English but now living in the south of France near the mountains and lakes. I love to talk, create stuff, hunt down cool vintage stuff and learn new things.
Posted in Pets & Problems on October 20, 2019
Wouldn’t it be nice to be a cat
and not care when nature has played a mean little trick on you like giving you hairy ears
even though you’re a girl.
It would be of no concern at all.
Phew! Week 3 of the Nature’s Walk crochet along is over and I just finished the last of the eight squares last night whilst watching the hospital drama ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ on Netflix. Why I watch that show I don’t know. I’m extremely late to the party and am only on series 2 and there are, apparently, 15 series to go. I sort of like putting it on while I’m crocheting because it’s not something you have to concentrate on over much although, if I’m honest, last night’s ‘man who had an explosive device inside him‘ episode caused me to have to look up from the hook and yarn a few times. My main complaint is the central ‘love story’ which is completely stupid. I want to scream every time their eyes meet wistfully across a crowded operating theatre or yearning is expressed over their surgical masks above some poor patient’s opened body. Is it really possible that, in a large hospital, every time the elevator door opens the object of your desire will be inside or waiting to get in so that even more barely held in tears can be shown welling up in the eyes of one or both of our wet couple? If you have watched this prolonged story of hospital folk – please tell me this mooning about doesn’t go on for the whole of the seventeen series or tell me it does and save me before I get deeper in .
Anyway, I digress.
WARNING: Following photos are an attempt at being arty farty but, you know, a square of crochet is a square of crochet so I’m trying to liven things up a bit for you.
On our Nature’s Walk in week two we had a design called ‘Berries’ to do.
I’m glad it was in this colour as I’d have a job thinking of those holes as berries otherwise. See I have kindly given you a visual clue. Something exciting must have been happening in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ while I had this one on the hook as the sides are a bit skewiff but nobody will know once it’s sewn in with all the others.
The bonus square in week two was called ‘Wheat’ . I can’t tell you how many moans and groans and hate mail there were about this pattern but, although it took almost twice as long as the others so far, I found it fun to do and love the result.
Lord knows what that lookie likie plant is – I plucked it out of one of the planters on our balcony and it will be the result of seeds dropping off the bird table so it could be anything but you get the idea.
Week 3 bought us a gorgeous little square called ‘buds’ which reminds me of little baby bottom cheeks. Some others said cleavages and yet others said something rather more ‘masculine’. You never know who you might meet in a Facebook support group.
The bonus square was called ‘Sunshine’
So, they’re stacking up nicely and, if I don’t manage to keep up, at least I have another 15 series of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to see me through.
Posted in Arts and Crafts on October 15, 2019
Can the 15th of the month really have come round again? What with striving to get all my crochet squares done to keep up with the crochet along, and trying to get Mr. Tialys’s shirt finished so that I can start on making stuff for Christmas, it took me a bit bit by surprise.
It’s not as if I’m short of scraps as you can see below.
But I had not transformed anything from either the cotton fabric or jersey scrap bins nor even the selvedge bin this month.
I hate to disappoint however.
Remember the shirt I’m making for Mr. Tialys out of Liberty of London tana lawn?
Well it has nifty little pockets in the collar for stiffeners – you know those little plastic doodahs that slide in and keep the collar of a more formal shirt looking neat.
I was chuffed to bits with those little bits of tailoring – the thread is such a good match you can’t even tell those little diagonal slots are there at the end of the collar but I’m going to show you anyway.
So, instead of using ordinary plastic I wanted to make these collar stiffeners a bit different so that they would be instantly recognisable by Mr. T. as belonging to this particular shirt.
I searched the house hoping to find an old plastic folder the girls might have used for school as I often used to buy them ones with patterns on – spoilt rotten they were – but I had no luck. Then I caught sight of a store fidelity card in my daughter’s room which was made of nice thick plastic as used in credit cards and the like. So, I had a lightbulb moment.
I had a look in my purse and, yes, I still had it.
I don’t have much occasion to shop in the actual Liberty store in London at the moment and I have Liberty fabrics galore in my stash so can’t think I’ll be using it any time soon even if it’s still valid.
