Monday, 31 October 2011

The C Word

OK. So, I do kind of half despise myself as some kind of terrible low-rent Martha Stewart-Kirstie Allsopp hybrid, but, today when I went out to buy a fondue burner (seriously, I am a martyr to that fondue), I just happened upon one or two things and I may have bought them
I am suspecting very strongly that Martha Stewart would have got the marks out of that formica
to make Christmas presents with. Because, readers, this year, we are having a homemade Christmas. If you are wincing right now, then, rest assured I am wincing with you, because I am entirely 50-50 on homemade presents. On the one hand, if I get into the swing early enough that I make bits over the months leading up, it isn’t that much trouble, it is fun, and means I avoid the terrible Christmas Eve Shopping Trip of Doom, which always finds me standing despairingly in Waterstones at 3:59pm wondering whether to pay £14.99 for a calendar with hamsters on it. On the other hand, if I don’t get into the swing, the same time will find me in our spare room crying tears of neat brandy over a sewing machine and a bit of ric rac.
The pride of Lakeland Plastics. I love Lakeland Plastics and I want the kind of life where you know what to do with an egg poacher and put cedar in your wardrobe. I think Pam has cedar in her wardrobe
Have you noticed, in any book on thrift/ handmade living/ general eco-y-ness you ever read, they will tell you you will save money making homemade presents? Readers, here is the truth: it is generally not cheaper to handmake anything unless your normal point of reference is Harrods. Yes you can possibly save money if you craft things regularly and have equipment and lots of leftovers (and then use them rather than thinking, it is for xx! Xx is special! I shall buy cashmere!, even when xx is the window cleaner and you have only exchanged 3 words in the last 6 months) or start saving jam jars in March, but, if you get to November and suddenly have a yen to make people something where you have to buy equipment and there is a learning curve then trust me, it will cost you just as much money as if you had just gone straight to John Lewis and bought one in a packet (and then to the pub after).

It has always been my experience that to make something nice, you must throw one or more of the following at it: skill, money, or time. So, if you are going to knit someone a giant garter stitch scarf and you do it in cashmere, it will be beautiful and well-received but it will be extortionate, although, some people (and my own loved ones actually don’t think this, or if they do they disguise it well, well done family) think if you handmake anything you are cheap. Or you are doing it as a strange perversion of the competitive instinct which you should have satisfied by climbing the corporate ladder, not putting feminism back 30 years by floating about knowing one end of a knitting needle from another (no I don’t think this is the standard feminist view. But yes I have encountered it!). And to make things worse, we will soon be getting a slew of mad articles that will tell us to make things for Christmas presents that honestly no-one wants and which will require enormous initial expenditure on things like glue guns. So you see my moral dilemma.
Why, could that really be Stylecraft Special DK in a rather challenging colour combination? Might someone be in for a treat?
But, this is why I do it (when I have the energy). I genuinely like giving people things. I think often with the gifts we give it’s not actually about giving something someone needs (although, I am going to call out my own hypocrisy here, because for my birthday my parents gave me part of a shed. So, sometimes people do really need part of a shed), it’s a token to say, hello, Merry Christmas, I have been thinking of you. And with handmade presents you really have been thinking of them, and not for the 10 minutes it takes you to buy the hamster calendar in Waterstones and swear. And you know I love handmade things and think they are better, so if I am feeling generous I would rather give someone something that would be a treat for me. But does that mean it is a treat for them? You see, it is difficult. Anyway, homemade Christmas it is this year, for better or worse, and I have made a list and everything, which I will hide from Partner as if he found it he would be quite sarcastic. And if you will excuse me, I am off now to google food colouring paste because you would not believe the price of it. (At least I don’t need a glue gun).

Monday, 24 October 2011

Well, I don't know how this happened

But apparently now I can knit lace. (Pattern: Jaali, here on Ravelry and also here on Etsy. This has no errors as far as I could tell, and also it is both written and charted so if you want to knit one too it should be a fairly smooth ride).

