Sunday, 15 March 2015

My First Mother's Day

Well, what can I say? Chris completely excelled himself today.

First, I was allowed to have a lie-in, while he got Junior up and fed him and got him dressed. Then, when I came downstairs after the luxury of not only washing, but drying and straightening my hair (no time for that usually), I had two cards and two presents waiting for me. The first card was a lovely one from Chris and Junior. The second one, Chris had done through Moonpig. It's got loads of photos of Junior and me on the front, and Chris had written a really beautiful verse inside. I burst into tears as soon as I saw it, it was so lovely.

Once I'd stopped crying, I opened my first present... and started crying again. It was a photo book, Mother's Day 2015, and again was full of photos of Junior, some with me, one with my mum, and Chris had written a funny caption for each one. It was just amazing, he'd chosen brilliant photos and the captions were great.

The only downside to the card and photobook is that I can't possibly top them for Father's Day! I might just have to copy the idea, so that we can have a book each.

Obviously I don't show photos of Junior on my blog, which is a real shame because I would've loved to show my wonderful card and gift.

My second present was a box of chocolates, which we're tucking into now ;-)

If you've celebrated Mothering Sunday one way or another, I hope you've had a lovely day  xx

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Finished Project and Other Yarny News

Just a quick visit with some yarny crochet news.

I've been trying to avoid buying any new yarn until I've used up some of my stash, but I couldn't resist joining in with one of the Yarnmama market nights on Facebook. A group of working from home mums produce some amazing hand-dyed yarn, customised crochet hooks, stitch markers and other accessories. Every month they have a market night, where they post an album of items for sale, and at an agreed time (usually 8pm I think) they release a password. Then you simply comment on the photo of whatever it is you're interested in buying, with the password and the word 'sold'. I popped in at about 8.20pm and most of the yarn had been snapped up, but there were two skeins still available and I thought, "what the heck, let's have a go!", so I bought them. And here they are:

The market nights tend to have a theme, and this one was 'Movie Night'. This yarn was called "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice". I think it's superwash merino DK, although I don't have it to hand at the moment to check the label. It's lovely and squishy. The colour, a grey-green-cream, isn't necessarily something I'd have gone for, but out of what was left on the night it was the one that appealed the most, and I was thinking I might use it to make something for Junior, as they are quite 'boyish' colours. No idea what though. I should mention that the seller of this yarn is Little Boo Yarns.

As you can see, the parcel of yarn (in matching tissue paper) arrived on the same day as my subscription to Simply Crochet magazine, so it was a particularly happy post delivery that day. I could've hugged the postman. Except he's a miserable sod, so I didn't.

A couple of days after I'd received this yarn, Chris asked me if I had a spare ball of wool and crochet hook that I'd be willing to part with, as the wife of one of his work colleagues wanted to take up crochet. So I decided to take the opportunity to part with a carrier bag full of all my scrap yarn, plus a couple of 4mm hooks (one was a freebie which I've never used). The balls of wool weren't huge, but enough to practice on, so I hope she appreciated them. Once I'd got rid of them I felt less guilty about buying the above yarn ;-)

* * *

In crochet news, I have a finished item! Back in (ahem) November 2013, I decided to make a blanket of some kind using all the pinky-purple colours of Stylecraft that I had, as I seemed to have a bit of a glut of them. I chose to make the Sunburst Granny Square pattern, and then double crochet them together with cream, so that it gave the raised grid-like seam, which I really like the look of.

I think I made about 9 squares before getting bored with them, or being distracted by some other project, but eventually I got back into it last year. I thought if I could finish it in time, I could give it to my mum for Christmas. No chance. Then I thought I could give it to her for her birthday in January. No chance. Then I decided to aim for Mother's Day in March. Yeesss, I actually managed to complete it in time!!

I hate to say this about a gift for my mum, but I wasn't enjoying it, and I just couldn't face doing any more squares. Having to change colour for each round made it quite slow-going, so when I'd reached 49 squares I decided to stop and join them, hoping that the border would add a little bit more to the overall size.

