Thursday, 27 February 2014

The year in books: February

Thank you for all your lovely comments about my comfort granny square blanket, I have been enjoying using it on these more crisper evenings and am really growing to love it's hand made look.

I have had a tipsy turvy week with us expectantly going to London yesterday to be a dental model for my dentist at a conference in London. I think I have already mentioned that I will be undergoing a massive reconstruction of my teeth in the next 18 months and so it was an opportunity to get work done and expert opinions. It all helps to create the bigger picture for me and my dentist. I promise to try and not talk too much dental stuff here as I know it's a subject that some people really hate don't like! 

So, this post is about the year of books and my February read of Kartography written by Kamila Shamsie.




This book took me a while to get into and I found it a little confusing at the beginning with the different characters names and moving from present day back into the early 1970's in Karachi. Once I was a good quarter of a way into the book I really started to love it and found myself looking forward to picking it up every night before bed. 
 
It's essentially a love story which is interwoven with a history of events that took place before the two main male and female characters were born and also focuses a lot on descriptions of Karachi which are full of tension and reality of what life was like during the civil unrest in the early 70's between East and West Pakistan.
 
All in all I really enjoyed this novel and would give it a good 4 out of 5 stars. If you give it a go I recommend that you definitely persevere with the first few chapters to get into the story, it's worth it in the long run.
 
My choice for February is a book by Bella Pollen called The Summer of the Bear which I have already started reading and will reveal more once I have finished.
 
Are you reading anything interesting? Any recommendations? I am over at Goodreads here where I am starting to log my reads and my favourite books I have read over the years (too many to list really and my memory is not as sharp as it used to be!)
 
I'll leave you with a couple of photos I took on my phone during my lunch break yesterday with a rather divine and very quick visit to Loop in London. Pure eye candy for the yarny soul :o)


 
Thanks for visiting and hope you all have relaxing weekends
xox
See you soon with some of my latest knitting

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The comfort crochet blanket

For the past two months I have been crocheting away at my simple and plain easy granny square blanket. It has been a lovely distraction during the cold dark and very wet and grey months of January and February. I have found comfort in crocheting this blanket, it has absorbed all my worries, fears, anxieties and concerns that have come my way as well as being a constant big warm comforting hug over my lap as I have joined the squares together.

Each square became a tangled, detailed, specific hooked pray for my loved ones and my fears and hopes for the future. I have received many comforting and blessed answers to some of these prayers so far and believe that the others will be answered when the time is right. The JOY and COMFORT that this blanket has brought can never be underestimated.

So here it is...


Difficult to take a complete photo of it hanging on the line, but hopefully you will get a feeling for it from these pictures (this photo is missing about a quarter of the actual size).


 
Crocheted in 9 different Stylecraft DK yarn colours, all surrounded by one round of the dark grey Graphite Stylecraft DK colour.
 


This is the "wrong" side the underside of the blanket, I used Lucy's method to join my squares together and it was a delight to see them grow into rows.




At the end of the day, nothing beats a granny square in my mind when it comes to classic, comforting crochet.



By now, you will probably know that Stylecraft yarn is 100% acrylic as many fellow crocheting bloggers have said. It's also soft, warm and rather squishy and the best of all the acrylics I have encountered. Using this yarn will make washing this blanket easy and it was also affordable to make which I am grateful for as I need to watch my pennies due to a rather HUGE bill of dentistry that I need to undertake in the next 18 months or so.

Thank you so much for visiting, I really love to read your comments and try to visit your blogs too. I am always overwhelmed that you keep coming back to say hi. So, thank you once again xox

I'm back to work tomorrow, alarm clocks back on, Alice still has 2 days off with her papa and then we will be full swing back into routine again. I have loved breaking away from it for a while, I feel suitably refreshed and ready to tackle my work load again.

Wishing you all a fabulous week ahead and see you soon xox

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Half term

I feel like I have been hibernating, just trying to catch up with everyday domestic things like having my hair cut, going to the dentist (2 hour appt this morning!), taking Alice shopping for clothes (trying not to be an embarrassing mum in Topshop!), going to the post office to send a multiple of things that have been piling up, reading my book for #theyearinbooks (review coming soon) and just relaxing amongst everyday domesticity. I sometimes wonder how on earth I manage to work and live when I have time off, the days just whizz by and I don't feel like I have achieved anything in particular. Do you get these feelings too?

Anyway, some crafty stuff has been going on here, I have managed to join all my comfort granny squares together and have been hooking round and round to make a border. I am on my last round now and can show you soon.


I did mange to start a little knitting project, the little beanie hat I said I was going to make for my newly born nephew Fyfe. I used this pattern found for free on Ravelry and it only took a couple of hours at the most to knit up. I used some rather soft and squishy baby Alpaca yarn which I hope will be ok for his little head.
Yesterday I took Alice and a friend of hers to Brighton to go shopping for the day.... Fortunately they are old enough to leave for a couple of hours so they can do their thing and I can do mine i.e. Sit in Starbucks with a cuppa, free wifi and my needles to cast on a new simple shawl.

I did enjoy pooling around the North Lanes which are more interesting and bohemian in their eclectic mixture of independent shops and fun caf├ęs etc.

Everything is Tickety Boo

Some crochet grocery bag inspiration, I really want to make a jute shopping bag for when I go to the green grocers

Scary cost of CK Crochet blanket

(Can I be honest here? I really have gone off all her stuff, I feel a little nauseous when I go into one of her shops, it feels like there is nothing original anymore. Sorry to those of you who still enjoy her ranges, it's just what has happened to me over the years, I'm not sure why I went in, just curiosity maybe?)

