Reflecting on improvement

As regular readers to this blog may have worked out I have a touch of a type A personality – and as I get older it gets more obvious.  In my crafting life I constantly strive to improve, searching out different ways of doing things, modifying materials, patterns and techniques to get the result I want.

But it’s not just crafting – Mr TuesdayFortnite will happily tell you of the time there were 32 different swatches of ‘grey’ on the front room wall as I took two weeks to decide exactly *which* grey to paint the whole room.  I recently had to change channels when a make-over show hung pictures on the wall *crooked*! (shudder).

This perfectionism extends to my teaching as well – whether I’m teaching dance (my professional training), MS Word to work colleagues or my crafting classes.  After every teaching session, designing a pattern, rearranging a room (or my stash!)…. I sit and reflect and review on what went well, what can be improved and how I can be better.action-reflection cycle

We did the Crochet Beginners class on Saturday last week, and it went really well – with everyone producing lovely work and starting on their individual crochet adventures.

Sometimes the best ideas start with ‘why?’ and sitting in the car on the way home I had one of those moments – I wrote the course way back in 2011 taking notes from other crochet teachers at the time on how to structure a class.  Being new at teaching crochet I accepted the wisdom of my ‘elders and betters’ on the circuit – and didn’t question it.  But why?reflective process

Here, 5 years on, I have the knowledge and the confidence to question that structure – and I’ve broken down what we do on the classes and am starting again from scratch – no assumptions on ‘that’s how it’s done’ or taking ‘because that’s how it is’ as an answer.  Exciting times!



Completed Projects – sometimes, it takes time!

So, first up, I promised photographs of the Garland sweater…

The complete sweater - the image top right is probably closest to the true colour of the yarn.

The complete sweater – the image top right is probably closest to the true colour of the yarn.

I had fun doing this sweater – and you can see in the bottom left photo how the top is a little baggy in the back, as I mentioned last week.  Though we have discovered that if I have less than perfect posture that ‘bagging’ vanishes!

At the recent Purlescence open day I also bought some beautiful buttons and some French Navy pure wool sweater yarn to finish the 1963 Twinset.

The 1963 Twinset (you can just see the dart in the bottom right picture)

The 1963 Twinset (you can just see the dart in the bottom right picture)

For those of you who don’t know the story of the 1963 Twinset, pull up a chair and get comfortable.  A friend of mine turned to me about three years ago, and (knowing my interest in vintage) asked if I would be interested in finishing a project.

It turned out that a friend of hers  – a wonderful older lady with a name at least at interesting as my real name had started knitting a twinset and had never got around to completing it.  The pattern she had used was a 1957 pattern, and she had started knitting this twinset in 1963.

Now, before you think this wonderful lady is an incredibly slow knitter, that’s not the case.  She ran out of yarn for the placket and collar and put the project aside in early 1964, from whence it made it’s way into the attic and there it had remained until three years ago when it was handed to me.

This twinset is a work of art, the tiny stitches are so even the effect is almost of a machine knit.  The darts on the top are almost invisible to the human eye.  I can’t find any ends where the balls change over – just the cast on and bind off tails… and the whole thing is knit in the most amazing pillar box red.

It’s this red that created my challenge.  There was no way I was ever going to match this shade of red (in fact the original knitter had tried and failed – hence it’s long purgatory) so I was in a quandary as to what to do?

First up the wonderful Susan Crawford started her vintage line of yarn – Aha! (thought I) – but no, none of the shades were quite right (though I did indeed buy some and knit the January sweater with Excelena, and what lovely yarn it is to)

The 1963 twinset sat in it’s box while the problem sat in the back of my head.  Pondering.  When I heard that Purlescence were now stocking Jamieson & Smith 2ply pure wool I knew I had potentially struck gold.  The next open day I could make I took the 1963 twinset with me and spent a few hours on the floor with each of the 40 shades – too brown, too orange, too ‘Christmas’….  There were some surprising combinations that worked (burnt orange and bright red anyone?) but that weren’t in keeping with the period and there were several combinations that should have worked but didn’t (red and black?! why wouldn’t red and black work?).  The moment we paired the French Navy magic happened.  If my life had been a Disney movie there would have been singing birds, delighted squirrels and sparkle dust.

