Thursday, 21 February 2019

Winter Blessings

Hello Lovelies, I'm sorry I have  been absent from this space for so long.  Life is quite busy in the evening these days, that's when I would normally read blogs and write a post of my own. 
You see my lovely Mum in Law has been in hospital since October and I visit every evening unless I'm at work (Hubby goes every day). Thankfully things are finally looking up for her (phew) but I know there will be tricky times ahead and lots more support will be needed.
At times like these I find it pretty essential to focus on the small things that make me smile. Winter here has been pretty kind really. I've had  what I need most....the chance to get outside, or stay quietly at home. Here are some of the things that have brightened my days......

Sunshine on cheery flowers. This years Amaryllis was the best ever.


A few hours to wander as far as my legs will allow, noticing the birds and the misty views





Then sunshine and paddling in the shallow stream.



Signs of spring outside the florists shop.


Feeding feathered friends.

Admiring frosty views.


A square a day added to my Temperature blanket.


Sunshine on a freezing group walk day.



Always birds.

 Chaffinch singing sweetly

Female Blackbird eating crab apples


And bird homes.



First flowers.


And new visitors to Jacquie's bird cafe :0)



Dawn walks with a willing Teen, because dawn is at a reasonable hour :0)



And finally, cute baby Deer.


Today it's been so mild it really has felt like spring but I'm not wishing winter away just yet. I love all our seasons and feel blessed to have the time to really appreciate them.

Jacquie x


Monday, 7 January 2019

My Temperature Blanket ♥ The Beginning

Hello Lovelies,
I'm feeling hap,hap,happy today because my cro-jo is back :0)
In 2018 I did very little in the way of crochet, I just couldn't seem to get enthused about it at all.
Where as  all last year my friend Jones was working on a blanket made up of small squares. This was despire having two small boys to run around after.
The colours were decided by the day's temperature in her town. It was a Temperature Blanket, and a very inspiring one too.

 This is not a new concept and I have been aware of "Temperature blankets" for a few years now. Initially I thought it would just be too annoying not to have any control over the colour pattern, but seeing some great examples via Jones and THIS hashtag on Instagram I began to think this could be a fun way to do a slow project that will result in a nice big blanket. And big blankets are always welcome I find.

Here are just a few of the examples I love....

1. Circles in squares with a neutral border....


                                     Source

2. Stripes, stepped in this example....


                                                                             Source

3. Good old granny squares with a contrasting joint....


                                                                       Source
4. Straight stripes with the year embroidered on the corner...I like that idea.


                                            Source

But one of my biggest influences was Amy's beautiful Hexagon temperature blanket you can see on her Instagram account HERE. Amy used multiple temperatures from 1 day in each of her motifs. I liked that idea a lot....despite the huge number of ends it will create :0)

I decided to go with the traditional cool to hot rainbow of colours and pulled 19 balls out of my Stylecraft Special DK stash. It was important to me that this should be a "use up what you have project"


As I want lots of colour variation each colour only covers 2 degrees Celsius, and 19 colours gives a range from -6 to plus 30 degrees. I can always add more colours if needed, at either end of the scale...


Yipee, time to get the yarn pegs out. Just look at that lovely wheel of colour...


This was my first attempt. Three round squares using THIS pattern (an old favourite of mine). The colours chosen by the daily high, low and average temperatures. Ordered in any way I chose....
 

 Then I looked again at Amy's Hexagons, why were they so effective? They are a set order and, crucially I think, they have the same colour in the centre as the border.

I never intended to use hexagons myself as I'm sure I would get totally mixed up as were to add the next day, so I changed pattern to my own Little Sunburst Square, and followed Amy's order....which is....Round 1= daily high temp. Round 2 = daily low temp. Round 3= daily average temp. Round 4= daily high temp again.


This is how the first 6 days of January  2019 looks. I'm working on the diagonal (to hopefully get that appealing colourwash effect) so the first is top left and the 6th is top right. At a glance I can see the only day we have had minus temperatures so far is the 4th (bottom left) ...as it's got lilac tones not all blues.


How great it is to have some pretty crochet and yarn to faff with again. Even if the dull weather makes my pictures less than perfect.


And can we just take a moment here to smile at my first bunch of Daffs of the new year. Such a special sight. They smell like spring.....sigh.


Ooooh lovely, a project bag full of rainbow yarn and a cosy fire. Perfect. 


At the moment I'm itching to do more and thinking maybe I should have waited till we were about three weeks into the new year so I could have more blanket to get on with.


If you are wondering were I'm getting my weather data it's HERE......you can choose any town for local data. Thank you again Jones for this tip. 

It doesn't tell you an average so I just work out the mid point between the highest and lowest temperature myself. 


I'm not a person who can follow another's colour choices exactly. Even if they are stunning. I like the mystery and uniqueness of going it alone. Sometimes I'm good at choosing, and other times I miss the spot. It can be stressful and off putting. I end up pulling things back, or stopping a project all together.
 With this project I'm looking forward to having no decisions to make but still ending up with something unique and hopefully beautiful.
An added bonus being those extremes of temperature that can be so trying will now mean new colours patterns to enjoy. Woohoo.

Here's to more crochet in 2019

Jacquie x

Thursday, 3 January 2019

My Walking Year

Hello Lovelies,
how are you all keeping? Life is busy here but thankfully there is still time for walking.  As we leave 2018 behind I thought I would share a few images from some of my favourite walks last year.

In late January I was finding snowdrops at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. This first spring flower is so special don't you think.



In February my sister in law and I did a canal and riverside walk to the pretty village of Sutton Bonnington in Leicestershire, where we stopped in a cosy cafe to warm up.





In March the "Beast from the East" arrived and I enjoyed walking with members of the family who normally avoid such activity. Familiar places were made extra special with a dusting of the white stuff.




In April my walking group headed to Belper in Derbyshire. It was the gloomiest of days and all the lovely views were hidden in a mist. We asked the leader to do the walk again next year as it would hopefully reveal all the hidden vistas.





In May I did a solo walk in the Outwoods in Leicestershire. Is there anything more magical than a bluebell wood? This first picture is my desktop background on my computer and it always makes me smile.






In June Mum and I had a two day break in Yorkshire and I did a couple of very special walks. Firstly on the moors above Holmefirth, where I felt all nostalgic for the landscape of my childhood. The big views and bog cotton, the hidden valleys with tinkling streams and curlews.




Then on my birthday we headed into the Dales where I explored Goredale scar and Malham Cove. Such a stunningly beautiful Limestone landscape.








By July we were experiencing the hottest summer since '76 and it was bliss to spend a week lazing on the beach in Dorset. This early morning walk to Old Harry rocks with Eldest was a highlight of our holiday too.





In August myself and a friend lead a Peak District walk for my walking group. We started in Winster, heading for Stanton moor in search of Heather, then encouraged a bit of rock climbing on Robin Hood's Stride :0)




In September I was wandering around the gardens at Calke Abbey with another friend.





In October my walking group were enjoying the rolling Leicestershire hills again.






Then in November the Autumn colours were gorgeous on this group walk...ummm...somewhere. I've gone a bit blank on this one :0)




In the short days of December my group stayed closer to home and wandered by water in Nottingham.






This was the fourth year in a row I have challenged myself to walk 1000 outdoor miles and happily I just made it once again.

In 2019 I will be doing it all again ( I've already started....just 995 miles to go! )

2018 was quite unkind to some members of our family health-wise. It makes me appreciate being able to get outdoors and walk even more. Who knows how long I will be able to enjoy this exercise. As the saying goes ..."hike while you can".  I feel very lucky I still can, so I am.

Jacquie x