Half term round up

This half term was a much needed break for my husband (who is a teacher), my boys (especially the one that just started school) and me (who had lots of lovely treats planned).

The holiday started with our child-free break to the North Yorkshire Moors which turned into a 3 night stay after the in-laws said they didn’t mind having the grandchildren for another 24 hours (yipppeeee!). We had a fantastic time away, lots of sightseeing, lots of beachcombing and lots of uninterrupted time together… bliss.

Highlights were…treasure hunting for sea glass in Seaham

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… exploring the seaside town of Whitby

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… marvelling at Whitby Abbey (inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula)

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and my favourite part…  the Moors themselves.

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The only disappointment of the break was not finding a wool shop (I could actually hear my husband breathe a sigh of relief) but I did get a chance to practice my knitting for my sock knitting workshop.

I practiced my basic stitches by following the Hitchhiker scarf pattern and using sock yarn.

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I had bought the sock yarn a while back when I booked my place on the sock workshop. It is Mondial Ciao (241). It will make great socks so this scarf will be unravelled.

As the workshop approached I decided I needed to get more comfortable with knitting. I am a slow knitter and it all feels a bit clunky compared to crocheting. I found a pattern on Ravelry called Simple sample hat which uses the magic loop method on circular needles. My hat varies considerable from the pattern but I am quite proud of my first ever knitted hat!

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The sock workshop was today and it was everything I hoped it would be. We covered all elements of knitting a sock on DPNs (yikes!). I chose an orange sock yarn. Although this is far brighter than I wanted, it turned out to be a good choice as my stitches were all very easy to see.

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The workshop spanned a 4 hour period and everyone was exhausted by the end of it but we all produced a mini sock with a heel, gusset and toe (squeals of delight all round).

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The workshop was at my local wool shop the Wool Stop and was taught by Jacqui Harding of HappyMaking designs. Jacqui was the best type of teacher, patient, flexible and fun. She is a very talented knitter, crocheter and seamstress. Have a look at her Ravelry page for some of her designs.

Straight after the workshop the boys had a Halloween party. We had fun making some tasty treats to take with us.

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I have just realised with has got to be my longest post ever. Time for a glass of wine and to wish everyone a Happy Halloween.

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Beach trip

As I mentioned in my last post, we went to North Devon for the weekend. I am pleased  to report that the break had the desired effect and we all came back rejuvenated and full of energy. It helped a lot that the sun shone all weekend and that the caravan park I had chosen was just 200 yards from the beach!

We stayed in Combe Martin and spent our first day in Ilfracombe and Combe Martin itself. It is a while since I have been to this part of Devon and wondered if it would have changed much. It hadn’t. Even with Damien Hirst’s interest in the area it still felt very much a Victorian seaside resort. We did start by seeing Hirst’s Verity first (you can’t miss her, she’s 20m tall). Now, I am interested in art even if I don’t always understand it and  I know what I like, and I’m not sure about Verity. Google her and make up your own mind if you haven’t seen her before.

We went to the aquarium, ate ice cream, went to the Tunnel Beaches (Victorian beaches accessed through … a tunnel), ate fish and chips, played on the 2p machines in the arcade and ate more ice cream. The beach was windy and gave me the perfect excuse to wear my most recently finished crochet project (first seen here). Many thanks to my husband who took this picture under the strictest of instructions. Please ignore me.

crochet shrug x-stitch drops nepal

What do you think? It is a pattern I bought on Craftsy called X-stitch Shrug. I bought the pattern at the end of the summer holidays, anticipating cooler weather (which I am pleased to say, has stayed away) and decided I would use Drops Nepal (Deep Ocean) for extra warmth. It has been a start, stop project, mainly because I ran out of wool, then it was out of stock. I have certainly learnt my lesson when it comes to patterns and yardage. It would not have taken long otherwise as it is very straight forward.

Here it is hanging up.

crochet shrug x-stitch drops nepal

You will notice I have added a button to the front, which was not part of the original pattern. The shrug just didn’t suit me without it and it is so heavy (15 balls of 50g aran wool) that I didn’t want to be hoiking it up every 5 seconds. To be honest I think the shrug has had its only trip out. For me, this is a wear-at-home-snuggled-on-the-sofa sort of shrug, it is so warm and soft.

I might try a short poncho-type thing next time, although I do worry about looking like a sack of potatoes. Even when the sun is out I like to layer up. My sons were knee deep in the sea at the weekend, with nothing but t-shirts on and I was quite comfortable in jeans, long sleeves, boots and shrug!

Yesterday we stopped in at Lynton and Lynmouth, two towns connected by the most amazing cliff railway. A real feat of Victorian engineering.

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Of course, no trip to the seaside is complete without searching for sea treasure.

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Despite my improved energy levels after the weekend I am a little tired today after waking up in the middle of the night to see the supermoon lunar eclipse. I didn’t bother with photos but have been admiring some amazing ones today. Did anyone else watch it?

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Pointless crochet?

Can crochet ever be pointless? I think not. Crochet is incredibly relaxing and even if I find myself crocheting without an outcome in mind, it makes me happy:)

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Take these little fish as an example. Since our last visit to the seaside I have been thinking about crocheting them. What for? No idea other than for something to crochet! I haven’t even sewn them down to the hand towel above (although I think I might now). The bright colours make me smile.

easy-crochet-fish

I made the fish using Rico creative cotton and a 4mm hook. They are really easy to make.

Pattern (UK terms)

Form a magic ring.

Round 1 – chain 3, 11 trebles into magic ring, join

Round 2 – chain 3, 1 treble into same stitch, 2 trebles into each of next 11 stitches (makes 24 tr), join (do not fasten off)

Tail- chain 6, 1 quadruple treble, 1 triple treble into same stitch. 3 double trebles into next stitch. 1 triple treble, 1 quadruple treble into next stitch. Chain 6 and join into same stitch. Fasten off. Sew in ends.

Does that make sense? It’s the first pattern I have written and I really hope you can follow it.

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We went to the beach again last week, this time in West Somerset. I love this coast because I always come home with some beach treasure.

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Sea glass and fossils.

Incidentally, we have a move date so I may be quiet for a little while whilst I pack up the house (keeping some yarn out for any spontaneous crocheting, of course).

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Weekend relaxation by the sea

We have just returned from a lovely weekend in Devon. I shan’t bore you with too many details, just a few of my favourite pictures. We stayed in Brixham, a lovely seaside town with a working harbour and super beaches nearby. Perfect with or without two little ones. What made the time away extra special, was that my mum and dad came with us. I don’t see them very often and we enjoyed catching up in the summer sunshine.

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The harbour and stacks of lobster pots.

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The stunning view from the Napoleonic Fort (south) near Berry Head. I love walking and these days only get to go as far as the little legs can walk, but this was close by so we all enjoyed the wild flower meadows and wide open spaces.

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Apparently there were more flowers closer to the edge but I  will take my husband’s word for that. I am pleased to say he looked genuinely perplexed when I wondered how many wives had been disposed of in that manner 🙂

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We couldn’t resist a spot of crabbing using just a line, a piece of old muslin and some bacon. It just goes to show that you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a great time.

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