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“The greatest love of all….

…..is easy to achieve, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”

So says Whitney Houston, gone from our Earth but never from my iTunes song shuffle. Many a happy afternoon is spent cleaning the kitchen warbling (badly) along to a bit of Whitney. I have no shame. Golden hair loves a bit of Whitney too, I know she’s cleaning her room or reorganising her crafty collection (growing at an alarming rate) if I can hear “I wanna dance with somebody” coming from behind her bedroom door. 

What’s this got to do with crochet? Let me explain. This morning I was talking in a little Facebook group I’m in about the zig zag blanket I made for The Little Dark Star. To find a picture I ended up pulling up the blog post I’d written previously  HERE that included it. Strangely enough that entry was about giving up taking orders and I’d posted about that on my Facebook page this week too. 

So here I am talking about it again.

I realised that blanket is actually a now a symbol of starting to learn to love myself. 

Learning to politely say ‘no’ when people asked me to make things and gradually becoming more comfortable with that. It’s still a bit awkward saying “I’m really sorry I’m not taking orders right now” but I’m glad I do. Originally I started selling things in order to have a self funding hobby and perhaps a bit extra to treat myself to some top end yarns for personal use, and then I realised all my time was dictated by what other people wanted and I wasn’t creating what I wanted to anymore, my time was completely taken up with orders. It’s a sad fact that most crocheters know, items never fetch a price that really reflects the level of time and skill involved, we make for the joy of the making mostly.

It’s something I’ve noticed again and again, we do it for love and enjoyment and feeling that the things we make are loved. It’s that feeling that’s the payment really. The long and short of it is I’d switched from intrinsic motivation (the pure joy of creating, the reward of feeling like you are good person in doing something kind and generous) to extrinsic motivation (money and external validation) and that had made it become a chore not a joy and yet another reason to be unkind to myself if I didn’t meet deadlines or ‘indulged’ in a new pattern noone one had put on my order list. 

It’s also hard going when you let things you’ve really put your heart and soul into go for pennies or they just don’t sell at all. I was looking for validation from others by selling things, the transaction being the pat on the back, praise, job well done. Now I just surprise people with gifts. I don’t expect gushing gratitude or anything so please don’t think that’s why I’m giving things away now. What happens for me is I just enjoy planning things for people, choosing the right yarn, the right kind of item, the right pattern for that specific person. When I’m in the thick of the making someone’s item I think about that person a lot, remember times we shared and it all really becomes an act of Meraki. 



That’s not to say when being recompensed for my work I don’t put a great deal of care and love into my work, because I really do, I want to make good decently crafted things, but making things for others for the joy of making and giving is a real labour of love. It’s like I am singing a song with my hands….sort of. I guess we could insert a bit of Elton John here Your Song has sprung to mind. He spoke about all the things he could do for someone he loved and nothing was his thing, sculpting, potion making and all that;  in the end his gift was his song. 

Here is a picture of my latest song on the hook, I’m making it with my Nan’s crochet hook even though its super slippy on this yarn because I get the memory of being unconditionally loved when I think of her and I want to channel that good loving vibe into what I am making right now. 



So just know if I make you something that’s Your Song made just for you, and I thought about you a lot when I made it. 

Here’s some other ‘songs’ from this month 🙂 





Crochet is a form of therapy for me where I give unconditionally and in return I find a way to love myself better too. 

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Two weeks of Sallyvan travels, a basket and some bunting. 

We are not long a home from two weeks away in Sallyvan and I am frantically trying to catch up on the washing backlog. The sun has kindly come out of hiding today so I’ve quickly washed and hung out Sallyvans rugs. And a couple of fleecy blankets.



As much as I love crochet blankets and my lovely thick old fashioned woven wool ones (I bought them second hand at Glastonbury, a fiver each, total bargain) anyone with a caravan knows you do need to be mindful of total weight when towing. With two adults, two teens and a preschooler all packed up with clothes and food for two weeks the fleecy blankets become a blessing. They weigh next to nothing and make a nice heat trapping layer between the other blankets on the beds at night. Enough promotion for fleecy blankets let’s talk about the festivals and stuff!

