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      Sunday shawl making

      August 29th 
      The main body of the Sunday shawl

      During July the Internet within the crochet world was a buzz with road trip scarves and shawls.  There were four patterns that took my particular fancy and I decided that before the end of the year I would have made all four.  Two are now complete and I have almost finished the third.  These patterns are quick to make and fun to watch grow, plus you have something to wear at the end of it, what is not to like?

      So my first foray into clothing was the Sunday Shawl by the talented Alia Bland. (Link below)  Apt too as I was beginning it on a Sunday, the flaw here being, I woke up on the day in question, decided I wanted to begin, but no yarn shops near me were open!  So it was to be a stash busting shawl then.  This left me with no choice but the burgundy red within my stores as the only yarn that would be enough for the main body of the shawl.  This too dictated that it was to be an autumn/winter shawl as the yarn was of a chunky weight.

      The pattern is clear to follow and my first bought pattern at that!  Normally I trawl the Internet or use one of the numerous pattern books I have, but I wanted to jump on the band waggon and join in the discussions of how I was getting along with blog land acquaintances.  Within no time at all the main body was complete, perhaps a couple of three hours?

      This did leave me to a dilemma as I don't know about you but once Sunday was finished with and it was back to work on the Monday, end of school term busyness set in,  how does it become so fraught and manic, the Sunday shawl was put to one side and forgotten...

      Until that was as I was thinking about packing for holiday, when I realised that I would not have space for it and all the yarn needed to complete it and so it would have to stay behind.  So what to crochet whilst on holiday?  A different shawl pattern of course!  But that will be a future posting...

      So I came home to a shawl that needed finishing but it was not until today, when I awoke to the most glorious of sun rises that I thought, that's it, today is the day.

      The sky at 0600 this morning

      So following on from the fantastic photographed pattern tutorial, I was able to complete the colour trim of the shawl in about 3 ish hours.  So the Sunday shawl is an apt name, as you could complete it on a Sunday, clever!

      Using my new free gift blocking pins from Simply Crochet magazine this month, I am a sucker for anything with hearts, I set to blocking the shawl.  Kind advice was given through various crochet on line groups as how best to go about it and Alia (the designer) also agreed that she had blocked her picot stitches (the little jutty out bits on the end of the shawl)

      Free with Simply Crochet magazine

      Before blocking

      Close up of picot stitches and how they were pinned for blocking

      Left picot is blocked the right is not

      The difference between blocking and not

      Blocking was definitely worth it and transformed the shawl, I was in two minds as I liked it the way it was, but having blocked it, the whole garment seems somehow more finished and complete.

      The finished shawl

      The colourful Sunday shawl

      Think the crocheted shawl matches my dress well!

      I have loved making this shawl, the colours are not those that I would have chosen, but apart from buying the pattern, which I will use again, this shawl has only cost me time, and not so much of that.  I call that a win win.  So this will be my autumn/winter shawl as the yarn is chunky and will keep the evening chill off my shoulders.  The colours I think are quite suited to those seasons. 

      The Sunday shawl pattern can be found  here or here
      Have any of you made a shawl, what pattern did you use?

      Innocent Crochet!

      Crocheted Innocent juice bottle cover
      August 29th

      Way back at the beginning of the summer, hard to think that far back, I decided that my garden needed a splash and an injection of colour.  Crocheting is a quick fix in adding that splash and you may recall from this post here how I pimped up an Innocent juice bottle.

      So before leaving for our summer adventure (see posts: road trip and arctic sailing ) I kept dreaming of summer sea and water.  Spurred on too by Lucy at Attic 24 beginning her coastal ripple blanket, the colours just screamed summer to me and I had to play with blues.  Not having much time, I decided that my juice bottle could do with a mate, and set to task.

      Crocheting whilst at the hospital bedside

      June and July were tough months for our family and along with a lot of baking, my coping mechanism, crochet helped too when I could not bake...

      The joy with this type of crochet and using the granny stitch is that it does not require a huge amount of concentration and is therefore easy to pick up and put down at short notice.  It did however mean I was carting about with me a plastic Innocent juice bottle, looked at in one light, it could almost be mistaken for a sample bottle, albeit a very large one!?!?!

