Project Bike

Its been a  busy week here, but I had a really proud mum moment this week, Lb learnt to ride a bike, now for some people this may not seem like big thing what some people may not know is that they believe has slight dyspraxia which means balance and coordination isn’t the best and me and his dad having been trying to help him learn for over two years but he didn’t seem to be able to co-rdinate pedalling and looking where he was going but this week in school they did Bikeability and the guys were amazing, by Tuesday Pete was happily riding with so much confidence, he passed level one but they weren’t quite happy for him to move onto part 2 as that involves the students being taken out onto the road and they felt his confidence wasn’t quite at that level yet but he is first on the list for next year. I am  so proud of him as I have to confess that I had been starting to think that maybe it was something he may never be able to do, I feel really terrible saying that as he has proven time and time again that he can do anything .

There was second problem, he has once again had a growth spurt over the summer and is on the verge of growing out of his bike and now that he has come this far he wants to ride his bike all the time so with that in mind I have tweaked a pattern I wrote for one of my Belsey Bridge workshops and Hope to release it on Ravelry and all money I raise from it will go into Lb’s bike fund. I am just looking for a couple of test crocheters, I know the basic pattern works as several of the ladies achieved the finished product whilst we were away I just need to test that my basic instructions are workable.

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I am looking for a couple of people who can do basic crochet stitches but haven’t worked corner to corner, the instructions are fully written with support charts, if anyone can help please let me know, it should really only take a little over an hour of your time. Many thanks in advance.

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Finally Lb is safely back at school, aren’t those last few days mad, all those things you have intended to do all summer end up squashed in to the last few days, and I confess I still have Lb’s cubs badges, that he was awarded at the end of last term, to sew on before Tuesday.

Enough of that I finally have time to share with you the great time I had at the East London Crochet Groups residential at the end of August. This was my eighth year of attending and teaching a couple of the workshops, I will save my workshops for another post as they will have quite a lot of photos to go with them.

I should explain a bit about the 4 day residential, we are based on the Suffolk/Norfolk border at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre, we moved here a few years ago after the previous location closed and although its a bit further for us to travel it is so worth it, we now have ensuite single bedrooms and the most fantastic hall to use, it has great light and its own kitchen so we can make tea and coffee at will.

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This is the hall, which is in a completely separate wing so we are never disturbed where as in the previous location we have had to share with some very loud groups who maybe didn’t respect other groups space so we had to think about locking rooms where as here even when we share with other groups we rarely get visitors unless we have invited them.

I should also mention the food, there is so much, we have three cooked meals a day plus tea and coffee break that involve cakes and biscuits, all really good and they try and use local products and they cope really well with all our different dietary requirements.

We really do work hard over the week, we fit twelve workshops in from our arrival on Tuesday evening  to our departure in the afternoon on Friday, we do schedule get a break in the afternoon but as you can see from this photo a lot of people work through catching up on some of the workshops or getting a little extra help if its needed.

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You can also see in the photo that we each have our own table for the week so we can leave what ever we need out and carry on working on things with out having to pack everything up, I know sometimes this feels a bit funny to first timers but I love the fact that I don’t have to pack up after every workshop, although unusually for me I keep a very tidy table.

This year we tackled as normal a wide variety of workshops, I will confess that not all my crochet is finished but I have a good excuse, some of us are placed as helpers so some of the workshop times I am actually helping others although I did quite well this year.

These are just four of the workshops samples I am working on, one of the ones I am most pleased with this year is this mitten.

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Kindly modelled by Lucy, this was a pattern written in double Filet by Lesley with the most amazing start at the tip of the fingers, I won’t spoil it any further as I am hoping she will release the pattern.

I also loved Sheila’s follow up to her two by two patterns from last year,2016-09-10-12-46-44

although this small sample doesn’t look much, it has such possibilities and was a good challenge to even the most experienced of us.

What I haven’t managed to photograph is the lacy hat in Broomstick crochet that Hilary brought to challenge us, I will when it is finished as at the moment the photos just look like a big pile of tangled wool.

I just wanted to Barbara, Mary, Michael, Lesley, Hilary, Anne, Sheila, Margerat, Jane and Laura for bringing their expertise and spending their time sharing their skills with us.

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Books books books

I love books, I now its more convenient to have electronic versions of publications these days but I love actually opening a book especially when it comes to art and textiles, I never really feel like I read them properly as it is so easy to flick through pages on a tablet. So I love receiving books as gifts and my friend Mary has given me some beautiful books recently.

