Illuminated Crochet Hook Review

I was moseying around the internet the other day, when I stumbled across something intriguing. An illuminated crochet hook. How wonderful is that?! I ordered one because of my propensity for nocturnal crochet/knitting whilst various members of my household (the toddler twinnage, mostly) snore beside me in the bed. So I thought I’d do a product review, in case you too are tempted by the concept.

So, introducing the Crochet Lite illuminated crochet hook, in this case supposedly a 4.5mm, although more on the sizing issue, later. Here’s the chappie:-

hook collage a

Reasonably cool, no? I paid £5.99 (plus postage) at WoolWarehouse. Now, I can’t offer you any slow, thoughtful ‘unboxing’ (Ugh! When did that become a word?) videos on YouTube, because when the parcel plopped through the letterbox, I shredded its packing within nanoseconds, to get to the treat within. Sorry. So unless you wish to see a photo of cardboard carnage, I have nothing to offer on that front. Folks who produce unboxing videos are patient sorts.

Anyway, having done that, I realized that there was not a lot I could achieve with the hook, because it was broad daylight. Duh.

Enter night-time, stage left. Witness night-time sniffing, scratching, and settling itself down.

image

So then, it was late. I was sitting up in bed in the dark with yarn and hook. The toddler twinnage snored outrageously beside me. The stoic spouse was up in the tower strumming his guitar, busy expanding his repertoire of chords from six to seven. (I’m not mocking: he’s been doggedly practising every single night for weeks, and some nights he practises his French, too. I deeply respect him for this, but please don’t let him know that I said something nice about him.)

All was well. I switched on the hook.

image

Wowsers! That’s properly bright! The light gives the impression of coming from two places – the tip of the hook and its base. It’s plenty bright enough for nocturnal hooking, and it’s plenty bright enough to read a pattern. In fact it stayed bright for a couple of hours before dimming to a slightly calmer level. (Yes, a couple of hours. Sleep? What is this ‘sleep’ concept of which you speak?)

There are some things that I should tell you about this hook. It’s comfortable to hold for long periods. If feels light and well-shaped. The tip is smooth but not especially sharp. And wow, you really can crochet in the dead of night, although you might struggle if you were working on an exceptionally complex lacy design, unless you’ve got another source of light as well.

However, working in the pitch black, crocheting at speed, you get some seriously distracting flickering, as the tip of the hook dashes in and out of your fabric. This is quite annoying, and I think it will be the biggest factor that will stop this hook from becoming my new favourite-gadget-in-the-whole-world. (I should stress that it’s not the light itself that’s flickering, purely the fact that you’re working it in and out and in and out of your crochet.)

By the way, check your gauge when working with these hooks. My 4.5mm hook seemed about the right size, but online reviewers often suggest that the larger hooks in the Crochet Lite range are over-sized.

A lot of people use these hooks to work in dim (but not fully dark) conditions, especially when they’re working with dark-coloured yarn. I tried this too and yes, it is probably better suited for these conditions than it is for my secret midnight hooking. The Crochet Lite is not just a gimmick: it clearly has been thoughtfully designed as a useful tool, and the construction feels solid enough. But it’s definitely best suited to low light, rather than no light. Enjoy.

PS: Apparently, you can buy illuminated knitting needles, too, but I’m convinced they’d be requisitioned by the toddler twinnage for fencing contests. Also, even though I’ve never seen Star Wars, I realize that they’d be just a little too much like lightsabers. Possibly the Jedi like to knit on their days off. (Do Jedi get days off? I had to look up lightsaber on Wikipedia to even find out what sort of characters use them. That’s how little I know. If you came here in search of the Star Wars Aficionado blog, you’ve taken a massive wrong turn. Sorry.)

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Blocking Your Knitting

Right. Before we begin, I just wanted to say that the (signed) Arne and Carlos giveaway is coming soon! As is a post about some rather gorgeously talented fellow bloggers and their amazing work.

