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" When I can no longer create anything, I'll be done for"
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Charity Box

Phew! I have just pruned about 30 palm branches off our palm trees (that some chump planted much too close to the house so they either swipe you in the face as you walk past or drip cold water down your neck!); wrestled them to the basura, (recycling point) without taking an eye out, or mortally wounding myself in any other way. Quite an achievement, these innocent looking leaves are viscious, if they manage to pierce flesh the wound rapidly gets inflamed and painful, only 'magic cream' (aka Savlon) will heal it.
That's my energy used up for the day so I reckoned I deserved a nice coffee and some bloggy time with you. During the year I come upon patterns that just scream 'make me', do you find that? Even when the thing in question is totally unsuitable for me or anyone I know. My particular weakness is baby things and before I had my own little grandson to make things for I always had little things just hanging around in case someone had a baby. Well, I solved the problem by having a special box to keep these things in, my Charity Box. I discovered through a friend that there was a battered women's shelter locally that always needed baby clothes.  Mums often escape from violent partners with just the clothes on their backs, here was a perfect place to send my little stash of baby things, I've been doing that for a couple of years now.
Here are some of the things in my box right now

Just last week I heard that the local U3A had a 'knit and natter' group to make things for local poor people and my ears pricked up. In the building boom time a few years ago hundreds of workers were brought over to Spain to work on the building sites here for cash in hand, and of course since the bust they have been laid off with no work available and no benefits because they never paid into the system. Many are really destitute and can't get back home. The group is distributing donatations of clothes and blankets to these people. So the next batch from my box is going there. In between special projects I keep a stash buster project going, using up my odds and ends and these will go into the box eventually. I do sometimes wonder with all my WIM's how I will ever have enough years of life left to make everything I want to, but that's quite a nice problem to have isn't it?
I will post pics of the two stashbuster blankets I have on the go and I am (promise) working on the sock pattern for publishing very soon!

Girly socks and Spanish crochet

One pretty sock finished, the second one started, I am ridiculously pleased with this pattern, I have a 'thing' about the feather and fan lace design, it's so easy to do but so effective. Once I've done the other sock I will share my pattern with you.
The beauty of this design is that you can wear the cuff rolled over or not depending on how cold you are!
While wandering around my local town this week (the very picturesque Javea, in the Costa Blanca) I popped into a newsagents that is always stuffed with lovely Spanish magazines on cross stitch, knitting and crochet. Most Spanish crochet mags are full of lacey doilies and dainty baby things but my eye fell on a new magazine promotion that included a free ball of a yarn and a ring binder. Always a sucker for a free gift I picked it up and saw this bright and beautiful design inside

Unusually for Spain the patterns are written out in full instead of the familiar charts. This means I would have to practice my Spanish and learn a few more new words into the bargain, so I HAD to buy it then didn't I? It is really a step by step series for beginners and when I got it home discovered that there was only one of the squares of this blanket actually featured and this copy was issue 2. You have to order a subscription to get number one with the other designs in, cheeky heh?
I'm not falling for it though, I'm sure I can work out how the other squares are done by looking through my pattern books.
The weather has continued to be hot, hot, hot, on Wednesday my local craft group started up again and we were making Christmas cards in 30C heat, how bizarre is that! Today has cooled a bit, a lovely 25 with a breeze, so my hands will be able to cope with heavier stuff again which is just as well, Noah's Ark has been languishing in my basket for 2 weeks now and I need to get a shifty on, it has to be ready (well the Ark part anyway, with a couple of animals) by the end of November to be taken in my suitcase to visit baby Noah.
Well, my comfy chair by the pool and my second sock are calling me, talk soon!

and lingers........and toys again...

Just found this wonderful website full of lovely yarny kits for children (and adults that never grow up!) I could seriously indulge myself here
Well, the pin cushion is done, and I'm on to the heel of my pink socks. It's still so warm here that I can't work on the Ark, its too hot in my hands. We have colder weather forecast for later in the week so I need to make the most of the late summer sunshine. My flowers are blooming like there is no tomorrow now the punishing intense heat of August has passed.

