Monday, 30 April 2012

new ripple blanket...or rug?

Starting a new crochet project is a bit like scratching an itch I've decided! I've been wanting to get rid of my cheap, acrylic yarn stash for a while now and with a little time to ponder just lately I came up with the idea of using multiple strands and a biggish hook to make some kind of rug or blanket. I haven't made a rug before so it's new territory for me. I reckoned that if this ripple design using three strands of dk came out nice and thick I would use it as a rug and if it not then it would become a nice warm blanket... trouble is it feels as though it could be either at the moment. It's certainly warm under foot and it's warm across my lap too. I'll decide when it's a bit further on!

If you are already familiar with ripples - this is a 135 chain foundation row, 7dc to the peak, 3dc in same stitch, 7dc to the valley, skip 2, and so on. On the last bit of the row, 6dc, skip1, 1dc. ch1 for turning. To change colours I just cut one colour and introduced one new colour each time. Three strands of dk seems to work comfortably on an 8mm hook... and the wool is disappearing fast!

Friday, 27 April 2012

off the hook...patchwork cushion

It's a good week for finishing things! This cushion front has been waiting for a back for far too long. It felt quite flimsy in DK so I wanted the back to be a bit more substantial. I used two strands of the DK in slightly different blues and a 5mm hook, and guess which stitch? Yes my favourite half trebles (hdc in us terms)! They grow the fabric so quickly and with less twisty wrist stuff.

I had only planned to do half today but with constant rain, a clean house and nothing else to distract me I ended up finishing it all and crocheting it all together.

I love it. The men love it. E said it was cool. Need to do a lot more cushions.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

back to the blanket...

After a minor diversion (the circles mat is being blocked) I returned to my trusty friend, the pebble blanket today. I was curious to see what 49 hexagons laid out on the floor would look like. Oh my goodness, it doesn't look anywhere near as large as I thought. One quick calculation later and I think I need a minimum of 200 hexagons.

I don't think I will do many of the two-tone hexagons. Just throw the odd one in maybe. If it's looking a bit heavy on the greys, that's because I only had grey in hospital. Here's a better idea of what 49 hexagons looks like...

The two sofa's were delivered this morning... quite like the idea of turning the blanket into a runner, and it seems appropriate since the inspiration was beach pebbles (underfoot) but most of the wool is fairly soft, so I think I'd need to choose something a little coarser to make a runner. Meanwhile, someone has been testing out the new sofa's...

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

a daily ritual...

I love strawberries, I love cantaloupe melon, I can eat kiwi scooped out of the skin with a teaspoon, I quite like pears, apples are ok... but put them all chopped in a bowl with a dollop of natural yoghurt and it becomes a gourmet dessert. It's also become a daily ritual; one the kids aren't complaining about at all, in fact they've not even noticed that sweets are off the menu.

I've also had a request to PYO this summer. It wasn't so long ago that we were driving along through the Sussex countryside with the children in the back of the car, when one of them piped up, 'what is pie-o?' It took a moment for us to realise she meant PYO, or pick your own if you're reading from overseas and you call it something else. A certain someone thought it was a special type of strawberry, a 'pie-o strawberry'!

As much as timber clad cottages and rolling hills were part of my childhood scenery, so too were PYO signs everywhere each summer. I could really visualise the scene set in Marina Lewycka's novel 'Two Caravans'. We did a lot of PYO as kids; learning not to speak or smile at the weigh in for fear of revealing a strawberry stained tongue!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

a little crochet diversion...

I'm definitely not great at repetition. With crochet blankets I seem to need a 'contrast' project on the go; something quick or something small.

I caught sight of my 'cottons basket' yesterday and found myself crocheting another random granny triangle just to see if I could remember how. I could. It now accompanies the other two granny triangles in the basket. One day, not too soon, I'll have a string of bunting!

Digging a little deeper I unearthed an unfinished piece of crochet intended for a bag. I think I just got bored with the project and didn't have a recipient in mind. Since it was square I decided it would make a better place mat/table cover thing for our conservatory basket table.

I've added a border of half trebles so far. I'll probably just keep going round with colours and stitches and no particular plan. I may add some colours already used in the circles. I'll be glad to finish a 'WIP' and happy to see a colourful top to our little table.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

experimental baking...

I like to think of myself as organised, so it's rather irksome to be posting last month's mosaic three weeks late! March was plodding along nicely with nature inspired projects.

