Lessons from Lockdown

When our children were babies my husband worked for a while as an Audit Assistant with the local Council. It was a small Council and Audit got various jobs that didn’t really belong to any department or took up slack when other departments were unusually busy. One day he was asked to review the insurance for all the Council vehicles before it was renewed. ‘Just think of the worst accident you can imagine and make sure we would be OK’ was the instruction from his boss. His scenario involved a bin lorry, failed brakes, a steep hill between busy shops and with the Council Offices at the bottom.

More importantly it made him think about our lives. What could go wrong? What would the consequences be? Did we have the ‘insurance’ to cope? From then on he was known for his ‘belt, braces and a bit of baler twine just in case’ approach. That seemingly trivial task at work became a foundation stone for our lives. We didn’t become fearful or paranoid, just determined to think about our resilience and try always to have plan ‘B’.

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Soft fruit gives a lot of yield for little effort

We agreed that we would try to accumulate useful practical skills going as far back down the process as possible and to do so using only the most basic equipment. I knew how to sew but learned how to mend, do patchwork using recycled fabric, sew by hand as well as machine, relearned how to knit and crochet, then to spin and to dye using natural ingredients (I am not very good at either but know enough that I could become competent). John added DIY and building to his ‘O’level woodwork then did a weekend course in blacksmithing. We learned to garden and to cook with what was available rather than starting with a recipe and buying the ingredients. Foraging increased the range of foodstuffs we could use. Preserving kept summer foods for winter use. We kept poultry and pigs for meat and eggs.

The spinning wheel I have been lent and the workshop

I hope I am not giving the impression that I live (or have lived) some buccolic idyll of self sufficiency. Complete self sufficiency is a myth. It is also part of the ‘I’m all right Jack’ bunker mentality of the survivalists. I happily accept gifts from neighbours, shop from local farms and buy staples like flour and sugar from the supermarket. I enjoy eating bananas and lemons that will not grow in the UK. I heat my home predominantly with electricity and since heat is needed mainly when the sun is not shining I need the National grid to take surplus power when I have it and sell me some when I need it. I use more than I generate so I am dependent on other suppliers particularly over winter. I prefer to use hand tools but am realistic about the efficiency of powered ones. And so on.


Allowing kales to self seed looks messy but gives me an early crop for no work. Small ones for salad and big ones to cook.

The last few weeks has been the first big test of that resilience for a long time. I have coped pretty well. Not pefectly so there are things I need to think about but on the whole well enough. I am of course lucky to be retired – my income is not dependent on me being able to work. I don’t have young children to care for and school or entertain. Having a mortgage free home in the country with a large garden has been a great blessing and is partly down to luck and partly to hard work and choices. Food in the garden, hedgerows to forage in, preserves and a well stocked freezer mean I have had plenty to eat and gardening, crafting, dogs and a home to look after have given me plenty to do.


Workdays and permaculture groups have made me lots of friends

Getting to know my neighbours, building a wider community by joining in things and volunteering means I have had plenty of offers of help with things like shopping and lots of electronic contact with others. My washing machine stopped working with a smell of hot rubber and some expensive noises just after lockdown started. I could have ordered a new one online for home delivery but I suspect it can be repaired and I know a very competent man who will come and look at it – but not at the moment. My neighbour has been doing my washing each week since and has been pleased to help me since she was becoming embarassed about asking me to drive her children to clubs when she had two of them needing to go in opposite directions at the same time. Of course I have missed being able to go out and meet friends for coffee, walks on the beach, visitors coming here, workdays… but I haven’t been lonely or felt vulnerable.

So where could I do better? I didn’t have enough pet food to see me through even the original 3 week lockdown. I buy dog and cat food in sacks from the farmers co-op but in future I need to have an unopened sack of each as well as the one I am using. That means I also need to make sure there is space for them in the new utility room. I can adjust my diet to suit what is growing but it is harder to do that for the animals! I also went to the vets and got some more of the pain relief medicine Orchid needs. I was a bit over cautious there as the bottle will finally run out tomorrow but even so I need to keep a better supply in future.


