Monday, 31 May 2010

Sunday in Burnley

More tea cosies were made yesterday. I have posted two blog entries today as I had so many photos to put on here I decided to do it as two.

Yesterday two more of the Kings Arms Knit Club, Marie and Valpuri (her blog is Purlpurl Handknits) came along to the shop in Burnley for a Knit Out. As the weather was a little cold and the surrounding shops were closed for Sunday we were not sure how many people would come in the shop.

Rachael barely had time to open the shutters before people started coming in. She was kept busy all day answering questions and teaching people how to knit and encouraging the ones whose skills were a little rusty. Everyone had a good time as you can see from the photos in the previous post. The ladies were interested in how to decorate the tea cosies and she was giving a flower and free form crochet demonstration. The time simply flew by.

It was typical Bank Holiday weather and quite cold inside the shop once again. It seems far more welcoming when the doors can be left open but after a little while they have to be closed for the sake of our cold bodies. The shop is in the shade most of the day and the sun starts to come around in the very late afternoon. Last week they were able to put the chairs outside and knit and crochet in the sun. There is one more weekend of the project next week so I am hoping for nice hot sunny weather.

Rachael hopes to have more tea cosies as people are interested and have taken patterns to make them at home. The yellow and brown pleated tea cosy was knitted at home by a lady in her eighties and she brought in in yesterday. There are more finished and almost finished tea cosies than I took photos of. At the end of the day Rachael gathered them all together in one place and took a photo of them so if you go to her blog Artyarn (click on my blog title) you could see more of them there. There is actually a photo of my wrinkly hands crocheting a tea cosy in pink. I finished the bare bones of it but still have to make the flowers to decorate the top. I left the tea cosy at the shop so there won't be any finished photos of it until next week. The last photo is of Rachael wearing a tea cosy on her head.

Today the sun is trying to shine this morning but it is still cold and I have masses to do. I need to run the hoover around and dust etc but that is the boring bit. I want to finish off the crocheted grey aran as I only have to make the neckband and button bands and of course stitch it all together. All the pieces are draped around the living room so it will look a lot tidier in there once it is finished.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my weekend out. It is so nice to meet and chat with people instead of being stuck in the house all of the time. It's amazing how conversation stimulates the mind and takes my mind off the pain in my knees. I feel as though I have had a shot in the arm of energizing thoughts. I hope that my knee ops come soon and then I can take part in things like this on a more regular basis.

Time for breakfast and to tackle those boring chores. I have to strike whilst my enthusiasm for housework is still there. The longer I leave it then the more I don't do it. My energy levels are higher in the mornings.

More Photos

Some more photos from the knitting project in Burnley.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Back In Burnley Crocheting Tea Cosies

I spent another great day accompanying Rachael with her Art Yarn Burnley Knitting project. The idea is to get the people of Burnley interested in making tea cosies for the wonderful collection of tea pots that are going on display at Towneley Hall Burnley.The other part of the project is to teach anyone who wants to learn the skills of knitting and crochet so that hopefully they can then pass on their skills to someone else. It was a very good day today after a slow wet miserable start. Quite a few people came in who were interested in the project and Rachael held an ongoing class for pupils for most of the day.

The ladies who came enjoyed it so much that not only are they going to call back in for further lessons but they are talking of organising their own knit club when Rachael's project has finished. This is a great outcome as Rachael's aim is to spread the word and encourage people in to doing more crafts. The conversation has been very inspiring today and everyone coming into the shop has expressed their interest in doing something like this. Everyone remarked on how it was reviving the community spirit and the older ladies were reminiscing about their mothers teaching them to knit and the make do and mend era during and just after the war. Quite a few had knitted in the past but let their skills lapse so we were encouraging them to take up the needle and hook once again.

One of the ladies works with people with Alzheimer's and was interested in the surveys that we were discussing that have been done. The surveys suggest that doing a craft can help lessen the onset of this disease. It's something to do with concentration, counting and using the frontal lobe which keeps the brain stimulated. She said that when she has learned to knit she will carry it forward to her patients and see if the ones who could knit before the disease hit can remember how to knit and if they can it would give them something of interest to do.

