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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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

Finish(ed) It Challenge 2014

If a picture speaks 1000 words, this blog is going to be 3080 words long! But what more is there to say  – apart from a big thank you for the motivation from the Finish It Challenge, courtesy of whom this collection of ageing Emu Coolspun…

Finish It Challenge before

Finish It Challenge before

…has now transmogrified into a summer top!

Finish It Challenge 2014 After (1)

Finish It Challenge 2014 After (1)

Finish It Challenge 2014 after (2)

Finish It Challenge 2014 after (2)

And we even have sunshine so I can wear it! Plus I have a skein left over – hat or bag?

Finish it Challenge – works for me!

 

Finish It Challenge before

Finish It Challenge before

Just wanted to say a big ‘thank you’ to Mollie & Claire and Stitches & Scraps for getting their ‘Finish it Challenge’ off the ground! If any crafter told me they didn’t have an unfinished project (or three) sitting in the back of a cupboard I simply wouldn’t believe them! The one I chose to complete for the Challenge was something for me…which is probably one of the main reasons why it isn’t finished.

About 18 months ago I was given some Emu Coolspun by a friend who found it when they clearing an elderly relative’s house. Coolspun is a knubbly cotton yarn and since it was in my favourite cornflower blue and there was enough for a summer top I decided to make something for me for a change. However, the yarn obviously came off the market years ago so all patterns were really dated – I found something that looked okay in a similar yarn and got started about April last year…. but could I get the sizing right?? Anyway, after unpicking and starting from scratch twice (which is a real pain as the little knubbles get stuck all the time), summer had turned into autumn so my pretty summer top gave way to winter and Christmas projects and it sat forlorn and forgotten……

….until the Finish it Challenge came along! I’ve now found a new pattern that works really well and it’s growing rapidly because I’ve got excited about it again – and it will be finished in time to wear in Summer. So thank you again ladies – will post the ‘after’ picture when it is completed.

Game of Tea Cosies – number 5

Surprisingly, this wasn’t the hardest one to interpret – House Bolton, symbol a flayed man. In fact I rather enjoyed creating this one, even if it is a bit gruesome (well, I did use to be a biochemist once upon a time).

And of course, if you view it simply as a tea cosy, pretty pink petals on a beaded red background is quite an attractive combination. It’s not meant to resemble strips of skin and blood droplets at all, honest 😉

Easter stash buster

Have been visiting a sick relative over the last few days so not conducive to undertaking any large projects but the ideal time to attack the stash! One crochet hook, 4 DPNs and a small bag of odds and ends and hey presto, my Easter tree has started to blossom. Its a work in progress but will have to stop soon – or get more twigs 😉

Game of Tea Cosies – number 3

So here’s the third in my Game of Thrones homage tea cosies – House Greyjoy. They rejoice in the wonderful motto of “We do not sow” – well, mate, neither do I…I knit or crochet (although sometimes I’m forced to sew a few seams if common sense has got the better of me and I’ve started on a sweater).

I’m very fond of my little kraken so thanks to Genuine Mudpie, which is where I found the pattern inspiration. Now did you get the other subtleties – I used a wave pattern for the cosy to give the impression of water but combined strands of grey and green to simulate algae covered rocks. I somehow don’t think the Iron Islands are exactly a tropical paradise 😉