Week 29: CAL Blocks #85 #86 #87

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#85 Lemon stripe

5 1/2″ square

There was some talk amongst some of the CAL block makers that the pattern was wrong and should say to make 4ch in the corners of R5&6, not 3, but I stuck to the pattern and mine’s fine. But then my tension’s not tight at the best of times, you can try it both ways and see what works best for you.

This is not an attractive looking block, in any combination of colours in my opinion. In fact if the BBC Dr Who production team are looking for a fabric covering for aliens then I suggest they look no further.

Nope, still not a fan of the ole popcorns!

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#86 Sunray

5 1/2″ square

I crocheted this a few weeks ago, along with the other blocks of week 28, as it looked straightforward to make while watching something good on telly. I just can’t remember what it was now.

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#87 Peony

5 3/4″ square

After trying once with my usual 4mm hook I used a 5mm for the 2ch foundation chain, then carried on with the 4mm. It was much easier, far far less fiddly and as you’re going to darn in the end nice and neatly, which always tightens up the initial ring, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a bit loose to begin.

There are a few ‘ss into the first of the 3ch’ instructions at the end of some rounds – but you haven’t begun with 3chains. Oops yet again.IMG_2268

None of these blocks make my heart go pitter patter, but the top Sunray block is probably my favourite. Lots of these in nice colour combinations would be a fun throw; I’m thinking rusts, browns and autumnal colours.

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Mile of Mice News: There are now 40 mice knitters in my KAL group on Ravelry. Just look for the Mile of Mice KAL group and come knit a mouse or two along with us. It’s for a very good cause to raise money for The Alzheimer’s Society, and the project will also attempt to set a Guinness World Record in October here in the UK.

The organiser Libby is sorting out a crochet pattern at the moment. If you’re on Facebook and have a mouse crochet pattern, which will make an approximate 9″ mouse from nose to tail, please get in touch with her via the Mile of Mice group.

I’m so embarrassed about my mice bodies pictures (thanks for pointing out why I should be Patch) I’m not even going to link to the post, and you know how much I love linking things. I’ve knitted 7 bodies now. I must knit some ears soon as I already need 14 of the fiddly little things!

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The other day I was watching The Gilmore Girls season 7 and there’s an episode about Stars Hollow holding a knitathon to raise money for local bridge repairs. Just try to see that episode and tell me how many of the actors can actually knit, or look as if they’ve ever held a pair of needles and yarn in their lives?!

I’m new to the lovely Gilmores, it crept up on me slowly from the 5th series or so. At first I thought they gabbled on all the time talking soo fast and were a bit too slick but I’m now watching to the end of the series. I record episodes shown on the Freeview 5* channel which shows one a day at 4pm on weekdays; if you’re also in the UK and want to see what I’m talking about. I then plan to rent the series from 1-4 and see Rory grow up. It’s a bit like Benjamin Button (terrible film!) going from OAP-baby.

Enough waffle! I’m off to heat up the River Cottage parsnip & ginger soup I made earlier and cook some lamb kebabs for dinner. :-D

Wool House, Somerset House – London

Yesterday I met the lovely Natasja of Crochetime blog for the first time, and  we had a great time wandering around the rooms of Wool house, an exhibition in Somerset House, London. This was my first time visiting Somerset House, despite walking past many times. Wool House is situated in just the West Wing, so you can imagine the scale of the building.

So what it is all about? Wool house has been developed by high-profile designers working with The Campaign for Wool which was launched in 2010 by The Prince of Wales. Their aim is to promote real wool as it is a sustainable and natural fibre for use in fashion, interiors and the built environment. The designers were given a brief as to the type of room and a description of the look; such as a country feel or bright and bold. I loved something about all of the rooms, they are wonderful.

Click on photographs to view larger sizes (see the whole crochetdermy bear’s head for instance!) Or let the mouse hover pictures to read my comments, some are admittedly fairly inane.

A wonderful visit. Wool House ends this coming Sunday, so you still have time to visit. It’s free – if that’s an incentive!
I also recommend meeting up with fellow bloggers and turning virtual people into real-life friends. It might not always be successful, you might not click, but who knows? You have every chance of meeting a like-minded friend, but you won’t know until you try. Natasja and I will definitely be meeting again for more crafty events and chatter. :-)

The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show, London

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I’ve had a very good day. Very good indeed. I tried not to take hundreds of photos but did bear in mind that quite a few readers have said they are looking forward to hearing about the day.

