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Monthly Archives: December 2018

planning ahead

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The size of the problem.

I know, I know. I never plan. Right? And joining in with things? In the past, that’s rarely met with success. This time,  I’m – look, I don’t want to say I’m committing to a knit-along (KAL) or crochet-along (CAL) I might not manage. But I’m thinking about participating in one run by this yarn shop. YoungB desperately needs either new fingerless mitts or a major rescue operation on those he already has: as you can see clearly (despite the fuzzy photo), one already has a hole in the palm, the other is wearing through. The point is, the KAL/CAL is flexible as to whether you knit or crochet, or what pattern or yarn you use. Also, most significantly, the May option is for gloves or mittens. I don’t doubt that YoungB will need something before then. So, I could do a rescue in the meantime, and knit a new pair as part of the KAL/CAL I’m not singing up to. Right? To that end, I’ve ordered some yarn. What’s more, I’ve ordered enough to make a hat, too 🙂

Shall we take bets on how quickly this all falls over?!

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2018 in Crochet, Knitting

 

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it might look like nothing

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At the end of a lot of calculation and measurement, cutting, sanding and painting, this is the present state of affairs with the refurb. It might not look much, but it’s been a huge amount of work. That’s Dr B just making a few notes in his project book.

Do you remember I mentioned that Dr B has been busy with a (re)construction project? It’s actually some overdue maintenance and upgrading of our pergola, and has involved, inter alia, removing and replacing rotten timbers and reinforcing the new, slightly narrower beams. The new work has all come together within a remarkably small error margin – we’re talking a few millimetres – so the doc is very happy. He reckons the next bit will be faster. I’m not entirely convinced, but it is probably true that the trickiest calculations are over and that the base for the rest of the work is now in place.

You’ll notice a couple of agapanthus flowers (really; you can clearly see one but believe me when I say there are two; and there’s a bud just beginning to show colour). There would normally be more blooms at this time of year, but I think the disruption to their micro-environment might have affected them. Or then again, who knows? They might just be late blooming this year because of the climatic disruption.

I’m finishing ends on a pile of face scrubbies, and am about to start another lot of crocheted string bags. Once again, I’m using Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton, and this time I hope I’ll remember to photograph the finished articles before I give them away. I’m much taken by this bag, but might have to pass on it for now, even though she explains very clearly with good visuals. I love the shape of the finished article.

Wherever you are, I hope you’re neither melting nor freezing and that both your DIY and crafting endeavours are bearing fruit 🙂

 

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we made it, sort of

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This should put an end to cherries falling out the holes and rolling down the hill. Dr B doesn’t mind the colours (all of which were readily to hand when I started the bag).

Yeah, that went well. Not. I think that’s the best way to describe our Christmas, which was a topsy-turvy one, thrown into disarray by varying availability. In itself, that would not be a problem. We can work around that. Indeed, we did. But decisions to change things, and change them again, then change them a bit more… well, that was too much for me. I just sulked.

That is to say, I worked till the usual time on what is colloquially known as Black Friday. It’s the last working Friday of the year for many offices, mine included, when nearby watering holes do a roaring trade. At my place, we had an exhausted sort of in-house happy hour (the accompanying snacks were everyone’s bits and pieces of leftovers and Christmas gifts donated to the communal cause) then headed out the door. I was home about the same time as usual. From then on, I managed to misunderstand – or misinterpret or have to clarify to the point of seeming rude or stupid or both – almost everything that was said to me or requested of me by anyone else in the family, up to and including Christmas Day 😉

It reflected my level of mental and physical exhaustion, but there was no opportunity to rest or do anything I wanted to at my pace. When asked for a Christmas tree for photographic purposes, although it was considerably earlier than my traditional Christmas-tree-erecting-hour, I managed to dig one out of a box, throw a few lights and some tinsel at it, and call it ready in about five minutes flat. It looks awful, because I’ve done nothing else since, but it’s a Christmas tree. To be fair, it doesn’t look too bad when the lights are on. I put the Christmas wreath on the front screen door, complete with Santa. Major effort. Shiny-halo stuff, really. Right?!

Dr B and I celebrated a large wedding anniversary – not a particularly significant one, but lots of years – and I managed to stay awake long enough to share the toast. Then after everyone else was in bed, I wrapped some of the presents (those that required it). For the rest, I tied ribbon around a couple of hand-crocheted shopping bags and a waffle-y dishcloth (or facecloth; the recipient can decide which it’s to be) like the one I made Youngest Aunt for her birthday, attached a gift tag that included yarn-care instructions; and didn’t photograph any of them. So, yeah, I’ve been busy with making things but have no evidence. And I couldn’t get to my sewing machine, so no wine-bottle carriers have yet eventuated. Nor are they likely to, but it’s always possible I might manage them for birthdays throughout the year. In some respects, that 2018 is ending as chaotically as it has progressed is not at all surprising. But, as I’ve remarked a few times lately, we’re all still upright and relatively coherent most of the time. That might be enough for this year.

I’m about 20 stitches away from completing a crocheted market tote for Dr B (the one in the photo). It’s not in his colours, but he will enjoy using it when he goes out foraging for cherries up in the local cherry orchards. I made it specifically with small holes – no cherries should fall through them – and a long strap, so that he can wear it cross-body over his motorcycling clobber. And that’s all I have to do: simply join that long strap to the other side of the bag. Now that things have quietened down a little – visitors gone home, no more parties in sight till New Year’s Eve – I might be able to sit down and do that without too much trauma in the very near future. It will require me to count a few stitches to ensure it’s centred, but if I can find a few uninterrupted minutes, that’s all it will take. Oh, and sewing in the few ends, of course.

