Neglect!

Hello folks.  I hope you are all still out there!

Where do I start?  The last two weeks have steamrollered me.  Work has rapidly picked up pace and I have become a glassy-eyed work drone.  Get up, get washed, get child up, dressed and out the door to school, go to work, attend back-to-back meetings (each one generating actions that I am unable to act on because I have another meeting to go to), run from work to car in blind panic, collect child and attempt to be semi-functional parent (or when possible stay late in attempt to be semi-functional work colleague), feed child, put child to bed, make a cuppa, stare at WIP bag, knit two rows of a sock, give up, go to bed.  And repeat.

Child says “Mummy, tomorrow try to sneak out from your meeting a leeettle bit earlier.”

Sigh.

Today I am frozen with guilt.  I have a chapter to write which should take me a month and needs to take me about four hours, as that is all I have available to me.  I am being kind to myself in the hope that the muse will find me if I can relax a bit.  Writer’s guilt stops me from picking up my hook to crack on with things I need to do.  But tomorrow we will see Grandpa, and that will be OK.  I will get some time to hook in the car.  I have been asked by Sam to see if I can come up with a pattern for something other than a shawl for a nice change and I am enjoying the challenge of it.  That will be my treat at the end of all this.  Plus there is a yarn sale online tonight, and I plan to treat myself there too. Not a big splurge.  Just a skein for a specific project I am hoping to knit as the nights draw in.

So, I need a bit of time to reset the head.  I feel I have nothing to show for my labours at work this month so I am going to invest more time making.  Yes, it’s time I don’t have, but it is time I can at least share with the small person.  I can make things for her.  Show her that I love her.

In other news, my great, yarn cataloguing friend, has her baby last weekend and he is beautiful.  Just perfect. It reminds me of when my one was small.  I was learning to crochet at the time and I would spend the quiet hours of nursing and holding her trying to make granny squares.  I feel like I have come a long way, but I often wish I had those quiet, child-cuddling and crocheting hours back.

Euro-joy

I love Eurovision.  Bear with me.  I know this doesn’t look crochet-related, but it is.

Eurovision has been one of the highlights of my year, along with World’s Strongest Man at Christmas time, ever since I was small.  I love the highly variable quality of the music, the gimmicks, the crazy costumes, the inappropriate commentary, the hope during voting, the devastation when we are marked poorly, and (vary rarely) the joy when we do well.  It has a personal significance because the last time the UK won it (1997, in case you were wondering) also marked the evening when my OH and I had our first date.  So it also operates as our official anniversary.

Sometimes we have a party, but more often we just get in food which is roughly representative of the various nations participating, put it on the table in the living room, and go on a culinary journey around the world, as well as a musical one.

I feel the need to celebrate Eurovision this year with something suitably tacky-retro to crochet whilst I am watching it.  For me, it is so closely associated with the 70s and 80s that I decided to pick out a quick stashbusting make out of these vintage pattern books that I bought a while ago.

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My mum used to have patterns like these when I was a child, but they were given away before I could acquire them.  But what to make?  I am leaning towards a retro tea cosy, or perhaps a toilet roll cover, as some of the costumes worn this year do remind me of one of those crocheted dolls that you used to find at your friend’s house, dressing up the toilet rolls.

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But I think a tea cosy is more me.  Tea and Eurovision are life essentials.  So I think I will go with this one.

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I also have an idea in my head for my own retro take on a peg bag, as I need a new one and I have loads of acrylic to use up.  If I get to make it this weekend I will pop it up here as a quick make, along with my other free patterns.  And speaking of quick makes, I haven’t forgotten about the next part of the retro blanket.  So make sure you are up to Part 2 as Part 3 will be along soon!

 

Making the most of every free moment…

So one of the things that amuses / irritates the people closest to me is that I crochet every chance I get.  And I mean, every chance.  Between the day job and my resident small person, I get very little time to do something that I would like to do.  So I have a basket in the living room with my current blanket WIP in it (so that I can pick it up and put it down as I get the chance during the evening, small person permitting) and a WIP bag that is usually always with me.  I am lucky enough to be able to crochet in the car without getting motion sickness, and so I look forward to long drives so I can get some serious work done.  Last year on one of our regular trips to see the in-laws we got stuck in traffic for many hours in what was already a 5 hour car trip, and by the time we arrived I had finished a cardigan for my daughter…

Today has been a ‘hooking on the train’ day.  I love these days.  Today was a special treat as it was a 2 hour long direct train there, and the same back again, and I managed to get some real progress done on my latest design project.  And it also involved some added jeopardy, as it involved beadwork.  So in amongst the suited executives with their tablets and laptops, I quietly removed my Marvel Comics inspired WIP bag from Jo.Knit.Sew (a nod to my husband, so that he isn’t totally embarrassed when I get it out) from my smart work bag, and start crocheting away, swapping hooks when I get to the beads and praying that I don’t knock the jam jar with my hand and send them flying across the carriage.  In previous attempts the jar has jiggled with the movement of the train across the lap tray until it gets close to falling off the edge.  Today I discovered that if I stand the jar of beads on my empty WIP bag it doesn’t move (top tip) and I can bead without worrying about the jar sliding onto the floor.  On other train trips I have been known to walk the length of a carriage to get off, with a gent running behind me winding up the ball of yarn that I didn’t know was still in my seat, following me like a yarn-adoring courtier followed by a chorus of good-humoured giggles!

Crocheting in public typically results in some really lovely conversations with people who are genuinely surprised that people still do it (or who haven’t done it for ages), and today I was even called a ‘young person’ by the lady I chatted to.  “The problem with most young people now”, she said, “is they have too much money and they don’t think about the real value of things, the love that people put into things that are handmade.  They throw things away and buy new things.  They don’t cherish what they have. And they don’t understand what handmade really means.”  I love these conversations about things that people loved because they were made just for them.  Crocheting or knitting in public triggers these reflections and they are so moving.  And so true.

Wrapping things up…

So this week I have been a bit quieter than normal.  I have been busy with my daughter’s birthday, racing to get some work done before a deadline for the day job, and manically hooking every other moment so I can finish a lace weight wrap which I have been writing the pattern for.  The birthday, the work and the wrap are all done now, and the wrap is blocking as I type this.  The picture shows my blocking essentials – my hairdresser’s squirty bottle and an old tobacco tin of blocking pins. I have over 150 blocking pins – the few you can still see in the tin gives you an idea of how many are pinning that wrap out at the moment!

I have a strange affection for tobacco tins.  My dad’s shed contained shelves filled with neatly stacked tins like this one, with Dymo labels on their short edge indicating what was contained in each one.  This one came to me via a neighbour, whose relative had recently passed, but had left behind a serious button stash.  This was one of the tins that the buttons came in.  Nostalgia meant that I had to keep it and fill it, not with screws, nails or panel pins, but with blocking pins.  I think my dad would approve.  In fact I think my dad would try to have the tin off of me…

Anyway, I think having used over 100 pins on my latest make, and sworn whilst I fiddled with them to get straight edges, I need to invest in some blocking wires!  But I am relieved to have the wrap made.  Another pattern done ready for April launch. Lace weight patterns are a marathon rather than a sprint, but always worth enduring for.