Tuesday, 29 March 2011

daisy blanket update...

Yesterday, I was mostly... hooking and baking!

Well... sort of anyway. I woke at silly o'clock - I'm a bit rubbish at sleeping at the best of times but for some reason yesterday I was awake at 5 (which was really 4, of course! Do you do this too? spend the entire day after the clocks have changed thinking in 'yesterday's time' or 'today's time'?!!).

Came down for a cup of tea at 6 and watched a bit of the Grand Prix with B. Have never really been into motor sports but since he came home from uni have kind of got sucked in! Much more tactical than I ever realised and its nice to share it with him. Plus it gave me an excuse to do a bit of early morning crochet!

My daisies are growing now and I am at that point where I just want it to be finished! Its not that I'm fed up with it - I am love, love, loving it - but I can't wait to see it finished; really looking forward to doing the border! Does that sound a bit mad?

Of course, I couldn't ignore the boring jobs for ever and then spent pretty much all morning trying to juggle money from one account to another so that I can cover all the bills this month. I do know that on the scale of things we are pretty fortunate - we both have jobs etc etc but I can't believe that 24 years into marriage we still struggle if we try to do anything other than the day to day stuff! We have no savings (not for want of trying) and so every time there is a big bill or an unexpected expense we are scraping the barrel again. I keep being reminded I have just been away and yes that was an unusual expense, but I did do it as cheaply as possible - cheap flights, cheap accommodation, next to no spending money, cheap time of year... Its not as though we have ever had annual big holidays or anything. We have just never been able to do it. Seems every time we begin to get straight we have to spend money on the car, or the boys, or the house... Last month should have just been my holiday (which believe me was an essential!!) most of which I paid for a while ago anyway - then the boiler packed up (£198), I had to have 2 tyres (£70), had to pay for gas refill (£230 - LPG, outrageously expensive downside of living in the sticks) plus extra driving lessons (an eye watering £21 per hour! please God let him pass next time!!!) and an extra driving test (£62). End result? Come payday - virtually everything is spent already and we are scrimping til the next one! Good job my boys will eat lentils...

Anyway, this wasn't intended to be a moan - just that after getting all that lot straight I decided I needed to sit and have some quality hooking time! So I did! A bit decadent but I spent most of the afternoon rattling off daisies! 

I've been hooking a few, fitting them into place and then sewing them up so it feels as though it grows in fits and starts, but it is big enough now to be really cosy on your lap!

I am loving making this blanket. There is something quite challenging about the randomness of it - because, of course, its not really 'random' in the true sense, as it has been quite a puzzle at times to get it to fit together. I deliberately didn't plan ahead as I wanted to just see what evolved but I found at the beginning that I was inadvertently stretching some squares as I sewed them in. So its not the most even of blankets - some of the squares look a little 'squished' and some a bit elongated - but overall I don't think it matters. It just looks 'homemade-y' to me - which is fine!

What I am trying to do now though is make a pile of different sized and coloured daisy squares, then lay them out so that I keep the edges more or less in line. Otherwise I thought I might end up with a very tricky edge to put a border on!!

I had to take it upstairs to take the photos, partly to try and get some better natural light and also because I wanted to see how I was doing for size laid out on the bed.

What do you think?! I'm aiming for big enough for a single bed so I reckon I'm about 2/3 of the way there? Plus the border. Yay!

I had to stop as I was running out of the deep blue so decamped to the kitchen for a bit of a baking session. It ended up being a bit of a cobbled bake as the cupboards were a bit sparse for ingredients (have been for a badly needed shop today!) but one lemon drizzle cake, a dozen pecan and coffee muffins and a tray of toffee oat slices later and the whole house smelt yummy.

Lemon drizzle is a bit of an old favourite - basic ingredients made delicious by a bit of sugar and lemon juice!

The coffee and pecan muffins started off intending to be coffee and walnut but in the absence of walnuts... and they are not bad at all!!

The toffee oat slices were an attempt to make an alternative to flapjacks (I always make flapjacks!!!) and were basically an oat, sugar, flour (gluten free in this case) and butter crumble with a layer of caramel in the middle. Seriously, not one for the waistline but boys seem to need to put away shed loads of calories just to keep going and given that half of the tin had gone before I could take a photo, I guess they are ok!  The only problem is that they are a bit crumbly so not quite the lunchbox snack I'd had in mind - back to good old flapjacks for that I think!

When I sat down again in the evening I didn't quite know what to do with my hands - couldn't make any more daisies, couldn't face more granny squares for Sarah London's appeal ( I am up to 12 so far & I will do some more but I do find plain grannies just a bit tedious after a while...), don't really want to do any more of my big ripple til I've finished the daisy blanket as I'd pinched some of the colours... 

I don't really enjoy the TV much, there's the odd thing I don't mind watching but there's very little on that makes me want to fully turn all my attention to it so I prefer to be in the room with whoever's watching doing a bit of crochet or something. At Christmas I was given this book...

...and this yarn...

The colours are gorgeous so, partly inspired by Alice (and her Mum!) I thought I'd have a go at some socks with it. This is my first attempt at knitting socks and although there are some really lovely patterns in the book, the instructions are a bit vague and all the needle and wool recommendations are American so this may be a bit hit and miss!

You knit both socks at once on circular needles so its a bit fiddly to begin with and it feels as though the yarns are going to get completely tangled but I'm making a bit of headway now and loving the way this yarn knits up. Its Stylecraft Life DK in 'Volcano' and is a wool/acrylic mix. Although it says it is DK it feels a bit finer than the acrylic DK I've been crocheting with and I'm using a smaller needle. I have already found that the pattern doesn't quite work for this yarn - if I'd kept increasing as I was suppose to I'd have ended up with two small hats I think! So it might all get tricky when I get to the heel, I may have to make it up when I get to that bit! The plus of this method is that you do end up with two socks the same - whether mine will even remotely fit remains to be seen!

I'm hoping they'll at least be house-worthy! But I suspect not up to Alice's Mum's standard!!

Will let you know how I get on!




  1. Great post I really enjoyed reading it :-) You have baked up a storm and it all looks delicious. I love that Daisy blanket and am planning one for my lounge, it looks so cool with all the different sized squares. Well done to trying the socks and love the colour of that wool ( I just made a cowl of a very similar colour ) I have knit socks from the toe up and from the top down and I have never got past the heel....I will be keeping an eye on you and Alice :-) Never mind about the finances, life is like that, at least you will have warm feet ;-)

  2. I love the daisy blanket...beautiful!

  3. thst blanket is stunning and coming along nicely. I was interested that you used gluten free flour for your toffee oat slices, I am coeliacs so have to use it but I'm not very successful when I do.
    Know whatyou mean about expenses..just had to tax my car, fill it up, go to supermarket etc etc all in one day...broke now! ha ha but I did buy some lovely cotton yarns......say no more x x Pauline


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