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

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ripple Blanket - part 2 (Blue Love)

Ripples in Green
So I'm at five days into my Ripple in Green now and it's slowly growing.  8 rows long now.  It's a great project to work on, once you get past that hideously long foundation row (311 stitches) but that's not specific to this project.

Row 7 - Not quite green

If you read the previous post Ripple Blanket - part 1 then you'll be aware that the colours (and yarn) have been chosen by my four year old.  As a trait of his Aspergers he is quite fond (severe understatement) of the colour green and so chose only shades of green for his blanket.   With one exception.  The aqua/blue/green colour is his way of showing his love for me.  He knows that blue is my favourite colour and so has included this greeny blue specially for me despite his own very strong feelings!  I'd rather have it than any bunch of flowers in the world.
Blue Love

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Getting Olympic Fit - Crocheting

As I've got older I've somehow absorbed some of my parents or possibly grandparents morals and values. This is the only reason I've come up with to explain why I'm left with a vague feeling of guilt if I sit watching tv in the evening, regardless of what I have achieved in the day.

So if I want to watch the Big Bang Theory, the demons getting beaten, again, or a girls flick grudgingly agreed to by my husband which he then insists on stopping should he need to leave the room for a moment, I find to properly relax I need to be doing something - enter my latest crochet project! Whatever that may be.

With the Olympics greatly increasing my tv viewing over the next couple of weeks a crochet hook is a must. And as I sit here watching the swimming, a different type of guilt enters my life and like many people I start feeling inspired towards increased fitness, firmness in various areas of my anatomy, not too mention a defined six pack not residing somewhere on my kitchen shelves.

But surely I'm already ahead of the pack on this one? I mean we're all here watching the Olympics right? But I have a crochet hook in hand which I'm wielding with a high degree of enthusiasm. This has to be burning more calories than just sitting.

So just how many calories am I burning as I sit here cheering on Team GB crocheting a ripple blanket in green?

Well from what I can gather after a little googling is that this is an inexact science, presumably linked to body size, metabolism, mood and the phase of the moon.

In a short time I found references for calories burnt for sitting watching tv from none (duh) to 135 per hour.

I've settled on 70 per hour from a site called calorie count. I've chosen this one because it also had a count for knitting and similar and I figured the same site might have at least relatively comparable numbers, even if the absolutes are up for debate.

For knitting and similar they reckon you're using 105 calories per hour.

Hurrah, an extra 35 calories per hour! No wonder my grandparents were so fit!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Olympics - being British in Australia, the land of sport

Sitting here watching an Olympic opening ceremony that is so much better than I feared it might be!

If I have learned anything during the three years that I have lived in Australia, it's that Australians love their sport.

When I first got here I was asked repeatedly - what footy team do you barrack for? After translating that into being asked which footy team I supported, and realising that answering Stoke City (English premiership) didn't cut it and that they actually think AFL is footy I randomly chose to support the Demons (cool nickname right?). Mainly because their real name is Melbourne so I imagined it must be my local team. So what if I now know Melbourne has at least six teams and that the Demons are to put it mildly, the underdogs? They're my team and I'll stick with them through thin and thin.

But I digress, I very much enjoyed the 2010 Ashes ( that's cricket ) as having weeks of having my nose rubbed in it during the lead up I very much enjoyed returning the favour as England wiped the floor with Australia.

So now I'm working in Australia, but in an extremely multicultural workplace. My small group of 30 people alone boasts Italians, Turks, Americans, New Zealanders, Belgians, Hungarians , English and even the occasional Australian. The atmosphere is going to be great!

Just to help things along I bought myself a new office cup on my recent trip to England. It should help those coffee conversations along. ;-)

Go Team GB!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Ripple Blanket - part 1

Sooo, having promised my 4 year old not only that I would make him a blanket, but that I would let him choose what it looks like I am having some misgivings, but a promise is a promise. Something I try to instill in my children and live in my own life.

He (my 4 year old) has chosen a ripple blanket in green.  I need to acknowledge a great blog for this project, Lucy from Attic24 writes some great tutorials, her ripple blanket is one of my favourites and was introduced to me by a friend I now refer to as Ripple.  http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/neat-ripple-pattern.html

I did it, a test swatch

This is the first time I've attempted this pattern so as recommended for once I did crochet a test swatch.  OK, it was only a couple of rows but believe me this is a triumph in self discipline!  With Attic24's instructions it was a piece of cake.

Chain of 311 stitches, I hope!
And so with a sigh I worked out that I needed a chain of 311 stitches.  That bit I didn't mind, it was the foundation row that followed.  If I hate any part of crocheting this is it!

