Hallowe’en

We are a family without children, but normally our nephew & niece, their friends, our godson and his siblings knock on our door for trick or treating. I’m a bit ambivalent about the commercialised Hallowe’en. When I was a small kid it wasn’t a thing – we had Bonfire Night (or ‘Guy Fawkes’ as Mum used to call it.) on November 5th, which was all about (for us) the community bonfire with the Guy on top, fireworks and sparklers.

I first encountered Hallowe’en as we know it now when we went to live in Dublin when I was 8. My Mum was terribly embarrassed when all these groups of dressed up children knocked on our door and she didn’t know what was supposed to happen… In the end she didn’t answer it anymore. But the next year she was prepared with a huge bowl of what we knew as monkey nuts, but which I think are peanuts in their shells. (I’m allergic to nuts, I have no idea!) And that was what was given out to Trick or Treaters, nuts and some very small sweets, a few mini chocolate bars. I think I went out once or twice but as I pretty much couldn’t eat what I collected I wasn’t really interested. Some families had fireworks but I don’t remember it being a thing.

And of course the Irish don’t celebrate Bonfire Night as it is effectively a celebration of the foiling of a plot to blow up Parliament and the King. There’s a really nice simple resource on the Parliament website about the Gunpowder Plot and a really great book on the subject is Antonia Fraser’s The Gunpowder Plot, Terror and Faith in 1605.

I hope children in schools are learning about that and the historical background of All Hallow’s Eve. And to put the apostrophe in Hallowe’en! Oooh I’m sounding curmudgeonly. Lovely American friends, I’m probably never going to wish you Happy Hallowe’en….

So tonight I have candles in the window, these in a tin

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Mollie is wearing her Thundershirt (an anti anxiety coat that apparently makes animals feel safer, like they’re having a hug) just in case there are fireworks and I’m doing easy knitting…

My husband knows me so well

D has just arrived home after spending a couple of days with his sons and grandchildren.

While he’s been away I have received photos of what he’s up to at random times… The highlight was a photo of a car park behind Old Trafford! (He’s a Manchester United fan…)

Today he went with his eldest to the Imperial War Museum of the North. Not a day out that appeals to me (!) but they had a fabulous time by all accounts. Anyway, he just presented me with this gorgeous crochet poppy.

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Even better, it’s a fair trade product made by The Zoe Project, which provides training and fairly paid work for women living in some of the poorest shanty towns in Lima, Peru. I shall still make my donation to the Royal British Legion, but I will wear this with pride.

He also presented me with this mug. If you’ve read my about page or happened to have come across me in my non crafty life, you will appreciate how much this appeals to me. As he knew it would!

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He’s the son of a 1960’s feminist. Not the burn your bra kind, but someone who just believed wholeheartedly in equality, which she passed on to her eldest son. I wish I’d known her. Anyway, fab presents & fab husband.

I couldn’t resist…

Casting on a new project… Well, you know me, I am supposed to be focussing on a couple of things and promptly get sidetracked…

I’ve been planning to knit Wingspan for ages and it suddenly occurred to me yesterday that I had 5 balls of Noro Silk Garden Lite that would suit the pattern perfectly.

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So I cast on. And did this…

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Tonight I knitted a little more:

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And now I have this:

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I will soon have another Christmas present ticked off my list!

An interesting few days

I mentioned previously I was due to have a colonoscopy on Monday. The good news is it was completely clear (yay), the bad news that the hunt for the cause of my symptoms goes on (boo). Next up an MRI scan of my small intestine…. As D was working, Mum took me to the appointment and sat and did her knitting while waiting for me. She said the light in the hospital room was perfect to pick up 124 stitches around the neck of a black cardigan she is making for my sister! While I was recovering I did a little crochet. So this photo is knitting & crochet in hospital!