These are the latest two

Not the best photos but I can’t recommend them enough especially ‘Making and Drawing’ by Kyra Cane, I could get so lost in this book, there is so much in it. They are helping me find my artistic voice, it is really difficult having been away from the art scene for so long but there has always been a separation between the craft(specifically textiles) and the art world through out my education so it has been difficult to find my own voice but to see work that crosses the boundaries really helps.

I have had a book find of my own this week. It was recommended in one of the textile Facebook groups I belong to.
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First I looked it up on Amazon and nearly fell off my chair, much as I am willing to pay for a good book £50 for a second handbook was a bit higher than I was willing to go, so on the off chance I popped over to eBay and lo and behold there was this copy for a princely sum of £2.50 with free postage, I have to say it was worth every penny. Every page has clear photographs of the stitches and line drawings explaining their construction at a reasonable size, something I have learned to value as I get older, trying to balance a book in the crook of your elbow whilst you are attempting a stitch ins fun, this sits quite happily on the arm of my chair and is big enough to see clearly.

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It was originally published in 1979 but I think this is a mid eighties reprint.

There has been a lot of crochet going on but a lot have been final samples for the crochet Retreat at Belsey Bridge so will be able to share them when I get back and hopefully a few photos of our week away.

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Linen

2016-08-14 16.03.55Happy Anniversary my darling, we made it to our fourth anniversary (10 years from the first time we met), which, if you looked at our lives on paper, means we are winning against all the odds. We both came with history into our relationship and we haven’t taken the easy route, but we are still here together. From the first day we haven’t often spent a night apart and in fact when we do I feel like I am missing a limb with out you there.

You helped me create the most precious thing in my life our son and gave me the belief in myself that I could be a good Mum and it was ok to make mistakes.

You have learnt the difference between a crochet hook and a knitting needle, and nod appropriatly when I dangle a piece of work in your direction and ask a question. You recognise and cope with the days when I just need to create, and nether question the fact that I have a weird and wonderful collection of things just in case I may need them, you have also been one of the few people who understand how I work and don’t nag me when you know I am running up to a deadline and seem to be focusing on something else, you seem to know I need this to slow my brain down so I can focus on the actual problem. you believe in my abilities even more than myself at times.

Okay I will stop gushing, but even though I hate parties with a passion, yes we can renew our vows on our 10th Anniversary including the Karaoke (but I draw the line at the vajazzle), it gives me six years for me to get used to the idea.

Love you loads x

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Wow what a weekend

We have just come back from a wonderful weekend away witnessing the eldest of my two brothers get married. It was so lovely to see him wed someone he so obviously loves and is absolutely the most wonderful person, it makes me so pleased to see him so happy especially having taken the brunt of caring for our father through all his illnesses it was so wonderful for him to finally put himself first.

The bride was beautiful

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The groom and best men at least had ironed shirts (note the sneaky bit of crochet). I also now know how to tie a cravat.

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I have to say I was impressed and surprised by how good all the speeches were, especially the best men who captured the mood perfectly.

The cake was amazing, that is all fresh cream that has been used to decorate it.

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There was a traditional Nepalese blessing (sorry I can’t remember the name) me, Andy and my brother and sister were also given scarfs and blessings from Tara’s parents.

Edited – that blessed cloth is called ‘khada’ it has buddhist script written on it for protection and blessings (Thank you Tara)

2016-08-14 18.51.23But my favourite part of the day was this moment

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This is Tara’s father giving a blessing to Lb, this followed a wonderful five minute conversation where neither of them understood what the other was saying but it didn’t seem to matter they just connected. It actually brought a tear to my eye as reminded me a little bit of Dad and Lb when he used to talk to dad about things like Minecraft.

I was very nervous about going to the wedding, I am not great at large gatherings especially of people I don’t know (ask poor Andy who I snapped at on several occasions on the run up) but Tara’s family was so wonderful and made us feel so included and part of the extended family that  everyone Lb saw on the way home got told that he had 75 new members of his family (I don’t know why 75).

There are may more photos which I am sure the bride and groom will share in their own time but I want to thank them for inviting us to be part of their big day.

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Still here

Well just about, still feeling, like many I guess, a bit helpless with all that’s going on in the world at the moment but trying hard to stay engaged with the world, when what I really want to do is climb under my duvet and stay there.

On top of the world seemingly falling apart around us, our own little world is changing again, we are moving once more, our local authority have decided it would be cheaper to pull our flats down rather than do the planned refurbishment, I am not going in to details here as it would take me another ten thousand words to explain all the ins and outs that have led to this point just to say is that we have been left in a very unsettled situation again, yes we will be rehoused but we have no idea where or when in the next 24 months, we can make requests but no guarantees especially as there are 89 other households to find accommodation for.

