A new(ish) project

I’ve finally finished the virus shawl, but I’ve not yet taken a photo of it in its finished state.

So I got the next bag out from behind my sofa, which contained the first five and a bit parts of the spirits of life shawl that I haven’t touched for over 3 years. I was scared to get going on it because I had finished 3 squares of 4, and the last time I tried to make the fourth square it all went wrong and I found it really hard to follow the pattern. But I decided to give it a go when my mum took Mr E out for his nap one afternoon.

I’ve discovered that there are really helpful videos to go with the written instructions, and so I used those and followed step by step, checking the written pattern at the same time. This worked really well, and was surprisingly stress free.

I got the central medallion part finished that afternoon and have then worked on the last few days to complete the square (which I was pleased to note was pretty much the same size as 2 of the other squares!) and join them together and then attach them to the main shawl.

I’m so pleased to have got this done as it was such a mental block to get going with it. It’s a stunning pattern and I’m really excited about using the finished shawl when I get it done.


Progress with the duck

I’m feeling really chuffed with myself today. I’ve made the beak, the feet (which were super fiddly to get started, but highlighted the fact that I’m still using my own techniques rather than reading the Toft instructions properly, which obviously make the process a lot easier!) and solved the eye problem.

Mr E holding his little duck… He was so excited to see the beak
A characterful duck with its wonky feet that make it look like it’s mid stride!

For the eyes I put the needle through the mid point, then sewed on vertical straight lines, and then brought the needle back out of the entry point. I knotted the ends together and then poked the knot back through the hole to bury it in the stuffing. I think this should hold well and stop the eyes becoming loose.

Now little duck just needs two wings and it’ll be finished. That’s a job for tomorrow though!

A little duck

Back when I was pregnant my husband bought me a Toft kit to crochet a little chick and a duck. I started one and managed 13 rows before it ended up in a bag behind my sofa. As I’m now trying to finish off projects before starting new ones I thought I’d pick it up today.

I started crocheting but once I’d done the neck area I was bothered by how big the holes were where I’d been decreasing. Once I’d done a couple of rows in the decrease part of the head I thought it might be useful to check if my technique was correct… Turns out it wasn’t! So I frogged back from row 24 all the way back to 13.

Where I started
Several hours later

It was frustrating, and the yarn didn’t necessarily like being reused as some of it had untwisted in the process, but I’m really glad I did this as the big holes have disappeared and it all looks a lot neater.

Once I’d reached row 21 for the second time I made the mistake of showing Mr E the options and asking if he’d like me to make a duck or a chick. He really wanted the duck, but unfortunately he also REALLY wanted it right now! I’ve now managed to get it to the stage of having a stuffed head and body, and the cuddle he gave it was just precious, and he decided to take it to bed with him! Now I’m going to have to prize it off him to sew other body parts on as I get them completed!

But I also need a bit of advice if anyone can help please. The final stage is sewing on eyes with black wool. How do you secure the wool if you’ve already sewn up and stuffed the head (which is the order they suggest)?

By the way, I’m still working on the virus shawl. It’s grown a bit but otherwise looks just the same as the last photos I shared!

Baby blanket finished

Having started the baby blanket ages ago I suddenly realised I needed to get it finished ready to gift before the baby got too big! I realised I could capitalise on Mr E’s snack and TV watching time by crocheting then instead of reading, which meant I could also engage with him on what he was watching. So I started making progress, but not fast enough.

Yesterday I worked solidly through Mr E’s nap and then in the evening, and I got it finished and was able to gift it today. I’d won the game of yarn chicken (you can see how little yarn was left as it’s alongside the left of the blanket in the photo) and finished the blanket off with a final row of double crochet, which made it look much neater. And the mum was really pleased to receive a hand made blanket (and I got baby cuddles, so it was all fab!)

