Crochet WIP

Today I finished the main body of a blanket I’ve been working on. Not necessarily a summer project, but an easy one. I used the granny stripe pattern from Attic24 with a selection of Stylecraft Special Dk colours (I’ll list them when I finish it) and have really enjoyed the simple repetition of the pattern.

The only problem now is that I need to weave in the ends before I can start the border…


Does anyone actually enjoy this bit? I know it’s the reason I don’t make many blankets! I’m off to get a cup of tea and make a start. Wish me luck!

A long overdue return…

I left the blogging world almost three years ago, when some massive changes in my work life meant I didn’t have the time to do enough of the things I liked to share in the blogosphere – baking and crafting. Three years on, I’m as busy as ever – teaching is not a career that leaves you much time to yourself, now more then ever – but I’ve increasingly realised the value of those activities in my life. No matter how little free time I have, no matter how much marking is waiting or data needs updating, I have learned that a few minutes working on a crochet project or mixing up a sourdough loaf are essential to my mental and physical health. A return to blogging here seems a good way to remind myself of that, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things! I am in the process of updating and refreshing the site, so please bear with me…

Here in the UK we are in the first glorious weeks of the summer holidays, and I’m relishing the chance to enjoy myself without feeling guilty – hurray for summer! I’ll leave you with some snapshots of the past few days…

A (brief) North Wales adventure

In order to visit the new baby, and deliver the rainbow blanket, we had to travel down to North Wales. Fortunately, my parents-in-law had rented a small holiday cottage in the area, so we were able to turn the visit into a short break and fit in some walking and exploring around hospital visiting hours. I took a lot of photos!

The weather was…British. That is to say, the first day and a half were freezing – I had to borrow a fleece from my mother-in-law and we slept under a thick duvet and blanket – but on the second afternoon, the sun suddenly turned up for long enough that we were able to strip down to t-shirts.

view from Bangor pier

The view from Bangor pier – I sat on the floor, out of the wind, hence the slightly wonky photo!

Bangor pier lamp

boats in Bangor harbour

Druids' cricle standing stones

Standing stones, locally known as the Druid’s Circle – but in fact about a thousand years older than the druids.

view over Anglesey

The view from the hills directly above where we stayed, looking out over the Anglesey straits. Much better on the way down than up!

tower roof

A really lovely tower – I can just picture myself sitting in that glass room with a cup of tea and a good book.

All of the rest of the photos were taken in Conwy, mainly in the castle. I love a good castle, and although I’ve visited a fair few Conwy has to be one of the best you can visit in the UK. It’s massive, fairly well preserved and the location is perfect.

Conwy castle view

The view over the bay…

jackdaw in town wall


The castle from the town walls (also worth a visit!)

Conwy town walls

jackdaw on castle ruins

A friendly crow, happy to pose.

Conwy castle interior

The interior of the castle as seen from one of the lower towers.

hills from Conwy castle

welsh flag

boats from castle

Conwy interior window

Conwy bay through arrow slit

The view through one of the arrow slits.

king's head conwy

The king!

castle seagull

Rainbow squares crochet baby blanket – finished!

This blanket seems to have been hanging around for a while.  In truth, I slightly lost interest in it once I got to the border and put it aside for weeks at a point when it only required another hour or so of work to finish it completely. Getting the news that the baby had been born, however, gave me the kick I needed to finish!

So here it is – the imaginatively titled Rainbow Squares baby blanket! Please excuse the poor picture quality; I had to take these on a dull, grey morning before I wrapped the blanket and took it down to Wales.

rainbow crochet squares blanket

I didn’t take measurements but you can get a sense of the scale from my feet! As with my first blanket, I made it larger than is typical for baby blankets so that it can be used for longer. The rest of the photos are much more true to colour…

rainbow squares blanket

As usual, the yarn is Stylecraft DK, in the following shades: Lipstick, Saffron, Meadow, Turquoise, Bluebell, Violet and Cream.

rainbow squares blanket

The border was simply rows of  treble crochet, with a final row of double crochet.

crochet squares blanket border

I think that blocking might have been a good idea…but you know, it’s rare that a baby blanket has to be laid flat and neat on the floor in a perfect square, so I think all will be well.  My sister-in-law loved it and the colours match the nursery perfectly (entirely coincidentally) so I’m counting this as a success!