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Tuesday I had to be off work and with someone all day because of the drugs I had been given. D, bless him, after a full night shift, took me to my doctor’s appointment at 9.50am and sat in the car while my appointment was an hour late. Then took me to get my prescription. We both slept most of the day – for some reason I haven’t felt at all well. Mum thinks it might be a reaction to the drug, or coincidentally I have a cold or something. Mum also visited with her naughty spangold Lucy, who knows she isn’t allowed on the furniture! She’s sitting on Mum.

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In between naps I knit a little on the front of Mum’s Christmas present cardigan (loving the leaf pattern) and finished a CAL square.

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And Mollie is being the best companion ever.

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Christmas cakes and crafting

I’ve had one of those wonderful not doing much weekends…. Saturday, my friend Sam and I got together to make our Christmas cakes. This is late for me, I normally have it done by the end of September, but this year we were busy electioneering! I love the mid- make clutter in my kitchen:

IMG_8269.JPG Sam’s cake is the one in the oven.

His cake:

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My cake:

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They look different don’t they?! They are exactly the same recipe and quantities except his has less currants and more raisins, and I forgot to put the brandy in mine before it was cooked, so I had to feed it when it was cool on Sunday morning. They were cooked on the same temperature for exactly the same amount of time! The only real difference was the tins we used. Mine was an old battered one and his was brand new. Hmmm who knows! My house smelled fantastic all day!

I worked on the back of my Mum’s cardigan and finished it:

IMG_1173.JPG I also cast on the left front.

I did a second square of week 4’s pattern in the Scheepjes CAL…

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And I made quite a few squares for Dad’s waistcoat:

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IMG_1174.JPG I have 50 squares now – only 32 more, plus blocking, sewing in ends etc etc etc

Blog Hop

Several weeks ago the lovely Lucie nominated me to take part in the Blog Hop. I think I was supposed to do it within a week, but it has taken me until now to actually get round to it.

It’s quite simple, answer a few questions and nominate two fellow bloggers to carry the hop onwards.

So, without further ado…

What are you working on at the moment?

A those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know, I often have a ridiculous amount of WIPs going on. However in the run up to Christmas I have refined them…

A knitted cardigan for my Mum in Sirdar Ella. It’s a Christmas present.

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A waistcoat in Noro crochet squares for my Dad, also for Christmas.

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A star shaped crochet blanket for my adorable godson who is two in a month.

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The 2014 Scheepjes CAL!

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I have changed the order of the next two questions as it makes sense for my answers.

How does your writing process work?
I think you would describe my style as steam of consciousness tidied up. I don’t plan posts, other than taking photos. I very rarely create a draft and work on it more than once. If I have something to say, I say it, illustrate it with photos and make sure there are no typos or howling grammatical errors. These slip through from time to time but I do try and make sure they aren’t published!

How does your blog differ from others of it’s genre
This is a remarkably hard question to answer. I think honestly I have to say that my posts are probably more slapdash than others I read! I think you can understand a lot about my crafting and my love of the subject in the way I post; equally I imagine it’s only accessible or enjoyable if you like my narrative voice. A lot of the blogs I read are beautifully photographed, carefully written and provide excellent patterns and instructions. I love those blogs and I am so happy they are successful; there are times when I am a bit envious, but that style isn’t me right now! My work and other activities can be very serious and it’s nice to have a space where I can be frivolous or slapdash or have 25 projects on the go at once!

So, onto my nominees to carry on the blog hop.

First up is one of my favourite bloggy friends who is currently on her TWENTY-THIRD pair of socks this year (!!!!!), Salpal from What I’m Up To Today. I love how her posts about her life and crafting are structured around her actual lists of things she has to do and places she has to go. I have come to really want to visit Maine from her posts! One day…

A bit closer to home is the Oxfordshire haunt of The Twisted Yarn, whose incredible, inventive and large crafting feats (yarnbombing her own house springs to mind!) combined with being a parent of toddler twins and working (she has my awed respect for that alone) make up a really fabulous blog that has just celebrated it’s first anniversary.

If you don’t read these blogs, head on over, they are great! And over to you Salpal and Twisted with the Blog Hop. X