I personally am finding this very hard, especially as we try and keep a brave face on for Lb but I had just started to feel settled here and literally had started to unpack the last of our boxes and now I don’t know where I am, I don’t think it would be so bad if I didn’t have a nagging doubt that due to Brexit this may all change again as I know a lot of the development locally has been funded through Europe so obviously this will change.

So with all of this going on I have been trying to do happy things, I tried out some Soutache from the book I won as a prize.

I loved the instructions in this book they are so clear and have now got my self a colour card for the braid and look forward to working some more.

I joined in with Woolly Wormheads Scrap Along which was a real quick hit of happiness.

And you still have time to take part, I think there will be another one on my needles before the end of the year, this one used scraps from my DK stash and I used a regular crown decrease, but the best thing about the project is that I have now worked out exactly how many stitches and rows I need to make myself the perfect Beanie hat for me.

I also continued with the Summer of Socks KAL and have now finished my second pair of socks for Lb which he has been wearing in the heatwave as he loves them so much.

The second pair are from some Regia I think from deep stash, I really didn’t enjoy knitting these as much as the first pair, I think mostly counting rows in black yarn is no fun and as I am only casting on 56sts the stripes were very wide but he loves them and thats all that matters, I have cast on a third pair but I’ve made a mess of the toe so going to redo them.

I have also cast on for Kate Heppell’s Recharge Shawl Mystery-ish KAL but have hit a moment of indecision as on my second attempt I have got the tension required but prefer the look of it on the smaller gauge but am now worried how much smaller that will make the final shawl so have put it aside for the moment until my head is a bit clearer and can work it out.

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I have also signed up for this years Ravellenic Games  and will be part of the Knitting and Crochet Guild Team, theres still time to sign up, I am entering two events, the Shawl Sail and the Hat Dash one in knitting and one in crochet, I don’t see the hat being a problem time wise as the challenge for that is that its my own design but the shawl I think is going to be a real challenge, especially as it includes beading.

I have also been meeting up with lots of friends who I haven’t seen for a while which always helps plus I am looking forward to the East London Crochet Retreat coming up this summer so trying to stay positive and trying to just focus on the day in hand.

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Sad, numb, tired and scared

I have waited to blog since Friday, I wanted time and space to consider what I wanted to say, I have seen a lot of hate all over social media from both sides and thats not something I wanted to add to, this isn’t intended to be a finger pointing exercise, I just wanted to express how I feel.

It has been a very distressing few days, I won’t lie I have spent quite a bit of time trying to hide my tears from Lb as I don’t wish to pass my fears onto him, I voted remain on Thursday and so the result on Friday hit me hard, not because I am a sore loser as some wish to label me, trust me with my political leanings I am used to losing, it was just an unexpected shock, I honestly didn’t think I knew anyone that voted to leave (this I found out later is not the case) so I thought it would be an easy win.

This is when it becomes difficult, I believe in whole heartedly that everyones has the right to vote which ever way they wish even if I am completely opposed to what you are voting for and I have to hold on to the belief that some people voted leave based on an educated decision ( I really have to believe this otherwise I am never going to get out of this black hole), I have seen some interesting intelligent arguments for it, not that I agreed that they out weighed the remain  vote but at least I feel this people were making an informed vote, unfortunately I believe that a high percentage of people made an uneducated decision based on the scare tactics that was being used by the leave camp.

This scares me more than any of the financial or legal changes that will take place, I know people are also saying that this fear is being promoted and over exaggerated by the media and actually isn’t happening, that its all in my head, may be in some areas this may be true but in the area which I live I experience intolerance everyday, not the banner waving far right, they in a way are easy to report and dismiss as extremists, I am talking the soft racism and not so soft ( I have heard language used here that I have only ever seen used in documentaries about Windrush), I find this exhausting  and now unfortunately we seem to have given permission for this to be ok, just in the last few days, where I haven’t even left our flat ( being a block of flats you can hear conversations from anywhere outside the bottom of the block) I have heard the level of normally unacceptable language increase and the threat of violence to certain sections of our community being discussed.

So forgive me for feeling worried, I understand we have to move on and try and find some way forward but you have to remember my whole world perspective has been changed, I have always thought that people who were intolerant were in the minority but now I feel that I am in the minority and that bringing my child up in a world which I now fear is scary, so I can’t just let it go, I am trying to move on and find a way to live with this but at the moment my heart is broken.

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