“Eastward Ho!”

So I’m moving to the big smoke in two weeks time – East Dulwich in South East London to be precise – and instead of packing I’ve been making pretty things for my room. Call it an avoidance exercise if you like. Everything for my old room has had a blue/cream/green theme, whereas I appear to be introducing shades of pink. But I’m hoping that it’ll all come together and look homely, if not eclectic. At any rate, this might be the last of my blogging and crafting for a while as I’m bound to discover that, on leaving the family nest, I can’t afford to pay for internet connection or heating, so I’ll be too cold to knit and unable to access my blog! It’s important to have these life experiences, right?!  But I’ll see you anon, when I may have left behind my country ways and converted into a true Londoner…

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“Now… What would France with Us?”

I’m blogging today for many reasons: because it’s been a long time since I did so (as reminded by some good friends!), because I have finally finished some long-standing craft projects and because, bitterly, I’m trying to block out Wales’ defeat to France in the semi-final of the rugby world cup. C’est la vie, I suppose.

The late spell of Indian-summer heat saw me in the back garden painting furniture (a blog on a renovated “upcycled” charity shop stool yet to come) but, conversely, I was also stricken down by a pathetic mini version of man flu which confined me to the lounge and to my crochet hooks… The result? Mission: Crochet Blanket is now accomplished! It’s taken me a year, but I’m chuffed with the final result. As with many things in my life, it shows that perseverance definitely pays off in the end.

Today I am also, in true Kirsty Allsop style, recommending Lewes for its gorgeous labyrinthine antique centres, where I snapped up a beautiful mock-French bedroom chair. And my doorstop (made with material matching my draught excluder from an earlier post) is now completed and filled with Welsh sand, from Tenby’s North beach, no less. Finally, for some Keatsian autumnal fun, evidence of what we’ve been growing in our back garden this year…

As a postscript, I really would recommend crochet to anyone considering it. It’s addictive and fairly simple in its repetitiveness. Youtube has some good tutorials. In the meantime, they say that idle hands are the devil’s something, so I’m moving on to cushion covers and bunting. Should be done by Christmas…

“I Thought the King Had More Affected the Duke of Albany Than Cornwall.”

In a fit of post-royal-wedding-withdrawal-symptoms I got crafty in my pjs this morning. Being now as I am a busy working commuting type person I’ve missed leisurely crafty days, so it was satisfying to get the needle and thread out once more, although I did come over all dithery in a state of seam allowance/ slip stitching/ lack of matching thread and sewing machine related confusion. In the end I decided on a combination of a  Cath Kidston/ printed internet patterns/ make-it-up-as-you-go-along technique for my vintage floral peg bag. I’ve combined gorgeous material bought from a local village vintage shop with ribbon and button from a collection given me for my birthday (for other birthday delights, see the below “furry” tulips). The result may be more pretty than practical as I appear to have misplaced most of my pegs, so the sturdiness or otherwise of aforementioned slip stitching remains untested for now.

I also bring you evidence that my crochet blanket (begun in a blog many months back and wrongly foretelling that I’d be done by Christmas) is very nearly completed. I feel almost royally triumphant about this and can’t wait to stitch all the squares together. I have only 3 (THREE!) granny squares left to go, and then perhaps I’ll count them all to assess exactly how much of an Everestian task this has been!

PS: For the template that I loosely used, follow this link: http://www.housetohome.co.uk/articles/Make_a_floral_peg_bag_195226.html

“As I Remember…”

Tonight I had a lesson not just in crochet, but in my family history. For as long as I can remember we’ve had a weather- beaten, moth- eaten, hand- made, adorable crocheted blanket in our house. There are pictures of me aged about two and a half rolling around in the garden with it, enjoying an imaginary picnic. I’ve always loved it for its nostalgia. And now, being as such things are back in vogue, my mother is teaching me how to make one of my own. (This could, potentially, be recipe for disaster, as she tried to teach me how to knit once before and it nearly caused a family feud. An argument when both parties are holding needles is never the best of plans.) See our first attempts below! ** Updated!**

As my mum and I knitted (she did one, and I did the other, amusingly taking almost twice as long to crochet the same amount of loops) we metaphorically unpicked the old blanket. It’s been darned and redarned (probably due to ragamuffins like myself rolling around in gardens with it) but it is, in essence, and dating from its original square, at least 40 years old. All the different wools tell a different story… There’s the mottled greeny brown that was used to knit my grandfather a cardigan, a shade of pink left over from my mum’s school friends making her a scarf, multicoloured strands also used for knitting hats, some red from a woolen waistcoat, a mustard yellow knitted into a cardigan for my father, and the purple that mum used to patch some holes after making me a cardigan.

And now I’m starting my own attempt with that very same purple. It’s going to take me a long time to finish it, but here’s hoping mine will eventually gather just as many memories and happy years of wear and tear. ♥

(PS: As You Like It, for those keeping track of Shakespeare openers. It seemed apt.)