crochet squares baby blanket

A change is gonna come…

*[…in the words of Otis Redding…]


Things are changing around here: from the beginning of September, I’ll be working flat out in a local school, training for my QTS (qualified teacher status) so that I can become a fully qualified history teacher. I’m incredibly excited (and a tad nervous) but it does mean that I won’t have much time left for some of my favourite hobbies, namely crochet and cooking. I’m certainly not intending to give crafting up altogether (it’s what keeps me sane, and I think it might provide a much-needed respite from work when things get tough!) but I’m not going to be able to commit to regular posting. I’ve decided to finish the 52 weeks challenge, which has become less interesting for me in recent weeks anyway; that way I can post on here when I get the opportunity without feeling guilty at not keeping up with the weekly posts!

Phew. That feels better! In craft-related news, I’ve pretty much finished the rainbow squares blanket (we won’t talk about how it took me approximately a month to finish half a side of the last border row…) so there’ll be a reveal of that as soon as I’ve woven in the last three or four ends and found my camera card. Back soon!

Shrewsbury outing

Back home…and the heavens have opened! I’m struggling to hold off thoughts that autumn is arriving here. We arrived back from a week away in Shropshire and Swansea on Friday, and I’ve now got two days of intensive revision for a test I have to sit on Tuesday. I’ll be back again after then, but for now I wanted to share some of the photos I took in Shrewsbury.  We were at a wedding and it was a beautiful day, but one of the highlights for me was the flower festival that meant the whole town was filled with beautiful flowers!

riverside flowers

pink petals

shrewsbury castle

shrewsbury school

Shrewsbury School – attended by famous alumni Michael Palin and Charles Darwin!

1953 coach

Our transport to and from the wedding: a 1953 coach, complete with sprung armchair seats and wood paneling. And it didn’t make me feel ill – a definite bonus!

wedding car

shrewsbury hotel

View from the hotel bedroom – I only had my phone so the quality isn’t great, but a Tudor building is always nice to look at!

Crochet doilies

I’m going to a wedding this weekend, and then down to Swansea to see my parents for a few days, so I should really be doing all those last-minute things you do when you’re going away… I wanted to share what I made yesterday first though.

simply crochet doily

The pattern is from Simply Crochet issue 8,  and it’s worked in DK cotton. I used the cheap unbleached craft cotton that you can use for dishcloths etc with a 4mm hook, and it looks good! It needs blocking but that will have to wait until I get back next week.

dk cotton doily

I chose to leave off the final round of loops because I preferred the cleaner edge, and added a row of dc in purple cotton to make the doily a bit more ‘me’. It also means that it ties in quite well with the plant pot covers I made the other day!

crochet plant pot coversRight, I’m off to do all those little last minute things…like fixing the greenhouse door, picking caterpillars off the cauliflowers and painting my nails!

52 weeks: 29 & 30 / 52

Apologies for not having been around much recently – things have been so busy round here that this is the first chance I’ve had to write! I’m going to have to cheat and put a few weeks’ worth of the 52 weeks challenge all together again or I’ll never catch up…

The biggest reason I’ve had to smile doesn’t have an accompanying photo, and really doesn’t count as a little moment of happiness since it’s actually a pretty big thing, but I’m including it anyway… After several years of post-university uncertainty, and a manic month or so of applications and interviews (hence my absence from here), I’ve been offered a place on a teacher training course, so from September I’ll be teaching history in a local secondary school! I’m tremendously excited and ever-so-slightly apprehensive, but overall I just feel very relieved that I finally know what I’m doing…

In other news:

summer pudding

One bag of frozen berries, a ripe nectarine and a few slices of white bread – the easiest summer pudding ever.