      Judging the size and when to decrease stitches was a guessing game and only really required that after every row, I tried it on for size, so to speak. 

      All that was left was to weave
       in the ends and sew together,
      a quick colourful make

      Always helps when the sun shines

      Oops, photo styling was never my forte,
      see how wonky the cover is placed on the bottle here.
      A professional would have spotted this a mile off!!

      Perfect mates, don't you think?

      Thank crunchy it is Friday everyone, hope you have a fabulous weekend.  We will be busy preparing for our annual boating weekend, what are you up to?

Arctic Sailing - Norway

Reine:  The children were delighted to be reunited with their dad
August 28th

After a delayed ferry, of several hours,  we made landfall in Lofoten, we had been told to look out for the steep mountains rising out of the sea from the ferry but the mist had set in and we could not see them until we had almost docked.  It was not really until the next morning that we could see the majesty of these islands and we fell in love.

For previous Norway travel, see here

As we had arrived late there was only time to dump our bags as we were to eat out.  It was our first night with Brimble, our boat and being reunited as a family and it was the crews last night before they headed back to the UK.  For those of you who do not know, Lofoten are islands to the west of the north coast of Norway and we had made landfall at Reine, voted several times in polls as Norway's most picturesque destination.  The reason we came here... it was the picture on the front cover of the boat pilot and Mr H had proclaimed the previous year, "I want to go THERE!", pointing at the cover.  So here we found ourselves.

A little about our boat, she is small in the conventional sense, 28 feet, but don't tell Mr H I said that, he is quite sensitive on the subject and she has taken good care of us over the years.  We travel on her extensively and for an old girl, she was built in 1972, she is holding up very well.  Back then they built boats to last, she is sturdy and strong and made of glass fibre.  For those of you particularly interested, she was designed by Kim Holman and is a Twister, called such as he twisted the design on then sailing yachts and in her hey day, her class won most races as she was fast.  When I say fast, not by modern standards, we tend to cruise around the 3-5 knots an hour (about 5-6 mph!)  Anyway, those that like travelling and sailing, we have another blog if you would like to see where in the world we have taken her over the years, just click  here

It is funny how you think you treat your children the same and that they grow up with the same influences etc, but when it comes to food my two are like chalk and cheese.  Our eldest, our daughter, loves to eat meat, her favourite meal being a steak cooked rare, whereas, our youngest, our son, will nearly always order fish.  so it was with trepidation that Miss H looked at the menu that evening as she had been warned that food served on these islands were strong on sea life.  And indeed, all that was on the menu was ...fish!  Oops!  I on the other hand was in my element as with having a daughter and a husband who both would prefer not to eat fish, it was my opportunity.  I had the BEST fish soup I have ever tasted in my life.  On asking the chef later that evening what was his special ingredient, he informed me that he was not formally trained and had learnt all his cookery skills from his mother, as had his brother who was a chef north on the island, but that he could not share his secret, shame.  so what did Miss H order, well, there was one mammal on the menu and with a nervous voice she ordered whale from the waitress.

Best fish soup, I have ever tasted, worth going back for.

I meant to take a picture of the plate of whale but forgot!
So instead took a photo to show how well it went down! 

The mist stayed all night in Reine

It was so atmospheric with the mist in Reine.

Mountain tops peeking through the mist.

Outside looking in, no wonder the Norwegians use
lots of different lamps, lights and candles,
look how inviting it looks.

The GSB in Reine

You can just make out GSB
between the fisherman's huts
As the crew that had helped us on the last few hundred miles were still sleeping on the boat, the children and I had been booked into a traditional Fisherman's hut.  In days gone by, these would have been very basic and not much too it, but with the advantage of being right next to the boat.  These have now been refurbished throughout Lofoten and are now great places to stay, for us, what could be better, if we couldn't stay on board the GSB, then we could stay very very close... 

Robua or Fisherman's huts.
 Our first night accommodation in Lofoten.
The further north you travel in the world during the mid summer months the lighter it becomes and the longer the sun is with you.  I thought it might be difficult to sleep but it wasn't.  Although it was more difficult to go to bed, remember having young children and suddenly finding they could not understand why they had to go to bed in the summer 'because it is still light' they would say, well it was a little bit like that, also not helped by the fact that the bar stayed open too!  Rolling into bed way way past midnight became a regular feature and it was still light when we finally turned in for the night/early morning.
After a late night everyone slept in,
so I had some quiet crochet time
A huge part of the enjoyment and adrenaline thrills to this part of our arctic adventure was the mountain walks we partook, or should I say mountain climbs!!  I had never walked a vertical wall before...phew!