The bell flowers are on a Datura plant, the bees love it! Unfortunately the wasps love the golden figs, these are the last of hundreds we have had all through August from our ancient tree. Everyone who comes to door is given a bag full as they don't keep and there are only so many figs one persons insides can cope with! I was delighted to see a lovely recipe for a Fig Frangipane tart on Saturday kitchen (BBC 1) this week,  there are not many recipes for fresh figs around, it turned out to be delicious, (the Amaretto in the fruit base had something to do with it!)
I suddenly remembered I had to make a Wedding card this week, here is the result

and here is the pin cushion

and finally a beautiful sunset to round off the day.....

The view from my back door........I know the electricity cable is an eyesore but you can't escape them in Spain. One day I will learn how to Photoshop them out!

Summer lingers....

Despite the frustrations of living in Spain (and there are many!) warm sun in September makes up for a lot......swimming under the stars before bed..... eating every meal outside..... and the scent of jasmine and this improbable plant...
Looks like nothing doesn't it? To me it looks like a scruffy privet type plant, but at night it lives up to its name 'Dama de Noche' (Cestrum parqui Usteri for the horticulturists amongst you). It really is a Lady of the Night, these tiny flowers only open after dark and the perfume they release is quite simply the most powerful, intoxicating scent I have ever experienced. The flowers only last a couple of weeks, but are just gorgeous growing next to the front gate, a wonderful welcome home and a pleasure when sitting with that last drink of the day on the patio....
Sorry, not really trying to make you jealous! Back to yarny things, I was sitting in a hospital room all day yesterday with my partner, who had a knee operation, so I had lots of lovely time with my knitting and sewing. Really helps take your mind off worrying! The blue socks are done and I so enjoyed making them that I've started another pink and white pair.  Socks are so portable, they were pefect to take with me. I'm making up my own pattern, another first for me, feather and fan turn over cuff, then hopefully coloured heels and toes, watch this space, it might be a disaster! 

I also took a small tapestry kit that has been lanquishing in my WIP's box for ages, so long in fact I can't remember when or where I bought it! A pretty pin cushion, I just love the colours and the interlocking design on the back peice.

There is still a border to do around the flower motif and then I have to cut round the canvas and stitch the two peices together. This will be very handy in my knitting bag to hold the large pins I use to make up knitwear. I love having hand made accessories around me, one of the simple joys of every day. Now I must tackle that huge pile of ironing because I am the  chief (and only) cook and bottle washer around the place at the mo!


Hiya, I think I must have a butterfly mind, hopping from one thing to another, I've got sucked into making some quilled cards....... It was all because I picked up an old copy of the magazine Crafts Beautiful in my local cancer charity shop that had a picture of the most gorgeous quilled roses on the front. I've been wanting to try these for ages, fiddly, but very pretty when they are done. So my knitting time for two nights has been swallowed up by rolling little peices of paper ad infinitum! But I think the results are worth it.

The lavender card design is from a lovely book my daughter gave me of paper pricking designs, something else I have never done before, a very pretty Victorian look I think. The pink one is simpler, I just used my new Nestabilities scalloped circle dies in my Wizard and stamped the corners of the card. (For UK readers you can find these on one of my favourite craft shop sites, Joanna Sheen, along with loads of other gorgeous temptations!). I think quilled cards are so pretty that they need very little other embelishment.
Must get back to the socks tonight.......


I love making toys for the children in my immediate circle of family and friends, and now I have a brand new granson I have more WIM's (works in mind) than I will ever have the time to make! But as his name is Noah, I just HAVE to make this.......

This was a free pattern supplement with Simply Knitting magazine in 2007 by Alan Dart and I have been saving it for the right time, and that time is now.
Here is the funny looking piece of knitting that is the first side of the Ark, (don't look at the mistakes in the Fair Isle, it is only a toy after all!)

Well, OK, it does show doesn't it? I'll use duplicate stitch to straighten out the wrong stitches. This is great TV knitting, plain stocking stitch with a garter stitch row thrown in to make the plank effect.
If you want the pattern go to the Future Publishing icon at the bottom of the page and order a back copy. Some of the yarn he suggests is now discontinued, but if you e-mail Alan Dart from his website he will give you good alternatives, such a nice man!
Next WIM is the cats from  'There are cats in this Book' book,  (see Amazon link to the left of the page). There is a Free Pattern in the book for them and also here. I've ordered the book for a little girl in my family and want to give her the book and the toys for her Birthday in October, so I have my work cut out. At least my socks are nearly done, but the crochet group I belong to starts again next week so I must have something on my hook to show and tell..........what a hard life I have!
Back soon...