A fair exchange

Phone sock with pendantMy friend Sue saw the original phone sock, made for my husband and asked me to make one for her. She said that I could choose the colours so I used the ocean shades that made the ‘seawater coffee cosy’. Sue makes beautiful wood-fired pottery and runs workshops in which people make simple pots and then build a wood kiln to fire them. She said that I could have a piece of her work in exchange so I chose this pendant which, I have to say, goes perfectly with the phone sock. Originally the pendant was on a cord so I made a little silver wire fixing and attached it to a silver chain which I think sets it off beautifully.  Thank you, Sue.

charlie is missing by rosie

Charlie Cat in a suitcasei know i said in my previous post that charlie is a pain and it is true

but the night before last he did not come home

he was not here for breakfast yesterday morning

and he didnt come home last night either

they are worried about him

and i dont like it either

i dont feel comfortable eating my food when charlie is not here

even though he is a pain

i hope he comes home soon


Blackberry cosy

Blackberry cosyMy friend Gemma asked me to make a cosy for her Blackberry.  Gemma chose the colours from my stash; the pink and yellow are Stylecraft Special DK whilst the blue is Hobbycraft/WI DK.  I’m very pleased with the way that the colours work together; they have a real zing.

We shared a dorm whilst at Laurieston Hall recently and even though there was no signal Gemma managed to receive at least 20 messages so, as she says, the cosy will make her think of me 20 times a day!



of mice and me by rosie

shoe cupboardme and charlie are the cats in this house but i told charlie that it says rosie on the top of this blog


so they went away for a week and left that neighbour gill to look after us she thinks we are sweet and i say she can come again

but we were still pleased to see them when they came back and decided to catch them a nice little mouse to play with

charlie is a real pain but he is good at catching mice

then stupid charlie lost the mouse in the shoe cupboard

it wasnt tidy like this it was a real mess and completely full of junk

they are so untidy

so he couldnt find the mouse because it ran away in all the mess and they saw him trying to find it

so what did they do

they emptied out the stuff and caught the mouse

and then they set it loose outside

i ask you

wasting a fun little mouse like that

so the next day i caught them a lovely fat rat

and i killed it for them to show them what to do

and i left it on the kitchen floor

they still werent grateful

there is no pleasing some people

still it forced them to tidy the shoe cupboard so it is easier to play in

and it makes a change from crochet

Ripple cushion

Ripple cushion on sofa This cushion seems to have been a work in progress forever.  I was working on it in the car on the way to the Hot Aire weekend in Whitby and my husband asked , “Is that very difficult?  Because you’ve been doing it for a long time.” My answer was , “No, but it’s very boring.”  After I had finished and chucked the cushion on the sofa he said “That’s a cushion?  I thought it was a blanket for Lydia’s baby!”  Of course, the blanket was finished several months ago but he hadn’t noticed.

Nonetheless, although I loved the colours and loved them more as I came towards the end of the cushion cover, I found working the ripples rather tedious.  Partly this was because I could only work on it at home or as a car passenger; the project wasn’t quite small enough for the daily commute.  Ripples are rhythmic, soothing and all that but biggish stripy projects are not for me.  I don’t mind hooking a hundred squares and then putting them together and doing borders; the frequent colour changes on the squares keep my interest and in the joining/border stages I can see the finished work.  I’m happy with the completed cushion but I don’t think I will be doing another ripple stripe in the near future.

The cushion cover was made from Jarol Heritage DK on a 4mm hook using the Attic24 Neat Ripple Pattern.  The cushion pad is from The Wool Room.  I’m tired of cheap cushions that go flat as soon as you sit on them so hope that this will keep its integrity!

A gift from my neighbour

leaflets from the neighbour Amazon Logistics delivered a package but there was nobody at home so the package was left with a neighbour.  The neighbour called later with the package and a little collection of religious leaflets.  He explained that on the day of judgement, God will ask him if he told his neighbours about his faith and so he is making sure that he can answer ‘yes’ by telling his neighbour (me).

So, Neighbour, I would like to thank you for taking the time to pass your message to me.  You handed me your leaflets politely and respectfully.  Whilst you made it clear that you would be happy to talk, you left it open for me to take questions to you; you did not attempt to persuade me on the doorstep.  I appreciate that you care enough for me to take the trouble of telling me about something that is so important to you.  I appreciate that you care enough about your faith to reach out and pass on information to those who might not know.  This takes courage, especially in these Islamaphobic times, and I value that.  When you bring your message to me, and I listen, even if I do not agree, then we have community.  Thank you for your gift.

The ‘hygge’ of co-counselling

Bundle of heartsWith an academic background in Linguistics I have always been fascinated by untranslatable words.   For example, English has ‘nice’: nice day, nice food, nice time, nice person, nice face, nice weather, nice house, nice clothes, nice place… Every ‘native’ English speaker understands the quality of ‘niceness’ but it is very difficult to explain and cannot be translated by one single word.  Something that is ‘nice’ is pleasant and attractive but not exceptionally so.  However ‘nice’ also expresses warmth; a nice person has a warm personality and a nice house is welcoming.  A nice meal has not only good food but, if eaten in company, is convivial.

