Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Belated happy New Year to all



Oh goodness me it seems a long time since I have visited my little blog space.  I do hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year. So here we are 2019 and what will this year have in store for us all I wonder.   Last year was not a particularly good year for us so we were rather hoping that 2019 would fare better.  Unfortunately it's not been the best start with me being laid up in bed with the flu.  Days came and went including my birthday. I can honestly say I have not felt that poorly for a very long time and I'd had the jab. So here we are the third week into the New Year already and hopefully things will only get better from now on.


Like most of us I have already been plotting and planning what craftiness I would like to get up to this year and like most of us just how much of this will actually be achievable will remain to be seen.

You know when you're truly poorly if not one stitch has stitched or one page of a book turned for over a week. When it comes to reading, not much has taken place in the last few weeks, I seemed to loose my zest for reading. I couldn't quite decide if it was the books I had picked to read or just a slump.




I was then given Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine to read, by a colleague from the office who said I wouldn't be able to put it down.  Well that wasn't quite how it went but yes I could see why everyone has been raving about this debut novel and why it has won such high praise and why it won book of the year. 

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work everyday, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.  Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled existence. Except, sometimes, everything ................  

Eleanor Oliphant  is certainly a very complex young lady who has had a lot to deal with in her 30 years and may not conform to everyone else's norm but who is to say how someone should go about their daily lives.  Life would be very boring if we were all the same. If you've not already picked up a copy to read I would recommend you do.





Fortunately it would seem that my slump or choice in books has improved. This may have been helped by one of my favourite Christmas presents this year. It was given to me by a lovely friend who is also my Yarndale buddy.  She is a demon with a sewing machine and has made me some beautiful things over the years I have known her.   This years Christmas present was a cushion with a difference.   'If I could crochet and read at the same time my life would be perfect'.  Well that's about the strength of it for anyone else who enjoys both reading and hooking or any sort of crafting that requires your full attention really.  It has been suggested that I could go for audio books but I don't think they would hold  my attention the same way as a good book to hold does.  Now the best part about my cushion is that it has this little pouch at the front where you can store your book or kindle maybe the odd ball of wool and a hook and possibly even hide the odd bar of chocolate so no one else will find it and what you can also see peeping out of the top were Christmas presents from the bearded one.  He had asked me what I would like and as I hadn't yet purchased the next two novels by Amanda Prowse I asked if he would get me a copy of Anna and Theo. I have heard great things about these novels and  I have long been a fan of Ms Prowse writing skills.  Some of her novels are better than others but having started Anna this weekend I can tell you I am already three quarters of the way through and not been disappointed in it. Theo is the sequel to Anna and  both books are described as being the two sides of a love story. You know things are not going to run smoothly for this couple but you just hope that some how they will work things out. There is another book to this trilogy titled How to fall in love again - Kitty's Story but from reading the blurb on the back this is someway into the future when Kitty meets up with her old flame Theo in their twilight years.  There aren't any spoilers at this point as there is no mention as to what has happened between Anna and Theo but I get the impression that a lot of tissues as well as a plentiful supply  of chocolate may well be required whilst reading these three.

Now for anyone who knows the bearded one and I as a couple they will tell you we are polls apart when it comes to our likes and dislikes but just occasionally we will end up buying each other the same gift.  Twenty years ago it was almost identical valentines gifts,  this year it was Noel Fitzpatrick Being the Supervet which we had both bought with the intention that when the other one had finished reading it we would then read it too. As I had bought him several books and he didn't have a burning desire for another one so it was decided that I would swap my copy and as Kate Morton, another one of my favourite authors, has a new novel out it was really a no brainer and so Noel was swiftly swapped for The clockmaker's Daughter which at 592 pages will keep me busy for a while, in fact I may just have enough books to get this little dormouse through her winter slumbers and into Spring.




Mx







Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Road Rage!!!

Image from the internet


No pretty picture today just a bit of getting something off my chest.  I wouldn't normally write about this sort of thing on my blog, I like to keep this as my happy space to share happier times and lots of crafty and foody goodness with a bit of life thrown in.  Fortunately not many of us have ever been the subject of the unacceptable behaviour of road rage and this included myself up until this week. 

