What’s on the needles? an update

I am making the most of the winning combination of at last having plenty of time on my hands and many rainy days, and I’m enjoying lots of  crochet and knitting.

First off, that new blanket.  I finished the last of the squares a couple of weekends ago, and sat myself down to learn how to crochet them together the Lucy way.

2016-02-05 10.02.37

My goodness, that woman writes a great tutorial!  There is a real skill to getting this kind of instructional writing right.  I’m reminded of reading Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance many many years (decades!) ago – Malcolm lent it to me early in our relationship and told me I had to read it.  So I did.  I don’t remember much detail of the book, but the bits have stuck with me as general impressions, including parts about technical writing.

So, anyway.  A Saturday afternoon, feeling under the weather, listening to the radio, sitting crocheting and learning the next new thing.  Indoors, warm and cosy.  Just lovely.  And I’m loving how this project is coming together.

2016-01-31 16.29.59

Then, the lace shawl I decided to have a go at for the new baby in Australia due later this year.  I approached this very nervously indeed.  Although I’ve knitted this very pattern about several before, that was at least 25 years ago, and I wasn’t sure that my skills or patience were still up to it.

2016-02-05 09.28.41

I needn’t have worried.  It’s turned out to be far less complicated than it looks, and I finished the central part of the shawl in a matter of a few weeks.  Unfortunately I haven’t got any further, because I was only able to buy enough yarn for the centre and the rest of it was expected in by mid January.

2016-02-05 09.30.11

With still no sign of the rest of the wool and the weeks ticking by, I decided to cut my losses and start again in a different colour which is in stock in plentiful amounts.  As I was slightly dubious about my original colour choice (silver, but while I was knitting it I started to think it just looked a bit, well, grubby, rather than pale grey and interesting), there is an upside to it.  And I will still use what I have done in one way or another.

So – by the end of February I hope to have made a good start on my second attempt at the shawl, and also get a good way through piecing together the many blanket squares.  I’m just over a third of the way through the blanket squares already – it’s surprising how many I can piece just while I’m sitting watching something on TV (so long as it isn’t something I really have to watch carefully).  After that it will just be the border, which looks like it will be a breeze (no more new stuff to get to grips with…).

2016-02-06 09.02.32

As I’m away in London for a few days later this month, I reckon I should get quite a lot of knitting done on the train and sitting chatting.  As you do.  I might even be tempted to search out some yarn shops to visit.


About deborah @ the magic jug

Now I've passed 60 I'm still doing all sorts of things I haven't done before, as well as carrying on with the things I already love. I live a happy life with my long term love Malcolm. In my blog I explore local and low tech ideas, food, growing, making, reading, thinking, walking, and lots of other words ending in 'ing'.
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8 Responses to What’s on the needles? an update

  1. Marian says:

    I love seeing what you’re busy with, Deborah. I’m amazed to hear how quickly the granny square blanket is coming along! And I think the cream colour for the baby shawl is so much nicer than the silver — a good thing, indeed, that the wool didn’t come in and you had to switch gears (although it’s a bit of a shame, given how far you already were!). I find my instincts are rarely wrong about colours and projects, etc, and if I begin on something with misgivings those feelings don’t usually go away, so if I haven’t heeded those instincts I tend to feel quite annoyed with myself at the less-than-satisfactory outcome!


    • This blanket is like ‘eating the elephant’ – you nibble off a little bit at a time, rather than think about the challenge of eating the whole thing, and lo and behold, you get there!
      I’ve had an idea about how to finish off the silver shawl – I think I’ll do the borders in a range of neutral colours (deeper greys, maybe some black), rather than keep to the one colour. Meanwhile, the cream one is coming on a treat, turns out this pattern is easy enough to follow while I’m chatting with people or listening to the radio. Certainly the cream is a safer bet for a baby gift, especially as I think they’re planning on having a special baby-naming ceremony which we won’t be able to be at in person and I’d like to think the shawl can stand in for us!


  2. what lovely knitting and crocheting! Are the crochet squares in alphabetical order so it makes them easier to piece together?


    • The letters are because I want to piece the squares as the pattern suggests. Each set of squares (i.e. letter) is a different colourway, and they are put together to avoid similar being adjacent. The pattern suggests doing one strip (i.e. 1 each of each colour set) at a time and then piecing them together, but I realised it worked better for me to do all 9 of a square at once, then piecing the whole thing in one go – but to do that I have to keep the squares separate and correctly labelled so I know how to put them together.
      All sounds much more complicated than it is. Basically I wanted to be able to take it out and about with me without carrying all 15 or so colours.
      I’m enjoying piecing it together on the sofa watching a bit of TV in the evenings.


  3. Sam says:

    Lots of creativity going on here 🙂 Love the look of both the blanket and shawl. It’s very slow-going here on the crochet front… But I’ll keep plodding on. My brother bought Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for David years ago. I’ll have to dig it out and take a look.


    • Yes, I feel very lucky to have the time to do it all. Learning anything new is slow-going, but it’s worth persevering if you can, because once you’ve cracked it crochet is much quicker than knitting.
      Zen and the Art… – I remember being enthralled by it when I read it mid 1970s, but found it hard going and gave up trying to re-read it 20 years later. Maybe it’s just that there’s a right time for books and the like. Might have another read some time later this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Karen Keenan says:

    Hi Deborah, I discovered your blog recently whilst I was on holiday and had plenty of time to scroll through and read lots of entries. I really like your writing and although I’m no great shakes as a knitter, crafter, gardener or cook, I enjoy reading about other people’s domestic activities! I also have two sons, nearly grown up and nearly flown the nest but not quite. I enjoy walking in the Pennine foothills of my native Yorkshire (Last of Summer Wine country). My husband and I are both semi-retired, me doing some charity work and he part-time. It’s helpful to read about how other people cultivate interesting and worthwhile lifestyles after full-time work. I’ll continue to follow your adventures with much interest. With all good wishes, Karen


    • Hi Karen, thank you so much, what a lovely comment to receive! We evidently have lots of parallels in our lives. Malcolm and I are both still doing some paid work, him much more than me, and I have started to take on voluntary work which will keep me occupied a day each week. The transition from fully working to fully retired is something we’re relatively new to and still exploring. We’re finding it even more exhilarating than we ever imagined.
      Like you, I’m interested in hearing how other people negotiate this new phase of life.


I love to read your comments. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, and I don't mind if you don't. However, I ask you to respect the 'circle time' rules made by my son's primary school teacher: make a comment, ask a question or say something nice. Thank you!

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