First we went to Green Gathering. It’s been around on and off for years but this is our first time there. We will be going again next year. Sallyvan fitted in nicely in all her elderly glory and  flower decorated loveliness. 

It was a really chilled out time, the weather was mostly kind. It’s my kind of festival as it’s non commercial and off grid. No gangs of drunken loons, no argy bargy, no sea of litter strewn everywhere everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) had its own recycling bin. The were nice composting loos which are much less nasty than portaloos or ‘long drops’ 

There is no ‘arena’ or burger vans or endless stalls hawking plastic tat and novelties. You come and go as you please, with whatever drinks you brought with you (but they also had local ciders on sale) and it’s hard to tell the stewards from the festival goers except for the yellow tabards. There are lots of little places to discover and sit and chill out. The whole place was bathed in a really lovely vibe. I had a lovely back massage one day (no stupid prices just a minimum suggested donation) then sat in the Healing Field and worked on the bunting for Sallyvan whilst listening to “Heart songs with Bee” (that’s what was chalked up on the board by the healing area entrance I think?) which was some wonderful melodic story telling lyrics accompanied by harp and cello.





You might remember I mentioned the bunting before? Sallyvan has got a really tatty pelmet strip where someone’s ripped off the old velvet flounce so I’m going to pretty it up. I’ve written my own pattern because despite a big long search on the internet I failed to find anything I really really liked. I’m using Drops Cotton Light for them because I really love the colours and it’s quite hard to work with (splitty mostly). I needed to use it for project making little things that supply a mini tah DAH gratification on a regular basis, so the challenge of working with it is rewarding rather than tiresome. 

Here’s the four I’ve made so far. They’ll probably require some gentle blocking but not too much. I don’t want perfection this time. 



You’ll notice they are not symmetrical in all three planes of symmetry because I wanted a definite bottom ‘point’ that was slightly longer and looked different to the top two corners, there is a reason for that. When I make the thickish crochet strip that will obscure most of the tatty pelmet I want the bunting to still look balanced overall. It’s hard to explain. I think you’ll understand when I’m all finished.

I actually have hardly any pictures of the first festival at all. Phones were nowhere to be seen and photos were being taken on Proper Cameras, you know with the changeable lenses and stuff. I don’t have one of those just my phone or ipod really so the devices mainly stayed in the caravan cupboard. It was quite liberating actually.

We had a few days between Green Gathering and the next festival Green Man so we booked into a campsite at Pencelli Castle. The campsite was beautiful and spotlessly clean. I fired through about six loads of washing, drying as much outside as possible before the rain set in again. Our make shift washing line gave me quite the jelly legs hoping ‘The Warden’ wouldn’t come and reprimand us. He was a bit…erm….. stern and acually quite intimidating. 

I seem to like pictures of washing don’t i? There’s something about washing on the line that makes me feel happy inside. 



Here’s the Little Dark Star and Golden Hair (who no longer has Golden Hair btw!) and Golden’s lovely bonkers freind playing cards in the tent. All wearing  fleecy ponchos. We got The Little Dark star her own one from a little stall at Green Gathering. 



Little Dark Star made a lovely little freind to play with at the campsite. The little girl spoke only Welsh and it was funny watching them babbling away to each other and playing happily even though Little Dark Star had no idea what was being said. The language of play is universal for little children I guess. 

Then it was packing up time, we very shoddily threw everything in Sallyvan and Vince (our people carrier) and set off on the twenty minute drive to Green Man. Only it wasn’t 20 minutes in the end more like an hour due to navigational error by the driver “I can’t work out what happened there” he said. 