Due to the overall purpleyness of it, I've decided to call this my Lilac Wine Blanket, inspired by this song by one of my favourite artists, Jeff Buckley (Elkie Brooks cover).

So here it is:

Lilac Wine

Started: 21.11.13
Finished: 9.3.15 (gulp!)
Hook: 4mm
Sunburst Granny Square pattern using a mix of Stylecraft Special DK in Clematis, Magenta, Pale Rose, Grape, Wisteria, Violet, Plum (I only did the first four rounds of the pattern, but I think there might be five or six)
Border: after joining squares with cream, double crochet all around with cream, then one round of double crochet in violet, one round of half treble crochet in cleamatis, then one round of treble crochet in magenta (UK terms)
Measures approx. 30 inches square, so just a lap blanket really.

Overall I'm really pleased with it, but I wish I'd had the time and patience to do more squares to make it bigger. I hope my mum likes it, and can find a use for it.

* * *

I'm in a few crochet groups on Facebook, and something I've seen an awful lot of recently is the C2C blanket, or corner to corner. I finally decided to jump on the bandwagon and have a go, but I just did a small one in cotton, as I thought it might make a nice dishcloth.

It was surprisingly easy to get the hang of the pattern, and it worked up very quickly. I'm not sure I'd like to make a C2C blanket though - although the pattern is repetitive, it doesn't have the same therapeutic feel as, say, Lucy's ripple pattern, or even a granny square. I might make more C2C dishcloths though, as I think it gives just the right amount of texture.

* * *

At Yarndale 2014, and the Armley Mill Wool Festival that followed a week or so later, I bought a few gorgeous skeins of yarn. Ever since then, I've been meaning to wind them into usable balls/cakes. Back in February, I finally indulged in a wool winder from ebay, and a Yarn Buddy with a Swift attachment, from Doodlestop, another independent seller I came across on Facebook.

I had the yarn buddy customised, so I had to wait a while for it, but it arrived safely last week, and today was the first chance I had to use it (Chris has taken Junior out for the day). I wanted to wind my skeins into cakes, so I set up the swift, clamped my wool winder onto the table, and made a start with the gorgeous rainbow yarn that I bought from Cuddlebums at Yarndale.

Action shot!
It didn't go exactly to plan, and I'm going to call it 'operator error' - a case of never having done it before, and not really knowing what to expect. Basically, that skein was 100g of laceweight yarn, which equals 600m. I completely underestimated how big the 'cake' would be - it started to overhang the flat bit of the winder that it's supposed to sit on, and the yarn kept slipping underneath. It managed to work it's way into the cog mechanism three times, which caused me a headache trying to free it, but luckily I managed to get it out without any damage. I think the upshot of this is that, once the winder gets full, you either need to cut the yarn and start a new cake, or, if there is only a bit of yarn left, take the cake off and wind the rest of it by hand. I know that now, but I didn't at the time.

This was the end result:

A bit messier than it should've been - it's such lovely yarn, I feel a bit guilty that I didn't do a good job with it!

It took me so long winding that one skein, that I didn't have time to do any more (I'm supposed to be doing laundry as I type). I checked my other yarn though, and I have some skeins of cobweb lace which are 1200m, so I'm definitely going to have to cut them and make several cakes out of them.

By the way, this is the Yarn Buddy

I wasn't sure how to have it customised, but in the end I asked for cat pawprints. It also has my name on. Your yarn cakes fit onto the stem (the cap at the top is removable) - I think it will even work with balls of yarn like Stylecraft - you work the yarn from the outside, and it just turns smoothly as you work. The stem pulls out of the base, so that the swift attachment can be fitted. The base turns really smoothly on ball bearings.

I also treated myself to these heart-shaped stitch markers, although I haven't taken them out of the packet yet.

Well, I think that's all my yarny news for now. See you soon! x

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