Serendipitously, Textile Garden were also there with their lovely buttons.  lots of hunting and coo-ing (and extraneous buttons that I didn’t really need later) I had 10 lovely little cream buttons with a vintage navy blue abstract design on them.

So now I had yarn and I had buttons and I had a vintage twinset that I was terrified of ruining.

That night I had a dream.  Literally, I really, honestly, did!  You’re worried about knitting on a placket and collar and it looking weird (said my dream).  You’re worried about not matching gauge, and getting it all wobbly or too tight (continued my dream).  Why not crochet an edging? (cue lights going off all over, fireworks and stirring orchestral music).  Indeed?!  Why NOT crochet!  It was actually pretty common to combine the two crafts, and by crocheting the edgings I could make sure it was exactly the right tension as I wouldn’t need to pick up and knit stitches along the edge…

The next morning I added a gravel stitch placket and collar to my lovely twinset.  The next day I added the lovely buttons.  And now all I need to do is give it a rinse in some lovely SOAK to full the new wool a little and refresh the 50 year old yarn.

I have realised I also need to buy a navy pencil skirt or wide-leg 40’s style trousers to wear with this creation, but truly? it’s a small price to pay.  I can not wait to wear this out, and I am so proud of being able to finish this project (which, co-incidentally fits me perfectly) and do the original knitter justice.  I also have plenty of yarn left over – so I’m wondering if I also crochet a detachable collar for the sweater…  hmmmm…..


What I’m upto these days

Deep breath.  I am determined to try and update much more regularly than I have been.  Ok, that wouldn’t be terribly difficult to be fair.  My current aim is once a week – but we’ll see how realistic that turns out to be!

So, I need to update you on where  I am and what I’m doing.

My hands: still playing up – I’m just about to finish the 3rd course of steroids, as it would appear that steroids is the only thing that beats this thing (still unknown) into a cocked hat once the pain starts. Annoying, but at least we know what works even if we still have no idea what the triggers are (stress is still the favourite of the medical community).

I taught my first course of 2014 yesterday.  A lovely intimate course with three lovely lovely ladies who absolutely got everything I said and went away with lace weight yarn to make their own lovely variations of the Eva shawl.

I, myself, am working (as always) on several projects;

Giovannina – knitted lace rectangular shawl designed by Franklin Habit in lace weight Wollemeise.  Enjoying this project immensely, but it’s a little too concentration worthy to be a commute/t.v. watching project.  It’s growing, but it’s very slow  Given I bought the pattern and the yarn in 2011 there obviously isn’t any rush.  I’ve only another 19 repeats of the pattern to do.

Laura – crochet side to side crescent shawl by Lily Go in Fyberspace ‘lace’.  I say ‘lace’ it’s closer to a cobweb weight.  I’m adding beads to this as well – size 11 seedbeads.  Definitely not a ‘I’m not really thinking about this project’ and it’s going to take the proverbial “while”. It is however going to be stunning when completed.

I needed a project that I didn’t need to focus on quite so much, so (having been out and bought new needles specifically for the project) I’ve cast on for Tirrol by Fyberspates, in Fyberspates lace (see above).  It’s a sweater knit on 2.5mm needles.  And this is my ‘mindless’ project  What was I thinking?  Though I love the idea of getting a sweater out of a single (small) skein.  I have 111 rows of 2×2 rib to do first so again, this could take a while – but at least I can do it on the train / in a waiting room / watching TV / at knit group…

Finally about to research and do a genuinely quick project as a display sample for Purlescence – a crochet cowl in the glorious new yarn Cumulus.  It’s like a ‘thick’ version of kid-silk haze (it pretends to be a 4ply) and comes in the most stunning colours.  I have a ball of bottle green to play with and I’m thinking floaty light lace.  For those of you who want the technical details it’s 150m/164yds per 25gms, 3mm-5mm needles recommended, and is a blend of 74% baby suri alpaca and 26% mulberry silk.  It has a lovely halo and is very soft

Right  I must crack on.  I’ll try and take photographs for next week!

Overrun with Baby Cardigans

Easter holidays gave me a little bit of time to dash to the family seat ‘up north’ and visit the relatives.