We set up everything again (third time in under two weeks!) then went off to explore Green Man. A much bigger festival with lots of different kinds of areas to explore. We spent a lot of time in the comedy tent once Little Dark Star was snuggled up asleep in her buggy in the evenings. I got to see Adam Buxton who I have loved for many years and randomly happened to be in the right place at the right time later that night to get a picture with him. I did a little happy dance after that! I actually made a happy noise too which I’m sure he probably heard even though I was round the corner by that point. 

The festival got quite muddy due to really lashing rain on and off all day and all night at one point. 

The buggy is now a sorry state…



Its a BRILLIANT buggy though and dealt with the mud beautifully. Its really roomy too so Little Dark Star never minds cosying up in there to sleep, we’ve had it since she was small so its a familiar space for her to chill out. We strung it with pretty lights and she loved it. Our buggy is in my opinion one of the best £45 second hand bargains ever. 

The location of the festival is beautiful nestled in the Brecons and the weather changed really quickly at times from sunshine to rain to rainbows! Often the clouds were low down caressing the hillsides in little tufts or the hill tops just completely disappeared for an hour or so. The Little Dark Star ADORED all the mud on site after the really rainy spell! 



If I had a small complaint it’s that there’s not enough places under cover to just chill out without feeling you need to have bought a drink or some food to be there. Of course there are loads of tents with stuff happening but it’s really hard when you’ve got a three year old on the go who can’t keep quiet for spoken word stuff and that you don’t want to lose in a big crowd in a tent with a band on. Even Golden hair agreed, she missed the no pressure chill out places of Green Gathering and obviously felt it wasn’t appropriate for her to hang about in the bar tents. 

I’d wanted to do some workshops at Green Gathering but never got the chance either because Little Dark Star was being high maintenance and ‘spirited’ shall we say? Or I just wasn’t in the right headspace. I spotted some willow weaving tents at Green Man and the man of the yurt said I should leave him to deal with our little person whilst I did something for myself. So I did.

It was brilliant! 

I made this



It was really relaxing and meditative and oddly the willow whips gave off a smell that reminded me of my previous work as a midwife. Unless you are a midwife with that special ‘sense of smell’ going on, you’ll either think this is bonkers or gross but it sort of smells like when the woman is entering the second stage of her labour. You smell it before you even know for sure she is moving along. Its a unique smell, I’m not mad I promise! other midwives will know what smell I mean. I felt a little sad thinking about that part of my life ending for me, I’ve grieved a lot about it already, but the joy of being creative and concentrating on the work seemed to soften the blow and I was able to let the feelings come and then go gently away again.

These are some of the willow fences in my garden





You can guess I’m pretty excited to try and make some more willow stuff. I’ve already kept a batch of it previously that will now be ‘seasoned’ and are ready to soak for working with. I’m going to harvest more carefully this year and the replanting will be with getting the best whips to grow in mind. 

By pack up (again) day at the end of this second festival we were all really tired but we managed to keep cool and calm and I didn’t even flap when after we were ready to leave the site we discovered Vince had a flat battery. Jump leads were found and we were soon on the road. As we took the last of the rubbish down to the bins I spotted wet crumpled up scarf being slowly churned into the mud. It clearly had no owner anymore as the camping area was almost empty and it looked like it had been abandoned for quite some time. I picked it up and brought it home and washed it and now I’ve got this super silky lovely soft and pretty scarf instead of it ending up in the bins.



Upper middle child took care of the house and veggies whilst I was gone and did a lovely job. I came home to these lovelies. She hadn’t noticed that cucumber getting out of hand secretly tucked away down by the greenhouse path. 



The decorator also did some work whilst we were away (we can’t have any kind of painting going on with Little Dark Star around, she already sabotaged the plasterers handiwork!) so now we are ready to move along with having our long awaited new kitchen fitted. Its been thirteen years of living in this house and inheriting a horrible old impractical non family orientated galley kitchen and finally it’s really feeling like its going to happen. I keep imaging cooking in the new space with my girls able to hang out nearby at the dining table or at the breakfast bar giving me a hand with chopping the veggies. I’m so so excited! 

