On Pavlova, Reading and Yet More Yarning ……

Okay, we’re starting with dessert today – click here to see what  Kelly has just posted about something I made last February when the ‘Blogging Babes’ got together – this was our first meal all together and the only one at my place and so of course I had to wade straight into the great Pavlova debate ………  You don’t know about the great Pavlova Debate?   Well, go on then, click here!  We’ll wait for you to come back.

That was quick – what did you think?  Did you notice where I dropped a peach slice bang into the middle of that Pav and completely ruined the entire presentation?  🙂   My friends were kind and pretended not to notice…..

Now, to reading:

My friend Derrick, he with the beautiful garden and the seemingly endless library including many older books, wrote of the book he had just finished reading and I made comment that I was going in search of it.  I found it to be out of print and Derrick generously sent on his copy to me.  I’ve read it.  Quite quickly, for even though the two stories are not particularly happy, the prose and style of the writer is such a joy to settle into I found myself reading longer than usual every evening.  He captures perfectly the sea-swept, barren lifestyle of the crofters of Orkney at the end of the 19th century.  The harsh terrain producing stoic and impenetrable peoples, their stories too reflect that terrain.  There’s a melancholia, an inevitability to the stories, but still I sometimes found myself shocked by the unfolding personal histories.davGeorge Mackay Brown’s book is two separate novellas.  Times are changing, the modern world is reaching the Orkneys, the expectations of the new generation include a wider world,  crofts are being deserted and falling into disrepair.  And yet we see how the people live on, battered by the storms of change, the actions of others and themselves – aware only of their own little world, their own hurts, their own expectations.  An accurate reflection of much of humanity in general perhaps.

George Mackay Brown writes so compellingly – there’s a poem at the end of the second story that wrings the heart.  If you can find his work anywhere I do recommend it.

From the sublime to the yarny stuff:davI’m making this, it’s maybe half finished now – it’s a prototype for an idea I have for a ‘mandala’ style wall hanging – a big one.    This one though, is simply table sized.  When finished it will be maybe 60cm diameter.   I’m not sure yet which way I will go.  Sandra  over at Wild Daffodil has been making them for her grandchildren and shared with me Lucy at Attic 24’s designs too.  So many choices!

This is where I’m up to.  It’s about 35 cm diameter and I’m half way through the pattern.  I don’t think the variegated cotton helps the pattern very much, what do you think?dav I’m still happily growing this keeping pace with Eleonora’s weekly design postings.  Even though the blanket is officially reaching ‘huge’ proportions, there seems to be loads of yarn left in my basket.  I’m loving thisdavHere’s Siddy visiting his second favourite person and her new cat.  George is a bit mean to Siddy (he runs at him with evil intent) and Siddy is trying really hard to be brave.  But he isn’t really – he’s a lover, not a fighter.sdrI’m having a tidy up in the craft room this week – yikes, it’s a mess!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

107 thoughts on “On Pavlova, Reading and Yet More Yarning ……

  1. My goodness, there is a blogging party going on here. Look at all these nested comments. You are beloved by all who visit Pauline (and will be loved by all who eventually find you). I’m so glad Kelly took this lovely pic of you and your sweet creation. Parts of those first days are a bit of a blur to me. Without photographic representation I think they would have completely slipped away. Darn that jet leg, eh?

    Your yarny creations are fabulous. That blanket is really something, and I must say I’m in love with the latest row. I’ve visited all your links to see what the other are doing with blankets and mandalas. What a fun idea. You make it look so easy. Your stitches are neat and refined and lovely.

    I love the pics of D and Siddy, but sorry to hear that George’s issues persist. They sort it out in their own due time, don’t they. Tessa assumed she was heir to the throne from day one. It’s simply never occurred to her that all food put down isn’t necessarily for her, and that its perfectly acceptable to shoulder Lindy or Mouse out of the way, even though they’re double her size. Lindy used to exit the room, then hiss, and now she’s actually holding her ground *and* for the first time, she groomed a willing Tessa. We’re all amazed.

