Mothering

A walk without coats, hats and scarves! What a luxury! I swear even the dogs were excited. With the rapeseed fields in partial bloom it felt very much like a summer’s day yesterday. As usual the dogs were our first priority and we tried a new public footpath/farm track not far from home. I think they like new smells to track and it didn’t take Riley long to find evidence of foxes. Luckily a loud bellow from M put him off too much rolling in it.

We spent a lovely hour or so sitting on a sunny bench in the cathedral/castle square of Lincoln, with coffee, just watching the world go by. I tend to be able to identify the different nationalities of people by sight and M verifies it by ear. We make a good team. There was a huge variety of tourists yesterday all snapping away with their phones. There were many dogs being dragged round the cobbles too. Ours would not have liked that at all. Harvey hates being on a lead and Riley isn’t keen on crowds.

I finished the crochet project bag. The pocket wasn’t too tricky. I attached it along the bottom edge first of all to get it nice and straight and then just pinned the sides and sewed those. I decided against pockets all the way round like the bag I was replicating, I just don’t need that much pocket space. I did divide the pocket into thirds though, a third for hooks and the rest for my notebook and scissors. Like the original it holds up to four 100g balls of yarn at a squash, three more comfortably (two with a large bar of green & blacks 😉); this will meet most of my needs for a project bag.

I could have done the eyelet row a hundred different ways but kept it simple with a row of trebles, threading the leather cord through every other group of three. Thanks to my big sort out I’ve identified at least three or four more random leftover balls of slightly coarse yarn that would make another two or three of these bags. They are fairly quick to make and could be used for something other than crochet projects.

It’s a quiet Mother’s Day here this year. M and J are at an away match somewhere near Skegness today. J has scored a goal with his head apparently. I should really be watching but I tend to fob J off with the excuse that I come to all of his cricket matches and I really can’t stand the Dads shouting at football matches. E is working at the children’s farm and dealing with the usual lack of common sense and good manners. It is extra busy today because the weather is ideal and probably because all Mother’s get a free plant!

E’s card is spot on (she does drive me bonkers but I love her too). She goes off to uni in September and I’ve gone through all the emotions and ended up with the shock; ‘oh hell, my child is leaving home!’ J’s card is another very funny handmade variety where my head gets superimposed on a different body. This year, somehow, he managed to find a muscly body sprinkling fairy dust, so I’m looking down on a bed of flowers sprinkling fairy dust with big muscles. Just don’t tell the men in white coats or they’ll take him away!

Challenge

In the interests of trying new things… today a photo challenge and a new app. I’m always late to the party with these linking things but Hawthorn ( hhttp://livelovecraftme.blogspot.co.uk/ ) has drawn me in with the promise ‘if I can do it so can you!’ So, the above photo collage was done with ‘Pic Collage’, an app I’ve had on my iPad for a while but haven’t done much with. It was very simple to use. From top to bottom, left to right…

Flowers. Experimenting with my new phone camera macro lens. A viola? A mini pansy anyway.

Baking. Always bread. Eaten fresh from the bread maker (yes I know that’s not proper baking but it’s as close as I’ll get!)

Reading. Gritty new novels or old classics. I’m not fussy.

Comfortable. This dog invented the word.

Favourite colour. Blue, any shade, anywhere, anything.

Candles. Every day. Pine, sandalwood, fresh linen.

Hat. Ella loves this one I crocheted for her. I need one myself!

Walk. Easily done without dogs, but extremely amusing with them. Springers; why walk when you can bounce?

Favourite mug: so many pottery mugs to choose from my growing collection, but this seventies one is current favourite, it holds a lot of coffee!

Own choice: How I’d like my Mothers Day breakfast tray to look tomorrow morning! Lots of elements from the photo hunt plus chocolate!

Huttoft

Today was a good day.  (This is not the place to talk about yesterday). I’ve tried to explain to M that when you grow up by the coast the lure of the sea never leaves you. Thankfully Rick Stein said something very similar a few nights ago while M was watching one of his programmes from about thirty years ago (I’d happily live without sky tv thanks!). Upon hearing Rick reflect on this matter M looked ‘enlightened’ and I knew we’d be heading towards the coast pretty soon.

