Reasons to be Cheerful

My wool delivery came! And it didn’t take that long either, despite many warnings that there are delays. Thanks Wool Warehouse.

I ordered lots of balls and in a few different colour-ways, so I can power on with my Coast blanket. I managed 57 minutes of crochet while on a call earlier. That’s impressive work for my dodgy hand.

Slowly, slowly I’m knitting my next dishcloth*. Choosing the design for February must have been a breeze. I really like it. I always enjoy lace knitting, though I have to concentrate.

I had a proper lightbulb moment the other day as I kept worrying that I was doing something wrong. It wasn’t looking heart-like at all. Thank goodness I didn’t undo and go back to the beginning! I probably missed a pattern note where it says the hearts appear upside down. I made someone jump by suddenly shouting “OMG, there ARE hearts after all!”

It turns out I’m not the only one who worried about this one. Always a relief.

*It’s part of a free 12 month KAL, go back to my last post for the link and description.

Winter flowers and the promise of Spring flowers. The garden is coming to life. Just look at those cheeky little croci coming up in the gap between the last two steps. We missed these last year, as we moved after they’d flowered. After the snow had gone it was a nice surprise to find a carpet of lilac all over the garden.

Look at these tulips; despite my not having cleared away some of the leaves of the grape leaf anemone, they’re coming up anyway. Top marks for doing what they’re meant to do. I felt so guilty I stopped snapping photos and did a bit of tidying to help them along.

Chicken soup in the making (much therapeutic chopping while listening to favourite artists on Spotify.) Apparently I said we were having chicken soup for dinner on Wednesday, three times on Tuesday. I don’t dispute that. My memory is fine. I was just excited! It feels so healthy and tastes great too. I added garlic, mixed herbs, homegrown dried bay leaves, red pepper, leeks, Merchant Gourmet ready cooked puy lentils, sweetcorn, chicken stock, leftover Sunday roast chicken and a spoonful of leftover double cream, a good grind of fresh black pepper and pinch of salt. So good. Sooo good.

Refreshing walks relieve head pressure and get the body moving. I score myself out of 10 some days and never failed to return feeling an 8/10.

I know many don’t have such beautiful places and views nearby. I’m really sorry if that’s you. I’m appreciative and grateful, I don’t take it for granted.

We had the Beast from the East again last week. Temperatures went down to -5° some nights and didn’t get above 0° on the whole during the day.

We walked Saturday afternoon, it was -1°. That wasn’t the coldest walk we’ve had, but might have been one of the swiftest 4.5 miles because of the bitingly cold wind.

I found a few big chunks of ice in different places on verges, where there were no puddles at all. My shoe was for scale. Aren’t they thick? I reckon they may have come off a farm vehicle as it went along the track.

Homemade cinnamon buns with a toffee sauce and clementine glaze. Nuff said!

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I’m going to admit that I started this blog post with rather gritted teeth. I feel like I’ve finally hit the wall this week. We’ve been in lockdown to varying degrees coming up for a year now. It’s worn thinner than thin.

Getting out into the garden to photograph the flowers earlier was a good decision. I also had a nagging feeling that if I didn’t blog today, I might well not blog again. It’s been proactive to list reasons to be cheerful. It’s a bit like smiling when you don’t feel like smiling, but by the end of the fake smiling, you are genuinely smiling…

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I really appreciate it when you read and comment here or contact me privately elsewhere. Tell me a few things. How are you feeling? What are your reasons to be cheerful right now? Have you made anything as sinful as my cinnamon buns? (Ha that’s a hard challenge to beat!)

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.

A Mile of Mice

Do you know what these are? I’ll give you a minute…..

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Did you guess?
They are little mouse bodies of course!
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This is as the pattern instructs with M1 increases, going into the bar between stitches and knitting into the back. Hideous! Somehow I nearly stabbed myself in the eye a few times when trying, and failing, to stick the needle into the back of the picked up bar. My friend and I were knitting along together last night, albeit in different counties, but using the power of texts, FB messenger and photos to compare our techniques. In the end she made her poor husband stop watching his tv programme and video her knitting the inc. in what we agreed is the easier ‘old way’.

How do you make neat increases with the M1 method? It’s supposed to invisible but mine are certainly not! In my defense I’m new to this method.

The body below was knit using a traditional increase; knit a stitch, then knit into the back. There’s a fairly nice neat line of stitches along the back.
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Why mice? Here’s a link to the Make & Craft magazine website which tells you all about A Mile of Mice charity project and plans to attempt a Guinness World Record in October. You can also download the free knitting pattern and sponsorship form.

If you fancy knitting a mouse, or a Mischief of Mice(!) and want to join in a KAL to share your creations then please let me know in a comment below. I’ll post links to your mouse photos when we get going. You don’t need to be a blogger; I can link to Ravelry, Facebook, Flickr or Instagram etc. It’s a fun project for a good cause.

I’ve started a KAL Mile of Mice group on Ravelry. There is a Mile of Mice group on Facebook, which has presumably been set up by the organiser of the project, Libby. If you have any questions head to Facebook. :-)

Now I need to buy some 3.25mm needles otherwise my mice will be ear-less!

Week 28: CAL Blocks #82 #83 #84

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#82 Webbed Lace

This is the runty one of the litter this week, I’ve crocheted it with a 4mm and 3.5mm hook. Both are rectangular, nowhere near square. Guess what I’m going to say about this pattern? (Prizes if you get it.)

This would make a nice Springtime scarf in the right kind of yarn! (Did you win?)

4mm=6″W x 5″ H

3.5mm=5 3/4″W x 4 1/4″H

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#83 Diamond in a Square

3.5mm=5 1/4″ but then I added two more R8 to enlarge the block so it’s 5 3/4″. I just fancied using my pink 3.5mm hook for a change from the blue 4mm, so I did.

Now tell me is there a mistake in the instructions for R6? There don’t seem to be enough instructions before the corner space stitches. I just trebled along until the last 3htr, surely it should specify 14tr then 3htr? There’s always the photo in the book to check; but I think of how confused I’d have been if this particular block was the first I tried as a newbie.IMG_2260

#84 Combination Stripes

5 3/4″ – 5 1/2″ depending on if you’re measuring the fat or thinner end!

I thought this was less wonky than my usual (unblocked) corner squares, but looking at this photo I’m not so sure. Generally the corners where you increase, rather than decrease, come out less wibbly for me. It’s probably all about the tension.

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Week 28! Wow I can’t believe we’ve been going since 1st September crocheting and posting pics! WELL DONE if you’ve been with me since the beginning and are still crocheting along. I could post a list of links to current block-makers’ blogs in my CAL week 29 post to make it easy for readers to click to yours so they can have a peep. Just send me a link to your last CAL post here if you fancy.

I’ve heard from Jen of The Eclectic Stitch to say she’s rejoining the CAL which is cool. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of her blocks.

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I’m thinking of taking part in A Mile of Mice which according to the Make & Craft website involves: ‘knitting a mile of knitted mice to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Society. 7600 mice need to be joined nose to tail and measured at Altrincham Football Ground in October 2013 to gain a Guinness World Record and gain publicity for The Alzheimer Society. Knitters can be sponsored and the mice will be sold off after the Big Measure to raise more money for them. Donations of money, wool or stuffing most welcome from people who don’t want to knit themselves.’

I thought I could make a pink alpaca mouse, or two, from my Knitting and Stitching Show workshop wool. Every mile of mice needs a pink alpaca family.

Shall we get involved and do a mini KAL? (Knit-along) but with no fixed schedule? I’m happy to post links to blogs/photos showing completed mice. It could be squeaking good fun. What do you reckon?