A slight obsession with books

Reading and Fibrecrafts


25 Comments

CAL – Last dance on the beach #14

This is the scheduled three-weekly post for the SAL that I’m doing with several other crafty blogs. As I’m struggling to find time to do any cross stitch, plus keep up with all the crochet that I’m doing, I’m going to use these posts for the Last Dance on the beach blankets. That’ll make sure that I finish them, and then I can get back to some stitching.

Last time I said that I was hoping to complete the squares for the Rain blanket, and I’m doing a wee happy dance because I’ve done just that.

rain-wk12Four lovely waffley squares for week twelve making a total of 48 squares altogether.

rain-12-weeksI’m itching to do the joins on them now but I also really want to finish the Stars squares too. Decisions…

For the stitch-a-long I’m linking up to these lovely blogs:

AvisClaireGunLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaSusan,
 Kathy MargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherine,  Wendy

Not everyone does an update each time, but their blogs are always worth a visit.


13 Comments

Temperature blanket

I’ve seen the odd mention of temperature blankets recently but didn’t really know what one was. Then, one of  my friends said she was going to do one, so I looked into it.

They sound interesting. You split a temperature range into sections and select a yarn colour for each section. Then, you do a row of your blanket each day, picking the colour according to the high temperature of that day. You get a lovely random striping effect that’s designed by the year’s temperatures.

A couple more of my friends said they might do one too and I was getting more and more tempted. Bear in mind that I currently have two Last Dance blankets in progress, plus one Carousel and a Ripple. (also a secret project that I can’t talk about, Ssshhhh)

Eventually I gave in to temptation but with a twist. I thought it’d be fun to do it in hexagons, working out from the centre in a spiral. Usually the blankets are done for a full year, but I’m just going to keep going until it’s the right size. I can do a hexagon, including join-as-you-go in under 20 minutes so it’s not a big commitment.

Traditionally they’re done in a range of colours going from icy greys, through blues, greens, yellows, oranges and red to denote the changing temperature but I wanted to use the lovely Stylecraft Batik that I’m making the Carousel with. There are enough colours to do that but I was imagining one done that shaded from grey through grey-blues to purples, pinks and red so I’m just using eight colours. I’m also using the local temperature at noon each day rather than the high temperature.

These are the colours that I’ve chosen.temp-colour-rangeGraphite (below 0°)
Storm (0 – 5°)
Indigo (6 – 10°)
Violet (11 – 15°)
Heather (16 – 20°)
Plum (21 – 25°)
Raspberry (26 – 30°)
Cherry (over 30°)

I’m not anticipating using much cherry 🙂

The hexagon pattern I’m using is based on one on Attic24 Lucy’s blog. I’ve changed the centre section because I like starting circles with a finger wrap and dc.temp-01

The green stitch marker is the centre hexagon and I’m marking the edge of the last one added with a purple marker so I don’t get confused. I was overjoyed on Wednesday when the temperature managed to get high enough to use the violet as I was getting desperate to use a different colour.

I’m loving it so far. The hexies are quick and easy to do and it’s growing nicely. I’m even contemplating another one once this one is finished. I’m thinking these hexies would look lovely in two colours, one for the temperature and one for the general weather – windy, rainy, cloudy, sunny etc.


33 Comments

CAL – Last dance on the beach #13

This is the scheduled three-weekly post for the SAL that I’m doing with several other crafty blogs. As I’m struggling to find time to do any cross stitch, plus keep up with all the crochet that I’m doing, I’m going to use these posts for the Last Dance on the beach blankets. That’ll make sure that I finish them, and then I can get back to some stitching.

I haven’t made a lot of progress since the last SAL update. I managed to get the last red bobble square done, but it seemed to take ages as I was getting a bit bored with bobbles.stars-wk11a

Then I started the final week’s squares. I could tell straight away that they’d be slow going. Each row consists of groups of half-trebles alternating with groups of slip stitches, making very shallow rows. Also, all the stitches are worked into the back loop, which is slightly more time-consuming.

