Tag Archives: CAL

WIP: Everything is Cool and Groovyghan

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I’m only a year and a half ‘late’ on doing this Crochet-along. It actually started in January 2016 and all the parts were published, done and dusted long ago. However it fitted my criteria for a summer blanket project. It’s modular which means I  can work on small pieces without being swamped in yarn on hot summer evenings. I can use multiple colours and get a scrappy look because, hey, it’s a Groovyghan and it’s supposed to be a bit wacky.

It’s coming along quite quickly. I’m using my stash of DK yarn, which is combination of Stylecraft Special, Deramores Studio and Mark & Kattens Carolina. I’ve had that Carolina for so long that it’s now discontinued and it was annoying me that it was still hanging around. I invested a lot of money in greens and browns, thinking I’d make this gorgeous cardigan, an adult version of a pattern I had with fiddlehead ferns embroidered on it. Nope, that stalled, as did the other projects I tried with it.

I see most people use a 4mm hook with DK, even a 3.5mm, but I’m using my Addi Swing 4.5mm because (a) it’s an awesomely comfortable hook, (b) I tend to crochet tightly, and (c) I don’t want my blanket coming out too small.

Here’s the pile of stash, sorted by colour:

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And here’s my progress:

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One strip of granny squares is finished (though I haven’t woven in all the ends yet). To control the colours somewhat, all the centres are yellow, and all the second and fifth rounds are shades of green (I have a lot of greens). That was part 1 of the CAL. Then part 2 is the popcorn blocks, where I chose to use the same purple for the background on both blocks and two of the greens for the popcorns to tie things in with the grannies.

The Ravelry link for the CAL is here. And the page on the Keep Calm and Crochet On UK website where it all comes together is here. Whilst I’m not crocheting along with other people, I have the benefit of working at my own pace, which means I’m not waiting around for the next part to be published, or rushing to finish a section and feeling pressured.

As you can see, this is not a portable project. I have three large bags/baskets of yarn and I’m choosing colours as I go. So I needed a small project which would fit into a project bag for taking to work and other places. This is one which I have worked on solely in my lunchbreaks the last three days:

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It’s a nice bit of comforting Tunisian crochet in simple stitch using a bulky yarn from Michaels and an 8mm hook. This will probably end up being another co-worker gift. No rush to finish this one either.

So that’s that! Summer has officially hit here, with temperatures into the 30s, though I think maybe it will be mid-20s for the next few days. The over-full lake has started to recede, and hopefully the beaches will all be open again soon (that’s if they are usable, considering the debris, dead grass etc all over the place). I have started an exercise routine as I need to firm things up for MAUI! Yes, we have booked a week in Maui for our 30th wedding anniversary in December. I’ve been wanting to go there for a long time and see for myself if all the rumours are true – that it’s an amazing place!

Tai Chi Man has sadly been given extra work around the house that he really didn’t need. He has the week off and already has a “honey-do” list as long as his arm, but we’re having trouble with the plumbing. The water pressure is triple what it should be which of course we discovered just before the weekend, the extra pressure is making the toilets and dishwasher quite unhappy, and he has had to phone around for parts and make numerous trips to the hardware store. I guess the pressure valve on the pipe coming into the house failed (no cold water tank like we used to have in the UK, just a direct line). What a nuisance! Old houses are always giving you little surprises. Nasty ones. Sometimes expensive ones.

I’d better go and get started on straightening up around here. The water is off so I can’t clean the bathrooms but I can certainly vacuum, and hem curtains, and get some things crossed off MY to-do list.

Happy crafting!

Happy Thanksgiving

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If you’re in Canada, I trust you are making a special effort to remember all the things you are thankful for today. Family, friends, a roof over your head, abundant food, etc. I usually make a point of feeling thankful every day (or at least at breakfast time, as often I forget the rest of the day). A good life is all about attitude.

I am thankful for all you blog readers, for my laptop and iPad, for the ability to afford yarn to enjoy my hobby. This is going to be a short post today as I have to prepare a big dinner and the more I do this morning the less I have to do this afternoon. We have a family hike planned for early afternoon, though it’s cold and blustery out there with a forecast of 8 degrees Celsius. As long as it doesn’t rain, then I’m fine. None of us has raingear (as we live in a relatively dry part of Canada where not a lot of rain falls).

Tai Chi Man just came in with a bowl of carrots and potatoes from the garden. I am thankful for that too!

