Wednesday, 1 July 2015

CALs and KALs

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments on my last post about Eve's graduation.  We are still basking in the warm memories of that lovely day.  How grateful we are to have such good fortune come our way.

With all the travelling in the car we have done lately, I've been making excellent progress on a cardigan I'm knitting.  I'm hoping to finish it in the next day or two, so I'll blog about it then.

Today, I'd like to talk about my latest, favourite things, KALs and CALs, that's knit-a-longs  and crochet-a-longs.  And especially the mystery ones.

As you know I recently completed the Sophie's Universe blanket CAL.  It would be a complete understatement to say I enjoyed this, I loved every minute of it.  Part of the fun was waiting for the next section of the pattern to be released, trying to anticipate what will come next.  Now that Sophie is finished, I've been exploring Ravelry to find other CALs and I've even looked at some KALs.

Now, on the one hand, the mystery part is fun, on the other hand, you have no idea what the finished item will look like.  So I'm rather reluctant to purchase a pattern for which the outcome is a total blank at the time of purchase.  I have however discovered some interesting free "alongs" and some that are free for a limited time.

So, with this new obsession, I'm currently working on the Circles of the Sun mystery CAL by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk.

The end result will be nine different granny squares, incorporating overlay crochet, that can be made into a cushion cover.  The patterns are released weekly over a ten week period, with the final pattern being the border.  Square one was released last Friday.  I think I will make two of each square.  Here are my versions of the first square.

I love the way, the squares look so different just by changing the colours around.

I can't wait for the next square pattern to be released on Friday.

I've also joined in with a mystery knit-a-long.  This time it is for a shawl.  The pattern is called Dancing Bees and it's by Kate Poe.

The first part of the pattern has been released, but it is only very small so there isn't much to see at the moment.

This pattern is being released fortnightly, with the second part arriving on Friday (it's going to be a fun day!).

Now the thing I have discovered whilst waiting for these "alongs" to start is that no matter what, there is nothing you can do to rush these projects.  They set their own pace and can't be finished any earlier than the schedule dictates.  This means that, the project is worked on, put away and then picked up again on release of the next part of the pattern.  This is such a relaxing and soothing way to create, I'm loving this aspect of the projects.  Usually, once I start I project I put myself under pressure to get it completed as soon as possible.  You just can't do that with these "alongs".  So, I'm feeling very chilled and relaxed at the moment.

Having said that, I have signed up to three other "alongs" that start shortly, so the relaxed state probably won't last long as I try to juggle all the extra projects I've started!  But so what, that's just the way I am!  How about you?  Are you joining in with any CALs or KALs?

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Sunshine, Strawberries and Lots of Smiles

What a joy to be able to share important milestones in your children's lives.  Friday was Eve's graduation from Cambridge University.  The sun shone, the drinks flowed and the day was more magical than I ever imagined it would be.  It seems such a short time since Grace's graduation.  And here we were doing it all again.

First there was a group photo of all the graduates in the college.

Then a procession through the streets of Cambridge to the Senate House.  We even went through the shopping mall where the shoppers stood and applauded the students as they went through - my eyes were welling up at this point.

With the Master, Dame Fiona Reynolds

After the ceremony (no photos allowed), which was conducted in Latin and involved holding fingers and kneeling before the master of the college, we returned to college where we celebrated with glasses of prosecco, a delicious buffet and strawberries and cream.  And more photo opportunities.

The history graduates

The Master of Eve's college is Dame Fiona Reynolds, the former Director General of the National Trust.  She is such a lovely woman, warm and friendly.  She made an effort to sit and chat to all the families.

The history graduates with the Master and tutors

I took so many photos of the day, well over three hundred, and it will be wonderful to look back over them all in years to come.

I apologise for the number of photos, but it was a fabulous day and I'm so proud of both my girls and all they have achieved.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Llangollen With My Special Man

Thank you all so much for your warm wishes for our anniversary.  It really is joyful to receive your comments and emails.

Chris and I had a wonderful day together.  We drove down to Llangollen and had a lovely walk around.

The town is only small, but it has a river, a canal and a steam railway.