I love the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, when we lived there as a local we were allowed to visit for free and it was a place I often whiled many rainy grey day hours away imagining what it was like when it was first built.

There are too many tempting fun shops not to want to go into in Brighton

Geometric inspiration love

Cheap and easy lunch sitting on a bench watching the world go by. If you are ever in Brighton do make a visit to Infinity Food shop, it's a heavenly place and you will not want to leave without sampling some of their food and/or bread.

A little present purchased for a dear friend who will love this

Wish my Optician had an entrance like this!

A lovely look around a reclamation yard

Last, but not least a wonder around some beautiful florist shops for satisfying my craving for Spring to come whilst amidst the centre of a city.

I do hope your week has been a good and kind one. Welcome to new followers, thank you for all your comments and visiting. Always loved and appreciated x

Happy week ending and see you with my blanket very soon

xox

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Three colours blue

Hello again, how has your week been so far? I have had a rather manic week at work and somehow I think my body knows that I am having half term off next week and decided to let its defences down and along came a nasty cold! Hey oh, that's life I guess :o)

As you know I've been hooking away at my comfort crochet granny square blanket and last weekend I had the perfect excuse to interrupt it with a friends up and coming birthday on Monday. She is a colleague who is from Australia and whom I noticed didn't have any gloves, more specifically fingerless ones so she could carry on texting and instagraming her friends and family back home.


So I popped up into the attic to see what was in my leftover yarn stash and I immediately found myself drawn to these 3 shades of blue. My default colour for sure!

So Saturday night saw me hooking away and Sunday I finished them up. I used a 4mm hook with both the Aran blue and DK blue using 33 chain stitches plus 2 to start crocheting double crochet stitches up and down in 3 colours of blue and one creamy colour. It was so satisfying making these, quick and easy and pleasing to the eye.

I sewed them up on their sides leaving a space for the thumb and voila, they were done!

It felt like something was missing so I asked Alice what she thought, sew a pretty button on or crochet a wee flower, she suggested a flower in the brightest blue and so they were made and added to the fingerless gloves.

 

I still wasn't 100% sure if the 'naked' flowers looked ok and so I put them on Instagram for some other lovely opinions and all in all it was decided that I leave them just for what they were. Needless to say, my colleague loved them and I was pleased to know that they were the first ever pair of home made gloves she had received in her sweet 30 years of life x

Last, but not least as I said we got to meet our new nephew Fyfe Andrew last Sunday afternoon. I managed to find this pretty bunch of flowers in Marks in the morning and unfortunately I didn't manage to finish knitting a wee newborn hat with my new charity shop needles for the little chap, I hope to finish what I started this weekend and will send it in the post next week.

He slept for the 3 hours that we visited for and so I didn't get to have a cuddle, next time though I won't be able to leave without a proper cuddle x It's so easy to forget how tiny new babes are, I especially love their sweet little fingers and toes x

I'll say cheerio for now, welcome to new followers, thanks so much for visiting and see you all soon

xox

 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Charity shop finds

 
Hello there
 

Today was my lucky charity shopping day
 
 

I found these knitting needles at 35p a pair all sitting waiting for me to take them home
 
 
I was rather thrilled to have found some of these adjustable circular needles too
 
 
 
a nifty old tape measure for 30p
I'm always losing misplacing my tape measures so another one is good to have, I wonder who owned this and what journey it's been on?
 
 
and last, but not least a perfect sized mug for Alice's Horlicks at night
 
 
Hip hip hooray for charity shops, I would feel lost without them.
How about you? Are you a lover of charity shops?
Found anything nice lately? I'd love to know.
 
Happy hunting
xox
See you soon

I am off try out my new circular needles to knit a quick and easy new born hat for the latest addition to our family, baby Fyfe was born on 1/2/14 and we get to have cuddles tomorrow x
 
EDIT: Oops I meant to say that baby Fyfe is my sister in law's new baby just in case you may have thought I was hiding a pregnancy :o)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Process

 

Oh my goodness, what awful destructive weather we have been having, my heart, thoughts and prayer go out to those poor people who have been flooded out of their homes and those who have had their electricity cut off. I really hope that the weather starts to improve and that there is hope on the horizon.

A few things have been going on around here this past week or so, I have been beavering away at my simple comforting granny crochet square blanket and adding the grey surrounds and joining up 9 squares at a time. It's strange for me to only have one project on at the time, but it's been that kind of busy at work so far this year and I haven't had very much energy in the evenings and have had to recouperate at the weekends.

I really do enjoy this easy peasy kind of crochet and it's very relaxing when you don't have to think or count or increase/decrease stitches. It's been a perfect winter relaxing woolly kind of project and made me realise that's it's worth hanging in there for the long haul, the process being important rather that the instant gratification I have craved in the past with the end product.

Maybe this is me maturing into my woolly-ness? Enjoying the process rather than rushing to get to the finishing line?

Other than that we have been enjoying the joy of blossoms of the yellow kind, a sunny substitute if you like :o)

I have also started reading my February book for #theyearinbooks and am slowly getting into it. Alice has painted me a pretty bookmark and I am enjoying getting back into the habit of reading and turning pages before bed.

Alice has also been doing some wrapping of presents for one of her good friends who turned 13 on Monday and I was pleased to see that she is adopting some of my pressie wrapping methods.

Last, but not least I have been playing around with all the pretty sea glass pieces we found on the beach in Barcelona and up the coast in Spain last summer, I am hoping to make a little framed display of them and will show you soon.

So there we have it, funny little things that have been happening in my funny old life. How has this week been treating you? Have you been enjoying the process of making anything? I would love to know xox take care everyone and see you soon.