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Not much show and tell ’til after Christmas

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It’s not that I haven’t been making. It’s just if I ‘show’ this time of year then someone may see something here before they are gifted it. Thus my absence from blogging for a while. I have had a busy season present making and fiddling about with existing craft materials. I have loved most of it and have often been happy filling long, sometimes tedious, days trying to stay safe. It hasn’t been plain sailing every day of the pandemic, ups and downs, but crafting is something that keeps me sane(ish, some might say) and encouragement and enthusiasm from my crafty friends and family has been fantastic, albeit at a distance. There has been a lot of Zooming – thank goodness for the internet and thank you to those who haven’t already been thanked.

So a snippet of what’s been going on chez moi. The box at the top of this page was a little decoupage project using some beautiful handmade papers in my stash. I used to enjoy papercraft but I hadn’t dived in for a while. No plan, it just evolved, very therapeutic tearing up paper and sticking it randomly on something – including my fingers. Hubby remarked it looked kind of Christmassy so it has been on the dresser in the dining room ever since. The candy cane was an origami project. It wasn’t difficult but the paper was too stiff really – my plan to make several finished after making one!

Then there’s been a fair amount of cooking and baking (and eating and overeating). I don’t post food pics often but I was rather proud of last weekend’s yorkshire puddings – these were leftovers – in our house they go quickly.

Of course there has been knitting – there’s always something on my sticks. A dear friend had sent me a lovely bundle of yarn a while ago which I recently turned into a poncho. These are not flattering pictures of me, but you can see the yarn and it is lovely and warm. Funny enough it started as a poncho for a four year old and as it grew I realised she’d have to grow an awful lot to fit it. I liked the yarn so much I wanted to keep it so knitted it longer and added a rolled neck to fit me! Lucky little four year old will get her own poncho in little girl colours next year. She is already getting a different hand knit this Christmas.

One of my resolutions for this year was to use up more of my yarn and crafting stash. Here’s the start of a new little knit project. It will be a cowl. I’ve made this one before in a plain beige years ago – never wear beige now – so it’s a dinky pink and purple this time. Hopefully to be finished over Christmas/New Year and I can ‘show it off’ in a January blog post.

Last but not least I am sharing a lovely handmade Christmas card from my talented sister in law. The fabric is stitched into the aperture. I sometimes think the more simple the project the more effective it is. She is a clever woman.

So for now, all that’s left to say is to wish others A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS. I sincerely hope you can all celebrate, be with loved ones in person or via a phone call or video link. This year will be very different to others for many. Stay safe. Be kind to one another.

Growing stripes and Creative Loops

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January 13th and here’s the back of the new project

I’ve been catching up on tv missed over the Christmas season and getting on with the newest knitting project at the same time. I’ve done more than the back but when I decided to snap a photo this was the best I got in the mid afternoon light. I love there won’t be any sleeve seams to sew up (imagine a tshirt shape) but it’s a cardi so there are two fronts, they’ve each a cable, and then there’s the front edge to pick up and rib so it’s not all so simple.

January seems to be a time to catch up with things and to start anew. I belong to a lovely weekly craft group called In the Loop. Towards the end of last year we talked about a joint project, calling it ‘2020 Vision’. We thought about what that actually meant to each of us and the plan was to each create something for a communal display – few rules, mostly about colours and size but no media rules so your entry could be anything you like with anything that meant something to you – be it perfect vision, plans for the new year, seeing what others see and so on. Many of us knit, crochet or sew, others paint, draw, bead and/or enjoy a combination of all and try new crafts. Hopefully you can see quilting, rug making, painting, felting, dorset buttons, a crochet mandala and glass fusion here. My own part didn’t come to fruition and the communal display is already up in our local Southborough Library. I just wanted to share what friends had made and say how proud I am of them (and not of me!).

It was so difficult to get good photos, the display is in a window glass box, just about big enough for someone to get in and pin things up and from outside it was impossible to take photos without getting my own reflection or that of the buildings opposite!

I hope you like my groups talents.

Snow days meant knitting days and 50 things …

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Dare I tempt fate and suggest the worst of the UK winter weather has come and gone?  I do hope so.   It was a shock to the system, coming from a sunny holiday and 30 degrees then coping with minus 7, and a broken boiler with little heating, brrr!

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My garden early morning last Friday

The silver lining meant staying home and knitting and sorting out stuff. Another WIP was fished out. The sewing up is the bit I dislike – and perhaps that’s why I have too many WIPs!

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Back, 2 fronts, 2 sleeves. A cardigan in Cascade Chunky

Taking a break from the woolly project I delightedly re-read my recent birthday ‘gift’ from two dear friends.  I hinted at this on my last post.  I’d been taken out for lunch and presented with a gift box.box

Inside were 50 wonderful ideas on how to celebrate the next year.  My friends had had a ball working these out for me!  Some nice and girly and not challenging, some a little challenging, some a little scary!

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Here are a couple to whet the appetite!  I am truly going to enjoy this year!!!

