Mrs Grann E. S. Quare is off again

Many people think because Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland it has always been the center of power and commerce etc,. It has not always been so. When Grann learned about this she went off to explore and find the truth. (just like Miss Marple in an Agatha Christie novel). Where did she go? I hear you ask.  It was a place not to far from were we live and that is Dungannon which now has a big visitors centre and viewing tower which gives you great views of the area and shows you the remains of old buildings and the history of Dungannon.

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All did not go to plan (it never does with Grann!!). You will see in the photos all that is still left of the great buildings Just a few towers and try as she might she could not force the lock or get through the railings to get inside of whats left for a good old nosy (health and safety whats that?). It was no surprise to me that the security guards kept an eye on Grann. It is a good job that I am there to try to keep her out of trouble. In the end I had to pull Mrs Grann E.S. Quare away with the promise of tea and something to eat (always does the trick). It was a nice sunny day and we all enjoyed our visit. We did not have time to look at the museum today,  we will be back.

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The history which Grann learned on the day of our visit to Dungannon was it was the home of the Red Hand of Ulster – the walled town of Dungannon on the hill was the strong hold of the ‘O’Neill’ clan which ruled large parts of Ulster from the 13th to the late 16th century until the English gained control of Ireland, Hugh O’Neill had built a castle here but burnt it so the English couldn’t use it.

In 1602 Dungannon was captured by Lord Mountjoy and in 1603 Hugh O’Neill, The Earl of Tyrone was regranted his lands and castle. He fell out with the Crown and in September 1607 after the nine years war, fled through counties Fermanagh and Donegal for Spain hoping for support to recapture Ireland from the Protestant planters but ending up in Rome under the protection of Pope Paul V.

This was the end of the O’Neills reign in Ireland. In 1610 during the “Plantation of Ulster” Dungannon was granted to Arthur Chichester who built a new castle that was briefly seized by Phelim O’Neill in 1641 and 1646 before being rebuilt in 1689. In 1692 the site was sold to Thomas Knox (later Knox-Hannyngton) who built a “gentleman’s residence” around 1790 but was abandoned in 1856. The two towers you see today are all that remains of this building. Now this is the place Mrs Grann E.S. Quaire went to investigate. If you look on YouTube you will be able to find a program when the Time Team visited and did what they normally do.

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Now to change the subject and bring you a bit more about crocheting or should that be yarn. We (the wife and I) leaving Mrs Grann E.S. Quare at home went shopping for tiles. Did we come back with tiles? No we came back with four balls of yarn instead!! Four balls of Giga cotton four ply no less (got off lightly) to help the wife plan a new set of graphs an idea she has been thinking of for sometime (watch this space).

I should have known when she said she had come across a new wool shop in town (Love Wool in Portadown), and we can call in while we are there that we would be spending sometime in this new shop. Anyway while there and the wife was admiring all the lovely yarn one of the conversations I over heard reminded me of a previous blog I had written about the secret stash you all seem to have and I quote ” I am not buying any more yarn untill I use all the yarn under my bed” (reminds me of what my wife says on a regularly basis). Just be careful what and were you say things you never know who is listening.

Keep on crocheting, keep up the good work.

The Eyes Have It!! (The Nintendo Eyes That Is)

It used to be in times gone by (showing my age), that a release of the next big film or the latest super groups cd, would generate a lot of interest. Now it is the games that are followed by such mayhem and pandemonium.

There are adverts all over the tv for this game and that game. Most of the ads tell you to preorder the game so you are one of the first to have it and you have it before it sells out!!  The one that is causing the hype at the minute (well in our house anyway) is the latest installment of Nintendo’s new game (not a thing that excites me, but to a lot of people this is very important mainly the younger generation) Super Mario Odyssey.

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It could be that you get a bit like this when the latest cal is coming out by your favorite designer. Maybe its the latest issue of your monthly crocheting mag that gets you all excited. I do know that when the wife puts out a new series of patterns, this generates a lot of traffic onto the blog. Which is good for me when I see the numbers going up and up (as long as I do not look to close at what they are looking for).