Meanwhile…

Progress on the knitted mandala picture continues at a pace so slow that I was recently overtaken by a glacier whilst knitting.

Having cut the steek to transform the mandala from a knitted-in-the-round tube to a flat piece, I decided to wash and block it, in order to enhance its flatness and to even out all those wibbly-wobbly stitches and small variations in tension caused by knitting whilst being climbed by the toddler twinnage, as well as by my general incompetence.

But pre-steeking, I did something that I didn’t tell you about in my last post. I, err, tried it on, so to speak. Thing is, when it was still a tube, it started looking rather like some of my dresses. Yeah, I’d need to sort out top and bottom if I was actually going to wear it, and it is a tad wide, but still. I like it asymmetrical, like this:-

mandala dress

I don’t knit many clothes these days because this blog is an insatiable beast that needs frequent feeding with knitted homewares, but sometimes I’d like to pause and make clothes, so it was briefly tempting to finish the mandala picture for wearing rather than putting on the wall.

Anyways, back to the wash-and-block. I use the word ‘wash’ lightly, because it was actually a very hasty agitation in soapy cold water with a Dylon Colour Catcher, because I was terrified of all that luscious Fyberspates green dye seeping into the plain cream yarn. Witness:-

Washing. Quickly.

Washing. Quickly.

Then I wrapped it in a towel (a very, very ugly towel), and patted gently to get the worst of the water out. Finally, I pinned it out on some old towels stretched over polystyrene blocks. It spent a day on one side, catching the rays:-

image

Then flipped over for a day on its reverse (look at all those ends I need to weave in – I’m in denial about those).

image

And then it was dry, and beautiful, and much smoother and more even than pre-blocking.

Post-blocking

Post-blocking

image

Now for the gold embroidery. And the weaving in of ends. The fun starts here. :-)

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Tutorial: How To Steek

Steeking (aka setting your knitting up to be cut, in order to turn a knitted-in-the-round piece into a flat piece, for example to open up the front of a cardigan) tends to scare otherwise bold and courageous people. It feels vaguely wrong to take a pair of scissors to your knitting.

Cutting the steek. Can you hear those stitches screaming?!

Cutting the steek. Can you hear those stitches screaming?!

Really, it shouldn’t. Honestly. It used to scare me, until I tried it a few times, at which point I thought, “Is that all?” The secret is this: *whispers* Knitting doesn’t especially mind being cut vertically. (Cut horizontally, and you’d be in a for a whole hairy heap of horror, though.) There’s a wealth of advice out there in the blogosphere, some of it wonderfully detailed and advanced and immaculately illustrated. I’m not even going to try and replicate that, but I will try to condense it. Dis is da basics, no? Steeking 101. Steeking for people who are too busy/impatient to be world experts. Steeking for dummies… like me.

Why Steek?

Fair question: I see that you are a knitter of uncommon perspicacity. A steek is a set of extra ‘bridging’ stitches added in addition to the pattern in a piece of in-the-round knitting, in order to reinforce and cut those stitches to produce a flat piece of knitting. Why would you do that? Well usually, it’s used in colourwork, ie fairisle/stranded knitting, as in the picture above. If you’ve ever tried purling stranded work, you’ll understand why sticking exclusively to knit stitch in the round is vastly preferable. Purling in stranded/fairisle work is poo. Don’t do it. Just don’t. It will visibly age you, which would be a dreadful shame because you look perfectly lovely just the way you are.

