I finally unravelled my crocheting. Is it just me, but I have to leave a few days between deciding to unravel and actually pulling the yarn? The wool was in the odd balls basket at our local wool shop. Turns out, it wasn’t quite enough to make my yoke, but with a few alterations to the pattern, it will.
I love this stitch. It has the quick and ease of a granny square, but is less clunky to look at. Perfect for my needs. It’s called a shell pattern – split double. I might make a video showing how to do it, if only so I don’t forget.
Altering the design of the yoke should make it more interesting to look at too, so another silver lining.
Reading wise, I’ve not been able to settle into a book. Pick up a book, read a few pages and then abandon it in a pile of sewing. I was quite relieved when I found a copy of When God was a Rabbit in a local charity shop. It is quirky and, far more importantly, has kept me reading. Only a few chapters in, but at least it hasn’t ended up languishing in the sewing pile. (Not sure why it’s always the sewing pile. Maybe “not great” books inspire me to sew.)
While we’re on the subject of stitching, I have almost finished my latest sewing project. It’s squeezing into the back of the photo. Just too soon for a ta-dah moment. Gardening has definitely delayed this project. I find that if the weather is nice, I can’t waste time inside. No knowing how long it will last, and seeds wait for no-one.
(Technically not true, of course. Poppy seeds, for a start, have been known to lie dormant for 50 years, waiting for the right conditions to germinate and grow. That’s why a slight change in the farmer’s methods can result in an unplanned dash of red in fields, after years of none. They are there, waiting for their chance.)
(ladybird poppy from 2010. Current poppies are just leaves at the moment.)
The point is that, I need to get cucumber seedings potted up and sweetcorn planted out, otherwise I’m losing growing time. I fool myself that I’ll sew later in the day, but then I’m too tired/needed for homework/taxi duties. Sigh. So the sewing has waited. Hopefully I’ll be able to take photos soon and share here.
That’s me. How about you? What have you been making? Have you read a book recently that you couldn’t put down? I’d love to know.
I miss sharing my current book and knitting progress on a Wednesday. It gave me that extra encouragement to do more. I’d like to carry on, but this time, I think, I’ll include progress in other long term craft projects, or even just life in general. Life doesn’t always serve up enough time in the week to add many knitted rows, or enough awake moments to read another chapter. Some weeks I want to sew or even grow something instead.
Here I go.
I’m going to kick off with my latest book. I have finished it. A few weeks ago, Briony shared a book she had been reading. From her description, I knew I’d like it, so I ordered a copy. The day The Blackout arrived, we had a power cut for a few hours in the evening (again), so I approached this book with even more interest.
The book starts as the electricity begins to go off all over Europe, but no-one knows why. The grid is interlinked across countries. As one area loses power, there is a ripple effect across all countries. Chaos. Traffic lights stop working and cars crash. Hospitals try to cope with more casualties, without the help of power. No water. No sanitation. No power to pump petrol from the underground tanks. Soon everything grinds to a halt. No food or medicine. People start to die.
I thought it was interesting how people went from helping each other, even strangers, to looking out for themselves. As resources diminished there were still pockets of support, such as a soup kitchen and the government departments in some countries struggling on, but there were plenty more that chose to wield a gun instead and seize power.
The failed attempts to bring the electricity back on line were interesting. There were parts in the plot that had holes (what really? You really didn’t think of that? Where are your procedures?), but some of those were necessary to make the story.
It made me think. How would I survive? Water would be our main problem. Over time, I think we’d have the skills and knowledge to survive as a family. I remember reading years ago, that if such a major permanent change happened, such as no electricity, it would be those that stuck together as a community, and shared skills, that would survive. I think that’s true. They advocated building communities in readiness, which seemed to be taking it a little far. I’d hate to eat my words on that one.
The book made me realise how much people rely on electricity. An eye opener. If you read this book, be prepared to add candles and extra canned food to your next shopping list. Maybe water too and a generator.
Thought I’d include the children’s books too. They’ve all read lots this holiday and the pile of read books is even bigger.
Nine year old has resumed ploughing through the Harry Potter series, he’s on number 5.
Twelve year old was desperate to read something less depressing, so I suggested the Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. One of my favourite books when I was her age. She loves it. I can’t remember the last time I saw her so engrossed in a book. There was a film based on the story, but the book is a million miles better than the film. In the sense that the book may once have been in the same room as the script writers.
Fourteen year old is flying through books. She’s finished this one now. Her sixth book this holiday. She is enjoying the uninterrupted time to read.
Last but by no means least, our bed time story book. We popped into the Oxfam bookshop today and picked up a copy of More About Paddington. I’ll be reading a chapter a night to the Youngest, before bed. Often the others will quietly turn up to listen too. There is something rather lovely about having a book read to you, last thing in the day. Especially such delightful stories.
No knitting progress. I’ve been working on my Dear Daughter quilt. Two more squares finished. They are waiting for letters to go with them, which in turn, is waiting for me to be inspired. Sometimes thinking of the right subject, that meets the Teens approval, can be challenging. I’m sure I’ll think of something. In the meantime, I’m on my third square, with three more to go and I’m finished.
In the kitchen
With the children on holiday, my role as chief chef has been called into play more. My usual lunch of grabbing a cheese and pickle toastie is not always enough for my growing brood. I’ve been making fruit muffins each afternoon and chopping up fruit to keep in the fridge, ready for the “I’m hungry” cry.
Another big hit is so simple. It’s an old favourite that tends to be forgotten during the colder months when the ingredients are out of season. I chop up tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and red onions, then top with parsley and fennel from the garden. The children love it. Even enough to discuss whether it would make a suitable breakfast.
The difference is the use of herbs. If I add chopped chives to the top of a dish of boiled potatoes, they disappear in a flash. Without chives, I can guarantee I’ll have left overs.
This summer, my herb collection is going to get a lot more care and attention.
In the garden
I’ve been busy potting up sweetcorn and cabbages. If all goes well, we should have enough sweetcorn for plenty of meals in the garden, and some left over to freeze. Cabbage is a more distant ambition. They will be helping to add fresh food over the hungry months, after Christmas, when not much else is in season. This is planning ahead. It feels way ahead.
A generous slice of life.
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