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Tea anyone?

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Spotted at Etchingham train station in East Sussex. Someone has fun with a little topiary!

Knitting neopolitan ice cream and a day in Sussex

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Not exactly the same shades as neopolitan but as I knit this hoodie it sure does remind me of it. The pink is strawberry-ish, the cream is a creamy-cream not vanilla, and the green is not chocolate at all (more of a pistachio, my favourite flavour of ice cream). I can remember when I was little we had the odd family treat of neapolitan bought from the ice cream van as it drove and parked up in the roads around where we lived. It was sold in a cardboard sleeve and you had to make sure everyone got a taste of all three flavours even if you intended to stir it all together in your dish to make a pale brown mush, as my Dad did.

So that’s enough about food. My ‘changing dietary habits’ hasn’t been going as well as I’d intended. Now I am even dreaming about treats, and it’s just been Easter and who can turn the Easter Bunny away? Not me!

Onto another note, another something nice as we all still need a few nice things to think about whilst the pandemic is still causing concern and restrictions. Last weekend, Easter as was, we took a little foray into the countryside near to where I am from rather than where I live now.

This is Sedlescombe, near Battle, near Hastings (which is famous for the 1066 Conquering by the Normans). There are resident ducks who just do their own thing along the High Street. There’s even a speed zone for 20mph and it seems drivers obey the rules, luckily for the ducks. There are gorgeous houses, many of which are 15th or 16th Century or similar. The thatch is my ultimate favourite, 1509 it says on the plaque. I dream about living here.

Not much else has exactly been happening in my part of the world recently. Still sitting crafting, though sporadic. I keep thinking about sorting out ‘stuff’, also sporadic. Why hurry when it feels like I’ve all the time in the world? We’re still encouraged to stay home as much as we can. I am getting very bored. How about you?

New knit and new diet

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I started on the new project, a hoodie for a four year old. It’s time-dependent, after all children grow past the size you are making if you aren’t quick enough. For me it’s been a similar thing over the last twelve months or so. Not that it’s age that makes me grow, it’s cake and inactivity!

Anyone else been on the ‘lockdown’ diet or ‘pandemic’ diet? I am slightly worried that when I eventually get round to finishing off the project I was working on (sparkly jumper, sleeves too long) that the whole thing might be a little too snug in places so it won’t be wearable anyway for a while.

So, today is the start of a ‘lockdown’ diet rethink. I use the word ‘diet’ as a change in nutritional behaviour, not compulsive weeks of consuming just lettuce leaves and fresh air. It’s a rethink of what actually goes in my mouth as necessity rather than mindless grazing and over-indulgence of sweet treats. I have done it before, very successfully, albeit with support from a very well known ‘diet and mindset’ company. This time I am going freelance with the odd comfort/treat and an increase in exercise from practically zero to doing some without finding excuses as to why not to.

Wish me luck? I will I try not to eat all my Mother’s Day treats all at once – but it would be an insult to my son if I didn’t eat any, wouldn’t it?

Reflection, Learning, Thankful, Still Crafting

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It’s almost a year since England entered it’s first Covid19 lockdown, a year since most of us really became aware of this dreadful virus, a year since our own little worlds were disturbed and life as we knew it changed. I think back to the beginning when I felt so scared, when daily news reports made me cry easily, so many people started catching Covid19, hundreds, thousands being hospitalised or sadly passed away, the number of predicted sufferers perhaps wasn’t a mistake after all. The medical staff and hospitals struggled to cope. The government seemed unprepared. So much despair. There seemed no light at the end of the tunnel. I gathered close those important to me. I nurtured friendships by phone, briefly meeting but outside only. We became kinder to one another. I washed my hands excessively, I cleaned more than usual, when anything arrived in the mail I worried it would bring unwelcome germs.

Now the threat is still there but with the vaccines offered it is in decline, not gone away, just in decline. I still watch the news. I am still shocked. I am still worried about the future but there is lot less panic. It is a matter of time to see and experience the next step. I yearn to travel further than my own doorstep.

Personally, there are various things I have learned during the last year and some of these I am so grateful for. Family I gathered close have remained close. Most friendships nurtured remain steadfast or stronger (who could ever have predicted our increased use of social media and video conferencing?). We are all much kinder to each other. I didn’t realise we took each other for granted so often. Saying ‘I love you’ is more important than ever. Saying ‘how are you?’ and listening is equally imperative. Some relationships fell apart but maybe they did so for real reasons. Perhaps they would have naturally fallen away by now. I hope those people found solace and companionship elsewhere.

