Saturday, 22 March 2014

I've finished a thing!

I've done it! I've made a crochet rectangle which I've folded in half to make a pouch, crocheted up the sides and done two hanging loops. It's a thing!

For a long time I've been meaning to come up with something better than attaching party invitations, school stuff I need to remember and so on to the calendar with a paper-clip.  For one thing if I do that the bits of paper always cover up something I need to remember and for another they fall off in the slightest breeze, such as that created by a ten-year-old running past. Now I have my crocheted pocket and I am Organized!

It may be slightly wonky (though much less than it would have been a week ago) but I'm very proud of it. Thank you to commenter Anon for all your help!

Thursday, 13 March 2014


It's all going wonky. I may need the collective wisdom of the crochet bloggy world.

This is yesterday's wonky thing. Although I can just about do a granny square, I've never got the hang of going back and fore, so that was my aim this week. The start, at the bottom, was (UK) doubles. Then I realised I wasn't putting the hook through both bits at the top of the stitch (the 'v' on its side) and sorted that after which it went a bit straighter. Then I switched to trebles and didn't notice for ages that I was straying into trapezium territory again. Straying? I'd invaded trapezium airspace big time!

So I ripped it all out and started again, doing trebles this time, but I'm still getting distortion - is that just because of the tension of the chain row at the start? Or am I going wonky again? It looks to me as if it would be fairly parallel at the sides if the bottom edge were pulled straight, but that may be wishful thinking.

Frustratingly google and youtube have not been much help here - there loads of how-to's for stitches and so on but not much that I can find on recognising, diagnosing and rectifying mistakes. I only found one website addressing the trapezium/trapezoid issue, and it suggested that most people's crochet gets wider not narrower! So I'm weird. Hmm.

Help me Obi Blog Kenobi, you're my only hope!  *flicker

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


No, I haven't been sprung from the joint. Nor have I sprung a leak. Nope, what has happened, and it's really most unlikely, is that spring has sprung. We have had two consecutive days of sunshine, blue skies and relative warmth. Two! It's not been raining! Yesterday the kids came running out of school into the balmy 10.5 degree sunshine shedding jackets, cardigans, hoodies like, well, Glaswegians in the spring. And there are yellow things in the garden.

I'm still not feeling 'one hundred per cent' as athletes being interviewed by the BBC always say (shortly after the default athlete sentence opener 'well, I mean..' pronounced 'wellamean'), but a little bit of sunshine certainly helps. And watching Cat1 blissfully expose his belly to the sunlight is both amusing and relaxing. Talking of whom...

Monday afternoon was chaotic.  We were running around getting ready to take Miss M to her dance class, when the doorbell rang and it was a creepily smiling man who wanted to give me a leaflet, not as I initially thought about 'the Good News', but about a service he offered cleaning leather suites. ''Er, no, sorry, we're just going out, bit of a rush.." I muttered shutting the door in his face while simultaneously thinking "I use baby wipes to clean the leather settee, doesn't everyone?"  Maybe specialist leather suite cleaning is a euphemism for something. 

Then we continued to run around like headless chickens, because I couldn't find my keys. That deserves the bold type, it's the kind of thing I get anxiety dreams about. I looked everywhere, even most unlikely places (bathroom), and had the kids searching too, which is usually pointless but worth a try. By this time we're really actually running late and I hate being late. Then as I was looking upstairs for the second time, the kids shouted up "We've found them!"
"Where?" I shrieked, running down the stairs.
"Under the cat."

I'd thrown my keys on the footstool as we'd come in from school and the cat had gone and sat on them. And continued to sit on them while I ran around looking for them. *sigh* Until he got bored and sauntered off.

At times like this I need mindless knitting. Or actually the crochet is good at the moment because it's getting easier and less wonky and therefore more enjoyable, but I still have to concentrate a bit so it takes my mind off whatever my subconscious feels I should be fretting about. But back to knitting and a recent piece of mindless knitting, a facecloth:

I hardly ever knit with cotton as I don't find it the pleasantest thing to knit with, but actually a garter stitch square is fine because you don't need a lot of give in it. What I'd forgotten was what a pain it is finishing off because any ends you weave in promptly unweave themselves and knots tend not to stay knotted*.  So I googled for an answer and found this Youtube video which has an answer that is both clever and so blindingly obvious that I really did want to kick myself. And I hope that if I include the link here I'm more likely to remember it next time.

