3KCBWDAY5 : Something A Bit Different: A Knitting and Poetry, er, Mash-up!

I’m always at home with Something A Bit Different, so – no photo of knitting today – but instead, to celebrate Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012, I’ve, er, written a poem. The first poem in which I’ve mentioned knitting, I believe!
What Shall Remain of Us Is Love

This bright paper
The slow burn of chemicals as the image comes to light
Her shoulder against yours
Faces smiling towards
The sun of that day on the cathedral.
Though the paper curls
The sepia tint holds that day –

But let it go – the paper quills into a little scroll –

Rolls to the back of the drawer.

Buttons, candle-ends, playing cards

Crowd in front,

Old loose pins nudge and rust.

Those strong hands are gone –

But this scarf stays stitched, this gift

From those fingers

Which felt the slow twist of the yarn,

Pushed the stitches along the bent needle.

Carried on.
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3KCBWDAY4 – Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day 4 – The Seasons

Now: the question posed by @eskimimi for today’s blog entry is an easy peasy one – Do the seasons affect your knitting?
This picture says it all. In fact, I had a rather embarrassingly large cache of, er, pictures of hot water bottle covers which I could have chosen from. They’re great to knit: good gifts, quite quick and really nice to use. I use the fantastic Aran pattern by Rachael Herron on Yarn-a-go-go, among others. The one above is pretty much my own pattern – I wanted to learn how to do the Fair Isle kind of patterns so I drew it out.
Anyway: in winter, yes, I want to knit wrist warmers and mug huggers while drinking red wine in front of the fire. I like browsing through the Aran and chunky patterns for big cosy jumpers and those over-sized Rowan jackets. However, I’ve never really liked knitting with cotton so, in Summer, I’m still knitting those big jumpers, just very slowly!
Now – off to sample some real ale!

3KCBWDAY3 – Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012, Day 3: My Knitting Heroine

This is by far the easiest Blog Week post to write, so far – I’ve been looking forward to it!
 My Knitting and Crochet Heroine is my grandmother, knitting away here on the beach on the left, in her deckchair. She is notable also as the only person who is not wearing anything like ‘beachwear’: she didn’t really like the water, and couldn’t swim! The picture was taken  at California Cliffs, near Hemsby, Norfolk, in the summer of 1953, before my mother (far right) had met my father, or had me. My Grandma could knit beautifully, and Mum tells me she knitted patterns up professionally for publishers to check their accuracy- – we need to find out more about this! She knitted us clothes, but also made fantastic outfits for our teddies and dolls. She knitted the dolls themselves, too, ‘by sight’ – just making their little bodies without a pattern. She could also crochet, making it look very easy. I still have three cardigans she knitted me when I was in my twenties, and my childhood teddies are still wearing their knitted cricket jumpers.
My Mum should be a Heroine, too, as she, along with Grandma, taught me to knit and crochet, and she does lots of knitting, rootling and rummaging with me in wool shops wherever we find them. I am very pleased and grateful that I had these Heroines teaching me these skills – I hope other parents and grandparents are passing them on!

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012 Day 2: Photography Challenge! 3KCBWDAY2

Now, clearly my creative brain needs exercise. I loved the Lego picture @eskimimi, but have gone for a symbolic shot here – my aim is to show what knitting and crochet respresent to me at the moment! The mug shows the social, fun aspect, as it was a birthday present from a friend at Stitch ‘n’ Bitch, and the sparkly crochet hook  – in fact being used as a spoon – was a present too, from a lovely Prym set of many coloured glittery hooks. This reminds me of all the present-giving that these past-times have led to. Taking this picture, I remembered that TS Eliot line, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons” and am wondering if you can measure out your life in crochet hooks or knitting needles! There is something so nice about being at home, drinking a nice coffee and making something – so perhaps measuring your life in crochet hooks or knitting needles would be a more pleasant standard than coffee spoons.

3KCBWDAY1 : Knitting and Crochet Blog week theme: "Colour"

A rather abstract theme for me, but here goes:
These colours say all that is lovely about the seaside, to me. Lovely bright beach huts, deep blue sky, the grey of the rocks against the blue of the sea . . . not the kinds of colours that fabrics or yarn can reproduce that easily, however.
But seasons do have their own colour palette: magazines at the moment are full of leaf green accessories for the home, or ice-cream pink mixed with lilac or blue. Winter knits are often chunky textured but also darker coloured, in moss green, purple or maroon.
The absence of a true colour can have quite an impact: black and white photos still have a peculiar charm, contrasts still visible among the shades of grey. We often blend a bright colour with a ‘neutral’, too, to heighten its effect.
I sometimes tease my Lady Friend about the time when she Had Her Colours ‘Done’ – since she was told that “leopard print never leaves the high street” and “red = power”. But I do see that certain colours held up against the face do bring out the colour of the eyes and so do ‘suit’ us, in the right light. We have our favourite colours, too – often the same since childhood, and somehow as  important a question to ask a new friend (when you are 3 or 4) as “What is your name?” Some of us can practically be identified by the colours of the clothes we ‘always’ wear.
Final thought about colour: two mothers, Abi and Emma Moore, run the PinkStinks campaign. they protest and campaign against the way that colour is used to designate gender in marketing by toy and clothing companies. A particularly alarming example on their website at the moment is a toy cleaning trolley, packaged in pink, aimed, surely, at a female market.
Clearly, colour isn’t all about hand dyed yarn and beach huts – used to define and influence children, it is a potentally damaging tool.