I've had those towels for 20 years. Thrift, it is my middle name. Or it would be if I hadn't realised with HORROR over the weekend just how much wool is in this house
Again with the dodgy blocking shot in bad light on the old towels and the green carpet. If I'm going to actually manage to finish knitting things I will have to work out how to photograph them properly. Lace! Mad! Where will it end? Will I lose all sense of proportion and start knitting one of those enormous round shawl things with a million stitches? I could use it as a Partner Cozy and put it over him when he is moaning, to see if it shuts him up like it does when you put a sheet over a parrot in a cage.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Not only but also

Because for some reason Blogger won't let me comment on my own blog post (censorship!), just wanted to update that I bought the kit I was moaning about. Because I am grumpy and ill this week and didn't want to be mean to the shop, and because Partner is also ill (Partner is always grumpy though) and I have been ferrying him about, I did it from his office. I finally managed to unearth a browser the site would work on - they really do have some very pretty kits when you can see them! - and I ordered it.

Obviously the minute I had ordered it online they emailed me and said I was more than welcome to ring them or order by email...

And also, as everything about this kit is doomed, the postman tried to deliver it when I was out, and he was not the normal postman, because our normal postman always hides parcels in the hedge. So I have got to pick it up from the sorting office. Which I will do on Monday.

But... we nearly have emotional closure on this kit! It is nearly in my hands! And I am feeling much better about it now, so thank you for all your kind comments and I will be able to show you the Kit Of Bad Karma when it arrives (at which point it will be absolutely obvious where I bought it and you will have to pretend you did not read my moaning). Rather ironically, the pattern I am going to knit with it is a pattern which, through no fault at all of the designer, whose designs are great (and it is a good pattern), got itself involved with an event with quite a bit of bad karma too. How strange is this? Anyway. I shall pick up the kit, I will knit it, it will be lovely, we will get some better karma flowing through the medium of stranded knitting!

(PS quick question. We have a very lively black squirrel O_O. Does anyone else have a black squirrel? I thought they only came in red and grey).

A cheerful blanket

I am struggling through The Cold That Will Not Go (and on my birthday no less! Rubbish!) but just wanted to show you my completed rainbow blanket. I am dragging this thing round the house with me like that chap who used to be in Peanuts (look, I'm ill, don't make me google), it is so warm and bright and cheerful.
Still not ironed the duvet, still not painted the woodchip, crocheted a blankie though
OK. Pattern: Neat Ripple Pattern from Attic24, Yarn: Sirdar Bonus DK, cheap as chips (who actually says that? Nobody) but honestly it is great for projects like this, where you are going to want to wash it often, and you are also going to want to use A Lot. I used 13 balls of different colours, I don't think my rainbow colour progression is perfect, but it is difficult picking out colours online, and it's not bad. I had enough left over to do a border, using these helpful instructions from Wires and Yarns
We decided it was colourful enough without another round on the border
and I've also got enough to be making the granny squares in the post below, 27 so far and counting. I should be able to make about 10 more, but I don't know what I'll do with them then. I would quite like another throw, but I don't want to buy 13 more colours and have loads left over because then I'm going to end up in a terrible endlessly recurring acrylic crochet loop and be doomed. Then before I know it the entire house will be covered with granny squares because I have to keep buying more yarn to use bits up. I might just buy a couple more balls of a plain colour and make a feature of the bright ones. Listen to me rambling. I'm off now to practice my guitar and mutter. Have a lovely weekend everyone xoxo

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

An interview with Tiny Owl Knits

Today I have an interview for you with Stephanie from Tiny Owl Knits.
I happened upon Tiny Owl Knits patterns when I was unable to get the Parseltongue hat out of my head until I had downloaded it and knitted it, which I have done, and I will show it to you when I have woven in the ends. Then I looked at her other patterns and was blown away; they are so unusual and beautiful, and have a real ethereal, other-worldly feel which is incredibly alluring. Also they are some of the few patterns I have seen that have made me want to knit intarsia motifs, I think the animal mitts are lovely.