I used escapism as a way of coping. I read a lot more. I watched an awful lot of mindless tv (and lots of not so mindless too). For some time I crafted a lot more. I started projects, I planned more projects and I finished more projects. I am still reading, tv-watching and crafting although the urge to craft and the ability to finish is diminishing. If anything gets a little awry then it is put to one side to tackle another time. I am not beating myself up if something doesn’t quite go to plan on the craft table. I do not worry that there might not be time to ever finish it. I hadn’t clocked that perhaps I was worried I’d run out of time.

For example, this green sparkly top started in January doesn’t seem so urgent right now. It sits here with a lifeline stitched through each arm ready to be cut and the cuffs reknit. A new pile of yarn calls to me, a new project to plan, something easy to start not something difficult to work out. However, I did finish this hot water bottle cover. During one very cold night recently my existing hot water bottle split, soaked my feet and the bed (luckily the water was tepid by then). I had to replace it and gave the new bottle a new cover with some leftover fleece fabric. Since then it’s not actually been cold enough to need a hot water bottle at night!

Ending this post with a cow hottie bottle. I named her Daisy and she makes me smile!

Knitting a log cabin

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It’s been an odd week and my crafting has been rather neglected. I was unwell for a few days and muzzy headedness is not conducive to sewing or knitting. I’ve been feeling a little nearer to ‘normal’ the last couple of days so my green sparkly jumper is, at least, wholly knitted though not quite sewn together (therefore not ready to show off here!). It’s difficult to sew it in poor light so I am being picky about when I work on it. Can’t wait to finish (said with actual glee rather than despair).

Alongside the green, a first size baby hat popped off my needles yesterday. I thought I’d try knitting a little log cabin blanket to compliment it. I have always loved fabric quilts in log cabin style. I started one many years ago when I knew little about which fabrics worked best but it made it no further than the first ’round’, pretty much a similar size to what you see below. Wish me luck this knitted one doesn’t go the same way! Both the hat and the blanket are using up yarn stash, this time Rico Baby DK (not a yarn promo, it’s what I have to hand). It’s sometimes lovely to use yarn and actually remember what you purchased it for in the first place. All these were for baby sweaters or a striped car seat blanket. Over the past six years or so there have been many baby gifts gifted. Perhaps my favourite was a pale green and white hoodie for my hairdresser’s little boy – I made a first size – he arrived rather large and couldn’t wear it for long! Oh talking of babies – remember last week’s cute grey jacket and hat ? The little chap who’s hopefully going to be snuggly in it arrived just before midnight yesterday, mother and son doing fine.

Looking forward to seeing more blogs with ‘show and tell’. Bye for now.

A cute kind of grey

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I was asked to knit – quickly – a new baby gift. Luckily, during the pandemic there is a lot of down time, aka knit and crafting time. Also, luckily I had just found a ‘pause’ with my current project on two needles, waiting for some extra yarn to arrive. So I picked up new sticks, dove into my yarn stash and ta-dah – here’s a little grey and cream jacket and hat ready for a new baby boy due next week. Mum and Dad had been told to expect his arrival a little earlier than first quoted. They aren’t panicking more than they were already, first baby and all that and during an international health crisis! For me, it’s nice to know I’ve added a little warmth to the occasion.

Now back to my green sparkly knit on the needles. The extra yarn arrived a couple of days ago and happy to say it’s not a bad match so I think I’ll be able to finish what I’d started (and already blogged about). I shall post pics here when it’s finished!

What did anyone else make in January? Can you believe it’s already the 2nd month of the year?

Playing chicken

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Knitters might take a guess at what ‘Playing Chicken’ means. Others might just think I am as mad as a snake and log off now …

So, my last post showed this gorgeous green glittery yarn and a plain green yarn together, mentioning I was going to add a little sparkle to January and beyond Christmas. Well, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I have been progressing speedily with a jumper, the back and front finished, cuffed sleeve too. Now I realise I will may run out of yarn. I am carrying on knitting without knowing if I will have enough to finish it – otherwise known as ‘Playing Yarn Chicken’. The idea of continuing to use up my yarn stash was so attractive, I thought I had enough. I am knitting two strands together to make the correct yarn weight. Solution might be to undo part of the one finished full length sleeve and make two three-quarter length sleeves. Do you know how difficult this yarn is to disentangle? It’s wool, alpaca and a synthetic fibre. The wool and alpaca fluffs and grabs onto each other on it’s own strand as you knit, let alone how it clings onto the second strand. It’s a nightmare! Of course, the yarn is discontinued and I can’t get any more despite scanning the web for supplies, including from other’s stashes listed on knitting community sites. This could be a difficult lesson learned. I still need sparkle in my life though, so I shall continue with fingers crossed, though not when actually knitting!