So without further ado, let me show you my Demelza progress. Thanks to a relaxing weekend, where amazingly I have four days off in a row, I have blasted through the set of eight Flat Flower 2 blocks. I have a picture of the eight squares plus a few of the components of the blanket side by side. Next up, the four 3D flower squares for the corners, and then it’ll be time for joining all the pieces together before crocheting the border. I decided on gold for the border and I have an extra two balls of it coming from Wool Warehouse so that I don’t run out.

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Have a wonderful day!

 

 

WIP: Demelza

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This is the Week 4 part of the blanket CAL though by now we are well into Week 5. These squares took some time and it didn’t help that some days I haven’t had a chance to pick up a hook. I don’t like days like that!

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I grouped my pinks and purples in these squares, with green for ‘foliage’ and a camel and copper edging. The next set, Flat Flower 2, will be browns and blues.  They are already started. I was watching a movie last night, Joy, which is about a woman with a VERY dysfunctional family who invents a self-wringing mop. It’s based on a true story and she certainly had a lot of challenges on the road to success. The family will irritate the heck out of you but be assured she overcomes it all in the end.

I have an eight hour shift today and I’m going to continue to avoid heavy lifting as much as possible. The pinched nerve or whatever it is in my left shoulder isn’t giving me as much bother this morning and I think it may be on the mend. Even the hip isn’t as sore.

Wherever you go today, I hope you are able to smile and be positive. It makes all the difference!

 

 

 

 

Life update!

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Firstly, Demelza progress. These “flat flowers” feel like they’re taking ages. I’ve done seven rounds on each so far and there are still four rounds to go to square them up. There are two types of flat flower in this blanket, and I decided to concentrate my pinks and purples in this set and my blues and greens in the other set. Unless I change it up somewhere along the line.

What am I reading right now? I just finished House Rules by Jodi Picoult, a novel based around an 18 year old young man with Asperger’s whose passion is forensics. I am also reading Remember Zen by a local author (book is not to hand right now) which summarises much of the Buddhism/Taoism learning I have been doing over the last six years in a manageable paperback book. Next I will pick up The Different Drum by M Scott Peck, a book that a friend gave me for my birthday.

Netflix-watching is currently Broadchurch Season 2. I watched Season 1 yonks ago but only just realised that Season 2 is out. It’s a bit gloomy – I shall have to balance it out with some lighter entertainment. Close-ups of David Tennant’s myriad pained expressions are getting a bit much and I’ve only watched the first two episodes!

Aches and pains haven’t got any better but I have three different modalities planned for this week. A person at my chiro’s office offers something called SCENAR which involves electrical pulses that stimulate the body’s natural painkilling effects. That’s tomorrow, then Thursday morning I’ll be seeing a massage therapist, but I have a feeling from reading the info on his website that this won’t be a gentle massage with scented oils (he doesn’t use oil) but more in depth and possibly painful as he digs in and finds the knots etc.

I have a friend who also does healing for free in her home and I will see her another day, and that’ll make three healing sessions in one week. Hopefully at least one of them will make a difference so I can get back to normal….or better than normal.

I was at work today (fabric store) and was put on cutting table 2 which is in the upholstery section. You can guarantee that means lots of lifting of long rolls of fabric, in addition to which I had huge boxes of curtain rods to unpack and price. Despite the lifting and the standing/walking on a concrete floor for 6 – 8 hours, I actually feel best at work, probably because it takes my mind off my back and hip. I was at a class tonight and had to sit in a folding chair for nearly two hours and that really didn’t feel good.

Well, that’s enough from me tonight – I need sleep. Hopefully I’ll have more Demelza progress to show you soon.

 

 

WIP: Peacock Tail Bag CAL

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Almost there!

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The bag’s front and back are now joined and the top band is finished. The bag is now blocking, hence the pins and wet spots where my iron dripped while steaming it.

I have two small crochet tabs to make for the D rings and I still don’t have a handle, but I did find some batik fabric in my modest stash which will be perfect for lining.

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It’s been a busy few days with work and errands. Yesterday in particular the store was really buzzing as we had one of our “ultimate sales” which continues throughout the weekend. I am grateful not to be working today – instead I am going to an intro session for piano lessons and this evening a potluck with dear friends.

For about the last month I’ve been feeling like an old crock as I have had a few aches and pains in my back, shoulders, neck and left hip. It has disturbed my sleep, stiffened me up so I have to roll out of bed slowly in the mornings, made me limp when I get up off the couch. I think it might be due to my overly enthusiastic efforts at getting back into weight training – I really wanted to feel fit and strong but it backfired and left me whinging and wincing like an old curmudgeon.

I’ve been to the chiropractor twice this week (she found a lot out of alignment) and had a massage last weekend. This week I have more therapeutic appointments to make because I really don’t like it when my body is not flexible and pain-free.