C&M have closed the trust shop but between 10am and 2pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday they are open to take orders called through the window. They put everything requested together in a box which is put outside the door for the customer to pick up.

I have been going to C&M for fresh fruit and veg, butter and cheese. I decided a few years ago that potatoes, onions and carrots were not worth growing. Potatoes because I always miss some when I dig them up and get ‘volunteers’ the next year which outcompete the things I am trying to grow, onions because they came out the same size as the sets that went in and carrots because the local carrot root flies get them all. This year I have been able to get some manure to improve my veg patch and am planting lots of leeks instead of onions. I had intended growing some potatoes in pots which I could empty completely when I harvested them but missed the seed potatoes. Butter and cheese I can start keeping in the freezer. So I just need to tweak my growing and storing. On the other hand by shopping there I have been supporting a local business – a balance to be struck.


preserves have been a boon

The other thing I have needed to buy is milk. I have been thinking about that gap for a while and had a go at milking a goat at a friend’s place a while back. Going back into livestock isn’t something to do on a whim or for an unusual event but I do need to have another think.

Of course if this goes on for much longer I will run out of other things, there will be other breakages and breakdowns. My hair needs cutting and since I had it cut short I no longer have slides and clips to keep it out of my eyes. A dental appointment has been postponed. A former neighbour died and I was unable to go to the funeral – it should have been a ‘standing room only’ affair but must have been very small instead – not a fitting send-off for a very popular and respected man.

Sometime fairly soon lockdown will be eased if not lifted and I will be very glad. I will enjoy a trip into Cardigan to have a coffee, meet friends, go to the library, buy some more knitting yarn and restock at the supermarket. I will get my hair cut, my tooth filled and my washing machine repaired. But I owe a huge debt of gratitude to that imaginary bin lorry!

Blessings # 15 – O is for Outbuildings

According to one of my friends happiness is a small house (so fairly quick to tidy and clean) plus outbuildings for playing in. Well I sometimes wish my house was a bit smaller or at least had a different layout but I am rich in outbuildings.

There is a shed on the veg patch to store all my gardening stuff. It has enough room in it to be able to sit but I want to make some double doors so that I can look out whilst taking a break.

My woodshed is big enough to not only store the wood that has been cut to size, but the longer lengths, dumpy bags of kindling and sawdust, AND still have room for the sawhorses so that wet days can be used to cut and chop for the fires.

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Opposite are two sheds we originally built to house poultry but which are now used to store garden furniture and things like fence posts.

Next there is the workshop with all the woodworking stuff. It is gloriously large with space to lay things out on the floor or the big bench.

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Adjoining the house and accessed from the car port is what used to be the garage – until the double doors literally fell off in my hands when I tried to open the wicket door in them and we had the opening blocked up. It is now a sort of utility room and general domestic junk store. Once the new utility room is fitted out I can finish going through it all. The builder should have been coming any day now but of course….

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Above it is a loft space which I use as my craft studio. Yesterday I emptied a chest of drawers up there to swap it with another one. I really should have taken the photo before doing that! I am using the lockdown to get on with spring cleaning , which always results in rearranging and until it is all finished chaos reigns!

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Add in the greenhouses and I am spoilt for choice for places to play whatever the weather.

Blessings # 14 – Needles

It was inevitable really that I would end up crafting.

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On my father’s side my grandfather (the beekeeper in B – if you missed it read it here) was a carpenter and my grandmother won prizes for her sewing. My father taught woodwork and after he died my husband had some of his and my Grandfather’s tools which I still have. My mother taught Domestic Science which was how they met. Her father was totally cack-handed as was her brother. I have no real idea about her mother who died when I was 2 months old but I suspect that with 5 children she did a lot of ‘utility’ sewing and mending but not much else. Mum’s eldest sister (the one who left me the grandfather clock in yesterday’s post) taught craft at a Teacher Training College. The second sister trained as a tailoress, then stopped work to nurse her parents but managed to teach dressmaking at evening classes in her spare time. The third was area manager for a chain of dry-cleaning shops but did loads of knitting and sewing for sales of work at the church.

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When I was very young (pre-school or in the infants class) I was given a toy, but working, sewing machine and can remember my Mum cutting up old flanelette into squares for me to hem as dusters before I progressed to making dolls clothes!

