::Returning::

Oh my it has taken a while to get around to this post. Returning from holiday, returning to school, returning back to the rhythm of life after a stupidly hectic Autumn term.

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Paris and France seem like an incredibly long time ago; wandering in the steaming streets following the summer downpours, a visit to L’Oisive The (even though it was closed for the french national holiday fortnight), balconies and beautiful architecture at every turn, great coffee, the views from the Eiffel Tower, the smell of freshly baked pattisserie, fields full of maize, sunflowers and grapes, returning to the farmhouse for simple freshly cooked dinners.

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It was a swift return straight into school with a bump, returning home on Friday and back to school Monday, having washed, cleaned, filled up cupboards of food, planned lessons and whooooosh, there I was back in class with a lovely bunch of new Year 6 children. We are studying The Victorians so the class is themed around Sherlock Holmes, at the moment.

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The following weekend it was the returning of my eldest E to Leeds for year two of Music production and composition. Moving him into his new flat, with flatmates and a new location for him to investigate, new relationships for him to forge and a new set of challenges for him has taken it’s toll on him and consequently me too. I miss him._DSC0098

A twenty second wedding anniversary meal followed the next weekend; returning to the two of us in the next few years is something we have begun to talk about. When both of our boys are at university, exploring their path through the world and it is just the two of us at home isn’t, in reality, too far away. I have mixed emotions about it. Having a house full of laughter, little feet, daily, hourly, investigations and wonder with small children will be replaced by time spent together again, returning to the two of us of twenty or so years before. I relish the thought of coming and going as we please. I look forwards to seeing our boys, now almost men, make their way and supporting, enjoying, and feeling so incredibly proud of their skills, personalities and choices.

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Returning to Yarndale the next weekend was amazing; taking my Mum as a birthday treat, catching up with Lucy from Attic24 and Amanda from The natural Dye Studio. Showing off my Poncho and my kaleidoscope blanket to them filled me with joy. So much in common, so many shared pleasures and time to indulge and share. Lovely. Treating my lovely Mum to the Yarndale trip filled me with such pleasure, the kind of pleasure you get from being generous and unselfish with your time for the delight of others. Spending time with my one year old nephew and my ‘baby’ brother in nearby Harrogate over the weekend and his “How long does it take to look at wool?” comments made me smile.yarndale 14 2yardale 2014Then there was the many happy returns of J’s fiftieth birthday weekend last week. Yes my husband is a whole big fifty! Where did the time go? He had no idea of the surprise birthday party, returning to my brother’s house to host it. We enjoyed a love filled, family filled day of reminiscence, memories and laughter and a wonderful hillwalking cake made by my lovely mum. Then I was forty five the following day. Hmmmmm…..

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So here I am with a half term of …. no plans. Wow. I have some catching up to do, the house needs some love, tidying, and sorting. I am full of cold, I have shared my germs unfortunately as I have shared my past four weekends. I am in need of some crochet therapy and intend to do just that. Recharge my batteries, drool over my Yarndale purchases, reflect on my last few weeks and return myself to full health before round two and the run down to Chrsitmas. Oh boy, it looks like it will be some ride! :O)xx

::Simple Mixtures::

I often think about how life can, at times, be a wonderfully simple mixture of a whole bunch of happy things. A great cup of coffee, a piece of homemade cake or a snatched moment of something creative. Crochet, family, food and a feast of sensory delights is my idea of the simple life – not necessarily in that order – a happy mixture.  So today I focussed on the things around me that brought me a simple pleasure – May Mixtures.

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Whilst catching up with all my Facebook and Blog friends, I saw this cushion and was immediately reminded of Lucy’s projects over at Attic24 for Yarndale this year. She’s championing Mandalas- It’s May Mandala Mayhem! The idea is really simple but incredibly effective. I saw this photograph a while ago, and it happens to be the same one that has inspired Lucy with her Yarndale project, from Finnish artist Anu Tuominen. Simple and stunning.

