I like a crafting challenge. I really do. I’m up for trying something I’ve not attempted craft-wise before. Or done before, but maybe with a twist this time. It usually results in creative, problem solving, which I absolutely adore.
I would put my just-because-I-can garden bunting firmly into this category. I’ve made plenty of granny squares, but never out of garden twine.
Back last year Ali, over on Instagram, shared a photo of her inspirational garden bunting, crocheted with twine. Garden twine? Whoah! I never thought of using that before. I mean, I’ve knitted with plastic bag yarn for outdoors use, but why had I not thought of twine? I didn’t realise that it came in so many different, lovely colours. My brain went into over-drive, contemplating how well it would work out in the garden.
When you think about it, and I’m quite sure it doesn’t takes up much of most people’s pondering time, twine is designed to survive outside, isn’t it? In fact, it is robust and weathers well. Otherwise why would generations of gardeners have paid over good money and purchased a reel of the stuff, for holding up bean poles and tying up over ambitious vines, that threatened to take over? I, for one, have bought enough twine over the years to know how tough it is.
Added to that, it looks like yarn. The perfect medium to crochet garden bunting.
It seemed that the stars were aligned and in my favour, because soon after, I found a clutch of colourful garden twice for sale in a craft shop. It was meant to be.
I started my first square, but soon realised that it wasn’t going to give up without a fight. It turns out that twine would prefer gentle curves. The type of curve that you see around bean poles or branches. Not hairpin turns, where it has to keep turning sharply left all the time. Twine is not very flexible. My hands soon ached from trying to wrestle the twine into a shape that it wasn’t the right structure to take.
Luckily, Ali came to the rescue and suggested a larger crochet hook. I’m pretty new to crocheting. My collection of hooks is limited. I could go down sizes, but not up. If we were talking knitting needles, then no problem. A pair for every occasion, but crochet hooks? No. The brakes were put on the project until I next went to a craft shop.
At this point, the stars dispersed and my garden bunting skulked in the bottom of my work basket. Replaced with more desirable and flexible craft choices. Can you blame me? I did find a larger crochet hook over the winter. Not an inspiring time to make anything for the garden. It wasn’t until a week or two ago that I picked up the stubborn squares again.
I made a square. It was easier, but it looked like it was made of loops. Loose loops. If I was going to finish this project, I needed to return to the original hook again.
So I did.
The twine ran out after four and a half squares. I raided my potting shed and used my run of the mill twine to finish off the last square. I now had five squares and hands that would rather lie flat too.Despite all the aches these squares caused, I am really rather pleased with them. They add a bit of fun to the garden. I was deciding between draping them on the potting shed or the covered bench, but decided on the bench in the end. I think. I may still change my mind and put them somewhere totally different.
The Pup gives them her seal of approval. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if she repositions them, by the morning. She has very definite ideas, does the Pup. I haven’t forgotten about my newly planted lavender that was meant to line the front path. I had images of brushing the scented foliage and flowers as I walked to the front door. Enjoying the fragrance.
There is still one lavender plant that survived, as a constant reminder of one evening’s work for her, when she declared I had planted them in the wrong place. Silly human.
Back to the bunting. I’m happy to have tried the project. I like the way it turned out. I’m pretty sure I won’t be making any more, any time soon. Might just use all subsequent garden twine to tie up my runner beans. It does a remarkably good job at holding up beans.
There is no denying that spring is gathering momentum. I keep finding small clumps of flowers budding up in unexpected corners, around the garden. While weeds are gaining an advantage in other areas.
Always the way. “Remove weeds” glides effortlessly to the top of my weekend list.
It’s not the only area that’s growing. Earlier this week, I mentioned how the children are sprouting in height (muffin recipe here). Turns out that they are growing in confidence, self reliance and knowledge too.
The Teen returned from Italy, full of her adventures. She did have fun and has fallen in love with the country. (I knew she would.) This has probably been one of the most successful residential school trips she has been on. I am full of admiration for the teachers that take students on these outings. Whether for a day, a week or longer. They deserve recognition.
I really believe that this sort of expedition teaches children more than the theme of the trip. The Teen has grown in confidence and self-reliance. Something that would be harder to achieve if we were with her, always at the ready to step in whenever she needed us. Instead, she has had experiences to reinforce and add to her belief in herself. She has grown, in height as well, but also in herself.
Middle daughter has also grown. She is over mid way through her first year at secondary. This week, all her hard work was singled out and recognized by the school. No mean feat in a large school. Wonderful for us all to hear, but even more importantly, confidence building for her. There is a definite skip in her step, and an easy smile, at the moment.
I’ve been busy too. Our windowsills are heavy with seed trays. Seedlings erupting through the soil, when my back is turned. I’m particularly pleased with my sweetcorn. Last year, I saved a few of the old cobs that we grew. A couple of weekends ago, I planted them in pots, with only a half-hearted thought that they would grow.
Turns out they did. I have about 100 plants coming up. I can make room for them all in the kitchen garden, but I don’t want to get carried away and count my chickens before they hatch. Who knows what kind of cobs they will produce. Fingers crossed, but if they all succeed, I have images of a farm stall at the end of our drive, with the children spending late summer, selling armfuls of sweetcorn cobs. Maybe wearing dungarees and straw hats. Probably taking it too far.
A girl can dream.
Our squashes, cucumbers and cabbage are doing well too. I’m following the three sister planting approach again. I can’t help smiling at all the trays of seedlings. It looks like a miniature version of our kitchen garden tucked up on the windowsills for now. In a few months time the few square foot will scale up to metres by metres of growing food outside. I hope.
I’m back to crocheting my garden bunting, from last year. Yes, this is garden twine I’m using. No, it is not the easiest thing to crochet with. I must be mad. I did up the size of my hook in an attempt to make it easier, but the squares were loopy and loose. So back to the 4.0 mm hook. One square a day is about all I can manage before my hands ache too much. Growing, but slowly.
Last day of term before the school holidays begin. Phew. Lots to do. Before I forget, must add new school trousers to my list. Couldn’t help noticing that there is a little bit more ankle been shown recently, by two of the children.
They grow. No arguing with that.
Word of the week. Grow.