Wednesday 30 April 2014

You may remember this.

Having crocheted all these squares, edged them in blue and sewn them all together, I realised that I wasn't going to have enough to complete my waistcoat.   I thought a row of solid blue ones down each front edge might look alright but I didn't like it at all.

There was only one thing to do, so I unpicked everything and my squares look like this once more.  I have recycled all the blue wool and am knitting it into another waistcoat and have bought another hank of the multi-coloured yarn to make more squares.  I certainly get maximum recreational value from the yarns I buy!  I know I have done the right thing as I will like the garment much better without the contrasting edging and get far more use out of it.  It has kept me out of mischief for hours and the owner of the wool shop will be happy as I will need more blue wool to finish the knitted waistcoat.

It has been good to come home from my daily walk and sit for half an hour to recover with my crochet or knitting.   I am trying to banish the lethargy, which has been plaguing me for some time,with small doses of activity and hadn't realised how unfit I had become since straining a leg muscle back in January.  It made walking very uncomfortable but I am gradually getting my feet and legs to do what they are supposed to.

I am astounded by the amount of growth that the plants have put on - mainly weeds!   I spent an hour or so out there this afternoon and removed loads, though there are still plenty more to be dealt with.   I hope the frosts forecast for the weekend don't damage the fruit blossom.

Monday 14 April 2014

It's all happening!

Walking round the garden over the weekend it seemed to me as if everything is bursting forth and plants that don't normally flower until May are already coming into bloom.  I love the little blossoms on our crab apple tree and the way that they gradually fade from deep pink to almost white as they develop.

Another favourite is this red sycamore.   For weeks I watch the twigs for signs of those little red buds and suddenly the weather warms up and they have popped to reveal these golden sprays of tiny flowers.

When I got out of the car in the drive this morning I found myself looking straight down into these yellow tulips.  I love their centres with that little ring of black diamond shapes.

 The angelica has shot up in such a short time and is already taller than me.   It's lower leaves are shading my rosemary which fortunately is in a pot so I can move it into the sun.

The kingcups are beginning to go over so I must make the most of them.  They have been in flower for almost a month.  I divided one plant into two the year before last - it looks as if I need to divide them again!

I am intrigued by the theory that planting and sowing seeds on a waxing moon gives better results and put it to the test recently.  It seems to work and most of the seeds I sowed just over a week ago have all germinated - those that haven't are the long winded ones which take three or four weeks anyway.  I have sunflower and courgette seedlings on the kitchen windowsill getting larger each day, so I need to get outside and do some weeding to make room for them.  It's my favourite way of giving myself the incentive to go and do some serious gardening!

I hope this lovely weather lasts a bit longer - there is plenty to do out there.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Getting hooked.

A few posts back I showed these granny squares that I have been making.   I have made dozens of them now and they are gradually beginning to look like this. 
I am still not quite sure about the blue border but couldn't find any yarn in the right shade of red/pink.  The colours here are not accurate and are much richer and lovelier in reality.   I had no pattern to go by and no idea of how many squares I would need for a waistcoat in my size, so just made as many as possible out of three skeins of wool.  I limited myself to three skeins as it was rather expensive.  I have spent ages drawing little diagrams of squares in various arrangements as well as arranging the squares themselves and I think I will have enough.  I can always crochet wider or deeper outer borders if a little more width or depth is needed.

I was too impatient to stop and press these joined squares before I photographed them and no doubt they will look better for proper attention.
It's taking ages to join them all and weave in the little ends of wool.   If I'd been knitting a waistcoat it would be finished by now and being worn!   However, it is good to learn a new craft and one day I might even be able to follow a pattern and make something complicated.

It felt like April several times last month, but on my morning walks recently it has felt decidedly like March.  There's a nippy little breeze out there so don't pack your winter woollies away just yet.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

It's Addictive!

You may remember I bought myself one of these recently.  I have at last had time to play with it and am in danger of filling the house with sheets of printed paper - there are quite a few more that I haven't photographed - I can't leave it alone.
Above are some of the things I have used to make my prints.  I find the wooden Indian printing blocks give excellent results and scraps of lace are pretty good too.  I like the cog shaped thing also, but have no idea what it is.  It came off something which had been broken.   I think the plastic comb came out of a Christmas cracker years ago and is perfect for creating swirling wavey lines.

My first attempt was far from excellent - probably because I used the cheap craft acrylic paint which comes in plastic bottles.

I quickly switched to the better stuff in tubes and found an improvement.

I even plucked up the courage to do a bit of doodling around the lace prints on these two.

With my late summer course with Frances Pickering in mind (the theme is black and white) I introduced leaves this time and used black paint.

Finally, I used two dabs of yellow and one of blue paint and an unwashed brayer still with black paint on it.  I rather like the dark colouring.  I quickly drew the design on the left and used a little fabric doiley for the one on the right.
Nothing is now safe from being pressed onto a painted Gelli plate if I think it will make an interesting pattern! There should be a warning with these things.