Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Those summer days...

This summer has whizzed by. It's been a largely solo affair with M tied up with a case for six intense weeks. I've done hundreds and hundreds of miles to and from week day cricket matches and between us we must have done thousands.

J has played so much cricket that he's on his third pair of cricket shoes! You can see how he's getting into the 'touring' habit with his home comforts. He plugs some music in and he's asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow, both going to a match and coming home. I wish I could do the same, but I guess playing 45 over matches entitles you to a little nap.

It wouldn't be British not to mention the weather. You can see from the photo that this was one match viewed from inside the car. It's not uncomfortable. M tends to spend matches inside the scoring hut so I place my lunch on the drivers seat, my flask in between, my book in that little cubby hole you can see top right, and my crochet, or knitting is usually in progress. I'm as happy as a pig in clover. I don't have to worry about cool breezes, spitting rain, bugs, people talking to me without me realising... I do sometimes have to worry about leather balls flying towards the windscreen but, touch wood, so far so good. I crochet while the match is on and I read my book when they are warming up, warming down or having tea. It's a routine that works very well. If it's not too miserable I also walk round the boundary.

My one complaint is when a clubhouse has just one toilet for two entire teams, coaches, managers, assorted spectators, groundsmen and people running the food and drink side of things. This is particularly problematic when it's boys cricket, and out of the 24 boys present it's often the way that 23 of them will pee on the floor near, but not quite in, the toilet. I'm usually quite a modest person but on this occasion, let me tell you, I taught both of my children not to pee on the floor!

One of the nicest parts of the day is driving home, after the match analysis has been done (talking about dropped catches, misfields, good wickets, cheeky runs, whether the tea was good or not etc) is daydreaming out of the car window. I often wonder what I'd be doing if I wasn't trekking around the country watching my children play cricket, and most of the time I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing, except maybe doing it in style with a nifty little campervan!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

A knitting stuff up...

I'd probably call it something else, but the blog title is close enough. I totally stuffed up the yarn purchasing part of this project! I think I must have been under time pressure; usually M is waiting for me in a nearby coffee place when I say I just want a quick browse in a John Lewis haberdashery department!

Anyways, it seems I purchased superchunky instead of chunky and of course the yardage is completely different, so one ball has made one mitt with not much to spare. Silly me.

On the other hand (ha!) it's actually quite a lucky mistake because I've since made up a mitt using some chunky I had to hand and although it makes a perfectly good mitt I quite like the flexibility of having a chunky pair and a superchunky pair; one is warm and one is very warm!

I've forgotten a lot of things about knitting, having crocheted for a few years now, and I'd never have assumed that using superchunky but with the same needles would have produced the same kind of fit. I know now that it does, at least with this pattern. This little mistake/experiment might not have had such a good outcome if I'd had smaller hands though. Both are a generous fit for my larger hands so if anyone is thinking of knitting up this pattern I would go down a half or a whole needle size for smaller hands. It's currently 6.5mm for the rib part and 7mm for the rest.

Now I just need to break the news to M that I really need to visit a John Lewis sometime soon!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

A little time away...

We've been away for most of this week. It was a bit of a last minute dot com type of arrangement with the accommodation despite having the cricket week on the calendar for quite some time. For the first time we didn't take the caravan and instead stayed in a nice hotel. It was definitely a more sophisticated way of doing things! Now of course, I don't really want to go home; to housework and laundry!

It was a good week for Jake. He bowled really well, especially the last day, taking four wickets, three of which were in his opening overs. We had a disaster the day before we were due to leave when his cricket shoes came apart during a match. We quickly checked out the local sports shops for size twelve cricket spikes with no luck. Contact adhesive was applied and the dodgy shoe bound overnight with string. It lasted one over and split again so J borrowed his coach's spikes (one size smaller but wearable). Then due to unforeseen circumstances the coach and his shoes had to depart one day early! Thank goodness for google is all I can say. We drove out to an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere this morning and picked up the only size twelve cricket shoes for miles. J reckons they will have to be his lucky boots now that he's taken four wickets wearing them!

It's been a tight schedule of cricket, eating and sleeping so there hasn't been much time for making use of the hotel pool, reading or anything creative. I packed knitting rather than crochet on this occasion. I've had this Erika Knight pattern and yarn for a little while but saved it for a rainy day. I finally cast on last night and phew, I can remember how to do cables!

I've blogged about these Erika Knight for John Lewis patterns before; they are perfect for beginners or anyone who just wants a quick, easy project with a useful outcome. The other one I've purchased is the Slouchy Hats pattern which has two designs. I've made the ribbed hat for myself, the kids and even M who rarely wears hats. So we will all soon have matching cable and rib mitts to go with the hats!

Today I wished I was nearing the end of the project with just the side seams to sew up; it's supposed to be summer but it was rather chilly and unpleasant today. It was just as well we bowled the opposition out quickly and got the required runs just as quickly. The match was over three hours early just in time for the heavens to open. So British; cricket and rainy summers!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

TV crochet...

I'm not going to make any excuses for purchasing a whole series of The Waltons. Some might think it's seriously uncool but my excuse is that I missed out first time round, in the late seventies, because they didn't have subtitles back then. I watched bits but I couldn't follow it and it was one of those programmes that my long suffering little bro didn't really want to fill me in on, and who could blame him? Yes I could have bribed him, tied him to a chair, beat him up, but for reasons unknown I let him off the hook on that occasion.

Anyway, I really love all that make do and mend stuff and there was plenty of that in the depression years on Waltons Mountain! I love the fact that extended family live under the same roof and boy, there's so much job sharing going on, it's enough to make me start drawing up a rota for round here!

The grandmother is to be seen with the occasional piece of crochet in her hands (when she's not repairing denim dungarees that is!), the girls make the occasional crochet or knitted scarf and there is one particular crochet blanket that I keep spotting. I liked the way there was no need for an additional border because the treble clusters make a scalloped edge as it is. With a bit of help from my lovely blog friend we (she) solved the mystery of the pattern required to get that edge and hey presto one little sample of the Walton's crochet blanket! The vertical stripe is achieved by surface embroidery which is a little bit tricky since it works upwards into trebles so it doesn't really have a very uniform or obvious stitch on which to space even stitches, but even so, it's not impossible. It's a nice way to gain an extra colour and dimension to a simple shell stitch pattern.

I had better not start another blanket right now but I think a cushion would be fun to make with this pattern. I'll add the basic instructions to this post when I've relocated them from my emails. Done in rows of two they look like four petal flowers so this would probably look quite good in a bright colour combination.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Another WIP bites the dust...

Another WIP crossed off the list! I'm not even going to look back at my posts and see when I started this. It was a badly planned project that started out as a small blanket and turned into a single bed size blanket when I realised I had enough aran wool to do twelve panels.

The blanket was always intended for Jake's bed. In between the start and the finish he moved from a single bed to a small double and had a black and grey bedroom makeover but it will still be a useful tv blanket for draughty winter's evenings.

That sideways picture is Jake holding it up, you can just about see his arms. The blanket must be just over six feet tall so it's a bit of a whopper. It also weighs a considerable amount because the stitch is quite a dense one, but that makes it incredibly warm. I think it's going to be popular. I've already 'borrowed' it myself.

Obviously you can't lay a blanket out on the decking without a dog coming along and laying down on it! Riley says he wouldn't mind this one for his basket. Dream on!