the summer holidays looming it doesn’t feel too early to contemplate booking tickets. Are you going?

What have you been up to lately?

Did you see the ice cream debacle on The Great British Bake Off last night?

In my next post I’ll show you the shawl I’ve been crocheting from the current Simply Crochet. It’s sweet, though I do have a shawl related question: there are so many patterns for them at the moment, they seem to be on trend but……have you actually seen anyone wearing one out? Anyone?

Creative Christmas Windows

When I was on Oxford Street, London, last week I couldn’t stop taking photos of the brand new Christmas windows. The wool window in John Lewis (no they’re not sponsoring me more’s the pity, I just love the shop!) has gone but the creativity of the new displays is amazing. Have a good look at what’s used to make the creatures…

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The last is as I walked along to Selfridges, also a favourite. It was nearly dark when I left and very busy so my iPhone photos of their windows are not very clear.
For me it’s too early to start buying presents in bulk, although I will get something when I see it, but I do love the sparkles, the lights and the air of anticipation.

Wool Window

As part of Wool Week last week John Lewis set up one of their windows as a plainly decorated room and invited various knitters and crocheters to take part in a living display. Passers by could watch them sitting knitting and crocheting, which must have been fun to see as well as being a bit bizarre for both sides.

The yarny creatives gradually yarn bombed the area  (silly term isn’t it? Decorated seems more apt.) I watched it all develop through photos during the week on Twitter which can be an excellent news-service, you often find out about events long before seeing them elsewhere.

I stopped to see it before meeting Emma on Sunday and took so many photos because I found that every time you looked you noticed more woolly items! I found it genuinely inspiring and particularly loved the flowers in the vases, the cat and the covered pink chair. Somebody’s moving pretty fast this week – I think he’s worried he might be covered with crochet or knitting if he stays still for long.

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20131022-073821.jpgFabulousss isn’t it dahlink?

This and that in London

Last weekend in London I found myself taking rather random photos but thought I’d share them with you anyway. I don’t have any of the poncho as it’s still a work in progress. One rectangle is finished, the other is probably halfway through. I don’t knit for long periods with 8mm needles as it’s too much for my little hands!
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I saw these beauties in Liberty of London, one of my favourite shops in the city, and had to add it to a mental wishlist of things to own one day. Imagine opening such a pretty case which is full to the brim with bright ribbons, threads, wool and cotton? I really can. If I visualize it maybe I can make it happen!
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I had a good play with this nifty sewing box, I really like the clever design. I’m always drawn to storage and boxes in particular. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told to “Step away from the tupperware, wicker, tins, jars, cubes – we’ve got enough already!”

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20131010-110530.jpgTa-dah!!!

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This book is so cute, but after my exploits with the cat who’s still in pieces, waiting to be sewn up then sold for charity by a nice friend, I’m not realistic about the dolls ending up 3D…

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And well, the John Lewis Food Hall is full of Halloween at the moment. I couldn’t stop grinning at these (terrified?) skeleton Gingerbread Men, what a funny idea.
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All the orange and black is very eye-catching.

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Screme eggs! Ha ha! Tempted though I was by the thought of the delicious green goo in the middle, I resisted since the long weekend was to be full of birthday meals…

20131010-110726.jpgRegents Street on Saturday, it was lovely and warm but not a blue sky. Sunday was a different matter – you might have thought we’d been transported back to July. So many were wearing t-shirts and sandals, it was gorgeous. We ate lunch outside and basked in the rays, making the most of it since we’re probably due another 8 month Winter. If we could always have a wonderful Summer like we’ve had I would happily put up with a long Winter.

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We ended the weekend with a look around Selfridges. Here’s the man himself made out of jelly beans. I was amused to see some are missing – proving that if it’s edible people will eat it!
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MMmmmm aren’t these lovely. (We resisted.)

I haven’t included all the photos I took of full on ____________________ displays in JL and Selfridges. Let’s get Halloween out of the way first please…!

This week has included cooking chilli, homemade soup, jars of apple & sage jelly to go with Winter roasts, (would anyone like some cooking apples? It’s been a bumper harvest and the apples are HuGe) snuggling down in bed reading Naked by David Sedaris and lots of washing hanging about the house. Welcome to the new season.

As I’m mostly in a knitty frame of mind in the evenings, and occasionally picking up my crochet hook to do more of the hot pink scarf, I haven’t begun with joining my 200 Blocks CAL squares together, or even thinking about them too hard if I’m honest. I don’t mind the thought of doing it at all since I’ll be using crochet to join, but my mind is full of other things. I’ve been in touch with the CAL keeners and they’re all fine with their own joining matters, or pausing like me. One day you’ll see all the blocks laid out and be reading of my planning and dithering for a cottage garden something but just not yet. :-D

What are you up to at the moment? I love hearing from you, as always.

Crochet doings

Morning!

Here’s what I’m doing at the moment, though I’ve haven’t done much crochet this week as the work I’ve put off for so long has to be done by next Thursday.  I’m going to be working next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday elsewhere so time is lacking. I can see a long weekend of sighing and a lot of Earl Grey being drunk next to a red-hot lap top! It’s my own fault, if we really need to talk blame… *smirk*

Here it is in all it’s-all-wibbly-needs-blocking-badly-‘glory’.

I’ve unravelled the first circle so far, it’s the larger one, and am going to make one of those folded circle birds everyone seems to making at the moment.

The other circle  is new and improved with a smaller 3.5mm hook, and greater attention to detail…those stitches have to be counted and recounted as I go, there’s no getting away from it.

 Lynne said that she goes into the back loop when ss into the 3rd chain at the end of a curcuit and she still has gappy bits, so not to worry. She is the master of knitting and crochet, so I’m not worrying about it.

These aren’t the colours I’d have chosen to put together, but I’m using scraps. The surprising thing is I’ve had many compliments on the colour combination! It’s made me like them more. I know. I’m a sucker for flattery…

This is what I call (I know; I sound like Miranda’s Mum!) The Hilton crochet. I stayed in the one in Nottingham last November without taking any crochet. I madly thought it would be good to have a break for a few days. My fingers started itching in an alarming way, so much so that there seemed only one thing to do – I had to go to the John Lewis, conveniently located next door to the hotel, and buy a hook and some cotton.

Experimenting with a different middle. I prefer this to the usual GS cross.

Those pesky ends!!! …Actually it’s not popular to say this but I don’t mind the darning at all. It makes a change and doesn’t take long at all.

Rowan HK cotton. It’s my first go with it. I like it but I’m not sure it works for clothing or a blanket, not for me anyway. Plus it’s mahoosively ££££££ for the 50g you get. They offer a nice range of colours though, I can imagine using it for decorative bits and pieces.

This is probably going to be a bag, only 25 more squares to go I reckon. Don’t hold your breath for a big reveal soon. It’s not going to happen too quickly!!!

My Boden catalogue arrived today. A littleish word caught my eye…..

It’s everywhere, isn’t it?

Fab.

Back to the grindstone. Have a good weekend!

Rachel