Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Torquay jumper...

Well yes, technical speaking I shouldn't have started another crochet project. I've got the baby waffle hoodie and Cedar River Blanket on the go in my 'current' basket. I had planned to make this entire jumper for E whilst away in Sussex for the week, all it needed was a quick visit to Battle Wool Shop but alas they didn't have what I was looking for yarn wise.

Fast forward another week and E changed her mind about the colour she'd like me to make it in. This was a good thing. Aran weight cotton was much easier to find in neutral off white. I can just hear my Mum, or Nan for that matter, looking at the project so far and saying, 'well that's gone horribly wrong hasn't it?' The fact that those raggy holes have a name; shred stitch, may not actually save this project from doing just that - going horribly wrong.

I've already had to rip back about seven rows. I said a few swear words and E swore she'd wear it every day for years. I told her that if it succeeded she'd have to wear it until she was at least forty five! That's the measure of how much I'm disliking this pattern right now.

I've never used shred stitch before (and probably never will again). It's worth looking it up on the Internet well before starting to follow this pattern. I'm still not sure I'm doing it exactly right. I've given up trying to get the stitch counts to work from the pattern and I'm freewheeling now, using the photographs as a guide.

At least it's a welcome one colour project after the riot that is the Cedar River Blanket. Gotta love a one colour project even if it does look like something the cat dragged in!

(The pattern is from a back copy of Inside Crochet; issue 43. Also available on Ravelry.)

Monday, 28 September 2015


Have you ever had that problem with measuring spoons? You know the one, where you've used one for stirring paint, one has been lost, the dog chewed one (ok Riley chewed two) and the remainder aren't useful sizes? No? Probably just us then.

With the arrival of autumn we've been baking a little more. There were no plums at all this year so we've been more creative with the crop from our apple tree. All variations of apple pie, apple crumble, apple tartlets, stewed apple, you name it.

Baking was not on my mind when I popped into a branch of Asda Home for batteries recently and spotted these fantastic wooden measuring spoons! A bargain at £3. They suit our rustic kitchen very well. Apple strudel anyone?

Friday, 25 September 2015

Off the hook...crochet waffle top

This reminds me of the lovely waffle sweaters my Nan used to knit for us when we were very small. It must have been a very long time ago, I can remember the stitch but I can't remember the colours. Hers were definitely knitted which I must admit gave the garments a lovely drape.

I could knit a waffle stitch sweater myself now but I much prefer to crochet and this is a similar effect, using raised trebles. The pattern is incredibly simply to follow, unlike the mess I got into trying to follow some of the other baby patterns!

I've started another, this time the hooded jacket version, and in a much more girly yarn. It's white with flecks of pastel shades. It's been a lesson in how different yarn looks once worked up though. It looks so much more subtle on the ball than in the fabric.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Cedar River Blanket...

E caught me browsing more crochet baby patterns a few days ago and politely reminded me that she'd been promised a crochet blanket a few years back. Given that Jake's took a few years to make (I got bored with it!) I reluctantly agreed to make one for her.

The Cedar River blanket is everywhere at the moment. The free pattern is available on the Deramores website. E agreed it was something a bit different to all the chevron and granny blankets so we settled on that for the design. I did quite like the colour combination suggested in the 'packs' but E had other ideas and chose a pale grey for the main colour, with a few other swaps too. It's looking a bit colourful for my taste but I think it works. The number of ends to weave in though! Yikes.

Since this photo was taken I've completed four squares, bordered them all and then joined them with dc on the back. It kind of looks ok. Only another twenty squares to make for a large throw.

It will probably be the most involved piece of crochet I ever make. It's clever how the pattern only uses a DK weight of wool and yet the fabric produced is pretty thick and sturdy. After the first square I was worried it wouldn't drape well but it seems to be working out ok now that I've got four joined together. I'm definitely going to need a good supply of The Waltons and some Westerns to see me through this blanket!

Tilly might just be a cat who likes routine. I give her some breakfast at nine and she disappears outside into Mollie's old hunting ground by the river (it's pretty dried up at the moment). Round about two I call her and she comes running for a late lunch. Just before four she's had enough of being an explorer and comes and sits down next to me on the sofa while I do a spot of crochet. I haven't the heart to tell her that if it's routine she wants she's picked the wrong person. Routine is a dirty word for me.

