Thursday, 3 January 2019

New beginnings...

Some simple pleasures to round off 2018 and ease into 2019...
Bristol cathedral's rather lovely nativity... a place to spend a few moments quietly contemplating.


A bracing Boxing Day walk through woods and by the spectacular Clifton suspension bridge...






Winter sunlight on ferns...


 A moment to sit and think...


A bit of time to finish hooking my scrap busting blanket, which turned out to be a very satisfying project, not least because I didn't spend a penny on it and I have cleared about 1/3 of my unused yarn stash!



A bright start to the New Year was perfect for a walk to shake off cobwebs. Looking back on the pictures I took I am struck by what a focal point the Anglican cathedral in Norwich is. From the riverside path...


From the viewpoint at Mousehold Heath...


Through the trees at Kett's Heights, another new discovery for me, just 30 minutes or so walk from home...



Against a backdrop of slowly sinking sun and dramatic clouds as I made my way home...




The light was lovely - through golden gorse...



And trees stripped of their leaves...


Delicate grasses...


And ancient brickwork...


And enough blue sky to remind me that even winter has its bright moments...



I am resolving to be more appreciative of my world, and to try to find a meaningful way through life this year... 
Wishing all a peaceful, restorative and healthy 2019.
S x


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Remembrance Day 2018...

I always find the sound of the bagpipes moving and yesterday was no exception, with a small crowd gathered outside the great West door of Norwich cathedral to hear a lone piper play 'Battle's O'er'  at 6am along with pipers at 2,000 locations across the UK and elsewhere. 


Followed by candles lit for peace in the cathedrals peace globe...


When I came out of the cathedral there was a solitary bird singing its heart out and the sky was lightening. I walked down to the river and slowly home a rather scenic route as the day woke up...




There was an incredible stillness in the air, with reflections like mirror images on the river...



I was home by 7.30am so snuggled up with coffee and my growing stash-busting project for an hour before getting ready to head back to the cathedral with my mum for the remembrance service. There is something very rhythmic and restorative about steady progress of rows of crochet.


I am quite enjoying this project. It is very satisfying to see all those odds and ends and half balls of wool disappearing into something useful. There is no plan to this at all - 2 strands of yarn at a time, one dark and one bright colour, random changes and half trebles worked with a great big hook that makes for rapid progress.


I am using up a complete mix of yarns - mostly double knitting but some aran and some 4 ply, with the lovely colours but slightly scratchy feel yarns getting 'softened' by the soft cottons or cashmerino blends. And the slightly 'yucky' colours or overly bright 'why on earth did I buy that' colours getting toned down a bit with a more muted shade.


I am not really thinking too much about the colours but every so often just photograph it to do a kind of check that its not too wildly unbalanced. I still seem to have stacks of yarn but beginning to make a dent in it! And the end result will be a mixture of memories of makes for family and friends going back over almost 40 years from very first projects many years ago. It feels like times and places are woven into the fabric of this project that just fell out of a bit of boredom and a rummage through my left over yarns...


A day of quiet reflection and thankfulness...

S x



Saturday, 10 November 2018

'Lest we forget...'

I don't feel I have words this week...too much emotion in the air. But a little bit of Tunisian crochet for Remembrance Day tomorrow, since my paper poppy is looking a little crumpled.


For love, loss and remembrance...
S x

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Stash-busting...

There is something about this time of year that makes me want to reach for the yarn bag. Or in my case the yarn bag, box under the bed, odd bag in the cupboard and chest of drawers in the spare room! I seem to have balls of yarn stuffed in every spare space, from projects over the years (some many years!) and the onset of colder, dark evenings made me want to reach for the crochet hook and get blanket making.

I finished the baby blanket that has been stored for 25 years half made...



I have no baby to give it to yet but at least it can go back in the drawer completed and just wait for the right occasion. I do love this pattern and think I would make it again but after all that white I was craving for a bit of colour. Then when hunting for a crochet hook I came across this stash of cotton yarns...

