sea and shore blanket

This blanket definitely wants to live in north west Norfolk. This is my sea, sky and shore blanket, rows and rows of colours to conjure up dreams of blue salty seas with white horses riding the waves, wide open saltmarshes, wild scudding clouds, wet shingle beaches, bitter chocolate seaweed and pale opal shells.

I began it in February to 'use up' some of the yarn from recent projects... one thing somehow led to another and I must admit to buying quite a bit more wool along the way... but I'm delighted with the end result. Crocheting in rows rather than blocks means that the finished blanket has a much drapier feel than granny squares, and the openness of treble crochet stitches mean it's not too heavy while still being comforting and warm. I love it.

Now then, no crochet addict worth her salt would finish one project without having the next one busy in her head, so here's a work-in-progress pic of what I'm doing next:

This time, it truly is an odds-and-ends project... I have set myself the challenge of buying NO NEW BALLS OF WOOL... so it's a lovely mishmash of blues, greens and browny colours left over from everything else. The small size of these squares (about 2 1/2") means that only about 5g of yarn is needed for each one, so even the tiniest scraps can be used. They're also really speedy to make... each one can be finished, attached to its neighbour and the ends woven in, in less than ten minutes. This is absolutely ideal for me, the most easily bored crocheter in town.

Each square is made up of groups of treble clusters, joined using Lucy's cunning technique, which results in a lovely thick and cosy textile... ideal for chilly car journeys (we have a forty-year-old car) or sitting outside with a cup of tea on a winter's day.

The back looks a bit Sophie Digard, don't you think?

for elizabeth

A little while ago, Elizabeth wrote a sensitive, questioning post about the nature of blogging. She asks the things that we have all probably wondered at one time or another: are our ramblings relevant? Read by anyone? Of interest unless we specialise on one subject or another?

Her post generated some interesting and thoughtful comments, most of which conveyed quite strongly that the answer to all these questions is a definite yes, and that personality, individual spirit and sense of place are the things that draw us into a blog and keep us following.

As I was considering all this, I found myself at work one day, cataloguing a book written and illustrated by a Chinese artist in the 1930s. In the introduction, he questions the value of his perspective and writes these words:

"But life is too short and precious for us to pass through it without leaving a few footprints behind us. A man's experience in a certain place at a certain time must be unique, in some way different from the experience of others. Why should I not leave a few words to mark one period in my brief life? Even a bird's clawprints remain for a little time in the snow."

From The Silent Traveller in Oxford by Chiang Yee

His thoughts certainly seemed to sum up how I feel about this blog. Maybe they will encourage some of you to continue with your own.

There will be more posts to come in the next few days as I process my photographs from Norfolk and share some crochet projects with you. I have been having lots of thoughts, but the weather has been just too lovely to sit inside sharing them with the computer...

cakes and ale

Towards the seedier end of Manchester there used to be a wonderfully named pub called the Land O'Cakes, a concept, I'm sure you'll agree, which merits quite a lot of extremely pleasurable thought. Just recently I have begun to feel like I might have been transported, if not to this actual place, then at least to a neighbouring territory, as I embark on this week's task of producing enough cake for 250 people (for my friend Anne's garden open day: see last year's entry for more details). Last week was all about my youngest son's 18th birthday party, for which more cake had to be produced, along with a LOT of beer... much as I love both cakes and beer, I am beginning to feel that I may have had enough of both for a little while.

The photo above has nothing to do with cakes or ale, but is a very pretty tombstone from Plemstall village chuch near Chester. The photo below, however, is very much about cake... it's a detail from The Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont and illustrated by Raymond Briggs. You can just see the elephant's trunk as he steals 'a bun for himself and a bun for the bad baby'. I loved reading this book to my children when they were little, and now I'm enjoying reading it to my little granddaughter too.

We're off to lovely Norfolk next week for a break from cakes and children... I will return, relaxed, with photos to show you.