Things haven’t really improved this week, unfortunately it looks like my OH will be laid off at the end of the month as the furlough scheme comes to the end, he works in a community centre and because of the restrictions a lot of the groups can no longer meet and it means that it has had to reduce its opening hours dramatically and don’t have enough income to pay wages. It’s such a shame that at a time when a lot of people in our community need support that the centre won’t be there but I know they aren’t the only ones in this situation.

I have still been busy even though pretty much confined to home, we released Square 26 of 25 Years and counting this week, This is my version.

Square 26

I have taken the basic pattern and changed colours in both the contrast and background colours, it was great fun to see how different I could make this basic pattern look.

I also continued in my attempt to have 50 hoops in time for my 50th Birthday, I have mostly concentrated on the Willow pattern kit by Susan Ryder, I’m nearing the end and hope to finish it by the weekend.

Willow Pattern-Susan Ryder

I have been trying to think of something positive to do in the run up to Christmas, because yes, there are things we aren’t going to be able to do because of Covid but I want to refocus and find something we can do, a different tradition, maybe a weekly Christmas film watch along or, decoration making Zoom sessions, tree decorating Zoom party, I don’t know, I just want to do something positive.

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Ups and downs

Oh it’s been a couple of weeks!

On the rough side unfortunately due to recent infection rates and a local testing centre which means my bus is full of people going for a test I am pretty much back into shielding. I know it’s the sensible thing to do for me, and with the weather being as bad as it has been I probably wouldn’t be wandering too far anyway but can’t help feeling a bit down in the dumps about it and my sleep pattern is all over the place.

In the better news and a great distraction we had the ELCG Autumn workshop where I get a chance to see everyone’s work but also the group had designed a whole batch of new designs. These are my contributions.

The Eye of Ra
Scarab

I also took two of the ELCG colour change squares and produced written instructions to go alongside the original charts.

I need to tweak them a little bit and hope to add it to the 25 years and counting CAL group and on Rav next week.

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Anybody want a cat

You may or may not now but we have a rescue cat named George.

We’ve had George for about three or four years and is a house cat and generally just sleeps a lot unless we have guests in which case he needs their undivided attention. So all our visitors think he is a wonderful cat, so friendly and adorable.

Well let me tell you there is another side to George.

I am sat here at quarter to three in the morning waiting for all the grey smoke to clear from our flat so I can close the windows and go back to bed as George decided in his wisdom after three years of showing no interest at all in it, that tonight would be a good night to investigate the toaster. The toaster is on the side in the kitchen, which he is obviously not allowed on for obvious hygiene reasons, and during his exploration he had managed to some how press the toaster on and then tip it on it’s side and by the time we’ve got to it there are flames and smoke billowing from it. Thankfully we have very good smoke detectors or it could have been far worse as I managed to put the flames out quite quickly. What was George’s reaction you ask, well he was just very excited as he thought that it must be breakfast as we were all up.

So don’t be deceived by Georges cute exterior, it’s all a front I am sure he is plotting to take over the world.

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And yes I do still knit

It’s true, recently my blog hasn’t had much knitting content which is where it all started but I do actually still knit.

I’ve knitted gloves of all varieties before mostly for other people but I have always struggled with two colour fairisle either mittens or gloves for me as I have quite large hands and find on most of the patterns I can alter the circumference of the gloves but struggle to extend the length. Don’t get me wrong I probably could if I did a lot of knitting and frogging but I think I may have finally cracked it.

My most recent cast on came off the back off a great online class with Angharad Thomas on online resources for knitting gloves which was part of the KCG recent Un-convention.

So after much searching of patterns I have cast on Into the Labyrinth by Miranda Grant with 2.5mm circ needles using St Ives 4ply and some of my hand dyed 4ply.

They are fingerless which helps but there are a couple of easy places to slip in a couple of extra rows to extend the length easily, I have just got to the thumb gusset and so far it fits really well.

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New times calls for new Skills

Some of you may know that over a year ago I started helping at my sons Scout group and it will come as no suprise to those who know me in real life that I am now a very proud Beaver Scout Leader, it has been an amazing 18months, I have done some amazing things that after my hospital stay last year never thought I’d do again, including scout camp (I get an indoors bed) and I am really enjoying doing the training.

As you can imagine since the lockdown started at the end of March it has been a whole new challenge, our group, as well as many others troupes around the country, have risen to the challenge and have continued to meet each week via Zoom. Our groups have actually continued through both the Easter and the Summer holidays as we felt it was important that the kids still had the opportunity to socialise with other kids, and we have now completed over 30 online sessions.

Funny hat night.

This photo was from early on where we had a funny hat night, it’s amazing what you can do with a bit of cardboard and a hot glue gun. The kids have been amazing and my group alone this year have earned 60 badges, we have sung and played games, learnt about water safety, tackled origami and of course we’ve done scavenger hunts. The parents have also been very supportive taking them on long walks and camping in tents where possible in the garden and putting up with, what must sound like chaos every Monday night.

