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the blessed silence

The organisation I work for has three offices. Because I was getting an inordinate number of interruptions at my home location, I recently spent a day at the one closest to where I live. That meant I could sleep till 7 o’clock. Even at peak hour, it took all of 20 minutes for YoungB to drive me there. Oh, yeah, and it was quiet. I plodded through a solid day’s work with almost no interruptions and actually accomplished a task I’d normally struggle to complete in a week or so at my usual office. I was mightily relieved, and went back to my own office the following day in a much better frame of mind.

I’d been helped in that by chatting with a fellow crafter, who crochets wondrous garments for her granddaughter. We agreed that Ravelry is a wonderful source of patterns and inspiration. And so it is. I tried trawling through crochet patterns to find some TV-watching yarny undertaking. All to no avail. So it might be a knitted shawl instead. I promise nothing complicated and all garter stitch. Something like this might be sufficiently interesting, so that I don’t fall asleep, but not so taxing that I make mistakes. It won’t be with pretty, handpainted yarn, just using up some more of that big bag of stash.

All the best with your yarny undertakings, and may you get to enjoy the silence.

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then, before you can say Jack Robinson…

…or knife, or whatever your favourite similar expression might be, it’s February! OK, there are two days remaining in January, to be technical and pedantic. But they’ll be gone before – see above.

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This year already feels a bit as if that excavator has had a go at it! Photo taken late last century. Dr B on the left wearing that wondrous jumper I knitted for him 🙂

Life has been hectic and full of small and not-so-small sideswipes that seem hideously unfair in many instances but totally expected (in a bigger picture way) in others. Nonetheless, you can’t help muttering with a fair degree of frequency, “Things can only get better.”

You mutter that particularly frequently with regard to technology but, you know? So far, not so much. It’s nicknamed “Cayman Mal’s Fraudband” for good reason.

Yeah, it seems that 2018 is already shaping up to be another of those years.

That’s not to imply that we didn’t have an enjoyable festive break. It’s also not to imply that I’ve actually taken down the Christmas cards. We’ve had a hot week, then today is so cool that I’m reaching for a cardigan and thinking that summer is over. It’s not. We’ll have more hot weather, but the mornings are starting to draw in; something we’d notice even more were YoungB still rowing. We miss that for all sorts of reasons but the early mornings don’t feature among them!

I have a couple of sewing projects that I should be turning my mind to – that new summer nightie that I wrote about ages ago? Yeah, I never did get around to doing that! – and there are always rescue missions on old and well-loved garments. The trouble mostly is that they are, in fact, old. Then the question becomes, how many times can you mend a jacket? And even if you can, should you?

I have one RTW jacket that was in time-out towards the end of last year because I’d had enough of mending it. After 20-plus years of hard work, it owed me nothing. But it’s a good cut, the best in-between weight jacket I own, and I needed it for work. So I mended it. Again. Ideally, I should unpick it and use it as a template. I’m not sure I have the space for that, but it appeals to me as a good option for ending up with a jacket that I can wear for much of the year. And I could spice it up by lining it with guitar-playing skeletons, couldn’t I? (I have some fabric like that in my stash, honest.)

Then there’s the, “I feel a mitten-knitting orgy coming on” urge that often hits at this time of year (as ridiculous as that sounds when the mere thought of woollen yarn makes hands sweat). The attraction of the idea is that there’s still some daylight when I get home after work, so I’m much more likely to be able to see what I’m doing. That improves my chances of completing things, particularly darker items. So if I start now, whether on something new or one of the many WIPs, I might have something ready to go when those winter birthdays roll around.

Also, I need some crochet to work on while I’m watching TV. I don’t watch TV often but, when I do, I find it difficult to just sit there. I make too many mistakes if I try to knit at the same time but I can manage simple crochet. So I’m off to dig up another lot of stash yarn to do a knee rug to take to work. Oh, wait, didn’t I say that once before?! I promise to stop earlier with this one; or make separate granny squares so that it’s a better commuter project.

Whatever the status of your year, I hope it’s providing you with plenty of crafting opportunities.

