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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A Book

I was going to add this review to the last post but decided that this book needed a post all of its own.

Its A Little Life By Hanya Yanagihara

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The official blurb is this

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel painter pursuing fame in the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented lawyer yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by a degree of trauma that he fears he will not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever . . .

I am not prone to sweeping statements but I actually think this book has changed my life forever too, not in a huge dramatic way but in a small ways, maybe only noticeable by myself and I think it will carry on changing me to as I still think about it now two weeks after finishing it.

I have to thank Kevin at Stepney City Farm for recommending it, its not something I would normally tackle at the present time, with a young child I find it difficult to read anything that I can’t read a couple of pages at a time as that is the time I have, no longer do I have the long commutes I used to have or babysitting time when the children were all asleep when I arrived, this isn’t that type of book, you need to have at least twenty minutes at a time, if not longer, to do it justice. It turned up just at the right time for me having injured my hand I was having to rest so it gave me an excuse to get lost in the story, and I did get lost. I don’t recommend it if you are looking for something to lift your mood or to escape to as its not a happy story and in fact on two occasions had me in tears (this hasn’t happened in years), but I found myself caring so much about the individuals in the book that I was going to bed worrying about these fictional people. There were parts where I dreaded reading on because of what I thought was coming (I was not always right) there were parts where I couldn’t read it fast enough because I wanted to know what happened next, and for the first time ever I put aside my crochet/knitting to concentrate on this book.

I couldn’t recommend this book any higher but I don’t want to give you any more details as I think it will spoil the book for you, and please don’t look it up on Wikipedia either if you plan to read it as I’ve just found its entry and it would have completely destroyed the book for me if I had come across it before hand.

 

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Like everyone else, I am sure, I have been completely overwhelmed with emotions after the horrific shootings in Orlando and it seems a bit trite to write a normal blog post so feel I have to at least pass comment before the regular stuff.

I am not a great wordsmith and I know I just don’t have the words to fully explain how or what I feel, but it has reminded me yet again that there are many sections of our society who feel that they can not be themselves as they fear persecution, and how sad and angry this makes me feel. I hate the thought that my friends, family or our child may not be able to walk down a road holding hands with their loved one as they fear the abuse they may receive and it would be so easy to give into hating people but I know that isn’t the way to change things, so I am trying to at least bring our son up knowing this discrimination is wrong and be vocal in my support .

Ok back to some knitting, I was really trying to be good and not cast on anything new as I have a few Wip’s that I would like to get off the needles/hooks so I wasn’t going to take part in the Summer of Socks KAL when I saw Woollenwords mentioned that there was going  to be a special Socks & Rainbows knit night at Wild and Woolly, east London, to celebrate the start of the kal, and also to join up and generate some love that will then be spread, like generous lashings of clotted cream, into the appropriate places (Pride in London), it seemsd like it was something I needed to do, and although I couldn’t actually join them in person I did manage to join them on Periscope and cast on my suitable rainbow sock.

The yarn is from the Den of Yarniquity and  is the colour way Winter Rainbow merino nylon blend, I wasn’t planning to use this for socks but this seem to fit the bill perfectly, so they are now my rings of love socks for Lb. I have used what I think is a fan toe (its the one I always use so have forgotten the name over time) and am going to do an afterthought heel.

The other thing that brought a much needed smile to my face was the arrival of my prize from the competition I entered over on The Beading Gem. I won this great book on Soutache Jewellery.

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Its by Csilla Papp and is full of great photographic instructions for all levels, I have been meaning to give this type of jewellery a go for the last couple of years, I in fact have all the materials I need for at least one of the projects but I have never felt confident enough and have always chickened out even with all the excellent online tutorials, don’t tell anyone but I actually much prefer learning from a book than from a computer so I am really excited to give this a go. I will review the book a little more in depth once I have given one of the projects ago but will say that one thing that really attracted me to it in the first place was some of the more contemporary designs in the book.