Origami Bookmarks

Unfortunately we have struggled with funds, our poor committee have applied for every grant going with no success but friends and family were amazing in helping get things from our wish list which means when we finally return to meeting face to face every child has their own set of equipment so no cross contamination and the fundraising committee continue to do their best to keep us going.

It has been an amazing experience and although I’d rather be meeting face to face I am looking forward to the challenge of at least another month of Zoom meetings and here’s a hint to next weeks activity.

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Another Board Saturday

Due to the growing infection rate in the UK we decided to make the most of our Saturday and as a family we headed to one of our new favourite places which is the Saturday Dicing with Life table top games event held at the Hope Cafe.

There are a range of board games but also the chance to take part in bigger table top games like Moonstone. We always like to try a new game each time we visit, this time we tried out Colour Brain.

It has definitely been added to our wish list, although Lb may be a year or two too young to really play it on an equal basis (he’s 13) just because it’s based on answering general knowledge questions, he still loved playing it, it’s a great game for mixed ages, really quick to get going with really simple rules.

Apparently we couldn’t visit without a couple of games of Star Wars-X wing. Unfortunately it’s a two person game but at least I remembered my knitting this week.

We love the big mat they have and of course the big table to play it on.

The cafe are very good about social distancing and all the games are UV treated between Users and the food is pretty tasty too and is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon and would highly recommend a visit.

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25 Years and counting CAL

During lockdown in the UK the East London Crochet Group have used the time to revisit Barbara Mann’s original designs from 1995 which she recently rediscovered in a shoe box.

This led to me and Rose learning how to write out the double filet patterns long hand rather than just working from a graph and then run a test group for the first time. The volunteers were amazing, a lot were designers in their own right and were very generous with their time and knowledge.

The group then started to release the patterns every week from the first Monday in June via either Ravelry or through the Facebook group of the same name. The plan is that it will run for a full year, ending up with 63 squares in total.

This is the latest release Square 20 which Rose transcribed so I’ve used the same basic pattern but added some colour change in the background colour and the contrast colour.

Square 20

Now originally we saw the final layout just in straight rows, either 7×9 for a single bed size or if you worked an additional square an 8×8 blanket for cuddling up on the sofa with, but after watching a great video by Kaffe Fasset produced for the KCG’s Unconvention I have been inspired to try a slightly different layout, using an off white and really dark navy for a complete contrast.

Layout Experiment

I am loving it so far even if it’s a bit tricky with the flat braid join, plus I think I have to make around 50 more of the smaller squares but I think it will be worth it.

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New Year, new decade.

So the year has started in my normal grumpy fashion, a cross between a sugar crash and insomnia probably didn’t help, but looking back is not always a good thing for me, all will be better after a good nights sleep.

So let’s look forward, I did finally cast on a Christmas project, it took four attempts, the first three either didn’t work with the yarn I had or I had a wrong size needle so I finally cast on a pair of Glasgow School Mitts by Jane Lithgow, I knit my first pair of these back in 2012 for my brothers Christmas present and have wanted a pair for myself ever since. I loved the way that they fit different size hands really well, no baggy bits, which also means I can wear them under another pair of mittens.

I’m using yarn from deep stash (no label of course) but I do remember that this is a remainder from a hank I received in a swap about 10 years ago. I’m also finally getting to use the dpn zings I picked up at Skipnorth, I’d like them to be a bit sharper but so far so good.

No new year resolutions but some things I’d like to do, firstly finish my online SEND diploma, I’ve had a bit of a break over the Christmas holidays but time to knuckle back down.

I would like to crochet a temperature blanket this year, based on the double filet flying goose pattern by Rose Bowers’s.

And as every year I’d like to make more time for making Art.

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Day 2

With so much frightening stuff happening in the UK at today, I am very glad to be slightly separated from the real world at this retreat, we only have mobile reception up in the car park. So I can’t just sit and watch the news channel, so although in the greater scheme of things what we did today is probably not very important, I need it as a form of escapism and self care.

We started off with a wonderful completely adaptable shrug pattern designed by Margaret O’Mara (Crochet Classroom) made up by joining crocheted diamonds into a tumbling block formation. I just managed to finish one block in the workshop (90mins)

Second up we had Jane teaching us Tunisian Crochet Intarsia, no photos yet as I haven’t quite finished my sample, look out tomorrow for an update.

After lunch it was my turn again and I had a great time sharing how I take one border double filet/intermeshing/interlocking pattern and using a mirror as an aid creating all these patterns and samples.

I will take some better close up shots of the samples when I get home.

There is more to day two but I’m starting to drift off, more tomorrow.

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We’ve arrived

I know it doesn’t look impressive but that small hall contains some of the best crocheters I know and I have the privilege of spending the rest of the week with them sharing different skills and techniques.

I started us off this evening with just a simple ice breaker.

Just really simple recycling idea for plastic bottles, they are really good veichles for experimenting with different stitch patterns as they are basically a tube of crochet with a few eyelets.

I am looking forward to more workshops tomorrow and a rare treat of a cooked breakfast which is greatly enhanced by me not having to do the washing up afterwards.

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