Riley has never seen the sea before. It would have been overwhelming for him when we first adopted him. Back then he hated new places. If we took him for a walk somewhere we’d been before he’d trot off happily but if it was a new location he’d walk beside us with his head down. I think it was a sign of trust that he ran off like an over excited child today. He took one sip of the sea water, decided it wasn’t that tasty but still stayed in the water for a very long time. Although the tide was incoming today it was quite rough and deep in places so we had to keep calling him in. We could see that his legs were being washed from under him at times. He just hasn’t experienced tidal water before, unlike Harvey who seems to sense when to go for a swim and when not to.

This beach was new to us too. We’ve often visited this stretch of coast since it’s the closest, as the crow flies. Although it’s only about forty miles it takes some time to drive down narrow and winding country lanes for most of the journey. We travel through the Lincolnshire Wolds which is always uplifting since the rest of Lincolnshire is so flat. The beach itself is called Moggs Eye Beach near Huttoft, I can’t find any information on where the Moggs Eye name comes from but the village of Huttoft is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book several times apparently. I’m not much of a history buff but I can’t help but imagine what life was like when you drive by ancient churches, windmills and tiny little white stone cottages.

It was too windy and cold to sit still on the beach, even between the sand dunes, so lunch was eaten in the car with the dogs well and truly worn out and snoring in the boot. It was soothing to watch the waves break onto the sand but also entertaining to watch other dog walkers. One very brave man arrived with a camera and tripod and did a series of delay timer video clips of himself doing star jumps and little speeches on the beach. I thought he might be a travel vlogger and M thought he was making a video profile for a dating website. I guess we will never know.

My wip attack has taken a bit of a nosedive in favour of a project idea that suddenly came to me. In fact it was the result of sorting out wips that gave me the idea to make a duplicate project bag! I bought this fantastic canvas project bag in Brighton last year:

http://yarnandknitting.com/product/ditty-project-bag/

It’s been absolutely perfect, it sits flat because of the round base, it opens easily with the drawstring, it has plenty of pocket space on the outside which I use for hooks, a notepad, ball bands, scissors and a pencil. It’s a good size for most of the projects that I’m likely to cart around with me but not big enough for blankets or perhaps garments unless just for transporting parts of those. 

I’ve quite literally chucked it in suitcases, large handbags, baskets, backpacks, the floor of the car, wherever I go! I often empty out one project in favour of another depending on the type of project I want to take on the road which is why it’ll be useful to have a similar project bag. I’m simply using the dimensions from the canvas version and recreating it in crochet. I picked up the yarn for less than £1, it’s too coarse for anything worn next to the skin but ideal for a bag or basket. It must be about Aran/worsted weight and I’m using a 5mm hook to make it a tight fabric but not too stiff.

I haven’t got a plan for attaching the pocket(s) but that should be fairly straightforward. I might dig out some leather cord for the drawstring. I’m undecided about whether to introduce a second colour. I’ve got a similar yarn in a deep mustard colour which was also thrifted (I’m wondering whether these are rug yarns perhaps?) but knowing me this could end up being a monochrome affair!

Macro

The first day of Spring in Lincolnshire leaves a lot to be desired. Plans to take our four legged friends to the coast (for me as much as them) have been shelved until the rain stops. The last time we took a drive out to the coast it was sou’wester weather and we spent much of it clutching a weak mug of tea in a steamed up fish and chip shop.

Harvey has experienced the sea and sand on numerous occasions but we’ve only had Riley for three years and can’t quite remember whether he’s been to the coast with us. He’s certainly been everywhere else imaginable, forests, nature reserves, canal side walks, lakes, country parks, camping. He loves car journeys and looks out of the window constantly on even the longest road trips. I suppose the rain does give me a bit of extra time to do some amateur dog grooming. Neat coats make for less mud, well a little bit less anyway.