I’ve really enjoyed having some crochet on the go, and I realised I have quite a few unfinished projects behind my sofa, so I dug out my virus shawl which I started back before Mr E was on the scene and used to do while waiting for scans. I remember not really enjoying it as I ended up counting lots and not being able to concentrate on anything else. Plus I generally get a bit disheartened with things that get longer rows each time because they take so much longer each time and I feel like I’m not making much progress. But actually this afternoon I got a couple of rows done and found it reasonably relaxing. That said, it’s a super fine yarn, so very delicate, and I’m wondering who would actually use it as it’s so light weight and presumably won’t be that warm. But I love the colours in it, which, combined with the holes, make me think of a peacock tail.

This is a better representation of the actual colour

Now we just have to wait and see how long it is before I next blog to tell you it’s finished!

Back with some crochet

For the first time in absolutely ages I’ve actually started a crochet project. An email From the crochet society telling me they had past boxes for sale for only £10 tempted me to look for a quick and easy project. I saw the gorgeous colours of this yarn and figured that either the shawl or baby blanket options would give me a repetitive pattern that I wouldn’t have to concentrate too hard for.

The baby blanket is perfect. I had to concentrate really hard on the first row of holes, to make sure I got them in just the right place, but after that I haven’t needed to do any counting as I can tell where the next holes need to be. I’ve gone wrong a couple of times with silly mistakes (like forgetting to skip stitches to make the holes) but the joy of this is that it’s really easy to spot the mistakes quickly so I haven’t had to rip back too much.

I’m really impressed with how much I’ve got done given that I only started it yesterday. Today’s crochet session wasn’t the most comfortable as I was sitting in the car while Mr E had his afternoon nap. But I did at least have a lovely woodland view at the time.

It’s not my favourite yarn to work with as it splits occasionally, but I love its colours. It’s almost mesmerising watching the colours change. I’m really glad I’ve found a nice little project to do. Here’s hoping I keep up the momentum and have a finished blanket in the not too distant future.

Advent calendar!

Back at the beginning of the year I bought a Nativity garland set and the extension set from polychrome crafts with the idea of making an advent calendar for Mr E for this year. I suddenly realised that if I aimed to make one character a week then I would not get it done in time. Thankfully my sister and niece came to stay for a couple of days. It’s been awesome to see them and they’re the first people to stay with us since the start of the pandemic. Plus they both enjoy crafts, so over 3 of Mr E’s nap times and 3 evenings we’ve managed to cut out all the felt pieces and sew on the details for 16 of the pieces (plus half a sheep and half another camel!).

So that leaves me with 6 (and 2 halves) characters to add details to, and then blanket stitch and stuff them all.

I’m totally amazed at how much we got done, and super grateful to them both as I was rather daunted by how much there was to do and I probably would have just not started if it was going to be just down to me. Now it feels totally doable 😊. Plus it’s lovely to have a craft to do that I can just get on with for part of a nap time.


Crochet has taken a back seat during this warmer weather… It’s too hot to have a blanket draped over my knees. Plus I’m disappointed as one of the yarns I’ve used previously has steered to break within the blanket and I don’t know how to fix it, so I’m not really motivated to add rows to a blanket that might fall apart 😞

But today brought another opportunity to draw with my niece via Skype as she added a stonechat illustration to her nature diary. We found a picture to copy and got drawing.

I found it a tricky shape to draw, but my niece’s advice that it might look more like a stonechat if I coloured it on did seem to help, even though I didn’t have the right colour for its russet breast!

A heron

This afternoon brought another invitation from my sister and my niecephews to draw. The subject this time was a heron, which I thought would be fine as I’ve drawn herons before. But then I discovered we were drawing a flying heron, which I thought would be hard.

We found this picture and got drawing.

Once again there are things I’m not happy with, like its eye, the over big lower wing and the fact that the wings don’t really look curved. But I like its neck and the shape of its head. And I really enjoyed looking at the detail of the feathers.

This time Mr E didn’t have to entertain himself as we managed to draw while he was having his afternoon nap, which was fab!