If you have a family member (young or not) that is into Nintendo Switch, the patterns that my wife has designed could be the perfect gift that you are looking for. Of course the main character is Mario but there is another new main character Cappy, which is Mario’s hat! There are two patterns at the moment with more to come, which will all be worked into a blanket. The game has picked up some critics awards it is that good. We all know that the critics cannot wait to stick the knife into anyone or anything so it must be good. You will have to wait untill the 27th of October before it comes out and then you can join in and collect Power Moons so you can help to save Princess Peach ( if you want to).

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I have heard of games in which you have to crochet or knit a pattern which gives you a clue for the next part of the game. The pattern is written in such a way that you cannot work out what it will be until you crochet it, there has got to be a way to connect  a crocheting hook to a game console in which you have to crochet certain stitches to proceed to the next level. Now there’s a thought – virtual crocheting. That is a great idea if it is virtual then you do not need any yarn (yes I have cracked it). I must get to work on this, I will run it past the wife first (will I get away with it?). Just think of all the money, and space we would save!!! I hope you like the patterns, follow the link for the first two of nine in the Super Mario Odyssey Blanket.

Super Mario Odyssey Blanket

Here comes the 25th (Bond that is)

If you have been sleeping over the last few months you will not of heard that Daniel Craig is coming back for the 25th Bond film. Which is exciting if you think (as I do) Daniel is one of the best, if not the best Bonds ever. As all you who have read my blog before you will know all about the Bond Project and the blanket that came from it. If you are new to my blog then I would suggest you can read all about it from these links The names Bond, Project Bond     Daniel Craig is impressed (WELL ALMOST).

Right where was I, Oh yes, Bonds next film. Rumors abound about this film who, what, when? The film is supposed to follow the plot of a book not by Ian Flemming but a book called Never Dream of Dying by Raymond Benson with the working title of Shatterhand. If you need any proof that this is the case then just look how the price of this book (even used ones) has gone up and up.

This has put the wife in a bit of a predicament with the free pattern she has given away. Does she change it to fit a block into it for the new Bond film and if so what does she put into the block? Does she keep the Bond blanket new and fresh or just stop it all now? Well what would you do?

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We are currently listening to the book as an audio download, which means we can do other things like work (working from home helps with this) or crocheting. I must admit though we do have to keep going back and listening to certain bits because we were disturbed or lost concentration for a little bit. There has been one or two things that stand out, but will the film be exactly as the book?  Do we want to waste time planing and designing a new block and then find it is not in the film or it has been updated which makes the pattern of no use for this project and would it be out-of-place.

The question is does any one out there know? Has anyone an idea? Oh to be in the know.  The wife is designing, moving things around and making plans for crocheting another revamped Bond blanket but all that could change so watch this space.

As always make this world a better place by keep going on with the crocheting.

May you basket or container be always full of yarn.

Bond finished 1 (2)

Do you have your own tartan?

When you think of tartan what does it bring to mind?  Long lost ancestors, Scottish warriors, kilts or a certain name like Anderson, MacDonald or MacGregor clans? Or maybe it’s people, highlanders like Rob Roy, Robert the Bruce or William Wallace or films like Brave Heart? To you is it just something that was from a long time ago. However it is still relevent today. Lots of people get married in it (a kilt that is). Tartan is used by lots of designers today. Something that’s never seems to go out of fashion. Tartan kilts are recognised all over the world. They are worn by members of pipe bands, as regimental dress etc,. It could be that you think of it as something that the upper class wear. Which is surprising when it was first used by farmers and those who worked the land, a cloth and garment that was quick and simple to make and wear.

Does your family or yourself have your own tartan? One that is only in your name? The closest I came to my own tartan was the day before my wedding the last day at work where I was forced to wear a kilt all day. They are surprising warm. Did I do go the full way when I wore it? What can I say a gentleman never tells.

