Skyscrapers and String

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Loop category.

Poppy time!

Hello everyone,

I hope you have lots of happy plans for the weekend! I am on the tail end of a massive hangover from Thursday night; my old boss left and he and I are known to egg each other on and I always end up very much worse from wear on wine which I don’t normally drink much of.

The leaving do was funny, such is the climate at the place where I work there were 8 people leaving from the same department on the same day.

Even though I rested up, and relied on many cups of sweet tea and chocolate for breakfast, I was fit for very little.

Thursday was super. knitting club gathered to show the poppies we have made for sale for Help For Heroes.

Here you can see just some of the poppies we’ve made this year:




Here you can see one of the tiny crochet poppies, this year, small is definitely the vogue, all the tiny poppies have been snapped up.


Last year Knitting Club made £860 for Help for Heroes, this year we plan to beat that total! We also get matched funding from our firm, so it does add up.

This week also has been fun on the knitting front, I’ve done the first few rows of my autumn poncho:

It has taken me literally years to find suitable yarn. I am loving how it is turning out already!

Also, Amber spotted that “Cats” is back on in London at the Palladium which Jon has been very keen to go to (handily near Liberty and John Lewis for pre show wool browsing..) so that meant he and Amber spent Monday and Tuesday night searching for tickets online. We found three seats together in the good rows in February after about 7 hours of researching on the theatre booking page. Good luck with that one if you have a mind to go.

My brown Colinette mitts are finished, I managed to get these sweet cabled beauties off the needles yesterday, and sewn up during many episodes of TV, one good thing about a hangover lol!

I was delighted how two long mitts came off one tiny skein, I thought that was great value as they cost £2 each at Ally Pally. I think everyone who went to the show bought some of those, I would love to see what everyone does with their mini skeins! I’ll get some good pictures once we have daylight.

Last weekend I went to visit my Mum who is in a home as she has bad dementia. It was nice to see her. She was smiling and happy, and was pleased to see me.

What a terrifying place though. I was sitting there, Mum had a doll on her lap, and she was tending to it, people with slack faces were shuffling round like zombies and there was a constant backdrop of screaming.

Mum chattered constantly, she doesn’t make much sense, and now she is losing the ability to even use regular words, so the phrases would contain random syllables joined together.

Today is going to be exciting, I am meeting my friend Lesley and we’re heading for Loop. Lesley has this year become proficient in crochet and she requested we visit my favourite shop on earth to buy wool. Once I have finished writing I am going to try to sort mine as I swapped the money I paid for my friend Mary’s ticket to Ally Pally for some red heart shimmer yarn from Deramores. I think I have a bit too much wool now in fact. But it is beautiful!



Blocking Lavender, Liquorice and Mint Leaves

Hello all!

I hope your weekend is starting well, unlike mine where. I am stuck at being very angry at someone at work and the unfairness of a certain encounter last week.

My last big boss, who was very inspiring to work for, said to me at his leaving drinks, “Jen, you are a wonderful person, stay exactly as you are and don’t change”. There is an old saying, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. The reason it has been passed down for eons is that it’s true.

At work, you’re all crammed in on top of each other, and nothing is ever perfect. At least you can behave nicely towards each other, because anarchy ensues if you don’t.

Anyways enough of that. It kept me up all night last night seething and I’ve had two days off already, being Thursday was Amber’s exam result day.

Yesterday, Jon did an excellent job of blocking my shawl. I bought the wool at Loop, which is my very favourite knitting haven. Just walking in the door makes me happy.

Last year, in October, I bought quite a quantity of yarn of different kinds in the Medicins Sans Frontiers sale.

He last remaining ball of Noro was green, purple and black. I bought some Jamiesons Spindrift in a lavender colour and started to knit.

With such wonderful colours in my hands the shawl was a delight to knit. Because of the vast yardage of both the Noro and the Spindrift the shawl came out quite big.

Here you can see the shawl in progress:


Here you can see Jon’s genius with pins, wires and a ruler:



The shawl has a lovely swing to it, and the colours are very wearable. I think green and purple will be big this winter:



Looking back over my pictures, I’ve found a picture of my purchases at the yarn sale, I still have some left, but not any more Noro…


I hope you have a super day, I am looking for resources online about Anger Management. I hope none of them suggest knitting as that patently is no help whatsoever lol!!!


Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve had a super weekend!

Knitting by itself is a delightful pastime, piling up rows of knit and purl stitches, it is rhythmic and therapeutic, and a total delight.

Once I got the hang of knitting and purling, I wanted to stretch my wings a little more.

I saw on Ravelry all these lace shawls. My mouth watered and I figured, I can do that. I assembled yarn and needles, and a pattern. I got the hang of yarnovers, and learned left and right slanted decreases.

I followed some patterns, the ones I picked were either too hard, or not particularly well written.

Classes I went to, it was hard to talk, listen and make lace.

Eventually it all started to come together, it took a couple of years.

Here you can see my daughter’s shawl.

It’s a good example of transformation.

Once it’s all knitted up it looks, well crumpled.


The transformation comes from the blocking.

The knitting is the easy bit, effortless, like when your life is going smoothly. Then the lace part is like falling in love, there are points when you are full of rage, there are points when everything goes well, and you can’t believe your luck. There is usually heartbreak and you have to rip back. Sometimes you don’t have a lifeline, and it is impossibly scary.

You have to say goodbye to the shawl and cast it off the needles.

It sits, neglected and alone in the knitting basket.

When you get round to it, it’s day finally comes.

You take the knitted thing and drown it, even when it’s perfumed waters, the shawl has to drown. Once it has relaxed in the water, it looks like a mermaid, sleeping.

Then you gently rinse it and release it from the water. It has to be squeezed then wrapped into a thick dry towel like a baby.

Once the blocking mats are ready you pin out the shawl. It is wet but happy to emerge from its slumber.



Patience is required, nothing gets blocked quickly. Pulling it into shape hurts. But it is worth it.

Lace knitting is a metaphor for life.

This is what being transformed is about. From a lumpy ball of yarn. Into a butterfly.






Just desserts, but still I feel pity

Hello everyone,

I hope you’ve had a super week. Mine has been a week of extremes.

I’ve worked really hard and made great progress at work, I’ve had some really excellent moments, I’ve been picked on and bitched about, and despite having a really bad cough still, I would say, I feel pretty good actually I myself, outlook and attitude wise.

Even more productive than most weeks, I have tidied all my cupboards and wardrobe, and after a year of procrastination, I finally ordered the photos from my holiday last year, and took the opportunity to print those from Sardinia this year too, whilst the iron was hot so to speak, and they came in the post today. I just went out for a walk and bought a new photo album, and look forward to sitting and putting the pictures in the slots.

This week, we met at Knitting Club most days for a good session, and after work on Thursday we visited the Loop knitting club. It was hysterical. I would love to share some of the comic moments in detail with you but, I aim to go back, and fear causing offence. Needless to say, the ladies and gents at the club were lovely, and I was astonished to see so many people relaxed knitting beaded lace of breathtaking complexity and chatting and laughing at the same time.

As anyone who knows me will attest, knitting lace brings out a sternness in me, a fierce manic concentration brokered with a shocking bad temper. I was in awe and admiration to see such charming smiling company from those present!

One of the conversations I am compelled to relate was around the subject of this blog. I mentioned it because we were talking about blogs and. I said I feared my need to blog had waned a bit with the improvement in my overall happiness, following a year of freedom after the rotten events of previous years, with what happened with my parents and my Grandad.

This time last year, after coming back from holiday relaxed and refreshed, I got a call out of the blue from my stepdad. Regular readers will know I am estranged from my horrid parents, as they tormented me all my life and then took all my Grandad’s money and left him abandoned and homeless, and. I nearly broke trying to cope with it all.

The stress of hearing from them last summer and from visiting them and seeing the state they were both in ruined my health, and I ended up very poorly indeed with chest infections then pleurisy. It was not a good state of affairs for me to cope with, so I decided to stay away. They never rang to see if I was alright, for all they knew I could have fallen under a bus.

Today I got the call I knew was coming, my stepdad advised my Mum was now in a care home, as he could no longer look after her. I told him Amber had turned 18 last month. There was an awkward silence as they haven’t sent Amber a card for years.

Despite everything he’d done I felt pity for him because he loved my mum so much. He loved her so much he couldn’t bear her to love anyone else.

