Finished it – now its time to start again!

Did you take part in the 2014 Finish It Challenge organised by Stitches and Scraps and Mollie & Claire? [If not, why not – don’t tell me you don’t have an unfinished project or three lurking somewhere in your house!]

Well I did and I’m doubly glad I took the trouble – not only do I now have a great top to wear when the sun shines ….but I also won a skein of SparkLynne 4 ply sock yarn from The Knitting Goddess, provided by Claire, in a beautiful pale blue with a hint of bling.

hand dyed, 4ply, 75% superwash merino Sparklynne by The Knitting Goddess

hand dyed, 4ply, 75% superwash merino Sparklynne by The Knitting Goddess

A huge thank you for providing us with the impetus for completing a project, donating super prizes….and to Claire especially for picking my name out of the hat 😉

Now I know exactly how I’m going to use this yarn…but not exactly what I’m going to do with it……so suggestions please.

My son and his fiancee are getting married next spring and they are basing their colour palette around ‘the sea’. The colour of the yarn would fit perfectly and it feels right that, having received the yarn as a stroke of luck, the luck should be passed on to two people starting their life together.

But what could I use it for (100g, c.400m) – ideally something that can be used both on the day and afterwards? It may be sock yarn but I can’t see either of them tripping down the aisle in pale blue, sparkly socks! I was thinking possibly about a large doily/small tablecloth as a centre piece to the top table, but my creative juices have yet to start flowing so ideas wanted please – knitting or crochet, I enjoy both.

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Golden rules of blackberrying!

Have just come in from picking blackberries in our garden – seems to be a bumper crop this year.  It is wonderful to be able to enjoy this free bounty – even if it does mean that autumn isn’t far away.

I’m sure that many of you will also be indulging in this pastime over the next few weeks so I thought it would be worth reminding you of ….

The golden rules of Blackberrying

  1. If you want to find the lushest and easiest to pick crops, make sure that you have absolutely nothing with you in which to put them when you’ve picked them. If you go out armed with boxes you are guaranteed to pick less than a dozen.
  2. No matter how many fat juicy ones are within easy reach, make sure that you reach into the densest group of prickly, scratchy branches and stinging nettles  in order to pick one more.
  3. Always ensure that the youngest member of your party is placed in the closest proximity to any stinging nettles.
  4. Do try to wear shorts and sleeveless tops so that the brambles have the maximum amount of flesh to attack.

I may have missed a few, but I think most of the essentials are there 😉

However, stick them in a pie or crumble with a dollop of ice cream or custard and the pain is all worthwhile – happy picking!

At the going down of the sun…

…and in the morning, we will remember them. I’ve just come back from visiting a local church which was holding a flower festival to commemorate the fallen, and those who returned, from WW1. It is very moving to see the wide variety acts of remembrance taking place in the UK and world-wide.

The church display included some clay poppies made by children at the local school – very touching, not quite as flamboyant as the spectacular display planned for the Tower of London. This  new installation by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper commemorates all British deaths from WW1.  A total of 888,246 red ceramic poppies will be arranged around the tower, including a cascade of blood red poppies pouring from a turret window. It is hard to imagine what that number means, but this sea of red will truly help to visualise the human toll.

A_cascade_of_Poppies_

Of course, the vastness of the numbers hides all the individual sorrow and heartache that was experienced as loved ones received the dreaded telegram and had to come to terms with loss (something that still continues today – sadly WW1 wasn’t the war to end wars).

I was researching my own family history recently and came across a facsimile of the telegram my great grandma would have received telling her that her 22 year old son had been killed – the same age as my son now. Luckily her other son (my grandfather) survived (or I wouldn’t be here writing this of course) but how she must have worried until he returned home safely. In honour of my deceased and surviving relatives from WW1, and as a bond across the years from one mother to another, I created my own small commemoration in the form of a tea and cafetiere cosy, which I would like to share on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the day war broke out.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

by John McCrae