Sunday sevens #13 10.1.16

Passing it on

I, like many crocheters was taught by my Mum and Gran. They also taught me to embroider, sew and knit. As a mother of 3 boys I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to pass these skills onto the next generation, but to my pleasant surprise I was asked by Number 1 son to teach him cross-stitch several years ago and he made a small picture for his room. Since then, at various times over the course of at least 2 years, he has asked me to teach him to knit. I haven’t been too successful so far, and as is the way when you are young and keen, he has very high expectations (like being able to knit a whole scarf for himself within a day). So far our yarny adventures haven’t been 100% successful. 

In the run up to Christmas I spotted a knitting loom in our local knitting shop and thought perhaps that could be the answer for him. It appears that if you put it down and forget about it for several weeks or months between sessions it should remain intact and not all slide off the end of a needle (as has been the case for us before). At last I had the time to work it out and get him started. This is it so far, it is rather loose (not sure if that’s what’s supposed to happen). Perhaps using chunky wool would be better? Although the lady in the shop said DK would be fine. Anyway he seems to be enjoying it this far lifting the loops of wool over the pegs with a little hook rather like one of those knitting dolls I had as a child. Any advice anyone could give me on this would be greatly appreciated!

Cavalcade  Tuesday of course meant the Cavalcade in Gibraltar (see my previous post for more on this), but it marked the end of the Christmas festivities and really the end of the Christmas holidays for me and the boys. We had a lovely afternoon – we went to see the Peanuts Movie, had a quick dinner in Kings Bastion Leisure Centre (where the cinema is) while dodging an almighty downpour and then met up with Mr Postcard to watch the floats and bands go past. A lovely end to our holiday together.

Med Steps Challenge 

 The gauntlet has been thrown down and I have been set a challenge for 2016 – well until May 2016 anyway. Regular visitors to my blog will have heard me mention every now and then, the Med Steps (or Mediterranean Steps to give them their proper title). It’s a footpath which winds up the Southern and Eastern sides of the Rock of Gibraltar to the summit and is a route I walk fairly regularly to try and keep fit. There’s a contest twice a year which involves walking/running (for the super fit) up the steps and back down again 5 times (yes you read that right) 5 times in the one day. A couple of friends who I have done the steps with in the past have decided to have a go at the challenge, and I am considering having a go too. Thursday marked the first day back at school here in Gibraltar and therefore, training began for us. We managed it… once, in a time of 31 minutes from Jews Gate up to the top. I have heard of much faster times, but for a first training session and after a month of virtual inactivity and perhaps just a little overindulgence over Christmas, I don’t think it was too bad. How on earth we will manage to do it 5 times in a row, I have no idea but I’ll keep you posted on our progress!

Cosy stripe blanket progress
I reached a big milestone this week. I finished the stripes of my Attic 24 Cosy Stripe Blanket. It was begun in November 2014 as a CAL (crochet-along) and over the course of a month or two, crocheting several rows each week, it was due to be finished at the end of the year (2014 that is). I so admire crafters who can knock out several blankets a year, I even saw one crocheter talking recently on Instagram about the fact she had completed 60 – yes 60!!! blankets last year. Well I’m afraid I’m a bit flighty and get easily distracted and like to have multiple crafty things on the go at any one time so I tend to be a one blanket a year (make that 14 months) kind of girl. Now to darn in all those pesky endy bits and crack on with the border!
  

Mr Potato Head lovers – look away now…

  ….I think he may have exploded! Now I’m sure I said ‘put all that away before bedtime’ but perhaps I was just talking to myself. Do you ever get the feeling no one’s listening to you???

Colourful start to the weekend 

 Yesterday morning we had a real treat outside our front door – double rainbow in the Bay. How beautiful!

Colouring for grown-ups 

 I’ve had loads of fun this weekend playing with one of my Christmas presents, a grown-up colouring book. I had been a bit dubious about the claims of relaxation and mindfulness relating to such activities but I’ve been convinced. It’s not the best effort so far but I’ve had fun doing it!

