Monday, 23 February 2015

Work In Progress







I've had a break from all things technical for a few days.  Just to clear my mind a little.  This morning, however, I felt the need to come and chat to you so here I am.  Hello!  :-)

I bought four balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in Baby Pink several weeks ago.  I'll be honest, it was a bit of an indulgent purchase because I wasn't terribly sure what my intentions were at the time.  During the course of last week, I decided to crochet myself a scarf.  Similar in style to the Manly Scarf I made some months ago, in a soft rib, but with some very slight differences*.  I don't particularly need another scarf, I just wanted to crochet for crochet's sake - 'comfort crochet' I suppose!  The muted colour suited my mood and the uncomplicated design soothed me.  (I've long thought that the medical profession are missing a trick by not prescribing crochet, seriously!)

Despite it being super long (it wraps around my neck three times), I finished it within a few days, using all four 50g balls.  Me, being me, then felt the need to add a little extra.  A little trim or flourish to make it 'mine'.  I'm definitely going to include the chocolate bow.  I love it.  The edging you see in the pictures is, I think, one of about thirty different attempts though.  I've spent more time faffing around with that than I have making the whole scarf.  And I'm still not sure it's right.  It's been driving me bonkers!

So I've put the scarf down and am ignoring it for a few days.  Ha!

*I started with a chain of 300 (using a 6mm hook) and then crocheted (with a 5mm hook) alternate rows of regular half treble (half double US) and half treble in the back loops.  I only used one chain at the beginning of each row rather than two - it has created a much neater, straighter edge and has stopped the scarf splaying out at the ends.

I must tell you about my latest yarn crush too.  Debbie Bliss Rialto dk.  Have you tried it?  I bought one ball before Christmas to try and, OMG, it's just gorgeous!  It's 100% wool, as soft as butter, drapes like silk and is a total dream to crochet with.  I've reinvested some of my pattern earnings and bought a cheery selection for my next design.  How fabulous are those colours?  I've done nothing more than gaze and occasionally squish them so far but the itch to break into them has already started!

♥♥♥

The title of this blog post applies to all areas of my life at the moment.  I just wanted to reiterate how very much I appreciate your comments and emails which I'm continuing to receive on a daily basis.  I stand by my promise to reply to every single one but it's going to take me a little longer than I'd originally intended for a variety of reasons.  Please be assured that I am reading them and I will be in touch soon.

♥♥♥

Friday, 13 February 2015

You're Awesome


BLOWN AWAY!

Seriously.

Thank you sooooo much for your comments, messages and emails.  I'm replying to every one so please keep an eye on the comments section in my last post or your inbox.

It's hard to articulate just how grateful, consoled, inspired and motivated I feel because of you.

Oh, and for the record, Pink Milk isn't going anywhere, whatever else happens in my life!

I promise to keep you posted but, for now, wheels are in motion and I must admit to the occasional frisson of excitement about the next phase.  (Teensy bit of terror too!)

Normal service will resume very shortly.  Until then, have a wonderful weekend and thank you again.

You're completely and utterly awesome.

xxx

Monday, 9 February 2015

Completely Unrelated To Crochet


I thought I'd better name this post, Completely Unrelated To Crochet, to warn you in advance that there is nothing remotely woolly about the next few paragraphs.  My narcissus photograph is deliberate too - you'll see why.

One of the main reasons I blog is for self-expression and, if you've been with me for a while, you'll know that every now and again I feel the need to spill.

I know I attract a lot of followers purely for my crochet, which I love, but my Instagram and Facebook experience to date has shown me that all it takes is one drunk selfie and they run for the hills!  I admire hugely those bloggers who maintain an air of dignity by rarely eluding to anything remotely personal but I can't do it.  I've tried but it's just not me.  Fact.