Ste in tartan

Last day of freedom

My wife’s family have their own tartan. There is a free pattern at the end of this blog. (I know you all love a free pattern).

anderson tartan

I bet the last thing you would think of when you think of tartan is a shopping bag!!! It could be you do think things like that are made in tartan or something else perhaps. The thing is how do you make something by crocheting that was originally made by weavers? To some this would be a problem, to the wife just another challenge. Off she goes searching her books and the internet for ideas and inspiration. The first method she tries, well I would describe it as crocheting small strips in different colours and inter weaving them together something quite difficult and time-consuming . After a while it was back to the drawing board. After some time she comes up with her own pattern and hay presto she is off. A tweak here and a tweak their and a few days work you have the free pattern you can get today. As always keep up the good work, keep on crocheting.

Anderson Tartan Covered Jute Bag (medium size)

Anderson tartan bag

The return of the blanket thief

As most, if not all of you know about the Art Nouveau project and all the cushions that came from it. I must say it has taken quite a long time for my wife to make the patterns and crochet them all. During all this time Ginger the dog (aka the blanket thief) had shown no interest at all in what was being crocheted. Not once had Ginger bothered with the panels that were being made into cushions, and there were lots. eighteen to be precise, nine fronts and nine backs. The dog seemed to know there was no blanket here. Now do not get me wrong, Ginger likes cushions if they are not in the right place (as far as she is concerned) she will move them by scratching and kicking them until she gets them just as Ginger wants them. This can mean one or all of them landing on the floor, with her standing with the “what a good girl I am” look on her face. Ginger also rearranges the rugs to suit her, in other words in to a big pile or mess!!

After reading that you can see that no interest being shown in the Art Nouveau project what so ever is strange. After all the blocks and cushions had been done the next stage was to do the joining strips for the blanket, then block them all. Still Ginger shows no interest, because as far as she is concerned there is nothing to interest Ginger there. Then came the final stage of the blanket, putting it all together.

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Wait a minuet, I SAID WAIT A MINUET. Immediately there is movement from Ginger, no interest has turned into a desire or an obsession to claim the blanket for herself!!  Yes just after two of the blocks had been joined together she knew it was going to be a blanket. All of a sudden Ginger became the wifes best friend, only leaving her side for food, water and walks. At first she is a bit annoyed she cannot lie on it. Day after day Ginger sits at my wifes feet waiting and watching for the blanket to be finished. When the wife gets on the second row Ginger cannot sit on it but she has realised if she stands on all fours she can reach the Art Nouveau blanket with her tail and she wags and wags with all her might. Ginger what are you doing? She tries to look as innocent as she can. As the blanket gets bigger and bigger more and more she tries to clams it. This time the wife is determined not to let Ginger claim the Art Nouveau blanket. The blanket is kept off the floor as much as possible, every time the blanket drops down then Ginger is on it like a shot. When that happens she is sent packing. After the blanket is finished it is very hard to keep her off it especially when the photos are being taken hence the photo with Ginger posing on it. You will be glad to know the Art Nouveau blanket is packed away safe and sound away from the blanket thief!!  Although the wife wants to put it back on the bed as she loves it on the bed – even though that means we will never see Ginger as she will claim the bed as her new resting place, a well the things you do for the ones you love – the two legged and 4 legged loves. Till next time happy crocheting.

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Art Nouveau Project

Art Nouveau

What type of picture or scene does Art Nouveau make in your mind’s eye? Do you think of a certain time or person or image? It takes you back to an era between 1890 and 1910 (some say it was at an end by 1905). Art nouveau came from a saying that ment “house of new art”. It was a reaction to the academic art of that time. It took its inspiration from the lines and formes in plants and flowers. The movement started in Britain and came out of the arts and crafts movement. The first thing I thought of when the wife said she was doing an Art Nouveau project was curves. Natural curves found in nature with a free-flowing movement. What names spring to mind? William Morris, Philip Webb, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, to name but a few. There designs are still sought after today over a hundred years later. It would be good to have a piece or two for a rainy day.

