It's just a life, but its all mine and I love it!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Crocheting on a Plane

This topic has suddenly become important to me as I will shortly be spending approximately 26 hours trapped in a sardine tin a.k.a an airbus.

 Following certain events in 2011, I was aware that items previously associated only with mild mannered harmless old ladies were suddenly being viewed with suspicion and fear.  Knitting needles were now considered to be weapons of mass destruction and the yarn possibly as a very tasteful garrotte?

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with these restrictions as like most people I’m fairly enamoured of the idea of arriving at my destination without a side helping of terrorism. 

BUT what about crochet hooks.  My good friend Ripple and I were wondering about this at the weekend.  You are after all supplied with plastic cutlery on the plane, not to mention glass bottles that could be broken into other sharp glass items.  Crochet hooks are surely less threatening than these items!

Prohibted Item List from London Heathrow

A little research has revealed that although at the end of 2011 there are many reports of people not being allowed to carry knitting in their hand luggage, or rather the needles, they no longer seem to be on the banned list.  I checked out a couple of airport sites and they weren’t listed as prohibited.

Word of mouth suggests that the biggest problem actually comes from security not knowing what a crochet hook is, so it’s worth having it embedded in a project.  Just make sure that if it does get confiscated you’re prepared to lose it, and it won’t mean losing hours of work.

I’m going to attempt to take a ball of yarn and a replaceable hook with me and see if I can work up a quick scarf to wear as I step out into the British summer.  (And I can say that because I’m English J).

I'll let you know how I get on.


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Hookers - Crocheting With Friends

I have been lucky enough to discover that a couple of the lovely ladies that I've met since I moved to Australia are also passionate about their crochet.

Cinnamon bread, brought by Ripple.
Myself and one friend in particular do try to get to a crochet group called Looped, which I heartily recommend. The conversation is wide ranging, leaning towards crafty subjects, but can go, as we have discovered, absolutely anywhere! And there is always a lot of laughter.

In need of blocking but getting there!
Unfortunately it is often held on a week night so we can't always get there. So this weekend we gathered up our yarns and various offspring and had a bit of a session at my place with husbands banished to their sheds, or wherever it is they hide when the dishes need doing.

It was great, my friend, let's call her Ripple, in honour of the stunning ripple blanket she is working on, brought lovely fruit and cinnamon bread, and we crocheted and gossiped, pausing occionally to settle squabbles between the three children we have between us.

I'm planning on holding a monthly 'at home' for crocheting, knitting or whatever crafty excuse ladies want to use to get together, share a bit of cake, tea, gossip, and to make beautiful things. I'm going to be away in England for three weeks, a week of jet lag then I'll get the date fixed. I'm really lucking forward to it, and the response from those I've talked to has been really enthusiastic.
CROCHET LIVES!  It has just been driven into the uncool, do it under your blanket by torchlight box.

Anyway as a result of yesterday, including continuing on into the evening I now have a grand total of 54 African Flowers in place. I also have 2 more ready to have the border added and be braided into place.

Today I plan to braid them in then onto the border. I then have three evenings to get the border as large as possible. While also packing for me and the two boys to go to England for three weeks.
Last four African Flowers

Hubby is being fantastic and is willingly standing ironing for me while watching the footy. So the big question is, will it be a lap blanket or bed blanket? Only time will tell!

Hope you had a great weekend.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Crocheting in Public Places - have you ever?

A few weeks ago, on the 13th June to be precise, it was National Crochet in Public Day with various events organised.

Home made jam tarts, a bit ramshackle but the kids devour them!

I attended none of these – work, children, baking jam tarts etc BUT…
My portable crochet kit.
I’m not at all shy about swing my hook in public (although my husband had his doubts).  I catch the train to work about 4 days a week.  If I get a quick train its half an hour under someone’s armpit (I have discovered I am the perfect height for this).  BUT…if I do down the line a couple of stops to a bigger station, then transfer to a stopping train I can easily get a seat and plenty of room to ply my hook.  I also get a few funny looks but I find that smiling sweetly at the looker while making eye contact scares off most of them and occasionally nets you a good crochet/ knitting conversation.  I’m good with either outcome.
I don’t want to be lugging my entire African Flowers blanket along with me but I find that this time is perfect for generating a stock of the flower centres ready to be expanded in the evenings.

The centre of an African Flower
So, do you crochet in public? And what type of reaction do you get?
For those that are counting there are now 49 African Flowers in place.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Loose ends and sore fingers

Progress has been made! Three more granny hexagons in place. That's the good news. The bad is that I did a proper count of how many to go and suspect it might be 27. Still, I'll have a look after 20 and see if I can get away with it. (I may have no choice as we are now at B-day minus seven).

46 African Flowers

Seven days! Can't wait as it will be the first time I've seen many members of my family for nearly three years. But on the other hand, seven days for 20 (or more) African Flower hexagons plus a border. Lucky I've got a group of crochet friends coming round on Saturday to help me keep up the momentum.

Scraps left over after tying in loose ends this evening.
Anyway, I thought I'd share a couple of tips. The first is what I'm treating as my saving grace. Thanks to some good advice from one of those lovely crochet friends, I both joined the flowers and sewed in all the loose ends as I went. Can you imagine the horror of having that job to do a the end, at least eight threads per flower. It's enough to have me waking up in a cold sweat. So thank you, you know who you are!

The second is sore fingers. Even when I'm bit to putting in the hours I'm currently doing, sometimes the wool just rubs. I tried using a plaster but found it too thick to work with. What I've taken to doing instead is to take a very thin plaster (band aid to you Americans out there). One of the ones with pictures on for kids works well. Them I cut off just the sticky bit and stick that over the sore area. Not to thick but no more rubbing.
Avoiding sore fingers with kids plasters.

Anyone have any other tips for this? Or am I just a wuss?


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Planning and African Flowers

I’m not a planner.
I would like to be a planner, and maybe when I grow up (currently thirty mumble mumble) I will be a planner, but for now I just pretend.
Which is why I find myself at D-day, or rather B-day minus 8, with a half finished but I think quite beautiful crocheted African Flowers blanket.  The B-day in question is my nana’s 80th and so not particularly negotiable as she still very much has all her faculties AND she just flew all the way from England to Australia to spend Easter weekend with me.

Crocheted African Flower hexagons

The problem came about a month ago when casting my mind ahead I spied the birthday on the horizon, linked it to a few African Flower hexagons I had crocheted and smugly imagined the look on her face when I gave it to her (planning!!!).  Life kept happening plus a few of those evenings when a crochet hook seemed oh so heavy, and then the experimentation to find the best way to join them together so they stayed flat.  Not to mention the accidental pentagons I crocheted that I didn't notice until my blanket wouldn't lie properly! 
The purple one with a white centre has only 5 sides and is throwing everything out. D'oh!

And so here I am.  Mainly wondering what possessed me to use a 3 mm crochet hook, when a 4 mm or even 5 (or 8) would have been so much more sensible!

Some progress but still with the sneaky little pentagon in place

Smiling on the outside, trying to think of everything I need to do to get my two lovely little pre-schoolers to England with me, leaving in 8 days, while holding down a full time job, and still making jam tarts (which get consumed by the ton) and reeling from the recent diagnosis of son no. 1 with aspergers, but above all loving life.  This is of course the perfect time to start a blog.

B-day minus 8 and counting!

Hope you enjoy my pictures, I’ll keep the progress updated.  I have 43 flowers currently in place, I think I need another 25ish to finish plus a border.  Wish me luck!
Pattern for African Flowers and flat join to follow.