It’s been a busy but lovely month. Sorry its a long entry but I hope you enjoyed it. I enjoyed sharing my happy times with you. 

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Wool and Love

I’ve been mulling over a change of name for the FB page and this blog for quite some time now. I do love “The Virtual Yurt” it’s unique and I chose it to reflect my dream of one day having a real life yurt but to acknowledge until that time comes, this is our ‘virtual yurt’ here in a bricks and mortar home and online in virtual reality.

I’ve been feeling recently though too many people find it too vague or confusing and quite a few people just have no idea what a yurt is! 

Just in case you don’t know this is an example of a yurt





I’ve pondered a lot on what new name would be right. Nothing felt right and I kept feeling like I was losing some part of my identity. It might be a tiny weeny blog about not very much really but my page and writing here has become part of my personal story and my journey through the last few years of my life. 

The Little Dark Star and I love The Clangers which has been reworked since the original and is now running on Cbeebies. Granny Clanger loves to knit and she makes things with ‘wool and love’ there is a wonderful episode about Major Clanger making a knitting machine and Granny Clanger being upset her special role had been taken away. In the end she challenges the machine to a Knit Off. Of course Granny Clanger wins! She makes a lovely scarf soft and warm and made with love just like a real scarf should be and not itchy at all! The episode ends with the  Clanger family snuggled up together in the big warm handmade scarf. 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/cbeebies/episode/b05zhbq2/clangers-4-the-knitting-machine

The Little Dark Star and I loved it and personally it really struck a cord about something that matters to me; making things with love, by hand not machines that churn things out in the blink of an eye in their masses for money. 

Little Dark Star said that “Mummy makes things with wool and love like Granny Clanger” and suddenly it felt right Wool and Love. So that’s what I’ve renamed the page and blog and kept “@ The Virtual Yurt” to retain the roots of my journey and the place I dream of in my heart, a cosy yurt and a simpler life. 

I like it too that when you say Wool and Love it sounds like ‘woollen love’. That’s what my things are, woollen (sometimes cotton, bamboo or acrylic!) love. Little bits of love from my heart made with my own hands sent out to be something lovely in the world. 

So there we go, I’ve changed it and I hope you like it. 

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Frogging Sophie! 

My Sophie is getting really big now and I’m firmly back in love with her again. Here is a couple of pics I snapped this week.



I had 75g approximately of the dark purple I used for the last row so far. I absolutely LOVE it against the cream and near the vibrant pink of the tulips.



But…… 

I think its impact will be lost when the next row (the Persian stitch) happens and…..

I actually don’t want my ‘diamond/lattice’ detail to be green because I want my Sophie’s Universe to continue to be unique and not too colour choices similar to Dedri’s original one (as lovely as it is!) and I don’t like any of my other colours enough for them to be chosen for it. Guess what colour I really want them to be?

Yes! I want the deep purple I just used. 

I have no idea how much yarn the two rows of zig zag are going to use so I’ve frogged the row I just finished and am going to use a different colour next to the cream so I can be sure I’ve kept enought deep purple back for later. If I don’t like how it all turns out I may well frog again. I’m even thinking of experimenting with a little selection of light purple and blue for behind the diamond detail instead of just a block of one colour as the background. 

Probably madness. Here’s goes…..

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Hello! I’m still here.

Feels like its been aaaages since I posted an entry. I’ve had a funny few weeks of late, if I haven’t been really busy doing things with and for the little dark star I’ve been trying to keep on top of the house situation.

Work on our new kitchen is properly underway and I’m constantly chasing a fine layer of really fine but horrid dust off every single surface in the house (even the sofas) or making workmen tea and hunting manically for kitchen items I REALLY need that have ended up in a box in the bottom of a pile of boxes or under a dust sheet somewhere. It’s that whole “you have to break some eggs to make an omlette” type situation. I’m coping by closing my eyes and imagining that after 13 long long years of living in a semi building site of a kitchen my dream kitchen is installed, a new wall has been erected across the old one and I have a very small but lovely craft room with all my pretties in and a little pull out bed for when the firstborn or German Nan comes to stay.