Watching him control her as I grew up was extremely sinister. He knocked her confidence every chance he got, he made jibes about her cooking (which was perfectly alright) so it became a standing joke, and she believed it. He was unbearably angry at any challenge from me in order to maintain the upper hand. He would create arguments over nothing and upset me in order to drive a wedge between mum and me.

She fell for it all. It was bewildering to watch her buy into all this crazy rubbish. They would spend all their money and all their spare time in dreadful working men’s clubs, he would get so drunk he would vomit on the way home.

He was my dad from the age of 4 and I was terrified to be around this frightening man and with very little effort I was ousted, my Mum did nothing to protect me from anything. Bad things happened to me because I was the cuckoo in the nest and no one wanted me.

She was always trying not to eat too much as he didn’t like it if she grew plump. He made her wear things that didn’t suit her, he was interested in every detail of what she did and didn’t do.

He was able to dominate her and manipulate he to the extent she lost the ability to stand up for herself or anyone else.

She lied for him, took his side without a second thought, together they did things that were cruel, negligent and wicked.

I hid from his jibes and taunts, I lived in my bedroom, did the best I could at school and by the time I was 18 I was living with my grandparents. My parents moved house, and threw away all my stuff.

He made her drunk. She loved the attention she got from him.

When Mum retired, Dad had already given up work. He took over their lives and that was the end of any relationship I had with her, as from then on, I never once was allowed to see her without him being present, or to do anything together with her.

When she drove, he would be unbearably rude and question everything she did, eventually she had no confidence left at all. I watched all of this, helpless. She never said a bad word about him, and eventually she became a shell of her former self. When I tried to speak to her about the things that were going on she would become angry. It was too late.

The irony of the call from my Dad.

Mum is now in the same care home they put grandad in one year, whilst they went on holiday using his pension money.

It was a large 1970’s building but run like a workhouse.

On arrival, they stripped Grandad against his will and examined him all over on the pretext of looking for bruises and marks, to cover themselves should he leave the home with any marks and bruises.

They took every item of his personal possessions from him, including a large sum in cash and gave him no receipt.

They had put him in a room with no bedding on his bed. When I visited him the day after he had been placed there I had to shout at the nurse in charge and get them to open the laundry cupboard and get him some blankets. He had been so cold overnight he couldn’t sleep.

Whilst I was sitting with him all you could hear was screaming from the other patients. It was like bedlam. A strange man came into the room, in pajamas, he looked at me sitting by my Grandad, and he came past and went to rummage in Grandad’s drawers and cupboards. I escorted him out and shut the door.

At the end of my visit I went to see the manager and read her the riot act. I then called the council and made an official complaint the morning after.

My complaint included other bad stuff, but I think you get the gist.

It was upheld, and the home was closed and was only reopened after processes had been put in place to safeguard the residents.

So, here I am blogging, my need to speak about what goes on is not concluded. You can only imagine how I feel about my Mum being in this dreadful place.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap. But I still feel pity for them.


Pink, Red and Blue

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

For quite a while now I’ve been trying to organise my life.

My thoughts, being muddled, led to my life being jumbled up. It’s taken a lot of trial and error to get to tidy thinking, and now my world is happier.

For a long time, I built up a vast collection of craft supplies. I would buy things on impulse, and not know what to do with any of it.

The temptation of shopping as recreation, the lure of the sale price, the luxurious product on sale at a show, the opportunity to acquire something really fab and hard to get, the fashion trend, the buying of stuffs with a solely seasonal appeal, you name it, I have fallen prey to the temptation.

And some times I have been a bit led astray. Like the time the Rowan Mill had a sale on £1 a ball yarn, and books at £1 each! Or the time I found my greek hotel was built over a wool warehouse, and I could have any ball for €1. Or the October sale at Loop!

A perfect example: last year, I went on a class by Madeline Tosh on colour theory, she really knew her stuff. We looked at colour wheels, contrast, saturation, tone, hue and everything.

The first question she asked was “what is your favourite colour?” And I answered with Daffodil yellow. This is a precise answer in terms of knitting, because at Loop there is a vast cupboard stuffed with a rainbow of balls of Jamison’s Shetland Spindrift yarn, and Daffodil is my go to shade.

