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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It has been a mad couple of weeks but they have been wonderful, between going to Becca’s for a fantastic roast with the family on our anniversary, to a wedding of some old friends (more about this on another post), school uniform purchasing (shoes still to go) and of course sewing ends in on the samples for my workshops, doesn’t it always take longer than you think, I am ready for our four days away in the countryside.

I have packed, only 5 bags so far, there is still time for a bit of editing in the wool department, it’s been the same for the last eleven times I’ve been, I probably, at the very most crochet 100g of yarn over the twelve workshops but seem to end up packing a small suitcase full as I always want to be prepared for any eventuality. And then there is all the notions and hooks, reference books (as you never know if you are going to be asked an obscure crochet stitch question), note books oh and of course some clothes, this of course is before any supplies for the workshops I’m teaching. All I can say is thank heavens I’m not going to try and get there by train (thank you Ruth).

Amongst all this craziness there has been a little crafting, I’ll be able to share a lot more when I return as a lot of the crochet are samples, but there has also been a little bit of sewing.

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Charting

Today I went old school and had to hand draw some crochet charts.

I usually use Stitch fiddle which is a great basic little programme, you can use the basics for free but for €3 per month you can use all the services, but unfortunately I wanted to use some very unusual stitches which they don’t have, they are always happy for any suggestions but I’m on a deadline. In the past I have used the crochet designer App which is a slightly more advanced programme, I think for crochet designers it would be great but I found it didn’t flow naturally but they have now brought out crochet designer 2 that looks a lot more user friendly and when I have a little more time I think I’ll give it a go.

I did finally get my charts done although I still didn’t find a universal symbol for one of my stitches so have had to be a bit creative, right off to scan them in and drop them into the worksheets.

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Planning

So today has been about fine tuning for the Belsey Bridge Crochet retreat, I love this trip every year, it’s pretty intense, twelve workshops in roughly three days is pretty good going, we start straight after breakfast and the last workshop finishes at about 9:30pm, we do give people a couple of hours break in the afternoon, me I go and lay down in a dark room.

Well I have the privilege this year of being only one of two people who know what the workshops are, one of the long standing traditions is that each workshop is given a cryptic title so you never know what’s coming next, which means I get to work out the running order, trying to keep it evenly balanced throughout the day. The other job I have is the designated seating, we are really lucky at Belsey Bridge conference centre we have enough room in our hall to each have a table so we can leave all our things out for the four days and not have to pack up and move after each workshop, so you are sat next to the same people for the week. Its taken me most of the day to finally be happy with my seating plan, I know from experience that a workshop can be ruined by being seated next to the wrong person, in my case thankfully it was only for a couple of hours on that occasion, so I hope everyone is happy with the final results.

I am looking forward to the fresh air and the great company and will enjoy spotting the rabbits from my bedroom window.

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Seven years and counting

Well seven years and one day since me and my OH exchanged vows in a beautiful garden on the Isle of Wight.

What I will always remember is the way all our friends and family came together to make it such a glorious day. It always gives me a sense of hope as it reminds me that there are people that have the same sense of community, of coming together to make things happen out there. I know I’m just a hippy at heart but sometimes I need reminding that the world isn’t all terrible.

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New book

Exciting post today

This was my second attempt at getting my hands on this book, the first attempt ended with me being sent a Spanish text book and after a little tustle a full refund.

What I love about the book are the beautifully clear photos which I know will help me with a couple of stitches I’ve found in other books but haven’t been able to quite follow the instructions. To be honest I am having to be very good because all I want to do is break out my embroidery hoop and work my way through all the stitches, maybe that can be my reward for finishing all my Belsey Bridge Preperation.

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Happy holidays

Wow what a fortnight, I always forget how busy our summers get, I always think that we are going to have a relaxed six weeks school holidays but it’s never the case.

So in the last fortnight I’ve visited BARTs twice for appointments including coming home with an old friend

Anybody with medical knowledge don’t panic about the numbers, is been crawling around on the floor trying to sort cables which compresses the lungs a bit, normally it’s about 94 and the doctors are happy if I can keep it at least between 88 and 92 so it’s all good.

Hopefully if the overnight readings are good I might be able to get rid of the Oxygen.

We also celebrated Lbs twelfth birthday, I can’t believe it’s gone so fast and he’s showing real signs of becoming a teenager, for the first holidays ever he has slept late, up till now we have felt lucky if he’s slept till 8am, not this holiday, if we see him before 11 we’re lucky, it’s taking a little getting used to but he spends term time having to leave the house at 7am to get to school I can’t begrudge him.

As it happened the day after his birthday we were booked on a day trip to Southend organised by our local community centre. It was a great day, the weather was perfect, not to hot and no rain, we spent a wonderful day sat on the beach making sand castles.

And yes of course I caught the sun, it doesn’t take much and yes I had sun tan lotion and a hat but it’s not too bad.

There has been quite a bit of knitting and crochet going on but unfortunately I can’t share at the moment as one item was a test knit the other is preparation for the workshops I’m teaching at our Belsey Bridge Crochet retreat where half the fun is not knowing what the workshops are going to be as they are all given funny titles, only two of us know what all 12 workshops are and that’s just because we have to set the timetable so it’s well balanced and even then there are a couple that we don’t have the full details of just so we have some fun too, I can’t wait.

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My little yellow box

Well technically it’s not mine and probably belongs to the local council.

I know it looks just like the grit box at the end of many people’s roads, but this little box is very special to me.

Firstly, after I came out of hospital because I had basically been tied to a bed with my oxygen tube, my muscles had lost a lot of their strength so although I had more breath to go places my body was struggling, so I had to slowly build up my strength again and part of that was walking a little further everyday. The box marked a milestone for me as it was the half way point to the bus stop and I knew once I could make it there I could make it to the bus and the world was my oyster. It took me about a week and I haven’t looked back.

Secondly this is my place of sanctuary, we live in a small flat and sometimes, like everyone, I just need five minutes peace. The flats do have a garden but it’s usually full of kids,as it should be, so not very peaceful plus at the moment because of the very high step I can’t actually get back into the building (I found this out the hard way). So this little box is the perfect place just to settle my mind.

I know the view doesn’t look promising but the longer you sit there the more you see, for example earlier in the year I watched a pair of magpies nesting in the trees opposite and watched the parents on turn protecting the nest. There is also a meter wide strip of no mans land to the left of the box, neither the council or the owners of the flats seem to think it’s theirs so it’s left to grow completely unchecked which is why we now have two apple trees growing there providing a few apples for me to turn into crumbles at a later date. It also attracts a lot of insect life, from butterflies to grasshoppers.

It may not seem to be more than a humble grit box but for me it’s a special place, sometimes it’s just the small things that get you through.

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