A Crafty Update

This morning, I felt the itch to get back to this blog after a few largely fallow months. Perhaps it was the joy of seeing some snow…..

Perhaps it is the growing sense of renewal that accompanies this time of year. But the reason doesn’t matter. It’s good to be typing this post, like reconnecting with an old friend*.

As the year draws to a close, I thought it would be nice to summarise where I am with my knitting and crochet activity. My last post on this subject celebrated the completion of my Fruit Garden blanket, and what a lovely project that was.

Since then, I have participated in and even completed another crochet-along (CAL) project, the Scheepjes CAL 2020 d’Histoire Naturelle, designed by the brilliant Christina (A Spoonful of Yarn). I plumped for the #Conchology colour-way using Scheepjes Stone Washed and River Washed yarn. These were new-to-me yarns, and not my usual type of colours. So it was a real adventure of the best kind. The design was inspired by elements of Anthony Doerr’s incredible novel All The Light We Cannot See, which is partly based in the National Natural History Museum of Paris, hence all the botanical, mineral and animal motifs.

It is remarkable how easy it is to make a very large project in a relatively short space of time (about 12 weeks) when one is following along with a pattern release timetable. I really enjoyed this CAL and was delighted with the result. It has gone to a good home at my sister’s house. I am pleased to report that she loves it!

 

I now have four main projects on the go. First, a brioche scarf which showcases some gorgeous yarn from RipplesCrafts. The pattern is Nancy Marchant’s Willow. I wasn’t sure about it at first because the ‘bulges’ seemed a bit concerning. But I am now pretty sure they will block flat, or at least will not be so pronounced and will give added interest to the finished item.

 

The second project is Stephen West’s Winter Lights Shawl published this week as part of his #Hiberknitalong2020. I am already loving how this is working up. The yarn is Scheepjes Our Tribe which is beautifully soft. I have included photos of both sides for Kelly and others who are interested in these things.

 

Thirdly, I am making a crochet cushion cover for my lovely Mum using a Scheepjes Whirl and the centre of the Sophie’s Universe pattern. This is side one and you can see that side two will start with that gorgeous orange in the centre, morphing to the charcoal grey. Yum!

 

 Finally, another blanket for my sister – this time it is the Marguerite pattern using Stylecraft Special DK yarn and a colour palette to match Rachel’s living room. I think this is going to be a corker!

So plenty to keep me out of mischief haha! Knitting and crochet continue to be the two activities that I cannot do without. I am grateful to have these absorbing and stimulating hobbies in my life. 😀

*good to be back posting, yes, but I have been reminded that the new WP editor is a nightmare. Encouraging words from fellow bloggers on this point would be welcome! X

Spring happiness in spite of all the snow

I very much appreciated all the generous comments and likes in response to my last post about my current knitting and crochet projects, so much so that I feel emboldened to share one further bundle of joy.

The weather here in Edinburgh, as for many other places, has continued to be very cold and grey and yes the snow even came back this weekend. How delighted I was, then, to be working with all these beautiful spring colours on the development of a new crochet motif.

 

I recently came across this picture on Flickr and knew instantly that the antidote to the current weathery blues would be to create my own version.

Apple blossom blanket

 

I hunted around a bit for some suitable yarn and happened upon this suggested yarn pack from The HomeMakery. I added to it an additional green, pink and cream from the same yarn range to give me the 8 shades pictured above. All that remained was to decide upon a pattern.

I love the hexagons in the original photo but I wanted my throw to be a bit more blossomy. I also wanted to create a sense of flowers and petals without the design being too lacy. For a throw I wanted a relatively dense fabric for plenty of snuggly warmth.

As you can see from this next picture, I had a lot of fun working up various samples. Sitting with all these lovely colours in front of me while also looking out at the blizzards made my spirits soar!

I gradually homed in on a motif which gave me all the elements I was looking for. One interesting conundrum was the extent to which I could avoid make the inner lines too straight. This next photo shows you the, albeit subtle, difference between the straight-edged dark pink row (on the right) and the slightly more wavy dark pink edge on the left. There is not much in it, I accept, but I felt that the softer lines in the motif on the left were preferable.

 

I also wanted to develop a means of joining the motifs as I went along in a way which avoided too much openwork in the motifs’ outer stitch rounds. In these next photos, you can see that I managed to achieve this aim. It also gives you an idea of how the finished throw will look.

 

Obviously, there is a still a long way to go. But with these delicious spring colours to work with, it will be no hardship at all.

There are signs of spring outside – I was really pleased to see these daffodils among some residual snow patches while I was out walking earlier today. And I am even more delighted to have plenty of spring blossoms inside too! 🙂

“Snow is exhilarating”

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” ~ John Ruskin

I wonder if folk who live in places which are regularly and deeply snowy get bored of it – contempt breeds familiarity and all that?

For me, seeing snow never fails to delight. Yes, it can be a pain to get out and about. But there is nothing to compare with the thrill of seeing any kind of landscape, urban or rural, under a blanket of white. Everything changes: sounds are muffled; the air smells crisp; ordinary objects take on sculptural qualities. I love it!

We’ve had a couple of snowy days here in Edinburgh.

 

After all that busy-ness, things settled down beautifully.

 

The city looked gorgeous. Below, you can see the Castle, and Arthur’s Seat.

 

Hub and I had great fun tramping across the grassy areas of this park, where the snow was still powdery – just like big kids!

 

And I’ve had even more fun playing around with an app on my iPhone called Adobe Capture, which uses the phone’s camera to create the most marvellous kaleidoscope pictures. Here are just a couple of examples.

From this shot (yes, I know it looks a bit dodgy)…..

….you get this:

 

From this (it pays to turn the camera this way and that)….

 

…comes this:

 

And to finish off, a particularly icy, snow-flaky result from this shot:

 

 

Isn’t that just so fabulous? It is utterly addictive! Almost as mesmerising as the weather itself. 🙂

‘Tis The Season….

Happy 1st December, everyone!

It’s a fabulous time of year for all sorts of reasons, but here’s a couple to be going on with:

Snow

I adore snow and especially snow in art. I don’t particularly like going out in it, but love to look at it. So I am always very happy on 1st December when we bloggers get snow on our websites. And, although I am happy to look at snowy pictures at any time of year (just as I can happily eat a turkey dinner any time!), it seems particularly fitting now to gaze on a few favourites:

Street in the Snow, Camille Pissarro

 

The Magpie, Claude Monet

 

Snow at Louveciennes, Alfred Sisley

 

Advent Calendars

It doesn’t matter how old you get, it is always such fun to open windows on an advent calendar. There are plenty of physical and virtual ones to choose from these days. I particularly like BookRiot’s Literary Advent Calendar. Today’s window is a sumptuous poem from e e cummings quoted on The Poetry Foundation’s website:

Little Tree, E E Cummings

My favourite of all, though, is Jacquie Lawson’s beautiful animated calendar. This was gifted to me by my dear friend Lady Budd and will be a source of huge delight and pleasure today and for the next 24 days. Thank you so much Becky! 🙂

 

Screenshot of Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar