Blogging is a fast growing medium, and so easy to do. It is a great equalizer; everyone can have their say. But whether or not you get heard from within the great online white noise can depend on many things, and not necessarily be related to the value of what you have to say. My friend MmeLindor at Salt&Caramel has created a blog hop for new bloggers to showcase their work. WordPress doesn’t let me do linkies to you’ll have to disco on over there to take a look and try and pick out tomorrow’s blog-stars :)
Betty has gone to stay with grandma for 3 nights! That’s the longest she’s been away. While the relative silence is a nice break I do miss her, as does Iris, who keeps wondering around saying her name.
I’ve crocheted this little pumpkin for her return. We don’t tend to make a big deal out of Halloween, but Betty is quite excited about it so I may go to the neighbours and ask if they mind us trick or treating them with her. Pattern for the pumpkin is linked in my previous post. I glued the face on with some basic all-purpose glue but it’s not very secure, so it may be time for me to invest in a glue gun – v exciting!
We’ve never been big on Halloween in our house, but Betty has become more observant and is noticing all the Halloween tat in the shops. Loath to buy her anything pointless, I thought I’d make her a little something.
I’m in the process of making this cute and very easy little pumpkin. I’m posting now before I’ve finished in case it inspires anyone to knock one up before next week. You’ll see my finished article soon. In the meantime the free pattern can be found at Planet June.
Knitting magazines Simply Knitting and The Knitting are supporting Refuge as their charity of choice this year. Refuge provide invaluable, sometimes even life saving, support to woman and children suffering from domestic violence.
More details can be found here. From that page: Sandra Horley, CBE and CEO of Refuge, says: “Domestic violence is the biggest issue impacting on women and children in this country. The statistics are shocking – two women are killed each week by a current or former partner in England and Wales and hundreds more women suffer in silence. Raising awareness of domestic violence is a crucial part of Refuge’s work which is why we’re delighted to be supported by Simply Knitting and The Knitter. The blankets will mean a great deal to the women and children who receive them, many of whom leave home with little more than the clothes they are wearing.”
If you want to contribute you can send blankets directly to Refuge, or you can contribute knitted or crochet 6 inch squares to the Simply Knitting Offices, Simply Knitting, Units 1 & 2 Cotterell Court, Monmouth Place, Bath BA1 2NP, where they will kindly stitch together individual squares. Deadline is Christmas. More information can be found on my regular haunt Mumsnet.
The book 200 crochet blocks by Jan Eaton is a great resource for a variety of squares if you want some inspiration. I hope you can contribute to this worthy cause.
On Saturday I dragged my children around the the tents at the Literature Festival. To be fair there wasn’t much going on for kids by that stage, but I wanted to leave my latest yarn bombs that I had worked up especially, so they traipsed around complaining. I started off making bookworm bookmarks, complete with bookish glasses. My plan was to give them literary names. Then I realised that the glasses were making them look a little Harry Potterish, so I decided to go with it and make some Harry Potter bookmarks. I didn’t have time to do a Hermione but I managed a Ron and Harry.
And here is where I left them.
I ended the excursion by buying a signed copy of Katie and the Waterlilies.
Monet is my favourite artist and I hope Betty will enjoy his pictures as much as I do. As you can see, she is already into painting :)
Now, my intention for this blog was never to be journal-like, political ortoo much general musing. It is predominately a craft blog, and I want to stay within that realm. I know people follow blogs for different reasons, and most people following this one will be interested in the craft projects. Inevitably though, this blog will have different elements of me in it that will slip in, one of those, the biggest part of me, is being a mum. Again, I’m not really a ‘mummy blogger’ but kids are part of the package with any parent.
The point of this post is really to make people aware of Baby Loss Awareness Day, today, 15th October. I have been lucky enough not to have suffered the loss of a baby. But since becoming a parent I have become aware of how common miscarriage is. Far more common than Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, yet we are all much more aware of the campaign promoting awareness and prevention of SIDS than we are about miscarriage.
