Sunday, 31 May 2015

Block a day - blocks #11 and #12

Pattern #84, p 83

This was the square that I spilled wine over last Sunday.  This isn't using the same yarn, but it's close to the same colour yarn, and it's a really pretty block once it's worked up.  I quite like it.

Finished 29 May.
Pattern #111, pg 100

Why, why, why I decided to do this just after I did "Ripple", with all its multiple ends to tie off, I do not know. I really like it in close colours, although Shell thought it needed more contrast so that she could tell that there were different colours.

Finished 29 May

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Block a Day, blocks #9 and #10

Block #9
"Rose Garden"
Pattern 139, pg 121

I got my counting wrong and so the first green round is a little cobbled-together, but it worked out, I think.  The green "granny" style section is done with 2-tr instead of 3-tr, which constantly confused me
Block #10
Pattern 180, pg 152

Looks great, but incredibly difficult (I challenge the one star rating) and fiddly. Also, we'll have to see what blocking does to it.  I also instagrammed my frustration with the number tails you end up with in ripple patterns

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Currently... 27th May

Watching: less of the Giro this week, because of Richie Porte's bad luck.  Watched to the end of what was available of the Big Allotment Challenge s2 (final episode not on YouTube) and have started watching 1900s House, also on YouTube.  I wish I could find the original (British) narration, but all I can find is the American.

Reading: The Thistle and the Rose, by Jean Plaidy.  Still addicted to the massive File 770 Hugo comment threads.

Listening: Night Terrace 1.3 and 1.4; The Audio Guide to Babylon 5 - which I got to through Verity.

Making: My block a day project

Feeling: mentally and physically exhausted.

Planning: nothing.

Loving: The Audio Guide to Babylon 5.

Block a day project - blocks #7 and #8

Block #7
Pattern 145, p 125

 A bad photograph of the "Rosa" block.  I had to start again after the first round of green, because I'd only done seven petals instead of eight (argh, I can't count).

That said, it's another lovely block that I'm likely to use again.

Finished the morning of 26th May, although the bulk was made during the 25th of May.

Block #8
"Tangerine Dream"
Pattern 92, pg 88

As I've said previously, I'm not entirely sure about my previous variegated yarn blocks, but I can totally cope with variegated final rounds, and I'm really pleased with this block.  Looking at the photo, I suspect the top right hand corner shows where I was accidentally doing 2-ch corners instead of 4-ch (oops!)

The 4-ch, by the way, felt very odd as I was working the square, but the block itself seems to have turned out okay.

Block a Day - blocks #5 and #6

Block #5
Pattern 141, pg 122
Clearly, this block needs blocking.

Even then, I don't know that it will actually work - I rather envisage taking the final round off and doing a different setting for the hexagon.

Finished: 22nd May 2015

Block #6
"Modern Mesh"
Pattern 210, pg  172

Another one that I really like, and can see using in other projects.  There's a somewhat similar pattern, "Spinningfields", that I expect I'll try soon.

I don't know how the corners turned out quite so pointy and twisted, though...

Finished 25 May 2015.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Block a day, blocks #3 and #4 (and an un-numbered block)

Block #3
"Simple Stripe"
Pattern 78, p 78
 The photo in the book shows the block upside down from the way the pattern is written, which drove me nuts.  It's all in dc/sc, and has curled in a little from the tension, and thus definitely needs blocking out.

Finished 23 May, while watching the Eurovision semi-final 2 and drinking...
 Block #4
"Granny's Not Square"
Pattern 284, p 226

I really love the circle offset inside the square, and it was nice and simple to make.  This was a replacement for the one I'll discuss below, and I really needed something straight-forward and uncomplicated.

Finished 25 May 2015, although the bulk was done on the evening of the 24th.

And then there was this...

So, I was at least halfway through "Fans" (pattern 84, p 83) when I noticed a mistake in the third row (see above re crocheting during Eurovision).  So I started to frog it back... and then I knocked over my glass of red wine, right on top of my frogged yarn.  In the photo the yarn is sitting on a paper towel, and if you look closely you can see the wine that has soaked into the paper towel.

I haven't yet washed it out - need to do that tonight - but I'll probably do "Fans" at some point in the project, just not necessarily straight away, and probably with a different yarn.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Block a day, blocks 1 and 2*

The first three blocks I made for this project were in variegated yarn, and they just don't work all that well.  I haven't yet decided whether to a) keep them in the project, b) only use the variegated yarn for border rounds, or c) not use that yarn at all. 

Because I'm not yet so sure of this, I won't be sharing those blocks with you here - which means the numbering as compared to what I've put on Instagram will be all stuffed up. 

I will probably either stop mentioning numbers on Instagram, or instead renumber once I've blogged all the already-completed blocks.

