::Being mindful::

So it’s the end of February and I’m remarkably well. Not wanting to tempt fate and all that but feeling quite good. I am being more mindful…. For me that means saying no, understanding I am one person and only can do so much, being able to recognise what I have achieved and the biggest challenge for me, accepting myself. Yes I would love to be a stone lighter, yes I would very much like to be awake at 10pm instead of falling asleep half way (if I’m lucky) through a movie and I would very much like to enjoy chocolate, bread, cheese and wine without feeling ill the next day. But these things are minor.

teaI have a lot to be mindful and thankful for. I’m loving my new job; yes there are challenges, 4 maternity leaves to cover with half of my senior leadership team having babies. My to do list increase daily without ever hoping to reduce. I am eating, sleeping and dreaming about school and all the possibilities, plans and the differences we can make to the children. The children are fantastic, they make the long hours worthwhile. I’m constantly mindful of what I can do to improve their life experiences. I’m also busy busy making the first of those four baby blankets- this particular one is for a nursery being decorated in chevrons, stars and using a colour scheme of white, grey, lime and purple. She doesn’t know what she is having, so I think she has covered all bases there!

baby gj2

Then there is my wonderful family, two gorgeous sons (l can’t call them boys now at 17 and 20) and their fantastic dad, my Hubby. They keep me safe from myself, anchor me when I wobble and are always there to prop me up when I need a boost. They are mindful, as am I, that the times we have together now as a family are precious. They will be off into the world to explore and their own lives, hopefully as equipped for adventure as possible. Well at least E has his new blanket, a man-ghan I believe they are called! I have loved making this C2C stitch blanket using a colour recipe from The Patchwork Heart and the stitch instructions from the Felted Button.

eliot blanket

Being mindful, enjoying the moment, connecting to the world around us. I did this at an exhibition this week at Rheged a local venue which hosts many beautiful textile works and events. If you are up north this way in the next few weeks I thoroughly recommend a trip to see it. It is stunning; the colours and the way the Harris Tweed is born from the land and the environment. I sat and immersed myself in the beauty of the images by Ian Lawson.

rheged

rheged2

There are walks and journeys around his beautiful area that I live in- The Lake District National Park. Simply stunning and just on my doorstep.

viewSo as I look out at the dreary, Cumbria rain which we get a lot of, I am happy to be making baby blankets and playing with designs and colours. I’m happy to be travelling through the beautiful western Lake District every day on my way to and from work, especially now the mornings and nights are getting lighter. I’m happy to be going away to Kendal with my lovely hubby to recharge my batteries and enjoy some pampering together before the craziness of school returns on Monday. I’m happy to be mindful. Xx

Heellloooo, I’m still here!

Hellooooooooo…… (taps on glass)….. anyone there?blanketsIt has been an awfully long time since I said hello and put fingers to the WordPress keyboard! A lot has happened.

And it has all changed…

So what have I been up to? I returned to school fit and healthy in September in my role as Deputy Head teacher and had a wonderful few weeks where I remained healthy. I saw my Endocrinologist… she was lovely and put me on the right track with my Addison’s disease medication. She also reassured me that I was ok to feel the way I did – annoyed, frustrated and limited some days. But continued to remind me that being mindful and kinder to myself was the way to go. I knew she was right!lifeI was then ummming and ahhhing about whether to go for the Headship I really wanted – lots of questions in my mind about whether I would cope physically, mentally, emotionally and the stress of the post, moving from my familiar and supportive environment. I decided, with the support of my wonderful family, friends and colleagues, that I would give it a go and wouldn’t let my health hold me back if I could.

Guess what? I got the job!! So In January I started my new role and I am loving it! I have more me time, I’m still healthy (fingers crossed) and this is the first January/February in three years where I haven’t been super-poorly, hospital bound and off work. I’ve even managed to keep going with my crochet projects as you can see (the baby isn’t mine as beautiful and adorable as she is, but the blanket is!).projects

It was lovely to get to the end of the year after a frantic Autumn term and evaluate, as you do, the year as it is ready to pass by. Projects, decisions, events and reflecting on what is manageable, important and necessary. I know that this illness has had a huge affect on me, my family and the way I now look at life. I’m still making my crochet blankets, which I love. I’m still pottering on with my gifts and presents – I love a baby blanket; I love a poncho.