We chose to walk along the canal.  It was peaceful and picturesque.

We walked all the way to Horseshoe Falls, but we were disappointed to note that it wasn't a natural waterfall but an engineered weir, constructed by Thomas Telford when he designed and built the canal.  Even so it was a quiet spot and I always think that there's something special about sitting by a rushing river.  It's quite mesmerizing!

We had a delicious pub meal in the town before returning home.  A simple and beautiful day spent with my special man.  Looking forward to plenty more to come.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Thirty Years

What were you doing thirty years ago today?

I was getting married!

It's been a wonderful thirty years and I'm looking forward to the next thirty years.

And amazingly, and rather pleasingly, the wedding dress still fits (just).

But I'll have to keep an eye on that waistline.

I'm off to spend a lovely day with my husband.  I hope you have a great time whatever you are doing today.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Pretty Dress

It's taken a while but I have finally made the summer dress I have been wanting to make.  You may recall the trial run - the bed sheet dress.  I was so thankful that I had had that trial run because the dress went together like a dream and I felt so much more confident making it.  So here it is.

I made it exactly the same as the bed sheet dress, leaving off the sleeves.

All the darts and pleats went well and the length is perfect.

I love this pattern.  The dress is so flattering and pretty.  I have more fabric I could use, so I think another of these dresses will definitely be made soon.

It's Eve's graduation shortly, so I'm so happy I have this lovely dress to wear.

A note on the photos - I never seem to amaze myself, that in my 54 years, there are still blindingly obvious things that I'm only just learning.  I realised that I have a timer on my camera and so I don't have to wait for someone else to take photos of me!  I was experimenting for the first time with these photos, the camera was perched on a box which was on the top step of a ladder.  I think it worked reasonably well.  Isn't life wonderful when you discover something new, even if it should have been obvious before.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Three Down, Not Many More to Go

I'm looking forward to starting some new projects shortly.  Today I can show you three more finished objects, hurray!

The first one is my socks for this month.

I just loved the colours in this sock yarn, so knitted up a pair of plain socks.

For these socks though, I tried a different heel style.  I used the Fish Kiss Lips heel which gives a lovely looking heel and a great fit.

I'll definitely be using this heel style again for my socks.  It looks so neat.

My second finished object is a little crocheted mat to sit inside my notebook basket.

It's just two-round grannies in random arrangement of colours with shell buttons sewn on.

I used join as you go for the second rounds, so it was a very quick make, but I think it adds a dash of colour to the basket.

Finally for today, I made a little doily.

It's crocheted using acrylic DK and is based on a doily I made many years ago.  I made this before I discovered Ravelry, so I have no record of where the pattern came from.  I just copied the original doily, which had been done in just one colour.  I think using the different colours brings out the details of the daisy quite nicely.

So that's it for today.  Won't be long now until I'm having another cast on party!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

I Love You Sophie!

I have designated this month, the month I finish off all my outstanding works-in-progress.  There weren't that many, but I have a number of new projects I'm itching to start and I know that if I cast on for them I will start to feel somewhat overwhelmed.

I'm making excellent progress.  I have the carrot of new projects dangling in front of me, urging me on.  I'll show you what I've completed over the course of the next few posts, but rather than saving the best 'til last, I'm going with my favourite first.

The Sophie's Universe crochet-along has now sadly finished.  I have loved every minute of the journey making this blanket.  After many weeks of interesting and addictive crochet, here is the finished blanket.

Isn't she a beauty?

I started out with no definite plans for colours.  I just wanted to use up as much of my stash of acrylic double knitting weight yarn as I possibly could.  By the time I got to the end of the blanket I was running short of colours that would make it the whole way round the border.  There was no way I could do the bobble flowers in the border rows (there are 300 of them!) in one colour, so rather than start a completely new colour, I use up the odds and ends and made the bobble flowers in random colours all the way round.

I think this fits in with the general random-ness of the blanket.

You can see details of this project on my Ravelry page, here.

There are a couple of new mystery crochet-alongs starting up in the next few months that I've signed up for, but I can't believe they will be able to beat the Sophie's Universe CAL for pure pleasure.  I may just have to start another one!