Block 1
Pattern #20, p 40

 This block is so pretty.  I misread the pattern for round one (in part because of mistakes in previous patterns,) but I picked up the mistake pretty quickly.  I will certainly be keeping this one in mind for other projects because, did I mention, it's pretty!

Finished 22 May 2015
Block #2
"Full Moon"
Pattern #185, p 155

Having "finished" this one, I found that it was nowhere near the size of the other completed squares, so I added one more round in the dark purple.  Again it's a lovely looking block, and I'm pleased with the colour choice.  This one I mostly work on Saturday afternoon in between helping with cooking dinner for the evening, and then sitting outside on our patio in the afternoon sun.

Finished 23 May 2015

Introducing the "Block a Day" project

If you happen to follow me on Instagram (chez_stutters), you'll have seen me mention a new crochet project I'm calling "A Block a Day".

For Christmas last year, M. got me Tracey Lords "A Square a Day", and she's been very keen on the idea of me making a crochet sampler.

This past week was incredibly stressful.  Just for starters, the ceiling fell in on my workplace - and I'm not speaking metaphorically.  And after that, other stuff happened.

In what I can only see as a subconscious attempt at stress relief, I started picking a pattern and working on it in an attempt to complete at least one 15 in crochet square per day.

It works out not too badly in part because there is just so much Masterchef on TV at the moment (five days a week), and I can get a fair bit done during an episode as long as the pattern isn't too difficult.

Since Wednesday, therefore, I've made nine blocks, all of them from scraps in my stash.  Today I went out to Spotlight and bought a number of new 100g balls of yarn in the basic colours that I've started off using, so that I can keep going when I run out of stash.

Please note that none of these blocks have been blocked yet.

Finally, I've also set up a little "station" in my craftroom for yarn (in the top basket) and my completed squares in the bottom basket.  (The ball in the bottom left corner is pinker than it looks in this photo.)

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Currently... 20th May

This week's "Currently", thanks to the Memento App :-)

Watching: the Giro d'Italia, which I forgot to mention last week.  Also last week, the occasional stage of the Tour of California, which I mostly missed (sigh).  Also the Big Allotment Challenge (starting s2), Finale of The Amazing Race, and actually watched Survivor again this week, or at least edited highlights.  This weekend: Eurovision!

Reading: The Thistle and the Rose, by Jean Plaidy.  Biggest Brother: the life of Major Dick Winters, by Larry Alexander.

Listening: Night Terrace 1.2 "Terra Australis", omg it's so GOOD!  Verity, Galactic Suburbia, and an episode of Coode Street Podcast that I really need to blog more about over on the book blog.

Making: a crochet basket for scrap threads, and finished the dishtowel stowl. I've begun a Tunisian crochet scarf in.ace stitch, and She'll reminded me about the Block a Day book she got me for Christmas.

Feeling: overwhelmed and out-of-sorts, linked (I suspect) in part to the flooding of my workplace.

Planning: a crochet sampler blanket.

Loving: The photos of Joss Whedon, Clark Gregg and baby Iron Man that Shell just showed me.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Currently - 14th May

(This week I'm posting without links, because I'm running late and I need to get to work.  I'll post links tonight when I get home.)

Watching: I've finished season 3 of Great British Sewing Bee, I'm still working on the Big Allotment Challenge.  A lot of Masterchef, The season-enders of Flash and Arrow.

Reading: A lot of File 770 and Whatever.

Listening: Verity!, Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, and just beginning to listen to The Lazy Doctor Who podcast.

Making: The dishtowel stole is getting closer and closer to done.

Feeling: pleased that something that was going to happen yesterday didn't.  There's cryptic for you.

Planning: well, there's that wedding thing...

Loving: the kittyboys, of course!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A project almost completed: the dishcloth stole

The dishtowel stole began its life as a project in 2010, during a discussion on Maundy Thursday.  My parents and I were staying with our previous Minister for Easter, and somehow got to talking about translations ot the word "stole", and a tradition that the stole was a towel that hung around Christ's neck (or possibly over his shoulder - it's not like we have eyewitness accounts, after all) during the washing of the disciple's feet.

From that conversation, I got the idea for a stole made from dish towels.

And it's taken me until now to get even vaguely closer to having my "proof of concept" version finished.

As of now, I need to finish sewing up the neck, remove the basting, topstitch once around the whole thing - probably at a half inch rather than the quarter-inch quilting I did on my previous, hand quilted stoles - and then add applique crosses.  Clearly, I should have added the crosses before I put the backing on, but see above re "proof of concept".

That said, if any of my clergy-type friends like the idea of a Lent/Advent stole (purple, obvs) made from tea towels and very simple in construction (so, more likely Lent), let me know.  You can have first dibs on this one, or I'll make you a fresh one in light of all I've learnt from this one.  And hopefully it won't take five years for the next one to be completed...