The garden is pretty demanding at the moment too. I’ve got some veggies on the go out there so sometimes I’m having to water twice a day or everything is drooping and looking very sorry for itself. I’ve been using the paddling pool water or the water butts for a lot of the time so there is a lot of trudging up and down and double handling of water. 





This means of course I’m struggling to fit in any hooky time. 

I really need to make a start on the bunting for Sallyvans pelmet but I cannot find a pattern I like and recent brain fog means I’m struggling to create one instead. I’ve had a few false starts and have gone off the boil somewhat. I bought Sallyvan some cushions a long while back ready to make pretty covers for so I think I shall have a try at that first.  

I’ve been meaning to make some simple cord type crochet bracelets for ages now. I’ve got lots of pretty charms and recycled jewelry bits I want to use with them. I bought some drops cotton to make them with but after several attempts I couldn’t get them to come out how I wanted and the drops cotton is super splitty, stuff and hates being “reworked” if you frog more than once. Last week I saw a perfect  j-cord bracelet by Repeat Crafter Me on my Facebook newsfeed. Hurrah the hard work is done for me so I am definitely going to make a few soon, it might be my holiday project whilst we are at the two festivals in August. I posted the link to the Sophie’s Universe CAL group I made on Facebook and my freind has already had a go at the pattern, the result is lovely so I feel really encouraged to pull my hooks out and definitely have go myself now. 

I’m plodding along with my Sophie’s universe, as the sides are quite long now I’m lucky if I get one full side done when I get a little hooky time to spare. I am umming and ahing about if I want to make the end project bigger with the squares or my own extended border or just leave it as it is at the end of the ‘official’ CAL parts.

I’ve just finished the last row of popcorn ‘tulips’ 



I am also very slowly working on a little knitting project for The Little Dark Star I hope it might be finished by the end of the month.

Our clever Golden Hair has been making things again recently, she gets little crafting urges and goes off and creates something cute. She recently has made these lovely little butterflies.



And this fabulous fox cushion 



She made lots of these cute little hand stitched hearts last year. She just disappeared off with some supplies and worked it all out for herself 



Sadly I think the Little Dark Star got hold of this one and pulled a button off!

She’s currently upstairs listening to the Wicked soundtrack and organising her room ready for a big move around in there to create a crafting “nook”  I love having someone to get excited about crafting things with and who will squeal with me over spotting a yummy fabric in a shop or a clever idea on Pinterest. I’m a very lucky mum. I shall be a lucky mum with a lovely new kitchen soon…. well more likely a few months! 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my little ramblings about life at the virtual yurt x 



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A little knitting and Sophie’s universe part 13 complete.

Today has been the usual early start. The little dark star crawled in with us at about 2am which seems to be the new normal. She’s an average sized 3year old and we have a standard double bed so it gets a bit squishy but we don’t mind. She won’t be little long and as uncomfortable as it is sleeping next to a small person that seems to curl up yet take up all the bed I love looking at her when she’s sleeping, those dark lashes and rosy cheeks, soft moth breaths on my face, just perfect and only ours for a limited time.

I mentioned before I was knitting a toy for her. Well today after spending the morning giving Sallyvan a really good scrub to get her all ready for our planned august shennanighans I sat and finished the toy. I’m not a natural at knitting and I had a few false starts but here he is, the lovely Flop from Bing!