Stephanie is also a very successful musician, and I am having visions of my brother Dan reading this interview and thinking, Susie, somehow you manage, through what nefarious means I do not know, to lure someone into being interviewed for your blog who has been on Jools Holland, and then you ask her about knitting. You are no sister of mine and now I shall never teach you the F chord and I am even considering withdrawing husky-stroking privileges (Dan has a husky, although I have to say I think it would take some fairly intensive training to make him shun people). Well, yes, but to this I must answer: Stephanie is also the designer of the Hexipuff. Yes! If you have been on the knitting bit of the internet recently, you may know (and if not, ready yourself!) that the current pattern craze is for making little hexagon shapes out of leftover sock yarn which you then make into a quilt. They are all over Ravelry looking very beautiful and inventive. I am resisting this as strongly as I can, however much fun it might look, because I do not need another epic project, although I will not be resisting other Tiny Owl Knits patterns. I have particularly got my eye on the sheep mitts. Actually, I think I might have some wool that would work…

Take it away, Stephanie! (All the patterns in the pics are available on Ravelry or on Etsy).

1/ Stephanie, you’ve taken over the known world with your hexipuffs. It’s one of the coolest patterns I’ve seen, but doing an entire quilt out of them must be quite an undertaking! Why do you think the pattern’s been so popular? Is it nice to think of there being little collections of hexipuffs all over the world?
Thanks! I really had no idea anyone would do it! the whole thing has taken me so much by surprise.  I didn't imagine that the pictures could show the concept of the puffy hexagons so I did a little video talking about them. That was really fun and I plan to do lots more videos (even though I run the risk of frightening people with my weird.)  Anyway, I think making the hexipuffs is actually fun. I became totally addicted to making them myself, so now I feel a little less crazy because it seems they have that effect on others too! I love to peek around ravelry and see all of the creative things people are embroidering on them. I'm not going to say that I haven't actually wiped a tear away at some point! haha
Beekeeper's Quilt. Hexipuffs-in-progress, proving my theory that where a beautiful, complex, time-consuming knitting project is, there also will a cat be
2/ Your patterns have this wonderful, ethereal vibe. Are you attracted to fairytale, otherworldly things in general?
I love fairy tales!  I think I have always had a tendency to want to hide away in secret places and dream about faeries and magic. I think its actually becoming a bigger and bigger part of our culture to think about magic as well. Everyone seems to be joining together to find something really special in the otherworlds. Life is so hectic and moves so fast. Real magic happens when a person is able to center themselves and put their mind on something that brings them joy or peace. That's why knitting is so magical. My goal when I'm knitting is to stay calm and centered. No it's not always easy! But what a great medium for rolling around in the power of joy. Magic Magic Magic Joy Joy Joy Ü• 
Fairy castles for storing hooks and needles. Look! With little windows in too!
3/ Lots of knitwear designers combine knitting with a day job, but I’m not sure there are that many whose day job is being an extremely successful singer, and I’m reasonably sure Elizabeth Zimmerman never played Glastonbury ;-). Does one feed off the other, or is knitting completely separate?
Some days it's easier than others. This very minute I'm trying to finish up a record and I REALLY want to release my version of my "Mr. Fox Stole my heart" pattern. So this morning I'm fighting the urge to finish the pattern when I'm really supposed to be in the studio in an hour. But most days I have time for both. Its like doing dishes and the laundry. You just do them both. OH ELIZABETH ZIMMERMAN AT GLASTONBURY!! She would be by far and away the most interesting thing there. :)