My younger Sister is fabulous, glamorous and wonderful.  All my life she has been very focused on what’s ‘in’ and designer labels and stuff like that – reading the magazines and following the trends.  Me on the other hand, I get dressed and then wait for it to come back into fashion.  It happens surprisingly frequently.

I know that knitting is currently the ‘big thing’, that it has now tapered out and diffused from the ever increasing knitting groups, and is becoming an ever increasing blip on the general populations’ radar.  However I was still surprised when Sis asked me to teach her to knit while I was there.

A ball of DK (8ply for the non-UK readers) and 5.5mm bamboo needles later and I was *amazed* at how fast my sister processes information.  In an hour we had done cast on, knit (which she confessed she kinda remembered from being a child), purl, garter stitch, stockingette stitch, how to tell which one you were doing and how to swap between them, slipping the first stitch of each row (and why) and casting off.  5 hours later she had a ‘Barbie Quilt’ of beautifully even stockingette stitches, and she had started another ‘test square’ with a few garter stitch rows so that it didn’t curl.

She has now set her sights on a baby cardigan.  I might just have to send her a knit package!  I’ve told her about Ravelry, but it’s all very new and daunting right now.  I’m scrolling through loads of baby cardigan patterns looking for one that isn’t a basic bog garter stitch boredom fest, but also isn’t a top down, raglan, seamless “and now get your dpn’s out for the sleeves” thing which could terrify a beginner.  Sure I’m on the other end of a skype call, but that’s not the point – any suggestions anybody?

There is a theory that the older you get the faster time seems to fly by.  I think it’s all marketing myself (how can you possibly not think the year is going faster if you can buy Easter eggs on 26th December?) but I’m still surprised by how fast my first course of 2013 has rolled around.  I’m all ready bar piling everything in the car – piles of samples, class notes, presentations, blocking equipment, secret goodies and the cutest little baby cardigan for a gender confused child..

baby cardigan

See that little dotted pink line? That ladies and gentlemen is a short row pocket – worked at the same time as the garment.  It gives a completely seamless pocket top and invisible joins and is so cute.  I didn’t think of this myself, I got the inspiration from Franklin Habit and his love of vintage pattern (you can read his post here if you like).

Another example of short row shaping is done in the neck of this little cardigan to let it lie properly on the back of baby’s neck.

shaping on necklineHowever the most concerning thing about this cardigan is not the fact that I have made a baby garment (those of you who know me may be surprised that I didn’t in fact spontaneously combust when presented with this little task) but that I (who never, ever, ever makes any baby blanket present in baby blue or baby pink). had two balls of baby pastels in my stash.  What I want to know is “why do I have a 100g ball of baby blue acrylic, and 100g grams of baby pink acrylic in my stash?!”  It would appear that the stash is prone to growing, with stuff you don’t want, if you don’t keep a careful eye on it.

Having said that the Crochet Shaping course is going to be a blast, I’m trying out several new ideas – I’ve even had my nails done in preparation! k- and I’m really looking forward to it.

Most of this week, and last week has been taken up with final minute non-productive flapping, but I did get to the end of the charts on the Honeymeade shawl (you have no idea how happy I was to complete that!) and I’ve done the first 5 rows of a slip stitch crochet rectangular shawl test about 20,000 times.  More fool me for thinking it would be easy.  More on that process next week I think!

Finally in other news, the doctors are now weaning me off the drugs to see what happens.  Apparently what happens is that when I get to 1mg my hands object, so I’ve gone back up to 2mg till Saturday and will drop back to 1mg next week when it’s not so vitally important that I can use my hands.  My next appointment is 22nd April so we’ll see what happens then.

2nd crochet project of 2013 finished!

It’s just a short post this week as it’s still a bit ‘all go on the home front’.

This week I progressed a little further on the Jan Sweater, only 8 rows but in the words of a famous UK supermarket- “every little helps”.  There isn’t enough of a change to justify a photograph, but I reckon I’m about 8 rows short of the armhole shaping now, so it’s going pretty well.