Art Nouveau blanket outside

Well it is one thing to be inspired by nature it is another to design something from it. Which these men and woman seemed to do with ease. Now to the Art Nouveau Project. I can say with certainly that there has been a lot of planning put in to this project. First things first, what is the topic of the project, then the designing of it. Hours and hours of research. Then lots of drawing etc,. What colours? Then of course the order for the wool!! Two boxes this time, with the wife insisting she did need that much for this project. Turning the drawings into patterns next. Can you do that? Are you good at doing your own patterns? It baffles me! Next the crocheting followed by the blocking (that’s where I come in). I must say there were one or two tricky ones this time (with a little patience and determination they were soon sorted. Last but not least putting it all together.

I know there are people who have already started some of the designs as cushions. the patterns are written as single cushions or all the graphs can be got in one pattern for the blanket  which you can make in to cushions (using your pattern for the back of the cushion). Links to patterns is Art Nouveau Project

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Now I know that we give a lot of patterns for free, but not this time. Mainly because of all the work that has gone into it. I am sure you can appreciate that. I must say that the end product looks amazing, but to celebrate the finishing of the Art Nouveau project the wife is running a competition and 3 lucky winners will be sent the pdf for the blanket.  All you have to do is follow a hookerswidower blog, follow the wife’s facebook page 2nd Bench Along and share her post about the competition on her facebook page.

Just one more question to ask, how long will it be before I am called into action again.

Canada’s Birthday (and Rachel’s too)

This weekend Mrs Grann E. S. Quare is helping to celebrate two birthdays. The first one is in our home the 21st birthday of our daughter Rachel. Yes the banners are up!! So that every one knows that Rachel is 21. Like most of us at that age she is a little embarrassed, but likes the fact that we care and remembered. We will be out later with family and friends to make a fuss of Rachel. I am sure Mrs Grann E. S Quare will be in the middle of it.

Rachel Ballydougan Mrs G S Quare

To think that twenty-one years age my wife gave birth to our wonderful daughter. Where has all the time gone? What were you doing twenty-one years ago? Were you even born then? Lots of thing have changed in those years. I have not got any taller, but I have got a little bigger around the middle. I also know that a lot of you out there have been crocheting for all those years. Go on tell us how long have you been crocheting? Do you still have the first thing you crocheted? Do you remember what you crocheted? Was it a granny square? Most people start there, or are you a bit different and started with something else. As for Grann she was in the thick of the action at the meal for the birthday girl!! Grann enjoyed her meal of roast chicken breast on a bed of mashed potatoes with seasonal veg and thick onion gravy (left nothing). Followed by the birthday cake , not a small piece but a great big chocolate fudge cake. We ordered a cake for ten, but after everyone got a piece (served with ice-cream) there was enough for about twenty more servings. What are we going to do with it??

Cake Mrs G S Quare

Then it was on to opening the presents, which of course Grann was in the middle of (you would think it was her birthday). I forgot to mention the fact that the owner of the restaurant sang happy birthday to Rachel the birthday girl. This did embarrass her a little (but that is what parents are supposed to do right?).

Pandora Mrs G S Quare

The second is the 150th birthday of Canada. 1st July is Canada Day, the national day of Canada, celebrating the anniversary of the British North America Act, an important step on the road to Canada as we know it today. This year marks the 150th anniversary, If you’re wondering why we should celebrate Canada then just imagine what your life would be like without the likes of Shania Twain, William Shatner, Pamela Anderson and, erm, Justin Bieber…According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, Canada is the 7th happiest country in the world. Canada has the most doughnut shops in the world per capita. Maybe this is why they are so happy? Over 200,000 pancakes are served during the Calgary Stampede. Perfect to go with all of the pure Canadian maple syrup, after all, Quebec is the top producer of maple syrup in the world. Did you know that? Mrs Grann E.S. Quare has visited Canada a few years ago now and loved it. Well I think that is enough of Grann’s adventures for now. there will be more on another blog (if you want it). Keep on crocheting.

Canada Day Mrs G S Quares