Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year to you all!

Or, as they'd say in Germany - ich wuensche Euch einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! xx

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Post-Christmas update

I've been MIA for some time now. It wasn't intentional, but when things get busy, as they often do this time of year, the blog is one of the things that falls off the cliff. There were any number of occasions when I thought 'oh, I need to blog about that', but I just never found the time to upload the photographs, look through them, write a post... I'm sure it was the same for a lot of you too.

We spent Christmas in Germany this year. It was good - seeing family and friends, spending time with the boys, taking walks in the forest, going to the local Christmas market - but it's also oh so very nice to be back. Our return journey was a bit of an adventure because after some quite mild weather the temperature dropped to -10C the day of our departure and it started snowing in the early hours of the morning. I don't think the journey to Rotterdam has ever taken us quite this long, not because we had trouble with our car (we go in a 4-wheel-drive because it isn't the first time we've been caught out by a cold snap) but because everyone else was. This is what the motorway looked like for the majority of our journey:

The boys, of course, were outraged by the whole thing. First there was no snow for DAYS, and then, on the day of our departure, when they can't play in it because they'd get wet and cold, it starts snowing. And not just that - all their hopes of a snowball fight on British shores were dashed when we arrived back home and found that there was not a fleck of snow here! 

We've had some beautiful frosty weather, though, so the day after we got back I grabbed the camera and my knitting and crochet (yes, I've still been working on WIPs!) and went into the back garden to make use of that clear winter light. 

Look at how the natural daylight makes the colours on the mystery blanket pop! I finished all the squares before we left for Germany and then assembled it all while there. I'm still working on the border, but apart from that it's done. I'm so happy with how it's turning out. Here are a few more pictures of it, though not taken outside (the frost everywhere meant that I couldn't spread it out very well...).

It should be big enough to fit a single bed quite comfortably, but I suspect it will probably end up downstairs as a snuggle blanket on the sofa. :)

I've also been working away at the Garter Yoke cardi. I'm finding the sleeve knitting quite dull, so I've been a bit slow with this, but it's made a good travel project so I got a few inches done on the way to Germany and back. I think I have perhaps 5" to go now, so I'll try to prioritise the project so I can start wearing the cardi.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Christmas preparations...

I realise that I've been more than a little bit rubbish with keeping y'all updated on my knitting and crochet progress these past couple of weeks, but Christmas-time is busy-time, you know? Will you believe me when I say that I have been crocheting? And knitting? I just haven't had time to take good pictures and prepare a blog post. Every time I think of it, or have some time, it's evening and I so dislike taking photographs of knitting in anything other than daylight... 

Anyway, please believe me when I say that I will do a BIG progress update next week - either Sunday or Wednesday, depending on how I survive this weekend, because I'm hosting a Christmas party for my work colleagues and their families on Saturday and well, it's crept up on me a bit. I spent this morning while boy #3 was at preschool frantically preparing potato salad and pumpkin soup. I even started on a batch of Christmas cookies because hosting a do and not having a single homebaked cookie in the house? That's just lame. ;-)

Anyway, I got the dough prepared, and then, this evening, the three little terrors helped me cut out shapes and we baked a few batches. 

They turned out really well, which was something that wasn't exactly lost on the boys, and they managed to eat dozens of them when I wasn't looking, but I think if I hide most of them away tonight there will still be enough for the do on Saturday. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Es weihnachtet sehr...

... one of those untranslatable things... It christmasses a lot?!   ;)

In any case, that's what it's doing at our house. We will be in Germany over Christmas this year, so we thought we'd start a little early. The boys love all the decorations, and all that 'getting ready', so we've had a fun afternoon decorating our rather rickety old tree. 

We inherited this tree years ago from MIL, who in turn had inherited it from someone else in D's family, so by now this Christmas tree is rather a senior citizen, and it does show. Every year there are less needles and it looks a bit more wobbly, and every year I think about finally going back to a real tree (we stopped having them when we had the boys), but this year, with not even being here for the main event, it seems a bit nonsensical, and the boys love the fake tree anyway and protested loudly last year when I raised the idea that we might buy a real fir tree. 