I did however finish the Anais  (pronounced Ah-nah-is) Jacket.  Using Rowan Big Wool in a delicious dark purple colour this has come out really well and I’m really pleased with it.  It’s a very fast Tunisian crochet project (once you get around the slightly fiddly main stitch) and although I had ripped out completely once, and gone again I still ended up with the wrong stitch count at one point, but decided it was close enough.  The pattern notes state that this won’t close in front, mine does – and I’m contemplating adding some clasps, but it’s just lovely without.

The combination of bulky yarn and tunisian stitches means that this is a very structured little bolero with a stand up collar, and though the yarn seemed to have a lot of bits of plastic twined in with the ply that I had to pull out, the stitch definition is outstanding.

Want a peek?

Anais Jacket in Tunisian Crochetand here’s a couple of the stitch detail because you’ve been so good…

Collar Detail of Anais JacketAnais Jacket - back and hem

A little fairy tells me that the Tunisian workshop is selling really well, so if you are thinking about it now is a good time to act – though I just know we will be running this one again!

Going back to work for a rest!

Last weekend I went over to Purlescence for their first open day of 2013.  They had remodelled over the winter break, and the new shop layout is gorgeous.  Of course, being overwhelmed with all the lovelies, I completely forgot to take photos, but it is much more open and bright than the previous layout, and the yarns are displayed in all their colourful temptation goodness.  I was very good and other than buying a couple of needles I needed after I broke my knitpicks 3mm, 2 Tunisian hooks to make the Anais jacket, cotton yarn to make two more baby blankets and yarn for a birthday present, I didn’t buy anything at all!

I took along the Tunisian Spa Cloth sampler for the Tunisian course, and there was lots of interest from people throughout the day, so that is looking like it’s going to be a really good day.

I also got to spend time with the ever lovely R at her home and talked well into the night about the upcoming courses and teaching and ideas (and yarn and stash and upcoming babies and 80’s children’s shows… you know the sort of evening)

This week has been half-term break for me, which means that I have been insanely busy and running around.  I really need to use my camera more because then I could show you photos of the champagne tea I had on Wednesday and the fabric shops I was in on Thursday – though you are probably less interested in seeing photos of the MRI scan I had on Monday, or the packing boxes I was surrounded by at a friends house yesterday as I helped her pack for moving.

Monday’s MRI was interesting.  I don’t get the result for a few weeks (11th March), but I did discover that lying on my front, with my arms stretched out above my head and holding them still for 30 minutes is really really painful on the shoulders.  Otherwise it was pretty uneventful and standard type medical procedure with lots of waiting about etc..

Wednesday’s Champagne tea was lovely.  An excuse to dress up and eat cake, what more do you need?  We had champagne, tea (well I had a tissane as I’m not allowed tea on the mix of drugs), finger sandwiches – including a lovely pesto bread, scones with cream and jam and little tiny cakes.  The waitress tried to take my champagne before I was finished (I mean the glass was over half full!), and we had a visitor in the form of a little tiny dormouse who created all sorts of excitement for a good 20 minutes, all accompanied by a beautiful pianist doing the best of Rogers and Hammerstein.  It was a lovely afternoon, and I can see afternoon tea becoming a regular feature of my annual calendar.

Thursday’s trip I went into town with a friend and her almost teenage daughter who has decided she wants to learn to sew.  I’ll be honest, it’s many years since I did some sewing, and have several yards waiting be to turned into several beautiful things, but I was  still shocked by how much the price of fabric has increased since I was last buying fabric regularly.  OK, we’re talking London prices, but still!  Teenage Daughter eventually got some beautiful cotton to make her first skirt, at £12 a meter (!) and I got the thread needed to finish the winter coat I’ve been making for several years.  Naturally we did have to go for tea and cake at Camille’s (lemon cake with frosting, delicious!) but otherwise the day was pretty healthy.

All this activity has resulted in very little crafting time (other than on the commutes – so I have several swatches completed). I had started the Anais Jacket, but after several inches I discovered I had made a mistake somewhere, so had to rip back out to row 1.  gahhh…  Loving how it’s coming out, but of course, in the theme of this week there are no photos!

Today I’m going to be trying to problem solve a friends tension when she crafts, everything she does is far too tight… wish me luck!