ImageThen there is the amazingly glorious Babette blanket from Ellblo on Ravelry, this stash busting arrangement of granny squares is the best I’ve seen so far. I LoVe LoVe it so much. It makes my heart squeeze and swell with adoration. Simple mixtures of colour and sizes, no black or white was her only rule. It works brilliantly.

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It always fills me with delight waking on Saturday mornings after a hectic week at work, to my crochet, Saturday Kitchen and a lovely leisurely breakfast with super good coffee and maybe even toast! Toast is such a simple pleasure- buttery, crispy and warm. No time during the week, oh no, porridge it is at 6.30am to fill me up until playtime (10.30am). Oh yes, toast is a simple pleasure for a simple life especially when someone else makes it for you!

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J decided to take me and little J out for lunch. We decided to go to Priest’s MiIl at Caldbeck again as I haven’t been since I was ill at February half term. I found my first glimpse of the bluebells that begin to fill the verges and hedgerows here, they sweep beautifully , nodding their heads in the breeze.ImageImage

Aren’t they just adorable?

Lunch was a simple affair; leek and cheddar tart and a mixture of delicious homemade salads, (they do the best apple chutney) with another good coffee. In fact it has been a good coffee day!

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A pop into the Wool Clip, for more Wild Wood Wool from Cecilia and Jean’s collection of delicious yarns. I went for a mixture of darker plum, grey and navy shades this time. I have a quick and easy project in mind. Image

On the return journey home we passed some beautiful trees, I just had to take a photo of them. Simple colours in nature but stunning.

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Today seems to have been a mixture of lots of simple little bits and bobs, but I think they come together well enough in their own patchwork of simple snapshots.  It always fills me with joy to be reminded of the simple things around me, pulling me out of work mode and the intensity of work life at this time of year with the year sixes and all their changes. Enjoying the simple pleasures of life, mixtures and bubbles of calm moments, help to ground me over the weekends. Recharging my batteries, connecting with the world around me and stopping me in my tracks to appreciate all that is simple and good in my life brings me calm. I cherish it all. :O)xxxxx

::Kaleidoscope blanket- progress::

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Lots of pictures for my colourful Kaleidoscope Blanket Mystery CAL from The Natural Dye Studio, I’m just completing the attaching of the motifs for February and have started to hook the ones for March. I’m a little behind, having been rippling along on my ripply blanket for a little hooky break, but I’m love, love loving the progress and therapy of this blanket. I introduced this blanket back in March after making some progress with it and finishing other WIP’s.Image

It’s beautiful hand-dyed merino wool and I’m working it on a 3.5m hook, so that my tension matches the size the triangles need to be. The beauty of this blanket is the mysterious nature of receiving a package in the post, filled with the scrummiest and loveliest yarn, winding it all up, then exploring and figuring out the colour combinations for the motifs. The Photo album on my Facebook page has the very beginnings of the blanket and shows the progress made, even with the travelling motif making in the car!ImageImage

Anyone not familiar with the Natural dye Studio, should have a peep over at their Facebook page (there are links to their website too) and revel in the colour, designs and magnificence of Amanda Perkins’ designs. I first saw her at yarn dale and I will be meeting up with Amanda at Woolfest this June. She has some fabulous ideas, including the completed and cryptically photographed finished Kaleidoscope Blanket!

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This is her recent Supernova Blanket.

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So I’ll be hooking away at my colourful Kaleidoscope Blanket for the next few weeks, winding the newly arrived package of yarn and watching the pattern unfold. We even have a Ravelry group to see each others progress- but no peeping at the next stage. Spoiler Alert!!!!!!!!