I know some parents really dislike the programme but we love it, Flops gentle manner and Bings portrayal of the average preschooler is lovely and we bring elements from the programme to our daily life when we talk about the time Bing made a mistake but put it right. I HATE passionately programmes that over moralise and patronise children but I don’t think Bing does that at all. I’m hoping Flop is going to be a useful parenting tool. The Little Dark Star often insists we spend the day in various ‘character’ and I really don’t mind being ‘Flop’ she responds well to direction from ‘him’ and hopefully she might put her shoes and coat on for Flop even if she won’t do it for me 😉 sneaky huh?

As you can see I muffed him up a bit. I somehow got my needle sizes wrong and despite thinking I’d sized down a mm I actually should have been a whole mm smaller than I actually used. His stuffing is clearly visible in the body but I had to stuff him sort of ‘medium firm’ to keep his neck stiff enough to support his head. The Little Dark Star seems to love him mistakes and all, and that’s what matters. 



I have completed part 13 of Sophie’s Universe and am now making a start on the butterflies. I still have not decided what will happen to the Sophie when it’s finished. Maybe I will keep it, I think it depends on the final size. 



Now Flop is complete I really should finish up the toddlers cable cardi I started months ago. I’m going to have to wing it without help as I don’t think we can have German Nan to stay for a while yet as life here is a bit topsy turvy due to breaking down walls for the new kitchen and a friend staying with us on and off with her two lively boys. 

We have planned a bit of a busy august in our lovely Sallyvan. First we will be attending the Green Gathering. I’ve not been before and I fear I’m probably just not ‘green’ and hippy enough but that’s the point of going, to meet new people and learn stuff and come away with some knowledge that will help us be greener and kinder to our planet. After that we will travel onward to a campsite for a few days to wash our clothes and linens and give Sally a quick clean and tidy. Then we will be going to the Green Man festival for some more chilled out times before heading home again. The man of the yurt has fixed our LPG water heater in Sally so even though we will be off grid for both festivals I can have hot water for washing up and giving The Little Dark Star one of her Sallyvan ‘baths’ (my big green wash bucket on the floor of Sallyvans shower/loo). 

Sallyvan is in pretty good condition for what would be affectionately known as an old ‘crappy’ on caravan forums but in the past she obviously had some kind of pelmet (oh how the 80s and 90s did love a pelmet!) which has since been ripped off. It’s left behind a really ugly strip with old glue.

I’ve got some Drops cotton yarn that I made a tealight holder cover with on one of our trips away so I’m planning on making some bunting with that before we go away.



 I’ve got a proper ‘thing’ about that sort of mustardy yellow and greens at the moment. The Drops cotton isn’t the best for crochet as its splitty and catchy when hooking but I’m going to give it a try because I think it will have a good shape and drape as bunting as well as washing well. 

Hopefully I will get it done or at least nearing completion before we set out in August for our little festival trip. Now I’m off to water the tomatoes and stuff in the greenhouse and survey the overnight slug damage to the rest of the garden, the greedy slimy little horrors. 

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A little holiday, some gardening and Part 12 of Sophie’s Universe completed. 

We spent the half term week in the Isle of Wight again, we love it there. We have always stayed in the west Wight area where its a bit ‘wild and wooly’ as my Dad says i.e. The weather can be quite windy due to the exposed location and we stay at a farm with a cliff top campsite. The views are lovely, here is a sunset looking across the campsite and edge of the cliff to the right. Not the best picture quality from the ipad but it was very lovely in reality. 



We had wonderful weather this time except for a couple of windy days. I was a little bit nervous as Sallyvans awning shuddered and shook and Sallyvan herself rocked about in the wind but it all held fast. It’s a new (but second hand) awning and aluminium rather than steel. We had to replace our old one urgently after the zip busted completely and we had high winds coming in on our last trip (we seem to pick these blowy places as our favorite sites!). The magic of the internet saved us and I sourced the awning we now have via Gumtree. Two hours post broken awning and a ‘new’ awning had been collected and was being fitted. 

It’s quite a nice one I think, even if it isn’t as heavy duty as the old one. And it came with an optional ‘annex’ which our lovely Goldenhair teenager now has as her little room. 