Anyway, enough of my whining. Things to do, people to see. Better get on with it. Have a wonderful weekend, peeps!

 

 

 

WIP: Demelza Week Three

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The 16 small squares are done. This blanket is made working from the centre out. The centre square is crocheted first, then the four rectangles that will be attached on all four sides of that square, then these 16 squares will be joined into blocks of four and placed in all four corners.

The designer has you use only two colourways – so eight and eight. I went rogue and used 14 colours plus the 15th (lime) for bordering, so they are all different.

Later I will have to work out how they will go together, but for now I can get on with the next part of the pattern.

On the drive home today, which will be at least two hours, I may weave in ends on the Peacock Tail Bag pieces.

Saturday night was interesting. A big storm whipped up, there was lightning, there was wind, there were pine cones hitting the roof, and my power went out. Wifi continued for an extra half an hour (apparently it has a back up battery) then went out. I had to make do with candles for light. The more inconvenient part of the power going out was that the pump for the water supply was also not working so I had to make it all night with only the small amount of water in the filter jug. I didn’t bother trying to wash my face or brush my teeth.

While the wind was at its strongest, I thought I heard a thud, but put it down to thunder. Well after I had climbed into bed I heard a chainsaw going and realised that the driveway behind the cottage had been blocked by falling trees and the neighbour was clearing it. That was a little close for comfort.

Next day, I had a text message that there was bottled water in the main house, so I helped myself, had a quick wash and breakfast, and went out walking to see what damage the storm had brought. Not only had trees fallen across the neighbour’s driveway, but two more had come down along the road to the highway. There is only one way in and out here – it’s a No Through Road – so some of the residents had had to park on the road and walk to their houses. Or, in the case of my hosts, stay elsewhere for the night.

I walked for a couple of hours and when I got back BC Hydro had worked their magic and fixed the power line. It was lovely to be able to (a) flush the toilet, (b) make a cup of tea and (c) fire up the laptop and see what I missed!

That was enough excitement for the weekend.

Tai Chi Man joined me at the cottage yesterday afternoon as his conference was over. This morning, we have to pack up and clean up, but aren’t in a rush to get going. It’s wet and cool and we are quite happy tucked indoors.

Happy Monday to all!

What to do in a holiday cottage when it’s raining

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I have no shortage of things to do. With hindsight, I probably should have gone out for a short walk before the rain started, but I deferred it in favour of crocheting, thinking I’d get out later on. We shall see! I don’t mind getting wet, but I only brought one sweater with me that I need indoors and I don’t have a backup.

So I have food, tea, crochet, colouring supplies, an ebook, an actual book…and I can also do some yoga stretches, some of which I did earlier but it would be a good idea to get off the couch now and again and stretch some more. Things in the shoulder area do actually feel a bit better since yesterday’s massage.

Week Three of the Demelza blanket CAL is going well. Since breakfast this morning, I have done all the round ones and twos of 16 squares. These will be five-round squares and I am going to make the last round the same colour in all of them, similar to the pattern. The major difference is that the pattern says to make eight in one colour combination and eight in another combination, but ending all rounds with green, and what I am doing is using all of my colours for a more random look.

What I did was make 16 round ones in 14 of my colours (I have 15 but I’m using lime to do all the round fives), obviously duplicating two of the colours.

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And then I added all the round twos, again having to use two colours twice, but being careful not to put the same colours together.

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Doing this production-line style seems a lot quicker than doing one whole square at a time. Quicker colour decisions, easy to memorise and repeat the pattern for that round, and I’m weaving in ends as I go.

I know that only we yarny types will understand the warm fuzzy feeling we get from seeing a little stack of squares like this…

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Owls, deer and stinkbugs

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Well, that made a change for a title, didn’t it!

It’s my retreat weekend and I have taken myself off for a few days at a friend’s cottage by the lake, complete with new magenta hair (thanks Joan)!

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While Tai Chi Man goes to his own weekend conference location (pleasure not business) I am enjoying my own. We were up at 5am and while getting ready we heard this weird hooting sound. TC Man reckoned it was owls, so I stepped out on the back deck that leads out from the kitchen and in the dawn light, which was beautiful on its own, two owls swooped overhead and perched in the very tiptops of the trees at the bottom of the garden. Wow! That was an unexpected treat. Worth getting up early for, I’d say.

