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

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Cake International

Just occasionally I manage to escape from the madness that is my life and spend some time with good friends. For the past five years we have made the annual pilgrimage to the NEC Birmingham for the Simply Christmas, Crafts for Christmas and the Cake International a 3 day event at the beginning of November.

We get to spend some quality time together mooching around the many stalls picking up Christmas gifts that you don't see every day on the high street, as well as picking up yet more stash for our individual crafts.

By the time we get to lunchtime we have more or less bought what we want or have a note of the stalls we wish to revisit to pick up that must have item you saw probably within the first five minutes of arriving. 

We then spend a good couple of hours wondering around the Cake International Exhibition in ore of all the magnificent cakes that have been entered each year. 

I thought  I would share some of them with you so that you too can sit back in amazement too.





















Didn't I tell you they were amazing

Mx

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Solid granny square Que Sera Sera snuggle blanket


In the last 8 years since taking up my current post at the hospital it has become a bit of a tradition when a colleague announces that they are expecting a baby that my yarn and hooks come out and a baby blanket is produced. Over the summer the total number of baby blankets made of one sort or another in the last 8 years has risen to in  excess of  30 and I've lost count as to how many I have made before that, in fact some of those babies are now over 30 and having babies themselves, that's a frightening thought. Most of the nurses I work with don't want to know the sex of the baby they are having, they want to wait and have a surprise.  These babies have become known as the whatever will be will be babies, hence the title Que Sera Sera (whatever will be will be).  Those of you of a certain age will know that  this was a song was recorded by many artists but was made most famous when sung by Doris Day, from the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film 'The man who knew too much' which starred Doris Day and James Stewart. For those who are not a Hitchcock fan or like me  not born until at least the 60's it may just be a song you've come to know through your parents, my mum was always singing it when I was a child she was a big Doris Day fan and the end of a conversation quite often ended with que sera sera Mitzi.




I must admit I love making these blankets they have become almost second nature to make and I have a little collection of thank you cards expressing the recipients gratitude which is always lovely and is usually accompanied by a photograph of the new addition to the family lying on or under said blanket. 

.

The blanket is made up of 49 solid granny squares using Stylecraft Special DK in colours Parchment, Duck Egg and White.  I used 200g of each colour using crochet hook size 3.5 sewing all the little ends in with a darning needle (wool needle).



It is made up of  12 Duck Egg Squares, 13 Parchment squares and 24 white giving you a total of 49 solid granny squares making a 7 squares across and 7 squares down blanket measuring  92cm x92cm or 36" x 36".



For those already know how to make a solid granny square, you can scroll down to the graph below to see which squares go where to form the pattern, but for those of you who you are new to crocheting or could do with a little help then this is how I make mine.  In the early days I wasn't able to follow any crochet patterns so I worked on the visual, and still do a lot of the time, by  looking at a square and practising until I had worked it out, so this is my interpretation of a solid granny square and not from a pattern and is written in UK terms. A solid granny is essentially made up of lots of treble stitches and chain and is a relatively easy square to make once you've got the hang of it.

To get started 


1. Make a loop and insert your crochet hook

2. Chain 6

3. Join your chain by slipping your crochet hook through the last chain  (it will look like you have two loops on your hook) wrap your yarn around your book and  pull back through the two loops so that you have one remaining and you should now be at stage 3 in the photo above. 

4. Chain 5 (this will act as your last treble and two chain and you will use this to complete your round)


Round 1

5. wrap your yarn around your hook, put your hook through the circle wrap your yarn around your hook again and pull back through (you now have three loops on your hook), wrap your yarn around your hook and pull through the first two loops, wrap your yarn around your hook and pull through the remaining two loops ( you should now have one loop left on your hook and you have completed a treble stitch). Repeat your treble stitch until you have completed  four trebles in total.

6. Chain two (this will form your corner)  and continue repeating four treble & two chain twice more

7. To complete your first round make three more treble stitches.

8. To complete your round slip stitch into the 3rd of  the 5 chain  you made at the beginning of the round and now you should have a square which contains four trebles on each side with 2 chain at each corner.




Round 2

9.  Chain 5, now make 2 treble stitches into the corner, make your third treble as indicated in the photograph  (9)

10. Continue making a treble stitch in each of the treble tops as (indicated in photograph 10) until you get to the corner chains. Treble 2, chain 2, treble 2 in the corner space. Then as you did in round 1 treble in that first space as indicated in photograph  (9) and in each of the treble tops as indicated in photograph 10. until you get to the 5 chains at the end of the 4th side.

