Thursday, 28 February 2013

It's not working

Mr Locket had confirmation yesterday that the firm he works for is going to close down soon.

He's an archaeologist.  Jobs like that don't come up very often.

The crochet and chocolate aren't working at making things feel better.

Especially as the crochet isn't working either.

I looked again at the joined together squares and compared them with my first blanket.  They are all wonky and distorted from the joining.

So I unravelled them all.

Then I decided that any way of joining them with their white edging was going to look squiffy.

So I unravelled all the edging as well.

They don't look like tiles anymore.

And I can't decide how I want to finish them.

Should they have a white granny border?

Should I edge them with the grey?

(these are just the squares I'd already made that had grey as their outer border - if I edged them there would be another round)

Should I just join them together as they are and then have a white border round the whole blanket?

Or should I just give up on it for a bit and go and knit some socks for my friend's birthday instead?  And drink wine.  And eat more chocolate.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

10 things

1. Spending your lunchtime crocheting certainly brightens up the day at work 

2. It takes me 15 minutes to crochet each granny square and a full 6½ minutes to do the cream border.  I know. I've timed it. I'm pathetic. 

3. My sewing room was a mess. 

4. An hour spent out there tidying with Dot quickly sorted it.

5. There are pretty quilts to be finishing. 

6. And exciting new mini squares of fabric to play with but two weeks have passed since it was tidied and I haven't been out there once.

7. Selecting a sixth form for Dot isn't easy work. 

8. Joining these squares together isn't quite as neat as my other blanket but I like the way they look like tiles that have been grouted in place.

9. Choosing which colour to crochet next is a very pleasant and distracting past-time but it isn't quite taking the edge off worry about jobs and money today.

10. I've now lost 4 stone but I think I will be joining Fred in "chocolate day" after school - and we're not talking about Weightwatchers chocolate today - it's going to be the real deal.

Edited to add....

Monday, 25 February 2013

Sea glass blanket

I love sea glass and always search for it when I go to the beach.  I have found it in all shades of blue, turquoise and green along with the almost colourless pieces.  Unfortunately I'm not very good at looking after my treasures and could only find this meagre selection which doesn't really show the full range of colours - and once again my photographic skills have let me down.

When I was thinking about colours for my new crochet blanket I decided to go with colours that reminded me of my sea glass and raided three local wool shops to get my palette.

I've picked 12 colours - some so close to each other you can only just tell them apart and I'm using a mix of King Cole Merino and Sirdar Stylecraft from Ring a Rosie, Wendy Merino and Wendy Mode from Kemps, and some more King Cole Merino from the Knit Studio along with a few leftovers from my last blanket.

Some of the yarn is nicer than the others.  The Wendy Merino is so soft and lovely to use and the King Cole Merino is nice - and familiar as this is what I used in my other blanket - but I had to buy quite a few different makes to get the colour range.

I've been crocheting in every spare moment since Friday afternoon and have done 32 squares so far.  16 of them have their outer cream edging and the other 16 are waiting patiently for it!

I can't seem to show in my photos just how nice these colours look together.  I'm very happy with my little "tiles" - they almost remind me of Moroccan ceramic tiles.
Every Saturday morning Dot and I go to knitting group at Ring a Rosie, and every time we pop into Costa Coffee on the way there for a Skinny Cappuccino.  While we are standing in the queue we "select" all the cakes and biscuits and treats that we are going to have that day. 

We usually pick at least 6 each - and when the queue is longer we stand near the sandwiches and hot paninis and choose a range of them too.

As we are both on a diet and also trying to economise, we never actually buy anything to eat - but we enjoy the game :o)  Right now I could eat one of those lemon tarts in the middle of the photograph - yummy!

We share our coffee and eat some of the lovely biscuits that are provided at the wool shop instead and spend the morning knitting and crocheting with our lovely friends (while avoiding the camera!)

