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.

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Since it’s a Bank Holiday, I’m resolutely doing nothing remotely connected with church – our busy patch is turning into a busy season, perhaps even lifestyle, and there is always the danger of becoming overwhelmed. I have made adjustments to my commitments, to create a rhythm of busy and not so busy weeks … but that doesn’t apply to DH. We have however, settled on an annual pattern of breaks and holidays for the future … something we’ve struggled with since the girls started the exam years … not that the exams are over, but at least for DD1, they are part of her work routine, and she is living independently. DD2 is still job hunting, and waiting for her MSc results, but in the meanwhile has settled into living at home fairly easily.

So after being in the garden while it was still cool – I am loving this summer’s heatwaves, but it does create work; watering and weeding – I have spent some time with some recent finishes. They’ve been slow, it’s been far too hot to sit under an almost finished blanket sewing in ends (!), but they are done now. And I am without a project 😮 I have fallen in love with another mosaic pattern but it’s not yet fully released (and it’s still too warm to do more than a few rows).

Arizona

This is a highly textured blanket, and I’ve loved picking up new stitches. I also have an idea for an en point granny square blanket, using the same method of squaring off. It will easily top a double bed.

Origami

Cot-sized in my version – not perfect, but fun to plan and make.

Finishing Indian Summer

I rarely block a piece of work, but this one curled badly, so I tried – I’m not convinced it will make much difference, but it was worth a try.

Click on titles for links to the patterns. For more details of the projects, see the gallery page 🙂

The pace of life has not slowed. One of the casualties has been the time and energy simply to sit and think, and to create … anything. I bake cakes once a month for church; otherwise my cooking is very basic, designed to fit into whatever time we have at the end of the day, before the evening rush. No new recipes, or slow leisurely cooking other than the occasional roast – and once that’s in the oven I can go do something else while it’s cooking! I still crochet in the evenings, but nothing challenging that demands concentration.

A few days ago, I realised that despite being relentlessly busy I have been learning to listen.

We’ve not had many opportunities to get outdoors, into the countryside … and when we do, my sight is not good enough in the brief glimpse of a ‘little brown job’ to get an identification. But for the past few years I’ve been trying to learn to identify birds by their song or their call. A while ago I bought a new book, ‘Guide to Birdsong’, from the RSPB. There is an accompanying CD, and an optional free download available (see the bottom of this page) which I listen to in the car. So now when we walk, I focus on listening …

We recently took a midweek day off that was owing, and to get far, far away we headed for Slapton Ley. The weather started out grey and overcast, but began to clear after lunch, so we decided to walk around the Ley with our binoculars. To cut a long story short we managed to get lost and ended up walking far further than we’d planned, which meant we were out far longer than we intended, which was probably just what we needed! But it was wonderful to hear the birds, few of which we could actually see 🙂

In particular, the Skylark … such an evocative call, which I’ve rarely heard except on Dartmoor. And the familiar Reed Warbler (which I’ve now learned to distinguish from the Sedge Warbler – I’m making progress!) … which we used to hear regularly on the River Axe – we would spend hours tracking them through the reed beds but never even caught a glimpse – they are almost invisible even when they are within arms reach. But I was so excited to unexpectedly hear a Cetti’s Warbler – listen here. Cetti song is explosive, so loud it can make you jump – you can’t mistake it.

We did see several Great-crested Grebe on the lake … but couldn’t pick out any humbugs (their chicks are striped black and white and ride on their parents’ backs). But there were some unaccompanied ducklings … their demeanour suggested there was no adult bird within range, since they stayed tightly tucked together for protection … there are various raptors that would easily take a duckling 😦

It struck me that listening to birdsong is akin to listening to God in prayer … the more you listen, the more you hear. And the more you expect to hear something, the harder you listen in the first place.

Recently we held had a Ladies’ Quiet Day. The theme was Hearing God’s Voice, and our speaker took us through a number of prayer exercises designed to help us hear God speak to us – not only to us as individuals, but also to each other. I don’t know what everyone expected, but each of us heard God clearly during the day … just as exciting (and almost as loud) as hearing a Cetti’s Warbler!

Since then, it’s as if God is compensating for how busy we are by using images rather than words when I pray – a new experience for me.

I don’t want make this post too long, so to finish, a couple of other photos – DH is out for the day, so I’ve kept this time aside to catch up around the house, including planting a low hedge alongside the patio. I set aside a couple of hours to get it done, but we’ve had so much rain recently that the ground was quite soft, and it took longer to clear and replace the birdfeeders and patio furniture than it did to plant seven Euonymus … hence I have time to write on my blog for the first time in some months … 😀

And with the birdfeeder and pots replaced …

Just a few ends left to sew in! I enjoyed working with these colours – I matched the original selection in another yarn to the yarn I use – but the pattern was a little disappointing in places, and the blanket itself is too long and narrow. Nevertheless, I’m pleased with the result, and enjoyed doing a pieced blanket that also included rows.

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Indian Summer – The Official Deramores 2018 CAL by Leonie Morgan

I’ve had this blanket on my bed for some months now – and today I noticed a mistake! 😮

You’ll have to look carefully! One hint … it’s about colours. See it yet? For once the colours in the photo are pretty accurate, and two colours are fairly similar to each other, which is probably why I’ve only just noticed it, but I can’t understand why I didn’t see it when I was joining squares!