How To Steek

Ah, now you’re talking. There are a few basics that you need to know. Let’s award them each a neat, round, inky-black bullet point:-

  • What yarn are you using? No, I’m not just being nosy. Actually, I am. The more that a yarn will felt, the more suitable it is for steeking. So a nice Shetland pure wool will work perfectly and maybe not even need any reinforcing stitches. It’s no coincidence that it’s fairisle knitting that’s best associated with steeking. Animal fibres are (generally) good, though anything superwash is not. Artificial fibres ain’t great for this technique. The more slippery the yarn, the more unsuitable it is. I guess that nothing is absolutely ruled out, but you’re going to have to think long and hard about how much reinforcement your stitches will need if you’re using an ultra-smooth synthetic or cotton yarn. Sorry. You may wish to consider superglue… *joking*

 

  • Extra stitches. Listen up, people. Stop fiddling with your phone, and pay attention, because this is important. The steek comprises some extra stitches that are added for the express purpose of sewing the outer ones in order to secure them, then cutting down the middle. You don’t need many stitches to achieve this: in fact, the fewer stitches there are between seam and cut, the less there is to unravel. But try telling that to a newbie such as me in the (old) example photographed above. I thought more stitches meant more security, so I added eight. In pure wool knitting. Not really necessary, (though more stitches may be helpful in slightly less feltable yarns). Anyway, let’s move on. Steeking is typically used in stranded/fairisle work, and in such cases, I recommend knitting a ‘chequerboard’ pattern for the steeking bridge, as you can see in the photo above. This makes it easy to ‘catch’ everything in your steeking stitches, and also makes it nice and obvious where the bridging stitches are. You can steek with just one yarn, though, as I’ve done for my knitted picture of a mandala.

 

  • Sewing. So, you need to reinforce what will be your two edges before you cut down the middle. There are various ways of doing this. I’ll briefly mention two, before telling you in detail about how I do it:-
    • Crochet-chaining your edges. Google it, if you’re tempted. This method very neatly holds in the cut edges.
    • Machine-sewing beside where you’ll cut. Quick and easy, but watch that you don’t accidentally catch your floats in the machine mechanism. And you risk not catching every thread, because you don’t have exact control over where every stitch lands. (But I’d quite like to use this method, because I’ve got my great great grandmother’s 1895 Singer sitting, rarely-used, in the cupboard upstairs.)
    • My own personal favourite, hand-sewing the edges, because you can see exactly where every stitch lands. Here’s how. Let’s assume we’ve got a lovely fetching brown-and-blue piece of stranded work in progress. No need to adjust your sets, people, but you may wish to fetch your sunglasses in from the car. See the picture below. I’ve chequerboarded the bridge stitches that are to form the steek. In the picture, the cut will (later) be made along the dark red central line. There are two columns of stitches on each side of the cut. This is especially important in colourwork, where you want to catch both colours. (Am I making sense yet?) The black lines in this picture are where I’d sew, catching the two colours by sewing a half of adjacent stitches. (Don’t you love that knit stitches are like little hearts? I once sewed the occasional red stitch into a stranded skirt, and people said, ‘Oh that’s lovely that you’ve knitted hearts into your design’. But I digress – not for the first time, and not even remotely the last.)

Where to sew; where to cut.

Where to sew; where to cut.

For sewing, use a yarn of the same constitution as the knitting (100% wool, for example), though it can be thinner than the yarn with which you knitted. Now, there’s a special way of sewing this. It’s called backstitch. I’ve tried to illustrate it below. In this example, you’d insert the needle in row 2, then bring it out again in row 1, insert it in row 3, bring it out again in row 2, insert in row 4, bring it out in row 3, etc. Make sure you’re using a nice sharp needle, because you want to pierce through the middle of each thread. So stitches on every row will be pierced. Twice. Ha! That’ll learn ‘em.

Back-stitch

Back-stitch

Here’s the process of sewing the steek on my knitted mandala picture. The stitch markers are just to remind me of where I’m working:-

Sewing the steek

Sewing the steek

  • Cutting! Simply (yes, simply) cut up the centre of the steek. A few words of warning: the first time you do this, you won’t dare take a breath for the entire time you’re cutting, which could prove problematic if you’re steeking something as large as a blanket – do please try not to lose consciousness through hypoxia. You may or may not be well fortified with gin. And when you’ve finished, it will astound you that your knitting doesn’t immediately disintegrate into a pitiful pile of fluff. The second time you steek, you will approach the matter with calm concentration. And by the third time you steek, you’ll hack away distractedly at your stitches whilst yabbering to your best friend about the price of baked beans.