4/ Have you ever worn something you’ve knitted on stage?
I used to make pretty much all of my clothes for stage. I do a lot of sewing so I made all of my skirts and customized all of my t-shirts.  I'm sure I've worn something I've knitted for sure. Oh I wore the woodland hoodlet at a show at the Royal Festival Hall in London last year. At that time it still had a wonky hood, but I wore it anyway. Then I came home and ripped the hood off and started over before I released the pattern.
Woodland hoodlet. I love anyone who wears their creations proudly. Get out there in your woollies
5/ Post-internet and especially post-Ravelry, it’s much easier for designers to meet the people knitting their patterns and get lots of immediate feedback. You have a very popular Ravelry group: is this link with your knitters something you enjoy?
It is absolutely a huge deal to me and I love being connected to everyone. I used to work in a knitting shop so I would be helping people with my patterns all day long. After I quit and moved to London to pursue music I missed the community aspect so much. That was right around the time that Ravelry started. I couldn't believe it! I jumped right in to a virtual version of the lifestyle that I had grown so accustomed to and it has totally changed my life. Thank you Ravelry!

6/ Which of your designs (current or upcoming) have you most enjoyed making?
I loved making the beekeeper's quilt and I love wearing my meow mitts :) They are my favorite thing I've ever designed because the little kitties on them just make me happy!
Meow mitts! I've even got some wool that colour. Hold me back
Thank you very much for doing this interview, Stephanie, you were a great interviewee and when you have taken over the world with your small puffy hexagons I’m confident you’ll be a benevolent dictator ;-). You can find Tiny Owl Knits on Ravelry or on Etsy. Please do go and have a look at her patterns, they are beautiful and I think you will like them although if you find yourself a month from now with baskets full of puffs and muttering 'just one more' to yourself at three in the morning, do not come and tell me off.

Thanks again Stephanie and best of luck with the new record xoxo

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Just stuff I am making and stuff I have seen

With the leftovers from my finally completed rainbow throw (I will take pics later in the week) I made stuff.
OK, look, even I think this is a bit bright
I've still got enough left for a few more so I'll see how many I end up with and then go from there (I know I should have crocheted the ends in as I went along, I do it all wrong). I don't know what I'm going to make (I promise it won't be a garment).
We, as plants, offer a living counterpoint to the sterile pursuit of Knowledge
Plants benefiting from the sunlight
In the History Faculty at the university they have some strange thing going on with plants. I think it's a plant-growing competition. At certain times of the year it all goes a bit wild and there are plants everywhere with names on, and a little hospital corner for plants which aren't doing so well.
Wherever you go here there's something medieval looming at you
I dragged Partner to Apple Day in Ely at the weekend. He said it was beyond parody and just like the opening scene from Midsomer Murders, and could we leave before they found someone dead in a cider barrel. I enjoyed it myself. There was a man who you could take your apples to for identification
Partner said 'they all look the bloody same'. They do not
And folk music. There was a knitting stall too, but it was very popular so I couldn't get near it. Anyway, there is an Eel Day at some point (I'm not making this up) so I shall drag Partner to that, too.

Also, after being grumpy yesterday, wanted to mention two excellent people/ companies I bought from recently: Get Knitted, who replaced some dodgy Knit Pro needle tips for me without any problem even though I bought them a month ago (I've also bought from them on and off for a while and they've always been great): and Scrapunzel Pixie, who I bought a jumper from after I interviewed Niccy, and I think I have worn it nearly every day. I love it!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Trying not to be irritated and failing

OK. Could you all just slap me on the head and tell me I’m unreasonable to be irritated by this?