My Dad taught me the name of all his tools and where to find them in his shed but of course I was a girl so I handed them to him to use. It never occured to either of us that I might have a go! It did, however give me a great love of wood and wooden objects. Since John was very skilled at woodwork and enjoyed it I left him to it but after he died I needed to start doing some DIY and discovered that actually I can work with wood and I enjoy it too.

There is a Welsh idiom ‘Beth sy ar y gwaell?’ literally – ‘What is on the knitting needles?’ but more generally ‘What are you up to?’ or ‘What are you working on?’

At present I am knitting a jumper (in the photo at the top)to take to Stiwdio 3 in Cardigan when it re-opens where they are hoping to collect 2020 to send to a refugee charity. I have also made several more puppets (also in the photo above)for my friend to send to Sierra Leone (see the original post here). My friend Susan has taught me to spin and lent me a wheel which was given to her by a lady who had to give up spinning. The condition attached to the gift was that it was for her to lend to a learner. To my shame I have hardly used it yet. Another friend, Roni, showed me how to use the lathe in my workshop but again I haven’t made time to get the hang of it. There are several gates I need to make and this year’s felled timber is looking at me begging to be used. I keep reading blog posts that inspire me to try new things…

Yes, I miss meeting up with friends, but if this lockdown continues for months I still won’t finish all the things on my needles!

Blessing # 3 – C is for Challenges

I have a low boredom threshold! To keep doing the same things in the same way drives me nuts! It is why I have accumulated so many hobbies and activities and am having to reluctantly admit I can’t do them all. But still I need new challenges.

Sometimes the challenge is to learn a new skill or extend an old one. A month ago I found a book of knitting patterns in the library – Viking knits & Ancient Ornaments by Elsebeth Lavold. She describes a whole series of interlocking designs, gives patterns for the motifs and some very elegant garments with the motifs on them. I am a sucker for celtic knots so I borrowed the book. The yarns she suggests are not ones I can source locally and before I could go into the wool shop in Cardigan market and find an equivalent we were all told to stay home. But I was itching to see if I could cope with some new techniques and keep track of a complex sequence of cables so I picked one of the motifs and knitted a cushion cover using yarn I already had. I finished the knitting last night but have not had time yet to stitch it up. I was going to make buttonholes in the back to allow me to take it off for washing – the cats drop hairs all over my cushions so they need regular washing – but dedided to make some loops on the edge instead using a technique I adapted from the hair of the glove puppets I have been working on. read about them here if you missed them

Sometimes it is a bigger or longer one like working for the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design. I have to write up and submit ten designs I have done. In my case these are all about designing my life so that I can live as well as possible into advanced old age. The designing is great fun but the writing it all up with detailed explanations of the choices I made is proving very tedious! Why am I doing it? It has no practical use to me since there is nothing I want to do which requires me to have it. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could, that my designing skills were good enough, my understanding of Permaculture was deep enough. And now I am too stubborn to give up! My amazing, wonderful daughter found this poster to sum it all up for me and it will form the cover of my portfolio.

diploma cover quote

Scrap Happy February

A bit late this month – Sorry! I should have written and posted this yesterday but I chose to spend the afternoon sewing instead as I had an idea busting to get out!

A few weeks ago a local facebook friend who used to work for an International Aid Agency shared a post from a former colleague. Yaina was shortly going to visit a project in Sierra Leone where the agency supports an orphanage and she wanted to take glove puppets for the children. There was a picture of a couple she had made and the pattern. She wanted to see if other people would make some for her and my fb friend Helen said she was happy to collect and send on any people round here could make. It seemed such a simple way to help and I have scrap yarn so I set to work. Unfortunately when I took them round to Helen I was in a rush to go on to a meeting so I shoved them through the door and drove off. Unbeknownst to me it was the right house but the wrong letterbox and by the time we had sorted that out it was too late to get them off to Africa. Ever resourceful, Helen sent her friend a video of the puppets explaining that they had missed their flight but would come next time!