I managed to finish off the multi coloured crocheted tea cosy that I started yesterday. The pattern is a free pattern from Ravelry if you are interested but I can't remember it's name. Possibly Scalloped tea Cosy. Rachael sewed it together and designed it's rather natty top knot. I have knitted another very plain garter stitch tea cosy and passed it over to Rachael to do the finishing touches. Rachael is the artist and has more ideas on how to decorate them. I don't mind doing the plain bits and leaving her the twiddly bits. I have started another crocheted tea cosy today but only managed to do an inch or so before we realized that we had run well over the time for closing. We practically had to throw the ladies out as they were all having such a good time I think they would have stayed all evening if they could.

I am going up tomorrow for a few hours and Rachael will have more help as Marie, another of the King's Arms knitters, is coming as well. I hope that we have as jolly a day as today. I think that it all went very well despite the rainy weather. Although I am not teaching anyone I think that the sight of people knitting and crocheting is inspiring and they come in for a closer look to find out what we are doing.

Hopefully we will convert more Burnley residents into the art of knitting and crocheting tomorrow. I think that they could definitely do with forming a Knit and Natter group in Burnley. Judging by the interest today I think they will soon find many interested members. Knit clubs are all about swapping information, Teaching your skills to others less experienced, encouragement when novice knitters need some, and it's social event that all ages can take part in. It's great to know that if there is something on a pattern that you don't understand then someone with a bit more knowledge can point you in the right direction. It's soul destroying when you are learning a new craft and have no-one to ask and only books to learn from.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Tea Cosies for Towneley Hall Burnley

I have had a lovely day out crocheting a tea cosy in a shop in Burnley. The project is organised by Rachael who is our leader at the Kings Arms Knit club. She is also a talented artist and craft co-ordinator on projects like these. The idea is that Towneley Hall in Burnley has a collection of lovely tea pots, 4 of which you can see in my photos, and she is organising people to knit or crochet a Tea Cosy to be displayed at a tea party in June. Everyone who makes one will put a luggage label on it with their name and a few words. If you click on my blog title it will take you to Artyarn blog and all be explained far better than I can tell you. In the last photo Rachael is crocheting a mat. She wants to put several crochet mats around a couple of the pillars at Towneley Hall. She managed to crochet 3 mats today and I have found some more easy patterns that she might like as a change from the design that she is crocheting now.

It was lovely to get out of the house for the day and crochet away sitting on a sofa with cups of coffee.It was like being at home chatting but in a different location. It was a little chilly today but apparently last week it was beautiful sunshine and Rachael and friends were knitting outside. I do hope it is sunny tomorrow as it is easier to interest people passing by if we are outside. They will stop and chat.

I had a lovely baked potato with seafood filling for my lunch from a newly opened sandwich shop. We got entertained by a would be George Sampson who danced most of the afternoon on the bandstand accompanied by loud music from his sound system. He attracted a crowd of youngsters and was joined by some boy wanna be's and the laugh of the day was when one of them lost his trousers whilst dancing. Fortunately he was wearing substantial undershorts.I wonder if we would attract as much attention if we had a knit to music competition on the bandstand ?

I hope to go back tomorrow and help out, if I can, as Rachael is having learn to knit classes and has a few people booked in. Hopefully I can be of assistance if it is only handing out leaflets and chatting to anyone else who calls in the shop whilst she is giving the lessons.I still have my tea cosy to finish off as well and start another one.

Needless to say I haven't done any more of Sylvia's crochet jacket today. Last night I did a bit more and am at the shaping for the neck of the first front. I have left the unfinished tea cosy in Burnley so I will work a bit more on the grey aran tonight.

I came home to find that my next door neighbour has cut my front side hedge. It is the joint hedge between her house and mine. She very kindly took over doing it for me when it all became a bit much for me to do. I need to find her to thank her as she was in the back garden when I got dropped off from my lift and I went straight in as I was gasping for a cup of coffee and a sandwich so I haven't seen her to thank her yet.

