Thursday, September 21, 2017

Decluttering and Hatathon


This afternoon I shall see a huge difference in my study/craft room. Decluttering in the room is almost complete; there's a top of a desk to sort through. At lunchtime, we will be making deliveries at a children's charity with five boxes and two bags of crafting materials. In addition, there's two boxes of stuff going out to the rubbish bin. It's going to be a sudden, and very welcome improvement.

I'll be in there until Monday tidying and cleaning. It's going to look so much better.

In hatathon news, seven hats have been completed, and an eighth is underway. 

the start of the month, I set out my plans to work to a cycle of finishing two unfinished projects, two projects from scratch, and then one brand new one. This has not happened! The hats have all been made from bits of knitting ripped back and re-knitted into something new. I've no idea where they fit into my scheme of thing. Perhaps, it's time to just be glad that the unfinished projects are no more, and useful items have been created instead.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Newborn Hat

Company:  King Cole
Yarn: Merino Blend Prints DK 
Composition: Wool
Colour:  Dordogne 647
Pattern: Newborn Hat
Size: Newborn
Needles: 4mm
Amount used:  27g
Started:  19th September 2017
Finished: 19th September 2017

Using 4mm needles, cast on 64sts. Join.

Work 10 rounds in 2 x 2 rib. Then 30 rounds in stocking stitch.

Shape the crown
1. (K6, k2 tog) repeat 8 times
2. K
3. (K5, k2 tog) repeat 8 times
4. K
5. (K4, k2 tog) repeat 8 times
6. K
7. (K3, k2 tog) repeat 8 times
8. K
9. (K2, k2 tog) repeat 8 times
10. K
11. (K1, k2 tog) repeat 8 times
12. K
13. (K2 tog)

Work an I-cord of 14 rounds with the remaining 8sts. 

Cut yarn, leaving a long ‘tail’ to use to draw through 8 stitches, pull up tightly. Fasten off and tie a knot in the cord.

Monday, September 18, 2017

30 Day Declutter: Days 17 and 18


Decluttering continues, but I don't have a lot to say about it. It's more of the same. The only thing different from previous days have been finding felting needles and a holder. 

It did not take me long at all to decided on which items were leaving. The section that really took time was untangling yarn. I was at that for over an hour! 

Stripes Ahoy!

Company:  Patons
Yarn: Fairytale Colour 4 Me DK
Composition: Wool
Colour:  Turquoise
Company:  King Cole
Yarn: Merino Blend DK
Composition: Wool
Colour:  Cream
Pattern: as below
Size: Newborn
Needles: 4mm
Amount used:  27g
Started:  18th September 2017
Finished: 18th September 2017

Using a 4mm needle, cast on 64sts. Join.

Work 10 rounds of 2x2 rib, then 20 rounds of stocking stitch.

Crown shaping:
1. (K4, k2tog) 5 times, k5, (k4, k2tog) 4 times, k5
2. K
3. (K3, k2tog) 10(11) times
4. K
5. (K2, k2tog) 10(11) times
6. K
7. (K1, k2tog) 10(11) times
8. K
9. (K, k2tog) 10(11) times
10. K
11. k2tog  10(11) times
12. K
13. K2tog 5 times, K1

Make a 14 row I-cord using the 6sts. Break off the yarn, leaving enough to fasten off the stitches. Weave in the ends.

Notes: 
I used the turquoise for the ribbing. In the stocking stitch the colours were alternated until the turquoise ran out, and I continued in white.

Week 38: Vehicles


Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #38: Vehicles
Tuesday: Remove rubbish from and declutter car interior
Wednesday: Declutter car boot, glove box and storage compartments
Thursday: Clean interior
Friday: Wash Car
Saturday: Make sure there is a map, torch and first aid kit in the car
Sunday: Create vehicle maintenance log for each vehicle


Our car is normally quite clutter free.  We don't tend to eat or drink in it, except on long journeys, and they don't happen frequently. Even then we remove all of our rubbish at the end of the journey.

