Sunday, 30 May 2010

Saturday at the Beach and some Crochet

We were in Northumberland on Saturday. Went to the beach at Boulmer, walked along the sand, collecting my favourite shells : little limpet shells, and then we into the lifeboat station for a cup of coffee. They were having a little coffee morning, with delicious home-made cakes. "Go in there", an old guy on the beach shouted to us "The Victoria Sponge is delicious". And it was.

I noticed a lot of grey: The skies were pretty much grey all day, and it was not warm, but despite that, I seem to have caught the sun from my little walk on the beach. When I say "caught the sun", it is not that I go brown, just that my freckles join up.

The buildings in Boulmer are lovely old grey stone, weathered by the sea. It is a real fishing village,with the boats hauled out of the sea by tractors sitting on the sand.

I finished the back of my little crochet jumper. It is looking ok, and I am happy with it. To be honest, I'm not sure about crochet clothing, so we'll see how it goes. The pattern is quite difficult at the edges. It is probably obvious to other people, but the "treble in next but one chain space" seems to be confusing my brain, lol.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

A Little Whitewashed Shed in a Flower Garden

We had this little shed delivered this week, and in the unexpected heat of an Edinburgh Saturday, we put it together and painted it. It is perched rather haphazardly on the grass here, but has now been moved to the pathway at the back of the house, where it will look after lots of little scooters and bikes and keep them out of harm's way of the rain. It is a "budget" shed from one of the DIY superstores, but I think it looks rather nice painted this soft white. I can see a little row of them, all different colours, with numbers on them, like little beach huts.

Just above the shed you can see the first rhodedhendrons of the season. Ours seem to be very late flowering this year. Here's a long distance shot - with the shed moved away - just look at the mess the blossom has made, lol. My 2 year old squeals with delight when it "rains flowers".
Here are some rhodedhendrons in a local garden, of this beautiful old stone house (not my house). These pink ones are so brightly coloured, they almost look artificial.

I'll take some more pictures of mine later this month when they have flowered. This house we live in and adore is not ours, but a rented house. We are truly lucky to live here with this flowering garden.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Little Snapshots of Edinburgh

A day off work. In the middle of the week. Children in nursery/school. Luxury. I'm almost never on my own for a whole day, and I confess that I am at something of a loss. So, a little trip to the library first - always a treat (I am easily pleased, lol). I get to park in Victoria Street, a double decker street - perhaps one of the most beautiful streets in the city. Above the pastel painted lower buildings lies another street, essentially a big balcony. Yesterday was a bright sunny day, and I was in work, and today its a bit grey and not at all good for taking pictures.

Victoria Street is home to the delightful K1 wool shop - it stocks only good wool: alpacas, wools, fair trade wools and I could easily spend a fortune here. Thank goodness it was closed, but I just have to say that it was awfully nice of them to paint it in my favourite Aga Blue colour.

Down at the bottom of Victoria Street in The Grassmarket, two British style icons sit close together: a red telephone box and a blue Dr Who police box.

Crossing the lovely cobbled road, I avert my gaze from the Vintage Emporium: Armstrongs, another Edinburgh institution. It looks like a little shop but is a very long narrow shop containing billions...billions of lovely vintage items. Want a vintage velvet jacket - they have a hundred to chose from etc. Although open, luckily for the old wallet, my parking ticket is about to run out - two pounds to park for one hour! I head home for a cup of tea.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Crochet Cardigans - A Never Ending Saga

Crochet clothing - maybe a step too far? Much as I love my crochet blankets, there are only so many a girl needs: I think I have 8 and one unfinished at the moment, although I may have forgotten one or two, lol.
So, I've been thinking about crochet clothes. I like a holiday project, so last summer in France, I made not one but two crochet cardigans from a free pattern on Ravelry. However, they were a BIG disappointment. The first one, in Debbie Bliss cashmerino, bobbled a lot when I first wore it, and then shrunk in the wash, and the second, even though the same pattern, came out a funny shape. I threw them both into textile recycling in disgust, so don't have any pictures.
Then, last year on my autumn holiday in lovely Alnwick, I started to make this shrug, from some absolutely lovely Rowan DK blackest black wool, but I could not for the life of me figure out how to join the motifs together and a google search revealed that other people might be having the same trouble. So, another disaster.

The, another holiday, another crochet cardigan. Bruges this time, and bored with the summer granny squares blanket, I decided to make it into a cardigan. Hmmm - nice colours, but far too bright to be worn as a garment on my 40 year old body. What was I thinking? I might try to make it into a bag, lol.

For the price of these 4 cardigans worth of wool plus £20 for a crochet book, I could have bought a very nice cashmere cardigan at the droolingly beautiful local shop Brora.

But don't get me started on cashmere. I bought two cashmere cardigans at John Lewis at Christmas time. One lasted 2 weeks before it accidentally got washed in a normal wash and shrunk to doll size (and I'm nowhere near doll size, lol), and the other developed holes in it after 2 months. I suspect that JL cashmere is just chain store rubbish and to get decent quality I would have to go to Brora, but I'm on a spending freeze, and could never justify a week's food shopping on a cardigan anyway.

So, I'm back here again, hacked off with my holey cashmere, and hoping that I can crochet something. I decided to start with a very simple pattern, and to use EXACTLY the right wool. I'm terrible for substituting wool and hoping that it will turn out. The pattern is from the lovely Rowan Summer Crochet which my mum bought for me: Rowan's first dedicated crochet book, and I have high hopes for it.

So I'm making it in the correct wool, even the correct colour, but all the same colour, rather than the highlights of blue etc. Time will tell.

Monday, 3 May 2010


Not as in "unidentified flying object", but as in "unfinished objects". I've been decluttering, and recycling some UFOs. Half balls of wool not matching anything else, little pices of ribbon I kept just in case, some odd bits of fabric to make into something. I've taken 3 bags of decent fabric to the charity shop, and put the rest in the fabric recycling bank. I feel much better now, but guilty about all the money I must have spent on it.

I read in a decluttering book once, cannot exactly remember the woman's name: "Dawna" something, a lovely American or Canadian woman. She was on British TV, helping people to declutter their homes. She was very nice with it, not at all judgemental, and some of the houses were real tips, with people verging on mental problems, all because of too much stuff. She helped them through it and the results were amazing. But I digress - what I remember is that in one of her books she spoke about a good friend, who tragically was dying of cancer, and Dawna and her talked of this friend being Dawna's angel of unfinished objects. Then when Dawna was helping her friend's husband clear out her clothes after she died, they found all of her friend's UFOs which Dawna took to keep and finish. It was a sad story but just highlighted for me the fact that lots of us crafty people have just too many UFOs on the go at once. So here is my list of UFOs I'm going to try to finish before I start any more projects:
1. Finally! finish sewing in the ends on the big granny, and the big granny squares. It doesn't stop me using them but come on Prim, it's just not right!
2. Finish the vintage pink stripe which was supposed to be my mum's 2009 Christmas present. She is very patient.
3. Sew together the patchwork square quilt I was making for my youngest daughter's cot. She is now 2 and out of her cot, but maybe I can make it into a bed size quilt.
4. Finish making the white flowers quilt.
5. There must be others I've forgotten about...