I’ll go back to work for rest

Well it’s half term already and I have a busy week.  I’ve bundled Mr TuesdayFortnite off for his first skiing holiday and I have the house to myself.

Tomorrow I get to have a wonderful day out at my favourite ‘local’ yarn store, seeing friends and picking up those complete essential bits that I *need*.

It’s been a busy week, with two friends announcing their impending parenthood (due dates within 2 days of each other) resulting in a night ‘down the pub’, valentines day – which neither Mr TuesdayFortnite or myself subscribe to, but it did get my dinner made for me.  However busy social evenings cuts severely into the time available for crafting.

I got more samples done for my Crochet 102 course,  which are now blocking before I can sit down and work out what’s missing..

Crochet 102 samples

this is about half of the samples blocking…

I also started some for the Tunisian course.  I had an idea of using a pattern to create a beautiful textural scarf from the Resolution Scarf pattern, but so far all three yarns from stash I’ve contemplated don’t agree with my ideas. I’ll post pictures when I have something that isn’t 3 rows of just frogged scarf…

Next week I’m off to spend a day at one of my favourite places, the London Victoria and Albert Museum, to see the stage costume and fashion galleries with a 12 year old friend who is thinking about taking up sewing.

If you don’t already know about the on-line galleries of the V&A museum, then check out the following links..

Hand Crochet

Hand Knit

These links will take you to the V&A archive pages where you can browse some of the hand worked items they have in storage. You can zoom, get background details, multiple photographs etc.. and they are adding more and more of their storage items all the time!  Even cooler is that if you have a specific interest in and area of textiles/fashion you can request to visit the archives and see items you request in person.

Right now I have to try another yarn for that scarf…

Well the Drugs DO work, and Workshops have been confirmed!

Well the drugs *definitely* work!  I could have cried with joy today when I carried the shopping in without a second thought.  Ah, the simple things that we take for granted. I missed you.

The drugs I am on are a bit of cocktail, and one of the ones I have to take is a massive dose of Vit D (I’m clinically deficient, who knew?!) once every 4 days.  Combined with the steroids, this seems to have the effect of making me a bit, well, wooshy..

My thought are on a bit of ‘go fast’, which has resulted in my braining spinning on project ideas, teaching ideas, design ideas all day.  Unfortunately most of them fly across my head that fast that I haven’t been able to note them down, but some of them I have, and they are real zingers! More to come on those at a later date – but one of them involved some serious maths

The physiotherapist on Monday was, erm, interesting.  I now have to submerge my arms up-to the elbow in water as hot as I can stand and do a series of stretches three times a day.  For six weeks.  I’ve been going a week and I’m already bored of it.  However I also get to play with Play-Doh three times a day so it’s not all bad.  I also now ‘have to’ swim once a week, and I’ve been given permission to go back to using light weights in my gym workouts, so hopefully that will help combat the slight ‘balloon animal caricature’ that’s happening to me.  More interestingly she also gave me permission to ‘return to normal usage as much as possible’ including my crafting – so I am now trying to fit in at least a little every night upto an hour when I have time.  You can’t see it from where you are, but I have a very happy face!

This comes just in time as we have confirmation of at two teaching dates with Purlescence:

13th April – Beyond Scarves and Granny Squares – Crochet 102 (Shaping)

Beyond Scarves and Granny Squares will take you from ‘beginner’ to ‘confident’.  Teaching loads of techniques to expand your repertoire, increase your confidence and improve your skills, we’ll be talking about those little secret ‘tricks of the trade’ along with the more conventional wisdom gained from my 30 years of practical experience.  We’ll be covering

  • Starting  –  how to get a pretty cast on edge and how to do away with foundation chain
  • Couture Touches – such as how to get rid of “that” gap at the edge of your work, useful stitches to know and how to change yarn
  • Shaping – how to do shapes other than squares, rectangles and circles, lots of increases and decreases
  • Short rows – what they are
  • Gauge – *why* it’s important and when we can ignore it
  • Blocking – how to do it and why it matters

You will need:

  1. to be comfortable in the basics of crochet – holding the hook & yarn, chain, Single Crochet, Double Crochet (American terminology)
  2. a crochet hook of type and size of your choosing (we recommend a 4 – 5mm)
  3. about 50g of light coloured yarn with a nice twist (so it doesn’t come apart too easily or split) of a weight to match your hook (we recommend a 4ply or DK weight).
  4. A pencil/pen and notepad

We won’t be making anything specific in this class, just having a play with techniques in an informal, fun, environment.  If you have any questions or want any advice, please feel free to contact us.