Just wanted to say…It’s good to be back in Blogland. I’m still here! xxxxxxxxx

c2c

::Ta-Dah! Beautiful Retro Baby Blanket ::

I was totally delighted to hear that my friend and work colleague was expecting her first child this Autumn. YAY!! Baby blanket crochet. I started looking for lovely patterns and quickly came across the delightful Amy Astle’s lovely Etsy shop Little Doolally. Oh what wonderful patterns and just the right sizes. I settled on the Beautiful Retro Baby Blanket.

retro 3

I considered my colours carefully knowing that my friend is a Cath Kidson fan, and that she would like something more vibrant than pastel. I also wanted it to be a surprise so couldn’t quiz her too much! I decided on Drops Muskat yarn which I got from Wool Warehouse. I used these colours:

Light blue purpleLilacOff whiteRedPurpleBlueLight GreyOld pinkVanilla yellowTurquoiseDenim blueDark PurpleHeatherDark Olive • Warm yellowApple greenPetrolSky blue

retro2

It really is a simple pattern, single crochet and spike stitch rows and produces a beautiful firm fabric that is quite retro and reminiscent of pram baby blankets back in the day – when I was a little one maybe!

baby b 8

It grew very, very quickly, and I used a pattern repeat after 18 colour stripes.

My stripes were:

Denim • Light blue • Light Olive • Off white • Light grey • Purple • Dark purple • Lilac • Old pink • Heather • Red • Sky Blue • Dark Olive • Turquoise • Blue • Petrol • Warm yellow • Vanilla yellow

baby b 7

baby b 6

Amy’s pattern is so comprehensive and easy to follow.

baby b 5

In no time at all it was nearing the end of the repeats to make the perfect pram size retro baby blanket.

baby b 3

baby b 4

It has turned into quite the heirloom baby blanket that I’d hoped it would be – I loved making it, so satisfying!

baby b 11

I then decided on Petrol, Light grey and Apple green for the border.

baby b

So there it is Ta-DAh! A lovely snuggly baby blanket that I have to tell you my friend and her partner were thrilled with, it made her cry! Just waiting to find out who the lovely lucky little snuggle is – arriving early September if it behaves itself!  Happy hooking :O)xxxxxxx

:: Ta-dah – Cosy Stripe Blanket ::

cosy stripe bI do love crocheting blankets of all shapes and sizes. My first crochet adventure aged 10 was a blanket, and it’s just kind of stuck. Since I returned to crochet a few years ago, with a desire to help me relax, produce something beautiful and help my Creative Mind fulfil it’s need to make, I have made baby blankets as gifts and commissions including five large bed blankets. This last one, the Cosy Stripe Blanket is one of Lucy’s at Attic24 and I actually went for the colour pack. Why? She is so talented at closing her colour combinations, I decided (with my tired and newly diagnosed Addison’s brain) that I – 1. didn’t need the hassle of fiddling with colours and 2. was extremely happy with Lucy’s selection.

lusciously loopy

My friend Lynne at Lusciously Loopy has an online wool shop, so put the pack selection colours together for me. Seventeen colours of Stylecraft Special DK. Then I was off!

I didn’t join the CAL that Lucy held over the Autumn/Winter of 2014/2015 – although some of the results from this were beautiful. So many people adapted it and tweaked it to suit their purposes and desires. Have a look here at some of them Lucy has shared. The pattern is such a simple and effective combination of trebles both single and triple clusters, in a glorious stripe combination. They ramble along, effortlessly, and are so soothing and melodic. It really was a joy. I was quite literally hooked on this pattern from the off. I started it on 29th May 2015.cosy b 29

Lucy’s combinations and careful planning mean that no two sequences are the same – despite using similar combinations of colours.cosy b 10

cosy b 9

You can see how in the sunshine the colours really sing.

cosy b 8cosy b 7

Work and crochet??!!cosy b 5

cosy b 4It went on holibobs with me to Somersault Festival, where there was some Elsie-van crochet action. Then to Dorset where there was going to be some beach crochet action but this happened…

potIn car crochet…car crochet

Crabbies and Crochet at Cambridge Folk Festival…crabbies and crochet

Snoozing and crochet at Cambridge Folk Festival…cosy b

summer hooky

I really cannot stress enough how much easier it is to deal with those pesky ends as you go…cosy b 3

Love the colours. Ahhh

Starting the border. Lucy does say that there may not be enough for the border, and as my tension is probably a little more loose than hers, I didn’t have enough. I had a spare bit of raspberry in my stash that got me through the first round.Then I was planning on using gold, claret and meadow.cosy stripe blanketI ordered another ball of gold and petrol, I didn’t have enough claret but had lots of spare meadow from another project. I finalised the border with gold, meadow the petrol. I love the petrol as my last edge, but it is a thirsty round. Make sure you have enough!

cosy stripe border

So here it is. TA-Dah!!!! I love it. It’s a substantial size and weight – more than big enough for a single bed and super-cosy as the name suggests.

cosy stripe

Isn’t it beautiful? So well balanced.

