Making Rainbows, Singing Songs

In these difficult times, we grasp the little things that make us smile. Children everywhere are painting pictures of rainbows and putting them in a window. It’s become a lovely symbol of hope and positivity.

My cousin, who is a Crochet Queen (we were both taught to crochet by our grandmother), has just returned home to Australia after a trip to New Zealand with her partner. They had stayed longer than originally planned as it became harder to get a flight after travel restrictions to combat the spread on COVID-19 were imposed. Now safely back in Canberra and in self-isolation, she shared a post from the Just Pootling blog with a free pattern to make a crocheted rainbow – we are so glad they are back home.

A while back I saw these packs of cotton yarn in Flying Tiger and thought they’d come in useful for something, though at the time I had no idea what. It turns out that they were just perfect for this little project.

It was easy to do, with concentric circles of the rainbow colours, folded in half. You can get the pattern here, I added a loop I can use to hang it in a front window and hope it makes somebody smile when they walk past.

Earlier this evening, I enjoyed a “Pop and Prosecco” informal singing session online with The Singing Elf – over 20 of us joined the informal session, which started with a warm up and a mashup of Price Tag, Living on a Prayer, Call me Maybe, Firework, Paparazzi, and Someone Like You! We also had a music quiz and ended with a rousing rendition of Earth, Wind and Fire’s September. These are now a regular part of my Friday nights.

How has your routine changed with the lock-down?

A Quick Crochet Headband (and a Covering of Snow)

I remembered that I’d promised to make a headband for my hairdresser’s little girl the last time I was getting my hair done. I’m there on Thursday so I thought I’d better do something

Fortunately it didn’t take me very long at all (it was made on quite a chunky 5mm crochet hook). The pattern was a free one on Ravelry – the Turban Knot Headband by Olivia Kent of Hopeful Honey. I used an oddment of bright pink double knitting from my stash. It was delightfully quick and easy to make once I’d established that the pattern uses US terminology. (American double crochet is a UK treble and it follows that a US half double is a UK half treble).

I hope D and her little girl like it – I’ll ask if she’ll take a photo of the headband being modelled to post on here – if she does I’ll update the post.

Here in Northumberland we seem to have escaped the ravages of Storm Ciara. It has been very windy and the sea was raging but we haven’t sustained any damage that I’m aware of. We certainly haven’t had the floods and raging seas experienced elsewhere in Britain. although the sea has been fairly rough. K took these photos on Sunday (he’s a much better photographer than me).

It tried to snow overnight and it hadn’t melted on the hills so this was the view when I set off to go to Newcastle for choir today.

We had snow showers on and off all day and I drove most of the way back in a blizzard, but it cleared before I reached home. I thought it would be interesting to stop and take a photo in the same spot .

I thought the hills would be snowier but apart from the sky looking more interesting, with the late afternoon sun disappearing behind a bank of cloud, there doesn’t look to be much more snow. You can see the slush on the road though, and further up the road you could see where the snow had blown on to the trees – they looked like they had thick white lines painted on them.

Have you had snow this week?

Baby Bolero

I’ve mentioned that I love making baby clothes (they are small and therefore quick to do, and of course very cute). I think this is the first crocheted item I’ve featured on the blog. It’s also my go-to baby girl gift. I think I’ve made it three times now: for my great niece, my friend’s granddaughter and my hairdresser’s little girl.

Having said that, I have run into some problems with it – I think there may be an error in the pattern and the sleeves are on the long side . Happy with the way it turns out though. It’s a discontinued DMC pattern, worked in DMC Natura cotton, so it’s not too heavy for the summer.

It has a really pretty scalloped edge – such a nice finish.

I was really happy with these buttons too. I bought them from Alison at Button Bothy in Poolewe, Wester Ross in North West Scotland. We always call in to her studio when we stay in that area on holiday. She makes button jewellery and stocks a huge range of buttons as well as cards and gifts. i always stock up on buttons when I’m there. Isn’t it satisfying when you find the perfect button for a garment?

Do you have a go-to pattern ? I’d love to hear about it.

A Knitting Inheritance

I have some of my late grandmother’s knitting needles

I’ve been thinking about my late grandmother (Nan) quite a bit recently. I was sorting out my knitting needles the other week (which is a whole new post in itself) and in amongst them are a good many that belonged to her.

I mentioned in my post Another Kind of Yarn that I was busy editing my friend’s book. I came across these lines she’d written in her third book (working title:When All Else Fails)

Even stitches, 

Don’t pull too tight, 

Take pride in what you are doing

One of the characters is stitching and as he works he thinks back and fondly remembers the wise words of the woman who taught him. That got me thinking about Nan, who taught me to knit and crochet. I remember my mother showing me how to knit too, and how to sew, but Nan was the great knitter of the family.

She always had knitting on the go and my brother, my cousins and I had jumpers and cardigans in every colour of the rainbow. With the leftover yarn she’d knit garter stitch squares and make them up into colourful blankets, which were used at my grandparents caravan, by the river at Corbridge.

Nan taught me how to crochet when I was about 8 years old and I picked it up pretty quickly, though she was always telling me that the way I held the hook was all wrong! I’m pretty sure that she taught my cousins too and they still crochet. She also used to make the most exquisite tatted lace, which was used to edge handkerchiefs.

I love that I still have some of her knitting needles (and crochet hooks too). When I use them it’s reminds me of Nan and what she taught me. It’s great to be part of that wonderful tradition of skills being passed down the generations.

Who taught you to knit/crochet/sew? Have you inherited any of their equipment? Please follow the blog and share your stories.

Jackie