I haven't forgotten about showing you the inside of my Learn Tunisian book. I will do that tomorrow unless I have some more tea cosies to show you. I must remember to put the camera back in my bag.

If anyone lives near Burnley and is interested in this project then please read the Artyarn blog and that will give you details on how to join Rachael with making tea cosies.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Crochet Books Have Arrived

Finally my new crochet books have arrived. I will show you what it is the learn Tunisian Crochet book tomorrow.

I can see Doris Chan is once again going to teach me something new as the book contains a lot of hairpin lace and broomstick lace as well as a few in Tunisian.

My favourite is the sweater on the front cover Isabeau top which thankfully is in 'normal' crochet apart from the belt which is in Tunisian crochet.

The gold Kylara Vest is mostly crocheted but the border is in hairpin crochet which I never got the hang of when I tried it many years ago. I will have to buy a hairpin and do a bit of practise before I attempt this one. The blue Meglet Cape is mostly Tunisian crochet.

The blue Zhaan Wrap is crocheted in large openwork motifs which luckily for me are squares. The squares are assembled in a V shape with the point at the back. It can also be assembled as a straight wide scarf or stole. The look of this is delicate but Doris does suggest that you can 'explode' the squares by changing the wool and the hook to make a bigger design.

The red Rosalinda top is extremely pretty but I am hoping that the model is wearing a top way too big for her. The pattern is only in one size that fits up to 2XL I think that I would have to adjust the hook size to produce a more figure hugging design. I am a big girl but I don't want anything over sized that hangs off me.

The Jadzia jacket is mostly crocheted but has a collar made with broomstick lace. The Ming Jacket and Ping Skirt are very pretty but I think are spoiled by the model wearing the set over such a violently coloured dress. Both are crocheted. I especially like the jacket as it would make a lovely evening or summer jacket to wear over a plain vest in a toning colour.

The Melisande Vest is in broomstick lace and is very delicate and open. Once again I will have to brush up my broomstick crochet skills and check on the size of broomstick that I have.

The Bozena Dress is an openwork lace with optional beads, Lovely but one for the young and slender I think. I could possibly get away with it if I made it over a matching coloured plain dress and used it as an overlay.

The Ling Collar is made with the same stitch as the Ming Jacket and Ping Skirt. It is an off the shoulder collar that could make a nice addition to a plain top as in the Lipstick on your Collar top in one of Doris's earlier books.

The Felina skirt is one of two skirts that are openwork. Whilst I think that they are really lovely they, and the very openwork poncho, are just not for me at my age and size. They would be lovely on the young and slim though.

The narrow pink Inara scarf (not shown) is a good project to practise my broomstick crochet on and the lemon Scarfaroo with pockets is a practise piece for my Tunisian crochet. There is another yellow Leeloo scarf in the book which is another practise piece for my Tunisian crochet.

There are more projects that I haven't photographed and those of you on Ravelry can see the others by typing Doris Chan into the designer search.

My fingers are itching to start something new but I am on the downward bit of the crocheted aran. I have started the yolk pattern on the back and both of the fronts are up to the point of starting the yolk pattern as well. Hopefully it will be finished by the weekend.

I am off out tomorrow doing something different with knitting but I will tell you more about that when I get back.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Still No Books

I waited in all day in the hopes that my books would get delivered. I got excited when I got a knock on the door this morning but it was the postman with a parcel for my neighbour.I have never known Amazon to be so slow with their deliveries once they have sent the e mail saying my books are in the post. I do hope that they arrive tomorrow. I start to worry when parcels don't show up when I expect them.

I have been crocheting away with the grey jacket. I am doing it in pieces as I am juggling the wool. I want to get the back and fronts to the same length to see how much wool I have left to finish off the jacket. The green jacket is my old version of the pattern but Sylvia's won't be quite as long as I won't have enough wool for that.I am not putting a base rib on Sylvia's either as it pulls around the bottom. I think a simple UK double crochet edging will be better.

I haven't gone mad and knitted the child's cardigan in red chunky overnight. I made this jacket ages ago and it had a very small dodgy looking hood that I was never happy with. I decided last night to take off the hood and remake the neckline with a neckband. At least now it can be worn.