The things we need in our car might well be vastly different from other people. We live on a tiny island, and nowhere is more than a 30 minute drive from home. It's a very safe place to live, and if there was an emergency we would be able to go to any house and get assistance.

We now have a large torch in the boot, and a smaller one in the glove box. Our old first aid kit was old, and out of date. It was cheaper to replace the whole thing than restock it!  And whilst I was ordering a new first aid kit I also ordered a seat belt cutter/glass breaker. It's one of those things you hope you never need, but if you do need it, it's brilliant.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Two Hats of the Hatathon

The first two hats have been made, using the pattern Baby Hats. I've worked both hats in blue and white. The ribbing in blue. The design is worked by knitting two rounds in white. The third round is alternating stitches in blue and white. Rounds four and five are also in white. Then it flips, and this five round design is worked in blue with white flecks. The design is maintained through the crown decreases.

Company:  Patons
Yarn: Fairytale Colour 4 Me DK
Composition: Wool
Colour:  Turquoise
Company:  King Cole
Yarn: Merino Blend DK
Composition: Wool
Colour:  Cream
Pattern: Baby Hats
Size: Newborn
Needles: 4mm
Amount used:  22g for the smaller hat and 30g for the larger one
Started:  16th September 2017
Finished: 17th September 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Baby Hats

Cast on 60(66)sts using a 4mm needle. Join.

Work 10(14) rounds in 1x1 rib. Then continue in stocking stitch for 15(20) round.

Crown shaping:
1. (K4, k2tog) 10(11) times
2. K
3. (K3, k2tog) 10(11) times
4. K
5. (K2, k2tog) 10(11) times
6. K
7. (K1, k2tog) 10(11) times
8. K
9. (K, k2tog) 10(11) times
10. K
11. k2tog  10(11) times
12. K
13. K2tog, 5 times. For the larger size, K2tog 5 times, K1

Either break the yarn, leaving enough to thread through the stitches and close the top of the hat, or make a 10 row I-cord using the 5(6)sts. Weave in the ends.

More Crafty Bits


Who knew I had to many ribbons?!

Today's haul is: a baking tray (from the kitchen, not my study), beads, gold thread, a box, a tapestry, ribbons, 2 balls of yarn, felt, fabric, a scarf, fleece, lace, a shoe box, more beads and cotton binding.

The vast majority of the craft materials is being set aside for donation to a children's charity. When the study/craft room declutter has finished I'll go through the items again and gather similar items together. All the little containers of beads will be popped in a bag, all the yarn will be gathered, felt will find its fuzzy friends. This should make it a great deal easier for the person who will be unpacking the box.

The end is in sight! I haven't been horrified by the amount of yarn I have. In fact, I have been rather pleasantly surprised by how much I don't have! This is probably due to the various hat-a-thons. I am, however, surprised by how much fabric I have. There's a fair few quilts in my future. For the next 15-ish months, as long as more yarn and fabric leaves the building than comes in I'll be happy.

We have some family coming over for a few days in October. My study/craft room will be finished by the end of next week, I hope. The Beloved and I will move up there during the visit. I would dearly love to have a functioning, tidy dining room too.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Digging Deep Under the Bed


I've been digging deep, under the bed, pulling out boxes of crafting materials. Day 15's decluttering are: a sewing box, sheets of plastic canvas, a notebook, a lace making kit, 2 randoms socks (not a pair), braid, stars, a key ring, a tape measure, popper,s Aida, a scarf and couple of balls of yarn.

As I'm writing this, the corners of my eyes are prickling, a sure sign that tears are not far away. It's time to say goodbye to the sewing box, a blue and white basket weave in plastic, with a soft blue satin lining. It's dirty, dusty and broken. And it's so difficult to release. I've been thinking about it for at least 10 years, but finally, I'm managed to work myself into a place where I can let it go.