FO Friday! One Debbie Bliss knitted mug cosy complete!

Just a quick post  –  but it’s not often I have a Finished Object on a Friday, or at all, really – so I just had to post today! You can see this on my Ravelry page, too: it’s from Debbie Bliss, The Knitter’s Year, though I had to adapt it a bit to fit my sister’s travel mug. It’s called a Mug Cosy – but I prefer my sister’s term, mug-hugger! She sits and drinks from this while my nephews play at the park or on the beach – aaaah.
This weekend, my WIP is bootee number two! Was rather relieved to see Victoria’s WIP bootee at Cafe Knit this week, as mine was looking rather odd. Now I see it’s all going to work out fine 😉
Also planning some blog posts for next week’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012. It’s the first time I’ve done this, so I need to think it over.
So, plenty to occupy me this weekend!

My hand knitted baby jumpers – Ta dah!

Just a quick post to celebrate the fact that the wool mentioned in my earlier post is now all knitted up into these sweet baby jumpers – suitable for any age up to about 6 months!
The two colours are Mint and Mulberry – though there were lots of nice shades to choose from, so if these sell well, I can branch out!  They’re off to Cavern4 and I feel rather sad to see them go! Mum helped out with the knitting here, so I owe her a very nice meal out!
Phew! Off to bed…

Debbie Bliss Crochet "Darcey" Dress – Complete!!

I am *so* excited – and also rather relieved. The Debbie Bliss dress I offered to make to wear as a bridesmaid’s dress is finally done. I bought the wool rather spontaneously on a trip to Cafe Knit, on a wool-cafe-I-can-crochet high… then felt quite worried about whether I’d get it done in time for the wedding this Saturday. Everyone I mentioned it to gave me a rather concerned look – particularly when I went back to Cafe Knit on Tuesday and they clearly expected me to have finished it ;). Still: all was well, after a TV-athon yesterday (just how many episodes of Lip Service, Desperate Housewives and, er, Corrie does it take to crochet a dress?!) and sewing up of seams today:
Here’s one piece on the floor! I was really glad I’d made it two pattern repeats longer than the book said; when I held it up against myself last week, it was rather too baby-dollish for a 38 year old  bridesmaid, in my view.
Although I was suddenly scared the pieces were going to be different sizes, all was well…so: TA DAH!
I have a multitude of coloured slips to wear underneath – the bride can choose. Phewwwweeee. I am going out tonight just to celebrate its completion!

Buying Local in Lavenham

My resolution to buy local was so successful in Lavenham yesterday! I needed a day away from the crochet dress, so decided to go to Lavenham. As I’ve mentioned before, Cafe Knit on the High Street has skeins of knitting wool spun – and, in fact, reared! – in Orford, Suffolk, as well as offering delicious carrot cake made locally too! But as this was more of a sight-seeing trip with my Mum and Dad, after a trip to the cafe, we went to the Tourist Information office and came away with the lovely terracotta plant markers above – made in Suffolk – and soaps from Watkins, a company based in Woolpit. It was a beautiful sunny day to see the Guildhall and the church, too – both built as a result of the town’s medieval history as a ‘Wool Town’, spinning, weaving and dyeing cloth until Dutch cloth became more fashionable in the seventeenth century.
Sadly, my seeds seem in danger of being washed away in the rain so I might not need the markers after all! 
But I wonder what else I should be buying locally?

Breakfast in Blakeney and Elly Griffiths

Ahh . . .  this is Blakeney in Norfolk at about 10am this morning. I managed to persuade the Lady Friend to go for breakfast at Blakeney as we woke up early. The tide was out so the benches were all accessible. There were hundreds of sea gulls and, er, other birds which we can’t identify, and hardly any people. It was actually freezing  – but I was smugly wearing my Aran knitted scarf, the one I did from the Purl Soho PurlBee pattern, and my knitted wrist warmers, so I felt fine.
Quite appropriately, I’ve been reading a new author this week: Elly Griffiths. I’ve been reading the first in a series of mystery novels, all set in North Norfolk and featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway. “The Crossing Places” was much better than I thought it’d be, as I rather snobbishly assume crime novels are not always literary in style. I didn’t actually follow the storyline too closely, but I really enjoyed the character of Ruth (outspoken, lives alone, likes books!) and the well-observed other characters – as well as the descriptions of the coastline. Griffiths brings out the eerie nature of the salt marshes brilliantly – I was glad the sun was shining as we drove through Salthouse. You can find out more about Elly Griffiths via her website:
Meanwhile, the Debbie Bliss “Darcey” dress continues apace. Photos soon.  I’ve done the front… surely I can do the back by Thursday?!