Nothing much else to report. I have had a quiet day. I was supposed to be doing a few things but instead I waited for the books to arrive. The postman doesn't bring items from Amazon so they can arrive any time during the day. One time my books arrived at 6pm. Amazon use a home delivery service instead of the post.

Still no concrete news on any foster babies but we do know that there are baby girls around waiting to be fostered so fingers crossed that my friend gets a girl. Meanwhile I have stopped crocheting baby things until we know for sure that a baby is arriving soon. Babies go into foster care for all kinds of reasons. Temporary placements and more permanent ones. Newborns and toddlers. I am waiting to see what arrives sometime soon before I make any more items for my friend.

I am going to have a rummage in my buttons that are left over from when I had a shop and see if I can find any suitable for the grey aran. Not that I think I will get to the borders tonight but if I find more than one type of button suitable then I can give Sylvia a choice before I make the buttonholes. Depending on what buttons I have defines the size of the buttonholes

Fingers crossed that my books get delivered tomorrow as I have to go out to do some shopping soon and as I am the person who takes in everyone else's parcels I know that no one will be home to take in my books if I miss the delivery man. I can't report them as missing until 7 days after dispatch anyway.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

No Books Today

I had hoped to be showing you the new Doris Chan book and the Learn Tunisian Crochet but as yet they have not been delivered. I guess that I am impatient but whenever I get the e mail from Amazon telling me that a book has been dispatched it normally arrives the next day. I guess I will just have to wait a bit longer. Sigh.

Instead I will show you some more photos from the Sirdar book 376 that I got from Purplelinda yesterday. As I said yesterday the cardigan with the motifs around the edge that I showed the single leaflet of yesterday is in this booklet.

Yesterday I showed a photo of the front cover which has an over top and inside there is a dress, both in circular motifs. They are very pretty but I am absolutely allergic to joining circle motifs together. I can do squares and hexagons but never circles. I just seem to have a blind spot when it comes to joining round motifs.

I love the little short sleeved jacket with the circular yolk. It is in double knitting and I think it looks so feminine over a pretty summer dress or top. It would probably work in a darker colour over a sweater in the winter. It is also shown on a little girl with a long sleeve so I presume that it could be worked in a ladies size as well and that definitely would work for all seasons.

The pretty openwork bolero is another decorative shoulder bolero that also comes in a child size as you can see in the bottom photo. Again that is done in double knit and would make such a nice addition to liven up a plain dress. I like the way that all the designs in the book are either in white or cream as it takes me right back to the late 60's/early 70's and the cheesecloth fashions. Everything was white or cream with lace borders and inserts and I loved wearing those designs.I bought a cheesecloth skirt and embroidered top in Carnaby Street and thought that I was the queen of fashion. This bolero would be great in fancy silk or lurex yarn for over an evening dress instead of a shawl.

The short sleeved cardigan with the openwork insert at the waist is similar to the one that I was admiring in Bon Marche the other day when I went to Bury with Sylvia. Once again so pretty in white but would also work in black or red for the winter.

The very openwork tops remind me of holidays and beach cover ups. Once again they are purely decorative but I can also see them being worn in the winter over a T shirt and skirt or trousers. I could never wear it unless I had a summer vest top underneath it but I think it looks lovely over the simple white dress as the little girl is wearing it.

Apart from the dress and top in circular motifs I will probably be making most of the things in this book.

The bottom photo is showing the reworked sleeve and part of the jacket back and another sleeve. I haven't progressed with this aran style crochet as fast as I would have liked but I did have to remake the first sleeve as it came out too wide. I may need to put a couple more rows on the sleeve once I get the measurements from Sylvia.That is the beauty of crochet. I can leave it and go back to it. It's harder to do that with knitting as every piece. would be left on spare needles.

Today the weather has gone colder. It's still sunny but the heat has gone out of the sun. Looks as though our summer came and went in 3 days. I do hope that we do have a bit more sun before long.

I do hope that I have the books from Amazon to chat about tomorrow.