The first square got about half done and had to be frogged as it was too small. I went up a whole hook size and started a second square, which again turned out to be too small. I increased the hook size and started again but it still wasn’t right. By this time, not only had I spent hours with nothing to show for it, but I was already finding the squares tedious, with eight still to go.

I’d had enough of square twelve by this point so rummaged through the previous squares to see which ones I’d enjoyed the most. It was a toss-up between the basketweave and the corner to corner so I’m doing the Rain blanket in basketweave and I may switch to corner to corner for Stars.

Basketweave is fairly quick to do compared to some of the others but with so much time wasted messing about with the other square, I only found time to do one of them.rain-wk12a

Hopefully I can get at least the next three of these done for the next update.

For the stitch-a-long I’m linking up to these lovely blogs:

AvisClaireGunLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaSusan,
 Kathy MargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherine,  Wendy

Not everyone does an update each time, but their blogs are always worth a visit.


22 Comments

2016 roundup

Working full-time has definitely stopped me from doing as much crafting and reading as I wanted. That and tending an ever-expanding vegetable garden. I did find some spare time though – this is what I achieved.

Cross stitch:

I had three finishes, Douceur de vivre, African sampler and Rose boudoir. I still have several in progress but as crochet seems to have taken over at the moment, they haven’t seen the light of day for a few months. Maybe soon.

Crochet:

I have no finishes this year,  but I did make some progress on the Ripple blanket before putting that away to work on two Last dance on the beach blankets. Progress on those got stalled when I fell in love with a new CAL – Carousel. The good news is that both of the Last dance blankets, plus Carousel, are very close to being finished. Once they’re done I can hopefully carry on with Ripple and think about starting Log cabin, which I bought the kit for. Then I need to use some of the huge stash of yarn that I’ve bought at Aldi whenever they had some in. I have about a dozen 400g balls of Aran plus some DK. I really mustn’t start any more CALs with kits until I’ve got my stash down a bit.

Sewing:

No finishes this year but I did make good progress on a small quilt for Rosie. I’ve started quilting it so there’s a good chance that I’ll get it finished this year. I’ve got several sewing projects to do so I’m hoping to find the energy to make a start on some of them soon.

Rosie's quilt - 06

Reading:

My Goodreads challenge for 2016 was to read 100 books and I just beat that with 106. Mostly they were on the Kindle plus 12 audiobooks and apart from two library books, the rest were from my TBR pile. I averaged 339 pages per book so even though there were quite a few shorts in there, the chunkier books balanced that out.

Some of my best finds were on Audible. I listened to the Silo trilogy by Hugh Howey and loved them. I also listened to Ready player one by Ernest Kline. It was narrated by Will Weaton, who did a brilliant job, and I really enjoyed the book. I shall definitely be looking out for more by both authors.

Apart from those and maybe a couple more, I stuck to familiar ground and comfort reading. I’m hoping to challenge myself a little more this year and read some contemporary fiction and maybe a couple more classics.

Gardening:

This year there will be very little in the way of gardening, which will hopefully make time for some more crafting. Although I enjoyed having a vegetable garden, my health isn’t up to the work involved at the moment. As well as needing a knee replacement, possibly two, my back isn’t great and I’ve just been diagnosed with sciatica. People keep telling me how painful that is. Oddly enough, I do know 🙂

I have plans to make the garden a lot less time-consuming and we’re starting by clearing most of it in order to have a new cat enclosure built. (when I say we, I do mean Stephen of course). The new enclosure is being custom-made, will be attached to the house and will be like an adventure playground for the cats. I cannot wait to see their reaction to being able to stroll out the back door and play.

I’m very grateful to the SAL which is run by Avis and Claire as it gave me a nudge to get some crafting done on several occasions lest I have nothing to post. We have lots more SAL members now too, so every three weeks there are lots of lovely projects to look at. It’s a great idea and super fun.

