Thursday, 24 March 2016

Brag, Brag, Brag

Ooooh, look what the postman brought me this morning.  Squeeeeee I love these colours and I'M so excited. Will I tell you why?  For the first time ever I have decided to join a CAL.  It is the Mandala Madness by Crystals and Crochet.  At first when I saw this advertised I wasn't mad about the colours or the price tag of the kits.  At more than 400 Euros for one kit and 200 for the other, it was way out of my price range.  But last week on the day that it began I was reading about it in a Deramores post and realised that it was also available in a much more affordable version with beautiful hues of purple.  Just perfect for the sofa in Benny. It is called the colour crafter pack.

Just look at them all set and ready to go in my basket.  I know that I'm a week late with starting but I'm sure that I won't have a problem catching up!!

Yesterday I was in my LYS , The Baldy Sheep, and spotted this Louisa Harding Noema yarn on sale and I just couldn't leave without a few balls.  I have knitted with this before last summer when I made the capelet in the pattern book.  This yarn is going to make the cowl in the picture.  It is beautiful yarn to knit with and never splits.  and on top of that the colours available are just scrumptious.  I really do prefer when I have a definite idea for yarn that I buy.  I have found that sometimes when I buy yarn on sale it tends to sit around for quite a while waiting to be matched with the perfect pattern.  This cowl I know that is going to be really quick and easy to make.  It should be finished in just a few days........but first there are one or two projects that need finishing.  A baby blanket for a niece that is due in May (my first time being an auntie!!) and a gorgeous woolly jumper.  I have to be truthful and firm with myself and finish these first.  I know well that if I don't finish the jumper soon, the summer will come along and I'll have absolutely no interest in knitting away at a big chunky sweater.  But then again the Irish summer being what it is, I'll probably need to wear it!!

I was in such a crafting slump for so long.  Unable to knit or crochet without pain.  No ideas or inspiration coming to me.  Constant failing in my attempts to create something gorgeous at that terrible time. My crafting mojo just abandoned me.  It was driving me insane.  Something had to be done.

I began by crocheting some small colourful coasters and a granny square potholder, really must take some pictures of these pretty little things, to awaken my creative side again. Then in January I was back in hospital for my regular visit and I brought two new bigger knitting projects with me.  My chunky sweater and a shawl in soft delicate merino yarn.  

Now I love both knitting and crocheting and when I started these two projects, I found that I could sit and knit for hours in the hospital without and pain or discomfort. It was so much easier on my body then the crochet was.  I suppose that it is the constant movement with the one hand with the other just stabilising the work but with knitting it is just gentle movement with both hands.  For weeks I only worked on my knitting, not even thinking about my hooks.  But for me when I'm I just can never be away from the colourful world of crochet.  I just see it as being something fun that I can let my imagination run wild with.  Even though I started out learning to knit, it is crochet that just has me hooked!!  Sadly though I know now that I can only work for a couple of hours every second day otherwise the tennis elbow will return.


Talking about inspiration, I've got a new addiction.  Japanese crochet patterns.  They are simply beautiful and so very unusual even if they are difficult to read.

See what I mean.  Just look at those mittens and the intricacy of the coasters.  Just flipping through the pages leaves me drooling and itching to start.  But I'm going to be good and only do two projects at a time..........I so hope that I can be good.

Monday, 21 March 2016

A Bog Walk

Because this is a very special week for Ireland (we are celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the 1916 Rising), I thought that I might share some photos of the boglands at the heart of the country.  Normally this is an area that is not shown in the pretty tourist board photos probably because it is not always the easiest place to take nice pictures, unless it is dawn during the winter and the fog sits low over the bog.  Then it is gorgeous, but mostly it is just like a colour card for paint in various shades of brown! Seriously though I think that the bog is the backbone of the country and a good representation of life in the countryisde both past and present.  

Behind our house is a bog that was once stripped commercially for garden compost, briquettes for the fire or even for fuel for the nearby power station.  It has been about 20 years since this land was worked and it is only now that it is beginning to be reclaimed once more by nature.

It may look like quite a barren place but wildlife has once more taken over and when I bring my two mad animals out for a walk on the bog they enjoy nothing more than seeing what they can find and of course chase.  It was very funny last week when Fred tried to race a hare the length of the bog.  Needless to say that the hare left him eating dust and disappeared form view after a mere 15 seconds.  On our daily walks other than hares we have seen many pheasants, snipes, woodcocks, rabbits , long eared owls and foxes.

This is a beautiful piece of bog oak that has been uncovered by the big milling machines.  The bog oak that is found in the area is hundreds and thousands of years old, perfectly preserved in the bog.  This particular one has been bleached by the sun as it lies still half buried in the ground. It makes me smile every time I walk past it. I just love its bare beauty.

Most Irish people from the countryside will have memories and stories of bringing turf home from the bog during the summer months.  I myself grew up in a town and would tease my friends that had to spend their summer hols on the bog.  They would head off in the morning with flasks of tea and sandwiches and return home with sore backs and ripened red by the sun.  Now my friends laugh at me because I'm the one living in the bog and complaining about having to foot turf.

Even though it is March I still wear my handmade tweed coat whenever I go for a walk.  This poor coat has been with me for years ever since I bought it for 1 Euro in a charity shop.  Since it makes me look quite chubby, I tend to keep it for gardening and walks.  Honestly it is the coat that makes me look plump and not my obsession with biscuits!

Here you can see the different levels of the ground as the machines cut away more at one part of the bog.  The land is highest in the background of this picture stepping down into the foreground.  In between there are deep drains.  Patrick's favourite pass time has to be jumping the drains.  Tempting fate a he tries to make it across wider and wider drains followed closely by the two dogs.  Needless to say most of the time he comes home covered from head to toe in turf mould.  Well I say turf mould because that is what its called by the locals but to the rest of us it would be bog dirt.
Molly on the other hand loves nothing more than swimming her way down the bog in the drains.


There are still some sign of the industry left on this part of the bog but even this is slowly being hidden by nature. Can you see the digger close to the trees in this picture?

Here it may be nothing but a variations of the colour brown but every now and again there is the most beautiful splash of sunshine like this coarse and prickly gorse bush.

That brings us to the end of my local bogland.  I hope that you enjoyed it.

Rosie xx

P.S. Well Bernie do you miss it at all?