I think one of the issues is that miscarriage is very much a woman-focused issue. Yes, the loss of an unborn child is devastating to men as well as women, but the loss is so much more physical for women, directly impacting on their bodies and their physical and mental health. Mumsnet is leading a campaign for a better code of care for women who experience miscarriage. The stories that some women have are dreadful. I’m not going to post them here, again, that is not what my blog is about. But I urge you to read some of these stories and join the campaign to support women. MmeLindor at Salt&Caramel is hosting a blog hop if you want to read more about the campaign and people’s experiences. The loss of a baby will stay with women forever. Their treatment and support at this time can affect how those experiences will impact on their lives.
If I’ve been a bit quiet for a few days it because I am busy making rather than writing. As usual I have several projects on the go, with no idea when any of them will get finished, so if I wait to show you the finished products, it will be a very quiet blog! Apols for the crappy photos by the way, I’d like DH to take them with his fancy pants camera but then I have to wait ages for him to get around to it, wait for good lighting etc.!
First up is a yarn bomb I’ve planned, and I really need to do it tomorrow, for reasons which will become apparent. So today I will be working on these book worm book marks, which will be hung around my intended target as a yarn bomb which can be taken away. Well, everyone seems to be removing the rest of my work so I might as well make something designed to be taken! More details on these this weekend.
Second up is another yarn bomb (I’m hooked – pardon the pun!). This is just going to be a long banner of various colours and styles. My plan is to sew the word ‘Love your library’ onto it and weave it in the railings that go along the side of our local library. These are also part of an alley way leading up to the local primary school, so it will be a talking point for the kids.
Finally is the above creation. This was originally intended to be one of those lovely granny square/circle blankets. This style, with the brightly coloured middle and the white edging, I will admit has become quite ubiquitous in the crochet world, but in my defence I started this about 18 months ago, and this is quite literally as far a I have got! The chances of it becoming a blanket are very slim. So it is going to become a lampshade cover.
Now about a year and a half ago, we moved into our current house. Before here we were living in large first floor flat in a beautiful regency house. Our living room was huge, with high ceilings, 5 large sash windows (bloody freezing though!). Our furniture, which even after 6 years of marriage, is still a mismatch of beg, borrowed, stolen and cheaply bought, looked fine, if not rather bohemian and shabby chic in our old flat.
Our landlord decided to sell our lovely home from under us (poor thing, he was very nice really. You should have seen his face when as he came round to tell us he was selling I announced that I was pregnant with number two…). So we had to move, and that wasn’t such a bad thing. We were soon to become four, and we needed a house with a garden. What we ended up in is a nice, but small and boxy new build (rented again). While it is a really nice house (which no-one else has lived in, which is great for a rental) it is definitely not our style, and neither DH or I have every really felt at home here, like we have in our last two flats. However, the landlord is unlikely to sell this in the near future, it is close to DD1’s school, not far from work, and is in a nice community. Plus we can’t afford anything else! So we have to make the best of it.
We have finally decided to paint, having been overwhelmed by wall to wall magnolia for too long. We’d love to go for a sort of Scandic style, fresh clean, but with a homespun look. We don’t have much money though, so apart from the paint, and some innovative storage solutions from IKEA, we are going to have to play with what we have. Hence the lampshade cover. The walls are going to be white, which will hopefully give the place a new look. But our previous style has been very natural and neutral, so we are going to have to add splashes of colour. I’ll keep you posted as to our progress.
Oh, I wanted to give you some links in case you wanted to try this for yourself. Now the pattern I originally followed came from a blog which no longer exists, but there are plenty of patterns out there. Just one example is at the Yvestown blog. Plus Michelle Clement has a great tip, which I wish I’d followed, which is to do each stage separately, production line style! If I’d done that I may have made a blanket, but I’m sure my lampshade will be lovely enough :)
EDIT: I meant to add that in all the patterns that I have found the squares seemed a bit round. Not sure if that it a problem, but in my squares, in the last (white) round I did trebles down the sides but double trebles in the corners which made them come out more square.
As promised, the pattern for the flowers I made for the Mumsnet Garland came from 6ichthusfish. There are more elaborate, and equally easy flower patterns out there: this rosette pattern from the great website Lion Brand is a great go-to pattern; Craftapalooza also used another Lion Brand pattern to make these lovelies:
Finally, once you’ve started making Attic24’s teeny tiny flowers you won’t want to stop!