OK, it's late April now and I've flitted back and forth from various crochet projects not really settling down with one or two. I think it's partly to do with being happy to be home and partly to do with being easily worn out, and probably a lot to do with spending more time in the kitchen...

Had a lovely day today when M&D popped over. With D&J settled in front of the TV, and E listening to music and doing homework, M&I had an 'experimental baking session'. The aim was for banana and carrot muffins. We threw together grated carrot, buckwheat flour, ground almond, an egg, a banana... and I forget what else... until we had a cake-like mix. Spooned the mix into muffin cases and laughed heartily at the prospect of eating the results!

Fifteen minutes later, and not waiting until they had cooled we were quite pleased with ourselves. Definitely edible. Definitely banana. Somewhere between a muffin and a bun. Definitely taste better than they look (hence no photo)! Sadly didn't pass the *J* test, but maybe we'll tweak the next batch. Watch this space.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

daisies in the rain...

This little daisy motif is what I was working on outside in the late March sun, quietly minding my own business and clearly thinking of grass and daisies and other summery thoughts (like cricket matches). So I've picked up where I left off and set it against a sky blue...

...and now I'm thinking, drat, this would be better in green, only a few weeks break and a bit of a foggy brain and I'm going to have to work it all out again. How many stitches is that in the magic ring? Is that a cluster or a puff? It's probably time I kept a notebook amongst my crochet things.

Just as well we're having hail storms, torrential rain and thunder storms (I love storms) because that'll give me time to turn these little squares into something practical. I was thinking along the lines of brightening up our outdoor table, parasol and chairs.

Harvey must have Irish Water Spaniels amongst his descendants, he's not at all deterred by torrential rain. Our big black lab however, used to refuse the comfort of his bed if it was raining. Neither was Harvey put off by our beck rising by at least a foot and flowing extremely fast... straight in! He has spent today alternating between drowned rat and damp dog, and I have a mound of wet dog towels. Thanks Harvey.

Friday, 20 April 2012're safe!

My family have been patient and understanding over the years about my culinary expertise. Goodness knows how many times Mum has patiently shown me how to make cheese sauce. It's not that I can't cook or won't cook, it's just that I'd rather be up to my ears in cardboard, glue and paint, or more recently, wool.

Be careful what you wish for... these buckwheat pancakes (wheat and gluten-free) look just like fried cardboard! Fortunately they taste just like ordinary pancakes. I'm ashamed to say this was also the first pancake I've ever made in my life. Admittedly the first mix went into the bin. I followed the quantities precisely and thought it was a little suspicious that it came out more like cake dough than batter but naively thought it would spread. Nope. So I took a leaf out of Mum's book and did the next batch by eye.

The joy of producing something that was actually edible was pretty good I have to say. It only needed sliced banana as a topping. I previously baked muffins and cookies but hey, with heaps of sugar, white flour and chocolate chips, they're always going to taste good.

Rest assured this is not going to become a domestic goddess type recipe blog. My pancake is hardly photogenic is it?

100g buckwheat flour, enough water to make a pancake-like batter, pinch of salt (mix together and stand for ten minutes) olive oil to prevent sticking, makes about 3 in a small omelette pan.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Home sweet home...

Wow, it feels so good to be home. Two smiling children, an overexcited dog, my lovely bed, my lovely bathroom, where thankfully no-one pees (or worse) on the floor! Big baskets of wool everywhere. Actually this list could go on and on.

I am sitting in my conservatory marvelling at how beautiful the plum blossom is and how green everything is. The grass has grown so much since I mowed it a few weeks ago. There is a Rhododendron blooming. Tulips. It's like seeing it all through fresh eyes. I feel very lucky to be here.

In short, these are some of my google entries just lately;
Heart attack, coronary angiogram, VQ scan, CTPA scan, pulmonary embolism, pericarditis, pneumonia, allergic reactions to antibiotics, allergic reactions to wheat, Helicobacter Pylori, gluten and wheat free diet, dairy free diet, low fat and low sugar diet.

So ends a ten year mystery which began with another blood flow event (a TIA) and finished with a lung clot, with all kinds of rubbish in between. I can't take the drug route to good health so I have begun a new regime of eating my way there. For someone who favours the craft room over the kitchen this is going to be a challenge. Unlike dieting which requires will power, I can now safely say that chocolate now represents poison to me and I'm not remotely tempted by it. Glad Easter is over!

Thank you for your get well messages. I'm back in blogland!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Back soon!

Spending Easter with a slightly unexpected view, normal service will resume ASAP!

Juanita x