20150818_15255620150818_152314

20150818_152445

I love the way the border has definition and picks up the blue tones from the blanket. 20150818_152321

It will now have a place in my blanket pile, the ones I haven’t given away. I’m not good at giving them away as they take up so much time and effort. This blanket has been so therapeutic, helping me to recover, redress the stress balance and refocus my energies since my diagnosis.

blanketsblankets 2

I hope you enjoyed the colourfest that is Cosy Stripe Blanket. I’m going to use the pattern again I loved it so much. New colour combinations are waiting to be discovered. Will you do a cosy stripe blanket? You won’t regret it. :O)xxxxx

 

 

:: Making progress – in more ways than one ::

blankets

Ooooh it’s been a while hasn’t it? After my last post about my Addison’s Diagnosis, I’ve been concentrating on getting well, making progress with the new ‘normal’ that my life has developed and began understanding how my body is now feeling. I’m being kinder to myself, and I think it’s working!

So there are many things that have made progress in the past few months – I haven’t stopped crocheting! Oh no, I’ve made progress with a number of projects. As you can see I finished most recently my Cosy Stripe Blanket, one of Lucy Attic24′s lovely packs and patterns. I got my pack from my friend Lynne at Lusciously Loopy wool shop, and here is her blog. I loved this project – Ta-Dah coming very sooooon.

lusciously loopy

cosy stripe

However you may remember I was working on a present for a colleague/friend – a beautiful baby blanket. This is one of Amy Astle’s patterns over at Little Doolally, the Retro baby blanket. You can buy the pattern from her Etsy shop by clicking here. I made it with Drops Muskat cotton which I got from Wool Warehouse (love Wool Warehouse for their super delivery and gorgeous project bags). The colours are my own choice and I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. I’ll make a ta-dah post for this later. My friend loved it.

baby b

baby b 10

Then I’ve been making progress with this…

pot

Yes I broke my wrist on holiday. That was a shock to the system, literally. As an Addisonian, I needed to give myself Cortisol, to act on my body to cope with the stress of both the fall which was quite a bump and jolt, and the pain of the break. I don’t make adrenaline ( the stress hormone) so I have to self medicate now. I dealt with it well, didn’t pass out, crisis averted! But a funky pot was needed and three weeks on, I’m making progress in both crochet technique which has had to be adapted, and also in flexibility. That crochet hook might come in handy for a few itches under that pot soon!

Next I have a few projects to start making progress with:

A beautiful Four Seasons blanket by Crochetobjet by MoMalron again I am using Drops Muskat which I loved from the Baby blanket. The colours are so crisp and jewel-like. I’m finding it a little awkward getting started with my limited left hand grip, but we’ll see how that goes.

four seasons

momalron blanket

Then there is this stunner by Heather at The Patchwork Heart. I love the colour work in this SoOoOo muchly!patchwork heart c2c

grey1

I can’t decide whether to make the corner to corner, the squares blanket, or actually use the cosy stripe pattern from my last Attic24 blanket to make it. Which do you think? I’m hoping my 20 year old Uni son will like it, I think it will make a beautiful Managhan! Pack delivered and at the ready! (See what I mean about the beautiful bags).

grey blanket

Finally I’m carrying on with my gorgeous Natural Dye Studio Kaleidoscope Blanket by Amanda Perkins. It was a Christmas present from J. I had to pause making this blanket as it is so fine, and I found my eyes getting strained – I later realised this was a symptom of my new health issue.20140823_170757

 With that in mind I’ve been winding the last packs of yarn I have put off. It was a lovely day in the sun.

winding

So there you go. Making progress. I’m learning to enjoy the slower, smaller details as I adjust and develop my understanding of what my body needs. I’m very lucky; my family are patient, supportive and let me indulge my crochet pastimes. When I finished my Cosy Stripe Blanket, I was met with “What, another blanket Mum?  Where’s this one going?” “An uncontrollable need to hook, son,” was the answer. They know it helps me to destress and stay calm – I’m a blanket and big project kind of girl! Something I think they’re actually quite thankful for as they snuggle under them on the sofa.  Happy hooking. :O)xxxxxxxx

::Hexagon happiness::