But you notice I said “if”? That’s because Dr B is in building mode, continuing to work on an upgrade to our pergola. It’s a big undertaking and, although YoungB and I have both helped as and when our work commitments allow, we’re not the ones doing the bulk of the work. However – you might have known there’d be a “however” – because I’m now home on so-called holidays, there seems to be this immediate assumption – there’s been no request; just an assumption – that, as well as dropping everything at a moment’s notice to assist more frequently with the building work, I’ll also take over all the domestica, including the cooking. Yeah right.

The cooking has certainly been going by the wayside since the construction started and I’m fine with that. After all, Dr B and I built our own house together. I know about the need to prioritise building work over food prep. Luckily, we have good local options for fast food that’s also nutritious: various Asian takeaway restaurants that don’t break the bank and provide authentic food that’s as good as what we’d make at home. I’m not a bad cook, and in the days when I did more cooking I enjoyed it; but our kitchen is not ours at all. It’s Dr B’s. We’ve been together for a long time and, if pressed, work well together in a kitchen – witness our having cooked and catered for a couple of rowing camps over the years – so it’s not even trying to find my way around the weird – to me – places he puts things that gets to me in this instance.

It’s that I’d like some equity! I ought to be able to get on with my own backlog of domestic work, of which there is plenty, because I have been so busy in my job-that-pays-the-bills that I’ve had next to no energy to do little more than the barest minimum of laundry and cleaning since about the end of July. I’ve been coming home and falling asleep in my evening meal (or going straight to bed almost as frequently) for almost half the year. Having a lie-in would be a good start to getting some energy back, but making inroads on those chores is by now pretty high on the list and some of them require access to my sewing machine. For example, there are these wine-bottle carriers I want to make…

I’d also like some time to read a book. Dr B goes out on weekly motorcycle jaunts (sometimes pushbike rides as well). I think I ought to be able to read a book in peace. It need only be one. I’m not asking for sufficient time out to read the entire trilogy I’m presently working my way through. But it would be nice to finish the first one which I’ve been reading for an uncharacteristically long time (I find it not good commuter reading because of the tricky typography and its physical bulk). Mind you, a good start on the second title would be fabulous, but I can’t see it happening.

On Boxing Day, Youngest Aunt and I were discussing my holiday, and what I plan to do during the fortnight I’m not at my place of paid employment. While we agreed that reading ought to feature, we also acknowledged it was unlikely to. Dr B seems to think I should be able to fit in some reading. At least, he asked if I intended to bowl over a few books while I wasn’t at work. Uuh, yeah, not so much. Unless he comes back to his proper place in the kitchen 🙂

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Posted by on December 28, 2018 in Crochet

 

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sew, wine bottle carriers?

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Bourbon bauble. Image copyright the Grove.

In the past, I have generally not been too “Bah, humbug” about Christmas. Nowadays the comparison tends to be to the Grinch, but in my neck of the woods that’s an alcoholic cocktail. In the interests of full disclosure, I advise that it’s currently the cocktail jug of the week at my local pub. I know that because I was there with YoungB the other night, having an after-work cocktail. We drank bourbon baubles (see image), whose main note is ginger, but the green looked appealing and equally refreshing. I’ll stick to Ebenezer Scrooge as my comparator, lest I confuse myself.

In any case, cocktails aside, what I’m trying to say is that in the past I have made a lot of effort not to be Scrooge. This year? OMG. It’s all too much. We have had an insanely busy year at work and there’s no end in sight, although we’ll down tools at the end of next week and not have to pick them up again for a fortnight. Now, if I could simply sleep for that fortnight, I might face 2019 with more equanimity than seems presently possible.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a round of workplace Christmas lunches that have been pleasant breaks from the office. But if you’re out having a good time, you’re not doing the urgent paperwork, even though you’re actually working. it’s a conundrum.

So, sewing? I wanted to make some shopping totes for various family members – that would be those for whom I haven’t crocheted anything – but, you won’t be surprised to hear, I have decided that wine bottle carriers are half the size and – being unlined in the version we use – considerably less effort. Dig out the owl hessian (burlap if that’s more meaningful) and stoke up a jug of green cocktail liquid: there has to be some sewing time in there somewhere!

Oh, I’m sure you’re all much better organised. But just in case you’re not, let me wish you good luck with all your making 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2018 in Crochet, Sewing

 

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puffing and waffling

It’s all secret stuff. But I can share that I’ve finished my sage-green yarn – all 200g that I wound, anyway; there are five more hanks, remember – and am now about to start the second 50g of the pink, whose proper colour descriptor is French rose.

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Quite a bit of to-ing and froi-ng in a half-treble way to accommodate fresh-picked cherries. No likelihood they’ll fall through those holes 🙂

It’s been good commuter work, this lot. I’ve toted it around the country on an unexpected long weekend in another state, as well as backwards and forwards to work most days of the week. I don’t always whip it out, but it helps to keep me alert on the homeward legs, so I don’t miss my bus stop. See? Multi-variable, useful for all sort of things.

May all your Christmas work be coming along equally as well. 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2018 in Crochet, Travel

 

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