This is an occasional blog – I try not to swamp it with too much about any one of my interests – so I’m not a daily blogger by any means. But if you’ve found me because I’ve commented on your blog … you are especially welcome!

The only other blog that I try to keep up to date is The Hen Garden – if chickens are your interest, do go and take a look.

Older posts now in this blog have been imported from other blogs I’ve kept over the years … I hope the links and images are still functioning, my apologies if that’s not the case.


(Adapted from

You need a multiple of 4+2 tr as your foundation row – I used foundation treble, as I don’t like using a starting chain! I ‘cast on’ 42 tr for this scarf. If you prefer using a chain start, cast on a multiple of 4, and make your first tr in the third chain from the hook. You should end up with a multiple of 4+2 🙂

Row 1
Ch 2 (turning chain, counts as first stitch on each row), *fptr in next two stitches, bptr in next two stitches*, repeat to last stitch, htr.

Row 2
Ch 2, fptr in next stitch, *2bptr, 2fptr* repeat to last stitch (not including turning chain), bptr, htr in ch2 space.

Row 3
Ch 2, *2bptr, 2fptr* repeat to end, htr in Ch 2 space

Row 4
Ch 2, bptr, *2fptr, 2bptr* repeat to last stitch (not including turning chain), fptr, htr in Ch 2 space.

Repeat these four rows …

Finish with a row of htr.

The basket weave is a four stitch repeat, with an edge stitch at either end (Ch 2 to start, htr to finish).

It is easy to ‘lose’ stitches at the edge of this pattern, but it will help if you use a stitch marker to mark the Ch 2 turning chain on each row – you can use it to pull the Ch 2 to one side to identify the final stitch which can get lost behind the b/fptr of the row below.

It will take some concentration to begin with, but after a few repeats, you will get used to the pattern – and remembering that the pattern travels in the opposite direction on either side will help!

I’m using Stylecraft Cabaret in Ocean … a self-striping double knit with a glitter thread. It can vary considerably in texture from colour to colour, but the colour range is delightful. Four balls gave me a lengthy scarf – and I’m just about to start another, this time in Purple Haze 🙂

See this article.

Puffed crochet heart


Using UK terminology … make two.

Make a double magic ring, ch 2.
Round 1: (3 tr, 4 dc, tr, 4 dc, 3 tr) into magic ring. Place marker in middle tr. Ch 2 and sl st into magic ring, making sure your stitches do not twist. Pull the magic ring tightly closed.

Note: do not turn work, continue working around the heart, working into the stitches of round 1, and starting by working into the ch-sp formed by the ch 2 you made after the magic ring.

Round 2: dc in ch-sp, 2 htr in next st, 3 htr in next st, 2 htr in next st, htr in next 3 st, 2 htr in next st, (htr, tr, htr) in next (marked) st, replace marker into central tr, 2 htr in next st, htr in next 3 st, 2 htr in next st, 3 htr in next st, 2 htr in next st, (dc, sl st) in ch-sp. Fasten off and cut thread on first heart only.

Make another. If continuing with same colour, do not cut thread on second heart … place both hearts wrong sides together, and crochet round 3 through both. Or, when using a different colour for contrast, fasten off and start with a standing dc through both hearts. (Note that your first dc will be in the dc in the ch 2 space of round 2)

Round 3: dc in next 2 st, (dc in next st, 2 dc in next st) three times, dc in next 6 st, 3 dc in next marked) st, dc in next 6 st, (with one lobe of the heart left to crochet together, stuff all the yarn ends into the heart, then add a small wisp of stuffing to puff up the heart a little), continue through both hearts (2 dc in next st, dc in next st) three times, dc in next 2 st. Join with sl st into first st.

If you’d like to make a hanging loop, keep the yarn tail long and use it to form a loop with chain stitches. If not, use a bodkin to thread the end between the two layers of the heart.

For a single layer heart, you can stop at round 2, or continue to round 3, but working in the single layer 🙂

See also this pattern from Cherry Heart for an alternative suggestion 🙂


I am the keeper.

I am the keeper of schedules. Of practices, games, and lessons. Of projects, parties, and dinners. Of appointments and homework assignments.

I am the keeper of information. Who needs food 5 minutes before a meltdown occurs and who needs space when he gets angry. Whether there are clean clothes, whether bills are paid, and whether we are out of milk.

I am the keeper of solutions. Of bandaids and sewing kits and snacks in my purse. But also of emotional balms and metaphorical security blankets.

I am the keeper of preferences. Of likes and dislikes. Of nightly rituals and food aversions.

I am the keeper of reminders. To be kind, to pick up their trash, to do their dishes, to do their homework, to hold open doors and write thank you notes.