It really is that simple. So here I am, cutting the mandala picture:-

Eek! Cutting the steek!

Eek! Cutting the steek!

And then the thing can finally lay flat, prior to blocking and then embroidering with gold:-

Mandala pre-embroidery

Mandala pre-embroidery

Naturally, we need a shot with the star of this bloggy show, ie stork scissors, as usual:-

image

And that, my friends, is all. It’s that simple. :-)

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Knitting Arne and Carlos

Oops, that was an especially ginormous gap.

I have been here, at the brewery. And sometimes I’ve been knitting, but also I’ve been painting the living room (photies soon) and doing all sorts of other bits and pieces that sadly didn’t involve yarn, such as doing final final edits on my MPhil in novel-writing degree coursework at three in the morning, and trying to remove rampant ivy (so dense that birds are nesting in it) from our tower, and digging the allotment, and seeing lots of patients at work, and watering the hanging baskets, and trying without success to persuade the toddler twinnage that they don’t really want to spend their entire lives in nappies.

And there’s been a bit of an irresistible distraction from the knitted mandala picture, which arrived courtesy of the Deramores Blog Awards. I am a very naughty knitter. I should have been finishing this, because it’s so nearly done and ready to steek, and embroider with gold thread:-

knitted mandala picture

But instead, yet another bit of the prize arrived, in the form of a little pile of signed Arne and Carlos books. Looooooooooook! I love them as colourful style manuals, as much as anything. I love the garden one in particular. I love the fact that they knit and crochet. I love the fact that they’re fearless around strong colours, and quirky in their creativity. I love the fact that they’re Scandinavian, having spent much happy time in my youth mooching around Norway and Finland.

Arne and Carlos books

Look! They’re all signed!

signed Arne and Carlos

Would you have got anything useful done the day something like this arrived in the post?? Well, would you? I thinketh not. So I had to cast on a blanket. It’s such a clever idea. You alternate two colours, two rows each, then as soon as one runs out you introduce another, and so on. So simple, no? Yet so perfect. Here’s the idea:-

Arne and Carlos striped blanket

Arne and Carlos striped blanket

And here’s my version so far:-

my Arne and Carlos blanket

So that’s why I’ve been quiet. Sorry. But I’ll be noisy, now. You won’t be able to shut me up. Consider y’self warned.

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Very Little Knitting

And…………………………………………………………… hello.

This transmission of knitting/crochet/outdoorsy trivia was briefly interrupted by an icky vomiting bug. I haven’t knitted for several days. This is unprecedented. It’s odd, and it’s most definitely quite wrong. Please don’t try this at home, people.

(And sorry that I haven’t responded to your blogs, either. I’ve missed reading y’all, and will try to catch up over the next few days.)

But I have been thinking about knitting. And following all your sage advice on embellishing the knitted picture of a mandala, I’ve bought some thicker gold thread. I’ve also bought some gold beads, but the Stoic Spouse’s stoicism doesn’t extend to beads, so I fear that this blighter is only going to be displayed in the living room if I forgo the beads. Insert a sad face here, a very very sad face. My next husband is most definitely going to be someone who likes beads – my mind is fully made up on this matter, and shall not be swayed. :-) Anyway, here’s the gilded haul:-

Gold

Gold

I thought I’d share a few moments from the past week with you – just not those moments when I was emptying my ailing guts into a bucket.

Talking of things in a bucket, here is a fish.

Grumpy Fish Remains Grumpy

Grumpy Fish Remains Grumpy

I was with many members of my extended family for a happy weekend. Beside a shallow, rocky stream we bought fishing nets and began dipping. The children loved it. We started catching these cuties using the nets, but after a while figured out that it was easier to sneak up on them from behind and catch them in our hands. (And yes, we did put them back very shortly afterwards. Just how barbaric do you think the ‘Yarn clan is?)