It was like falling upon a rainbow! Some of these date from my very first forays into crochet several years ago when I treated myself to a few balls of lovely Rowan hand knit cotton each time I spotted one in the 'end of lines' box in my yarn store. Of course, when you do this a bit aimlessly without a project in mind you often don't end up using them! Or I don't! So I decided I should do something with these but didn't want to make another granny blanket. Initially I wondered about a ripple but I had this urge to do a rainbow on the diagonal and came across a corner to corner pattern which grow in blocks - perfect! 

It grows quickly in blocks of 4 trebles and I am loving it. It is easy enough once you have the pattern in your head to do in front of a film or easy TV but different enough for me to keep my interest. And relatively few ends to sew in which is always a bonus in my book!

I had pretty much decided to just use up each colour but in fact the first 3 colours conveniently finished at the end of rows and when I got to the yellow it became obvious that a) that would be way too much yellow at once and b) I really needed another round of colours to balance things across the size of a blanket.

I slightly regret the few blocks of green at the beginning of the row but in the spirit of stash busting decided to leave it. Only guess what? Now I need to go and get some more of the dark purple, the light blue, green and orange so that I can repeat the rows! I still have a similar darker blue and the yellows and reds and I don't mind if they are not an exact match but it does rather defeat the object if I end up with more left over at the end!

I am trying to be a bit careful with pennies at the moment so I have put the rainbow project to one side and am really going for it with the rest of the yarn I have stowed! The current project is a complete mish mash of all the dark and bright yarns I have - using a huge hook and 2 strands of different yarns with easy rows of half trebles. I can't quite decide if I am going to like it or not but there is something satisfying about seeing these balls of wool that have been kicking around for years get used up and it is making a very cosy blanket to sit under of an evening! Might post photos at a later stage!

I wonder whether I will ever have the discipline to only buy wool for what I am making and not extra odd balls...

S x




Thursday, 4 October 2018

Autumn walks and uncovering unfinished projects...

The last couple of weeks have definitely had an autumnal feel but the last 2 days have seen some lovely sunshine, not with the heat of summer sun but enough to make a walk by Whitlingham Broad very pleasant. The leaves are only just beginning to turn but the hedgerows are full of hips and berries.


I love the sunlight on the water - I have done this walk many times, and probably taken hundreds of very similar photographs but I never tire of it...





After a 9 1/2 mile round trip walk I indulged a little crafty time in front of the television - some time ago I came across this WIP tucked in a pillow case in a drawer in my spare room, with my wedding veil of all things! Goodness knows why I had stowed it away like that but I guess I must have had a reason! 

This pattern was in a 1993 Prima magazine...


...and has been tucked away for almost all of that time! I started knitting it when I was pregnant with my third child, who has just had his 25th birthday! I'm not quite sure what possessed me to start a baby blanket when I had a 4 year old, a 2 year old, had just moved house and was due to have baby number 3...! Needless to say, I hadn't got very far!

It looks a complicated pattern but actually, is very easy, knitted in small squares and sewn together into 7 larger squares.  When I found it, I had completed just 8 small squares. Although there are no babies pending (that I know of!) I thought I may as well finish it and then put it away again in the hope that it might be used one day. Each small square takes me an evening so really it hasn't taken long to get to this stage...



 The yarn is Sirdar Soft Cotton 4 ply - I'm not sure if you can still buy exactly the same yarn, think this pre-dates mercerised yarns so it does have a slight tendency to be a bit splitty but it is beautifully soft and drapey.

Just the border to finish now...


I don't usually use anything so fine and certainly not just in white but it does feel very traditional and I do love it. And it has made me want to get another project underway because, inevitably, it looks as though there are going to be a couple of balls over... Might just have to go and get a bit more 4 ply, maybe with a bit of colour and hmmm...maybe a soft, cottony, drapey crochet blanket...?

S x