Monday, 24 May 2010

More Patterns today

The postman called today. He didn't bring my Doris Chan book nor the How to do Tunisian Crochet book that Amazon have told me are on their way but he did bring me some patterns that I ordered from Purplelinda.

The King Cole pattern 3132 is a jacket and tunic dress in DK,2825 is a V neck or button up cardigan in DK with a lacy scalloped edge that is from a 24" - 40" chest, the baby pattern 3053 which can be made is 4ply or DK and is from premature to 2 yrs.

The Sirdar pattern are a short and long summer cardigan with motifs around the edge in 4ply which goes from a 24" chest to 46" and a baby short or long sleeved openwork jacket also in 4ply from Birth to 7 yrs.

The Cotton Crochet book 376 has designs in 4ply and DK and I will post photos of the contents tomorrow. The 4ply cardigan pattern with motifs that I bought is also featured in the book. This is a bad habit of Sirdar that I am not fond of. When I pay for a book I don't want it including a pattern that I have just bought as a single leaflet. I have a good crochet friend Sue that I can pass the pattern onto when she calls next as she has two granddaughters.

The Anchor Intermezzo edition had me fooled when it first arrived. I has instructions in various languages and at first I could not find the English bit. I thought that I was going to be crocheting with a dictionary in one hand. There are two Tunisian patterns in it so I hope my instruction book comes soon. The front cover cardigan, hat and bootees and the lemon trouser suit are in Tunisian. The rest are crocheted but are fine wool and fine hooks. Eek. The book does have patterns that could be adapted for a boy if I left off the scalloped edge and the flowers. The jacket on the front cover could be for a boy if the plaited i cord trim and crocheted buttons were left off.

Today has been a little cooler. The gardener came and mowed the back lawn and sprayed the weeds so I am tidy once again until she comes in a couple of weeks.

I undid the sleeve of the grey aran cardigan that I was crocheting for Sylvia as it came out wide. I have reduced it by two cable patterns and although it is still roomy I am gong to leave it as it is supposed to be a jacket and not a cardigan and I think that it wouldn't look right with even slimmer sleeves. Tonight I will go back to crocheting the back now I know how many balls of wool the sleeves will take. I have 20 balls but Sylvia wants the jacket quite longish so I want to check how much each piece will take. It's awful to get to the end of a project and then find out that I haven't got enough wool especially when it is a wool where I can't buy another ball.

Tonight it is the moussaka that I bought at the Farmers Market for dinner with some garlic bread that I didn't notice was extra strong when I bought it. It's a good job that I live and sleep alone !! If the postman calls tomorrow I will knock him over with my second hand garlic breath!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Farmers Market

It's another beautiful day. My niece came early to pick me up for the Farmers Market. We aren't lucky enough to have a regular market but they do come about every 3 months. We have learned that you have to get there early to get the best choice of the food. I love to go there if only for the fresh lamb. I like to get some in for my freezer as it has much more taste that the lamb that I can buy from the supermarket and is virtually the same price.I didn't take any photos of the lamb as it went straight into the freezer the minute I got home. The cutlets are so large that one is sufficient for me with vegetables and you can't say that about the cutlets that you can get at the supermarket.

As you can see the bread is so fresh and it's delicious. It is quite expensive but who cares when it tastes so darn good. The ciabatta rolls just melt in the mouth and are nothing like the rock hard ones that are in the supermarket. The bread sells out like mad and if you don't get there early enough there is nothing left to buy.

My niece bought some items from the Italian stall but I am not a lover of sun dried tomatoes and olives. She also bought some hand made soap which smells absolutely gorgeous but as I have eczema I have to be so careful what I wash with.

We both stayed clear of the chocolate, sweets and cakes stall although my niece did buy her husband some fancy cakes but as he is a slim as can be he can get away with eating them all. My niece is like me she only has to breathe in near a cake stall and she puts on pounds.

I bought a moussaka from the Greek stall, and some jerk chicken with rice and peas from the west Indian stall. I also bought a lamb Pattie. They are a bit like a pasty but filled with much spicier filling. They are a bit of a taste bud shocker but I like them. Well they do say that to eat spicy food and drink hot drinks makes you cooler on a hot day.