Every year I feel as if I won't be able to get into the Christmas spirit at all - this time of year is so busy for all of us and every time I feel I could have done with a few extra weeks - but then, when those decorations come out, and the smell of cinnamon and spices permeates the house, it just happens. 

And that glass of mulled wine that D pressed into my hands earlier might have helped a bit too. ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Another WIP Wednesday...

... and I'm finally catching up!

Let me present - this week's crochet square. Yes, you heard that right, this is actually this week's pattern piece.

I haven't done them all, obviously, but I finished last week's pattern piece on Sunday, meaning that I started on this week's pattern only a few days late and crucially, BEFORE the next piece of the pattern is released on Friday. I've finally done it, I've caught up with the CAL!!

Here is the pattern from the previous week. It was probably my favourite so far - all that delicate lace work in the centre - and it was quite quick to do as well (hence enabling me to catch up). 

The pattern this week is quite fun too, but not quite as much so as last week. I did enjoy doing the little stars in the centre, though, and since you need to break the yarn to continue anyway I decided to just do all the stars first. Cute, no?  :)

Anyway, I'm thrilled with my progress this week, not only because I now actually have a chance to finish the CAL before Christmas but also because it means that I will, occasionally, have time to work on my other projects again. Garter Yoke Cardi here I come!!

Initially I did a single-colour square, just to get used to the pattern, and then I had the seemingly grandiose idea of using two colours, not to do rows but instead to pick out parts of the wheel pattern. It worked - kind of:

I'm not actually too happy with it. Sure, it sort of worked, but the work was immense. Can you imagine all those ends to sew in? Awful! I tried to carry some of them on so I'd have less to sew, but that made the purple bits a bit larger than the yellow, which, again, wasn't that great. This square needed a lot of blocking and shaping to come out the right size... Needless to say, I decided that this pattern piece wanted to be in a single colour (I didn't think different coloured rows would work too well, because they distract from the pattern) and did the rest of them in yellow, purple and green.

Another thing I wanted to show this week is this:

It's that Cheviot fleece I washed the other week. It spins up really nicely and I did this bit at my monthly spinning group a couple of weeks ago. I've been meaning to show my progress ever since, but had the wheel packed away. This morning, though, I had a couple of friends here for coffee. They wanted to learn how to spin, so I dug the wheel and the drop spindles out to show them. So ta-dah, the beginnings of a bobbin of Cheviot yarn. :)

Now tell me, what do you think this is?

Any idea?


I don't blame you! ;)  It's my big 'Red Canvas'. I occasionally paint - usually acrylics, although I've done some oils too. This is not for anyone but myself, so please don't think that I fancy myself an artist, but I enjoy painting and when I have time I occasionally work on a canvas. This one is fairly abstract, The idea came from a photograph, taken while D and I were on honeymoon in New England. I took a picture of my red silk skirt, fluttering in the wind while at the beach. It's this one:

This was years ago, mind, but I really like the picture and the abstract quality of it, and ever since I've been meaning to do something with it. It finally occurred to me that it might be a starting point for a fairly abstract painting. This is a big canvas, and I've only just done 2 layers, outlining the colours and the rough shape, so this is a long way off being finished, but we'll see how things go over the coming months...

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday - still in the middle of a crocheting frenzy...

This Scheepjes Mystery CAL, it's taking over my life! Seriously, I've not got round to any of my other projects because this is literally taking up all the free time I can muster. I've been crocheting during my lunch breaks, and when the kids are watching telly, when I'm waiting in the car or at the doctor's, when I need five minutes of peace, and every single evening. My poor Garter Yoke Cardi is languishing in its bag on top of the sofa, untouched. There is only one sleeve left to do so I should really push ahead with it, but this CAL, it's far too addictive.

I've finally finished the fourth pattern piece. See the little flowers in the middle? Aren't they adorable?

Because I missed last week I also didn't get round to showing off the pattern pieces for week three:

I actually think I found the week three pattern the most enjoyable so far. They were quick, and fun, and I did them in only a few days, which enabled me to catch up a little.

I'm still two weeks behind, though. Tonight I'm going to start on Week 5, but the pattern for Week 6 came out last Friday, so aaaaaahhhh, please stop the bus, I want to get off!! 