Oh how much happiness can there be in a little hexagon of crocheted loveliness? Well a lot actually! Whilst waiting for my new yarn to arrive from Wool warehouse for my Simply Crochet poncho project (a bit of a filler whilst I recover – see here), I decided to extend the glorious colourfulness I enjoyed with my Cosy Ripple Blanket and make something with the teensy weeny bits and bobs left over.20150206_102645So hexagons it is! Oh and how much hexagon happiness I am enjoying.hex 2Something I’ve never tried before is the join as you go- which is AmAzInG!!! I love it – it grows and grows so cleverly. I have been careful where to place the motifs though, so that the colours are even and random.20150209_16250120150206_102615Here is how I make my hexagon motif: I started off with a chain of 4 slip stitches together in colour A. Then join colour B, and chain 3, 1 treble into the ext space, chain 1 then 1 treble into the next space until there are 12 trebles. Join to the 3rd space of the chain and change to colour C. Chain three (this counts as the first treble) then I’ve made 3 trebles into each space around the little circle and then close with a chain into the 3rd space on the first ‘treble’. Next, chain three and slip stitch into the space at the end of the first treble set, chain three again and repeat all the way round until back at the 3 chain. Then using the same colour, treble 3 into the space made under the chain, chain 2 then 3 trebles into the same space again. This forms a corner. Then 3 trebles into the next space under the next chain, then make a corner again into the next 3 chain space along. Keep going all the way round until you have 6 sides and corners!

20150209_162439Ta- dah! A hexagon! I had a peep at this very handy “how-to’ guide over on Tangled Yarns. It will help to see the really clear pictures of how to join.20150209_162423Also – I’m picking my motif colours totally at random! As long as it’s not already in the motif I’ll use it. This has made for some surprisingly good colour combos, and some that have been ‘ok’. But I said I’d do it randomly so I have stuck to it, as difficult as it has been sometimes. Still deciding what I’m going to make. Might make a shawl-like scarf, a table runner or an end of bed runner to keep mine and J’s feet warm in this cold spell we’re having. But for now I’m enjoying the hexagon happiness rhythm and flow. Pop back soon, :O)xxxxxxx

::Ta-Dah! Cosy Ripple Blanket::

20150204_121725I’m so happy to be revealing this lovely Cosy Ripple blanket to you, I’ve worked hard on it now since mid November and I’m delighted with the results, so here goes with the run through!

The design process for me is SO important when ever I am working on something of my own idea and I find it difficult to start without a clear direction. This project all started wen I saw 5ftinf on Lucy @Attic24‘s blog page and I was captured by the beautiful simplicity of her arrangements. I call them arrangements as I’m not sure what else to call them – they are a wondrously, colourful collection! So I went and made my own – foraging for the colours and textures of Autumn, my locality, the ones that made me smile and sigh. I was pretty chuffed with my results.

ripple 6

Then came the rummaging through the stash, I had lots of Stylecraft Special Dk  from the Wool Warehouse left over from other projects and I had bought a Lucy pack (the one with 17 colours in it) so I had plenty of colour inspiration to go with. The colours I chose were:

Meadow• Teal• Plum• Clematis•Copper•Clover•Spice•Claret•Walnut•Lime•Denim•Pomegranate• Khaki•Camel•Emperor•Wisteria•

I played around with them, the different combinations and the light and shade. It is important to see how the colours look in tones just as much as the colours and hues. I decided to do just one row in each colour in that order.

20150204_123054

So with my little pegs of wonder ready- I began the whole process of my Cosy Ripple.

20150205_200002

I knew the length I wanted it to be, to cover the seat in Elsie my new caravan, so promptly started with 212 foundation chains + 3 for turning. That would give me 53 sets of a 4 stitch ripple. I followed Lucy’s neat ripple stitch – no point in reinventing the wheel!
ripple 5It grew and it grew and it grew. The ripple stitch has such a calming rhythm.

autumn ripple

ripple 3And it grew! The colours beginning to blend, mix and form a repeat that I love.

ripple 2

Then it was time for those ends and contemplate the edging.

endsI made two half trebles into each of the spaces along both edges of the blanket, into each stripe. They form little ‘v’ shapes. I used the same colour as I had started and ended the blanket in this case Khaki.

20150130_170626So that the blanket was balanced all round, I then edged it in a simple single half treble, firstly in Claret and secondly in Clover. At the corners I made 2 half trebles, then chain 2, then two half trebles again. This gave me a neat crisp corner.

20150204_121636So here are the glamour shots!! The light was so lovely and clear today in the kitchen that I decided to work a number of poses, just to show off! I make no apologies for how much I adore the colours, the simplicity and the drape of this blanket. I am thrilled.

20150204_121905

 

20150204_121500

 

20150204_121510

 

20150204_121824

20150204_121849

20150204_121805Happy• Happy• Happy•. :O)xxxxxx