And here was some anxious ice cream. No, we didn’t eat any.

anxious ice cream

Anxious Ice Cream

And some rural loveliness from a walk in the hills.

Bracken against sky

I was going to find a lovely shot of converging curls of bracken tips against the sunny sky. But my family seemed to be under the impression that the purpose of going for a walk was to actually walk. See how disturbed they are? Truly, ’tis a miracle that I’ve turned out as well-adjusted as I have. So I snatched this hasty shot instead.

Contrast.

Contrast.

Anyway, it was a fun few days away with family, staying in a rented house whose decorative touches included this:-

Let There Be Light. And Some Fancy Plasterwork.

Let There Be Light. And Some Fancy Plasterwork.

Back home, I watched terrapins sun themselves in the Thames. Not what you might’ve expected round here:-

terrapins in the Thames

terrapins in the Thames

And at home, my grape vine has arrived. Whee! OK so this is a converted a brewery, so I should really be growing hops, but I’m more of a wine-drinker. Chateau – er – Brewery will be ready in a few years’ time. Cheers!

Grape Vine

Grape Vine

 

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The Pig-Who-Says-Woof

Thank you for all your comments about which embroidery method to use on the knitted mandala. The balance of opinion seems to be with outlining the green, so I’ll go with that. :-)

Anyway, it’s been bothering me, ever since a recent outdoorsy blog post. Merely mentioning The Pig Who Says Woof wasn’t enough, was it? You need audiovisual proof, don’t you, you discerning critics of animal weirdness? So the Toddler Twinnage and I returned to the donkey sanctuary, this time accompanied by the Stoic Spouse. We stroked some donkeys, and the Stoic Spouse was followed with unnerving devotion by the attention-seeking goat, an animal that showed such intense longing for my husband that I was forced, ultimately, to take her aside and read her the riot act about how there are only two of us in this marriage, thank you very much:-

The Attention-Seeking Goat seeks attention

The Attention-Seeking Goat seeks attention

Still she trailed after the Stoic Spouse, nuzzling his knees with wide-eyed yearning as often as he’d permit. Which was alarmingly often.

Anyway, there is good news and there is bad, regarding the Pig Who Says Woof:-

The Pig Who Says Woof

The Pig Who Says Woof

The good news is that I have video footage of this phenomenon. :-)

The bad news is that I can’t upload video to this blog at present. :-( So here’s a compromise: I’ve put the vid on this blog’s Facebook page (thetwistedyarn, if you’re looking for it). Please go look! :-) YOU’LL HAVE TO SCROLL DOWN ABOUT 4 POSTS ON THE FACEBOOK PAGE TO FIND IT, BUT IT’S THERE, I PROMISE.

With sincere apologies to those who care passionately about animals being bonkers, but who don’t frequent Facebook. I understand your pain. I appreciate that your unrequited yearning is akin to Attention-Seeking Goat’s lust for the Stoic Spouse’s knees. Or something. And I can offer you only this: SORRY.

Right, wasn’t I supposed to be getting on with some knitting?

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Watchin’ The Swatchin’

Yay! The swatch-of-randomness for the knitted mandala picture survived its experimental wash-and-block! (Bet you’ve been on the edge of your seats about that one. ;-) ) So. It IS possible to wash-and-block a mixture of rich, inky Fyberspates green, with an innocent little Wendy 5-ply cream. Looooooooook!

swatch

swatch

Admittedly, the washing was brief and minimal and in cold water, with a Dylon ‘colour-catcher’ as a precaution. But there didn’t seem to be any dye on the colour-catcher at the end, so maybe I didn’t need it. So, when the mandala is done and the toddler twinnage fling tomato sauce at it it’ll be possible to wash-and-block, in order to even out the stitches of my uneven knitwork.

Now, onwards.