Minestrone soup – one of my favourite summer dishes, and it gets even better when I can start to use the tomatoes, courgettes and new potatoes from the garden – it was just the basil this time.

rhubarb custard cake

Rhubarb and custard crumble cake – a particularly delicious creation, even if I say so myself.

new plates

What do you do to celebrate when you’ve just found out you’ve been offered the job you wanted? Buy a whole new set of crockery of course! The whole time that T and I have been together, we’ve only ever used an old set of crockery that his grandparents kindly offered us when we first moved into our own flat. We were very grateful at the time, but the design was not one that we’d ever have chosen (see the minestrone soup), and so having decided we might finally just be able to justify a new set we went on a joyful trip to Ikea. We came back with a mix of plain green, plain aubergine and green/white leaf designs and I *love* them. I carefully restrained myself from showing you the entire set one by one…my husband however has to put up with my unbridled joy every time I open the cupboard or eat a slice of bread. (We’re on day three, and my love of these plates shows no sign of abating.)

simply crochet

This month’s Simply Crochet was a good issue; there’s a fair few patterns and ideas that I plan to have a go at. A very relaxing moment in between interviews!

plantpot cover

…plus it gave me the inspiration for this plant pot cover! I liked the pattern for a jam jar cover but had to adapt it considerably to suit the shape of the (rather grubby) pot; I’m happy with the result though!

ripe blueberry

The first ripe blueberry!


Last but not least, the sweetcorn has shot up in the heatwave (since I took this photo last week, it’s grown even more.) We can’t wait until the cobs start to appear!

I’m hoping that I won’t be away from here for quite as long next time. Until then, keep enjoying the summer!

52 weeks: 27 / 28

Slightly cheating, but this way I can get back on track more quickly! The past two weeks have been somewhat manic – hence the lack of posts – but also scorching hot, as I’m sure anyone in the UK will agree. Personally, I have never encountered such a long run of *hot* summer days; I grew up on the Yorkshire coast, where the combination of the sea breeze and fret (thick fog that sits over the coast) means that temperatures very rarely get as high as they might otherwise. The concept of going to bed after a long, balmy summer’s day secure in the knowledge that you’ll be able to wear another sundress tomorrow is not one that I’m familiar with…but I’m enjoying it! Far too much to want to sit at the computer once I’ve finished essential work…

So, in no particular order, a peek into some happy moments from the past two weeks.

sweet peas

evening primrose

evening primrose

Evening primroses – so colourful and sunny!


The blueberries are getting nice and plump…

bumble bee in clover

bee in clover

…and the bees are enjoying the clover flowers.

hot cat in shade

carrot and lentil burger

A delicious carrot and lentil burger in a sesame bun – far tastier than it sounds!

rainbow squares blanket

…and the blanket is coming along well. Not that a woolly blanket really suits the weather…

52 weeks: 26/52

Hm. Halfway through the year! The first half has been largely positive; I’m hoping that the next twenty-six weeks are just as interesting. Although I’m mildly disturbed by the number of festive (I’m not going to mention the C-word) images popping up on Pinterest… I’d rather not think about the end of the year just yet!

This week has been busy once again, and I haven’t been taking many pictures – I’m aware that the photos for the past few weeks haven’t been especially interesting, but then that just reflects how life is – sometimes it’s the most mundane things that provide the happy moments in a busy week!

Firstly, rain; we’ve had a lot of this in the last fortnight. In itself, it isn’t my favourite weather by a long way; once this week, though, I opened the back door and smelled that wonderfully-fresh ‘summer rainstorm’ smell – almost as good as newly-mowed grass. Since you can’t take photographs of scents, I went for a shot of the friendly gargoyle that guards our back step.

gargoyle in the rain

In addition, rainy days mean more of this – crochet and tea! Two of my favourite pastimes. (The cosy was knitted by my sister!)

tea and crochet

And when you need a break from crocheting, there’s always baking! This was my attempt to make something satisfying to keep me going as part of my packed lunches this week – oats, barley flakes, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, prunes, cinnamon…oh, and a tin of condensed milk. Which is guaranteed to raise a smile!

healthyish flapjack

Finally, don’t you love it when you rediscover something you’d forgotten about? I came across a jar full of flowering teas (it had got pushed to the back of the shelf; that I categorised it as ‘lost’ says a lot about the state of my kitchen cupboards.) You can’t tell what flowers they have inside until they bloom in hot water; the first one I tried was a beautiful ‘dragon’s eye’. Lovely isn’t it?

flowering tea

Have a good week all!