Due to an exciting incident involving a dead cockroach I find myself with a tiny, tiny bit of spare money. As my birthday is coming up, I decide to go wild and buy wool for a pattern I would very much like to knit. Hurrah! Somewhere sells a kit of the recommended wool, which seems very good value! Now, due to (being non-specific) something about this pattern, the wool in the kit is probably the wool it will work best with – you need a specific type, so I can’t shop about quite as much as I would usually do. The place I am trying to buy the kit from is also the only place where it is, I suspect, good enough value for me to bother. I try to buy it online – failure. Their website, which is pretty and features a very beautiful windswept sheep, is not compatible with my browser which is old, and cannot be updated unless I upgrade my OS, and look, here I am spending the money on wool instead (or, trying to). I very rarely have this problem shopping online but it can happen, and at this point I would normally go elsewhere but I really want this kit. I cannot see contact details on the website because of the browser problem. I am cunning and track them down on Ravelry, where I find an email address. I email them and ask for a phone number so I can order over the phone, as their website does not work with my browser. I am nice and friendly and I do not say, your web designer is an idiot who has prioritised a pretty website over people who are not on the most modern versions of everything actually being able to use it, although, this is what I think.

I receive a nice and polite email back which says, although they can take phone orders, they really don’t want to. They would really prefer me to order online, as that is much easier (not for me, obviously). If I ring them up they are happy to explain to me how to use their website and they are sure I will find it easy when I have had it explained. I email back politely and say, sadly I do not think I will, given the fundamental fact that their website does not work on my browser, and perhaps I will wait to place my order until the day I happen to find myself on a different computer with hell in the process of freezing over (I mean, I don't say that last bit). I receive no reply.

I am irritated. I am getting over a cold so I am Mrs Grumpypants anyway but I am irritated. What shall I do now? Shall I ring tomorrow and be chirpy? Shall I forget about the kit, especially since a lamp exploded earlier while I was dusting it and now I will have to buy a new one? Shall I hope I encounter another dead cockroach and get more money? Shall I get Partner to order it from his office (no! Bad idea! Who knows what I would get!).

I know this is a first world problem! (Really, I do ;-) ).

Friday, 14 October 2011

Socks for absorbing knitting energy

I work on these socks (there is another one floating about half-done)

With bonus marks on left foot from having it tucked up under me
when I haven't got the brain power to do anything more complicated than ribbing, stocking stitch, bit of fiddling, stocking stitch, bit of decreasing, end. I think I'm always going to have a boring functional sock on the go somewhere to absorb extra knitting energy when I can't face one more chart row.

These are in Noro Kureyon Sock, and while this is truly terrible yarn, funnily enough I quite like it when it's become a sock. It looks rustic. And it's not as rough on your feet as you think it's going to be. I've no idea how that works because it's so rough while you're knitting it it feels like they've done it on purpose to annoy you. But, there may be more Noro socks in my future. And, if I ever feel the need to create a nice multicoloured hair shirt, I'll be able to use it for that as well.

Monday, 10 October 2011

What would you do?

OK. I have a question for you.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Mum bravely conquering her fear of underground railway systems on the Metro
I’m going to take a wild punt that I, as a blogger, crafter and hedgewitch am not alone in this, but, in real life, I am not wildly outgoing. I do not come across as not wildly outgoing, indeed I suspect I come across as quite the opposite, but I am not. I mean, I am not hiding quivering in corners because this is why God created chardonnay, but, if I had the choice between a/ walking into a party full of people I don’t know and networking without being sarcastic or b/ sewing up a really horrible long seam with mattress stitch it would be b/ every time (in fact I don’t think, looking back on my failed attempts at being Supportive Academic Partner, that I’m constitutionally able to network at a party without being sarcastic, so that perhaps isn’t much of a choice). Anyway I tell you this not so that you will think, poor Susie, because at least half of people in the world feel like this including Jeremy Paxman according to an interview in today’s Guardian, but to demonstrate that the things I am afraid of are mainly around outgoing-ness, big groups of people, being forced to be extrovert, that kind of thing. (Also anything that involves heights or dangling).

