Tuesday, 26 July 2016

A crochet chat

About two years I decided I needed a bit of a creative outlet. I set myself a little challenge to teach myself how to crochet. I thought it would be easy - one little crochet hook, a ball of wool, what could be so tricky about that? Well, it wasn't quite as easy as I thought...

My ipad an I spent many evenings attempting various stitches with varying degrees of success. I struggled with the tension and my crochet samplers grew and shrunk with some alarming regularity. As they say, practise makes perfect and whilst nothing is ever quite perfect my confidence grew and I began to try out work that was a little more exciting than a scarf!

One of the things that I enjoy making is blankets. I love the anticipation of the project, sorting through the colours and the repetitiveness of row after row coming together. To date I have either followed a pattern or just slightly tinkered a bit with the colours. I got a little bit brave a few months ago and decided I could manage to venture alone...

I considered my colour choices, decided on the basic stitch and started. I often give my blankets as gifts but I still need to love them whilst I'm in the process. With this one the love began to waiver about a third of the way through. The irregularity of the stripe was beginning to bother me. The initial attraction to the randomness just wasn't working anymore. I noticed that the blanket wasn't really progressing as I just wasn't drawn to picking it up in the evenings.

Thankfully, the solution came to me and the answer was to mirror the pattern from the halfway point. Ahhh, symmetry..... all became well in my crochet world!

I've worked blankets with lots of different colour stripes in the past but these three shades needed rhythm and purpose.

Once a blanket is completed I'm itching to get going again. As a welcome change I looked for a quick start and finish project.

Back in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in the little town that was my home for many years the planning is underway  for 'Yarndale'. This is a creative festival of all things woolly and they have a community project that you can contribute to wherever you are in the world. This year the community project is to make a woolly sheep. These sheep will be a visual display during the Yarndale weekend and then they will be sold with the proceeds going to Martin House - a hospice to care for children and young people in Yorkshire and a donation will also go to The Children's Liver Disease Foundation.

I have watched the crochet community post their creations on social media and marvelled at the different interpretations. From my attempts my favourite was my little girly sheep in her pink jumper, so she will packaged up and sent back to Yorkshire. I wonder where she'll end up?

Details of the woolly sheep community project can be found -  HERE and you have until September 9th to contribute.

Another community project that I have just completed also came to my attention via social media. It's called #jennysblanketofhugs. A very kind and thoughtful individual is creating a blanket for a young girl who sadly has just learnt that her brain tumour has returned. The idea is that people can crochet squares that will then be made up into a blanket.

I really wanted to do my bit to contribute to this blanket. I set to work on the plain square and after a couple of attempts (that tension thing again!) I managed to get the required size about right. The same thing happened with the stripes - my size was out and the sides were wonky. The bobbled one was a real challenge for me - rows of increasing and decreasing number of stitches and bobbles that were way too flat! On Sunday evening I was on attempt number six or seven and then a thought came to me. These squares are just three squares in a huge blanket of hugs. There are numerous individuals from different corners of the world expressing their squares in their own way. Just like we hug. Each hug is different - similar... but different.  Each square made for this blanket would be similar but different.

That's the beauty of this blanket. It has a colour theme, it has variations on plain, stripes and bobble squares, but it's full of individual hugs that give it that that beautiful uniqueness.

On Monday morning I came back from a yoga class, got straight into sewing in the stray ends to my (slightly wonky) squares, took the selfie that was requested with my contribution and these will be posted off to the UK this week.

The details of the #jennysblanketofhugs project can be found  - HERE

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Winter school holidays

It's Winter here. It's socks, slippers and cardigan weather...and I'm loving it! The daytime sky is a beautiful crisp blue and the temperature hovers around 20 degrees. Then as the sun sets the evenings are cooler and spent under blankets or some nights around the fire or heater. I wish it was Winter all year in Queensland.

We have just come to the end of a few weeks holiday. As the last break was a pretty busy one (to say the least), this one was much more sedate and all about catching our breath and forgetting about the usual frantic planning of everyday life.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take a couple of weeks away from work and cherished my moments with Sibs. There was some serious chilling out with a few pyjama days; we shopped, we had some dinners with friends and we de-cluttered like there was no tomorrow. In fact that's what I should be finishing off now but paying a few bills online suddenly became  -  'let me write a blog post before I do anything else!'

My sleep pattern, which is never the best, had some serious hammering with Wimbledon and the Euro 16 finals. Wales made it to the semi's and there were a few 5am football starts after 2am tennis finishes! The benefit of all that TV watching was that the blanket that seems to have taken me forever is now finished.
I started this one way back in February and was making it up as I went along. There are only three colours and I began to fall out of love with it. I realised after a while that the lack of symmetry was bothering me so at the half way point I mirrored the pattern and then it made sense again. It took almost 4 months to do the first half and just over 4 weeks to do the second half!

One evening I needed a start and finish project so I made this wooly sheep. He has his own removable jumper which is a little on the cute side and I can see a flock in the not too distant future.
(The pattern is from Attic 24 link HERE)

I re-introduced my Sunday G&T but have to admit to getting a little confused last weekend. Just as I was about to sit down with my drink and my new book it dawned on me that it was a Saturday. Needless to say I carried on regardless!

Spending time with Sibs has been a giggle and her sense of fun and humour is really developing. There have been some days where we have been helpless with laughter, so much so that I had to stop driving one afternoon as I couldn't see through the tears!
She has introduced me to snapchat and even though I only have one contact it's a fun way to keep in touch.

This has been a holiday of mainly resting and re-gathering with a few full days thrown in here and there.

Life continues to feel like a whirlwind and the momentum of the year is still hurtling past. On the health side I have conceded to the realisation that the numerous non surgical interventions that I have been attempting will not give me the long term solution. It was worth a go but now the bed is booked and I will be hibernating for a while.