Between our two Sallyvan jaunts I’ve been trying hard to get on with some gardening. Things had fallen by the wayside out there the last two years due to the arrival of the Little Dark Star and her being not very low maintenance 😉 

The man of the yurt made me a “squash arch” on a big bare patch of flower bed I still haven’t planted up. I have no idea if they are actually butternut squash in the grow bag because I got all my seedlings mixed up so they might be yellow or green courgettes or even cucumbers! 





He also converted this pallet into a little herb planter for me.



 So far I’ve only got some garlic growing in there as my seedlings have failed to germinate. A lot of seedlings I’ve planted in the veg patch have not come up this year and I’m actually wondering if slugs are munching them at the first peep. Our garden is like slug paradise it seems and I wage continual ongoing war with them. I try and keep to enviromentally kind methods like sand and ‘slug stoppa’ gravel but this year I’d really had enough and I have used a couple of pellets and I feel really crappy about it. I’m so sick of spending months growing stuff in the greenhouse to have it reduced to completely nothing overnight the moment I plant it out. I’m hoping this little bit of protection means they can get big and sturdy enough to withstand a bit of munching when the pellets wear off and then I can just stop using them. 

Anyway enough of the garden! 

Here is Sophie at the end of part 12 hooked over our windbreak at the campsite 



I wanted to take a few really pretty pictures but it was so windy Sophie was threatening to just take off and end up in the field with the sheep. I was also get some askance looks from fellow campers standing there trying to take a picture of a blanket! 

I am actually really enjoying the repeat of the earlier part of the pattern with the big daisy corners and zig zag hills and I decided to keep the colours as close to the originals I’d chosen but as I’ve moved into the next parts I’ve had to substitute the pale pink with the bright pink because it didn’t look like I had enough of the light one to get all the way round. There’s no way I’m frogging anyhting at this point if it can be avoided with some foresight. 

Here’s a picture of the lambs in the field next to our tent, just because well they are too cute aren’t they! 



They are waiting to shear the adult females but two are still pregnant so they are having to delay. Apparently they only get paid £8 per sheep fleece. I’d always assumed its would be much more than that. Had to stop myself getting ‘ideas’ it’s actually a good job they didn’t shear them whilst we were there because I could see myself dragging one home to experiment with. They actually had the alpacas shaved whilst we were there. They went from being these big poofy captures to looking all gangly and slim. We went and visited the local alpaca farm too. I didn’t buy anything from the yarn barn as it felt too itchy for me unless I bought the really expensive stuff with silk and cotton blend. I’m stash busting and being very very restrained. I’ve vowed not to purchase anything no matter how fantastic a deal or beautiful it is until I’ve halved what I have here already. That’s going to take at least a year but I must control myself. 

Yarn addiction is a thing. I know because I definitely have it! 

Here’s a pic of the oldest two girls ‘putting their tent away’ on the last day of our holiday. It was quite breezy so they resorted to this. Makes me chuckle everytime I look at it. 



 The little dark star is napping so I’m off to sneak in a little bit of time with one of the other projects I’m working on right now, a knitted of a character from a TV programme she loves. Hopefully it will turn out well and I can post about it next time. 

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Just finished part 9 of Sophie’s Universe! 

I’m plodding, I don’t think I shall ever ‘catch up’ but I’m cool with that. I like being behind because I can see a little better how things are going to pan out and it helps me with colour choices. It also helps avoid some of the issues that might occur. 

So here is Sophie’s Universe in the sunshine on the deck this afternoon



I’ve had to become less precious about which colours I use, I cannot justify buying more of anything because I actually MUST make a dent in my insane yarn stash that currently is taking over every single room of the house! (except the cream. I got a Hobbycraft voucher for my birthday so I’ve been buying the Women’s Institute yarn they stock for the cream) I’m about to run out of the very light pink and I’m running low on the deep purple so I’m having to control myself from ordering more. Its so hard to resist though….