Our only problem at the moment is that she's refusing to use the cat flap since a stupid dog with a stupid face decided to stick his stupid head through the cat flap to see where she was (cheers Riley). As it happens she was about to come through it. Duh! Despite the fact that we've renamed the dogs Dumb and Dumber they are actually getting an overdose of hugs and snoozing on my lap time. I wouldn't want them to feel left out.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


We have a new addition! Meet Tilly. I got talked into this by the very persuasive E, and M was all for it too. He's more of a cat person. I'm very much a dog person. I'm a sucker for rescue animals though.

Tilly was found under a hedge with her kitten. The locals (somewhere in East Lincolnshire) had been feeding her for some time. She's about two or three years old, and yes, she looks remarkably similar to our beloved Mollie. Tilly is also much smaller than the average cat. She hasn't quite grown into her ears. The rescue charity named her and since she comes when you call her name it would be daft to rename her. Apparently black and white cats are the least popular when it comes to adoption. We couldn't imagine having any other type.

She's doing really well settling in with two bouncy dogs who try to lick her face. She's not having any of it though. She loves to play with a toy mouse on the end of a string, she even likes her pop up tunnel but she keeps pawing the hamster cage so I'm pretty sure the field mice and the water voles should be worried.

(Sadly we did find Mollie several weeks after she went missing whilst poorly. I'm glad we did.)

Saturday, 19 September 2015

A week in Sussex...


So yes, there was quite a bit of sea air intake. The weather wasn't the greatest after day one.

That's Archie, the fluffball with the black eye patch! He's a sweetie. We did some very long beach walks. He's rather less excitable now that he has to wear a muzzle on his walks to stop him picking up and eating things like pebbles, cuttlefish, seaweed or tennis balls (we found several washed up ones). He gets going when you run around like a mad thing which I got the urge to do the first time my feet landed on the shingle. We ran until we reached the first rock pools and he paddled while I looked for creatures.

Meanwhile I kept receiving silly dog photos from home. I liked this one of Harvey, he looks like he's playing along with the silliness.

Then two days before I was due to return home I received the sprained ankle picture, or ankle with a gigantic egg on the side picture. That's Jake on crutches for two weeks. It was a foolproof way to get out of the 'quick, let's run the Hoover round, clean the bath and do some laundry because Mum's coming home' routine. Don't get me wrong, it's sweet of them to try but I've ended up cleaning the white film off the bath and taps where someone has probably used half a bottle of limescale remover rather than the ordinary bath cleaner I would have used. I've hoovered throughout properly and there's not much I can do about all the items that M shrunk in the wash. It's all a small price to pay for a week of just being me, actually me in my home town of Hastings.

I took a train from Bexhill to Hastings for the silly sum of £3.40 return. Much quicker and easier than driving. It was only a ten minute ride. I would have walked the seven mile route along the coastal way but it was pretty blustery and the rain was constant and heavy. Instead I had a good long walk along the entire length of Hastings sea front right up to the old town. I enjoyed a browse in Butler's Emporium and a few junk shops. I bought lunch in Judge's Bakery. I peeped in the window of Hastings Pottery. I had coffee in Cafe Des Arts (run by Autism Sussex) in Robertson Street which used to be a lovely old fashioned shoe shop but place of utter misery because I hated buying school shoes (they were all far too girly for my taste!) It's just round the corner from the Children's Library which is still there all these years later!

I've had my dose of home and now I'm all set to cope with more of M's home town. For a while anyway.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Ah!! Sea air!

Who needs St Tropez? A pleasant twenty two degrees in sunny Eastbourne will do from me. I was quite taken with a little twenty foot boat called Ella. Would be fun for chugging down the river, or dropping anchor out at sea on a summer's afternoon! We made do with a cup of coffee and a stroll round the marina instead.

I've walked Archie along the beach and I swear I was more excited than he was! He obviously takes it for granted, living by the sea, 'yeah yeah, pebbles, I've eaten a few in my time, they're a bit salty, I've gone off them.'

There's no place like home! I actually yelled 'HASTINGS!' when I saw the first sign post for my home town. Woohoo! Welcome to 1066 country! Why thank you. The Battle of Hastings didn't even take place in Hastings. It was fought at Senlac Hill in Battle. Battle is where we are off to today. For a stroll, a coffee, a peek in the little yarn shop...just a peek.

Hastings is the birthplace of the television though...

Oh yes. John Logie Baird has a lot to answer for.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Don't forget the screen wash!

swear, these two are like having toddlers all over again.

Me: Where did you get that Harvey?