So, the answer was obvious
I managed to cut them around the Liberty name and the crest for this shirt and still have some of the card left to use for future shirts – and there will be some because, strangely, I really love making them.
So, no fabric scraps used this month and the jury is probably still out as to whether an unused store card counts as scrap but you can’t say I didn’t try.
Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn. Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.
Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.
Kate , Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn(me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.
Posted in Life in France on October 11, 2019
I thought I’d join in with the obligatory autumn colour posts even though it’s happening fairly slowly here and I was eating my lunch in the garden earlier this week in beautiful sunshine, however, I’ll have a go.
I don’t have that much in way of a routine these days (hoorah!) but the dog walk every morning is obligatory come rain or shine.
I set off with my phone in my pocket this morning as I mean to do every morning in case I break an ankle or something up the hillside and have to call for help before my dogs take advantage of my prone position and do me damage.
What actually prompted me to take it this morning was I needed to send Mr. Tialys a photo of the quince we have growing on our little tree halfway up the hill. There are only four of them but probably enough to make some quince jelly with. I’m not sure they are ready to pick so had to ask the gardener of the family.
On our way further up the hill we spotted the rarely seen Octobericus Tabbyrean Catticus (or common moggy) up a tree.
Then we noticed how the colours were starting to change on the hills and peaks.
A drop in temperature and some rain and there’ll be snow on those peaks before too much longer.
I finally managed to take a decent photo of a spider’s web with water droplets. Usually they are too busy glinting in the sun and, although that looks pretty, it doesn’t photograph very easily. I know I should have done a bit of ‘housework’ and cleared some of the fallen leaves off but that would be cheating – this is ‘au naturel’ and I’m keeping it real.
Looks a bit like frog spawn.
Back down in the main garden and the figs are still fruiting …..
…….which means the dogs are still foraging which is followed by farting. (sorry but I couldn’t resist the alliteration). I can’t wait until the figs are all gone and my evenings become more pleasantly scented again.
A more conventional autumn colour photo
Our metal chicken – made (though not by me) using recycled oil cans – in his last bit of free-ranging before putting him in a more sheltered spot for the Winter.
Keeping it real again with the garden this time – those weeds really got the better of us this year. I say ‘us’ but, really I mean ‘him’ as I don’t get involved too much in the gardening side of things.
Maybe next year Mr. T. will let me call for help and get a gardening service in. Trouble is, he’s so fussy that, if they do anything that isn’t to his liking, I’ll be to blame.
Remember I told you I had to finish a shawl (that I will probably never wear) before starting a new crochet project?
Well, it’s done.
I blocked it on the floor over a yoga mat and a bath mat – as one does –
-then I gave it to my ‘me’ mannequin to model it for you as it was Sunday morning and I hadn’t yet bothered to get dressed and, while wearing a shawl over a floaty summer dress, jacket or coat might work, wearing one over a nightie would just make you look like an old lady so I didn’t even go there.
She may be ‘accessorised’ in this way for some time to come although I might wear it as a scarf.
I did try to put tassels on the three points for scarf wearing purposes but my hand made ones didn’t look right so they came off again.
Still, crochet shawl made, at least that’s another ‘project in my head’ that has come to fruition and a ball of relatively expensive yarn used instead of stored away and contributing to stash overload.
So, I was now free to start the Nature’s Walk crochet along designed by Cherry Heart and organised by Black Sheep Wools.
Eight squares a week doesn’t sound like much really but, when you have as many other non-crochet projects on the go as I do, I found myself struggling a bit.
I made the test swatch whilst waiting for the yarn to arrive as I had used Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn before so had a bit left. I am obviously a loose crocheter because I have had to drop at least one recommended hook size depending on the square in order to obtain the correct size. The test square had little hearts on it so I’m hoping to use that design later on in the blanket or in another project.
As this is called ‘Natures Walk’ and, with the colour of the yarn pack I bought being called ‘Wild Hedgerow’, the ‘nature’ theme for the squares is revealed as the patterns are released,
This one is called ‘Gates’ for which I had to drop down to a 2.5mm hook.