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Slow coach Sophie 

Since we got back from our Easter break I’ve had what I have called Sophie Dystocia. I haven’t been able to move forward very much. I have been stuck on an obstacle; choosing colours.

I think I said before I can can get really obsessed with wanting colours to work a certain way or tell a story and with the Sophie’s Universe blanket I’ve been on that vibe a lot. 

I finished the roses round on holiday and was already unsure about them being yellow but the colour change yarn made me think they would come out like tea roses on the bush, the type when the roses are not uniform tone but have lighter petals and hints of pink. They came out exactly like that and remind me happily of my Nan’s rose garden. 

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The yellow had made onward colour choice difficult though. I’ve used purple in the end and thought about them as the tall bearded iris’ that also used to grow year after year in my Nan’s garden. 

In the next few rounds the pattern starts some jiggery between the colour placements on long and shorts sides. I really wanted the next to rounds above the roses to be blues and greens to represent sky and grass but that would have made the petals of the feature flower on the ‘short side’ not right. 

I got frustrated. I spent ages studying pictures of Sophie from the pattern website so I’d see how things will pan out further down the line, trying to decide if that short side flower mattered enough to make the long sides not exactly how I wanted them. I’ve driven myself fairly bonkers. 

So I took a short break and started wet blocking the toddlers aran cabled cardi I’ve been knitting for The Little Dark Star.



I’ve still got the sleeves to block before I can then start putting it all back in the knitting needles to knit the neck band. I feel fairly confident with that and am looking forward to it but after that I have to pick up stitches all along the cables of the front panels for the button band. I’m going to have to ship German Nan in for some help with that.

I recently got my eyes tested after not being able to thread a sewing needle (I used to be the person my nan asked to do that so it was a wake up call I completely couldn’t see it at all!). It turns out my eyesight was worse than I realised I’ve always needed a lens in the left side but now the right side seems to have required a stronger lens than the left! The optician said with incredulousness “how have you been managing?”  Wearing my glasses to crochet has been a revelation, I can see all the little fuzzy strands of the yarn and the definition of the stitches. I still don’t think the left lens is quite right but the change for my right eye is AMAZING and I feel so happy. I feel as if I’m seeing lots of the world through new eyes, I guess in a way I am? Anyway it’s lovely and worth the money spent on my eye test and new specs (even if glasses don’t suit me). 

So, back to Sophie. I realised I just had to dive in and choose colours and frog it if I hated it.

Here’s how the flower on the short side has ended up



I used this flower as ‘inspiration’ 



I don’t know if that pink is right and will look ok in the long run but I’m going to continue for several rounds to see how it settles in. I didn’t want the flower to be too plain but I didn’t want it to end up looking so fantastical it ruined the look of everything else.  

The long side ruffle flowers reminded me of the light blue hydrangeas in my garden, there is  something about the sort of squared off but fluffy look at the tops of the stitches feels similar,  so I’ve dived in and used my light blue, which also means when I start the zig zag on the short side it will be very similar to the ‘daisies’ I made earlier on. It’s made me feel so much happier again. 



Thankfully, pushing through the ‘dystocia’ has worked and I’m eager to see how things are going to pan out and already mentally planning colours for the next stages. 

I’m off now to ignore the washing waiting to be hung up, the sunflowers, butternut squash and cucumbers in the greenhouse waiting for larger pots and Sallyvan waiting to be deep cleaned whilst I just sneak in a little bit more of Sophie time before The Little Dark Star and her Daddy get back front their sunday morning swim 😉 







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Sophie continues: part 7

We had a lovely week away in Sallyvan for the Easter holidays. However crochet time was fairly limited. I managed to sew in a glut of ends on the car journey and finally complete part 7.

I decided to stick with yellow for the roses and now I’m deciding on colours for the flower on the short side.

Here is Sophie’s universe by the sea whilst I took a break from hooking to just sit and soak up the sunshine and listen to the gentle waves.

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