On the tube journeys to Kensington Olympia I played a little game to guess who would be going to the knitting and stitch show. It wasn’t too hard. Do they have a: knitted/crocheted hat? Knitted/crocheted scarf? Handmade item(s) of clothing? Colourful bag? Flowery rucsac? Anything Cath Kidson? All were complete give-aways. I followed a couple of women for two parts of the journey and then bumped into them by the ribbon and button stall where we had a chat, as you do. I tend to chat to people wherever I am, whatever I’m doing and there were some very friendly people at the show.

In case you’re wondering; I wore my knitted lacy purple scarf, it’s warm but I also had a feeling it’s de rigueur at crafty events to wear something handmade. I was right. I saw a divine cabled top, really nice chunky wool, it just fit and suited the wearer so well. I had to stop myself from rushing up to ask for the yarn details, pattern and needle size. 019021

The lady in purple is Lara (mid cough, oops) the editor of Mollie Makes who was later running a VERY popular crochet flower workshop throughout the day. I tried to find a spare chair, but each time I passed they were all occupied, with spectators standing around too! I’m so glad crochet is so popular. When I said I really like MM Lara seemed genuinely delighted, she seems very sweet. 024Wow. Just wow! A lady and I joked that you’d have one very muscly arm from using these hooks!

025Perhaps knitting would give you an equally balanced upper arm workout?027This is where I made my resolution, yet again, to relearn to sew. Aren’t the fabrics beautiful?

028029The next two photos really, really made me want to visit the Mrs Moon shop which speaks volumes for the beautiful layout of the wools, patterns and samples. The women looked so elegant as well.

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Rowan Big Wool. Mmmmm I feel a snood or scarf coming on sometime, in a berry red or grey perhaps.033

The next two pictures were part of an area with a table of free-form crocheters who, I think, were making pieces to decorate costumes. There were some women in huge dresses, painted faces and high-high-high-up hair, or wigs, like the aristocrats during the French Revolution. The area was labelled The Garden of England Royal Museums Greenwich.The show is turning into a good way to check out new places and visit other exhibitions, rather like following a trail of bread crumbs.035039

I was forbidden to take a photograph of the felting and silk artist Yulia Badian in her Woodland Boudoir fetchingly dressed as a woodland fairy, but drinking a can of red bull. She was quite attention grabbing I can tell you.041042

Deebie Hall’s ‘Lady Spring

I’m always partial to willow art. 044

Sue Stratford’s The Knitting Hut was also one of my favourites. Just look at those chicken kits! Several were purchased as I browsed. I took a photo of her knitted meerkats but sadly it’s a fuzzy one.047

Just when I was beginning to flag I spotted a spare chair at The Knitter/Simply Knitting table, opposite the full to bursting MM crochet area. Half an hour knitting alongside friendly people felt equal to a session of meditation. I can’t describe how relaxed I felt after that pit-stop. I liked that you could take the whole ball of wool, needles and pattern away all for free.

Something funny happened during the session. Eight of us knitters sat around a circular table and I noticed that seven were ‘throwing’ the wool. The eighth was an older woman who knit sliding her hand up and along the needle. The rest not. One of the magazine editor demonstrators complimented the neatness of mine which led to discussing techniques and the feeling that persists which says I’m ‘not doing it right’. All agreed it’s an individual thing; there are many ways to accomplish the same end. All good, all rosy. I’m feeling pretty confident showing off my technique in public while hoards flow around the area, some taking photos of us (eek!) THEN a group of Grannies come along and make quite a deal of the throwing technique and actually take one woman’s knitting away to show her how to ‘do it properly.’

“Look, you wrap the wool round your fingers like this, see? You hold the needle under and do NOT take your hand off…blah blah.” The lady took it quite well but I’m just so glad it wasn’t me.

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This was my favourite quilt from the exhibition, it’s so country home in style.052

On the tube home I heard fragments of people’s conversation:

‘I spend my limit then I stop. Do you remember last year when I didn’t have enough money left for a cup of coffee?”

“He’s expecting me home later than this but will come to get us when I tell him what time the train gets in. Umm NO! I haven’t told him how much I’ve spent!”

“Next time I’m gonna take a wheelie bag to fill, and probably get right in people’s way.”

“Bugger! I’ve got me wool stuck in my zip aint I?!”

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I’m very pleased with my Clover crochet hook, bought from Jane Crowfoot. She’d sold out of 4mm but this was one that was lurking in an under the counter box. She did say she might be in trouble with her Mr for selling too many and not having enough for online customers, but they’ll just have to wait eh? Lucky me!

I’m off to drink a large glass of red wine, finish my bunting with my beautiful alpaca wool, or maybe unravel it to crochet something with my NEW HOOK!

Happy weekend everyone.