Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Not So L YS

Prairie Tarot

So back when life was kind of normal and the debacle of Brexit and it's lily-livered architects was unforeseen, we took Mini Diva and a couple of her club squad to a rugby camp organized by England and professional rugby player, Rachel Burford, in the charming little town of Beccles. Unfortunately the winding narrow country roads that lead there created somewhat of a budget white-knuckle ride for me, but my shaking hands were calmed by tea sipped through a straw, it being too early for gin. Well, too early for me to be seen drinking gin openly, anyway.

Having deposited the girls, Titch and I decided to roam the wild and unknown streets of Beccles in search of entertainment:

We accidentally went into a craft shop ( I shan't name it, to spare their blushes) where the ambience was so forbidding and the one salesperson of 3 present was so hostile that we slunk out like a dog that's just peed in your shoe.

Luckily, this was not the general experience we had in Beccles - everyone else was friendly, helpful and chatty. I was especially pleased to find a Tardis of a (not so Local) Yarn Shop, The Needlecraft Shop: it looked like an old-fashioned haberdashery shop from the outside, there was no clue as to the rich variety and range of yarns until one had trickled through the door:

There were 4 separate sections of the shop, of which 3 were yarn-related. The ladies on duty were friendly and welcoming, chatty but without any pressure to buy. Of course, one is obligated to buy something from such a lovely shop, one must contribute to its survival - and as yarn purchases were not part of the plan for the day, a little ball of something or other would have satisfied my moral conscience as well as my practical one.

However, Titch had different ideas, and spoiled me by buying me a(nother) sweaters' worth of a delicious green aran yarn, two 400grm/ 892yds/ 816m balls:

And his generosity extended to matching buttons:

Now all I need is a pattern: help me out ... I want a cardigan, longline, with pockets. No open fronts - I want to use these buttons. I like cabling, and lace, not necessarily together: hit me with your suggestions, please.

Thursday, 30 June 2016


  Robin Wood Tarot                                  Zombie Tarot                               RWS                                               Victorian Romantic

 I don't usually post anything political - but the recent earthquake that was the Brexit vote stunned and horrified me. I am trying to deal with the personal aspects of such destruction: one of the consequences is that I have been pondering the concept of forgiveness - there are people who I cared about, who have decimated my childrens' and my country's future.

Every time I think that I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, that I can accept and move on, someone not only rubs salt in the wound but pokes it with a sharp and dirty stick by posting a flippant and/or snide and gloating meme or supercilious comment - and I am reminded exactly what was at stake, what has been lost: I am back to square 1. I am not ready. Those who keep the wounds fresh with their lack of understanding and compassion ensure I won't be ready for some while longer, as I also consider what kind of people they are that they can behave like this.

If I do eventually reach the point of being able to engage with these people, how I think and feel about them has been permanently altered.

Friday, 15 April 2016

The Grass is Greener ...

Spiral Tarot

You know how it is, you spend hours and hours trawling the interwebz on a quest to find the perfect eyelash yarn - yes, didn't you know there can be eyelash yarn that is not only wanted but needed ?!

 I know, it's not everyone who can link Meatloaf and knitting - you're welcome.

Anyway. I found some that looked just right for what I needed - something grass-like in color and texture, King Cole Moments in 'Lime':

What arrived illustrates perfectly the perils of shopping online:

ouch ! my eyes ! my eyes !

All in a tizz, I instantly emailed the eBay seller, habby-knitters, begging to return and exchange it, explaining that I had been anticipating something more in the way of Irish or even Surrey fields than those of Chernobyl. 

In response, I received an email telling me to keep the 'Lime' and they would send me something more truly grass-like. In fact, they sent me four more balls without any charge:

I could make some witty comments about the dumping of nuclear waste, but actually I just wanted to give habby-knitters a shout out for excellent customer service, exceeding by far the minimum solution I'd been hoping for. It's always a (rare) pleasure to be able to really be surprised, touched and pleased by top notch service, and to want to tell others about it.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Sunshine & Storms

Robin Wood Tarot

Titch took a day off to drive us to Norwich for a day out, as Mini Diva wanted to go to the RAF Careers Centre - our closest one. It was no sacrifice at all as we used to live in Norwich years ago, and it's one of our favorite cities: the size of a city but with a village feel, full of unique non-chain shops too. 

While we were there, she also blew most of her birthday money on posh sports clothes, so she was happy; I found 2 posh yarn shops: Norfolk Yarn which stocked Tibetan Yak yarn, and The Crafty Ewe which does late night opening once a week ! Plus a Hobbycraft, all of which made me happy - but (making Titch happy) from a stall on the huge market bought only a crochet hook and cute buttons for this:

Sirdar Tiny Tots DK 1561

The rest of the weekend was spent in clearing out our shed in order to put a 2nd-hand chest freezer there ready for storing supplies for the cricket season which starts next week - I am amazed, if not gobsmacked, that Titch volunteered to do the snack kitchen again this year; quite frankly I am really not looking forward to it: after an autumn and winter of merely showing up to watch the kids play rugby at a semi-civilized 10am, being out of bed every Sunday at 6:30am for an 8am start from now until August has NO appeal whatsoever.

Which brings me to the reason for the 3 of Swords. In clearing the shed, we found a box that we both thought had been stored in the house. Unfortunately it and its contents have been ruined by damp and mold:

This is Mini Diva's baby 'coming home' outfit, her first pairs of baby shoes, first lock of hair .... you get the idea. Every single one of the congratulations cards was ruined too. The tears ran down my face like Niagara.


