Saturday, 14 January 2017


The snow has all gone. Goodbye snow! It's such a pity, I really love proper snow days when it's freshly fallen and you are the first one to make footprints in the smooth layer of white, hearing it crunch underfoot. There wasn't enough on the ground this time round for that to happen, and actually, I don't recall it being that deep for a number of years down here in the South East. I know lots of people don't like snow, especially those who have to travel in it, but I hope we get some more this year.

It did leave things clear and bright though, we could see all the way over the valley to the top of the next hill  which is usually shrouded somewhat in a mist or haze. The sun was also a rather welcome sight and was actually quite warm as long as you were in a sheltered spot out of the way of that harsh breeze.

We have a shrub in the front garden which isn't much to look at with tiny white flowers hiding behind leaves, and large black berries, but if you walk past it on a still day or in the early evening, the smell is incredible! You find yourself walking round it and sniffing to try and find the strongest point. It's a sort of sweet smell, delicate and pretty, which catches you when you least expect it.

I have enjoyed my week off, although as ever, it has flown by far too fast and I'm having visions of the mountains of paperwork I know will have built up on my desk at work. It has been a very relaxing week, with lots of stitching interspersed with crochet to help my hands, some reading, blog writing (and reading), shopping, a trip to the seaside, hanging out with The Parents and playing with the cat. (Who was also thrilled at the sunshine's return, even if it was only for a little while.)

Little green shoots are beginning to appear all over the garden, bringing hope and excitement for Spring. I can't wait to start photographing the sweet little flowers that will appear, adding colour back into the otherwise relatively bland garden.

I have been feeling a little like Rumpelstiltskin these past couple of days as I decided to turn my bag of leftover Stylecraft Special DK acrylic yarn into little squares. I did this last year as a way to use up the odds and ends of various blankets- it's amazing how much you hang on to 'just in case'- and I managed to put together a full size granny square blanket, as well as a smaller baby granny square blanket.
Do any of you know the story of Rumpelstiltskin? It is a fairytale about a girl whose father (a miller) boasted to the King that his daughter could spin straw into gold. The King was greedy and locked the girl in a tower full of straw and a spinning wheel. He demanded that she turn all of the straw into gold by morning else he would order that her head be chopped off. The girl of course was very upset as she could not actually turn straw into gold, and just as she was giving up all hope, an imp/pixie/gnome creature popped into the room and offered to spin the straw to gold for her in return for her necklace. She agrees to this and the King is delighted to see all of the gold waiting for him in the room upon his return in the morning. As he is very greedy, he takes the girl into an even bigger room with even more straw and demands the same. Again the imp/pixie/gnome creature appears and spins the straw to gold for her in return for her ring. On the third night, the girl is asked the same task, with even more straw to spin, and the King announces that if she can spin it all to gold by morning he will marry her (with the natural assumption that if she doesn't, her head still gets chopped off). When the imp/pixie/gnome creature comes to the room that night, the girl says she has nothing else to give him in return for his spinning services. The creature makes her promise to give him her first born child as payment for the straw to gold, and the King is so delighted to see the room gleaming with spun gold the following morning, that he marries the miller's daughter and makes her his Queen. Of course, eventually they have a child and the imp/pixie/gnome creature returns to take his payment. The Queen begs him to not take the child away and offers him all of the riches in the kingdom instead. The creature is not interested, although eventually agrees that if the Queen can guess his name within three days, she can keep her child. All of her guesses fail until finally, on the last night, she wanders the woods in search of the creature and happens (very luckily) upon his remote cottage in the woods. He is dancing gleefully around his fire, and singing; 'tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll go to the King's house, nobody knows my name, I'm called Rumpelstiltskin.'
When the creature comes to the house on the third and final day, the Queen pretends to have several guesses before telling him his name. Rumpelstiltskin flies into a rage but he has lost his bargain and takes himself away in a temper, leaving the Queen to keep all of her spun gold and her firstborn child.

Every blanket I make makes me feel slightly like a crocheting Rumpelstiltskin. I still find it quite astounding that someone discovered or invented crochet. The act of turning a ball of yarn, a single strand that is not good for much on its own, into a shape or a fabric, to be worn or used is amazing- magic almost.

As before, these are only little granny squares- one of the easiest and quickest things to make. There are three rounds in each square and to join them together I will probably use a single colour to work another round and the join-as-you-go method to create a blanket. There is no hurry for this one though as I am bound to have lots of yarn left over from the Moorland CAL blanket and my simple stripe one. I shall just keep filling up my bag of squares until I am ready to put them all together.

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