I don't know how long it took as I am somewhat prone to self distraction during the foundation row - just see if there is anything tasty in the fridge, no, do a few dishes, see if anything tasty has miraculously appeared in the fridge, no. Sigh, back to foundation row.  Is this just me? 
It's actually pretty straightforward, 4 treble crochets, 2 increasing stitches, 4 treble crochets, 2 decreasing stitches and repeat, and repeat.  Very soothing, very satisfying.
Adding a second row was child's play.  Easy to see if you'd gone wrong very quickly, and even with 311 stitches very rapid.  A pleasure to crochet. And with using a treble satisfyingly wide after just these rows, especially as I'm using the 4.5 mm hook rather that the 4 mm I would use for a more intricate pattern with this yarn.  Now I just have to live with the colours and the colour order chosen by my son.
Colour combination as chosen by a 4 year old


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

New Project in Green

I'm back from the UK, continuing to claim that I am NOT jet lagged but that I am waking at 2 am and falling asleep at 7pm only because my two children are on that schedule with their own jet lag.  Well it makes me feel better anyway.

As promised I brought crochet needles back through as part of my hand luggage in a bid to confirm my internet research that they are in fact now allowed on planes.  In an anticlimax I wasn't even queried on them leaving me wondering if they even noticed them.... and if not what else in other people's luggage have they not noticed?

I am now in the lovely position of choosing a new project!  A new bag? A lacy shawl I've been wanting to do forever? Something of my own design inspired by the beautiful flowers in my dad's very English country garden?

Fox Gloves

Then my four year old reminded me that now I had finished Granny's blanket, I could make his.  And yes I had promised.  So I showed him lots of pictures but his friend is having a ripple blanket made by his mum (Ripple) so that is what he wants.  And not only that, because he has Aspergers it must be green.  I'm sure anyone else with Aspie children will understand this statement although your lives may be a different colour. :-)
A Rainbow in Green (by my little Aspie)

None of this do I mind at all, I have been wanting to crochet a ripple and although I fancied something different it will be a soothing project as I settle back into work and life after three months away.  The unfortunate side of it was that I had also promised him that I would let him choose the wool himself, so we had a family outing to the local wool shop.  (Really all four of us, I never thought I'd see my husband in there!)

A bag full of green

There was only one choice for him, the cheapest wool there (which I don't necessarily object to) but its polyester and not the softest.  But it had 4 shades of green and he wouldn't be shifted.  Wish me luck!

Friday, 6 July 2012

In An English Country Garden

Purple Poppy Enjoying The Sunshine

Yarns today is coming from up over, above upon or maybe the Old Country. Writing this had made me realise that I have no idea what Aussies call the northern hemisphere.  I love these upside down maps, it makes you stop and think about perspective.  Has anyone ever seen one on it's side?

South At The Top

In any case I am now in the UK, the jet lag has passed and my crochet needles remain in my bag. Further than that I can't comment as my mini-folk didn't have the courtesy to sleep at the same time. As a result I didn't get my hooks out. In two weeks I'll be flying in the opposite direction so with any luck I'll give it a go then.

My African Flowers blanket has been given and well received, although the surprise that I had made it was not altogether flattering ;-). 

Lacy Leaf Cocoon Shrug

More flattering was that my 4 year old son was extremely disappointed that it wasn't for him and would like me to make him one too, but I feel the need for something different. I did spot this shrug the other day on planet purl which is very much tempting me (link below). Especially as once back in Oz it won't be too long until the summer.


Equally though I was eyeing up the flowers in my parents very english
garden. The rain means there aren't as many as usual but  I'd love to incorporate them into my patterns somehow..

Any thoughts?  What kind of item or garment?  How to incorporate linear features?

White Foxglove

Water Lilies

Fox Glove

Purple and White Foxglove
Newly Hatched Geranium

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Freeform Border!

I started to border on Sunday night. And yes I admit it, I went FREEFORM. Although in the simplest possible way.

Because of the braiding I ended up with chain loops each 3 chains long along the sides of the hexagons.

My twin aims are to increase the size of the blanket while still maintaining the overall feel and quality of it.

I started in cream, the same as I've used for the flower bed. I put 3 double crotchet stitches into each chain of three. At the corners I put in a double, a chain of 3, and another double.

I followed up with another circuit of the blanket in the same way, still in cream. This time though, where it was deeper as the hexagons go in,I switched to trebles. So far it seems to be working.

I followed up with a (I think final) circuit of trebles, this time in purple to bring out the purple I've used in the African Flowers. If I were on masterchef I might even say I've made purple the hero of the piece.

Et voila! One lap blanket for my nana's 80th birthday. Now all I have to do is get to England to give it to her.

What do you think?