Anyway, as you can see from the first picture, I managed to convert the flower pattern from 6ichthusfish into snowflakes. On Round 4, instead of crocheting 7tr into the 2ch space I did 3tr, 3ch, 3tr into each 2ch space, which makes the pointy ends. Add a chain which you sl st in to make the loop. I’m not mentioning the C-word, but you know, there’s a mini ice age round the corner so I’m just getting you in the mood…
Say what you like about Mumsnet (goodness knows plenty of people do!) but when the chip are down, these women (mostly women) rally around like Lewis Hamilton at Monaco. (For those who are just here for the craft, skip to the bottom!)
Mumsnetters have been accused of being a nest of vipers, bullying and terribly middle class. The reality is it is filled with a diverse range of astute, articulate and funny women. Yes, you get your horrors, your trolls, and your hierarchies, just like you do on any other large forum. For the most part Mumsnet is fabulous. it has made me the parent I am today for better or worse. Yes, I may have neglected my kids on occasions while I have been ‘working’ at my laptop. Then there was the infamous Moldie-gate secret splinter group saga Christmas 2008 which saw DH nearly divorce me over my obsession. Not that I’d have noticed at the time. But without it’s support I’d not have breastfed for so long, not have discovered Baby Led Weaning, which wanky as it sounds, was a fantastic way of feeding our children.
Mumsnet is, unusually for a large forum, mainly self moderated and self policed. This means you can use the phrase “Tescos are cunts” quite freely, but describe someone as a ‘spaz’ or a ‘mong’ and you will, quite rightly, be rounded on quite harshly for your use of disablist language. The large community of Mumsnetters managing special needs and disabilities have certainly opened my eyes to the challenges they face on a daily basis.
Vipers, bitches, bullies; call them what you like, Mumsnetters have compassion and empathy in spades. More than that, they take action. From supermarket deliveries sent to the door of someone in need, to the annual Christmas appeal, where Mumsnetters send presents to the families of those for whom Christmas might otherwise be a sad affair for whatever reason, Mumsnetters give an enormous amount of support, both real and virtual. Sadly this means they have been caught out on occasions, by vile people trading illegitimately on the goodwill of people who give everything they can, emotionally and physically, even when they have little to give. These tenacious women continue to give, just in case they can make the difference in someone’s life.
This is why I try and contribute when I can and for a few days this week I put my frivolous yarn bombing on hold to do something useful for a change. It has become a recent, sadly all to regular, tradition on Mumsnet to make a crafty project for those who have recently been bereaved. It started out with a couple of blankets for the children of a Mumsnetter who lost her little boy very suddenly. The blankets were for the boy’s sisters to give them something comforting and memorable. As well as the crafty Mumsnetters who made knitted, crocheted or quilted squares, there were those who donated money so crafter with skills but little money could be sent wool to contribute the project. Since then there have been too many blankets made and constructed by Mumsnetters to support other Mumsnetters.
The latest project is for a Mumsnetter whose daughter was recently born prematurely with a severely under developed brain. Baby Beatrice Primrose is tenaciously fighting her corner in the SCBU. Those crafty Mumsnetters are making floral garlands for Beatrice and her sisters and this is my contribution:
I’ll give you details of the pattern tomorrow, for now I just want to say that I don’t know if you can send energy via yarn, but if you can, I spent every stitch thinking positive thoughts about baby Beatrice. Another Mumsnetter is collecting them all and stringing them all together to send in yet another attempt to give some comfort and support to a family suffering horrific sadness.
So you can say what you like about Mumsnetters, just don’t say they haven’t got heart.
The Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum who commissioned the series of horses around the town, one of which I adorned with leg warmers, noticed my yarn bomb, and fortunately it seems they liked it! They tweeted a picture of it here. I must admit I did have a little moral debate both with myself, and Georgia, my partner in crime, over the morality of ‘defacing’ an artist’s peace of work. I decided that since it wasn’t really ‘defacing’ (well, they are rather nice aren’t they?) and they weren’t permanent, that hopefully the artist would have a sense of humour, and it seems that thankfully they did!
I replied to their tweet owning up and linking them to this blog, but I haven’t had a response yet. Sadly, the yarn bomb’s non-permanence has already been demonstrated. First the felt one went, then when I took my friends to show off my handiwork last night I discovered they had all gone. It’s the nature of the game I suppose. I just hope they went to a good home.