I was sat next to a very talented and clever yarn dyer. At the end of the class everyone agreed on a theme colour for each person. Mine was dusty purple.

I felt vexed. I don’t really ever wear purple. It is dark and dull, plus, during the 80’s I think I was mad on it for a decade, and, now I am in my late forties, I now like bright spring colours.

After the class, I went wild and bought heaps of purple yarn. And I haven’t used any of it.

Anyway, I discovered the key to my stash was in my hand all along.

Just like Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, I discovered that my Ravelry notebook was the answer!

I had never much used my stash tab, however over the recent weeks, I’ve filled it in, and knowing exactly how much wool I have, yard by yard, has meant I can pick patterns out properly !

Now I know what I’m doing and my stash is my friend!!!

So busy knitting this week. It’s all going well!

Here is the lovely lace crochet bag now in my queue due to be made in Drops Paris – idea was from their newsletter:


Here also is Amber’s shawl, I ran out of yarn Friday evening, bought another huge ball to complete the last three rows, and to my astonishment, the wool came today! Post on a Sunday! Fabbo!

Here you can see the Nimu Isel in blue to make an Ishbel shawl. Regular readers will know the last time I tried to knit this it was rubbish. So wish me luck! The yarn is a soft but bright blue, with denim tones here and there, it is truly stunning.




I am also making another shawl in red, this is in Shilasdair 4 ply. Gorgeous!


Here you can see this morning’s baking, wholemeal sourdough, two loaves, one with cinnamon and raisins. Mmm! Also my cat guarding my Ishbel pattern.

It’s been a fab weekend. I hope you’re all well and happy!



Patchwork Crochet At Last!

Hello everyone! Happy Easter!

I hope you’re having a jolly weekend!

This morning I got up, my first day free of Minion Hats, and picked up my crochet.

These skeins of Spindrift came from Loop, my favourite shop in the whole world. The day I bought them was fab, I was at a class taught by Madeline Tosh, and in my break I picked out these 10 skeins.

I am making filled granny squares, and after making a dozen, I think I have the pattern mastered now. I am joining them as I go along, it is fun working out what goes where!







Covent Garden! Two cakes!

Hello everybody! This post was written Mothers Day weekend, but I forgot to press “post” silly me!

I can’t believe how quiet the house is today, the clock is ticking and I can hear the bed creak when Jon moves about in his sleep. The UK has moved to British Summer time, so to my shock, when I look at my iPad it says twenty to eight, however I got up at six thirty, where did the hour go? Oh yes, BST, I remember now.

I am looking forward to two quiet days at home, I have tomorrow off from work, and I’ve enjoyed the long weekend so far!

Yesterday was manic. Luckily I started the day fresh and without a hangover, my Friday night drink date was cancelled, it could have been a very painful day yesterday otherwise!

My plan was to visits the seaside with my dear friend Lesley. I got up and raced about, however the journey to Upminster took a mere 30 minutes, and when I got there there were hordes of teenagers wearing fancy dress and carrying camping equipment. Why??

When Lesley arrived we went to the station to see about tickets to find the trains weren’t running properly and they had a replacement bus service between Benfleet and somewhere else.

In the UK, public transport regularly is rubbish at weekends due to engineering works etc and they get out of criticism of it by running “replacement buses”. The only problem is, you have no idea where to stand to catch the bus, and no idea how often they are running, so it’s best to just make other plans, or you would just end up getting stuck at Benfleet overnight or something….

Anyhow, we decided to go to Covent Garden. We had Patisserie Valerie. Mmmm!


At lunchtime, after strolling about in the sun admiring things Lesley took me to “The Souk” which is a moroccan restaurant hidden in Neals Yard.

We had lovely dips and bits, proper mezze. It was super, but the best bit was the Sharbert. This was rose, mint and lemon snow in a glass. Divine!


Afterwards, Lesley went home but I headed north to Angel to meet my dear friend Karen, who had made the journey down from Cheshire.

I headed to Loop and treated myself to a new Addi Rocket sock needle and some yarn.


Karen and I met up and went to the famous Ottolenghi restaurant for dinner, it is both expensive and odd. The actual menu bore no resemblance to the impression I had of umpteen yummy salads, vegan and wholefoody.