11. To complete your 2nd round make a treble in the first of  the 5 chains as indicated in Photograph           (11)

12. Now slip stitch in the 3rd of the 5 chain. You have now completed round two and should have 8 treble on each side with 2 chain at each corner.



Round 3

13. Continue as you did for round 2 at the end of which you should have 12 treble on each side with 2 chain at each corner. (photograph 13)

Round 4

14. Continue as before and at the end of this round you should have 16 treble on each side with 2 chain at each corner. (photograph 14)

Round 5

15. Continue as before and at the end of this round you should have 20 treble on each side with 2 chain at each corner. (photograph 15)

16. You have now completed your  square and can finish off by cutting your yarn and pulling through your last stitch.

Finishing off

1. Using your darning needle thread the yarn through the backs of the stitches on the reverse edge of your square and fasten off.

2. To finish off the centre,  thread your darning needle and thread through the back of each of the four sets of four treble stitches

3. Draw the your yarn so that it pulls together in the middle

4. This will give you a nice neat finish to the centre of your square on the right side.




Blocking 

Once you have your 49 squares and you have sewn in all the little ends you will need to block your squares. I do this by pinning to a set of playmats which are available here or you may find a set in your local DIY store, garden centre or toy shop. Slightly stretch each square keeping their shape and pin to the board  and then with a houseplant sprayer available here  or in your local garden centre, lightly spray with cold water so they are damp to the touch and leave to dry. In doing this all your squares should lie flat and be the same size. Once blocked  you will need to lay them out as the graph below shows you ready for joining.

P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P
W
D
W
P

D = Duck Egg
P = Parchment
W = White 



I then gather them up a row at a time from right to left i.e. row one starts with Duck egg and ends in Parchment therefore once you have gathered them up you should have the parchment square on top for set 1. Continue you gathering up your squares in this way until you have seven sets of squares. I find it easier to number them so I know exactly which set of 7 comes next.

Joining





I like to use two different colour yarns when joining my squares together, in this instance I have used parchment and duck egg, so that you have one colour running in one direction and the second colour running in the opposite direction but you can of course use the same colour both ways. I also like to join from the right side so your finished blanket almost looks like patchwork but you can also join from the under side if you prefer.


To start joining the squares I take the top square from sets one & two and place back to back so that the right side of your work is facing outwards.




Joining at the corner and using double crochet go through the tops of the first treble of each square (it will look as though you have 4 loops on the hook) wrap your yarn around the hook and bring back through all 4 loops, wrap the yarn around your hook and pull through the 2 loops on your hook. Continue to make a double crochet through each of the tops of the treble stitches until you have reached the end of the row and have joined 7 squares fasten off and get ready to start joining row 2 and set 3 together. Once you have joined all 7 sets together turn your work around ready to join in the opposite direction using the same technique as before. Once your squares are joined in both directions,  I sew in all the little ends as there are quite a few, 28 in fact.

Border

You are now ready to add the border.  You can of course add any border you wish there are a number of good books out there that are specifically for borders, but for baby blankets where little fingers can go through I tend to keep it quite simple using a slip stitch border. I like to make the border using all three colours by doing two rounds of each, but again you can do which ever way you choose using one, two or all three colours.  Starting two to three stitches away from the corner join your yarn and chain one. Work into the tops of each  stitch in double crochet.  When you reach the corner double crochet x 2, chain 2 then double crochet x 2 to make your corner.. Now continue until you are back to where you started and slip stitch into the 2 foundation chain. 




Now you have completed the first round you will start and slip stitch into the top but through the back only,  which will prevent the border from curling up once completed. When you get to the corner slip stitch x 2 chain 2 and slip stitch x 2. Once you get back to your foundation chain slip stitch to finish your round. Now fasten off and join in your next colour and chain 1. Now continue with your slip stitch and corners as before until you have completed two further rounds and fasten off. Now join your third and last colour and complete a further round. You should now have completed one row of double crochet and four rounds of slip stitch. You are now ready to complete your last round. Working as before continue with your slip stitch border but this time working 3 x slip stitch into each of the corners to give you a nice neat edge to complete your border.

Your blanket should measure 92cm x 92cm or if you work in old money 36" x 36"  and is great for a cot or lying on the floor to have a play and equally as good for lying on grass outside in the sunshine. This one is already to go to it's recipient at the end of the month when they go off on their maternity leave and would you believe it I already have another one on the hook for yet another new arrival  It's all go here at the farm house it feels like a permanent production line at the moment with making blankets for my little grandson too.