It is a really lovely Saturday morning ritual with Dot - and very occasionally Daisy too.  I just need to persuade Fred and Mr Locket to learn to knit and then it can be a full family affair!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The question of colour

Thank you all for your advice on my blanket - I decided to follow the majority opinion and go with the simple chain edge (which, if I'm honest, was exactly what I hoped people would say - I just didn't have the confidence to rip out all the scalloping without a bit of bloggy back-up)

 The blanket is now "blog finished" (i.e the front looks good!)

and very beautiful - if I'm allowed to say that myself?

But there is still the messy job of sewing all the threads in to do - I imagine I will be working on it for quite some time.

Now that I consider the blanket to be finished my thoughts naturally turned to what I wanted to crochet next and I lay in bed for ages last night thinking and thinking about colour choices.

Because colour preference is a truly personal thing isn't it?

When Julie blogged about her new crochet blanket project I was completely overwhelmed by her colour selection - I loved it and couldn't sleep one night for thinking about it - so I rushed to finish my blanket so I could start a  new one in these gorgeous, rich, autumnal colours.

Likewise, when I was reading Soulemama and seeing her knit with nubbly shades of brown, or reading Quinn's blog about her walnut hand-dyed sock yarn, I started craving some "brown" knitting of my own.

But now I'm actually doing it, I have to confess that it really just isn't "Me" - it's just not colourful and "happy" enough to get me excited.

These socks are rather over-bright and I was amused one night when I was working on them that I just couldn't have this quilt on my lap because it didn't go with my knitting!

I like this quilt but they're just not my colours again - and they don't really "go" with the rest of my house.

Therefore, much as I adore Julie's colour selection for her blanket, and really wish I was stylish enough to use them myself, I just have to accept that my natural palette is much brighter.

So my nocturnal cogitations came up with the idea of  "sea-glass" granny squares with the cream tile-like edging that Julie is putting on her blanket.  I'm not sure I can afford to invest in the necessary wool but I am looking forward to Saturday morning's Knit and Natter at my local wool shop so I can look to see what colours are available.  I'm thinking of something similar to Thomasina Tittlemouse's ripple blanket maybe.

Now to the important part of the post - letting you know who is the winner of my mini giveaway.........

I used a random number generator for numbers 1-20 and it chose 20, so Quinn, can you send me your address so I can send you a flower - do you have a colour preference (pink, red, turquoise or cream?)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Scallops or no scallops?

Just a quick post in my lunchbreak to ask your advice.......

Should I scallop?

Or just have this chained edging?

I've done half of the scalloping but I'm rather liking the simplicity of the chain instead - the scallops don't really lie flat. 

Should I unpick it? 

What do you think?

Let me know your thoughts and I will put names into a hat for a crocheted flower brooch to be picked tomorrow xx

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Now I could show you photos of all the housework that needs doing in Locketland but instead here are a few things that have been making me happy today.

Turning the heel of my second Helter Skelter sock while having a coffee with a friend (sorry, I forgot to photograph the coffee or the friend or the knitting until I got home)

Finding the photos Dot took of the pancake mix she made and evidence of me getting up early enough in the morning to cook them for everyone yesterday - they were the most succesful we've ever had.

Sorting the next batch of crochet squares for my blanket - only about another 20 to go.

Spending time on my blanket today while watching a repeat of Hugh's Veg Heroes.

Tidying up the colourful pile of quilts and blankets by the sofa - unfortunately they don't always look this neat and are normally scattered across the room.

Straightening my little toadstool collection.

Feeling very proud of Dot's growing knitting skills - pop over to her blog if you get the chance to see what she has been up to.

Watching the snow fall while having a cup of tea with a friend and feeling pleased that I've remembered to phone for a new delivery of coal today.

Admiring my shiny clean running shoes after their thorough scrubbing on Monday following a very muddy run.

And secretly hoping that running club tonight will be cancelled because of the snow - it's just soooo cold!

What has been making you happy today?

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The sweet scent of friendship

A while ago I was given two lovely lavender bags.

One was from my friend Bernie.  She had made one for each of my group of friends who were travelling down to London for the Country Living Fair last year and she gave us them on the train journey.  I think she was still stitching the lavender embroidery first thing in the morning before catching the early train!  (Incidentally, I am trying to persuade her to start a blog because even though she works full time she still manages to produce the most lovely crafts.)

