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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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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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


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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