:: My Crochet Blanket love ::

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It always  fills me with enormous pride and love when I finish a crochet blanket and can see it in all of it’s glory. I’m really quite good at visualising what my blankets will look like when they are completed, but it’s not the same as when they are there in front of you with all of the intricacies, colour combinations, pulling and tugging of ends, fiddly finger work and endless counting and stitchery combinations finally worked together for the reveal and Ta-Dah. I do so love the blankets I have completed so far on my rekindled crochet journey. I love that I have been able to give pleasure to others by passing them on. I love that I have been able to fire up the crochet passion in my young niece and her desire for making crochet granny square blankets for her dolls, and the maturity of her request for a grown up girl blanket for her newly decorated bedroom.

What could be better than passing on and gifting a beautifully made, personalised handmade crochet blanket to the next generation – a keep sake she will forever know as Aunty Karen’s crochet blanket? It fills me with HuGe amounts of blanket love.

So I decided to embark on a little trip down the last 8 months of Crochet Blanket Memory Lane. Would you like to come too?

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My first blanket ever ever…not from the last 8 months but made by me when I was 11. My next door neighbour’s 17 year old daughter Susan started me off with remnants of baby wool and any other bits I could find in my Mum’s and her Mum’s stash. I remember sitting there all fingers and thumbs but then suddenly getting all the way round and adding new colours, keeping going and then the joy as it grew and grew. I have kept this blanket safe and sound; it has cuddled both of my baby boys and then stayed draped lovingly on my bedroom chair to remind me of the stages of my life.

Then last year inspired by many crochet magazines on the shelf in the supermarket, something just struck a cord with me. I went to the wool shop and I bought some yarn. 18 delicious and amazing colours of King Cole pricewise – a budget DK acrylic- but great all the same. I had a vase of my favourite flowers, tulips on the kitchen table, so decided to use them as inspiration for the colours!

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I found Lucy at Attic24, who inspired me to try other patterns and combinations.There was the festival granny stripe blanket. I started this blanket at the Cambridge Folk festival last summer, our last family holiday before E went off to University.

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I made a blanket to give to E’s girlfriend for her 18th birthday, a keepsake gift. I love to give presents and one that is homemade with love is always something special I think. She loves Cath Kidston- this was Cath Kidston-esque.

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Then there was the blanket I made for Little Em who requested a big girls blanket for her birthday. I’m really pleased with the retro feel of this blanket, the oatmeal colour sets of the bright and mute colours beautifully.

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Currently I am working on an amazing project blanket; my lovely hubby got me a club blanket member ship for my Christmas present. I saw Amanda and The Natural Dye Studio projects at Yarndale. I totally and completely fell in love with her blankets and yarns. I did prompt J into the right direction and oh boy, it is beautifully wonderful. Here is where I am up to. I will keep you up to date with my Kaleidoscope Blanket on my Ravelry, Facebook and Flickr.

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So how did you enjoy my little journey? I loved looking back at the blankets so far this year – I can’t wait to show you the rest of the projects I have planned, with my double Lucy packs of yarn from Deramores waiting patiently for  blanket or two! Happy hooking people!

::Kaleidoscope Blanket Club::

Hi, just a quick post to show you the amazing Kaleidoscope blanket club I’m working on. It’s my super-lovely christmas present from my lovely hubby from The Natural Dye Studio. I saw Amanda and her amazing blankets, yarns and projects at Yarndale last year, and just knew that the Kaleidoscope blanket was something I would love to do. The fabulous idea is that it is revealed to you month by month, an you have no idea what the finished blanket will look like until nearly the end. Genius!!

My first bundle of kaleidoscope club yarn skeins arrived in the new year with the starter pattern and motifs.

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Doesn’t it look beautiful? It is gorgeously soft and indulgent. 100% single thread 4ply Merino.Image

I got my yarn all wound up into balls ready.

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I’ve got some motifs completed with my 3.5mm hook

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And I’m so excited to get the rest done. I’ve ben checking it out on flickr and Ravelry and there is an additional group where club members can have a chat an a sneaky peep at the stages completed.

Off to do a couple more motifs… will keep you posted!!