I am the keeper of rituals and memories. Of pumpkin patches and Easter egg hunts. I am the taker of pictures, the collector of special ornaments, and the writer of letters.

I am the keeper of emotional security. The repository of comfort, the navigator of bad moods, the holder of secrets and the soother of fears.

I am the keeper of the peace. The mediator of fights, the arbiter of disputes, the facilitator of language, the handler of differing personalities.

I am the keeper of worry. Theirs and my own.

I am the keeper of the good and the bad, the big and the small, the beautiful and the hard.

Most of the time, the weight of these things I keep resembles the upper elements on the periodic table – lighter than air, buoying me with a sense of purpose. It’s what I signed up for. It’s the one thing I am really good at.

But sometimes the weight of these things I keep pulls me down below the surface until I am kicking and struggling to break the surface and gasp for breath.

Becsuse these things I keep are constantly flickering in the back of my brain, waiting to be forgotten. They scatter my thoughts and keep me awake long past my bedtime.

Because all these things I keep are invisible, intangible. They go unnoticed and unacknowledged until they are missed. They are not graded or peer reviewed or ruled on by a court. And sometimes they are taken for granted.

To all of you who are keepers, I see you.

I know the weight of the things you keep.

I know the invisible work you do—which doesn’t come with a pay check or sick leave—is what makes the world go round.

I see you.

And I salute you.

I started crochet as a hobby in 2015 … it feels so much longer ago when I look around at all I’ve made since that time. But the juices are still flowing and I have a number of WIPs (Works in Progress) on the go, and more than a couple of projects planned.

Some projects take more concentration than others – so I only do them when I have the time and concentration simultaneously. Other projects are less demanding, so I keep them for the evenings while watching television, or when there are people around me so I can hook and chat at the same time.

I’ve found a number of groups on FB – numbers are growing all the time – so there are always other people’s photos and ideas to maintain the interest and stimulate ideas. Especially with regard to colour scheme as I don’t have much of a sense of colour myself. Sometimes a project starts with a colour scheme, other times with a pattern or design … a CAL (crochet along) is a group project where the pattern and colour scheme is supplied – you can mix and match your own colours if you wish, of course – so if I see one I like, that’s the best of both worlds.

I was at a garden centre recently, and there was a wall full of yarn in my usual choice of Stylecraft Special DK – my preference as the colours are consistent, it washes well, and I can mix and match left overs. I was completely overwhelmed by choice – so I took the opportunity to pick out all the colours I liked and create an instant stash (I had some pocket money to spend! 🙂 ). Since then, I’ve found two projects for which I need to select yarn … both CALs with suggested colour schemes, one of which I like and one I don’t … but I suspect I may still need to buy a ball or two more – it’s a good job it’s relatively inexpensive.

As for the completed projects, some are in my blanket box waiting for the cooler winter nights, others are given as gifts (but only to very special people!), while others are around the house as decoration and for warmth – DD2 often pulls one over her while she’s on the sofa 🙂

Just occasionally, I design my own project, or perhaps add a different border. The borders can take as long to make as the blanket itself!

For a change, my latest evening WIP is being made from left over yarn (all the duplicate colours I found when I combined my new stash with older supplies), which seemed to me to go well together, and a stitch I came across while looking for ideas – for once I made a swatch of two or three different stitches so was able to see how it looked straight off the hook.

I love the internet … ideas, colour schemes, shared interests, even supplies … all from my desk. But I love leaving my desk and settling down with a hook and yarn even more!

We weren’t meeting J until after lunch, so we took the time to go into the city to Dymocks … an extensive bookstore in one of the many shopping arcades, rather like an expanded Waterstones. We window shopped a few titles (I took photos on my mobile, so as to look them up in the UK … books are quite expensive in Aus, quite apart from their weight being an issue when packing), and then went exploring, before deciding on a late breakfast/early lunch at ‘32’ in the Manchester Unity Building Arcade … an Art Deco/neo Gothic building created to house the headquarters of the International Order of Oddfellows (Victoria) in 1932.

click on image for link/info

We didn’t have time to take the official tour of the building, once the tallest in Melbourne, but it would be very interesting to do so.

Instead, we took the train from Flinders Street (another iconic building) to Croydon, via places with familiar names such as Richmond, Camberwell, Chatham, Mitcham and Ringwood …

Again, click on image for more detail

Many of the local place names must have arrived with the settlers, though they are geographically all over the place, Montrose being near Croydon, on the way to Windsor, for example.