it was 6.30am and you wouldn't think there would be too much traffic on the roads at this time. I had approached the junction and checked that the road was clear enough for me to turn onto the main A road out of our village and proceeded to turn, it was moments later that  a car came up behind me flashing lights.  I'm not quite sure what type of communication this was supposed to be making but obviously not one that I had learnt when reading the high way code.   Not content with already aggressive type behaviour the car then overtook me, not a problem you might think and ordinarily no.  I don't like to drive at excessive speed especially on country roads.  But this guy not content with taking over my car on a bend then slammed on his breaks and put his hazard lights on.  To be fare I thought there may be something in the road such as a badger or a deer that I hadn't seen.  I duly slowed down to a stop at which point the car sped off again.  Not too much further down the road the same car did the exactly the same thing not once but three more times by which point I was becoming a little concerned for my safety and for those vehicles that were now behind me and the thought of whether they were intoxicated came to mind albeit 6.30am.  The said vehicle then once more took off at speed and it was at this point I felt I should drop my speed and let the vehicles behind me take over to put space between our vehicles which they did.  I felt more relaxed and carried on my journey.  As I approached my destination, the local petrol station en route to my place of work I noticed a car had pulled into a layby,  I did think at the time that it was the same vehicle but told myself I was just being paranoid and sometimes people car share and this may be the best place to meet up.  It wasn't until I indicated to go into the car park that leads to the petrol station that I noticed the car from earlier was again behind me and was the same vehicle that had been pulled into the layby, this immediately made me feel apprehensive and a little scared for my safety.  By now I was committed to making my turn but decided to pull up by the front doors of the supermarket attached to the petrol station so that not only  were there more people milling about, amazing how many people choose to shop so early in the morning, but also there would be CCTV camera's.   As it turned out I was right to be concerned as the car then pulled up along side me by which point I had locked my doors.  Now the fellow in the car waved and signalled to put my window down.  At this point I had already located my mobile phone and was ready to call the emergency services.  I decided that maybe I was over reacting and he was trying to tell me that my lights were out at the back or some such.  Rightly or wrongly I did wind the window down enough to be able to hear what he was saying. He went on to deliver a diatribe of what he thought was wrong with my style of driving but could not see that his behaviour was in any way in appropriate.  Now there are times when I can be quite calm and articulate and there are others when his style of behaviour would of had be a gibbering wreck.  On this occasion I was the former and when he had completed delivering his speech ending with did I not have anything to say I then took my opportunity to tell him that not only did I have plenty of room to make my manoeuvre if he was driving at the correct speed, that his subsequent behaviour had not only the potential to cause an accident which would have not only involved my vehicle but the  vehicles behind me that he hadn't seemed to notice but he also had deliberately pulled over into the lay by to wait for me to come past with the full intention of continuing to follow my car no doubt with the intention of continuing to pull in front of my car  slamming on of the breaks etc... and that here he was now sat next to my car in a public place telling me how he thought I shouldn't be allowed on the road and would he like to wave to the camera that was pointing directly at his car.   I said I was about to put in the last digit in order to call the police to report not only intimidation, but also intent and what would be considered road rage despite the fact he hadn't left his vehicle and that he now had 30 seconds in which to remove himself from the car park which is approximately how long it would take me to close my window before I contacted the police.  At which point I began closing my window but at the same time put my phone to my ear and made out I was through to the emergency services and talking to the police.  Needless to say he left quite rapidly. 

It did occur to me afterwards whether he would like his mother, wife or daughter to have this happen to them and how that would make him feel. I didn't contact the police as in the UK road rage is not an offence without actually physical harm to me or my car or independent witnesses.  I didn't get his number plate I think I was too much in shock but as D pointed out that could be retrieved from the CCTV.    Perhaps he is now reflecting on his behaviour and feeling some remorse or may be he is waiting to see if he gets a knock at the door or a letter from the local constabulary. 

By the time I reached the office shock of the incident had kicked in and the gibbering wreck status had arrived in full.  My lovely colleagues looked after me and I didn't tell D about it until  I arrived back home in the evening, I didn't see the point in worrying him when I was safe. 

I suppose the moral to this story is that we don't necessarily live in a nice world and we are not necessarily as safe in our environment as we think we are.  Never leave home without your mobile phone and if you have a mobile phone make sure you have put your emergency contact details in it so that if you are ever in a situation where you need to get help and quick you have the means to do so whether it be from the boys in blue or your friends and family. 

Thank you for virtual listening and stay safe out there. 

Mx


Monday, 10 December 2018

Time to pass it on



All four of my children had something hand made by me to be dressed in to come home from the hospital.  This little set belonged to my 2nd son  Thinking back to when my son was born I thought they may like to have the little set that he came home from the hospital nearly 28 years ago. Now he is a parent himself it feels like the right time to pass them on, not to necessarily use unless of course they would like to, its all as pristine and white as it was the day we bought him home and has been wrapped in acid free tissue paper waiting patiently in a drawer for this time to come.    