15th June – Tunisian Crochet 101 – Complete Beginners

Also called Tricot, Shepherds or Afghan, even Queen Victoria was smitten with this fascinating form of crochet.  Tunisian combines crochet and knitting ideas to create a unique fabric which can be dense and warm (perfect for mittens!) or light and lacy.  You can easily combine crochet or knitting with Tunisian to get stunning effects, but you don’t need to know either to be able to do Tunisian!
This one day workshop will give you a solid grounding in the basics of Tunisian in a fun and informal environment with a teacher who first picked up a Tunisian hook in 1985.
We’ll be covering..

    • Getting started – what is this strange tool and what do I do with it?
    • The  Basic Stitches – including tunisian simple, tunisian knit and tunisian purl stitches
    • Combination stitches
    • 3 Colour Tunisian
    • Casting off

We will be producing a beautiful stitch sampler during the day, which you will be able to take away to show off your new skills.

Depending on time we may also look at two projects you can start in class and finish at home.

You will need:

  1. no previous experience at all
  2. a pen/pencil and notepad for notes
  3. a mid sized crochet hook if you have one (I’ll have lots of spares if you don’t)
  4. You will be provided with all tools and yarn needed for this course.

If you have any questions or want any advice, please feel free to contact us.

Places on these courses are strictly limited, to make sure I give you all the time you deserve, so book early to avoid disappointment.

With the addition of at least three more workshops in 2013 – Crochet 102 (textures) , a half-day hairpin lace and a half day broomstick lace later in the year, it’s going to be a busy year.  I am super excited, and churning out swatches as fast as I can.  I can’t tell you how happy I am to not only be teaching the more advanced crochet techniques that so many courses neglect, but also to have to opportunity to bring the lesser known crafts of Tunisian, Hairpin and Broomstick to everyone.  Tunisian is tipped to be the big ‘in thing’ for 2013, so now is a great time to learn with lots of exciting designs coming out from the big designers!

It’s going to be lots of work over the next couple of months getting ready, but I’m *really* looking forward to it.

Snow Day!

Right now it’s snowing, and according to the forecasts it’s settled in for 24 hours at least.  I know this is no big deal in 90% of the world, but in London you might as well have announced Armageddon – the supermarket this morning was full of people panic buying beans, soup and long-life milk because they might not be able to get to the shops tomorrow.  It started at 7am and we have a little over an inch settled nearly 9 hours later.  Yes, a whole inch, and to listen to local radio you would think the world was ending.  I know, crazy isn’t it?

What that means for me is some serious ‘snowed in’ crafting time.  Ok, I’m limited to what I can realistically achieve, but I can get some more swatches done for Crochet 102 and maybe even sneak in a few rows of knitting while sitting in front of my open fire with a large brandy.  It would be hot chocolate, except one of the tablets I’m on doesn’t let me eat chocolate!  Which sadist of a pharmaceutical company came up with that one?

Ah, knitting I missed you! The steroids have appeared to have kicked in, and despite having gained 4lbs in the last 4 days and I’m starting to look like some strange drug-induced freakish balloon animal chipmunk my hands have been pretty good.

Good enough that I have been able to do a whole FOUR rows a night, the last 3 nights, on my Jan Sweater.  That equates to a massive distance of about 4cm growth – but growth it is, and to mix metaphors a bird in the hand is better than a kick in the teeth.  Or some such.  Of course my brain has since gone on a flight of fancy as to how much knitting I could now do and catch up on and that complex cabled sweater in lace weight etc… so I’m having to be very strict with myself and that frivolous part of my personality and set very specific limits so I don’t accidentally injure myself or make things worse.  Some is better than none no?

I’ve also had a phone call today to let me know that ‘an opening’ has occurred and instead of waiting 3 months for a physio appointment, they have a slot on Monday!  I have an MRI in early February and it’s all go!