Look at the diagonal row of dark red stars … and then the row next to it. Of course, having seen it, I can’t unsee it … but no-one else will notice, especially as this one is in my bedroom! 😀

When I showed you my finished ‘Havana in Blue’, I failed to confess that I had noticed a mistake just after I’d added the border. It’s taken me a while to a) decide if it was worth worrying about (ie would anyone notice) and b) how to correct it/cover it up.

And it was only as I looked at this photo, I realised there were in fact, two identical  mistakes – horror!


But the disguise was quite simple (although I very nearly used cream yarn rather than white – doh!) … and while not perfect, there’s no longer anything to draw the eye (which is how I found it).

Not perfect, but close enough … I’m thinking of gifting this one, so I had to do something! 😀

With the launch of a new project at church at the beginning of January, we knew life would get busier, we just didn’t realise how exhausting we would find it. Gone are the occasional leisurely weeks, with only a few commitments, leaving us space to recoup and regroup. Life is now relentless – but totally worthwhile, as the project continues to grow. The main ‘unintended consequence’ has been lack of time, energy and inspiration to think, blog and create. So frustrating.

However, I kept plodding on with a second Havana …

… not quite as wide as the first, but with the addition of a wider border, probably about the same overall.

Not the mosaic border of the original written pattern though .. I started it, but didn’t like the effect. So I went for a simple stripped border in the same back loop DC stitch. I also did the back border in DC rather than the suggested treble stitch, but if I ever do yet another, I will count my stitches before joining! :/ I had to ease the sides together, which was a bit fiddly .. and together with the yarn splitting from time to time, it’s wasn’t altogether a satisfying experience. But I am content with the result.

We now have two craft days a month … though I seem to spend little time actually creating, as I’m usually occupied with getting alongside newcomers, or catering. Since the blanket was too large to easily relocate each time I moved seats, and I didn’t want to sit empty-handed, I’ve also been knitting hats (on circular needles, rather like I knit socks) as a portable project. But I’m really rather bored with hats, so I hunted round my stash and found a project just waiting to be started (as well as several WIPS*, none of which inspired me to pick them up again) … so I’m all set for tomorrow’s craft day, after all!

Havana CAL worked in leftovers, and finished on New Year’s Eve 2018 … no new yarn was purchased during the making of this blanket!

I’ve seen it worked in so many colourways … all beautiful. My favourite has been a dark background colour with alternate rows in brighter yarns – ideal for using up small scraps – but having worked the border in Midnight Blue, I know I can’t use it for a whole blanket as I simply can’t distinguish the stitches I need for the pattern, even in the brightest light.

With the leftovers I had, I struggled towards the end to find colours that felt right so I did it over a couple of times, eventually staying in the blue/pink range rather than switching to the greens I had available. I also needed extra length as my blanket was rather wider than the original pattern, so created a simple panel of my own design.

I loved this so much – both the creating and the result – that I’ve already begun another 😮 this time in a more deliberate choice of colour (blues, of course – I feel so much happier working in blues!). I’m making the blanket itself just slightly smaller, so as to work the extended border with a mosaic pattern … the border is a lot of work on blanket this size and the extended border adds several inches to the finished article. (This is the first time ever I’ve needed a YouTube video to help me with the technique, but it’s really quite simple once you ‘get it’ 🙂 )

I love the final texture … weighty but soft with a lovely drape. It’s worked in Stylecraft Special DK, with a 4mm hook.

Note to self: I’m not totally convinced by the simple border – it’s worked as a double layer, so you don’t have to sew in any ends (of which there are hundreds). I reduced my hook size as instructed, but I may go down another size next time as it still buckles slightly. I will hide the slip stitches along the edge that form the foundation for the border too, since you use a totally different colour and I don’t like that it shows when done according to the original pattern.

When I finished the 6-day blanket (see previous post) I wasn’t ready with a new project, and none of my existing projects are simple enough to quickly take up and hook in front of the television!

But this caught my eye … Cherry Heart’s Dotty Darlings, part of this year’s Stylecraft blog tour. It’s not often I find something there I like or want to make, but it’s always worth a look.

At only 110 stitches across, it’s baby sized and quick to hook up …

It only took me two evenings, and I’m ready to go with another television project, and, once I’ve completed one of the more complicated projects, I have another in mind 🙂

So many projects and so little time … !

I’m still playing with the sea theme colours:

from this pattern though it took me a little longer than six days 🙂

The Forget-me-not Dots blanket is now with friends in Kenya, taken as a gift when DH went to stay with them 🙂

 

This Way Blanket by Susan Carlson

DD2 is now doing an MSc … and her room at Uni is cold (though she hasn’t yet worked out how to operate the heater in her room, which might make a difference!). So she put out an appeal for a blanket (and a can opener, but that’s another story) …

This was on my hook … so no sooner finished, and ends sewn in, when it gets packed up and sent off, so no time to show it off to the Craft Group at church!

From: The Hen Garden

Dust bath

The new girls are making themselves at home … This is Esther in a well-established dust bath just by the Cube. And this is Dorcas, excavating a new site by the feed station … a useful by-product of bug-hunting.  

Eggs

We’re not totally sure who is laying … but certainly a hen, an LS bantam and a true bantam! The wind egg on the end is the tiniest little egg we’ve ever had 🙂 We took down the fence between the two broods and they are gradually adapting. Organising the pecking order was a little […]

Almost another year …

My last post was written just after my mother came to live with us, and there’s been little time for blogging since. However, Mum had a stroke and passed away very peacefully a while back now, and while I can’t promise to write here regularly, I do want to update you with the goings on […]

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