Thursday 11 April 2024

...Winter into Spring

  • At the beginning of February I finished this jolly little pram blanket and popped it in the post to a family friend's new baby girl. This was such an enjoyable project, I was really sad when it ended. Since I took up crochet again in 2021, after a nearly 50 years gap, I've become quite the granny square addict. I love the way they allow you to play with colour combinations and use up odds and ends of yarn too. I think there's a bit of a retro 1970s vibe going on here with the 'clashing' purply-blues and oranges adding a bit of a zing to the raspberry pink and softer peaches-and-cream shades. I kept thinking about Play School while I was making it!
  • After the Autumn pumpkin hat and the Christmas pudding hat, the Gorgeous Grandson needed a cosy Spring hat to keep him warm through the March winds and April showers. I used this pattern and some leftover Stylecraft yarn (Pistachio and Duck Egg) to make this cute little stripy ribbed number.   
  • I've been trying to do a bit of painting and drawing lately - just doodling really, and working from memory rather than life. Sometimes photographs don't capture what I'm 'seeing' - the colours or shapes that grab my attention. This process also helps me to move away from the pressure of realism - because I'm drawing on images in my mind's eye rather than focussing on objects directly in front of me. .
  • I really enjoyed making this top-down seamless Spring jumper for the GG. It's a lovely, simple design sized for babies aged 0-24 months, and I will definitely be making a few more of these. Not least because my eldest son and his wife are expecting a baby boy in September - I'm going to be in full-on Grandma knitting and crochet heaven!
  • In March we had three nights away in a tiny cottage just outside Alnmouth. We explored Amble and Warkworth on the first full day...
...drove up the coast to my beloved Seahouses on the second day (so cold and windy that we popped the XXS Cat dog in the rucksack to give her a break from the scouring sand in her face), and then spent a happy morning at the wonderful Tynemouth Station Market on the way home. We keep talking about re-locating to Northumberland "one day", but with increasingly frail parents and the arrival of gorgeous grandchildren it's really just a pipe dream to be living North of the Angel.  
  • I started a second Nuuk jumper in January, but it languished for weeks in a half-finished state because I wanted to complete the neck ribbing before trying it on to check the body length, and I just couldn't face the neck ribbing task! I absolutely hate picking up neckline stitches because I haven't found a fool-proof way of doing it evenly enough to meet my (self-imposed) perfectionist standards. This pattern simply says "pick up 92 stitches around neckline", and leaves it to the knitter to decide how they should be distributed. In the end I forced myself to sit and count how many stitches I thought there were around the neck (102) and then did ten K2tog at evenly spaced intervals as I went round, to arrive at the required 92. It actually turned out ok (if not absolutely perfect), and was finished by the following day - just in time for the warmer weather that's no doubt coming soon! Sigh...

  • In other news the park is turning green around the edges... 
...and two odd-looking wooden mice came home with me from the charity shop this week, for the princely sum of 50p. I'm trying really hard to de-clutter, rather than continue adding to the "stuff", but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants and resistance is simply futile.

Sunday 21 January 2024

...Christmas and beyond

Christmas 2023 was a bit of a fail from a Making perspective (although it went pretty smoothly in every other respect). I had so many ideas for All the Things that I out-faced myself and ended up in a state of creative paralysis - a Jill of All Trades and Mistress of None! This year I am going to Make a List and Start Early (ho-ho-ho). That way maybe my daughter will actually get her knitted gnome with an assortment of festive hats, my sister will get the carol-singing needle-felted mice, and there will be handmade Christmas tree decorations all round! Sigh...

Christmas Wins:

Debbie Bliss Striped Top for the Gorgeous Grandson, pattern taken from her classic Baby Knits book. My youngest child is 31 this week, which means I've had the book for over 30 years and the patterns are just as timeless and wearable as ever!
A pretty, ruffly 'Rose Smiles' scarf for my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law. This was a last-minute win snatched from the jaws of failure. I actually knitted the scarf in November, basking in the warm glow of my excellent forward thinking, and then forgot all about it until Christmas-Eve-Eve, when I suddenly remembered that it still needed blocking and wrapping to be ready to give her the following day. I was literally weaving in ends whilst it was pinned to the blocking mat, and had to finish the drying process with a hairdryer. It's a minor Christmas Miracle that I managed to snap a couple of hasty photos...
Christmas Fails:

I bought this book in June... 
...and had plans to make cute little needle-felted gingerbread houses (top right hand corner) for EVERYONE. I ended up with just ONE tiny, oddly shaped, pyramid/house ornament/thing that my best friend was kind enough to actually thank me for, although it really didn't merit any gratitude! Thank goodness for the lovely M&S bear-shaped chocolate "hugs" I  was able to sweeten that particular pill with!
I slaved for hours over this mosaic-framed mirror for my Mother-in-Law, and got it all the way to the grouting stage a couple of days before it needed to be wrapped and ready, but my husband had a crisis of confidence about whether she would like it, so we ended up buying her something else. I don't really mind (because I like it myself and am happy to keep it) but it is now languishing in "unfinished object corner", needing the final film of grout to be cleaned and polished from the ceramic pieces. I've completed the bottom right hand corner, and know it will be lovely when it's finished, but the wind of urgency has definitely left my sails. Watch this space... 
Post-Christmas Progress:

New Year, New Projects. Accept the things you cannot change, tomorrow is another day, the past is a foreign country etc., etc. With this in mind, in January (so far) I have made another Debbie Bliss striped top for the GG, because he is knitworthy and beautiful...
...as is my daughter's best friend's baby who has just turned one! He received a classic ribbed birthday hat in shades of blue to match his big blue eyes...
...and my son's best friend has had a baby girl, so she will be receiving this jolly crocheted pram blanket just as soon as I can hook my way through it. All of these projects have been made from stash yarn, which is very pleasing to me, in this traditional season for de-cluttering. It also has to be acknowledged that they have barely made a dent in the yarn mountain, but we're moving in the right direction one baby-step at a time!