Ok, you've had all the warnings, so if you're still here, you've only yourself to blame!  ;-)

The truth is, I've been feeling very … ummm … Lost?  Trapped?  Whatever it is, it's been creeping up on me for quite some time and has reached a bit of a head in the last few weeks.  I'm hoping that articulating it here and telling you will be a good thing.  If it's not, it's too late now!  Who knows, perhaps it might strike a chord with you?  I'll try and be succinct.

I am 43 years old and have been married for seventeen years.  I met my husband when I was 21.  I had my first child at 26 and my second at 29.  My husband and I jointly made the decision that I should stay at home to look after the children which is what I have done.  It has afforded him the opportunity to work hard (and he does) and also the opportunity to go away from time for some R&R (skiing, golfing weekends, Le Mans), knowing that I'm at home keeping everything ticking over.

We haven't had the unconditional support of close family for a long time so help and babysitting etc. has been sporadic at best.  Not helped by the fact that I'm rubbish at asking!

So, in a nutshell, my life for the last sixteen years has been about my children, my husband, his work and our home.

And, my god, it's been lonely at times but I've coped.  I think.

Until now that is.  Something strange has happened.  Perhaps it's a mid-life crisis?!  

I know I'm lucky in lots of ways.  My husband adores me and my children seem to be happy and grounded.  They are, however, teenagers and possibly because I have always been at home, do take a lot of things for granted.  Including me.  That said, they are gradually needing me less and less which is a very strange feeling.

The thing is, I'm not sure who I am anymore.  Or what I want.  I don't feel valued.  The monotony of my life is choking me and I can't breathe.  I have this overwhelming desire to kick out, break things and sod the lot of them!  Don't get me wrong, I love my little family to bits but it's not enough anymore.  Or perhaps it's too much?  I think I now need a big injection of something that is absolutely nothing to do with them.  I need some fun.  I need to be me.  Not the mother.  Not the wife.  Not the daughter or sister.  Just me.

Out of desperation, I turned to a couple of treasured friends very recently and confided in them and I'm so glad I did.  They each helped me more than they'll ever know.

I think I need to feel interesting, vibrant, attractive and more independent again.  What is it they say?  You need to value yourself before anyone else will.  Or something like that anyway.

I hate the way my lack of sparkle is creeping in to my blog and other social networks.  I want you to walk away from my posts with a spring in your step, not a heavy heart!  I love my 'Pink Milk' identity - it's the one thing in my life that is wholly mine and I have no intention of changing it.  I think I may well have had a meltdown before now if it wasn't for you.  Sadly though, you're not there when I shut my laptop lid!

I'm not sure yet what the solution is but the first thing I have decided to do is go and get a job.  The extra money will help of course but I need to be with people again.  It frightens me a little because I'm not professionally qualified to do much and I've been at home for so long.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained though and I can't do nothing.

I'm not going to apologise for the 'me, me, me' nature of this post.  Surely blogs by their very nature are selfish to a certain extent?  I am going to thank you for listening though.  If you can identify with anything I've said or have any words of wisdom, as always, I'd absolutely love to hear from you.

Right, here goes, I'm now going to be brave and press 'publish'.

xxx

Edited to add : I can't thank you enough for your comments and emails.  At the moment I'm just reading and absorbing them but I will be replying to each one individually.  Please check back here at some point if you are a non-reply commenter.  xxxxxx

Friday, 6 February 2015

Hooked! A Crochet Blog Hop


As you may or may not know, when you blog, you get approached by a variety of people offering their services or asking you to promote their wares.  They can range from the slightly obscure to the downright dubious, trust me!  As a rule of thumb, I rarely agree unless it is for something that I think you, my friends, will find of interest.  When I was asked to join in with Stitch Craft Create's blog hop to review a new crochet motif book, I didn't have to think twice.  I think you'll love it!

Ok, so the book?


Written by crochet designers Michelle Delprat and her daughters, Cecile and Sylvie, Hooked! is a veritable buffet of crochet motifs.  In my opinion, it commands just a basic knowledge of crochet and there are some excellent stitch illustrations at the beginning of the book.  It is attractively uncluttered and the patterns are set out extremely clearly.

