Make way for Christmas!

img_20171208_125815_254-577249510.jpgCrochet projects have been put to one side these past couple of weeks as I have been getting the Christmas decorations out, writing a lot of letters to go in overseas cards (one of my fave Christmas traditions – I love tech but I really do miss snail mail, don’t you?), andΒ getting my Santa on! This is the first year since becoming a mum that I’ve had all my gift shopping done and cards mailed by the first week of December. Possibly something to do with there being no babies or toddlers around here any more! πŸ™‚

So today I made a start on the pieces required to give our mailbox a festive makeover – a bit of Christmas yarnbombing in our street! Hope to be able to share the end result over the weekend or early next week.

Regarding the rarely mentioned ‘hills’ after which this blog is part-named, I have a running update too! After a few months off due to severe iron deficiency, I am now rested, blood-tested and good to go again and have started back into the C25k program to gently regain my fitness. And to celebrate wellness, and also because it’s good to have a goal , I have signed up for the ASICS Half Marathon on the Gold Coast on July 1st. It is one week after my 44th birthday, about which I am feeling a bit wobbly, what with edging ever further into my mid-40s a few months after my youngest starts school – a time of great reflectionΒ  and questioning! So, I figure a half marathon is as good a way as any to stave off a mid-life crisis. Either that or it’s an indication of one! πŸ˜€

How are your preparations going? Are you doing lots of lovely Christmas crochet?

Sophie’s Universe Refriended

Is ‘to refriend’ actually a verb? I fear not. Well not to my generation anyway! However, that’s what’s happened in recent weeks 😊 After three months in a box, I managed to get my Sophie back on. Hurrah! I don’t think it’s unusual to suffer some kind of a mental block with this one. She truly is a labour of love! Here she is, grown from Part 6 to Part 7. I am now well in to Part 8. Will share update again soon…

I’ve had a bit of writer’s block going on too recently – just not feeling a posting urge – yet my crojo remains happily ON so there’s quite a lot to report! But I’ll make this one short and sweet, so I can hook just a lil bit more before my daughters return from school and preschool. And do a bit of secret Christmas stuff too – I love Christmas, I didn’t until I became a mum, but now I enjoy it more with each year they grow. My youngest just turned five and my eldest is seven. Here is a rare sharing of a picture of my life outside crochet ☺

Would you love to start a Sophie but feel a bit daunted by the prospect? Don’t be – the pattern instructions are amazing in their detail and Dedri writes in such a friendly and encouraging style! I have purchased the gorgeous book, but you can also find the entire pattern for free (wow!) here.

I started working on Sophie’s Universe in June of this year. Have you completed Sophie? How long did it take? 

Until next time,

Happy hooking! Pam x

Colour Me Happy Crochet

Another wonderful week of crochet has gone by, and the destash has continued most successfully! I’ve completed another few colourful kitchen cloths in cotton:

And over three metres of rainbow bunting in fun acrylic:


I love working with a big variety of colours, especially brights! Colourful projects are always especially feel-good for me. Are you the same, or are you drawn more to neutrals?

My Stylecraft Special DK stashbusting project continues apace and I’m getting a lot of joy out of it – doubtless I’ll be distracted by another project or two along the way to completion but the past few days I’ve been happy just making more Blooming Grannies (pattern by Margaret Hubert in The Granny Square Book). It’s a join-as-you-go blanket, my first and I’m sure it’ll not be my last. Love this join method – how about you?

Until next time, happy hooking!

Pam

Crochet Decluttering and StashbustingΒ 

Last week I decided it was time to sort through my crochet corner, which was becoming ever more disorganised with hooks, books, notepads, yarn, tapestry needles, stitchmarkers, stickynotes and wips.

First I assesed my various tubs of stash and put aside some ‘what was I thinking?!’ impulse purchases of clearance yarn, for the charity shop. Then I went through all my crochet books and separated the best loved from the rarely if ever looked at, which I will sell on or exchange for credit at a local secondhand bookshop. 

Next I crossed off my list the cancellation of a crochet subscription box that I just wasn’t loving (Secret Crochet Club), and decided not to resubscribe to Amanda Bloom’s Little Box of Crochet for the time being, purely because I have five beautiful boxes containing gorgeous little as yet unfinished projects neatly stacked on one of my shelves. (Where do the months go?!)

I organised and cleaned my entire crochet space (a corner of our family room, containing a bookcase with a chest at the bottom and sturdy shelves up top, and a desk and chair), and resolutely declared a total ban on all yarn purchases until my planned pilgrimage with friends to Bendigo Woolen Mills early next year.