Another wip bites the dust this week. It was quite a tedious and long sewing up job and took me most of the Sunday football match that M and J watched yesterday. There were a gazillion ends to weave in too. Overall I’ve no idea whether the finished jumper will be a good fit or not. It looks long in the sleeves and short in the body to me. I’d use a yarn with a bit more fuzz if I made one again, that way the cables would still be defined but not as clearly as they are with this yarn. The pattern called for three balls of 100g dk yarn but this size has only needed two. If I pay attention to yardage I might be able to make another using a dk tweed yarn from my stash. On the other hand, why make something twice when there is so much choice out there?

M ran a few errands this morning, mainly dog food purchases and men’s toiletries. I swear that M and J use ten times the amount of toiletries than I do. I have mentioned the ozone layer on more than one occasion. Today though, I did not. M spotted an inexpensive clip on lense for phone cameras and thought I might like it for blogging. I love it. It actually has three lens; macro, wide angle and fish eye. I’m having trouble wth the tiny screw thread on the wide angle one but the other two work perfectly. I’ve spared you the fish eye photographs of both the dogs noses!

The macro lense is incredible. That yarn close up is lace weight can you believe? I’m not sure how often I will use it for blogging but it’ll be a lot of fun for nature and wildlife subjects. OK maybe just nature. I tried the four legged wildlife in the house for close ups and they move too much. I need to teach them to stay still for a reward or maybe a tennis ball. I’m not proud of this particularly, but I taught one of my previous Springer Spaniels to balance a dog chocolate button on his nose for however long i wanted him to and then with a nod or raise of one eyebrow from me he would flip it in the air and catch it. I was young, is all I can say, there is so much more you could train a dog to do. Alerting me to the doorbell would have been more useful for a start!

I’ve now got four quite monotonous wips to tackle. I will probably stick with M’s linen stitch scarf to start with. I’ve realised that projects get shoved to one side when a potential problem creeps into my mind. In this case I think I might need a third ball to make it a wearable length and I’m also wondering about the yarn I’ll need for the tassels. I’m going to ignore those niggles and see what happens when the yarn runs out.

The other three monotonous projects are another scarf, socks and the blanket currently pictured in my header. I think I can at least find some enthusiasm for finishing the blanket because it’s going to be much needed when M finishes the teardrop trailer this year and we take it on its first camping trip. I’ve got a blue vintage suitcase packed with vintage goodies to kit the trailer out with so crochet blankets fit the bill nicely. I’m working on M to agree to doing Route 500 some time later this year. So far, every time I mention Scotland he mentions midgies. They can’t be that bad surely?

Chilling

So, what is the technical term for when you attack your wips and actually get a few finished? I’m sure there must be one. Suggestions on a postcard… 

I woke this morning and announced to M that I was going to do a spot of wip shaming today. He’s long suffering when it comes to knitting and crocheting talk but to be fair he’s also supportive. Way back when I was learning how to cast on for knitting he surprised me by showing me that, not only could he cast on, he could knit too. He’s quite vague about how or why he learned to knit though. I’ve told him that if Russel Crowe knits then it must be cool but he says he’s never felt the need to be that cool!

What on earth is wip shaming was M’s reaction to my plans for today. I had the fabulous idea of gathering all my wips and photographing them for a visual ‘to do’ reference; a printed out reminder not to start anything new! A list of shame! Several projects in and I’m beginning to think it’s time that would be better spent actually getting on with one of them!

The pram or newborn sized ripple blanket only needed twenty more rows to make it a useful size. If I’d worked that out and ploughed on regardless of the blue yarn issue I’d have finished this, ahem, a while ago! The intended recipient is coming up to her second birthday. This may have to go in the future grandchildren box, which might be never according to E who is spending a year with a class of six year olds, loves them all to bits but is very glad she doesn’t have to take any of them home.

I only needed to do one stripe (two rows) in the new blue and it’s really not noticeably different to the other blue after all that procrastinating! I kept the border simple with four rounds of dc stitches. I’m definitely improving when it comes to borders, I can remember feeling puzzled when I did my first one and it ruffled up a bit. I now know that was due to introducing too many stitches. This blanket could do with a light pressing but the border is staying flat fairly well. Along with the blue yarn running out I think I was also worried about messing up the border. I need to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ more often!