Anyway, the point of this ramble is, being afraid is OK unless it stops you doing things. So, what would you do, if you weren’t afraid? If a Good Fairy came along and waved a wand, and just for once you were protected in a Ready Brek glow from rejection, nerves, failure, being abducted by Somali pirates, spiders, whatever: what is the first thing you would do? Would you go skydiving? Would you travel to Africa? Would you go and declare undying love to Barry in Budgens? (Don’t! It’ll hold up the queue! He’s steady enough!). Would you take part in a burlesque show (have to say, I quite fancy that myself)? Would you join the Women’s Institute? Model for a life drawing class? What would you do?

I’ll tell you what I would do. I would learn my guitar properly, I would write a song, and I would perform it in public. So that’s what I’m going to do*. It might take a while as I am hampered by the lack of any natural talent but, readers, seriously, what is the worst that can happen? If they heckle, it’s not as if I’m sitting there with nothing. I’ll have a great big guitar. I can hit them with it.

What would you do?

* I don’t know where yet, in case you’re thinking I’ve got a hotline to Simon Cowell. This is Cambridge though, there are sure to be open mic nights somewhere, gosh that sounds terrifying when I type it, off to drown emotions in Food.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Back from Paris

But not lively. But lively enough to do a quick Photo Spam.
Notre Dame at dusk to prove we did actually go to Paris. Last night when I showed this photo to Partner (who is an expert on literary intertextuality) he started telling me about how he had discovered that the name Quasimodo is an homage to a very, very obscure medieval poem, and then he started quoting it, even though I had just come back and was tired
All the Paris bridges are covered in locks. You write your and your lover's name on it then throw the key into the Seine and your love lasts forever, alternatively you can get a mortgage
Do not put your hands in the door on the metro because you risk getting squeezed very hard. I shall add my own caveat to this, which is, do not get RER line B in the rush hour as not only is there not room to breathe but someone groped my bottom
Shop window and Art in the Place des Vosges. But could you live with it above the telly? Yes I could actually
View from a bistro near the Pont Neuf as I necked my vin de pays d'Oc
Particularly liked the Paris graffiti. This was somewhere between Les Halles and the Rue St Denis which is better than it used to be (says she thoughtfully)
Bookseller on the Left Bank providing foxy pictures aux masses
OK. I have a helpful post about wool shops at some point, and also Action Shots of a shawl, but for now I will spare you ;-). Off for tea. Can you get a cup of tea in Paris? Well yes you can but not as easily as you can get one in my kitchen.

Monday, 3 October 2011

How to wear your shawl stylishly

If you want to knit lace, sooner or later you are going to have to knit a shawl. I mean, you don’t have to in the sense that no-one is actually going to take out an injunction (because if they were, believe me, I would have met them!), but, it’s just one of those things. Sooner or later the sheer number of shawl patterns is going to wear you down emotionally and have you thinking, hmm, perhaps one tiny little laceweight shawl will be ok. I never have to do another. I can stop whenever I want.
Attractive spread-out-on-ironing-board shot
Then, there you are, halfway through your first triangular shawl, and you think, but, where am I going to wear this bloody thing. I never wear triangular shawls. I will look like Mrs Pepperpot. I will have ends dangling in my gin. I will be losing my shawl as I dash about performing open heart surgery/ anticipating what the cat is going to do and stopping it/ sitting on the Board of News International. I do not know how to wear a shawl, you think, and now I am irritated at myself that I have succumbed to peer pressure. I shall go onto knitting message boards and start discussions about Wool vs Acrylic and Crochet vs Knitting to get my own back.