She tells me that the orphanage has 40 children but another 100 are fostered and attend the school – that is a lot of puppets that could find a good home. I may have to – GULP – buy some more yarn! Now where did I put those needles?

Scrap Happy is hosted by Kate and Gun on the fifteenth (or thereabouts for disorganised people like me!) of each month. Do see what my fellow scrappers have been up to – it is a great source of inspiration.

Kate, Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, and Pauline

If these links again fail to work (I have had problems in the past) you can find them all by going to Kate’s post and following the links there – it will be well worth the effort!

Scrap Happy January

I mentioned in my previous post that a number of patchwork cushion covers were disintegrating and I wanted to replace them. When I thought about it I realised that I had made them when we were living in North Devon so that must have been the early 80’s. Most of the fabric I used was part of a large bale I bought when my daughter was a baby (she will be 45 in a couple of months!) which was ends, offcuts, pieces that had torn or been roughly joined during processing and printed peieces which had got folded going through the printing rollers so had white streaks down them. It was all very cheap because only someone happy to cut out and use the good bits would be able to make use of it. In those days patchwork was unfashionable and I had never heard of a fat quarter so I think the firm was just happy to get rid of it all.

Having done quite a bit of knitting recently I decided to have a change and do some patchwork instead and since it was for the evenings in front of the fire I opted for hand stitched hexagons. Looking for my templates which proved to be hidden in plain sight (memo to self – tidy the studio and stop wasting time hunting for things) I found this collection of hexies already cut and basted. The yellow broiderie anglais one bottom right is an offcut from the dresses my bridesmaids wore when I got married in 1971! The plaid is from an old work shirt and the plains were pieces of sheeting I picked up as remnants aeons ago.

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In the same basket I found this piece which used to be on a cushion cover. Presumably the backing got stained or damaged and I salvaged the applique.

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I have started to stitch some of the pieces together. The central printed blue is from that original bale – only a few small bits remain but it has done me proud. I never thought when I bought it that it would last me this long!

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For some reason copying and pasting the links to the other happy scrappers isn’t working but you can find them all by going to Kate’s post They are all well worth a visit!

Scrap Happy December

Two for the price of one this month!

You may remember that I was invited to a lunch to celebrate the 2nd birthday of my neighbours’ adopted child at rather short notice. I wanted to take a present but did not have time to go out and look for something. Rummaging through my patterns I found this one for a knitted rabbit which recommended using up odd scraps of yarn. I have no idea where the pattern came from – it seems to have come as an email but I have no idea who sent it.

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As I had plenty of small balls of yarn and the remains of a bag of toy stuffing I set to work. It took far longer than I had intended or anticipated but I was rather pleased with the result.

The second project was another birthday present. This one was for my grandson, Sam, who was 18 on Wednesday. Some years ago I made each of the grandchildren a rectangular cushion and embroidered it as a postcard. It had a scrap of velvet as a stamp, the address was ‘To name, Anywhere in the World’ and the message was ‘Love from Mam-gu’. Mam-gu is Welsh for Grandma and is what they all call me. As my son and daughter-in-law were looking after three foster children at the time and I wanted to include them with my four birth grandchildren, that was seven cushions! They seem to have been a hit because although the foster children were moved on and I am no longer in contact, I spot them from time to time in my grandchildren’s bedrooms or brought with them if they are camping here. When I visited my daughter at half term Sam waved his at me and asked for another one so that is what he got. But I decided to do a different design as he is now (at least technically!) a grown up. A quick hunt through my stash brought to light an expensive black velvet skirt that was given to me to recycle because it no longer fit it’s owner, (a much larger lady than me or I would have snaffled it) and some red ‘fur’ fabric used for making teddy bears years ago. Both are soft with a lovely ‘feel’ to them. A skein of thick red embroidery thread from my box and I was ready to go.

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As Sam’s sister has her birthday in early January I just have to think of something to make for her! Could be you will see that as my next Scrap Happy post! But first there are Christmas presents to finish and as my son and daughter-in-law now have another three foster children who will be with them, all being well, until they reach adulthood, Georgia’s gift will have to wait until after Christmas.

