Monday, 29 December 2014

Another year over...

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun...

The best laid plans got waylaid sometime back in early November when I signed up for volunteer work. Every year I have visions of doing a fully handmade Christmas but somehow never get round to starting that in the January before, which is clearly when you need to make a start!

There was just one touch though and those little fabric gift bags were made on Christmas Eve no less! A glass of wine helped make sense of the instruction booklet for the sewing machine and I discovered just how one little cotton guide thingy can make all the difference between sewing machine cooperation and sewing machine rebellion. Sewing machines and me just aren't meant to be.

Molls enjoyed her Christmas thank you very much. She spent most of the time on laps being made a fuss of. This is contrary to her home behaviour where she seems to prefer to sleep anywhere but a comfy lap.

The dogs behaved themselves right up to the point where one of them decided to dig up a few bulbs in Mum and Dad's back garden. I had to do a little gardening to put it right.

I must confess I'm not keen on the whole Christmas thing. I can guarantee that in the run up to Christmas I run into a horrible dark place, a place where even the jolliest Christmas jingle doesn't reach me. This year was no exception. Luckily the wine was taking the edge off by Christmas Eve!

M surprised me this year by making a freestanding rug hooking loom! This may sound completely random but he did ask me what I'd like and I said I would like a rug hooking tool and a big frame. After some proper research we came to the conclusion that what I really wanted was only available in America and so I suggested four lengths of wood fixed in a doormat size rectangle. I was so suprised to find he'd made the floor standing type and without any woodworking plans too! The photo was taken in poor light but you get the idea. The top tilts whichever way you want so that you can work with one hand underneath the hessian and one on top with the rug hooking tool.

I've started off with a simple design of random falling leaves just to practice the technique of drawing up loops of wool to the same height (rug hooking). It sounds easy enough but there are variables such as how big the hook is, how thick the wool is, how splitty it is, what backing is being used, the pile you want, etc. I'm using up all my super chunky wool ends which seems to be quite a comfortable weight with the hook but I have a feeling chunky would be even better, and would allow more detail perhaps.

I always like to have something creative on the go over Christmas and I did manage to hook up quite a bit more than the solitary leaf shown above. It works up fairly quickly. I have a lot to learn but for now I'll be happy if I produce a usable rug!

There was another surprise... he actually went into a yarn shop without my knowledge and asked what he could buy someone who could already crochet but wanted a challenge. I think he was helped considerably but even so I think he deserves brownie points. He bought me some Tunisian crochet hooks in different sizes and two fantastic books (which I will photograph for my next post), one of which was a beginners guide to Tunisian Crochet and the other was a book of the various Tunisian stitches. I have been wanting to try this out for some time but it's been a bit like cables in knitting, it looked scary! I jumped right in with the book open on my lap and it wasn't scary at all! I've only got as far as learning Tunisian Simple stitch and Tunisian Knitting stitch, TSS and TKS I think. I'm not sure if I'm turning in the right place but I am producing perfectly square samples. TKS is amazing, just like stocking stitch but so much quicker! Curls up like crazy but I think that could be overcome by adding a rib or edging. I've got a way to go yet before I can follow a Tunisian pattern, but I like a challenge.

Here's hoping you all had a lovely Christmas.



  1. Mike came up trumps with your Christmas gifts Juanita. He's very handy to be able to make a floor standing frame like that. It looks really good. I like the leaf you've hooked. I think the finished rug will be gorgeous I have a book on Tunisian crochet and a hook but haven't got around to doing anything with them yet. Maybe I'll try it out in the new year. I love that you took your cat with you to your parents' house.

  2. What a wonderful husband you have!