J was there to meet us, as we had texted her the train times, so we set out immediately for the Dandenongs, part of the Great Dividing Range of mountains. Breathtaking views … and today the clouds were especially spectacular, too. J’s friend Beth, who lives on the mountain, had offered to show us around, and to give us afternoon tea … so we picked her up and she directed us to the Rhododendron Gardens. The planting, especially of Mountain Ash, is impressive both in scale and height. We took the Lyrebird path, and although we did not catch sight of a Lyrebird, we did see Black Cockatoos and various other parrots. There is a Japanese feel to some of the ponds and architecture, too.

Then back to Beth’s amazing Vicarage … on a steep slope, backing on to the national park. Everyone was excited to see Black Cockatoos again, feasting on cones in the trees.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

It was inevitable with three clergymen in attendance that they would talk ‘shop’, but it was lovely to feel so welcome with friends of friends, when so far from home. Beth is British, too … so we had more in common than simply our husbands’ jobs!

Beth and Andrew live in a fire risk area, so every summer they have to be prepared to leave the mountain in a hurry. It last burned 7 years ago, though they have only been there for three … but they are always alert to the risk. In 1963, the fire burned up the mountain in only 6 minutes, and they are an hour’s drive from safety.

J took us home and fed us before we once again caught the train back to the city, this time from Ringwood. There is an all night light festival in the city tonight, and the train was fairly full. We sat opposite four young girls, obviously out for the night on the town, but who engaged us in conversation, seemingly quite excited to be talking to visitors from so far away (‘Do you live near New York?’ – sorry, wrong country), and fascinated to discover their familiar place names were not original to the locality (not that they’d heard of Plymouth!).

So another full, satisfying and varied day.

Mum and DH in the garden, looking at documents from the family tree, surrounded by hens and vegetables, unaware of being watched, let alone photographed … a bucolic moment in our hectic life 🙂

I will one day get around to completing my Australia album … in the meanwhile, life has changed and it’s taking some getting used to.

First, the house. We had a plan of work to start in May, but the builder was free so came in before Easter … but what was scheduled for 5-6 weeks took much, much longer and three months later, while the major work is done, the little details are still in need of attention. He’s now on a new job, so will have to come back later, and we are moving on, getting organised … conscious all the time that there will be more disruption at some stage, minor though it be by comparison.

In the midst of the work, my mother broke her hip. She was on the floor for over 30 hours, and once someone found her, the Police had to come and break into the house. She always refused to wear a personal alarm (‘I didn’t need it until I fell!’), and had left her key in the lock so the neighbours couldn’t get in.

I spent three weeks in Dorset, and another two weeks in Plymouth visiting the hospital(s) every day for several hours (she was at three different units in that time), during which time DH took time off to try and get the house straight – the builders moved out (though left their stuff for a few weeks), my two daughters moved in with all their Uni stuff, and we brought two car loads of stuff from Mum’s house down, as the plan was to discharge her to live with us. With no spare room any more, we have had to reorganise (or throw) virtually everything in the house … it’s been a huge, and complicated, job.

Once Mum was home, we had visits from PT/OT/District Nurse, equipment deliveries, Chiropodist etc … all in week one. It took a few phone calls to get her meds sorted, but everyone was very willing.

Since then, she’s been happy to sit and watch television, while I’ve been trying to get her mobilised … even basic activities tire her out, but the promise of an ice cream on the Hoe or somewhere on Dartmoor is usually sufficient to get her out of the house. She hated the food in hospital, but has been very willing to try things here at home … not always successfully.

So life has changed – we are living back in toddlerdom … walking slowly so Mum can keep up, pacing everything by ice cream stops, learning food preferences – and watching rubbish on television to keep her company, with the occasional broken night (last night she rolled over in bed and found herself on the floor).

And I am having to reassess all my commitments … one of us always has to be here for mealtimes, for example. I had not anticipated the strain it has put on myself and DH … but we’ll get through it, and settle into the ‘new normal’ … I’m simply praying that once we do, it doesn’t change again for a while yet.

The future is uncertain.

Brighton Beach


From: The Hen Garden

It’s been a while …

… since I last posted; there’s been a lot going on. But while I’ve not had time to blog about the hens, they’ve not been neglected! Now that the building work is finished, we are able to let the hens out to free range … it took a while for the Three Amigos to find […]

Who’s the King of the Castle?

We had a bit of a move round to give us access the one last raised bed I still need to empty. The girls are now in a much more open space on some fresh grass – but I’m still reseeding much of that side of the garden after moving the other beds, so we will continue […]


That was easy! As the new girls began to show signs of laying – their comb getting brighter, and crouching – we began to take the back off the Eglu Go, so they had to go and share the nest box in the Cube when they wanted to lay … there were a few spats, […]

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