This set is almost identical to the crew neck cardigan and bootees,mitterns & hat that I posted about recently, they are all a variation on a theme with one more stitch here one less stitch there but if nothing else it makes it easier to remember. This set was made up with 1 x 1 rib rather than 2 x 2 so there is a little adjustment in the amount of stitches.

My mother died whilst I was pregnant with my 2nd son so they never got to meet, but she had started to make his crochet blanket which was then completed by a great aunt.  I can remember the day after he was born  looking at him full of joy at having another healthy son but tinged with a little sadness. She would be very proud of the man he has become just as I am. 

I couldn't tell you what make of yarn I used all those years ago possibly Sirdar, but when I make them again now I use Stylecraft Special DK in whatever colour of my choosing.

The needle size required are 2.75mm and 3.25mm (newborn size)  needles or 3.75mm and 4mm (0-3 months). You will also need a darning needle (wool needle) and five buttons.


Back

Using the smaller needles cast on 53 stitches and working in 1 x 1 rib work 10 rows

Change to larger needles and work 30 rows or until piece measures 12 cm in stocking stitch (one row knit one row purl)

Shape armholes

Continuing in stocking stitch  cast off 3 stitches at the beginning of next two rows.

Decrease 1 stitch at each end of the next and every alternate row until 43 stitches remain.

Continuing in stocking stitch, without any further decreasing, work a further 27 rows.

Shape shoulders

Cast off 6 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows, then 5 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows. Now leave the remaining 21 stitches on a stitch holder or spare needle.

Left Front

Using smaller needles cast on 32 stitches and work 9 rows in 1 x 1 rib as for the back.

10th row - Rib 7 and leave these 7 stitches on a safety pin for the border and rib to the end.

Change to larger needles and work 30 rows or the same number of rows worked for the back in stocking stitch up to the armhole shaping. With the right side facing cast off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next row and then work 1 row.

Decrease 1 stitch at the armhole edge (knit two together) on the next and every alternate row until 21 stitches remain. Work a further 16 rows in stocking stitch so that you have the wrong side facing for your next row.

Shape Neck

Cast off 6 stitches at the beginning of the next row.

Decrease 1 stitch at the neck edge on the next and every alternate row until 11 stitches remain. Work 3 rows so that you have the right side facing for your next row.

Shape shoulder

Cast off 6 stitches at he beginning of the next row. Work 1 row. Cast off the remaining 5 stitches.

Right Front

Using smaller needles cast on 32 stitches and work 4 rows in 1 x 1 rib as for the back.

Next row (buttonhole row) rib 4 yon (yarn over the needle) and knit 2 together and rib to the end.

Work another 5 rows of rib.

Next row Rib the first 7 stitches and leave these stitches on a safety pin for the border.

Continue working as for the left front reversing the shaping and working an extra row at the armhole and shoulder shaping.

Sleeves x 2

With smaller needles cast on 29 stitches and work 9 rows of 1 x 1 rib.

Increase row - rib 4 M1 (by picking up the horizontal loop lying before the next stitch and working into the back of it) rib 7 M1 till the last 4 stitches M1 and rib to the end (33 stitches).

Change to larger needles work in stocking stitch increasing 1 stitch at each end of the 3rd and every following 6th row until you have 43 stitches. Now work a further 7 rows or until your sleeve measures 11cm.

Shape the armhole

With the right side facing cast off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows.  Now continue decreasing 1 stitch at each of end of the next and every alternate row until you have 21 stitches, then on every row until 7 stitches remain. Cast off the remaining 7 stitches.


Button Border

With smaller needles rejoin yarn to the 7 stitches and work 46 rows of 1 x 1 rib so that when slightly stretched fits along the front of your cardigan. Leave the 7 stitches on a safety pin ready for the neck and break the yarn.

Buttonhole Border

With smaller needles rejoin yarn to the 7 stitches and work 8 rows of 1 x 1 rib.

Next row (buttonhole row) rib 4 yon (yarn over the needle) and knit 2 together and rib to the end.

Work 13 rows of 1 x 1 rib

repeat the last 14 rows twice more then repeat the buttonhole row again. You will now have 4 buttonholes in total.

work a further 9 rows of rib and leave stitches on a safety pin but do not break the yarn.

To make up

Block so that your pieces are flat when joining.

Join the shoulder seams and sew in the sleeves.

Join side and sleeve seams.

Sew borders in position.