So, the plan for this year is to finish some of my existing projects and hopefully start some new and exciting ones. Yes, cat quilts, I’m looking at you!


6 Comments

Carousel CAL – part four

I actually finished part four a few weeks ago but it’s taken me until now to get a photo of it. I had to move furniture around in the bedroom to get a large enough floor space where there’s enough light. Moving the bed means getting the vacuum out as it gets a bit fluffy under there from the cats.

I loved doing the hexagons. With more rounds to do, and most of them being different in some way, I found it easier to do all the round 1s first, then the round 2s etc. I didn’t have to keep referring to the pattern that way.

carousel-05

It definitely needs blocking as it doesn’t lie flat but I’m still not sure how I’m going to accomplish that. I’ve still got the border to do so I’ve got some time to think about it.


16 Comments

CAL – Last dance on the beach #12

This is the scheduled three-weekly post for the SAL that I’m doing with several other crafty blogs. As I’m struggling to find time to do any cross stitch, plus keep up with all the crochet that I’m doing, I’m going to use these posts for the Last Dance on the beach blankets. That’ll make sure that I finish them, and then I can get back to some stitching.

I took the yarn that I needed for the last twelve squares on holiday with me, hoping that I’d manage to get quite a bit done in the evenings while we were relaxing. It didn’t happen. I finished just one square so have three of the bobble squares for the Stars blanket done.

stars-wk11Just one more of those to do and then eight of the week twelve squares. Hopefully I can find the time to do at least a couple more squares before the next update in three weeks.

For the stitch-a-long I’m linking up to these lovely blogs:

Avis at Sewing beside the sea
Claire at Claire93
Kate at Tall tales from Chiconia
Gun at Rutigt
Lucy at Lucyannluna
Sue at The Magpie’s nest
Constanze at Textile Dreamer
Jess at Ever the crafter
DebbieRose at Sew Rosey
Christina at Petals and Pins
Susan at SusanPblog
Kathy at Sewing etc
Margaret at The Crafty Creek
Helen at Stitchery Nook
Cindy at Home of a floss junkie
Steph at My making do adventure

Not everyone does an update each time, but their blogs are always worth a visit.


2 Comments

Kitty Angels

Before we’d even booked our last holiday, we’d talked about how the cats would be cared for while we were away. We looked at several options but quickly decided against a cattery. The cats are used to having the run of the house and I knew they’d hate being confined to a small space. Plus Sammie would be really stressed by strangers and noises.

That left a cat sitting service and after doing a lot of research, we contacted Kitty Angels. They arranged to visit us and spent some time with us telling us about the service and asking us lots of questions about the cats and their habits. Tony filled in a questionnaire with all the details of how we wanted the cats fed and cared for. We were very impressed and went ahead and booked with them.

They’ve got brilliant reviews on Facebook, which was just as reassuring as the various documents that Tony had brought to show us, such as insurance and DBS checks.

We had another visit a couple of weeks before we went on holiday, this time from Andrea who would be the main visitor. We showed her where everything was and she made sure she had all the information about the cats that she needed. She also met the cats and made friends with Frodo straight away.

What I loved about the service is that they set up a WhatsApp group so that I could receive twice-daily updates and ask any questions. With every update I got a chatty account of the visit telling me what games they’d been playing and including lots of photos and the odd video. Because of the time difference, the first update was there by the time that I woke up so it was lovely to be able to see how the cats were doing first thing in the morning.

Andrea and the other Angels took some great photos. These are just a few of them.

They played with the laser pointer, the flying frenzy and a piece of string. They got down on the floor and played with mice. They fussed them and cuddled them and talked to them. Even timid little Sammie had a fuss and some playtime.

They cleaned up any mess, even getting the vacuum out and took any waste away with them so there was no smell. They let us know that the cats were eating well and using their litter trays. On bonfire night they put my iPod dock on a timer so there was some music to block out the fireworks.

I’ve already booked them for next year. I came home to happy, healthy, well-fed cats and you can’t ask better than that.