:: Year End Review: 2013: Part Two::

So here it is… part two. In some words (but mainly pictures). It took me so very long to get the pictures sorted I have resolved to organise my photo library for the new year!! A New Years resolution I hope to keep! Enjoy :o)xx

•∆• July

July 2013

Camping at the Cambridge Folk festival, finishing my Sunshine Granny Square Blanket, Ta-Dah post here, and new yarn arrives for Festival granny stripe blanket!

•∆• August

August 2013

Rome and Pompeii was AmAzInG!!! Amazing weather, amazing sights and history and amazing company. Our first family holiday without E was a bit emotional but we moved on and we're ok! Plodding on with new projects.

•∆• September

September 2013

E went on his way to Leeds College of Music and so so so proud we are, you can read all about it in my post here! My studio in the HayLoft was finished. School started back and the old routine of life springs back quickly. Weekends are taken up with visits to Leeds while E settles in. We all miss him. :o( However a super special trip to Yarndale cheers me up no end with my friend Fi!

•∆• October

October 2013

Tutti-fruity lampshade is finished see the Ta-Dah post here. J and I have our birthday, and we splash out on a night at the malmaison in Leeds and visit E at the same time. Half term visit to Saltaire was wonderfully relaxing and a bonus visit to E too! :o)

•∆• November

November 2013

Cold, cold, cold… wet and windy too. But beautifully Autumnal, see here for an autumn walk. Bonfire night, busy with my Autumn Wreath and the little details for that. So happy with it's completion- a new challenge having never made one before.

•∆• December

December 2013

With a deeply satisfying sigh we reach the end of the year. E home from College, end of a challenging school term and a joyous time making and creating presents for friends and family. Chilly hands dug down deep in pockets for a head clearing Boxing day walk.

It is so lovely, happy and satisying to look back over my year – finding crochet again around late spring and beginning my blog and Facebook page. It felt strange 'talking' and sharing my life with the great wide world, but that has now become such a blessing when I look back over my year in print and photos.

Thank you to anyone and everyone who has supported me, with comments, likes, and shares- they mean a lot!

I look forwards to finding new 'friends' and learning more, trying more and challenging myself to even greater heights!

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favourite MixTures from the year 

::2013: Year end review: part one::
::Transition::
-Lovely – Sunny Festival Granny stripe blanket!-
- Whilst the weather…-
::It's great to have a catch up…::

::Ta-Dah!!!!! Flower Burst cushion ::

Ta-Dah!!!!


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Front and back views…


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I have been working on this cushion for only a couple of weeks – B.Y. (before Yarndale) – and it has come together so quickly and satisfyingly!

In the beginning…

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I purchased a lovely feather filled cushion, and some violet and purple shades of yarn, Stylecraft and King Cole that I originally thought I'd work for a tonal look!

But that changed…

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 I found a little bit of help from Lucy at Attic24


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and I just kept frilling and hooking…


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 See what I mean about the colours? A bit of green crept in and then…


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 Some yellow, some blue and some orange and then it grew, and it grew and it grew until… 


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(yes there were more not-purple colours added) it was the right size! It really did blossom and burst, and it feels amazing!! All those ripples, ruffles and pretty petals. GoRgEoUs!


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So then to do the back! Start with the chain and DC stitches just like Lucy says…


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 The back worked up really quickly, increasing 5 stitches every alternate row, just like the front. I finished it with a pretty red coloured ruffle of petals around the edge. I completed this at my stitching group this month and it was a lovely, relaxing feeling getting to the end of this lovely cushion. I was alomost sad that the creative and organic approach I took with this project was coming to an end.

Eventually I attached the two together. I actually stitched the pad into it, I'm sure it won't need to come out very often!

And so here it is… Ta-Dah!!! In it's lovely place in the longe all cosy, colourful and eyecatching. I'm pleased I changed my colour ideas, and I love the variety of it. Happy happy! :o)xx


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Hope youlike it! Now to finish my granny square cushion, that has been on the back burner for a couple of months! Will post pictures soon. :o)

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