 

 

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On the Mend

Although hand still swollen I can at least now bend my index finger so I was able to kA my place at the June workshop of the East London Crochet group, we specialise a type of crochet called double filet and we meet up four times a year plus a summer school, I am lucky enough to be part of the design team.

As part of that we all contribute new patterns for a approx 20 page booklet for each workshop, unfortunately this time with my hand out of action for a couple of weeks I didn’t get as many samples finished as I would have liked but did manage a couple.

It always amazes me the wide range of work that is brought to show and tell

This was made by Mary B who is one of the people who have founded the group and has helped develop the technique to the level it is now. Here she has taken one of our simpler square and made the cutest baby blanket or lapghan using lots of scraps of yarn (the photo has come out a little more Neon than it actually is.2016-06-04 14.34.55

And then in a completely different style Wendy H produced this amazing piece presented for her Level 4 certificate,

2016-06-04 14.36.26I wish I had taken a closer shot of the stitch work especially the work on the frame.

I am still trying to rest my hand and only doing small amounts of knitting and crochet but I have found I can bead without bothering the hand to much even if my tension is off a bit. I’ve been using online tutorials to learn how to make triangles in peyote stitch and so far I have these two.

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The bottom one suffered a bit from me not being able to tension my thread well at the moment, well that and very uneven beads but there are definitely more in my future.

 

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Houston we have a problem

Well its been one hell of a week, I won’t bore you with the details, but the worst part has been is that I have hurt my left hand, well seemingly the knuckle of my index finger, its amazing what you need that finger for. I have no idea how I’ve done it as I woke up with it last Thursday morning so finally gave in as it hadn’t improved, with all the normal advice for swollen hands, and headed off to the doctors, well a series of drop in clinics, and the good news was by the end of the day is that I haven’t broken any bones, bad news no idea whats going on so have been sent home and told to keep using the pain killers I have and rest hand so still no knitting and crochet for me, you can imagine how frustrating that is.

Even with the bad hand me and Lb did manage to get the games night at Stepney City Farm which was raising money for NSPCC, it was the best night, thanks to Amy and Reb for hosting such a great evening, I do love a great board game.

 

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We found a great new game we have to get a copy of King of Tokyo what I love about it is that it works for all levels, we played it for the first time using the basic level and Pete won even against people who have played it before. So although there is a certain amount of strategy about it, a lot is down to the roll of the dice, one for the christmas list I think.

I also managed to get to a Bead sale by Dizzy Di based at the wonderful That’s Crafty and came away with a few bargains and unusually they are all basic components that I would normally use, ok I added a couple of strands of pearls but who could resist at a pound each.

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So hopefully when the hand sorts itself I can get back into making a few bits and pieces.

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Games Night

Well ok its not quite games night yet but it will be taking place tonight at Stepney City Farm tonight all to raise money for NSPCC, it starts at five and runs till between nine and ten, the cafe will be open to purchase coffee and cake. We have a great history of playing board games in our family, Thursday night was always game night so when my Mum passed away a few years ago there was a huge collection of games which my brother brought home, unfortunately when he had to move he had to downsize so we took them and when I mean a lot, I mean a lot, some of which I think we as a family would never play or when Lb would be old enough to play the questions would no longer be relevant so it was lovely to find somewhere to donate some of the games where they will be loved and used rather than hidden away in the cupboard, we still have a good collection at home do not worry.

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But I think this lot will make tonight lots of fun.

We have also been sorting out a few boxes and I have come across a few goodies like these christening gowns that came from my grandmothers house, now I am not sure who wore them , I know my bother and sister din’t as I remember those gowns, but they are all handmade sewn with the tiniest of stitches and all the embroidery work is amazing.

2016-05-24 11.55.00I also rediscovered one of my Mum’s sewing baskets and found these brooches and pins inside.

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I also got to look through some of the wonderful fabrics that I was given by a good friend when her mother passed away.

Andy keeps asking for a pair of trousers made out of the fabric on the left, thankfully there isn’t enough.

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