The plan, as we’ve discussed before (have I mentioned how much I love chattering to people on here?) is to embellish the finished mandala picture with a smattering of gold thread. I’m just trying to think how best to do this. The thread I’ve got is probably too fine. In the sample below, I’ve played around with outlining a stitched area, and with over-sewing columns of stitches. Not sure which – if either – works? Any thoughts, please, people? But I definitely need some thicker gold thread, because I had to go over each area many, many times to achieve even this effect. And when you consider that the finished mandala will contain approximately 50 000 knit stitches, you’ll understand why I need to find a slightly more efficient embroidery technique…

embroidered knitting

embroidered knitting

Now, on with the knitting…….

mandala again

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Mostly Outdoors

This summer, the toddler twinnage and I are spending lots of happy time (and a fair ol’ portion of grumpy grizzly Mummy-I-Want-To-Go-Home-NOWWWWWW time) outdoors. Much of this hasn’t been compatible with knitting/crochet, but the toddler twinnage seem to be under the impression that I should actively parent them. So we’ve been to say hello to the rescue donkeys (where we met a pig who, rather confusingly, kept saying ‘woof’)…

Rescued Donkeys :-)

Rescued Donkeys :-)

…and I knitted my way to a music festival…

Knitted Mandala On Tour

Knitted Mandala On Tour

…where we met a talking meerkat riding a camel…

talking meerkat atop a camel

talking meerkat atop a camel

…and deep in the west Berkshire countryside, we listened to the ripping and chomping of a line of cattle systematically munching their way across a field…

Mooooooooo

Mooooooooo

…and back home, I discovered hazelnuts growing in the garden…

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts

…and I lifted the first crop of potatoes, with the help of the toddler twinnage who have been trained to shout ‘SPUD’ whenever they see lurking vegetable-matter amongst the earth…

Home-Grown Potatoes

Home-Grown Potatoes

…and despite disliking both pink and roses, I grudgingly admired some pink roses in our garden…

A pink rose. So wrong on two counts, but quite pretty.

A pink rose. So wrong on two counts, but quite pretty.

…Oh, and remembering that we live in a brewery, the stoic spouse has bought a beer barrel with which to capture rain water…

Beer Barrel Water Butt

Beer Barrel Water Butt

…and we’ve visited my favourite grumpy statue, who is clearly Not Having A Good Day…

Grumpy Statue

Grumpy Statue

…and we watched terrapins sun themselves on the back of a hippo sculpture…

Terrapins On A Hippo. As You Do.

Terrapins On A Hippo. As You Do.

…and we talked to huge fish, who were much too misanthropic to reply…

Big Fish Knows He's Cool

Big Fish Knows He’s Cool

…and do you remember the near-submerged statue I photographed when we were flooded up to our eyeballs here in Oxfordshire? (See quite far down the blog post.) Well now she’s re-emerged from the water, and a cheeky coot has made a nest on her. Can you see her sitting smugly atop her twiggy nest?

Coot Nesting On The Lady Of The Lake

Coot Nesting On The Lady Of The Lake

Coots are the squat, mindless little thugs of the river world. They paddle about, picking raucous fights for no reason, whilst the vastly more dignified great crested grebes glide disdainfully past. (Can you tell that I miss living on the banks of the river?)

Oh! Hang on! This is supposed to be a knitting/crochet blog, isn’t it?!

So… the knitted mandala grows stitch by stitch. 35 000 stitches down, 15 000 to go. When I’m done, I’ll need to wash and block this blighter, but I’m a tiny bit scared that the luscious Fyberspates green is so very rich and dark and inky that it’ll inflict all manner of colour-run horror on the innocent cream Wendy 5-ply. So I’ve swatched a random pattern, and I’m about to wash it with the added precaution of a ‘Colour Catcher’ sheet. Results (for example, me weeping) next post…

Swatch

Swatch

 

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Happy Cherries

Cherries are a happy fruit.

I’ve blogged before about how our little Oxfordshire village was once the centre of the cherry-growing world. How many hundreds of years back our cherry heritage goes depends on which direction Google takes you, but I’ve seen mention of the 1500s, which is at least mildly impressive. There are stories of professional bird-scarers starting their work at 5am during the fruiting season. Frankly, that sounds like a job I could do, other than the getting-up-early bit. I’d quite enjoy leaping around a cherry orchard shouting wildly at the birds.

