Saturday, 27 August 2016

Crochet Obsession!

As promised in my last post I am back to give you an update on my crochet activities over the Summer. Crochet has dominated a fair bit of my time and to say that I am a little obsessed is a bit of an understatement. 

First of all I will do a catch-up on my charity blankets. My regular readers will know that I am aiming to make twelve Sunshine International Blankets of Love (SIBOL) which will be donated to a local residential care home at Christmas. I am pleased to say that I have now completed eight and am well on my way with number nine.

These are my two latest finishes:- 

This is a V-stitch blanket, there are many variations of this pattern free online. I finished the main body of the blanket about a month ago but sewing in the hundreds of ends proved to be a bit of a daunting task, my least favourite part of blanket making! When will I ever learn to sew them in as I go? Finally this week I set to over two evenings to sew in all the ends and then completed the border - not to mention the SIBOL logo butterfly.

My next blanket off the hook was the tonal triangle granny afghan, another free pattern available by clicking on this link. I did make my blanket a little larger than the pattern and used a couple of extra colours.

And this is the start of blanket number nine, again a new design for me, I have done several ripple blankets in the past but this one is constructed slightly differently and has a bit more of a lacy effect. The pattern is the Gentle Waves crochet blanket by Kathie at Sew Happy. This pattern is a purchased one but there may be something very similar out there for free. The colours I am using for this were inspired by my lovely Cath Kidston coffee mug and are a bit out of my comfort zone. All of my charity blankets have been made using Stylecraft Special DK and the colours for this one are cloud blue, sage, Spring green, pomegranate, raspberry, fondant and white. The edging for this one will be crocheted using cloud blue.

Not content with just crocheting my charity blankets I also joined the Scheepjes CAL (crochet-along) 'Last Dance On The Beach'. This CAL was the idea of Marinke Slump (Wink), a very talented crochet designer, who suffered from depression and sadly took her own life in 2015. Her friends and fellow designers decided to create this CAL in her memory and thousands of crocheters took up the challenge. I am pleased to say that I have now completed my blanket in the Dancing In The Rain colourway. I did photograph it at home when I completed it but decided to take it on holiday with me because where better to photograph it than on a beach. I hasten to say that I chose a sunny day to dance on the beach rather than a rainy one though!

I always take some crochet projects with me when I go on holiday and this year I decided to have a break from my blankets and start some shawls instead. First up was the Monday Blues Shawl designed by Dedri from

My lovely new stitch markers/keepers made by Amy at came in very handy whilst making this and seeing as I was on holiday at the seaside what better than to use the starfish, seahorse, anchor and seashell keepers.

Unfortunately I ran out of yarn five rows from completing this so had to put it on one side and wait until I had ordered another ball of yarn to finish it off. I am pleased to say it is now finished and I love it.

However I am not sure whether to keep this one or sell it, I love to see people wearing shawls but for some reason they never seem to look very good on me, I am never quite sure how to wear them and they always look better on others rather than myself.

I did enjoy crocheting this stitch and am tempted to use it to make a blanket one day.

I then moved onto another shawl, this one is the Feather and Fan shawl by Kirsten. I am making mine all in one colour using a fine lace weight yarn (Findley Dappled) by Jupiter Moon Farm in colour 132.

I think this one is going to take me awhile, I have put it to one side for now to concentrate on my blankets but I will go back to it once I know I am on target with my charity blankets.

Both of the above shawls are free patterns which can be found by following the links provided.

And if that wasn't enough I have experimented with some more yarn that I have, I am not sure about this one and it may yet be unpicked and used for something else. It is a 100% cotton yarn (Sirdar Cotton Prints). Time will tell as to whether I continue or make something entirely different.

I must say that I was glad to get back to my blankets when I returned home, I started to get a bit panicky about being behind with them but I am now back on target to complete my twelve by Christmas hopefully.

I have already planned my next three blankets and have far too many ideas whirring around in my head of things I want to try - yes, I am totally obsessed!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

I'm back!

Hello, I am back at last from my unintentional break from Blogland. I am not sure what happened but for some reason I completely lost my blogging mojo. I fully intended to catch up with everything over the Summer holiday but it didn't happen and here we are almost at the end of the holiday. I will endeavour to make amends and get back to more regular blogging and catching up with all of your blogs.

So what have I been up to during the Summer? My activities fit neatly into three  categories - holiday, crochet and a day out. There have obviously been other bits in between but that is mainly boring stuff including some days working at school, shopping etc. This post will be about my holiday and I will be back very soon with posts about my crocheting activities and our day out.

We enjoyed a wonderful fortnight in East Devon returning to Brackens, the cottage we have stayed in before. I guess we are creatures of habit and once we find somewhere we enjoy we tend to return. There are many other places we would like to go but for some reason Brackens keeps drawing us back. I cannot believe how quickly the fortnight disappeared, we enjoyed some of our favourite locations and discovered some places new to us. I will show you a few collages of the many photos I took in this beautiful and quiet part of Devon. We were really lucky with the weather only having one day of fairly continuous rain and managed to fit in lots of walking.