About 40 years, I received this sewing basket from my beloved Grandma for Christmas. I can't remember getting it, but it has been part of my crafting life for quite a number of years. Although for the last 10 it has tended to sit of a shelf, just gathering dust. It's broke, it's old, it either needs to be replaced, or thrown out.  But, it is the one thing that connects me most to my Grandma. To put it simply, I see it and I think of her.

But, an object is just an object. It's not the box that's important, it's what Grandma taught me. I learned to knit when I was four. Everyone in my family could knit, and I wanted to learn. My Grandma had such patience, and she took me up on her lap and taught me. I remember one day I wanted to make clothing for my doll, and I asked my Mama to show me how to make 'proper hole, not the mistake holes'. She was too busy, and directed me to Grandma, who lived next door. Grandma showed me the art of making 'proper holes'.

Grandma showed me many other wonderful things - how to make pancakes, and ice cream, how to do 5000 piece jigsaws.  Grandma taught me the importance of listening. One day I was bursting with news, and ran into the dining room, "Grandma, Grandma!" I shouted. Grandma was in the middle of doing the accounts for my grandparents' business "One minute, Pet, and you can tell me all about it." And, sure enough, within the minute, she had finished what she was doing and was able to turn to face me. "Yes, my dear, what is it?" When Grandma listened it wasn't just any old listening. Like the knitting, it 'proper listening'. When she listened I felt I was the most important person in her world. She put down what she was doing, she smiles, and she listened, really listened. There were encouraging noises, little gasps when appropriate, and often an exclamation of 'Well! Would you believe it!"

Put a little broken, dusty sewing box in the bin is never going to be able erase those memories.  The gifts Grandma has given to me are part of who I am. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

How to Kill Your Husband


I hate the sodding menopause. Too hot, too cold, too grumpy, too sad, too old. Too many white hairs, too much of me. It's just too much!

And don't get me started on hormones! Just don't!

There are times when you are overcome with sadness. There are times when rage just wants to consume you. There's times when a simple act can set your teeth on edge, and there's times when you just want to kill your husband.

Now, I'm an intelligent woman. During my childhood I read every Agatha Christie novel, many times. I've watched every episode of Bones, Castle and Monk. I know many, many ways in which people can kill, and many, many, many ways they can make mistakes and be caught. I most definitely don't want to be caught.

My first idea was very quickly dismissed. It was simple - a knitting needle rammed right up the nose. But that would be so messy. It would definitely ruin my needle and my knitting.

At a friend's wedding a few years back, the best man said to the bride during his speech, "Congratulations, you are sitting beside the person most likely to kill you." This resulted in much laughter, but it came to mind today. People are most likely to be killed by someone they know. As the 'grieving widow', I would be the prime suspect.

Without warning, the Hitchcock film 'Strangers on a Train' came to mind. Two strangers want to "get rid" of someone and whilst on the train they talk about "exchange" murders, so neither will be caught. There would be no connection between the murder and the murderee, nothing to connect them. The idea was appealing. Where would I find a person who wanted someone killed? ... Would I be able to kill a perfect stranger? It's oh so easy to want to kill someone you know, an overbearing, obnoxious, self-satisfied someone. But a stranger?

Perhaps it might be better to go kayaking at Port Erin? We could take out a double kayak. Then when we were out a good distance, I could start rocking the boat, and capsize. As a novice kayak-er, this would not be terribly suspicious. Then, when we are in water, I could clamber up on to his shoulders and drown him (drag out those too words). I'm a much better swimmer than him! I could swim to the kayak and hang on for dear life, shout and scream... Sod it, that dislocated shoulder a few years ago! It's going to put kayaking right out of the question.

(pause)

Oh! Speak of the devil! Here he comes!

(pause)

Oh, a cup of tea, Earl Grey, hot, with lemon... a gluten-free shortbread biscuit... and a gentle kiss on the forehead. (sigh)

I love that man.