Let’s not talk about how many knitting wips there are in my two wip boxes. In my defence I switched to crochet because it doesn’t cause any wrist pain. I can get those wips finished but it will take a lot of short sessions. I may decide to frog a few and use the yarn for crochet.

I’ve photographed three crochet wips so far, I think there might be three or four more! The Aran jumper is just waiting to be sewn up now and edged. This will no doubt be quick and easy and I will wonder why I put it off. The socks are from yonks ago. I think I just got bored and lost confidence in the sizing of the part I’d reached. It’s a 5mm hook but thin sock yarn which I find a bit tricky to work with. I must have been carting this project around to various cricket matches when I last worked on it because I’ve photocopied the pattern I was using and also left an old aluminium hook in with the project to remind myself of the size I was using. I don’t use these hooks anymore but they are a quick way of leaving the size info with a wip.

Finally, the Newt Scamander inspired scarf for E. I think this one has finally taught me not to start very long very repetitive projects! It is lovely yarn and I reckon there will be some leftover, even after adding tassels, for something like short wristwarmers so I’ve got that to spur me on I guess. I’ll enjoy making the wristwarmers more than the scarf.

Harvey and Riley are enjoying our chilled Sunday morning. J is finally feeling fit enough to play football again even though he still has a lingering cough which doesn’t seem to want to go. M is watching the match and sending me frustrated texts about how useless the rest of the team are (he might be a bit biased!). E is in Leeds this weekend. So it’s the perfect Sunday morning with just my four legged boys at home.

I never stage any of the photographs of Riley. I simply wait for him to do his thing and rearrange the blankets or cushions and then make himself comfortable. He spent some time digging and tugging this blanket into a suitable nest and yes, I must admit, it looks pretty cosy. I wouldn’t mind adopting a similar position myself, instead of tackling laundry, hoovering and dog walking.

In a few hours when we’ve braved the gale force winds here today they will no doubt be needing a long drying off session or even a quick shower before they go anywhere near crochet blankets and sofa cushions! I do sometimes wonder what I would do with all the time I spend on hoovering up dog hair and mud, bathing dogs, washing dog towels and bedding… and then Riley comes and lies down, puts his head on my lap and sighs a big sigh of contentment and I figure it’s time well spent.

York

I had a pleasant few hours in York yesterday. It’s such a photogenic city but I was on a mission rather than a ‘photo walk’ so I only snapped a few quick shots.  Mission Birkenstock failed unfortunately but I found J a tall, skinny fit sweatshirt which was a coup of sorts. It’s not always easy finding a basic item like this for a skinny 16 year old who happens to be 6’3. He likes them to fit like a glove, have enough sleeve length, no loud colours, no big slogans. Thank you Superdry for ticking all those boxes! He doesn’t have much non school clothing but what he does have he’s very fussy about.

I found E some nice things too. York was very geared up for Mothers Day and shops/gifts for women. After that I wandered up a road I hadn’t discovered before (in search of a quiet spot for coffee) and happened upon a yarn/craft shop called The York Makery. I managed to resist all yarn (how?) but treated myself to a new mug. I love how the shopping trip totally tells the story of my life, gifts galore for the children and a mug for me! The truth is I’m happy with my mug and don’t want for much these days. I’m even thinking of needle felt patching the parts that Riley chewed on my Birkenstocks. Make do and mend! They are only worn indoors after all.

Wilbur the Whale got sewn up, in bed, quite late, in place of bedtime reading. I gauged reactions the next morning and no-one got that excited about him. One child, who shall remain nameless, thought he’d make a better cushion than a toy. The other was more appreciative of the colours I’d chosen at least! I think he turned out better than expected and is a cheery addition to the top of my wool cabinets for now. He’s no longer a wip which is a good feeling and I’ve dug out the next project that got shelved for similarly daft reasons.

