Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The usual mixed bag of crafts and books and rambling

Well, it's a very wet morning here in North Norfolk, and it's Tuesday.... which is probably obvious to most of you, but after a few days staycation it has taken me several hours to catch up with what day of the week it is.

Now, there's a word for you, 'staycation', and as an aside, just who is it who makes up these new words for our vocabulary? A 'staycation' is rather obvious once you know the meaning. In recent times of financial crisis it has been reported that large numbers of people are preferring to holiday in this country, rather than go abroad. And then there is a smaller number who are opting to stay at home, to sleep in the comfort of their own bed each night, to sit and appreciate the beauty of their own space, the area around them where they live, which often gets taken for granted and not looked at that closely. So a 'staycation' is when you vacation by staying at home.... as the meerkat says, 'Simples'.
Well, some of us have been doing this for about ten years, for various reasons and we just had a long weekend of it, which included breakfast in the summerhouse, a picnic in the summerhouse where we packed the basket with goodies and books and crochet (for me) and spent the afternoon, enjoying the total peace and quiet... well, apart from the blessed seagulls, though some would say that added to the impression of being in a beach hut!
Anyway, not much was done for three of the four days other than lots of R and R... the fourth day made up for it with the start of the demolition of the humongous pyracantha hedge which goes halfway across the garden, separating up the areas, creating a quiet, contemplative green-planted only room behind. As we get older, the chore of cutting hedges begins to get too much, and so we decided this was one hedge we could do without. Cutting it out is a mammoth job, piling it up in the aforementioned green quiet space easy, getting rid of it all will be the tricky bit!! That was yesterday, and Himself has gone back to work for a rest now, leaving me to catch up with emails, blogs, letters and the like.

I first crocheted as a little girl, and in my teens crocheted a waistcoat, and then crocheted some baby girl dresses when I was pregnant, but somehow my over-active, ginger-haired little tyke didn't suit them, and at that point, not thinking there was much you could crochet for boys, I gave it up, apart from the odd crocheted square from leftover wool, turned into blankets for cat baskets. Then in the 90s I made two large crocheted afghans/bedcovers, which I now realise are quite saleable..... amazing! But this year I have really taken it up again, and spend almost as much time with the hooks as the knitting needles some times. The above is from leftover wool, and will be a cushion cover, making the fabric back out of denim, slightly smaller so that the edging sticks out, like a frill kind of thing. It will be used on the garden bench, which is the same shade of blue almost.

Then I finished a pair of socks in self-patterning Sirdar Crofter, which is delightfully soft. I also used the same wool, only in pinks and purples mainly, for a pair of fingerless gloves for Devina in the recent knitting and crochet swap I took part in. I love using the wool, for the softness of it, and watching the pattern develop.

This is one of my extravagances, hand-painted wool... I have two skeins of it, one this colour and the other deep purples and blues and maroon too, and so I bought some of this much cheaper Stylecraft four ply, which is incredibly soft to handle, and will crochet either mixed colour squares, or self-coloured, which are easier and quicker of course, no fiddly ends to sew in and so on. But I like to have a simple crochet project on the go, to pick up and leave at will, when I am in the mood, and this fits the bill. I also have a basket of odd balls of doubleknit, which I shall use in the same way.

And before moving onto books... a quick plug for Sarah at http://www.bloomingfelt.co.uk/ whose website was a godsend for someone like me, whose eyes aren't as good as they were, and whose hands sometimes not as steady. Cutting out felt hearts and flowers can be a pain, in more ways than one, and so to find someone selling good quality, thick wool felt flowers and so on, at reasonable prices, was such a treat, so thank you Sarah.

Well, it wouldn't be a blog from me without mentioning books would it. I am working my way through Debbie Macomber's 'Blossom Street' series of books. Set in Seattle, Blossom Street is a newly-rejuvenated area just a little way from the riverside, and amongst the shops are a wool shop, a florists, a book shop and a small cafe, and it is the people who own these establishments, or work in them, who feature in the books. This one, 'Twenty Wishes' is about several of the women who own, or visit, the shops who are all widows and how they transform their lives, by making a list of their wishes. They are nice, easy reads, good to break up the heavier reading I sometimes get into. Alongside is 'The Hours' by Michael Cunningham, which was made into a film with Meryl Streep, and spans the decades from 1920s London to 1990s New York. The book is one of a set of ten called THE PERENNIAL COLLECTION, one of those special offer sets available from THE BOOK PEOPLE which I sometimes can't resist!

These are two of the heavier books.... the Nicola Humble book is all about women's fiction, books for women and by women/men, but aimed at the female reader in the inter-war years, a subject which I am particularly interested in. Not the lightest of reads, it's one of those that has footnotes on every page, sometimes taking half the page, but worth the wait from the library definitely. The Victoria Finlay book is a richly decorated little paperback, all about the history of gemstones, where they came from, how they were discovered, and whilst I have no interest in jewellery, I am fascinated by fossils, the unearthing of gemstones, that kind of thing. As with most books like this, I tend to dip in and out of it as and when the mood takes.

So this is me for now, hoping you all had an enjoyable weekend and thanks, as ever, for dropping by.


Preseli Mags said...

Wow look at those socks! Fabulous. Thanks for the link - off to take a look...

Quilting Cat said...

Love the socks PFG and the sound of your staycation but how do you stop yourself doing jobs! Wet as wet in Dorset also, and misty amd windy, must be July. Agree with the hedge thing, it is a damn site easier to paint a fence than be cutting hedges 3 times a year so good luck with the Pyracantha, watch those thorns.

Celtic Heart said...

I feel in danger of a knitting frenzy now! For some, as you say, staycation is the done thing. I can count the number of my vacations on one hand!!! Of course, I am not counting short weekend breaks that accompany a theatre trip or a few days tacked on to a business trip, but I do remember, as a child, spending the most blissful 7 weeks every summer in our own little caravan near the beach and less than a mile from our own front door!

Flower Girl said...

Perfect post - crochet, knitting, wool, and books!! Rebecca x

Mid Life Hopes said...

You are an amazing woman!! Love your blogs, always delightful and interesting...

: )

Calico Kate said...

A 'staycation' like yours sounds wonderful. Picnics and breakfasts in the summerhouse - bliss and it doesn't matter if it rains.
Am in the very (very) early stages of teaching myself to crochet so am terribly envious and admiring of your abilities there and what Great socks too PFG.
I have read some Debbie McComber and thoroughly enjoyed them, will look out for this one.
Lovely post

seashell cosmos said...

When I see your knitting I think, 'oh, how I wish I could do that' but I probably could, right? After all, how do I know unless I try? And since I already live in a Beach Hut and have a beach literally in my back yard, why not take more mini vacations? So, you've inspired me here--thank you!! Now if I could find that picnic basket? Bears???? Hmmm.....could they have?? ;)

Hope your having a wonderful week. I love that first photo with the rain!!

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