Sunday sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins.

Knitting project: completed!


You may have noticed that over the past few weeks I’ve ditched my crochet hook and picked up some knitting needles for a change. It’s been good fun actually, I don’t always get on too well with knitting as I can come unstuck with tension and I find it difficult to maintain a smooth end result when I keep stopping and starting (usually because I have to do it in short snatches between interruptions). One of the reasons I love crochet so much is that you can stop mid row, chuck on a stitch marker and you can restart days, weeks or months later and it all remains looking lovely.

Last Christmas, I was given a knitting book by my brother. He often buys me craft books, and I love using them to inspire my future projects. This book, as I’ve mentioned, was knitting rather than my usual crochet, and rather than teaching new techniques or containing projects for the home (as is my usual fodder) it was purely hats, animal hats no less!

Last year, when there was a dressing-up day at school I used the book to knit a rabbit hat for one of my boys as part of a costume. I found the pattern really easy to follow and quick to work up as they are all worked in chunky wool. There’s nothing more satisfying than having something to show for your efforts in a relatively short period of time.

I decided right back on Christmas Day last year, that I’d have a go at making one of the hats as a gift for my brother (he loves hanging about on mountains in inclement weather taking gorgeous photographs so he needs a hat 😉 ). Then when he got engaged recently to his lovely girlfriend, I thought I’d better make one for her too, so she wouldn’t feel left out!


And so it began… Before long I was staring at a rather boss-eyed frog!


I’ve never attempted that twisty rope effect before – it was fun to have a go at.

Then for hat number 2…


Can you guess what it is?


A fox!

It was great fun revisiting pompoms – it’s years since I’ve had a go at making them.

Let’s have a look at them both together, his & hers… Mr Frog & Ms Fox.


Aw I think they’re rather cute! I’m very pleased to say they were well received…and the engagement’s still on despite the fact his weird sister knitted fox & frog hats for them! Whether they’ll get an outing up a mountain in the near future or not, I’m not sure!

Sunday Sevens #3

Hello there, I hope you have had a great week. It’s been a fab one for me as I have had all my nearest and dearest close by. My parents flew over at the start of the week followed by my brother and his lovely fiancée. It’s been wonderful. So here goes, here’s my Sunday Sevens for this week:

1 The wet stuff


Blimey, we haven’t half seen some rain here in Gibraltar this week. The start of the week brought with it autumnal deluges. I rather stupidly stopped to take this photo of a normally busy Main Street on Monday morning en-route to my art class, I thought it quite entertaining that the gardener who’d been giving the trees a haircut had just downed tools and scarpered as soon as the rain came. I should have done the same, as moments later, it got really heavy and I ended up looking like I’d been for a swim fully clothed! The raincoat which stands up to English & Scottish rain was no good – full plastic wet weather gear is the only option I’m afraid!

2 Watercolour class

 

I’m rather pleased with this one. It was kind of copied from an illustration in one of my teacher’s art books but I’m pretty sure it’s not an anatomically correct poppy. I don’t think the leaves are quite right but I like it none the less.

3 Collecting visitors

  

I can’t tell you how much I look forward to my parents arriving for a visit. When we lived in the UK, although we were living in different counties, we saw each other most weeks. The biggest draw back about living here in Gibraltar is being so far away from family. It was so exciting to watch their plane land and meet them at the airport this week. 

4 Tropical blooms

  

I always smile when these gorgeous frangipani flowers appear each year on Queensway, here in Gibraltar. They remind me of a trip we took to Thailand a few years ago. It was a great trip and I remember seeing these ‘in the flesh’ back then and thinking they looked so perfect. I’ve seen many artificial versions since then, but you can’t beat the real thing.

5 Grab the chance when you can!

I’ve been frantically busy this week and have been working towards a deadline for what I’ve been knitting. It’s going to be a gift and needed to be ready by today. That meant that in any spare moments between appointments and commitments, I had to shoehorn in a bit of knitting time. I succeeded in getting a few rows in during a football training session this week. I got a few odd looks from a couple of the Dads there along the lines of “who’s the weirdo with the knitting?” but I don’t care!