This first collage is of the cottage we stay in. We love it here as it is so quiet and peaceful and has a beautiful garden which we enjoy relaxing in when we are not out and about.

Budleigh Salterton

The closest location to Brackens is Budleigh Salterton. This place is like something from back in the 1950's, totally unspoilt with a huge pebble beach with the Otter estuary behind. We have seen the sea here in all its moods, from the tranquil to the really rough - it is always beautiful though.

I have already mentioned that we spent a lot of our time walking, on the first Sunday we decided to walk from Brackens to East Budleigh. We have done part of the walk before but have never walked there from Brackens. We couldn't have had a more glorious day and we thoroughly enjoyed the walk and the stunning scenery. I will never tire of the view looking from the top of the hill to East Budleigh and the coast. I was so proud of myself as before when we have attempted this hill I have been puffing and panting whilst climbing to the top. This time I managed without getting out of breath at all - the power of Slimming World and losing over five stone! We enjoyed a lovely roast lunch at the Sir Walter Raleigh before re-tracing our steps back to Brackens.

Exmouth and Orcombe Point

We visited Exmouth on a few occasions. We undertook a walk to Orcombe Point, past the geo-needle and on to Sandy Bay. Again, we had done part of this walk in the past but it was good to walk on further than we have been before. We also caught the ferry from Exmouth over to the other side of the Exe Estuary to Starcross on a couple of occasions and used it as a starting point to walk up the Exe Estuary. The sunsets over the Exe Estuary are something else, part of the joy of being in this part of the world is enjoying the BIG skies and watching the sun go down was wonderful.


 A trip to Beer with fish and chips on the beach is a must when we are in this part of the world. Even my DH who is not a fan of walking up steep slopes which you cannot avoid in Beer loves it here and was proud of himself for making it to the top of the cliff. I seldom eat fish and chips these days but this is one treat I had been looking forward to, Ducky's, the beach cafe serve the best fish and chips ever. 

Exe Estuary

We visited various parts of the Exe Estuary. There is now a cycle/walk way all around the Exe which makes for ideal walking conditions (as long as you keep alert and listen out for the bikes which whizz past you on occasions). DH and I have come to the conclusion that there are three types of cyclist that use this cycle way - (a) the serious cyclist who is only interested in getting from a to b in the quickest time possible and not really interested in the surroundings, (b) the tourists and holiday makers, who hire or bring bikes with them and pootle along enjoying the scenery and (c) the locals who use it to commute or cycle into town - we had fun trying to guess which category they all fitted into! On our last day we decided to challenge ourselves to do a longer walk than usual so we caught the train from Exmouth to Topsham and walked back along the estuary - we walked about eight miles in total as we took some detours around Topsham which probably doesn't sound a lot to some people but for us these days it was quite an achievement. 

Starcross and Cockwood

The villages of Starcross and Cockwood are on the other side of the Exe, we have driven through these places before and bypassed them on the train but have never actually spent any time there so we decided we would rectify that. It is quite a quick journey to make by catching the ferry from Exmouth. On the first occasion we walked from Starcross to Cockwood and around Cofton Hill with a superb lunch in the Anchor which is said to be haunted before walking back to Starcross. We returned on another day as there were two steam train excursions and DH wanted to photograph the trains at Cockwood Harbour. What a good excuse to enjoy another lunch in the Anchor.

 Sidmouth is a town we usually pay a visit to when we are in East Devon. A lovely regency town with lots of interesting and unique shops. We always enjoy a visit to the Connaught Gardens up on top of the cliffs above Jacob's Ladder, these gardens are stunning and the tea room there serves wonderful food. If you go there make sure you bring your appetite with you, the slices of cake are huge!

Flora and fauna

Lots of interesting flowers, insects and animals were seen - some more exotic than others! We visited the Otter and Butterfly Farm at Buckfastleigh, I wasn't terribly successful in taking some of the exotic butterflies but managed to capture a few. The otters were just adorable and I would like to make a return visit one day to try and get some more photographs. However, even after seeing the exotics we still enjoyed sitting in the garden watching the native species and capturing various flora when we were out and about.


To round off my holiday photos I thought I would show you some of the quirky sights that we came across. We couldn't believe the pipework on the side of the cottage - obviously done by someone with a sense of humour and too much time on their hands! There was lot of pebble art on Budleigh beach but I think it is the first time I have seen someone create a bus. The washing hung out on the little beach at Lympstone always makes me smile, it was certainly a blowy day and I am sure they have to peg it on firmly to stop it blowing away down the estuary. Finally as we were walking through the village of Exton one day we came across this bronze gorilla, not really what you expect to see in a garden, he was huge.

This has turned into quite a long post so thank you if you have stuck with it to the end. See you again soon.