Most of the patterns suggest working with a teeny hook (2mm) but, being the contrary person that I am, I favour a 4mm hook and a larger result.

I've picked a couple of my favourite pages which should give you a flavour of what you can expect ...


I'm sure it won't surprise you to learn that I picked a flower as my little project.  They worked up super quickly and gave me an excuse to indulge in some fun with colours.


I then chained them together, catching each flower with a slip stitch, to make a simple little garland.  They'd look so pretty draped around a few branches; an Easter tree perhaps?  For now though, it would seem that they have been purloined by my daughter ...



I shall definitely make some more.  Imagine them perched jauntily on a hat or scarf?  Ooh, how nice would they look on a squared blanket?

Before I get carried away, I must tell you about the 'blog hop'.  Do take a peek here to find out who else is joining in; you'll recognise some of your favourite bloggers and maybe discover a couple of new ones too.  You'll also find out more about the book and I'm sure glean a few creative ideas to add to your never-ending to-do list!


To celebrate the upcoming release of Hooked!, the lovely people at Stitch Craft Create are also running a competition where you can win a free copy of the book and a bundle of crochet goodies to boot.  For full details, see their blog for more information.

Happy hooking.

xxx

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Maggie Hat

Hello!

Suddenly cropping up after an unexplained absence of two weeks, with nothing to report other than a new crochet pattern in my Etsy shop, would be so terribly rude, wouldn't it?

So I won't.

;-)



Maggie Hat

Named after my own grandmother who could carry off a hat like no one else.



xxx

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Anemone Pattern


It seems my faffing was actually more productive than I thought.  Thank you so much for your anemone love.  You asked for my pattern so, without further ado …


I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino yarn and a 4mm hook.  My finished flowers measure exactly 5cm.

I have used UK terminology in my pattern but included US conversion in brackets.

Round 1 : Using Colour A (I used dark brown since I don't have a black), chain 2 and work 9 htr (hdc) in the second chain from hook (going through one loop of the chain only).  Join the round with a slip stitch to the very first htr (hdc).  Pull yarn all the way through stitch and, leaving a short tail, cut.

Round 2 : Tie Colour B (I used cream) to tail of Colour A and pull a loop through the same stitch (where you made a slip stitch to finish off Colour A).  Chain 1 and 1 dc (sc) in the same stitch.  Work 2 dc (sc) in the next and each remaining stitch of the round.  Join with a slip stitch to the first of the first 2 dc (sc).  Pull yarn all the way through stitch and, leaving a short tail, cut.

Round 3 : Tie Colour C to tail of Colour B and pull a loop through the same stitch (where you made a slip stitch to finish off Colour B).  Chain 1 and then work 3 tr (dc) followed by 1 dc (sc) in the same stitch.  *Skip a stitch.  Dc, 3 tr, dc (sc, 3 dc, sc) in the next stitch.*  Repeat ** to end of round.  You should have 9 petals.  Pull yarn all the way through stitch and, leaving a short tail, cut.  Thread tail of yarn through a tapestry needle and pass it through the base of the first petal, to the reverse of your flower.  Secure ends.

Leaf : Chain 12.  Slip stitch to first chain.  Chain 12.  Slip stitch to first chain.  Repeat until you have five loops.  Pull yarn all the way through stitch and fasten off.

(Clicking on these pictures should enlarge them.)

You are free to do with your finished anemones as you please.  Where applicable, a linky-poo back to me would be very much appreciated.  Thank you!

Feel free to let me know if you have any problems.

Happy hooking.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Yesterday








Sunshine,
two modest bunches of spring flowers,
a yarn delivery,
a surprise gift from a lovely friend,
a wonderful accolade from another and
a bit of faffing around trying to create a crocheted anemone for no reason whatsoever.
A good day.
A really good day.

xxx

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