Patterns are fun …eventually

Hello All

The sun has got its hat on. Hip hip hip hooray! Yesterday was a wonderful day for a train journey to my favourite city, Carlisle. A day when all my bus train bus connections came together and travel was an absolute pleasure.

As you know there is little chance of finding me on a train without wool and a project. Yesterday was no exception.

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In truth however I was running scared. I thought after the bauble success of last week I would try another pattern from the colourful “Boho Crochet” book edited by Merenke Slump. My knees turned to jelly when I realised I was moving from a two star to a THREE star skill rating. What was I thinking?! FPtrs and FPdtrs awaited along with surface crochet and sl st into blo (don’t ask, spare yourselves).

But before I could hook my way through a new crocheting learning curve my train had pulled in at Carlisle station. I had a little time before meeting with my friends at Tullie House Museum. Time for a visit to the library to pick up some light reading and settle down with a cup of tea.

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And yes that is brilliant sunlight casting shadows! Apologies for getting so excited but we don’t get a lot of sunshine in Cumbria. Infact like Nosferatu caught out by dawn we squinted, we fidgeted, we MOVED to get out of the rays. We may not get much sun but when we do it is stunning. Our eyes need time to adjust.

It was lovely meeting up with my friends but all too soon I was time to go our separate ways. A beautiful train ride later and I was back home and it was time to face my ‘Star Fruit Pattern Rug’ fears. Gulp.

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts.  I discovered I didn’t know my WS from my RS!

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Oops!

But having discovered this fundamental I started to get to grips with the lingo and enjoy myself.

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The Star Fruit shape began to form as I worked in the surface crochet. And the motif came together with the addition of the third colour edging.

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In no time at all I had three motifs completed. Only another 67 to go and I’ll have a rustic new rug!

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In case you were wondering I am using a 4mm hook and these chunky rough dyed rug yarns from Farfield Mill.

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Patterns. Pah! Nothing to fear after all. Next time 4 stars. Bring it on.

Until next we meet, Moke x

This year’s new baubles

Hello All

Every year we have a happy little family tradition. We each get a new bauble for the Christmas tree. Consequently we never have a particular colour or style instead we have a hotch potch of all sorts on our tree. Every little trinket telling a story or recalling a memory.

This year I was thinking of buying (eeek!) our 3 new decorations for the tree. Then I got to wondering whether a shop bought  what-not would quite capture the spirit of randomness our annual tree embodies. Don’t get me wrong there are many shop purchases swinging gaily from the needly branches. But most were donated by family or chosen when our small tribe of three were together to select them. From these I remember the people that gifted them or times when my big people were little folk and insistent that a blue elephant fairy would sit comfortably next to Piglet on a peg (what were the school thinking?!).

Rather than battle through the Black Friday…Pink Tuesday…..Lemon Thurdsay…..whatever…..crowds and pick up anything that would get me out of there fast I had a little think. And when I had thunk the idea of needle felted baubles was born. I already had my needle-felting goodies out for the wreath-making-needle-felting-styrofoam adventure (don’t ask!) and was glad to put them to a happier use (I said…don’t ask).

Combining the idea of needle-felted baubles with Wool Buddies I set off. First a Herdwick body DSCI0292 then a little red tummy (you can see where this is going)

a pair of wild Marty Feldman eyes

and there we have him. The scourge of the Christmas garden that feisty little chappy Robin Redbreast. I can’t wait to see him staring out from the branches of our tree. Ok ok he is a bit scary – lucky my children are grown up – but I like to think he’ll make us chuckle. He will dangle perfectly next to the glass painted acetate Santa (we were hard up that year). By the by he is very light which is perfect for hanging from delicate branches.

Next I worked on a scrap of hand-dyed fleece, DSCI0306 and as it reminded me of a stormy sky I added a few stars.

In time honoured fashion I have saved the best for last,

colourful merino tops felted into a ball and then randomly covered with a swirly pattern. Definitely my favourite. I think I have certainly upheld the tree tradition of quirky-ness. Only problem is they are sort of addictive. Can I stop? or will we need a bigger tree?