6 Super sunset

If you follow me on Twitter (@postcardfromgib) or Instagram (@postcardfromgibraltar), you might be aware of my fixation of taking photos of sunsets. We experienced an absolutely stunning sunset on Thursday evening and just wanted to share it with you, even though it’s a bit grainy.

7 Saturday night out 

 
Having visitors gave me the perfect excuse to have a lovely evening out. I had a great meal in Queensway Quay with my Mum & Dad last night. Mr Postcard stayed home with the boys which meant we were able to have a good chat without interruptions! Lovely food and lovely company, a perfect Saturday night out!
  

Sunday Sevens #2

Apologies if this is a little samey as last week’s post but I fear, dear reader, that my love of routine will be a theme with my Sunday Sevens posts. My weeks are a little predictable with kids and school and everything that goes on around here. Predictability is good though in my opinion, as without routine, I may lose my marbles!

1 Watercolour class

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This week we continued our theme of practicing painting flowers, I only finished a couple of small pictures this week and both were of alliums. I normally like to paint more precisely when doing flowers but was persuaded to be a bit more experimental this week letting the colours run and leaving negative space for the stems rather than painting them in. I’m not sure about the background colour on this one, and the flower heads aren’t exactly spherical as they should be but it was fun to be a bit freer and experiment a bit.

2 Dressmaking class

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Do you see that? It’s a zip and I inserted it! I’m so chuffed with it. It almost looks professional. I have now officially finished my sample top of a skirt with darts, facing and a hook and eye. I also did this sample zip, which means…. I have now got to start on the real thing and in theory make a proper skirt that I could wear (chews fingernails in nervous anticipation). It was so straight forward cutting and making up the samples, but when my teacher told me to go ahead and cut the material for my skirt I lost all my confidence. I’ll keep you posted on my progress…

3 Powercut

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Wednesday morning meant most of Gibraltar woke to a very gloomy wet day and no electricity. Power cuts seem to be a regular fixture these days unfortunately. Gibraltar generates all its own power by burning oil at a handful of power stations. Over the past few years old age and a large fire in one have restricted the capacity the electricity board has for generating electricity. Political wrangling has delayed the building of a new gas-powered power station. Gibraltar is in the Med, it has a lot of sunshine, it is surrounded on almost all sides by the sea, it is also close to the Atlantic Ocean and all the wind that it cares to send this way. Why then, do we not harness these amazing natural resources and generate our electricity this way? Surely Gibraltar could be a world leader in green energy with all these resources, but instead we burn oil and are planning to burn gas as our next method of generating power. But what do I know?

In the meantime we are left with rather annoying and at times, rather long power cuts. This one lasted five hours. Thank goodness Marks & Spencer had a back-up generator so my morning coffee could be replaced with a croissant and fizzy energy drink. Walking along Main Street that morning was like being on the set of a zombie movie as people trudged slowly and miserably to work and school with bleary eyes. Obviously it wasn’t just me suffering from a lack of caffeine!

4 A sunny autumn walk up the Rock

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If you have seen my last post you will know that I had a rather lovely walk up the Mediterranean Steps this week. It was stunning, hot and I’m still aching a bit but I really enjoyed having a bit of time to myself and being able to take in all the tranquility and beauty the Upper Rock Nature Reserve has to offer.

5 Knitting

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My knitting has continued and developed from last week, from green to rust and cream intarsia. This was my first attempt at the method. For those of you who have no idea what I’m on about, it’s a method you can use when changing colours several times in the one row. Instead of stretching the yarn you are not using across the back of the work and reintroducing it later (which can make your finished piece look bumpy and out of shape) you use several smaller balls of wool with a separate length of yarn for each part of the pattern. Have I lost you yet?! Anyway, it means lots of little bits of dangly wool which can get very easily tangled, especially when you are interrupted many times in the process. Not sure it’s something I’ll attempt again in a hurry, but it’s a lot neater than the alternative.