 

 

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the next stage

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2017 has been a challenging year in some unexpected ways, although we’ve attended fewer funerals, and all the overseas cousins are still with us. They are both good things. 2018 will include YoungB’s graduation and Middle Niece’s wedding, so we’ll have much to celebrate in the coming year.

It’s exciting that YoungB has finished his degrees; and remarkably odd to be giving him tips for his first serious job application! I don’t mean that his previous job applications weren’t serious; simply, they were all for part-time positions where a snappy LinkedIn profile wasn’t necessary. This is a full-time position with a government department, albeit for a fixed-length contract. Sadly, the fixed-length-contract paradigm is likely to persist throughout his working career, but you have to start somewhere. Naturally, we have our fnigres corsesd that it’s at least an interview-winning effort.

I completed the crocheted rug, finishing off with five rows of double crochet (US single crochet): four in the teal, and one in a flecked blue that worked with everything but which I hadn’t used earlier. I admit that, because I was still wrapping presents on the way to Christmas lunch, I ended up darning in the last of the ends late on Christmas Day. No harm done: I gave it to Youngest Aunt when we saw her on Boxing Day. Of course, and it really is of course, there was an accompanying lavender bag. The rug won’t match Youngest Aunt’s lounge suite, but we agreed that it would contrast beautifully. Or she could use it to keep her warm when she sits on one of the old lounge chairs on her front verandah. You see? There’s always someone who’ll love your handmade output. In the same spirit, this year Youngest Aunt gifted everyone a jar of her home-pickled olives, beautifully labelled and wrapped. Dr B is thoroughly enjoying those!

We spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day with family and friends; there are few things better. I hope that you had a similarly enjoyable celebration, and that 2018 is a happy and fulfilling year for you.

 
 

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those rounds are getting longer

Dr B is surprised every time he sees me folding up my crochet project. I agree, it’s getting to be quite a size. It’s also becoming heavy, meaning it’s less ideal for working on now that the weather is warming up. I think there are about 60 rows. It’s worked in (mostly) 8-ply yarn on a 5 mm crochet hook. Smart people – that is, not me! – could probably work out an approximate size from that information.

Since this photo was taken, I’ve completed the second row of light blue, added another of dark blue, and am now doing some more teal rows. The end is probably nearing. I won’t use all my spare yarn, so I’ve decided that I could indeed work a semi-matching cushion cover (or bolster cover) to give any potential picnickers something to lean on.

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It looks at home as a picnic rug out on those re-laid pavers, doesn’t it?

 
 

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the various suggestions

I posted a progress photo of my not-quite-square, whatever-it-will-be commuter crochet project (only, as I said before, it’s now much too large for commuting with).

It could be for knees, throwing or picnics. Or even to cover a motorbike!

My friends made some interesting suggestions. Two caught my attention: make another, then turn it into a very large floor cushion for the Bs’ motorcycling friend; or keep going and make a motorbike cover (that was from the Bs’ motorcycling friend), I think it needs to be larger for any rug purposes (and definitely so for motorbike covering purposes). It wouldn’t cover knees sufficiently well just yet, though would make a reasonable shawl if folded into a triangle. In any case, it’s certainly depleting my stash of bits and pieces yarn, but there’s more I could contribute. To my eye, that exuberant autumn-coloured stripe – mostly leftovers from making beanies, mitts and scarves for redheaded family and friends – needs balancing.

I was gifted a bag of the teal green (that ball of yarn at the top of the photo) and immediately thought it would be good at helping tie together a lot of disparate colours. It’s nice to occasionally put a plan into action, don’t you think? And, as I have plenty more of it, as well as various shades of blue, I reckon I’ll continue on that trajectory for a few more rounds and see where I end up.

In the meantime, YoungB needs to be given a wake-up call – he worked late last night, but his final exams are looming and he needs to plug away at revision – and I can probably do almost another round while he eats eggs and bacon. The joy of this is that I can just sit and work at it fairly mindlessly while the business of the household goes on around me. Don’t ya love that?