Needless to say, within days I’d been forced to place a Stylecraft Special DK order with Wool Warehouse because my Stylecraft Special DK stashbusting exercise will require a couple more balls of Meadow and Rose for the border…you understand, don’t you? 😁

I did, however, bust some stash by having a brief but productive facewasher / dishcloth phase (pattern by Catherine Hirst in Granny Square Crochet). It was most enjoyable, and my use of Knitpicks CotLin and Dishie (adore these!) during this time certainly makes up for the Stylecraft purchase. So I tell myself. You get me. Right? 😁😁

Are you overdue a crochet declutter? Are you in the throes of some intentional stashbusting, or a total yarn purchase ban? How is that going for you? ☺

Until next time, I wish you happy hooking 😊

Pam

Crojo Restored – Mandala Madness!

My crojo was fast disappearing last time I wrote – my latestΒ amigurumi attempt, while interesting, was not enjoyable – and I am not into crochet for the struggle! I crochet to relax; to clear and calm my mind; and for the pure joy of creativity and colour! So I put down the 2.5mm and picked up my trusty 4mm. I abandoned the splitty cotton and took out my basket of Patons Cotton Blend 8ply. And then my family went away for the weekend!! Below is what followed, in pictures ☺☺

Picot-Edged Mandala (Designer: Marinke Slump)

Crochet Coaster (Designer: Carmen Hefferman)

Tulips from Amsterdam (Designer: Haafner Linssen)

Dreamcatcher – using the first rounds of Haafner Linssen’s Dainty Daisy mandala pattern

Rounds 1-5 designed by Edie Eckman (Motif #3 from ‘Beyond the Square’); rounds 6-8 my own

And just like that, all is well in my crochet world once more! It’s great to try new things, and I will always strive to stretch the boundaries of my crochet skills – but if a project or technique or yarn just doesn’t feel good, I’ll stop working it. Life too short!

I wish you the crochet joy in your own endeavours that I am once again experiencing. Crojo restored and on fire! And now, back to my current mandala…. 😊😊

Pam

Tiny Hook Tales

After a few weeks of school hols and family from overseas visiting, I’m now able to return to my daily hooking habit. Hurrah! 

In the aftermath of this unintentional hiatus I find I’ve lost all momentum on my afghan blocks, which is a bit sad – but as I’m now over two years into that project I don’t suppose another few months makes any difference! Instead, this week I’m having another go at amigurumi. Behold, the body of Santa – and one arm ☺


Lord, but it’s fiddly! And not relaxing in the least. I am not a friend of the 2.5mm hook – even if it is one of my beloved Clover Amours! I’m using DMC Natura Just Cotton, which I was very excited to obtain but it’s driving me batty splitting into 8 strands all the time, a bit of a horror with a 2.5mm. 

There are of course much smaller hooks to be had, but this is definitely tiny to me, and I for one couldn’t go any smaller. I’ve been trying to practice by using the same hook and yarn to make a simple mandala coaster (using Marinke Slump’s Picot-Edge Mandala pattern) but while I love the way it’s working up, I’m just not feeling the 2.5mm. I like to relax with my crochet, not fight with it!


This will definitely be my last 2.5mm piece. I may try a 4mm / dk fairy. But then again, I may not – to be honest I rather feel the call of another relaxing and satisfying Willow project β˜Ί 

Do you like amigurumi? Did you struggle at first but then fell in love? 

Until next time,

Happy hooking!

Pam

Books & Blocks

September turned into a sprint with lots of mum stuff going on and suddenly in the blink of an eye it’s October! I’m all for the slow life but there are limits to how slow one can in reality go with two boisterous little girls and a husband that works long hours – especially in the school holidays! It would be so nice to lie on the veranda appreciating the birdsong all day every day but people will need clean knickers and feeding (three times daily no less, how very dare they?! 😁)

Not of course that I’m complaining – as they say, no mess would mean no precious family, always worth reminding oneself of that, particularly in my darker moments haha – but I am always mindful of monitoring my mental health and ‘self care’ needs. It’s very easy for me to allow things to get frantic in my head, fuel with coffee and neglect to eat well enough – which is of course a recipe for burnout. 

While keeping an eye on these things, in the spirit of ‘slow’ I also stopped creating crochet deadlines for myself and only hooked when the mood took me, otherwise reading fiction in my down times – a great way to calm my often anxious brain. Crochet has its (vital!) place in my mental health toolkit, but I am prone to ruminating and catastrophising and sometimes recently I’ve needed a bigger distraction than the block patterns I’ve been working on, relatively complex though some of them are. 

I’ve devoured several novels in recent weeks and have thoroughly enjoyed them:

The Captain’s Daughter by Leah Flemming

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A Pure Clear Light by Madeleine St John

I’m currently reading Freya by Anthony Quinn and loving it. I’ve been reading mainly non-fiction for ages and am truly delighting in getting back into fiction. Always interested in discovering new fiction authors – who are your favourites??

I guess it’s a measure of my usual hooky ‘output’ that although I’ve been crocheting a lot less, I’ve still done a lot more than I thought – 10 x 8.5 inch blocks! Here are 9 of them (you can find links to all the patterns in this blanket cal here)

Wishing happy hooking – and reading – to all 😊 Here’s to a fabulous month ahead!

Pam x