This small baby pram blanket was started quite a while ago. I think I was aiming to use up some basic stylecraft yarn that I had lying about. The reason I stopped working on this project was because it was clear I hadn’t paid enough attention to how far each colour would go. The blue has indeed run out and the scrap of pale blue I’ve dug out probably won’t go very far at all. It is also a tiny shade different. The perfectionist in me doesn’t like that, but now, with the benefit of distancing myself from it for a while I think it’ll make a perfectly nice blanket regardless and the blue is as close a match as I’d ever get not knowing for sure what brand it was in the first place. There is definitely enough yarn to complete a simple border too. I reckon this one could be done and dusted with the help of just two good Netflix films!
Good food to be had at Bill’s, 12 Coney Street.

Good coffee to be had at the Coffee Bike located in The Shambles. https://coffee-bike.com/

The York Makery is at 36 Gillygate.

Perfect


What a perfect day! It was warm enough to leave my dog walking coat at home. I have to take a few bits and bobs on these walks including keys, water, an emergency dog lead even though we never use it, phone, glasses etc, so without the coat pockets I have to use a small rucksack which was exactly where I left it last year complete with bird watching binoculars and sunglasses. I added fresh water in my light weight bottle and off we went.

The binoculars didn’t leave the bag despite there being all kinds out there today. I was in demand with the throwing stick, Harvey is relentless. We took two tennis balls with us and came back with one deflated football. Harvey thought it was a fair deal. He crunches the tennis balls until they are a pulpy mess and don’t fit in the thrower. Then he abandons them and goes in search of a stick, only today he found something more exciting than a stick.

The dogs had an extra long swimming session today while I watched from the bench. Riley came over periodically and shook himself right next to me. He’s a sharing sort. Harvey dropped various soggy reeds at my feet, none of which were suitable for throwing. In the end I found the remains of a dog toy in the bushes and he thought it was Christmas! Easily pleased. There was zero chance of reading a few pages of my book while they ‘played’ so we set off for the return walk. The lake must have stagnated over the winter because they absolutely stunk. They snored like pigs all afternoon after all that exercise.

M was home unexpectedly early from an assignment in Birmingham. In fact just in time to take me out for lunch. We had an amazing ham salad in the Bailgate area of Lincoln not far from the cathedral. It will soon be even more busy with tourists. Today there were a number of groups walking round with maps on their phones. We had quite a good view of lost tourists from our window seats!

This afternoon I had a little time to make some progess with the random crochet whale. I needed to google how to do bullion stitch first of all. I’ve never done it before and you can see that I started off with fat slugs and worked towards slender worms, ok maybe maggots then. I’m quite impressed with bullion stitch, it was fun and adds dimension to this whale. There’s a gusset to sew in between the two body panels which looks quite fiddly but I’ll try not to put it off, this is one wip I want out of the way and he may well end up on top of my bureau to keep me company while I’m weaving!

Cowl

It was a glorious day today. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. I wasn’t going to spend a second day sleeping and waking and wondering what day it was. I convinced M that I was feeling much better (I lied) and we took advantage of a cancellation of work to take a drive out to one of the market towns near here.

On a Tuesday this little town has a fruit and veg auction under a glass topped Victorian canopy within an old fashioned cobble stoned market square. They sell all kinds of weird and wonderful fruit and vegetables as well as plants. A one off visit is usually more than enough to fill all the random pots and troughs we have scattered about at the front of our property. There really isn’t much point in planting tubs out the back because the dogs are often out there without being supervised. Harvey has always thought that tubs and pots are specifically for digging up. He brings the mangled plants to you which he thinks is being helpful. When you put it in the context of us praising him for bringing all the branches that are littering the garden for the bonfire you can see where he’s coming from.

M loves the banter of this auction, he’s been going since long before we me and he’s actually quite good at it. It also went some way to balancing out the trip to Ikea. He suffered that and I suffered this three hour long auction! We’ve ended up with enough plants to give half to Mum for her garden and that was after filling an old rusty wheelbarrow chock full of lupins, primula, hyacinths and tulips, six or seven large pots and a window box. We spent less than £15 including flowers and vegetables. I’ve got a kitchen full of flowers which were going for 30p a bunch and enough vegetables to do stews for a month!