Before I go. I went to a wonderful leaving ‘do’ at the library on Friday night and as you have had an occasional glimpse of AW’s sugar-craft I thought you might like a peek at her latest creation made for HWh who was leaving the library after an amazing 44 years!

I think you’ll agree it is beautiful. Sweet dreams.

Until next we meet. Moke x

Twinkle Twinkle

Hello All

When I was a library lady one of my favourite tasks was to lead Toddler Tales every Monday morning. It was a great way to start the week. The chaos of little people, parents, grandparents and carers all momentarily calmed by coming together to sing rhymes and listen to stories.

Most beautiful of all was the sharing of nursery rhymes which all the generations could share. Simple couplets so ingrained in our memories that we instantly recall them as soon as the first magic words are said. One such has to be “Twinkle, twinkle little star”. It brings a little tingle to the back of my neck recalling how sweet it was to hear old and young voices combined to sing this lovely poem.

And what brought about this happy memory? Good friend B sent me a link to a crochet pattern! Thanks to a free Moogly pattern you can use up your yarn scraps to make your own little stars.

With a couple of minutes to spare, a few basic tools,

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and even the scrappiest of scrap,
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you can make up a simple decorative star in a trice. Have fun trying different yarns and hook sizes

and perhaps add another point

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to create your own perfect twinkling star.

Ah well time to hook up a few more stars – it’s kind of addictive – and start thinking about presents and cards and all things Christmassy….eeeeekkkk …… maybe I’ll just enjoy making stars and keep Christmas thoughts at bay until December.

 

Until next we meet, Moke x

PS Sorry I vanished last week but my internet went off!!! Zut alors! Mx

 

 

Book on a train – ‘The Time Keeper’ by Mitch Albom

Hello All

A short post for a short read with great depth: “The Time Keeper” by Mitch Albom (2012, Sphere, London. ISBN 9781847442253). DSCI0171

This is the story of Dor the man who invented the measurement of time and thereby condemned mankind to clock-watching and himself to thousands of years as a hermit doomed to hear the pleas of humanity to give them more time, make time pass….

It is also the story of two of those that cried out to him, awkward teenager Sarah Lemon and terminally ill business man Victor Delamonte. Dor is finally released from his cave because only he can make them understand the fundamental truth about existence.

This unusually constructed novel is both gripping and thought provoking. I couldn’t put it down. It questions our modern obsession with time and contrasts it with an era when people were more concerned with survival in the moment. Exquisite.

Happy reading.

Until next we meet. Moke x

Book on a train – ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton

Winner of the 2013 Man Booker prize ‘The Luminaries’ had to be a great book for me to carry it back and forth to work each day and for me, a very slow reader, to actually finish it. You’d never know by looking head-on at the cover

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but turn it about….

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and  you can see this is a sizable tome. ‘The Luminaries’ is 832 pages long… DSCI0226

That’s 832 pages. Yet each word has earned its place in this wonderful novel. Despite its length its depth makes it a modern classic, every page a pleasure to read. I was completely awestruck by Eleanor Catton’s word-craft. What a talented woman.

Set in the gold-fields of nineteenth century New Zealand Catton’s story revolves around the death of hermit Crosbie Wells, the mysterious disappearance of handsome young prospector Emery Staines and the apparent suicide attempt of prostitute Anna Wetherell. The tale delves into the dark worlds of prostitution, opium addiction, violent crime and racism and tackles all these issues without the need for graphic detail but by the use of erudite prose. The characters and the settings are so well drawn I could perfectly envision them.

I would recommend it, especially for holidays. With plenty of time to sit and read this is a page turner. For me it made all those train journeys pass too quickly. I’m returning my copy to the library, get down there quick and borrow it yourself.

Until next we meet, Moke.

