Friday, July 27, 2007

patient, moi?

One thing that amuses me when I tell people that my number one hobby is knitting is the number of times that I get the response "Oh, you must be very patient". Oh no I'm not. But I've just checked on Ravelry, and it seems as though I'm going to have to be...

Found you!
You signed up on June 25, 2007
You are #11030 on the list.
4015 people are ahead of you in line.
9921 people are behind you in line.
33% of the list has been invited so far


Still at least it is a case of the 9k+ being behind me, rather than in front.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I've been quite subdued this week, as my Uncle Claude (dad's younger brother) died on Monday. Claude was my godfather, as well as my uncle, and I spent nearly a year living with him and my Auntie Joan in 1981-2, whilst I was doing a secretarial course. They made me so welcome! I'm never going to forget my Uncle's smile(the widest I ever saw) nor the fact that he taught me how to do running stitch quickly. (I was so surprised that A MAN could sew).

But I've finished Harry Potter (loved it!), crocheted a scarf and a corsage, my KTog mates kept me smiling on Tuesday night and my sister, brother-in-law and niecies were in Cambridge for the day on Wednesday. We went punting and shopping and it was so good to share hugs and laughter. And my darling Graham's been as amazing as ever.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What's in a name? (or Square Old American Traditional Granny?)

Last Sunday Graham spotted a request in "Pews News" (newsheet of our local parish church) from a (temporarily) housebound lady asking for crochet lessons, with the fee going to Action Abroad (a charity which sponsors children in Africa and India). Now, as I can crochet and Graham is on the fundraising committee of Action Abroad, I could see where this was leading.

I 'phoned the lady in question and discovered that she was hoping to complete a pram blanket started by her grandmother 15 years ago. I was told that the pattern was "American Squares". I've never heard of American Squares but went along to her house yesterday armed with books and hooks galore.

It turns out that she had the book granny had worked from, and there was the pattern for what looked, to me, like a normal granny square but was called, in her book, "Old America". We set to work. Soon my student was chaining and trebling like an old hand. But when we hit round 2 in the instructions "3 treble, 3 chain" and I had to explain that "the first 3 treble is actually 3 chain and 2 treble like it said on the last round" I decided it was time to turn to Jan Eaton. Jan Eaton's "200 Crochet Blocks" is the book that finally got me crocheting. I'd struggled, on and off, for years trying to master the art but wass thrown by the fact that so much prior knowledge is assumed in crochet patterns. Jan's books don't just tell you what to do but why you're doing it. The "Old America" square we were battling with is a "Traditonal Granny" in 200 Crochet Blocks. And each round begins "chain 3, counts as first stitch". It even explains when you are making the corners.

The "Old America" instructions stopped at round 4, but granny had made her squares with 5 rounds. Once my pupil realised how the corners were made, she worked out the missing fifth round for herself.

The moral of this story is no matter what the motif is called, if you need a clear explanation head for one of Jan Eaton's tomes!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

a spooky coincidence

I accidentally impaled myself at work today. When Graham dropped in to see me at lunchtime, he spotted the plaster on my left palm and--holding his own, plastered, left palm aloft--asked how I'd acquired my wound. Blushing, I explained that I'd impaled myself on one of my dpns, whilst trying to access the shop's dustpan and brush. "Oh but that's incredible" he replied (totally throwing me, I was expecting either "that serves you right" or some sympathy) and then he continued "I impaled myself on on of your needles, too" (he's been doing a lot of rearranging of furniture and belongings, following recarpeting in our bedroom). It turns at that the accidents happened at about the same time!

So now we're palm mates as well as soul mates (groan!)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fresh from my cauldron

Oh Liz, what have you started? Now, thanks to you (and a few dyes from Art Van Go), I can wave a magic wand and turn anaemic stash yarns into glowing jewels!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Goodness, I'm growing to love Saturdays. Today was probably the best yet. Today had almost all my favourite things in it: a picnic, a ramble, Graham, friends, yarn, colour (lots of colour), cake...

Shortly before midday, Graham and I caught a bus to Chesterton, then strolled down to the river Cam. We picnicked on a bench near the Penny Ferry Inn then set out along the riverside path to Waterbeach. The first stretch of the walk is busy; lots of walkers/joggers/cyclists on the path and several rowing eights being coached on the river. But once past Baits Bite Lock (how I love that name) the path is narrower and both river and riverside traffic tend to be lighter. From this point on we had some amazing wildlife sightings: shrews in search of insects, Great Crested Grebe, Herons, dragonflies... Bliss. We left the river near Waterbeach station and then headed off to the village green where (following a swift drink in a pub) we parted company: Graham headed home, whilst I went to a wonderful dyeing workshop in Liz 's kitchen.

This was the best fun I've had in ages. Along with other KTog members, I got to dab bright colours onto a skein of bluefaced leicesterr sock yarn and to sample one of the best cakes I've ever eaten (special thanks to blogless Carole). I'm told that Anne's gluten-free muffins were great too, but I'm trying to eat less now that I have a lazier lifestyle!

It was so exciting when our yarns emerged from the clingfilm cocoons in which we'd steamed them. There were rainbows (both muted and vivd), peacock colours, sophisticated blends of blue, purple and grey and one laceweight, in particular, was just just downright dazzling (step forward Jayne).
As if all this hadn't been enough, Liz then directed us along to a local potter who had her studio open. I fell in love with an oakleaf bowl and spoon, and with some of her plates. But, alas, I had a train to catch!

Now I'm eagerly waiting for my skein of yarn to dry and looking forward to a few days at work, followed by a K Tog on Tuesday night, a day on an intermediate crochet course at our local John Lewis store on Wednesday and then, I hope, visits to more open studios next weekend.

(excuse the capitals, but for reasons known only to Blogger, I can no longer access the subject line of posts!)

Now, on to "The Flying Auntie" aka me. Time was when I lived far closer to my sister and (being naught but a Master's student with a terribly part-time job) I could visit her at the drop of a hat. That's when I became The Flying Auntie, there to nurse small chicken-pox-stricken niecelets, to attend sports days and carol services and many other delights. And now, The Flying Auntie is back. This week I "flew" (that's "flying" as in taking assorted buses and coaches!) to a musical evening and a teddy bears' picnic at the village school my younger niece attends. The musical evening was fun (the novice violinists did rather stretch the definition of "musical" but my niece's oboe solo was great) but my sister banned me from taking my crochet. Niecelet, however, positively encouraged me to take the crochet (as well as Lynda, my 46-year old teddy!) to the picnic. As I hoped, younger niece was very intrigued by the crochet and particularly likes the look of the granny square diagrams in the booklet I bought last weekend...I feel some teaching coming on, and have been asked to come back soon.