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) ScrapHappy posts by Kate, Tall Tales from Chiconia, one of my favouruite blogs. On the fifteenth of every month lots of other folks often publish a ScrapHappy post – some fabric or yarn, some other stuff but all inspiring. For some reason ‘cut and paste’ is not working properly so I cannot put all the links here. Please look at Kate’s site and follow the links from there – it is well worth the effort! http://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com

Plan Z

I had last week all planned out. I was going to do some housework and then start on the re-decorating which I have been promising myself I will do for several months. Part of the delay was in choosing colours. I have studied shade cards and bought tester pots but still not been sure. Each room downstairs is routinely visible from at least one other so it feels important that the colours I choose go well together. My daughter spotted a lovely scarf in a charity shop which had the colours I was thinking of in it and bought it in the hope it would help me. But I could not match the shades to ‘off the shelf’ paint and having it mixed increases the price. Then when I was visiting her to help with her bedroom (read about that here) I found some individual cards with paint shades on and picked a load up. Playing with them I found I could hold one shade against another in a way that is impossible with one of those fold out sheets in a booklet. There were 3 colours amongst them which go well together and would be good for the three downstairs rooms. The bedroom can be tackled later!


the very pale shade should be a pale yellowy green called celery leaf!

But of course what had looked like a quiet week turned out to be anything but.

It all started unravelling on the Monday when I realised that my library books were due back on the Tuesday. No problem thought I – just renew online. But one could not be renewed so that afternoon I went into Cardigan to return it. And since I was there I did a few bits of shopping. As I passed the eco-shop which raises funds for the Community Forest Garden I saw my friend Martin’s van outside so went in and found him doing one of his stints as a volunteer. His partner Jill was there too so we had a lovely long chat catching up with news. By the time I got home and had put my shopping away it was time to feed and walk the dogs. Never mind – plenty of week left!

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Cardigan town from across the river

Tuesday I was due to go to ‘Over the Rainbow’ the guest house run by my friends Marie and Rose. Every Autumn they have a weekend where friends go and help with big jobs in their garden and for the last several times I have pruned the blackcurrants. This year I was away so unable to go but Rose asked me to teach her how to prune them and we had fixed on Tuesday as one we could both do. I went to set off and found I had a virtually flat tyre. The local tyre people could come out and deal with it but not at once. So I asked Rob who lives in the cabin and helps me to take me over to Aberporth knowing that Rose would be coming back this way to teach her weekly yoga class in Hermon later. We had a lovely time together, the bushes got pruned and, as usual, we put the bits we cut off into tubs as cuttings.

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the garden at Over the Rainbow

The tyre chap came out as promised and sorted out my tyre then it was off to my friend Jeni’s for supper – home produced duck with home grown veg – delicious!

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Jeni’s Cottage

Wednesday I had an appointment to have my hair cut in Carmarthen but first had to order some bits of chimney for the new burner in the cabin – lots of looking on the website then going to measure, then having another think…. and eventually sending an email to the company for advice and more information. I got into Carmarthen and then discovered that my appointment was 2:15 not 12:15 – the cats had left muddy paw prints on my diary page and one of the smudges had confused the time! There was no point going home so I treated myself to lunch! When I got home I had to actually order the parts for the chimney then get organised for making a new recipe for the next day’s lunch.

A new friend, a fellow volunteer at Dyfed Permaculture Farm Trust, came to see me on Thursday and we talked for so long that there was no time for her to look through the workshop stuff I am getting rid of to see if anything would be of use to her – she will have to come again!

And to round off the week Chris from C&M Organics down the road came on Friday morning to see how I prune my grape vines. She is, of course, an expert grower but has only recently planted some vines in her huge polytunnels.

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One of my grape vines

And then my daughter sent through the draft of her first essay for her Open University course asking for it to be proof read – she had reached that stage where she read what she meant to write which might or might not have been what she actually typed.

I was just about to take a deep breath and look for my paint brushes when the phone rang. It was my neighbour inviting me to lunch yesterday. They were having family and friends over to celebrate their adopted daughter’s second Birthday. I felt so honoured to be included but I wanted to take her a Birthday present. I always try to make rather than buy presents so I looked in my pattern files and found one for a soft toy which I could make using yarn I had in stock. (No picture of it until I do the scrap happy post for December).