Sadly, precious few cherries are grown commercially round here any more, but we still have plenty of remnants of that once-munchable industry. First, the poplar windbreaks that these days enclose sheep and cattle, but which once sheltered precious orchards:-

Poplar Windbreaks

Poplar Windbreaks

And the historic Cherry Barns, that are now a commercial premises. And if you wander the many paths around the village, you’ll find remaining cherry trees in hedgerows and verges, currently laden with swelling fruit. Why have the birds not stolen those unprotected beauties?

Cherries! Cherries! Cherries!

Cherries! Cherries! Cherries!

In the pub across the road from our home, there’s a picture from the 1950s of cherry pickers in the village. My photo of it is slightly rubbish, but I felt like an idiot hovering next to the bar taking pictures of the wall, so I had to hurry:-

1950s Local Cherry Pickers

1950s Local Cherry Pickers

Of course, this is a knitting and crochet blog, so I started thinking about making cherries, and YES!, my book of knitted/crochet flowers* has a cherry pattern. Here’s what I’ve made thus far:-

Knitted Cherries

Knitted Cherries

And in the spirit of yarn-bombing, I’ve hung it on the front door in honour of the Cherry Season. True locals will understand the sentiment:-

Knitted Cherries

Knitted Cherries

There is one cherry orchard still very much in production locally, so I took the Toddler Twinnage to buy some of their produce:-

Cherries! Cherries! Cherries!

Cherries! Cherries! Cherries!

They’re dark and fat and luscious. You’re welcome to share them, but you’ll have to hurry, because their further survival is likely to be measureable only in minutes.

Now, before I finish, I do feel that I should mention the Storky Scissors. Because to be very grudgingly, belligerently fair, they do seem to get a disproportionate amount of attention and admiration on this blog. But I’m Not Jealous At All. Nooooo. We haven’t had a photo of them yet in this post, have we? OK, here they are:-

The Storky Scissors

The Storky Scissors

(Want to know about the background in this picture? It’s a miniature and surprisingly fluffy replica of the rug that covered Freud’s consulting couch after he moved to London. Little-known and slightly weird fact: you can buy pictures of Freud’s couch naked, with its adorning rug removed. That’s a bit weird, even for me. Anyway, that’s what you get for having a psychologist write the blog post you’re reading.)

* 100 Flowers To Knit And Crochet, by Lesley Stanfield.

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Summer flowers

So, you’ll maybe remember that in spring, I made a few collages of seasonal flowers in a rainbow pattern, here and here. T’was fun. Well, the season has marched on, as is its wont. And now we have summer flowers, with green ones even harder to find. Fortunately my lovely, horticulturally-talented neighbour has some green flowers to complete my montage. Witness:-

Summer Flower Montage

Summer Flower Montage

Whilst I’m florally rambling like a wisteria on an ancient thatched cottage, let me tell you about the hollyhocks. I mention them now because in our Oxfordshire village in July, I sometimes fear that there’s a by-law compelling the growing of hollyhocks, which I’m clearly violating. Am I the only person who doesn’t grow them? I must get some.

Once, last year, we were relaxing in a pub garden beside the road in another Oxfordshire village. Suddenly, one of the Stoic Spouse’s colleagues screeched to a halt in her car beside us, with an alarming manic glint in her eye. Apparently she was circling the neighbourhood looking for hollyhocks from which to steal the seeds: people take their hollyhocks seriously round here. Right, some pictures, yes?

hollyhock 1

hollyhock 1

Hollyhock 2, photobombed by toddler twinnage

Hollyhock 2, photobombed by toddler twinnage

And finally….

Hollyhocks 3, just to prove that they come in all colours.

Hollyhocks 3, just to prove that they come in all colours.

They are pretty, but oh so brief.

Right, back to the knitted mandala.

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