Friday, 24 July 2015

Stripes galore

I do love knitting and crocheting striped garments.  This month I have made 2 striped tops, a jumper and a cardigan.  Both of them have sleeves that are different from the body, giving a nice contrast.  The cardigan was from a pattern on Deramores website.  Until the end of July they are offering free downloads of some of their normally paid-for patterns, and I was very taken with this little cardigan, so I took advantage of their kind offer.

I made the 2-3 year old size.  I used some of the Stylecraft Special dk that I bought when Deramores had 25% off the price earlier this year.  I love the range of colours and the smoothness of this yarn.  I was tempted to put buttons and buttonholes all the way down the front, but in the end stuck to the pattern with its 3 buttons close together at the neck, and I have to say it does work very well.

The little aran jumper was one that I have made before.  It knits up quickly and is very straightforward to put together.  I made the neck opening a little larger than the pattern suggests, because I remember only too vividly trying to pull jumpers over uncooperative little heads, particularly at the end of a tiring day!  I expect that both garments will go to Operation Orphan.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Chair rescue

We have two sons, and I've been feeling that they have been attached to the family home with invisible elastic, which has brought them back to live at home for extended periods of time when we might have thought they had fled the nest for good.  But they now both seem settled long term (the younger one is getting married in September), and neither has been back, except for long weekends and odd nights, for eighteen months now.

We have redecorated their bedrooms and now have a real guest room no longer filled with boy-type clutter.  OK, it does have some of my crafting bits, but they are easily tidied away into the empty wardrobe when visitors are due.  

I was about to throw away one of the boys' old office chairs - look at the picture below and see if you can guess why!

 I was assured that the hole in the fabric, and the larger hole in the foam underneath was not caused by picking at the chair, perish the thought, but rather by the seams of their jeans rubbing the seat.  Hmmm.....

As I had some fabric left over from the guest room curtains, I had a go at re-covering the chair.  I filled the foam hole with some quilt wadding, and then covered the back and seat of the chair with the curtain fabric.

Finally I made a loose cushion to go over the seat so that the hole and filling weren't noticeable when sitting in the chair.  Ta dah!  

A refurbished chair that actually matches the room's decor.  Now all I need to do is clear away the crafting bits.......

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Closet card sharp?

My little corner of our front room (as I like to see it) contains my end of the settee, a side table with my macbook (a present to myself when I retired 4 years ago), my iPad mini (an unexpected present from my husband two Christmases ago when we had agreed not to give each other big pressies), my knitting bag (OK, 2 knitting bags), my circulars roll and my library book.

Having my laptop and iPad to hand is my means of staving off the dreaded Repetitive Strain Injury.  I take a break from knitting or crocheting, open up the laptop and check my emails, the Loving Hands Forum, and then I open up an app which has lots of different games of Patience on it.  My favourite is one called Australian Patience.  The game doesn't often work out, so it is very satisfying when it does.  I do find it very relaxing (the background is a video, so the waves break rhythmically on the beach), and a bit mentally taxing too.

Then today I looked at the stats which the app helpfully compiles.  It showed that I get it to work out 25% of the time (higher than I thought), but then it showed that over the last 4 years I have spent 11 days, 13 hours and 36 minutes playing this game.  Eleven days!  That's a good length for a holiday, let alone playing games of patience.  At first I was horrified at the loss of this length of time, then I broke it down to 3 days per year, less than one percent of my time.  It didn't seem quite so scary then. What would I have done otherwise with this time?  Probably watched mindless TV, or eaten biscuits, or carried on knitting and then maybe damaged my shoulders or my hands.  Should I feel as guilty as I do for playing cards for that amount of time?

Now I have come across Zooniverse, a community website that seeks people with time on their hands to view scientific or historical information and analyse it in some way.  One of their current projects is Operation War Diary, where they need people to transcribe key information from handwritten diaries kept by British military units during the first world war.  So I shall cut back on the cards, and do a bit of transcribing instead!