Well, gentle reader, for when you succumb to the shawl bug which you shawly will (that is a pun), I have been thinking of situations you can wear your shawl in. Never let it be said that shawls are not easy to integrate into our carefully-thought-out wardrobes (I know. Mine neither). Let us wear them with pride!
Please always remember to match your toes to your current knitting project, it is a basic of personal grooming
Scenario 1. You are in a pub garden in summer. Dusk falls and so does the temperature. ‘Gosh isn’t it chilly’ you trill, putting your pork scratchings to one side and reaching inside your bag for your shawl. Remember to hold it up in a faux casual manner, so everyone can admire it properly, before wrapping it around your shoulders with Panache. ‘Why’ say all your companions, ‘what a stunning garment, did you buy that perchance at M&S’. No, you reply, in an amused and tolerant tone, for if an M&S buyer ever came near anything of this quality they would have to kill her to prevent her blabbing. I handknitted this myself in a mix of virgin alpaca and silk where the silkworms were not killed but were only mildly inconvenienced. I do it before I go to bed when I have just put down my Kirkegaard and finished watching a bit of Fellini.

Then, you must smile smugly as if to imply that you also have better sex, deeper and more meaningful relationships, and are able to make a Victoria Sponge without weighing the ingredients.

Scenario 2. You are at a party involving canapés. You are wearing vertiginous heels, therefore, do not move too quickly especially when you have started on the Cava. Your shawl is wrapped in a complicated yet ironically knowing manner around your torso, in the manner of this one. This will keep you warm enough that you can wear a shorter skirt, while also subtly and subliminally implying that you are a delicate creature who needs the protection of something lightly woolly which has been produced with great skill, ha, not like that hulking and uncomplicated person over there who is wearing a mass produced cardigan. Toss down that cava, and give the eye to that chap in the corner who is dissecting a blini thoughtfully, but remember, no shawl removal until the third date. Keep it wrapped tightly.

Scenario 3. You are in an art gallery, standing looking at one of the more challenging works, with a shawl wrapped kerchief-style around your neck. Thoughfully and yet alluringly, you bite your lip and flick a single lock of hair over your shoulder to draw attention to your shawl. I am making a knowing comment on Craft vs Art, you convey mutely, by wearing this skillfully self-produced Kerchief. Yet it is, amazingly, not as prestigious, in the eyes of the Intelligentsia, as this Installation I am looking at, which the artist has had produced by people paid minimum wage in Bromley. I stand, your ensemble says, as an example of the value of Craftsmanship in the age of the Meta.

Also, because you are wearing it as a kerchief, it will not dangle in your tea when you go and have a bun in the coffee shop afterwards.

You know what we need? Action shots. I’ll finish that Jaali quick and start wearing it out and about ;-). Paris tomorrow. Send me not-getting-lost-or-losing-mum vibes?

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Patchwork yearnings

Do you know what I've not done for a while? Patchwork. I feel the inclination welling deep within, I really do. I feel it bubbling and sizzling and welling up. I shall casually flick through my Kaffe Fassett books tonight and see if I feel inspired by any shapes. Mooncalf left me a link ages ago to this blanket by the Purl Bee (I mean, don't anyone feel nervous or anything, but I never forget a comment) and I'm wondering if I want to do some kind of grey + BRIGHT! modern geometric patchwork thing. I've got some grey Liberty print hanging about, actually. And I'm sure I could find a couple of bright contrast colours. Hmm, off to think. In the meantime, what comes to your mind immediately when you think patchwork? Quilts? Cushions? Lovely hippy clothes? Of course not.
If you can't hide it, make it a feature
Dustbins. Here in Cambridge we have a thriving subculture of dustbin art. It's because our houses are very, very small, and our Council's recycling ambitions are very, very large, so we all have three enormous dustbins which we have to fit in somewhere in our tiny gardens. Someone down our street has painted a very realistic cat on theirs an I often see stripes and flowers and things like that. I sometimes look at those stickers with flowers on you can buy online but then I look at the prices and decide they are not my top priority.
Sadly the contrast means you can't see next door's attractive drainpipe
And the sunset looked pretty earlier. This is the view from what we laughingly call the study. One day I want to make some setting sun mittens. In the meantime I'm trying to get better at my stranding and learn intarsia (have you seen these intarsia designs? I love them. Look for the sheepy mittens) and researching sunset colours. It may take a while.