The walk began gently

The water was so clear but cold!

It began to get steep beside the waterfall

Half way up, we were rewarded with a fresh water lake

Again, half way up and we were pretty high, this was as far up as I went,
we had already walked for 3.5 hours, so my round trip was 7 hours!

Half the family continued and were rewarded by this spectacular view, in all they climbed/walked for 9 hours.

The weather can change extremely quickly
and we became soaked through on our walk. 
Trying to dry out the boots with newspaper!

Mr H  and his crew before they left for the UK

Sailing was a pleasure but like with any Norwegian sailing you have to have your wits about you as suddenly there can be rocks jutting out where you least expected.

Norway's second largest glacier and the closet to sea level

Two very important crew members

Pod of killer whales

Occasionally we set sail with the children still sleeping!

Henningsvaer was a firm favourite with us all, it had great walks, beautiful scenery and even a few shops, museum and art gallery.  We could have spent longer here.  Wherever you looked in the town there was always something to catch my eye.  I could easily have added so many more photos to this post, but I will spare you, here are just a few...

Great colour use in the local bar

Shop front, so inviting

This was fantastic, outside a shop, the sign above the bench translates to:
 'Male parking', notice on the table is a newspaper and an ashtray!  Genius!

Every nook and cranny was inviting

Attention to detail

The obligatory drying fish that Lofoten is so famous for
and apart from tourism makes most of its revenue.

There are 20 puffins to discover within the surrounding area
of Henningvaer, a long story as to why they are they
and many are an adventurous difficult climb to find.

View from another walk. 
There are many bridges in Lofoten connecting the islands.

After some confusion we managed to meet up with some good friends of ours who sailed across the North Sea from the UK to sail  in the arctic too.  They also are to leave their boat in the north of Norway over winter.  They had had a rough sail over so were particularly pleased to be only now short hop sailing.

The GS Thembi, sailed across the north sea
and we were glad to see our good friends,
albeit for one day and night.

We managed a quick swim in the arctic lake, it was 12 degrees

Our third sail hop along the islands took us to the capital of Lofton, Svolvaer.  It is a very small place! But we did manage to grab ourselves a shower, always a great thing to do.  We have no running water on our boat and no real washing facilities either.  It is all VERY BASIC!


The obligatory photo of  'polar bear beer',
brewed it claims in the northern most brewery of the world. 
Quite a claim.
Some of the numerous fish drying racks found all over the islands. 
During March - May the are filled with fish drying and
then sent mostly to Italy and Portugal.
Leaving Svolvaer the scenery as we sailed on was ever the more dramatic and ruggedly beautiful  I kept wondering what it would be like to live here all the time, remote, full of daylight hours in the summer and then thrown into darkness for the winter with gale strong winds and snow... how different from how we live and what we were experiencing this summer.

The famous goat mountain, where dare devil
 jump from one pinnacle to another!

Loddingen, the official last/first port of Lofoten,
depending on which direction you travel!

 So then it was time for our last sail of the season before GSB was to be hauled out. It was potentially a difficult sail as we had to sail through Tjelsundet, a narrow fjord where the current runs strong, the direction depending on the state of the tide.  Being sailors for many a year and asking everyone we met, you would think we would be able to find out when the current was running in which direction, but the answer was not so simple.  so we set sail, fairly sure we would be OK, but if we had calculated wrong then we would be sailing backwards!  Not a pleasant thought.  The entire sail, the current did not make any sense to us and it was not the strength we expected, but whatever, we arrived at our final destination and all was well.

Our final destination, just south of Harstad
Hauling out is always
 a nerve wrecking experience.

The yard are lovely but they did admit
to not being used to handling such 'small' boats!

Almost ready for winter...

Knowing the GSB was being looked after
 I had time for beach combing...

...and wine drinking!
I hope you have enjoyed sharing my sailing journey with me! 
Next instalment will feature my other passion...crochet ♥