I’ve been hinting and promising the last couple of posts about teaching in 2013.  I can’t reveal dates and suchlike yet, but I can definitely confirm that there will be at least one course from me (in conjunction with Purlescence) this year.  Crochet 102 will take you from ‘beginner’ to ‘wizard’.  Well, OK, maybe a bit below that – magician?  I’ll be covering LOADS, including  how to get a pretty cast on edge, how to get rid of that gap at the edge of your work, how to do shapes other than squares, rectangles and circles, short rows, gauge (*why* it’s important and when we can ignore it), blocking and texture!  There maybe more, but that’s where I’m up to in my notes so far.  There’s more obviously that I’m keeping secret – and there may even be enough for a Crochet 103, as if I put in everything I want to Crochet 102 then the only person who will be able to keep up is me – and that’s a bit pointless.  If you want something specific or want to know if something will be covered then feel free to comment.

If you missed out on last year’s Crochet 101 (Complete Beginners) and would be interested in the course running again you can contact me, or Purlescence direct.

Right now I’m going to get a hot drink and stare out the window for a bit…



Santa Delegates to Friends, because friends know what we want.

Christmas just flew by, with a whole two weeks of no crafting at all!  I now have categorical proof that crafting doesn’t affect my hands if nothing else, but I’ll get onto that.

As always I was spoilt rotten by my lovely friends and family, with bottles of soak, namaste project bags, a namaste buddy box and a Knook beginner kit being amongst the things from family.  My Sister in Lieu managed to out do herself this year by presenting me with this:

secret chest

Whats in the box?

It’s a 1950’s cardboard desktop filing cabinet. After a moments confusion – and delight as I do have a love of all things from that period, I opened a draw to discover a cornucopia of vintage threads..

vintage threads

all the colours of the rainbow

I’ve had great fun having a good old rummage through these drawers  – including finding two fabulous boxes of (what I suspect is faux) French sewing silks, protected by their own little flap inside the before, revealing 9 little reels, each *guaranteed* to hold 90 meters!

The Cat’s Whiskers!

details of threads

details of what’s in the box

of course my friends were not to be outdone, in the post from M, I got the cutest little crochet hook (of the lovely lantern moon).  Despite an overwhelming desire to put it in my handbag along with some stellina to claim I’m crocheting replacement fairy wings for those injured while spreading fairy dust, I have so far resisted.  But only because I  don’t own any stellina –  I wonder if sparkly embroidery thread would do as a stand in?

Fairy repair kit?

The ever lovely V sent the most beautiful ‘Happy New Year’ card which is still sitting on top of my piano.  A gorgeous laser cut skyline makes me think of travelling (something I am *definitely* going to do more of this year)

new year card

I even got a new project case which didn’t set out to be yarn related – it contained handwash and hand cream and nail files. Who am I kidding? that’s the perfect present for a crafter!  The tin is of a vintage ‘lunchbox’ type style and is just so kitsch it’s perfect!

Not the box I’m going to keep resting WiPs in!

S and J, darling friends that they are, managed to sneek in under the radar and posted me a beautiful Bonnie Bishop Shawl pin.  I’ve been coveting these for a long time, and this is (an extensively tested) great weight for winter shawls as it’s solid construction and reassuring weight combine to hold those DK weight or heavier shawls in place without being overpowering or dragging.  That they are just plain gorgeous,

Bonnie Bishop Stick pin in “Fall Stripe”

However, I think A managed to outstrip everyone this year (my own darling MrFortnite included) with her gift, not only were my feet toasty warm with the John Arbon Alpaca socks (I see more in my future I tell you, and MrFortnite loved his too!) but she presented me with this…

any ideas what it is yet?

It’s tiny – just under 12″ inches high and the base is a little over 4″ wide.  Know what it is yet?  I’ll give you a clue…

See, it IS bigger on the inside

A tells me it’s a vintage Swiss Swift.  Not something to be said after several pints let me tell you.  It opens HUGE – only fractionally smaller than my sunflower swift, it’s light, it’s portable and it’s adorable.  There have been several visitors to the house who have been bemused by my cries of “and how CUTE is this?!” (only to then have to explain what ‘this’ is!)