Pop-up madness

Back to work I go. Back to my daily walks and visits to Oxenholme station to await the early morning Pendolino. Of course there are compensations. The walk is good for my health, almost 4 miles a day is not to be sniffed at if I say so myself, and there is always a cup of tea to look forward to as I settle down to the latest ‘Book on the Platform’.

Oink was an additional cheery feature of this Monday morning.

Then there are always the station’s community events to look forward to, DSCN1362

and – even better – take part in, DSCN1361

and so the wonderful, distracting pop-up madness begins.

For one pop-up day only – I’ll be there on Saturday 29 March – Moke’s Makes has been revitalised, DSCN1391

remaining stock readied,

and new items created….

Being a daily customer of the friendly and ‘welcome sight’ Caffeine Rush van (handily parked on the southbound platform 1), DSCN0604

takeaway cup cosys were top of my must-makes list,

if only so KC* and I can enjoy a long lasting hot cuppa without singeing our hands. The pattern was designed by Danyel Pink. It was amazingly satisfying to hook-up and gave me a few happy Crochet on a Train moments this week.

Then there are the Attic 24 inspired Forfar Birdies filled with fresh smelling French Lavendar…aaaaaaahhhhh…. DSCN1370

chunky crochet flower brooches, DSCN1369

trinket baskets made with yarn crocheted over string:

I made this little fellow up ad hoc much like my display basket,

when I get my head together after the Pop Up madness I will share with you how I made them.

*Now as if all this crafty fun wasn’t enough my good friend KC will also be having a table at the pop-up event. She will be promoting the library service but she will also be providing some of her beautiful sewing for the Moke’s Makes stall. Remember the wonderful bag she made me?

I can’t wait to see what she has been busily sewing up. I know her creations will be marvelous, perfect Mother’s day pressies, and welcome cheerful additions to the Moke’s Makes stall.

Before I go a BIG THANKS is also due to the other half of the Commando Gardeners MR for my superb new header. Isn’t it smashing? I love it.

Nature’s fridge…

Saturdays have become sociable ‘let’s get busy with the loppers’ day. After their hard work on the front garden the Commando Gardeners DSCN1261

returned and tackled the back garden. While JG – who’d come over with her car – and I did a couple of trip tips (how does sooooo much stuff find its graveyard in the garage?!) KC and MR scraped, dug, lopped (tired just listing this…), hoed, raked and dug over the back garden. A further transformation and another BIG THANK YOU to the Commando Gardeners and to JG who helped me take several more steps to a de-cluttered garage. And all for a bowl of butterbean soup…and good friendship.

I’ve loved the last couple of weeks sharing a hearty soup, crusty bread, cheese and of course copious amounts of tea with friends after all that hard work.

Time for relaxing with a crochet project… or two. Even tho’ it has certainly not been the coldest winter on record it has been cold enough to use nature’s fridge i.e. pop milk outside office window* to keep cool in between cuppas. My colleague and I had tried carrier bags but in wet and windy Britain they just got waterlogged  and let’s face it they were not very pretty! Crochet (what else?!) provided the answer. Cast your mind back to the bottle carrier pattern

and then think of the colourful twine JG gave me,

adapt the pattern and voila a milk bottle carrier perfect for Nature’s fridge:

get the kettle on!

Still on the go the Long Way Home shawl. I was beginning to see why it was so named. Not a Weekend Shawl this new wrap has taken me a couple of weeks. From its small beginnings,

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it started to grow, DSCN1250

and now Linda’s glorious, snuggly, soft Alpaca blend wool

has blossomed into a wonderful, stylish shawl

which I can’t wait to wear to Carlisle in the morning.

And while I’m still devouring the hilarious Peter Grant series of books of Ben Aaronovitch,

looking forward to one more (awaiting it’s arrival as a request at Kendal library), DownloadedFile-1

and with days becoming lighter the prospect of Monday morning doesn’t seem too daunting. Bring it on.

*n.b. our office window is above a rear roof and nobody can pass underneath – don’t try this where there is any possibility of someone or something walking underneath…that’s the end of the health and safety warning folks!