Trueheart's Quest

Sitting astride his mighty warhorse, Tuergar Trueheart, an Elvish mercenary, rode back towards the city.  He had been riding for days, four days to get to Roriskstead, and now four days back. And that wasn't counting the days he spent in and around that little village, learning all he could about the Hegna the Witch, and then tracking her, and setting in motion his cunning plans that lead to her defeat. 

Trueheart was an excellent horseman, as are all Elves. But, his tall, slender frame was gently slumped in the saddle. His braided hair fell in caresses around his shoulders, all a deep dark rich brown, except for the single silver lock robbed of all pigment by the splash of blood from a basilisk. Trueheart wore a studded leather jerkin, and dun-coloured woollen hose. He was no longer an Elf on a mission, but a warrior returning from battle. This quest had taken time, energy, and the life of his companion, Simon the Simple. It was with a very heavy heart Tuergar turned his face to the citadel.

It was time to return to the city and claim his payment from the Dynast, Arik the Delegator. Arik had been a mercenary herself, but on the death of her mother, she had inherited her enormous fortune, the result of quest to capture a dragon's hoard. From the sea to the far mountains, Arik was the ruler of all. Although no longer a mercenary, but she put her training to good used, and put out quests to competitive tendering. Trueheart's tender had been 999 pieces of gold, a single coin under his rival's bid.

The travel, the quest, the mighty battle, and the death of his friend had left a deep weariness in Trueheart's bones. He wanted to drink mead in a snug little tavern. He wanted to watch the serving women dance their intricate waltz around the tables, delivering food, collecting empty tankards, and keeping out of reach of roving hands. He wanted to sleep in a bed once more, rather than curled in a blanket on the ground beside his horse. He wanted this journey done. 

Along the valley, Trueheart rode, and circled around a hill. Rising up before him, he saw the shining city, gleaming white marble. A few more miles, and a tankard of mead would be his.

Ahead lay a high stone bridge, spanning a narrow, but deep river. A furtive movement near the bridge caused Trueheart to be instantly on the alert. An Orc! A creature with a fearsome reputation. 

Trueheart grabbed his sword and charged at the Orc. Borgog turned to face the horse and rider, ducking at the last moment. Trueheart’s sword hit the stonework of the bridge and flew out of his hand. The Orc reached up and dragged Trueheart from the saddle. Together they fought until Trueheart reached out his hand to push the Orc off the bridge.

(pause)

The dungeon master clears his throat. "Hold on a minute. Roll the dice to see if your character is strong enough to push the Orc over the parapet." The spotted cube rattles in the dice box, and it is flung out onto the table. A one! 

The corners of the dungeon master's mouth twitch almost imperceptibly. "One!", he says, with a smidge of glee. "Instead of pushing the Orc off the bridge, you lightly caress his back. He is uncomfortable. The Orc reflexively reaches out to crush your larynx in response." The DM scoops up the dice and rolls again. "One!, this time with more than a hint of glee. A tiny cackle escapes his lips. "The Orc intertwines his fingers in your hair." 

(pause)

Years and several critical failures later, Tuergar Trueheart, thinks back to how he met his husband, Borgog, Scourge of the Thundercaves, and chuckles. A different time, to be sure. He goes back to weeding their vegetable garden.

-----

I came across a wee story on the interwebs about Trueheart and Borgog. It was just the bit from 'reached out his hand to push the Orc off the bridge'. It felt like the conclusion of a story, not a story in itself, and the names seemed the wrong way round.

Never having being part of the Dungeons and Dragons crowd I didn't know what might have happened to Trueheart and Borgog before their chance meeting on the bridge. Over lunch today, I probed The Beloved and The Younger Offspring and built a scenario based on their responses.

More Stuff say "Bye Bye"


A large box of papers have been decluttered! These were papers boxed up when we moved into this house, 10 years ago. The box had not been opened!  A few of the papers should be kept, but the rest have been ditched. 

In addition to this, the following have said "Bye bye": needles, buttons, felt, fabric, ribbons, elastic, number stickers, skirt, trousers, and a music system. It turned out I hadn't quite reached the end of the books in my stuff, and a few books are leaving too.