Friday, 8 May 2015

"Currently" Journalling - 7th May, 2015

RUKristin's Currently Journalling challenge is one of those float in-float out challenges that I like, but am not good at keeping up with.

That said, I'm hoping that trying to blog the challenge will help me with PL-ing it.  Plus, it gives me blog content :-)

So, for this week...

Watching: The Big Allotment Challenge, Great British Sewing Bee, lots of Masterchef, because a) it's just started and b) the episodes are very long.

Reading: Cranky Ladies of History, trying for one story per night.  Cicely's King Richard, by Sandra Heath Wilson.  See more on my book blog.

Listening: Galactic Suburbia ep 119; Verity! Extra: Sophie's So Ace.

Making: Mother's Day neckwarmer to deadline (Saturday!)

Feeling: the need to get into definite routines for the house.

Planning: Blog posts and new routines - and helping my partner plan a Cosplay subject for high school students.

Loving:  the Big Allotment Challenge.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Big Allotment Challenge, Season 1, Episode 1

So, the first thing to say is how impressed I am with the way that the story of the episode is edited. Having started at the point of first harvest/judging, the editors then take us back 14 weeks to when the gardeners first began working their allotments, choosing the varieties of seed to plant, etc.

It's relatively clear that they know what vegetable and flower will be judged: the flower design challenge seems a definite surprise, and there is such a variety in the coking challenges that they clearly had some broad choices there as well. 

Each week - they tell us - there will be three challenges; grow, make and eat. 

Grow - this week, it's radishes. My two comments on this challenge are that a) we've not yet tried radishes, although they are apparently one of those crops that you plant and then dig in to replace lost nutrients in the soil, and we will probably plant a crop and the end of winter in at least one of our plots. b) The specialised show techniques and requirements are brilliant. It makes me think of those few times I went to the Royal Melbourne Show with my dad. I don't actually know if they had a vegetable section: we spent most out our time watching the show dogs and then I insisted on visiting the decorated cakes. 

Make - the gardeners had to prepare sweet peas for show, and then make a 'hand-tied bouquet'. To me the flower arrangement challenge is the most pointless, but that may be because I don't grow flowers to cut and put  inside the house. I like my flowers outside the house, in the ground. 

Eat - this is essentially a preserving challenge. This week, it's a jam and a curd, and I have to admit I'm coming from the perspective of only ever having heard of a lemon curd. but clearly the gardeners thought of many other types of curd. My understanding of what a curd is is limited, and sadly it seems that the British audience all knows this automatically, so no explanation was forthcoming. 

I really love this show so far. I'm trying not to post spoilers at the moment, and maybe in the next post I'll post more about the pairs of gardeners, for many of whom I have affectionate nicknames. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Big Allotment Challenge - introduction

Last October, I was down in Melbourne at a four-day conference, and thus enjoying the novelty of cable television.  When I have this chance, I tend to watch a lot of Lifestyle and associated channels.  And on one of these channels was a trailer for the Big Allotment Challenge.

I've become quite a fan of a certain genre of British reality show - the Great British Bake-Off, the Great British Sewing Bee being the two culprits - and the Big Allotment Challenge is right down that same alley.  And so the trailer I saw inspired me greatly, and I went to work to hunt down this awesome looking show.

And I couldn't find it at all, until a FB friend mentioned that it was on YouTube.  Which, okay, I hadn't thought to check, because I don't use YouTube that much in everyday life.

But the upshot is, I found it.  And a second season.  (Whoot!)

So in the past few days I've begun watching it, and it seems to me that this show is very relevant to the interests (admittedly widening) of this blog.  It did start its life as a gardening blog, after all - even if I haven't posted much in that arena of late.

So, over the next few weeks I'm planning on posting my thoughts on the show as I watch it.  Now, we all know how well my plans for blog series tend to go, but one can always improve - and in my case, there's plenty of room for improvement!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Things I hope I'll be posting about one of these days...

I've been gone for a while, but I really want to get back to the blogging to get back into writing generally - both here and on the reading blog, particularly, but also on the discernment blog.

I have a lot of ideas for what to write about, and I don't want to lose them.  So here, I shall list some of them:

  • The Big Allotment Challenge, of which I'm currently watching season 1, ep 3
  • The Great British Sewing Bee, which I've been meaning to blog for ages
  • Netflix, possibly
  • sewing more generally - because hopefully I will do some!
  • My April/May wardrobe, and how I'm using Stylebook
  • My winter + Perth trip wardrobe, as we get closer to June
  • Current and recently completed crochet projects
  • My almost organised craft room
  • bento and mason jar salads
  • the boys!