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A BOX WITH MY NAME ON IT!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL.

Yes it is that time of year (how can you miss it with all the perfume ads). Looking back on last year and what I wrote, I knew the blog had to be written a different way so hence the title. This is a great time of year giving lots of people time to reflect on the year gone by and the things which are important (not just crochet and related subjects). To some it is family to others a time of rest or a time to give thanks. What do you like about this time of year? It also means more time to crochet. Also time to plan for all the crochet  projects (and yarn required) for next year.

Finished Star

Back to the title!! I am ready to admit that like most (but not all) men, I am terrible at getting the present for the wife right. I must admit I do have my moments (now and then). This year we have decided to do it different. (For all those guys who get it wrong take note). I was informed by the wife that there was a box sitting at the back of the counter of love wool NI (the wifes favorite yarn shop in are local town) with my name on it!  Filled with yarn, a pattern and a project to do over Christmas (she is insisting she has nothing new to do). All I have to do is take my wallet and pay for it. That sounds good to me because it means the wife gets what she wants and I get it right this year (which is always good). This is a good way to take some of the stress out of Christmas.

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A few other things to mention, you can now buy the wife’s paid patterns via the blog, which will save you looking for them on other sites. If you buy a pattern from the blog  we will send it to you via your email and until the 31st of this month you get 25% off them (if bought from the blog). We hope to be bringing other things to the blog, more on that next blog.

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Which just leaves me time to say a big THANK YOU for all your support and to wish you a Happy Christmas, hoping your other half gets it right. If not show them this and get a box with their name on it.

Reindeer 5

The Museum of Crochet

Thinking as you do about crocheting (as you are never to far from another projet), the question came to me is there a museum of crocheting?  Apparently there is in the USA near San Francisco. It is a small trailer not big enough to swing a cat in (not that I would). It is run by Shari Elf who does not crochet but wants to learn how to. It is mainly full of crocheted cats and dogs.

Crochet Museum

Is there anything you have crocheted that you would exhibit? It could be that you have lots of finished projects that would be good enough to show, others of you have things that could be exhibited but you do not think they are that good (they probably are you know).

If  I was to set a museum of crochet up it would have to be a big place with lots of rooms and plenty of space. (It could maybe be virtual that way you would need only a little room.) You would have to have a room for the history of crocheting. It is said to have started in the early 19th century. The first known printed pattern was in 1924 in a magazine in Amsterdam , before that they printed plates for people to follow. Crocheting was formerly known as shepherd’s knitting. It was just passed down from family member to family member or from friend to friend (I bet you all still do that today). We could talk about the fact that Queen Victoria sparked off a trend of crocheting as it was said at the time  “if it is good enough for the Queen then it is good enough for me!!”

queen victoria crocheting

I do not think we would get away with that today. Moving on…

The next room could show all the types of crochet hooks from the very start of crocheting to the present day, so that would be from bone to wood to plastic up to carbon fibre. If you only had one type of each hook it would be a small room.

crochet hooks

Next would be a room dedicated to the secret stash. This room would be split into sections one dedicated to the secret purchases and smuggling in of said yarn contraband. Yes we would have an example of the shopping trolley or bag with the standard false bottom. Also examples of the false receipt showing a small purchase along with the real ones that show the real cost of the yarn!!  The next section would be all the ingenious ways over the years the secret stash has been hidden.

Secret-stash

Then one of the – if not the biggest room – the room of the never finished projects. This would be the room that would be visited the least as it would bring back so many bad memories to most.

We move on to the last two rooms of the museum, first the sensory room. were you can feel all the yarn as much as you want, touching the yarn with your fingers then rubbing it up and down your cheek just to get the full effect of the softness of it (there will be no shop owners here to tell you to stop rubbing the yarn up and down your face).

fluufy yarn

Last but not least the room with all the finished projects and lots of time and space to admire and comment on all the wonderful finished work. I know to some of you this would be just like walking through your own home but just on a grander scale.

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Can you think of other rooms that should be in the Museum of Crocheting?

Till next time keep them hooks moving.

Super Mario Odyssey Out at Last

Yes folks it is finely out, the wait is over. Super Mario Odyssey hits the shelves today and if reports are right it will not be there for long, going fast. Which also means so has the blanket. Super Mario Odyssey Blanket

There has been a lot of interest in the blanket from near and wide, and the patterns to go with it. Do you think it is harder to concentrate on crocheting when you are working to a deadline. or does it keep your mind focused on the job in hand?  The wife has been working to a deadline to get this blanket finished and it is. Ginger the blanket thief was up to her usual tricks all the time the blanket was being put together – she was sitting on it.

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We have had some fun in the making of the Super Mario Odyssey blanket. One of the problems we had was with tension!! Because some of the blocks were not all the same size (the reason for this was that there was a lot of work in some of the smaller blocks) after they were crocheted which makes blocking  difficult to say the least. It does not help when the blocking expert (me) decided to block one as twenty-four by twenty-three when it should be twenty-three by twenty-four (oops). It took all of my talent as a blocker to reverse the situation. Do you ever get that were the tension is different on one block to the next?

The Mario game itself is according to experts the best Mario game ever and because of all the hype, we all know what lots and lots of children will be looking for this Christmas (not just the game but the console as well). You can also give them their own Super Mario Odyssey blanket (go on, you know they will love there own blanket to go along with their Nintendo Switch).

Well that is it for this week, Keep on crocheting.

FULL BLANKET

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.

Mario Hat 2

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).

princess peach

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