Buster went home at lunchtime. Instead I have gained the little dog Poppy from next door. She is a bit of an old girl and they have another younger dog so sometimes she comes in here for a bit of piece and quiet. She is stretched out on the carpet fast asleep at the moment. Next door has laminate flooring and so I think that she likes a bit of comfort in her old age.

I did a bit of crocheting last night but it really is so hot despite the ceiling fan. I am never happy am I? Last week I was moaning that it was too cold and now I say it's too hot. I think it is because we haven't had a slow build up to the hot weather. One day it was freezing and the next hot. By next week it will probably be freezing again.

The good thing about hot weather is that I have a line full of washing that has dried in less than an hour. All the bedding is out now and by the time the next load finishes in the machine the bedding will be dry enough to go back on the bed.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Another Hot Sunny Day

A pattern with a photo of snow if just the thing to cool me down on a hot sunny day. It is the jacket that I am making in grey for Sylvia. I haven't got much done as it has been a bit hot even for me today and so I haven't done much of anything.

I put the garden umbrella out for Buster but as you can see he hasn't quite got the hang of lying in the shady bit. He has drunk gallons of water today. Yesterday he got too overheated and was so panned out last night that I had to put the ceiling fan on in the front room to try to cool him down. As he follows me wherever I go I have stayed indoors a lot today. It is killing me to stay indoors on such a lovely day but if I stay in then Buster stays in under the fans. He is getting older now and just can't take the heat like he used to. I haven't played ball with him much today as after 3 throws he has to go and lie down. Last night he had a bit of an accident. I woke up at 3am to let him out for a wee ( he has a very weak bladder) and trod in a pool of wee at the bottom of the stairs. At least he had enough sense to wee on the wooden flooring and not the carpet. I didn't quite plan to be floor washing and feet washing at 3am but never mind it's one of the joys of pet owning.I am not surprised as the amount of water that he drank yesterday and last night would have floated an ark so it was an accident waiting to happen. Another reason why we aren't outdoors today. The more heated he gets the more water he drinks. The patio doors are open so he can go in and out when he needs to but he doesn't stay out on his own. The sun has gone off the back garden now so we might have an hour or two out there with the ball now it is not so hot. Maybe I can get a few more rows of crochet done now my fingers aren't sticking to the hook.

As you can see from the photos I am crocheting something really suitable for this hot weather - Ha Ha. I have put a temporary halt on the baby knitting until we know more next week so I decided to use up some stash Patons Beehive Aran wool and crochet an aran type jacket for Sylvia.The pattern is from an older book of mine called Glorious Crocheted Sweaters edited by Nola Theiss which I think it is still available. I know that it's the wrong season for aran but it will be there finished and ready for when the weather changes back to cold again. I have made this jacket a few times but this time I am not putting a ribbed edge at the bottom as it pulls like mad on me and as Sylvia has hips like mine I think that it will look better left looser with just a small border of double crochet instead. I keep thinking that I will undo the bottom edge of mine but the thought of having to re crochet all of the bands again without any spare wool is a bit off putting. I always lose yards of wool whenever I unravel something.

They say animals never forget. Today the ice cream man's chimes could be heard coming down the street and Buster was up on the stool barking to attract my attention. He loves his ice cream on a hot day like today and when he lived with me I was not allowed to ignore the ice cream van chimes. He watched me like a hawk today through the front window as I bought ice cream from the van. When I was carrying his cone in he was drooling all over the stool. Good thing it is wipe able. I have never known a dog love ice cream as much as he does. He wolfed his ice cream down and then ate a quarter of mine! The poor ice cream man had to be subjected to the sight of me in my old garden shorts - not a pretty sight. Ah well I am sure that he will get over it after a stiff drink!

Right I am off to sit in the garden for a while and then it's shower time. I don't feel much like any dinner but I am sure that I will a bit later on once the day cools down. It's nothing fancy tonight. Just a couple of lamb cutlets or should I say one cutlet for me and one for Buster ;)