The above photos of my new stash busting cowl were taken in haste this morning before we set off. It’s lovely and thick and warm. I didn’t manage to stand through the whole auction so M bought me a large coffee and I sat in the churchyard nearby with the sun on my face. I was still glad of the warm cowl though. Every now and then M dropped off a tray of plants with me. Then a nice old man asked if I would mind looking after his plants too. I didn’t mind at all. Then a nice old woman came to ask me if I was thinking of someone buried in the churchyard, which would normally have been an unwelcome question but I told her I was. I told her I was thinking of my Nan, who isn’t buried in the churchyard (but at rest somewhere much nicer) and that she would probably have enjoyed this auction. In return she told me a lot about her Mum. A little bit later still and another old chap decided I would be a good bet for a chat but unfortunately his accent was a bit of a struggle and he gave up on me before too long.

So, for the crochet details… it seems there are quite a few variations on a theme when it comes to these forked half trebles. Most of them seemed to use a variety that ended with a loop being pulled through five loops on the hook. The one I used did not. It doesn’t show in the flat photo but in the other shot you can see how this stitch kind of puffs up the row. I eventually found the link again and it’s http://makeanddocrew.com/cowl-caron-cakes-yarn-free-crochet-pattern/ I don’t think mine looks much like theirs to be honest but I followed the stitch instructions to the letter so the differences are probably due to the yarn type. If I’d been in the mood for faffing about with selfies I might have taken some sideways shots or just better shots like the ones in the link, but hey, it’s the best I can do today!

If I made another then I would construct it the way I’m making M’s scarf, in a continuous tube. It would be fit for the coldest of days, it would take longer than two evenings to make and it would stash bust more of my aran weight supplies. It would also eliminate that raw edge which, for some strange OCD kind of reason, I prefer to tuck under and out of sight (but you can see it in the oatmeal stripe above). It would be a good sized project for me because I get bored with blankets too easily and garments are not so easy to cart around.

I really ought to be setting myself a target to finish a few wips first. Perhaps one a week. I bravely opened the first box of wips today and found the two halves of a crochet whale 🐳 . I know, it’s very random. It doesn’t seem to be in need of much work, just some surface cross stitch and sewing up. It was probably the thought of attempting the cross stitch that made me shove it to one side. I was never very good at cross stitch at school. Hopefully he’ll be the first wip I cross off the list this week. I’ve no idea why I started making this whale but he’d make a good shelf ornament or perhaps a door stop if I filled his bottom half with something heavy, but first the dreaded cross stitch!

Diversion

It is very much still sick city here. It feels very much like those hammering benches you can get for toddlers… each of us pops up and is functioning only to be whacked with the sick bug hammer. Currently we are about two down and two functioning. M has managed work, small bursts of DIY (despite me suggesting it can wait) and he is currently out doing the weekly food shop. He refuses to use the various delivery services because he’s convinced they pick rubbish best before dates and overripe fruit. Quite frankly I could live with that right now! E has also managed not to miss work.

J is on his third course of antibiotics, he’s had a chest x ray which elicited an ‘oh wow’ remark from the radiographer but of course we aren’t privy to what that might mean until the results are posted, yes posted to our gp, what happened to electronic transfer? J has never really been this unwell before so he has no idea how to listen to his body. He insisted on being allowed to do sport on his return to school and five minutes into an inter schools football match he realised he wasn’t going to be much use. He wasn’t in a good state when he got home hence the return to our doctor and more treatment. He’s now signed off all further sporting activity until this thing is well and truly over.

Meanwhile I am not well at all and frustrated not to be out and about with my four legged boys. At least one of them is protectively by my side, you can guess which one. He was most concerned yesterday when I really didn’t leave my bed much all day. At some stage I decided to watch The Hunt, a Danish drama on iPlayer at the moment. It certainly did nothing for my tissue supply and should have come with a warning to Springer Spaniel lovers! Good grief! All I can say is that I hope the dog was just a blooming good actor (or an extremely convincing dummy).