Neck Border

With right side facing and smaller needle and contrast, rib across the 7 stitches from right border, pick up and knit 20 stitches from right side of neck, 21 stitches from the back (left on stitch holder), pick up and knit 20 stitches from left side of neck and 7 stitches from left border. (75 stitches)

starting on row 2 with purl work in 1 x 1 rib for 7 rows adding a buttonhole as before in the 4th row.  Now cast off loosely in rib.

To finish off sew in any loose ends and add your five buttons.


Bootees 

With the smaller needle cast on 31 stitches and starting with purl work in 1 x 1 rib for 30 rows.

Change to your larger needle and working in stocking stitch (one row knit one row purl) starting with knit work two rows.

Shaping the instep 

1st row - knit
2nd row - purl 21 and  turn
3rd row - knit 11 and turn

working on these 11 stitches only work 7 rows in stocking stitch

Decrease rows

11th row - k2togtbl (knit 2 together through back of loop) knit to the last 2 stitches K2tog (knit 2 together) 

12th row - purl
13th row - K2togtbl, knit to the last 2 stitches K2tog 
14th row  - purl

you now have 7 stitches.
Break off the yarn

With the wrong side facing rejoin to the 10 stitches on the left hand needle and purl to the end.
Next row - K10 and now pick up  and knit 10 stitches along the right side of the instep, knit across the 7 stitches and then pick up and knit 10 stitches along the left side of the instep and then across the remaining 10 stitches (47 stitches in total).

Starting with a purl row work 5 rows more.

Shape foot

1st row - K1, S1 (slip 1), K1,  PSSO (pass the slip stitch over), K16, K2tog, K5, K2tog, K16, K2tog, K1
(43 stitches)
2nd row knit
3rd row - K1, S1,  K1, PSSO, K15, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K15, K2tog, K1 (39)
4th row knit
5th row - K1, S1. K1, PSSO. K14, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K14, K2tog, K1 (35)
6th row knit
7th row - K1, S1, K1, PSSO, K13, S1, K2tog, PSSO, K13, K2tog, K1 (31 stitches)
8th row - Knit
Cast off

To make up join the foot and back seam reversing when you get to the rib and join on the right side so that you can't see the seam once you have turned the top down. Now you just have to make a second to make a pair.

Mittens

Using your smaller needles and contrast colour cast on 27 stitches and starting with a purl stitch work 1 x 1 rib for 30 rows.

Change to your larger needles continue in stocking stitch (one row knit one row purl) and work 12 rows.

Shape the top

1st row - K2togtbl (K2 together through back of loop), K9, K2tog (knit 2 together), K1, K2togtbl, K9, K2tog (23 stitches)
2nd row - purl
3rd row - K2togtbl, K7, K2tog, K1, K2togtbl, K7, K2tog (19  stitches)
4th row - purl
5th row - K2togtbl, K5, K2tog, K1, K2togtbl, K5, K2tog (15 stitches)
6th row - purl

cast off .

To make up join your rib on the right side for turn down and on the reverse for you top and side seam of your mitten and now  make your second to complete your pair.


Hat

For your hat you can if you have a 40cm circular needle in the required sizes or on 4 dpns make your hat without a back seam if you choose to use a circular needle you may need to swap to dpns when shaping the crown if it becomes too tight to carryout the decrease rows.

With your smaller needle and contrast colour cast on 85 stitches and starting with a purl work 1 x 1 rib for 30 rows .

Now change to larger needles and continue in stocking stitch (one row knit one row purl unless using circular needle or dpn where you will knit only) until your work measures 17cms.

Shape the crown

1st row - K4, k2tog (knit 2 together) 14 times, K1 (71 stitches)
2nd row - purl (or work another round without decreasing)
3rd row - K3, K2tog, 14 times, K1 (57 stitches)
4th row - purl (or work another round without decreasing)
5th row - K2, K2tog, 14 times, K1 (43 stitches)
6th row - purl (or work another round without decreasing)
7th row - K1, K2tog, 14 times, K1 (29 stitches)
8th row - purl (or work another round without decreasing)
9th row - K2tog, 14 times, K1 (15 stitches)

Break off the yarn and run through the remaining stitches and draw up and fasten off. If not using a circular needle or dpns sew up the back seam making sure to sew on the right side for the rib at the bottom.

His Daddy was only 6lb 7oz when he was born and I  think it will be a while before our little man will fit into these but everyday is a bonus and everyday he grows stronger.