I can't see a need for a vast number of facecloths but it was a quick enjoyable knit and I learned something useful from it. And at the time I was avoiding a half-turned heel that was not quite right (fixed now - just needed daylight and concentration). It's always handy to have a procrastination knit in the background!

* I'll confess here that although it is considered a cardinal sin on Ravelry to tie in a new piece of yarn, of whatever type, I've done so for years and don't think it matters much if the 'wrong' side is hidden. For example, inside a garment where it's not seen, as long as it's not a huge knot that'll rub, why worry?

Monday, 10 March 2014

Post-viral crochet

Last week was a bit rubbish - I had a viral thing I think, and felt very drained and just not right. I persevered with everything because it felt as if it was just about to turn into a cold and then I'd know I was ill. Yet it never did.  In the end I gave in to it and consequently spent most of Wednesday and Thursday asleep. And felt much better for it!  I don't think I'm completely over it yet, but at least I'm functioning again. However the upside of last week was that I decided to treat myself to Rachel Coopey's Toasty as I'd come across on one of her hat patterns that looked nice on Ravelry, and then another and another, and then I realised they were all from this one book which was entirely too easy to order online. No regrets though, it's a lovely book with loads of nice patterns and actually useful information. And it smells nice too. I like book smells.

So have I immediately leapt into action and cast-on a gorgeous hat using the wool left from my Hitchhiker scarf, which after all was the reason I was looking for hat patterns in the first place?  No, not exactly. Actually, after an idle conversation with my mother-in-law, I took the notion to try crochet yet again and have been making a trapezium. Only now I think I've cracked it and it's an actual rectangle. Ish. Big strides forward!

However once I've found the wool and my circular needle of appropriate size and have decided which of the several gorgeous hat patterns in Toasty I'm going to use, the hat will start. Just in time for spring, no doubt.

Incidentally I looked up 'trapezium' to check it was the shape I was thinking of and discovered that apparently, according to the online dictionary I consulted (so it may be complete bollocks), trapezium means one thing in the US and something else in the rest of the world. In the US they use trapezoid where we'd say trapezium, and a trapezium is some related shape but not quite the same (without any parallel sides perhaps?). Divided by a common language indeed. Language fascinates me, especially the differences between the different forms of English. You find yourself wondering when and why the forms diverged. As a knitter the whole clothing thing is very evident every time I browse Ravelry  - sweater/jumper, jumper/bizarre pinafore thing, waistcoat/vest, vest/I dunno, undershirt?  Why those things and not, say, 'hat' and 'shoes'? Did they go through an intermediate phase where nobody actually knew what they were wearing? I imagine not or every garment would called a 'thingy' and Ravelry would be so much trickier to search.  Perhaps a thneed is what we need!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Sewing Bee

I'm hooked on the Great British Sewing Bee. I cannot sew. Well, I can hand-sew a bit but patterns and sewing machines are arcane arts beyond the ken of peeriemoots.  Despite my own ineptitude I can appreciate the work of those who can sew.  I would like to be able to sew basic things though. The last time I tried to use the sewing machine was, ahem, two and a half years ago. Since then nobody had used the machine until the other day when My Beloved needed to make a fabric cover for an anchor chain. And no I'm not kidding - it's a motorbike-related thing.

Anyway, the machine which had refused to work for me in August 2011 refused to work for him the other day. Ha! It's not just me! He did however suggest that the problem was probably that it was full of fluff and needed cleaning out. Ah, I never thought of that. So today I googled 'cleaning fluff out of sewing machine' and found some useful advice. Armed with a screwdriver, a teaspoon, a vacuum cleaner and several kids paintbrushes I tackled the infernal machine and cleaned a quite astonishing amount of fluff out of it. And then I threaded it up with different colours of thread so I could see which thread was going wrong if it went wrong.

And then I tried it out.

And it works! Huzzah!

Incidentally My Beloved was gobsmacked that I had cleaned the fluff out of the machine.

'Did you find the instructions then?'
'No, I googled it.'

Awestruck seems the right word. I don't know why he was so surprised.