Monday 26 April 2021

Non-bead gubbins

Where the heck is time draining away to? I cannot believe how fast the last year and a bit has whooshed by. How can doing nothing, going nowhere and seeing nobody eat time at such an alarming rate? It feels like about three days since my last non-bead post but that one was at the end of March. Crazy.

Anyway, again, not much to report. I had a trip into the city centre for an eye test a couple of weeks ago. I'd not been there since the beginning of March last year when I did the Cambridge half marathon. That event started and finished on Midsummer Common which is home to the Camcattle cows at this time of year so I stopped by to say hello to the beautiful creatures before my eye appointment.

Red Poll cows on Midsummer Common

They are Red Poll cows and they are so calm and happy munching away as people go about their business on and by the common. Here's an article about the cows from a couple of years ago.

There follows a random photo of one of my favourite Cambridge post boxes which I walked past on the way to the optician.

Victorian post box in Cambridge

We have quite a few Victorian post boxes in the city and I love that they're still in use after all these years. I think I was just excited to be not in the shed and out and about and I was like "Oooh, cows! Post boxes! The Hot Sausage vendor! Greggs!" and had to take some photos to mark the moment.

My eye test was meh. I've had glasses for short sightedness for a couple of years now and I only had to wear them when I needed to; for televison watching, the cinema (remember the cinema?) and basically whenever I wanted to properly see anything further than four feet away. The optician said I've got the same problem that watchmakers have in that with the beadmaking I've spent so many years looking at stuff a few inches from my face, my distance vision has suffered. My right eye is particularly bad and I was quite alarmed when I couldn't read the top row of the eye chart with it. It's got much worse since my last eye test so I have new glasses that I have to wear all the time now, so that's taking a bit of getting used to. My up-close vision is crazy good and the new prescription enables me to wear my glasses without them interfering with detailed work, reading and the like. This means I now have to wear prescription specs for making beads so it was goodbye to my didymium glasses and hello to some polycarbonate purple clip-on and flip-up jobs that make me feel like I have the eyes of Johnny 5.

Johnny 5 from Short Circuit

I'm sure I'll get used to the new flameworking face furniture shortly but in the meantime don't be expecting any kind of complex beads because my eyes are still in the process of reprogramming my brain as to where the flame actually is.

In crochet news...

I finished my Rainbow Sampler Blanket on Saturday! 

Rainbow Sampler Blanket - pattern by Haak Maar Raak

I got the blanket all washed and dried the same day and let me tell you it's a flipping delight to cosy under in the evenings.

Rainbow Sampler Blanket - pattern by Haak Maar Raak

I enjoyed crocheting every single row of this blanket, even the ones I had to frog and redo whenever I muffed up.

Rainbow Sampler Blanket - pattern by Haak Maar Raak
So many stitches...

Rainbow Sampler Blanket - pattern by Haak Maar Raak many rows

The blanket is H U G E. It's just under two metres square so it's about the same size as a double duvet.

Rainbow Sampler Blanket - pattern by Haak Maar Raak

Thanks to Kirsten of Haak Maar Raak for such a brilliantly-written, clear and highly enjoyable pattern.

So what's next on the crochet front? Well, I'm working my way through a marvellous book called Granny Square Flair by Shelley Husband of Spincushions. I also have Shelley's Siren's Atlas book and I have learnt so much from both of these books - false stitches, standing stitches and other ingenious ways to create seamless-looking crochet. So yep, I'm making every square from Granny Square Flair at the moment and no doubt they'll become yet another blanket. I have fifteen squares done. The latest five are currently wet blocking but here are the first ten I made.

Crochet squares  - patterns from Granny Square Flair by Shelley Husband

I'm using Rico Creative Cotton DK in the shade Natural. These squares are 150mm and I'm loving all the different patterns and textures. I'm also really enjoying the single colour thing, mainly because the crochet becomes all about the stitches and the pattern instead of colour, but also because there are way fewer ends to weave in!

I started a concurrent crochet project last night (I always like to have two yarn things on the go at once so I can switch between them) and this one is a way to use up some of the massive amount of spare yarn I have left over from the Rainbow Sampler blanket. The pattern I've gone for is the Flowers in the Snow blanket from the Solstrikke blog. Yes, it's another blanket but I adore the challenge of a blanket. There's just something about them. My family had better prepare themselves for blanket gifts because I already have enough of the things here. I'm very much a process crocheter; I like the finished item but I love the process of making of it.

But yes, I started making a bunch of motifs from my leftover Scheepjes Colour Crafter last night. I've put all the yarn in a box and I do a lucky dip of three colours and then make a motif with whichever trio I've picked. This way I'm not overthinking it and I've been pleasantly surprised with a couple of the resulting combinations. They give me bead colour ideas.

Crochet motifs - pattern is Flowers in the Snow blanket by Solstrikke

Alas, each one of these motifs has six ends to weave in and then there will be two more ends per motif when it comes to the joining part of the process so what I'm lacking in ends weavery on the Granny Square Flair squares I'm more than making up for here.

Right, I think that's way more than enough chatter from me. I need to get my arse down the shed, don my Johnny 5s and make some beads. Have a good day!


  1. That's a fab blanket! I think the granny square one is going to be spectacular as well, it's always effective to use a neutral shade and show off the stitchmanship(?)

    I feel time is whizzing past precisely because we have nothing to do or to look forward to, it all just blends into one long Groundhog Day at the moment. Don't like it...

    1. I read this morning that the 400 days we’ve spent in some kind of lockdown equate to 1.75% of the average British adult’s whole life. That’s a shocker.

      Thanks for the lovely comments, Caroline. Really chuffed with the blanket and am thoroughly enjoying the plain white cotton squares.

  2. That’s really lovely Laura. Are you still knitting socks? 😁 B


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