I seem to have lost all cohesive thinking what with the heat and the hectic schedule we’ve been keeping. I love spontaneous and loathe routine and repetition but at the moment there’s so much spontaneous I’m not getting a day in between to recharge!
I suddenly realised that I hadn’t posted my finished projects and this is mainly because they are all over on Instagram. I try not to post too many words over there and it is sometimes difficult. I love a good waffle. Does anyone remember having to do lots of summaries in English lessons? I loved those exercises; you get given 1000 words and have to reduce it to 250 or something like that. It’s strange I know but those were a highlight of English lessons with a teacher who was just bloody horrible.
The shawl was part of a mystery crochet along, mcal for short. The designer is Joanne Scrace, one half of The Crochet Project. I really love their designs and bought one of the print books when I was in Brighton, these come with a code to download the pdf version which is handy for travel because it means I can take along lots of patterns on my iPad and look up yarn requirements if I happen upon a good yarn store.
This cal was spread over five weeks and I must admit that by week three life was considerably busier than at the start. We were packing up E’s halls room at uni and moving her to a shared house, bringing another portion home for the summer holidays and then decorating her room here. I fell behind but then managed to catch up in between stripping the old shed roof. I shouldn’t moan but man, those ends. Ugh. The merino sock yarn has magnificent drape and when it comes to ends in that stuff I wasn’t entirely convinced they’d behave but they are sewn in and seem to be staying put for now.
The shawl yarn was purchased in haste at the Leeds Wool Festival. In haste because it was so hot and so crowded. We’d seen quite a bit of merino sock by this time and when I saw the off white with denim speckles hank I knew this dyer was for me. Luckily there were mini skeins in the other four shades that seemed to go with the main yarn. I really didn’t ponder for too long and this is probably how I should choose yarn in the future. I’m a shocker for taking hours and then not being entirely happy!
The crochet dress edging has been a bigger success than I thought it would. I’ve not done anything like it before and my sewing skills are minimal. I wish I’d ironed the relevant part before I took the photograph but oh well. I’d only worn the dress twice before I added the trim and now I wear it much more. It just wasn’t the right length for me and now it has a bit of added interest too. I still only wear it with Birkenstocks but quite frankly it’s a miracle I own any dresses at all. I decided I didn’t like pink, frills or dresses from a very early age and that hasn’t really changed much, but shapeless linen dresses are quite close to dungarees and just as comfortable now that I no longer feel the need to climb trees!
Just for the record. I made the trim separately from the dress and attached it but I did wonder whether it might have been better to have started the piece attached to the dress in the first place. This would obviously require an edging done in rounds horizontally and you could stop when you reach the required depth. With my trim I specifically chose a sideways design that meant I needed to stop at the required length. Either way should work. It’s tempting to edge some plain t shirts but that might be an experiment for next summer.
We’ve gone all environmentally aware here lately. I’ve been doing my bit since I was E’s age I think it must have been. I went to a big exhibition in London that showcased amazing art, sculpture and practical furniture all made using upcycled materials. It blew my mind and I can remember most of it quite clearly all these years on. I still have a four page magazine article about it somewhere. With the kids it’s a struggle to get them to use our two compartment bin correctly but it seems when there are cool bottles and stainless steel straws to be had they are up for it.
String bags seemed like the next step to employ crochet in a useful way. We’ve already got the hang of taking extra bags with us wherever we go but I liked the idea of string bags because I was always quite fascinated by one owned by my Nan. It scrunched up so small and yet held so much. It also amused me that on our walk back through her lovely village across the green where we’d often stop to talk to a random aunt also on her daily grocery shop, that all of our purchases could be seen. Not only that but it would be remarked upon! ‘Oh I see you’re having tinned apricots for tea Alice?’ I’d be lurking behind Nan’s skirt making faces because I really hate apricots. Somewhere in amongst the shopping would be a paper bag with my macaroon in it. I absolutely love macaroons (not to be confused with the tiddly macarons!) It was only with my Grandparents that I ever went into a bakery and chose my own cake. It still feels like a huge treat to do so.
I made a rookie error with my string bag and translated the category four, worsted yarn into aran weight. At least I thought it was a mistake, some comments on Instagram lead me to believe that aran is often in this category. On this occasion though the Lionbrand 24/7 cotton comes up as DK on a yarn substitute website and that is what I should have used. Anyway, the bag is extra strong in aran and worked up just fine so I’m happy with it. I’ve since started a dk version and it remains to be seen whether I can chuck in as much as I have been with my denim blue version.
Jake has started driving lessons with a driving school and we finally had to address the issue of not having a suitable small car for him to practice in. We are now a four car family and with a large caravan and half finished teardrop trailer we’ve got a bit of a driveway issue. J and I worked hard to clear some of M’s toolboxes and scrap wood, earth from our front garden grassing over project and a huge tub with a shrub in it. We have gained five feet of drive and that’s enough to squeeze E’s little Fiat into but obviously it’s been one long game of moving cars every time someone wants to go somewhere. Oh well, come September and the logistics all change again. I’m still working on persuading M to change the large caravan for a small campervan but each has pros and cons and we’ve been too busy to think about it.
It’s not been a peaceful summer at all. The pink sunset above is the view from the end of our garden. To the side we had a similar field and half of that was sold off to a developer who is now building 31 houses on it. I feel pretty annoyed with the farmers in this village because this isn’t the only farm land being developed. It could be worse, at least a very large pond/lake has been made first and mature trees will be planted along its edge. This will be between us and the houses so it should provide some screening in a few years time when the trees mature further. The dogs have never shown any interest in this side field, preferring to hop over our end fence and have a quick sniff around the edges of the top field. Now that there’s a body of water there it might suddenly become more attractive to them. I really hope not. If we suddenly need dog proof fencing we might need a second mortgage to pay for it! In the meantime it’s incredibly noisy and invasive to have large diggers with drivers who can see right into our garden.
It’s been cooler these last two days and although I’m sure the hot weather hasn’t entirely come to an end I found myself craving a chunky jumper project yesterday! I’ve been following the hashtag #summerofbasics on Instagram and I’m not entirely sure what the rules are but it seems to tap into my desire to have a minimalist wardrobe of clothing that I’ve made. It’s mainly sewn but with knitted and crocheted pieces too so it’s given me some food for thought for winter. I’ve got a little stash of Jacob’s undyed in DK and although not soft enough for some, I have found I can wear this next to my skin so I’m thinking of doing some trials in any old yarn before making up a final jumper in it.
For now though it’s back to my little pile of dishcloth cotton. I really will have to compile a post purely on things I’ve made with this stuff, it’s so versatile. I have yet to make bunting the same as before, for E’s new room in Leeds. I’m half way through making her string bag in this cotton and we might dip dye hers if we ever get round to having the tie dye session we have t shirts, dye and buckets on stand by for!