Happy Days


Mx


Saturday, 1 December 2018

Cross stitch Ta Dah moment


November has been a month of trying to complete on going projects before the end of the year so that come the 1st January I can begin new projects guilt free.  I thought I would have today as a Cross stitch Ta Dah moment. Look who is back from the framers. Doesn't he look as cute as can be.  This little rabbit design is by Hannah Dale of Wrendale designs, so you're bound to have seen him on mugs, tea towels and other Wrendale bits and pieces.   Some of the Wrendale Designs have been produced as cross stitch kits by Bothy Threads and I purchased the kit from Sew and So. This design is known as Bath Time and he is going to hang in my little grandson's nursery along with the hedgehog design I made previously who is called Awakening. Both designs are stitched on 14ct aida  that is supplied in the kit and has the trademark spotting associated with Wrendale. The finished size on both cross stitches is 26cm x 26cm.



When my son and his partner announced they were expecting a baby I did ask them whether or not they would like any cross stitches to hang in the nursery.  Both my son & his partner like the Wrendale designs and so we focused our attentions on picking two designs that they could hang in the nursery that wouldn't necessarily be outgrown too soon.  And at least when that day comes his mum can borrow them to hang around the house until such time as he grows up and has a place and or children of his own when he may like to have them hanging on the wall again. 


It was never my intention to go on and make a birthing sampler as eventually it will be wrapped up and put away as a keepsake.  I don't know of any 18 year old men who still have theirs hanging on their bedroom wall.  As it turned out our young Freddie made such a spectacular early entrance into the world and his poor mum having suffered with terrible morning sickness never really got into the glowing stage of pregnancy before he arrived.  This also meant that the baby shower her friends had been secretly organising also didn't get to go ahead, but not to be thwarted by this her friends continued their plotting and held a post baby shower.  I had been sorting through my stash of fabrics, floss and charts when I came across the chart for this little sampler.  I had completely forgotten about it as it must be nearly 20 years since I stitched this for a colleagues baby and I don't think this particular kit is still available. As Freddie's nursery has a bit of a countryside theme going on and his bedding has sheep on it I thought this little sampler would fit right in. and his mum loved it.  The designer is Maria Van Scharrenburg and I have stitched some of her designs previously and have at least two more waiting for that rainy day.   The kit was named 'Me and my friend Dennis' and stitched on 28ct evenweave and the finished size is 15cm x 15cm.




My last show and tell is my Carousel Horse I. Technically it falls into December as I put the last stitch in this afternoon and it has already been washed, dried and pressed.


Together with Carousel Horse II they are now ready to go off to the framers in the New Year. Both horses are from chart book Fantasy Horses produced by Cross My Heart Inc.  These charts are around 20 years old and I'm not sure the book is still in print but may be found through ebay. I stitched both horses on 28ct evenweave and the finished size of carousel horse I is 24cm x 22cm whilst carousel horse II is 22cm x 22cm.

It is amazing what you discover when you are having a sort through charts you have squirreled away. I found charts that I hadn't looked at in years and some that I had completely forgotten I had. Sad to say I have so many that I probably don't have enough years left in order to complete them all and although my daughter has stitched in the past she hasn't done so for some years, but you never know when she inherits them all she may get the incentive to start stitching again. 




Mx

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

World Prematurity Day





Last Saturday was World Prematurity Day and also marked 101 days since my little grandson was born an amazing 14 weeks early.  We have been extremely lucky and he has exceeded all expectations over the last 15 weeks, but it has certainly been a roller-coaster ride for his mum and dad.  Throughout there time in hospital they have received the support of the charity Bliss.

Bliss was founded in 1979 by a group of concerned parents who discovered that no hospital had all the equipment nor the trained staff it needed to safely care for premature and sick babies. Determined to do something these volunteers formed a charity to give vulnerable babies the care they deserve. Almost 40 years later Bliss has grown into the leading UK charity for the 95,000 babies born needing neonatal care every year.



They have been so grateful for the support they have received that they decided to hold a fundraiser for World Prematurity Day with all proceeds going to Bliss. Friends and family duly collected raffle prizes, which obviously included a crocheted blanket by yours truly, as well as other wonderful prizes. There was also lots of other activities including a tombola, cake stall, face painting and name the teddy to name but a few. Overall they managed to raise a whopping £530 in just two hours with a further £320 raised through a just giving page making a fantastic total of £850.

My waffle stitch blanket was won by my sons partner's manager so we know it has gone to a good home. I did wonder if her gran and her sisters had come a long and bought up all the tickets as they had admired it so much the week before.  This may well have set a president should they decide to make this fundraiser an annual event.


And name the Teddy? Well there were actually two teddies and the names that were picked were Button and Trevor and they have now gone to their new homes..


And finally came the best piece of news when at last this little button left hospital to go home with his mummy and daddy and Ralph cat.

Happy Days

Mx
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