6 New School

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Back in September two new schools opened their doors to pupils for the first time in Gibraltar, St Bernard’s First & Middle Schools. Yesterday they had an open day when the public was able to go in and have a snoop about. They are really amazing. This photo is of the atrium of the Middle School, the class rooms lead off each floor to the sides and to the front the library and art room have the most amazing views out across town and into the bay. The glass roof above opens and closes to allow for natural ventilation. The schools have been built in the old St Bernard’s Hospital building which has lain empty for several years since it moved to new premises down beside Morrisons. I was pleased to see that some of the original features were kept during the renovation work like archways, the staircases and a lot of the facade of the building. What an inspiring place to be able to go to school!

7 Sunday morning relaxation

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Mr Postcard has gone on football duty this morning so I have a few minutes peace and quiet to myself. Happy Sunday everyone!

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Sunday Sevens #1

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Over the past few weeks I have noticed a few of the blogs I follow are taking part in a series called Sunday Sevens. It’s a perfect medium to give a brief round up of your week in the form of seven photos and a few words about each of them. The idea was first devised by Natalie at threadsandbobbims.com What a good idea – I have been inspired!  So here goes with my very first Sunday Sevens…

1 Watercolour class

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As, I imagine, is the case with many craft loving folk, my desire to make stuff on a day to day basis is usually thwarted by everyday life and even when I have a quiet few minutes to myself there’s always that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I really should put the washing out or get the dinner on. However, since my boys started back on full-days at school in mid September a rather lovely routine has developed for me on my early weekday mornings. Mondays mean watercolour class, this week we did a workshop on flowers one of which is above. I painted a butterfly a couple of weeks ago but didn’t know what it should sit on, perhaps a daisy-like bloom like the one above?

2 Dressmaking class

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Tuesday mornings now mean dressmaking class. Apologies for the uninspiring picture to illustrate it, but I am just practicing the waist band of a skirt before making it up for real. I learned a bit of dressmaking at school and have had a few botched attempts since but I’m very pleased to be taught by a very talented lady with years of teaching and dressmaking behind her. I’ll tell you more about her when I have a bit more to show for my efforts! I’m pleased with my neat seams though.

3 After-school activity bustle

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Wednesday was busy and not at all creative, but my youngest and I stopped to have a laugh at our long legged shadows while rushing to collect one of his siblings from an after-school activity!

4 Knitting

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Despite learning knitting before crochet, I’m not much of a knitter. I find it much harder to follow knitting patterns and drop stitches from needles in between knitting sessions. Tension is also a problem for me, so all in all it’s not usually my craft of choice. I dusted off my needles on Thursday though as I have a fab pattern I want to make up for a gift for someone special. Depending on how much like the pattern it is, I may or may not share my finished item with you ;-).

5 Leisurely breakfast

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On Friday I had a rare day free of any appointments or obligations – it was lovely! Time for a breakfast of Pan Tumaca (crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and salt & pepper on a toasted roll) alongside a large cappuccino – bliss!

6 A cosy Saturday night in

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It rained yesterday evening, which was really great for the plants and for us as we were all indoors (less so for those braving the elements). It made for a lovely autumnal atmosphere as we settled down to watch Strictly. I snuggled under my cosy stripe blanket (using the wool pack and pattern from Attic 24), Mr Postcard cooked up his speciality chilli using his homegrown chilli peppers and red peppers. It was just perfect!

7 Feeling Misty

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Today we woke up to mist and rain, it was lovely! I’m saying that because we’ve not seen weather like this for such a long time and when we were out in it, we caught the dry gap between showers. With a bit of imagination, we could almost have been in the Lake District or the Scottish Highlands (I did say almost). After a very hot summer and autumn so far, I’m embracing the cooler weather, it reminds me so much of home. Perhaps I won’t be so up beat if it continues for several weeks/months, but for now I’m enjoying it. I’m off now to dig out the wellies and waterproofs ready for tomorrow morning’s school run. Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!