Friday, 11 March 2016

FO Friday 11/16: Ascending the Everest of Stash

Steampunk Tarot


You know how it is, you get an idea, and it gets stuck in your head and you must do something about it RIGHTNOWTHISVERYSECOND even though it is cold and dark and late ?

You don't ? Sanity must be a wonderful thing.

Well, Wednesday night I had an urge to make a particular pattern, for which I wanted to use a wool/alpaca blend yarn for the 'hairiness'. I was sure I would have something at least sort-of appropriate, and a quick search of my stash listed on Ravelry confirmed it.

I thought it was in the armario, but not exactly where - what shelf, near what, bagged, unbagged ... nope, no idea.

This was the result as seen the next morning in daylight:

This meant I spent a couple or three hours with the delightful job of tidying, sorting out and organizing my stash.

Nope, not one shred of sarcasm there at all. Now it looks like this:

I only had two tubs, so all the 4ply/fingering weight is in a huge bag; all my oddments are in baskets, in color groups; my two longterm WIPs and their yarn are in the big wicker basket, my short-term WIP basket is - GASP OF HORROR - empty right now. The 4 large shoeboxes (Titch takes a size 12 or 13) are full of fat quarters. There was no room for any other fabrics, the cushion forms or all the embroidery gubbins - I have several hoops (some had been my paternal Grandmother's) and a floor frame that I need to find room for somewhere ... the pouffe is already full of Chunky and random bits:

All in all, a very satisfying afternoon - me and the dog singing along to the loud radio pottering through yarn. We are totally not discussing that I now realize I have 19 sweaters'-worth of yarn. As in, 19 separate bags/packs which each contain enough of an individual yarn to make a sweater. We are definitely not telling Titch.

What did I need that Drops yarn for ?

Oh yes - this:

Cornish Dormouse Tea Cosy, pattern by Debi Birkin

Friday, 4 March 2016

FO Friday 10/16: Stash Mountain

Legacy of the Divine Tarot

I do actually have a FO for this FO Friday ... but I know you would much rather I shared with you my recent stash acquisition.

Well, no, not all of this year's, even though the year is still quite new - I'm not prepared for Titch to quite find out the extent. I am, however, beginning to have trouble getting the doors on my armario shut ...it's a good thing yarn is squishy.

Firstly, Titch owed me about 3 trips to a LYS, accumulated over birthdays, anniversaries, doghouse events etc last year ... so on my birthday this year we went to Colchester and I went wild in the aisles of Franklins, who stock not only upscale yarns, but a great selection of various brands, the latest yarn 'releases', and my own personal favorite, the Bargains ... not the tidiest or organized of places, one could trip and suffocate in piles and packs of yarn if one did it right.

I do indeed have a Plan in mind for all of it. Those are going to make an afghan and some cushions for our sofa. Don't be scared of the colors, I promise it will look ... fine. The fun fur stuff is for just in case. Just in case of what, I'm not sure ...

And then at Christmas, my BIL the Cornishman gave me vouchers for the Wool Warehouse. I have become so adult I didn't spend them until this week, and then when it arrived, I waited a whole day to open the box.

Why yes, yes, I am able to eat only one chocolate from a box and put the lid back on, how did you guess ?

And that is the ingredients for two more afghans, you will admit, a far more random combination of colors.

And since I am hosting Mini Diva's birthday sleepover tonight ....yes indeed, now she turns 13 not so much of the Mini I guess, I need to go and move the fragile things. But given that they are all sleeping downstairs along with the dog who is over-generous in sharing the pungent repercussions of his dinner of tripe mix  ....

Friday, 26 February 2016

Well Hello There ....

Fantastic Menagerie Tarot


So I think this needs a soundtrack, don't you ?

Something classy but a little unusual and unexpected, like me.

Yeah ... I swear it was just last week when I posted, not nearly 4 months ago ! My 2 year tenure as co-Chair (with my Good Twin) of TABI ended, I went to Witchfest for the first time in years to read tarot with my Eviller Twin, I had a temporary Christmas job which I loved, and a little sideline making tea cosies, and then I lost my blogging mojo. I'm not quite sure it's 100% back yet, so no empty promises, let's be spontaneous and uncommitted and see where the breeze blows us. 

Yes, I was a small child in the 70s, why do you ask ? It left me with a morbid fear - nay, phobia - of wide lapels, flared slacks, clompy ugly shoes and bowl haircuts done by my Mum. I can barely control the shudder.

This year looks like it might be mainly crochet - I have lots of cushions to make to replace the well-used manky ones currently on the sofas, and at least two blankeys - one of which will be a BAMCAL (Block-A-Month Crochet-A-Long) with the aforementioned Eviller Twin. As far as I am concerned, it will be impromptu, because I don't want to know her Plan.

So this is a 70s-influenced post for sure - free spiritedness, crochet, and our house.

'Afghan Reincarnation'

And guess what - even more 70s-type colors:

Cow Parsley Afghan Square

Square 24 from '99 Granny Squares to Crochet'

The 2 above were made using King Cole Value Chunky and Hayfield Bonus Chunky: with a 6mm hook, they were super-quick to do, and using Chunky meant the squares came out large enough for a 16'' cushion.