The other came from the lovely Katie over at Make.  We had visited her on my birthday last year as my birthday treat - I really wish she was a bit nearer so we could go  more often - and when she found out it was my birthday she let me choose my favourite of her beautiful liberty lavender bags as a present.

Now I know it is conventional to keep your lavender under your pillow, or in your undies drawer, but I thought that if I did that then I just wouldn't get to appreciate these lovely gifts as much as I would like.

So I decided to put them somewhere I would be visiting multiple times a day - in my knitting bag and basket - so that every time I pulled out my sock knitting or my crochet I would see my lovely present and get a waft of the delightful lavender.

Bernie's is in my sock bag and Katie's lives in my crochet basket and I love having them there to remind me of my lovely friends.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The other man in my life...

Since July last year there has been another man in my life.............(but Mr Locket doesn't mind)

A very influential one who has made big changes to the three eldest members of the Locket household.....

Mr Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and this book in particular that we bought quite innocently, never imagining the changes it would cause.

Mr Locket, Dot and I took it in turns to have a look through the book and mark recipes we fancied........

It ended up with so many tabs there was barely a recipe that wasn't marked and we decided to start cooking straightaway, selecting half a dozen recipes to have over the coming week.

From the first meal "North African Squash and Chickpea Stew" (page 30) we were hooked and since that day the three of us have hardly eaten any meat at all.

Basically the recipes are just SO good, so interesting and exciting and tasty that we haven't wanted to eat boring meat-based meals any more.

Mr Locket has never been a huge meat eater so he is delighted but Daisy and Fred haven't joined us in this food revolution so we are tending to cook two meals most nights but that's not a problem.

We haven't gone completely vegetarian and still occasionally eat ham and bacon and a bit of chicken or tuna but 95% of our meals are vegetable based - unless we are visiting family where we will happily tuck into a roast - we just don't really cook meat anymore.

I never really took to Hugh F-W in his early River Cottage days - probably because he has always been very upfront about where our food comes from - literally butchering his own livestock and using every spare scrap of meat.  I've never been particularly keen on thinking about the fact that I'm actually eating an animal's leg for example and prefer my meat neatly and anonymously cellophaned in a packet.  Seeing a pig's carcass arriving at the local butchers always put me off so really I shouldn't be eating meat at all.  Hugh's philosophy is that meat and fish are very precious resources that should be sustainably sourced and humanely treated (and therefore expensive) and should only be eaten as a luxury rather than an everyday right.  In principle I would like to follow his example and only buy free-range produce but unfortunately my tight budget is a rather more influential  pressure although it is something I want to try to improve.

A few weekly meal rituals have started to develop.  On Friday's Dot makes a batch of Hugh's "Magic Bread Dough" and we make flatbreads to stuff with roasted butternut squash, chilli, raw red onion, cheese and rocket ("Hot Squash Foldover" - so delicious) then on Saturday the bread dough is rolled out very thin and turned into pizzas and everyone gets to choose their toppings.  Daisy and Fred will usually just have ham and cheese but the rest of us pile our pizzas with fried kale, mushrooms, courgettes, loads of fried onions, capers, sultanas, olives, pine nuts - whatever we can gather, and I find I'm absolutely loving this Saturday night ritual - rolling the next pizza as the first is cooking, finding out what people want, making sure each pizza gets its 6 minutes in the hottest oven but doesn't burn, sipping my wine as I cook, then finally sitting down with my own scrumptious concoction long after everyone else has finished eating.

The really great thing is that I am able to eat totally delicious food and still lose weight with weightwatchers.  Because I'm not having "points" from meat it means I can have a bit of cheese or some olive oil, or nuts and seeds instead - and I still have enough points left for chocolate and wine!  A win-win situation!

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my last post -  I think it is hard when you are presented with other people's "perfect" lives - I know I always feel frustrated and disappointed with myself when I read housey magazines because my home will never look that good! It's just magazine- or blog-envy and I need to recognise it as such and therefore ignore those negative feelings!