Conviviality is a key component of the Danish word ‘hygge’.  Hygge expresses environmental cosiness, comfort, welcome and warmth but more than that is “people’s behavior towards each other. It is the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment rolled into one.” (http://fathomaway.com/postcards/culture/attempt-define-danish-hygge/). As I have come to understand hygge (largely through conversations with my colleague Pia Christensen) I have also realised that this is a key component of the CCI co-counselling community.

Co-counselling (co-co) is a system of peer counselling in which “one person listens while the other talks (or “works” in other ways)… the person being client … is in charge of the session and the person being counsellor mainly just gives very good attention.”  (http://www.co-counselling.org.uk/).  The co-counselling partners share the time equally between them and take it in turns to be ‘counsellor’ and ‘client’.  However,  this is only the session.  Although the co-counselling session and its skills are the basis of all co-counselling, the true richness of CCI co-counselling lies in the community and the hygge.  The community is dispersed and anarchic with no formal organisation, hierarchy or leadership.   Even without these structures, we manage to organise several residential events each year, of varying lengths for group sizes between 14 and 140 people.

The main purpose of a co-co residential is participate in sessions and workshops to address issues and to learn new techniques.  However, I’ve been attending co-co residentials for at least 25 years and that means that I have come to know a lot of co-counsellors and made many friends along the way.  At a residential we spend a lot of time together: cooking, eating, washing up, hanging out, chatting, playing games, making music… in addition to the ‘official’ activities such as opening circles, workshops or support groups.  Each event is like sinking into a pool of warmth and welcome.  It’s a community in which the question “How are you?” is a request for information rather than a formulaic greeting.  Sometimes the going is tough and there are difficult group or interpersonal issues to work out,  Nevertheless, at the end of the weekend or week I always leave feeling loving and loved as a result of having experienced deep social intimacy.  Coco workshops are often nice but most importantly, they are hyggelig.  When I leave thinking “I need more of this in my life” I know that what I actually need is more hygge.

For more information about CCI co-counselling see http://co-counselling.info/en/home

“Bundle of Hearts” image from http://www.clker.com/




Writing group coffee cosy

Writing group coffee cosy At work we have a writing group that meets weekly.  Writing is an integral part of our work as academics but some people (like me) struggle to find the time for writing so the existence of the group helps me to block time in my diary.  The promise is that laptops and coffee are always available but sometimes the coffee gets cold so… yet another coffee cosy! This one is made from leftover scraps of New Fashion DK.  I started with the light blue stripe that is at the top in this picture but after the  red it all started to look a bit West Ham, or maybe Aston Villa (or even 1970s at Freddie Osborn school) so I added a fairly broad stripe of the pink and then the dark blue.  I’m still not sure about this colour combination and think it would have been better with three or five colours rather than four.  The coffee cosy was a little wonky so after adding the buttons I blocked it.  Mistake! What I learned from this project is block  before buttons!

Yarndale Mandala

Mandala for Yarndale

As part of the tour de obsession cycling through Yorkshire this year, Yarndale will feature an installation of crocheted mandalas/wheels organised by Lucy of Attic24. Lucy is inviting people to make and send mandalas and at the last count she had more than 300 from over 30 different countries.  I am not sure how the mandalas will be displayed in Skipton Auction Mart; the plan is to hang them on a wall but there aren’t many walls in the market. However, no matter how they are displayed, the gathering of so many varied and colourful circles should  have the magnificence of a gothic cathedral window.

This is my contribution.  It’s made from the the same Hobbycraft/WI yarn as Sue’s coffee cosy.  There are patterns available but I just made it up as I went rather than working from a pattern.  It was an interesting challenge as I didn’t use any actual increase stitches so often had to stop and think before starting a new row to work out how many stitches to put in each block.  There were several rows where I stopped part way and started again with a new idea.

Lucy has asked contributors to send their name/region so I will send my mandala with this card from the Leeds University Art Gallery featuring Harrogate Pump House by Carlos Nadal, one of my favourite artists.  It’s a perfect fit not only in terms of colour but also the Tour de Yorkshire theme. The university art gallery is well worth a visit by the way, with not only the (impressive) university art collection but also special exhibitions.  At the moment there is an exhibition of images of Yorkshire.  Go and see it; take my car!


There is a gallery of Yarndale mandalas on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/yarndale/mandala-wheels/, soon to include mine, I hope.

Sue’s seawater coffee cosy

Sue with her coffee cosyMy lovely colleague Sue kindly watered my plants whilst I was away in Jordan (for work) so I made her this blue-green coffee cosy.  Sue asked for turquoise but half of her clothes are lime green so I could not resist adding stripes of lime. Today it matches her cardi very well but Sue said that she would have worn a turquoise scarf had she known that there would be a photoshoot with her new coffee cosy.The yarn is an acrylic DK from the new range by Hobbycraft and the WI. I love the seawater colours  but found that the yarn had a tendency to split. This was a surprise: after all, the Women’s Institute is something of an authority when it comes to knitting, crochet and other domestic crafts so I expected that a yarn sponsored by the WI would be particularly good.  However, I probably wouldn’t buy the WI brand again (unless I just happened to be in a Hobbycraft shop and it was on a 3 for 2 offer in sea colours). Hmm…

 Sea colours coffee cosy  Sea colours coffee cosy buttons