H: wag wag

Me: Are you telling me to clean my windscreen before I go on my trip Harvey?

H: wag wag

Me: I've already done that Harvey, that's why it's empty Harv.

H: (wanders off dejectedly) I just wanted to play with the darn thing Riley, doesn't she get it?

They aren't stupid, they know there's a little mud sweeping, car odour eliminating (damp dog with fox poo is impossible to eliminate), water and oil checking going on and they are sincerely hoping it's for their benefit. Sadly not.

As dog friendly as the stretch of South Coast I'm going to is, I'm having a child free, husband free and dog free break! Woohoo! I If I haven't already made it so, I think this should be a mandatory annual thing. (Maybe twice yearly).

Monday, 7 September 2015

Crochet and cricket...

Alas the cricket season isn't quite over yet. More matches have been viewed from the car. More wickets have been taken. More cricket teas consumed (they tease Jake for the amount he can put away and for being quick off the mark when there's fruit salad on offer!). More whites drenched in Vanish Gold. More sleeping boys on the way home. Oh and more crochet!

I bought this pattern in Oakham. It's by King Cole (no. 3052). I bought the yarn at the same time. It's also by King Cole and it's Baby DK, colour is 'Silver Twist'. It might look a bit flat in the photo but it has a twist of white running through the pale grey. It's soft, it has behaved even with a fiddly 3mm hook (just for the sleeves and neckband) but I may need to add a tiny pink something somewhere just to save confusion. It looks boxy at the moment but with cute short sleeves and once it's on, I think it might look ok.

Those little teddy buttons have come all the way from Italy! I bought them at a coastal market stall at the same time as buying leather flip flops! Definitely a random purchase but I knew they'd come in handy one day!

I'm all over the shop with baby sizing! All that talk of how small 5lb was and I somehow managed to crochet the yellow waistcoat far far too small. The rice pudding coloured waistcoat might fit better but I'm taking no chances with future makes. This little top is 3-6 months and I think it's a generous fit at that. I've got two short sleeves to finish out of that little ball; I have to say, it's looking unlikely that there will be enough yarn even though the pattern clearly says one ball for that item in that size with that make of yarn.

It's not very clear but in the dashboard photo you can see my new crochet hook. I decided to try out the Clover Amour range after reading that they were easy on the hands. I can confirm that they are! I must have crocheted for hours on that particular cold and windy day, without any discomfort at all.

If you're ever in Oakham (Rutland) and you knit or crochet, the tiny tiny wool shop which is packed to the rafters is well worth a visit. Lovely staff and beautifully organised pattern binders.

Friday, 4 September 2015

First day back at school...

The children went back to school today. Yep, a Friday. Apparently it was designed to get all the timetable stuff and general excitement (yeah right!) out of the way so that they could begin in earnest on Monday. I'm not sure the children agreed with this tactic.

M and I on the other hand, seized the opportunity to have a day out before winter really sets in. Winter didn't seem very far away at all today, it was decidedly chilly. We set off for Oakham, in our smallest county of Rutland. We watched the railways journeys programme that Michael Portillo made not so long ago and the Castle was featured on the programme. I googled it and it seemed like Oakham would be worth a little look around. It's only an hour from home and yet I've never been.

What a shame that the Castle was closed for repairs until March next year! Instead we had a lovely stroll around the town, park and church. Thatched buildings and cottages aplenty. There's a fabulous garden cafe tucked away near the church. I wish I'd been brave enough to take a few photo's. There were gazebo's, sheds and a little summer house you could eat in. The stone walls had little china tea pot lids wedged in the crevices and various trees had tiny china cups dangling from them. It was all a bit mad hatter.

We left Oakham (after a quick visit to the tiny wool shop and a few charity shops!) and headed to Rutland Water. The kids have 'zorbed' there but like I said, I've never been. We had a walk round part of the lake; I'd have loved a proper hike but unfortunately M has a bad back and hip. Harvey would have loved the lake and Riley would have headed for the large group of moorhens, he never harms them, he's just very inquisitive!

By now we were ravenous and decided to drive the short distance into Stamford for a late lunch. There are various little cafes that we know but today we tried a new one. We found a French cafe with a real French person serving! Granted she didn't seem very happy but I'm sure she had her own reasons for that. One of the other young girls working there made the crepes right in front of us, with a Buckwheat flour batter and they were absolutely delicious! That's mine in the photo, with humus, red pepper, sun dried tomatoes and rocket. Yum. Not a bad first day back at school at all!