It took a couple of hours to get to the conference centre and drop husband off. I then returned to the nearest town for a pre-booked massage. Yikes!  It may have only been half an hour but it was a powerful one. I don’t think I’ve been massaged that deeply before – she did my neck, shoulders and back because that’s what I requested – I’ve had a lot of pain in that area for weeks now and it’s time to take time out for some self care. I’ll be booking some chiro when I get back.

Afterwards I headed out to find the cottage, forgetting to check the address or directions while I had wifi. Well,  I knew which road I had to drive down, I just didn’t know the number of the house, so at one point I turned around thinking I’d missed it. I turned around a couple more times after that, even calling TC Man and asking if he could look up the address. Thankfully he picked up the call and found it out for me and I realised that I hadn’t been going far enough down the lakeshore road. The deer in this story come in here – if I hadn’t been going back and forth trying to find the house, I’d have missed seeing the doe and her two fawns (who hadn’t yet learned road sense). Beautiful creatures (I will never understand people who can look at a deer and shoot it).

So finally I found the cottage and the door is covered in stinkbugs. They are outside, a few are inside, and after settling in I felt I should evict the indoor ones so I didn’t step on them or find them in my food. I think I got them all.

A short walk from the cottage is the beautiful lake, where I sat and mulled over some things that have been on my mind. While sitting there, three trains passed by on the opposite side – they were all really long – the first one I counted 70 cars before giving up. It reminded me that when we camped in this area years ago with the kids we would be woken up at night by train whistles.

I was startled by a creature appearing at my side. I hadn’t heard it approach so when it put its head near my right shoulder I jumped. It was a black labrador that was thankfully very friendly. I petted him and he sat by me for a while. After collecting some interesting rocks with sparkly bits in, I headed back to the cottage.

My crochet spot here is perfect: couch, lamp, crocheted granny square blanket (as soon as I saw that in the closet I pulled it out), table for my laptop with a socket not far away for charging. I have completed part five of the Peacock Tail Bag CAL (well, the front, anyway) and dashed outside to get a quick photo before I lost the light.

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Now to get on with the back piece and then next week I can look forward to joining and finishing off the top of the bag.

I plan to have a very relaxing weekend and hope you get to do whatever gives you joy this weekend.

 

 

 

WIP: Demelza – awesome hooky skillz

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I whizzed through the remainder of the four rectangles today by settling myself on the couch with my laptop, Netflix (Zoo) and my bag of yarn for most of the afternoon and evening. Obviously I had to take a break to make and eat dinner but I stayed up late until the last stitch was finished, despite the fact that I was up early this morning, and I’d like to be up early tomorrow morning.

And of course I am delaying my rest by blogging about it!!!

Now my butt is sore from all the sitting, and I have a little bit of a headache, but it’s so nice to be on schedule with week two of the blanket. Tomorrow, the next part of the Peacock Tail Bag is released and I will be ready.

I do have a couple of other small projects I want to tackle. Tai Chi Man and I ordered new phones (unlocked, Android) from Amazon and are passing our basic ones on to the boys. They’ve never had phones of their own before – they are pay-as-you-go, which is what we’ve always done, and really just for phone calls and texting. They won’t have a data plan, only wifi.

So Tai Chi Man and I will now have larger phones that need larger crocheted cases to protect them from the bumps and scrapes of life. They do a good job when kicking around inside a backpack though one does have to take them out of the cosy to use them. The downside of that was demonstrated today when I dropped mine in a parking lot and it came apart. It has a couple of scratches on the edges now, but thankfully still works and didn’t end up disappearing down the nearby drain.

Hope your week is awesome!

 

 

WIP: Demelza Week Two

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The Demelza blanket has four rectangular sections that will later be joined to all four sides of the centre square. These are pretty straightforward, being made up mostly of double crochets (trebles in the UK) plus some front post stitches to create the effect of flowers.

I started the first rectangle last night, but realised after three stripes that I had made a mistake with my colour choices, so it was frogged (rip it, rip it) and I started again. That was a chunk of my evening wasted, but I do love the way it looks now.

After a good long steep hike with a friend this morning, I was able to have some quality time with my hook and yarn this afternoon (interspersed with a bit of laundry and some dinner prep) and the first rectangle was finished. The second was started tonight but the combination of being up early this morning plus a decent amount of exercise is causing me to droop and it’s only 9pm or so. Not sure how much more I will do this evening so thought I’d post a quick update here before I got too tired.

I didn’t smooth out the square before  getting a photo of the two pieces side by side but you can see the colours I ended up using (13 of the 15). The gauge is a bit different on each piece too, but I’m sure it’ll all be fine when joined and blocked (famous last words)!

I hope you enjoyed your weekend. Happy crafting!