I’ve managed to do some wool winding at least. I tackled my Aran weight supplies and found that it’s so much easier to pick a random selection of colours when they are all in similar sized cakes. I’m not even sure whether these colours technically work but they looked ok together at the time of winding. Although the two boxes of wips are kind of on my mind and have yet to be dealt with it also seemed like a good idea to start a new wip! I’m sure I have mundane stuff already on the go but this was handy and nearby and I was off the starting block before I could even imagine anyone would kill off a cute Springer in a Danish drama! I know it’s only tv but honestly.

The new wip will eventually, in about a metre’s time be a double loop cowl. I’m using forked half trebles which are made over two stitches starting in the last stitch of the one made before. I’ll do the link info next time I post about this cowl. I’m still living in hope that the next iOS update will mean I get my bookmarks functioning again, without them I keep having to rely on google to find everything. There is something nice about the way the stitch creates a nice thick bumpy row without having to use back loops. I may try this out for a hat sometime too, now that I’ve wound a few aran 400g balls into 100g balls they seem more ‘approachable’! 😆

M had to manage a trip to B&Q solo yesterday! To be honest if I never go again it will be too soon. He was very thoughtful and brought me back a lovely coffee and a mysterious object wrapped in newspaper. It turned out to be the little piece of pottery pictured above. What do you reckon? For candles or incense or flowers? I’m never sure. It was one of those occasions where he dropped off all the charity bags we’d filled and swapped our junk for more junk, but this is the kind of junk he knew I’d like.

I’m not missing any fantastic Spring like weather at least. It’s been dull and overcast with drizzle all day so far. I’ve found another Danish drama on iPlayer and I think I’m prepared to give them another chance despite the trauma of witnessing dead dogs of a certain breed. The cowl will no doubt be done and dusted by the end of it and then I will dutifully return to M’s scarf. Just a small diversion!

Scarf

It’s absolute heaven with J back at school and M and E at work. That’s not to say the four legged family members aren’t demanding. I only trimmed Harvey a matter of weeks ago and he looks like a shaggy sheepdog again. He needs a regular trim unlike Riley whose coat seems to be made of slow growing silk. Their tails in particular are a constant source of work. They both bring home enough twig foliage to run a small woodburner. I sometimes have to snip it out if it’s mainly thistle. I didn’t have this problem with my previous Springers because it was the norm for them to have docked tails.

It turns out that having a low coffee table and two dogs with long swishy tails is not a great combination. Riley has snuffed out a number of candles simply by wagging his tail nearby. (The candles are now on a higher surface.) Last night Harvey swished a ball of yarn onto the floor and figured it had therefore become a dog toy. It was unravelled in seconds. It took considerably longer to untangle and rewind it. The photo above is Harvey’s, ‘it wasn’t me!’ pose.

I decided to try both crochet and knitted approaches to a double thickness (worked as a tube) scarf for M using the Bluefaced Leicester in the pheasant colour way that he liked. It’s a dk yarn with a suggested hook/needle size of 4mm but I used a 6mm hook and linen stitch to create a fabric with some drape but without losing the warmth. Next I tried used the 4mm cubic circulars and after goodness knows how long I eventually got a tiny little bit of stocking stitch. I couldn’t see me having the wrist power or patience to stick with it. So crochet linen stitch it is, the majority of which has been worked up whilst watching a cheesy channel five movie. If you take notice of channel five movies you’d be forgiven for thinking that one in two women will, at some stage in their lives, awake from a coma to some traumatic situation.

M initially eyed the crochet scarf with suspicion. The stocking stitch example in the yarn shop produced much more definite stripes. Once the project got a bit longer and he could see that it still has stripes he was much happier. Who knew men could be so fussy over a handmade scarf? He’s also stipulated tassels, but not multi coloured ones, just grey ones. He doesn’t want much does he?

I’m pleasantly surprised by the feel of this yarn. You can never really tell how a yarn will behave until it’s worked up. It’s not splitty at all and not so smooth it’s tricky to handle but it is soft and warm. I don’t usually like to use overly excited expressions like ‘a joy to work with’ but in this case it really is. M added this yarn to the pile so I don’t actually know how much it cost per ball but whatever it was it was worth every penny.