My starter was a dish of raw beef. I mean raw. You couldnt have vegetables or sides with the main course, these were all cold mainly, they had to be starters. They were about £8 each. The main course I chose was pork, it was smaller than the palm of my hand.

Although I’d been to the cake shop already I had a dessert as I felt like I had eaten nothing. The wine was expensive too so I didn’t dare order another bottle.

We sat on a communal table alongside a german family whose children had no manners and they drew throughout dinner, after a bit the mother and daughter just left silently, perhaps they went to the chip shop. The father and son sat in silence.

Karen and I had a fabulous catch up, it was lovely to see her! I was a bit tired afterwards and was glad to be home by 9pm or thereabouts.

Saturday Loops

Hello everyone!

Have you had a jolly day today? I got up early to see my daughter off, she was heading off to do her barrister thingy at a Uni in London near Holborn or something. After she went, I went back to bed and had a most enjoyable lie in, with my dear cat:


Jon put the bread in the oven from last night, and whilst I was on the tube to London to meet Lexie, he sent me pictures of the bread and text messages expressing his enjoyment of the hot bread plus his need for a nap as he was somewhat over full.


I will be nomming the rest of the bread with some bacon and eggs in the morning. He has left me some, apparently!

On the tube, I was able to take some nice pictures of my crochet bag, which had its first outing today.


We met at Angel, the weather today was so changeable, it was by turns horridly blustery, tipping with rain, sunny and then freezing. It started to literally pour down, so the first part of our jaunt was lubricated by gin and tonic, as we dived into the pub to get out of the rain.

We then went to Loop, it was very quiet. From there we popped over to our favourite haunt, the “Cuba Libre”. Disgracefully we drank loads of Mojitos and we ate tapas. It was splendid fun!

Jon was at home waiting for the Ikea delivery, and when I got home he’d put a whole work top up for me! Isn’t he good!

My cat was also pleased to see me. Look how it smiles when I fussed it this morning, it is so easy to love her!


Happy Day!

Hello everyone! How are you today?

I have worked all day today but it has been a really joyful day. Amber was home, and although recently broken hearted she is the best company.

And I heard about how I’d managed to link two people at work through my heading the employee network for disabled folks, and as a result, finally, for the first time, hard of hearing people who can’t use the phone can now open bank accounts or gain access to their funds across the globe. I am pretty impressed actually. Go me!

Here I can show you what I am happy about in a craft type way:

Here is my Scotsman for my collection, I have a few of these now, but this one is so detailed:


Here you can see my knitting corner and the baby sleep sack I am knitting whilst reading Game of Thrones “A feast for crows”:




Here you can see my mantelpiece, I decided to keep my Nisse out on display with my spring lambs as they are very jolly.


Also, I made some bread today:


I took my sad Nipper out for a walk and she bought the latest “Glamour” magazine. Inside was an article on J Lo. I adore Jennifer Lopez! Although in the pictures she appeared to be disturbingly commando under everything, even her Dolce and Gabbana dress, she also posed in a pair of MiuMiu knickers. I have no comprehension of fashion.

Also there was a tiny Missoni crochet bag in yellow, which is my favourite colour. It is crochet, in a bobble stitch. It would take about two hours to knit. The handle looks like one of those things you get in Ikea to string children’s toys up with to make their rooms tidy.

Tomorrow I’m at Loop with my beloved Alex. I will buy wool. I will eat Cuban tapas and get shockingly plastered on Mojitos. I am in my new yellow and turquoise pajamas and me and Jon have next week off together, I’m really very happy! Hope you are too!


Afterglow Of Blocking

Hello all!

I am literally whizzing round today, half my house is topsy turvy where I am hastening to get a few last things done before I go back to work tomorrow.

Here are the pictures I promised you of the shawl I showed you being blocked yesterday, just looking at it last night and this morning has filled me with a fuzzy glow!

Jon approved of my blocking, he saw the shawl hanging up where I undid the blocking late last night and he was shuffling bear like and sleepy into bed. For him to notice so tired and so late it must have been approved of!

The only problem I have, is that I already have another of these shawls on the needles already, and I want cast on again to make another the same as this but in black! There is no hope for me!

I have startitis!