Photo taken in the evening in poor light, compared to the daytime one from the last blog post!

I have also been doing a little sewing for a family member who is soon to be 2. Oh to be an innocent age! I have been reliably informed that 2 year olds still play with rag dolls. My take on it is that a sleepy ragdoll (with her eyes shut and a quilt) may help bedtime routines!

Love to see what other crafters are up to. January, dark, dreary, we need to ‘do’ nice things to make the days go quicker!

A little sparkle can continue into the New Year

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For many people the start of any New Year is difficult. Loved ones are missed and despite good intentions, new plans can be challenging to make. 2021 is harder than ever for some. The coronavirus pandemic has affected people in different ways, some of which are truly devastating. Whilst we all continue to try to stay safe, we stay home and socially distance when out, we try to look forward to the end of all the restrictions and traumas around the world.

As we know here in the UK, January can also be a dark, dull month. Today it hasn’t stopped raining for hours, the second in a row. The Christmas decorations have been packed away, we’ve eaten or given away all the extra treats we had in, we’ve thought about diet and exercise plans (thought about, not always activated). However there can still be room for just a little bit of sparkle, can’t there?

Trying to keep busy, my next knitting project will be with these. I reckon if I finish the jumper I can wear it all year round. Glitter is not just for Christmas!

The sewing machine has to come out too. A family member is soon to have her 2nd birthday and I am working on a gift for her. Here’s the start of a quilt for a little rag doll. I’ll show and tell when both have been finished, if they come out well. I think I am better at sewing small projects right now (and always to tell the truth), my knitting successes are definitely more satisfying.

I enjoy reading about other people’s current crafting. What’s everyone’s next creative plans? Am here to admire and be in awe!

First knit of 2021

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Carrying on my intention of getting rid of/using up my yarn stash, I started this cowl just before Christmas and finished it a few days into 2021. I love the yarn (Drops Nepal and Drops Karisma, it knits up quickly on 6mm needles). It was in my stash and apart from striped hats or cushion covers I couldn’t think what else to do with it. The cowl is worn as double thickness, the ribby bit snuggles next to your neck on the inside. I had thought perhaps I could in a chilly emergency pull it more to a tube and wear it up over my head – it looks ridiculous and would indeed need to be an ’emergency’ ! I popped out today at lunchtime and wore it as you can see it here – the weather was freezing, barely above zero – and oh my, it was so hot I was gasping to take it off when I fell back indoors! So, it works then.

I already have another new project on my needles, again using up my stash, but I have already given into the January sales and bought more yarn. Currently counter-balancing this with putting a few lots of yarn I will never use on a popular auction site. Life feels woolly in 2021 already.

I decided as 1st January arrived not to think about New Year Resolutions or Intentions. Life around the world is so unstable with the Covid 19 pandemic it is enough to get through each week, each month and there will be goals along the way anyway.

What are you other crafters up to? Anything finished in the first 7 days? DO show and tell!

Revealing knitted gifts

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I waited until after Christmas to post pictures here of gifted knits, in case recipients saw them before 25th.

I now realise 2021 will be the year I sort out a better phone with a better camera (prompted by my son who telling me mine has been out of date for a long time!). I may also take myself to task about becoming more organised next year. I didn’t take photos of some gifts when they were actually finished, thus you may see the odd woolly end that hasn’t been sewn in, which was, before it were wrapped and gifted.

The blue triangular wrap is now with my Mother In Law. She seemed please and despite her being an octogenerian I had to call it a ‘wrap’ rather than a shawl as I know it would make her feel elderly!

The next two photos are a mega chunky cowl made for a friend I have known since we were little children. It is actually a lovely green, like the middle of an avocado. I made it as she has dogs she walks in the the early hours of morning, often through local woods. I almost didn’t gift it as I like it so much I wanted to keep it!

The red and pink cowl was made for a good friend’s birthday which happens to be the same day as Christmas Day. The pattern called for one strand of chunky yarn, supposed to be knit as a long scarf with pockets and tassels. However, I used 2 different coloured strands of double knit, joined it as a cowl, added the fringe for a nod to the original pattern. I also made similar fingerless gloves but didn’t take a photo of those. Oops!

So those, alongside four glittery baby/toddler hats were my knits for gifting in December. I blogged about the glittery hats in October – they were very well received. I was even sent photos of two of the little ones playing in the snow wearing them today – the first snowfall of winter where they live in the Midlands.

Other knitting already on the sticks – to show here another time.