This one is ‘Butterflies’ which I managed with a 3mm.
If you bought your yarn pack from Black Sheep Wools they issue you with a bonus square each week so you do four of the ‘ordinary’ one and four of the bonus one. There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth from those who aren’t getting the bonus squares but I guess it’s a marketing ploy by BSW which is obviously working. Although, the bonus squares will be released in January on Ravelry for free so patience will be rewarded.
The current week’s squares are called ‘Wheat’ and ‘Berries’ and, if I manage to get them all finished, I’ll show you those next time. I bet you can hardly wait.
So, will I won’t I? It doesn’t really matter does it? Some people only crochet and don’t do dressmaking or quilting or other crafting so they can whizz along. Some people are at work all day or are wrangling small children so simply haven’t got as much time as others might have. Some people do housework. Whether I manage to stick with the schedule or not – I’m enjoying learning new patterns and there are plenty of people still waiting for their yarn to arrive and haven’t even started yet so I won’t be alone if I lag behind. Nobody’s waiting on me to finish and there are no prizes. I refuse to feel pressured when there’s no need.
How do you feel about CALs, QALs, WhateverALs? Do you like them? Do you feel incentivized or under pressure. I must admit this is giving me a bit of a push to get on with it and not let it become a longtime WIP but I’m not going to let it stress me out.
Of course It was only a matter of a day or so before I turned that panel into a cushion.
I’m gradually replacing all the scatter cushions that came with our big leather sofa as they’ve all got very tatty. I suppose they’ve done well to survive for 14 years really having been the plaything of two children (then teens), numerous puppies, dogs, kittens and cats, T.V. dinners and spilt wine.
The actual base of the sofa is still in good condition. Mr. Tialys is supposed to be re-doing the seat cushions in leather. I have only been waiting about 4 years for this to happen so far.
I salvaged the back of one of the original cushions and used it for the reverse of Lord Nelson.
With his red coat he fits in nicely doesn’t he?
Don’t worry, there will only be one cat. The rest will be done like so –
Still red so he’ll still fit in.
So, two of those done – only another twelve to go and then I can throw all the old ones out, having re-used all the feather inners first of course.
Apparently, I’m told the leather for the seat cushions has now been ordered but, considering I bought the Turkish woven fabric (as shown in the two cushions above) at least 4 years ago and have only made two so far, I suppose I’m in no position to criticise.
Posted in Arts and Crafts on September 24, 2019
Remember the soft sculpture hare I made?
I asked you for advice on how to paint him.
I forgot to show you the results so here he is.
It’s sort of the natural look I was going for so I’m quite pleased with him.
Some time ago I bought a Scheepjes Whirl in the wonderfully named colourway ‘Blackcurrant Squeeze Me’ with the intention of making a Grinda shawl, shown below.
It’s beautiful and the pattern is well written with lots of help online but I just wasn’t feeling it.
I love the yarn but it’s fairly difficult to frog (undo) so, by the time I’d done that on numerous occasions, I flung it aside in a huff.
It has sat sulking and occupying my lovely wool bowl ever since until, one day, I thought I’d make something else with it instead because it’s far to good to waste so I had a forage around and chose the Virus shawl a free pattern on Ravelry.
I don’t wear shawls but this yarn has a lovely drape and I will be able to wear it as a scarf with lots of folds and I might even add some tassels at the end.
This time I started from the inside of the ball and so the light colours you see will be at the top, nearest my neck which is also developing a few folds. The abandoned Grinda is still attached to the other end of the yarn cake – just in case. In case of what I don’t know.
So far I’m happy with this although, at first, I thought that colour change from grey to pale blue was never going to happen.
I am pressing on with some urgency now although it’s got so big it’s taking me a couple of hours to do a row or two in the evenings.
Why do I need to get it done? Well, as with my recent post about finishing one quilt so I can start another, the same applies to crochet projects – at least it does when I’m feeling disciplined which, to be honest, doesn’t happen that often but I’m going through a phase.