Maybe next week I will decorate?

It was a fabulous week. I am so lucky to have so many friends and to be able to spend time with them. I love sharing my skills and learning from others. The walls will still be there next week or the week after and I can live with them as they are. But maybe this is why I have not written many blog posts recently!

Scrap Happy November

I spent a lovely few days with my Daughter earlier this month. She works in a school as a Learning Support Assistant supporting children with complex needs one-to-one so that they can access mainstream school. This year she is working in the reception class with a little boy who is 4 years old but has the developmental age of less than 1 year – still in nappies, unable to use language and with a very short attention span. I am so proud of her and the progress she is helping him make! At the same time she has started on an Open University course to complete the degree she started on locally part time, but never finished because the last modules were aimed at wannabe teachers and that is not where she wants her career to go. She needed somewhere to study and to make her bedroom a more pleasant space. It was furnished with the things no-one else wanted, had an old single bed which was not very comfortable and was full of stuff from her days as a childminder which she had kept ‘just in case’.

So at the start of half-term I went over to help her turn her room into a place where she could study, read, write and where she would want to be rather than feeling banished! We had a good clear-out first and shared the spoils around several charity shops! Some of the furniture went to a friend of hers who has an up-cycling business and within 48 hours an old coffee table had been repaired, painted and was in her on-line shop (no that is not my scrap-happy, just my delight that a scruffy piece that was of no use to my daughter found a bit of TLC and will go to a new home).

We decided not to repaint the walls but she used tester pots of paint to create a mural in one corner – you can just see the end of it in the picture below. My son suggested that an ottoman bed would be somewhere to store all the toys she felt she wanted to keep (she uses a lot in her job since often the school budget will not stretch to buying special items). With new curtains and bedding, a second hand bureau from the charity shop the room was taking shape nicely.

What it needed were some cushions to make the bed more inviting. We had seen lots of ‘OK-ish’ ones when we were hunting bedding but decided it was time to get creative. Two old jumpers, one grey and one mustardy yellow made 2 square covers for which we did have to buy new pads (all the old cushions were polyester filled and had gone very flat). But what was needed was more texture and a cover for a rectangular pad that was fine. Then a rummage in the deep cupboard over the stairs to make room to store the old single duvet brought a muffled cry of ‘Eureka!’ And out came an old bathmat. A splash of bleach had given it a few white strands which were hardly noticeable. But of course my daughter knew they were there and so every time she used it that is what she saw – and started kicking herself again for being careless. Folded in half it was just the right size and the white threads could be at the back out of sight. So whilst she made supper I hand stitched the cover together (it was too thick and tightly woven for the machine) and voila! One very textural cushion in just the right shade!

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date 🙂

Kate (me!), Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

Scrap Happy October

Last winter I knitted quite a few pairs of socks and for each I bought a ball of yarn. But each pair uses less than a ball so I had a basket full of 4 ply yarn in various colours. It sat there looking at me reproachfully! But what to do with them?

The first chilly morning of the autumn came a week or two ago and when I put on my coat to walk the dogs after breakfast I decided it was time to get my gloves out. One pair was in holes and when we got back home the other was soaking wet because it had started to rain. I really need two pairs each winter so that I always have a dry pair. Inspiration!

The pattern I used last time was for DK yarn but looking through my books I found this one I bought second hand at a craft fair a few years ago.

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And in it a pattern for gloves in 4 ply with a fair isle pattern. It is such an old book the pictures are all in black and white!

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Unfortunately for me the pattern said to buy one ball of the background colour and one each of the pattern shades. Clearly it did not takes several balls of yarn to make one pair of gloves! But there I was with an unknown quantity of yarn in each left over ball and an unknown quantity required for the gloves. Hmmm!

Putting different balls side by side I decided to use some plain purple for the unpatterned parts and some self striping blue for the area where the fair isle should go. I rather like the result.

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I still had yarn left over on each ball and would probably have had enough of just one but I think the contrast works rather well. Now I just have to decide whether to make more gloves or find another use for the rest of the yarn. Mrs Snail’s granny squares look nice so maybe….