I hope your projects – whether they’re crochet or knitting or even macrame, whose knots and intricacies are calling to me again as I see it enjoying a resurgence among some of my younger friends – are potentially able to be considered for as many uses as my rug 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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stash-busting ongoing and a spot of gardening

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Happy little heterozygous plants 🙂

My so-called commuter crochet project is already too large to be taken on the bus. That’s because I’m just going round and round my not-quite-square and have rounded too many corners. I’m no longer able to roll it up small enough for my project bag. I can truthfully admit there’s no pattern or plan. I seemed to have an enormous number of balls of barely-dented – or dented by about half – 8-ply acrylics, so I have them in a bag next to me and I don’t really worry too much what comes out next. Having said that, I’m doing a bit of mixing and matching in terms of variegated and plain, in the sense that I’ll do a few rows of variegated, then a few rows of plain (that might or might not work with the variegated). I calculate that that mitigates some of the wilder colour changes, because if it’s to go out into the world – whether as a knee rug at work or as a picnic rug – then it had better not look too silly. Right?!

As stash-busting, it’s going well. I’ve had a couple of moments of wondering if I’d get to the end of the row. So far, I’ve managed without mishap and have had no real call to think I’m playing yarn chicken. I happened to see the WIP bundled up on my chair a little while ago – waiting for me to introduce a new colour – and I can truthfully say that it is bright and colourful (and therefore probably cheerful). It was a good piece of distraction during a few days when I was unwell and at home. I made the effort to get up and get dressed rather than stay in bed and feel sorry for myself. The feeling sorry for myself was mitigated somewhat only because YoungB was also unwell and sounded worse than I did; each of us with head on point of explosion and both coughing to point of exhaustion. But slowly improving 🙂

Even so, the stash-busting continues. One day I made a point of sitting in the sunshine for a little while, doing my best lizard impersonation out under the apricot tree that has now burst into leaf. Spring is here, and the allergies with it. And, zounds, my garden? It’s looking fabulous. That is to say, the couple of garden beds that I’m tending have flowers that are a testament to spring and hardiness in about equal measure. The lavender in pots – two different varieties – is going along well. The one that Dr B accidentally nudged with the whipper-snipper is going, if perhaps a little less well than the other two. The snails made short work of a couple of the petunias that I planted, but half a dozen or so have already bloomed The irises  flowered remarkably well. it’s unlikely they will ever all flower at the same time, but we had about eight or nine blooming simultaneously, which provided a gorgeous burst of dark purple.

YoungB is fascinated by the snapdragons, which he tells me are heterozygous because their blooms are red-and-yellow (as you can see in the photo). I’m surprised he’s able to distinguish the colours, but impressed by his scientific know-how. They flowered not long after I planted them, and are now flowering again. That makes them a pretty addition to the greenery of the agapanthus at the back of the bed.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope your in better health than our household currently seems to be! But if it’s spring where you are, may it be a colourful one.

 

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soaking up some sunshine

There’s much to be said for hardy garden plants. If they can survive even my ministrations, they’re winners 🙂

Today Dr B went on his weekly Sunday motorcycle jaunt up through the Hills and I visited Youngest Aunt. We had a lovely lunch out under her back verandah – making the most of the warmth and sunshine before the spring weather turns chilly again – and then raided her garden for all sorts of goodies. I came home with asparagus and a bunch of mixed herbs, as well as some freshly baked muffins of varying flavours and sizes (some sweet, some savoury).

My contribution to the day was some punnets of petunias for planting out, which I’d bought from a nursery en route We divided them equally, and I planted mine when I arrived home. Dr B was mowing the lawn. YoungB was studying. It wasn’t an energetic day for any of us, but it was enjoyable.

I am extremely pleased to report that transplanting the irises not only didn’t kill them – they are, in fact, looking strong and putting out lots of new growth – but also didn’t deter them from flowering, as I’d feared might be the case. There are some buds about to open.

I took my crochet with me to Youngest  Aunt’s, but we were so busy chatting and then admiring the garden that it didn’t get a look in. Never mind, there’s no deadline.

I hope your day has been equally sunny and undemanding.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2017 in gardening

 

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