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Woolly Enthusiasms and a little Mindfulness too

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Working towards the end of the first month of the year I am happy to report that I am still enthusiastic about my Enthusiasms for 2018 (aka Resolutions to some people).

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Knitting WIP

Last week I rediscovered parts of a summer cotton top in my craft room.  Thinking why I may have put it aside I am guessing reasons – got bored with it/was keen to start something new/change of season.  I discounted ‘gone wrong’ as I still could work out where I was in the pattern, notes and needles were all there.   I had the two fronts, two thirds of the back – so near, yet so far from completion! So it’s take a few knitting sessions and two turns at picking up stitches on the neck (167sts!). I love working with this cotton too, King Cole Cotton Soft DK. Still kicking myself for being a serial starter over the last few years!!!

Updating of 2018 Enthusiams: diet on track, wip counted as ‘sorting out craft stuff, slow progress on job/career/bucketlist, a little better on household finance decisions. Roll on February and more progress.

Further to some Mindfulness reading this week, I have been taking the time to appreciate the things and people around me.  A little ‘therapy’ like this could do many people a lot of good. Have visited two friends this week, one not seen in several years. Both times we had quality time, put some of the world to rights, had a giggle and promised not to leave it so long until the next time.  I had been missing a trip to the see the sea and one trip visited windy and raining Hastings – seeing the waves crashing and bashing onto the beach was pretty amazing, watching only briefly before diving into the pub for lunch!  Photos just did not come out well – so nothing to share, so sorry!  Pub – amazing food – oh my – The Crown, All Saints Street! http://www.thecrownhastings.co.uk/

I also made a point of telling someone very special how much I love them. Now that’s something we are often not so good at.  Currently feeling warm and glowing, I’d recommend it.

Books, sewing, family, France, knitting, cooking – in no particular order – what’s important to me

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I knit, I sew, I am a wife, mother, lover of France and French things, I like to cook, I also love to read and belong to a book club.  My book club is not high brow.  Is my book club unusual?  I don’t think so.  I meet friends once a month, we talk about a book or two, we talk about life as well. We take it in turns to choose the book.  We usually avoid biographies and we definitely avoid science fiction.

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Over the years we’ve delved into a large handful of titles, sometimes with a similar theme, sometimes not.  We have loved some, hated some, been on the fence about some, wished we hadn’t read some, been embarrassed about some (!)  We all agree sometimes the title/blurb isn’t one we would personally opt for but we all read each others choices.  Well, we all try to read them, very occasionally someone is beaten, either because they are struggling with content or running out of reading time.  (We are all human, no one gets beaten up for not finishing or enjoying a book!)  I took offence at some of the words in Virginia Ironside’s article about book clubs.  Thank goodness the world and it’s inhabitants aren’t all the same!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4261782/Why-hate-book-clubs-author-VIRGINIA-IRONSIDE.html?ito=email_share_article-top

I go to two craft clubs.  One is knit-only.  One is for whatever craft you are enjoying at the moment.  Nobody criticise’s each others work or enjoyment of it.  Are crafters more complimentary to each other?  As Ms Ironside says ‘you get something at the end of a knitting bee’.  I get something at the end of a book club meeting – a good feeling inside that I spent some time with friends

Don’t criticise something somebody else does just because you don’t like it yourself. Respect other people.

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In need of knitting and sewing therapy – so thankful for this morning

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padded coathangers 2 nov 14What a shattering week it has been.  A week of disappointments and frustrations.  I am over tired, have been over-wrought and thank goodness the week is almost over itself!  (It’s now Saturday afternoon. When do you say your week begins, Sundays or Mondays?  For me it is Mondays.  I digress…)

A frustrating week: buses were late, trains cancelled, colleagues absent, work extreme, teenager a ‘stroppy’ teenager.  The weather turned cold and chilly, the skies were grey all day and to see photos on line of my hubby in the Dubai sunshine enjoying his holiday (oops, business trip!) added to the despair of the week.  Disappointments briefly: work ethic not being appreciated, being a good mother, being a successful wife.  There were a few bright lights, namely a morning spent with friends on Thursday and a satisfying parents evening giving praise to my teenager (no strops that evening from either of us, wahay!).

When I am a lone parent for a few days I revel in the chaos of my life and home.  I rule the roost, I tidy when I want to (usually half an hour before anyone else comes over), I craft more and generally have a ‘break’ from week to week routine.  This week it just has not worked out that way.  The knitting did not take off – I kept running out of time to knit – my time management sucked.  The sewing remained on the dining table space, left neglected and unloved.

So thank goodness for this morning! Look what I made – mine is the navy spotted one.  Four friends met and sewed together.  The lovely Carrie helped us make a padded coathanger (one friend popped in to say hi, sup a coffee and did not stay long, so did not sew).  This has been a project on the back burner for months.  Twice we had arranged to meet and make it but with all of us and our chaotic lives it wasn’t until today that it actually happened.  Friends, sewing needles, fabric, girl heaven.  Therapy in a couple of hours.