Black Sheep Wools announced a Crochet A Long which starts next week and I was seduced by the fact that one of the colourways (the most expensive of course) was in Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn which I’ve used before and it is lovely and soft and the colours are muted and gorgeous. Also, the pattern itself is so pretty, designed by Sandra at Cherry Heart and, lastly, it’s made up of squares in different patterns which will be released one by one so that you will end up with a sort of sampler blanket. I haven’t done a lot of square crochet – weird I know as that’s usually what people start with – but there’s the challenge.
I was panicking a bit as I’d put in my order on the 5th September, was told it had shipped on the 9th and still hadn’t received it by the 19th. When I looked on Facebook *shudder* I realised lots of people hadn’t received their packs either which, call me selfish, was encouraging. Apparently Black Sheep Wools, bless them, have been overwhelmed by the demand, so much so that it seems there is now a shortage of the original colours in the packs (there are two Stylecraft colourway packs as well as the Scheepjes one)so they have had to do some substitutions. This has had a few people up in arms so quite a lot of fun was to be had (by me anyway) reading some fairly nasty comments which reminded me why I don’t like Facebook and usually resort to it out of necessity only.
Anyway, my lovely postwoman arrived today clutching a big black bag and I was down two flights of stairs and flinging the front door open before she could even ring the bell. Welcome to my exciting life.
I’m pleased my order was obviously packed before the colour substitutions because the soft pink and the lilac you see above were replaced by darker, and in the case of the pink, brighter shades which I wasn’t quite so keen on although I’m sure they will result in an equally lovely blanket.
So, must get off now, I’ve got a shawl to finish and, maybe one day, I might even wear it.
For those of you who were helping me worry about trying to find more fabric to finish my quilt (see last post), I went in to the original shop today and although they didn’t have any of this left (as I’d bought it all last time)
they did have some of this
Just goes to show it often pays to shop local and what’s a shade or two amongst friends?
He couldn’t tell me the name of the maker – although I suspect he just couldn’t be bothered to look it up – apart from to say it was from the States. So that narrowed it down a bit 🙄
Still, I couldn’t leave the shop with a mere half a metre of fabric so, with Christmas in mind, or that might just be an excuse if I’m honest, I came away with these two panels to make either cushions or, in the case of the sewing machine, to stretch it around a canvas and hang it on my sewing room wall if I can find any space, which I won’t be able to so a cushion it will probably be – or a bag.
You’ll be proud of me when I say I left a panel with a similar cat wearing a floppy hat and brandishing a paintbrush and artist’s palette behind.
I could always go back for it though.
If you remember – well, it was only a couple of posts ago – I was contemplating how best to finish off my F2F3 sampler quilt.
Our bed is a very large Superking size and I want the blocks to finish on top of the bed, not having to be tucked in top and bottom nor travelling down the sides, but that would mean the side borders will be wider than the top and bottom which I know is not usually the done thing.
Thanks for all your input and this is how it looks at the moment.
Far too long for the washing line, I had to take a risk by laying it out in the garden. As I have two dogs, five cats, numerous insects (although not as pets), prickly weeds , sticky buds and fallen figs – at least fallen figs that haven’t already been snaffled by the dogs – I did fear for its safety but all appears well and there are no yukky stains on the underside.
As you can see I went for the 3 inch border all round and then a 12 inch border at the sides. This will be enough to cover the mattress at both sides of the bed and the top comes to just over the pillows without losing sight of any of the blocks.
There is one problem though. The bottom is a little bit shy of being long enough to just tuck round the end of the mattress and I’ve run out of the dark grey fabric. I bought this fabric at my one and only local fabric store and he is trying to get rid of all his quilting fabric so, when he had a sale, I bought up all he had of this dark grey. So, my question is – there’s always one isn’t there? (although that’s not the question in question) – does anybody recognise the fabric and the name or maker so I can search for just a bit more. All I need is probably 4 inches across the bottom there.
Alternatively, does anybody have any in their stash and be willing to sell it to me or do an exchange?
I’m hoping somebody will recognise it, know the name/brand, or have some to swap or sell.