There is nothing for it, I will have to persevere!

Here are the pieces so far, in all their glory. :) 

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Monday, November 10, 2014

You know what is one of the most gratifying things for a knitter and crafter?

To see others develop an interest in fibres, and knitting, in crocheting, in creating things. Especially when those others are your children. 

These past few weeks boy #1, aka 'oldest', has been watching me crochet my Scheepjes CAL mystery blanket. Every time I start a new square he's commented, has made colour suggestions, has asked me to tell him about it, has asked me to teach him, has asked me to let him have a go. 

And I have taught him, and I have let him have a go. Admittedly, often I unravelled what he'd done as soon as he was out of the room, but most of the time it's not (anymore) because it's totally wrong but because it always shows in the stitch consistency if someone else picks up and continues your work. Plus, he still pulls quite a bit, which makes for massive loops. ;)

He is getting the hang of it, though, and a few days ago he even came up with his own pattern. I had taught him crochet chains and doubles and trebles, and he was up in his room in the evening, experimenting with that before bedtime. In the morning he came down and presented me with a necklace.

Apparently he'd been meaning to make a wrist band but ended up crocheting into the same stitch over and over. Maybe a slightly unorthodox way of creating a pattern, but a pattern it is, because he then set out to teach me how do make what he calls a 'Donut Necklace'. They really are quite pretty, aren't they? :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Happy Bonfire Night...

Hope you are enjoying the fireworks somewhere. :)

I've been hopeless in updating the blog these past few weeks. Work has been mad, just completely mad. It should get better after this week is over, so I'm looking forward to having a bit more time to dedicate to blogging (and knitting! And crocheting! And spinning! And reading! You get the picture...) 

I'd been planning to update with some knitting and crochet progress, but it'll have to wait. Sorry! :( xx

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday catch-up...

I can't believe it's been a week since I've last updated. These past couple of weeks have been sooo busy! And the changing of the clocks doesn't help much either. Nobody tells little children about daylight saving time! All the people we know who have no kids, or bigger kids rejoice about an hour longer in bed, while us, and everybody else with little ones, just has to make do with an hour less sleep every night, because of course you immediately adjust the time you go to bed to an hour later, but your kids will still be up at their usual time, which now isn't 6am but 5am. Oh, the joy!

Despite all the work and the lack of sleep, I've been knitting, though. And crocheting. Mainly the latter, actually. I'm still 2 pattern pieces behind. Actually, it's a bit more than that now, actually, so things are not exactly moving in the right direction! Still, I've nearly completed all the pieces for pattern piece 2 and the weird popcorn stitch. 

Once it's done it's not quite so bad, but it's still not my favourite pattern. I'm looking forward to pattern piece 4, which has a lovely flower in the middle of each square. Very cute. :)  

Other than that I've slowly making headway with the Garter Yoke cardi. I'm basically at the end of the first sleeve now, with just the cuff to go. I'm kind of bored with this now - while it makes great mindless knitting it's also quite dull to just knit stockinette in the round... Can't wait for it to be finished.

No progress at all on the Lombard Street Socks, mainly because I've forgotten it at work for the past week. That said, right now the crochet squares have replaced it as my small portable project. I'm determined to get this done before Christmas though! 

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Look what arrived last week:

It's the yarn for my Scheepjes Mystery CAL blanket!! I'm so excited!

Needless to say, I've been a little preoccupied. I only wish I wasn't so busy at work or I'd have crocheted far more. As it is I have at least completed the first part of the pattern - 6 squares. They are quite large, about 20cm x 20cm, so it took a while. I'm still very much behind (about 2 or 3 pattern pieces) because my yarn arrived so late. Hopefully I'll still manage to catch up, but if not there is an alternative November start date that I could join. 

This is the start of pattern piece 2. Popcorn stitches... So far I'm not entirely sold on this, but I'm sure it'll be fine when combined with the rest of the pattern pieces. 

In all the excitement I haven't quite forgotten about my Garter Yoke Cardi. It's coming on nicely - managed to do a few inches during Downton Abbey on Sunday night, so sleeve #1 is nearly done! :) 

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