You can find the colours used for all 3 of my Solid Granny Square Blankets here


Mx

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

This is Going to Hurt - Secret diaries of a Junior Doctor - Adam Kay


Welcome to the life of a junior doctor, 97 hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you. 

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam kay's This is Going to Hurt provides a no holds barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know and more than a few things you don't - about life on and off the hospital ward. 


I had seen this book on the supermarket book shelf many times and never really thought about picking it up to read.  I have worked in the NHS for 30 years and over that time some things have changed for our junior doctors but for the most part there is an incredible responsibility put on their shoulders at a very young age. The hours they are expected to work have improved but for the majority they are still working incredibly long shifts.

A colleague at work was given the book for her birthday and passed it onto me to read.  Even then I wasn't sure whether it was a book I would be able to get into.  How wrong I was.  It is written as a diary at varying points within Adam Kay's career.  His account is a true reflection on the highs and lows of a junior doctor. Adam Kay tells his story in good humour and will have you laughing out loud. At times he will have you shedding a tear as he also tells you of the emotional turmoil our doctors go through when presented with life or death decisions and what ultimately made him give up medicine. 

Brilliantly written unputdownable and definitely worth reading. 




M x

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Hat & Scarf set {Adult}




Firstly I would just like to thank all of you who left such lovely comments on my previous post about our little grandson.   He's had a slight cold this week so has not been his usual self as this also meant he earned himself a few days back in his little incubator. 

The photograph above shows the scarf and hat sets that I made for three members of the family last year and as it turned out with the winter that we had with so much snow and ice they were much needed.

Now that Autumn is in full swing I usually start and turn my attention to any Christmas makes. Yes I did mention the dreaded c word - sorry.  This year seems to have flown by and I've really not turned my attention to much other than to making some very tiny items for a very tiny young man. I suddenly realised this morning that it is in fact only 62 days until Christmas or just shy of 9 weeks if that makes you feel better.


It was a few years ago now that a boyfriend of my daughters requested a knitted scarf for Christmas.   Now my daughter can knit but very, very slowly.  She didn't say she wouldn't do it but did enquire as to which Christmas he would in fact like the scarf. The task was then passed over to me and a scarf duly made and he was very pleased with it.  Since then the boyfriend has changed but thankfully not the appreciation of something hand knitted and all the many hours that entails.

I know some of you have been thinking of making up hats and scarves for the homeless and these sets are easy to make and quick to knit up too. Each scarf took approximately 250g of wool and the hat took just under 100g. 
The scarf is worked over 70 stitches in 2 x 2 rib for 60 rows or until it measures 145 cm or 58 inches when completed using a 4mm needle.
The hat is 144 stitches for an adult female and 160 for an adult male working in 2 x 2 rib throughout on a 40cm circular needle or DPN’s. The first 10cm are worked on a 3.75 mm then change to a 4mm and continue working 2 x 2 rib until  22cm has been worked or required length and then shape the crown as follows:
Shape crown
1st row   (K2tog, P2, K2, P2) 18:20 times
2nd row   K1 (P2,K2,P2,) 18:20 times
3rd row   (K2tog, K3, P2) 18:20 times
4th row   (K4,P2) 18:20 times
5th row   (K2tog, K2,P2) 18:20 times
6th row   (K3,P2) 18:20 times
7th row   (K2tog, K1,P2) 18:20 times
8th row   (K2, P2) 18:20 times
9th row   (K2tog, P2) 18:20 times
10th row  (K1, P2) 18:20 times
11th row (K2tog, P1) 18:20 times
12th row (K1,P1) 18:20 times.
13th row K2tog 18:20 times 18:20 sts
Break yarn, run yarn through rem sts, draw up and fasten off.
Once drawn through the remaining stitches if worked on straight needles leave enough yarn to be able to either stitch together using blanket stitch or I have used a crochet hook {3.50mm} and slip stitched together to give a more even seam.

As these sets were for gifts the Yarn I used was 100% wool but if you are making for one of the homeless charities a good quality acrylic wool of double knit weight would equally do the job and is great for using up oddments from your stash if you want to go all creative and use more than one colour. 

Whether you are thinking of  making as a gift or for charity I am sure they would be very much appreciated by the recipient I know mine were.  


Happy knitting

Mx


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