    It was lovely of Derrick to send you a copy of one of his favorite books. I recently devoured Robert Heinlein’s The Door into Summer. I passed it to Mike and then Sharon and now it’s with Chris. We all loved it.

    Here’s a blurb from Wiki: The Door into Summer is a science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (October, November, December 1956, with covers and interior illustrations by Frank Kelly Freas). It was published in hardcover in 1957.

    The novel is fast-paced hard science fiction, with a key fantastic element and a romantic element.

    In three separate Locus magazine readers’ polls from 1975 to 1998, it was judged the 36th, 29th, and the 43rd all-time best science-fiction novel.

    Its title was triggered by a remark which Heinlein’s wife Virginia made when their cat refused to leave the house: “He’s looking for a door into summer.”

    Heinlein wrote the novel in 13 days.

    It’s always a treat to visit here, Pauline. xo

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    • Hello Alys! Now this novel sounds like a must read if I can find a copy. (Perhaps Derrick has one in his vast and aged collection 🙂 )
      The story of the title is lovely – I feel that could apply to Orlando who I spotted today perched atop my car gazing intently in all directions including up – the sun was shining on him and he looked all ethereal and angelic ~ looking for a door into summer!
      It’s lovely to hear there is detente between Lindy and Tessa, I’m thinking you would have been holding your breath observing that for the first time. And yes, there’s hope for George and Siddy. I don’t think even George can hold out against that enthusiasm and joy for too long.
      I have to admit that much of our time together slips into a fuzzy blur for me and I didn’t have jet lag this time. I think we cram so much in there is no time for anything to settle and then its all over and we are back to getting on with our lives. Photos are indeed helpful!! It’s a pity I don’t take them more often 🙂
      I’ve started work on organising and dressing the conservatory – its at the lets make a big mess stage, but I feel optimistic……

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  2. The wall-hanging is beautiful, Pauline, and so intricate. I’m looking forward to seeing it when it’s done and on the wall! And the colorful blanket continues to delight my eyes – I love the mishmash of colors and designs. It’s one of those pieces that invites the eye to explore. Happy Reading and Creating, my friend.

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    • Thanks Diana, I sit and stroke the colourful blanket and get lost in all the colours and designs – it is a complete joy! I may have to give up everything else I do in my life and just play with yarn from now on – it’s so much fun!

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  3. So much to respond to! LOVE that photo of you and pleased to see it in your gravatar! You are such a cutie! Let’s go backwards so we can start with Siddy. He’s sitting very close to the cat. How did that happen? This is a new cat your friend got? Maybe the cat is very concerned because of all the recent upheaval of his life. He may grow to love Siddy. Poor boy, Siddy needs to hang in there with the help of mama’s comfort?
    The blue hanging? Years ago my mother had a copper or brown doily in SUCH a similar pattern. The 3D flowers and all. Memories! And that beautiful blanket! It’s true that what you create is always filled with love.
    The book sounds so beautifully written. Doesn’t it do something positive for the soul to reach back in time like that? It seems to enrich our lives. I hope that makes sense.
    Happy days to you, Pauline!

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    • Now the story of the kitty is quite a thing. And the kitty himself is quite a character too. At some stage it shall all be told. This particular incident was caught as kitty began to menace puppy because he was having his visiting cuddle with my daughter. Kitty was sitting with me, saw what was going on and wanted to claim his mama. Puppy does all the non-threatening avoidance things but kitty doesn’t care – he is going to murder puppy! D was reassuring kitty who thought he might take her out also, and they had just reached detente when I clicked. What is happening progress wise is that kitty – George – is making really good progress, he has a back story. And almost greeted puppy on last visit before he caught himself and remembered he hates him 🙂 We are confident of everyone sorting it out in time. It took Orlando a year to come down from the fridge when puppy first arrived in my house – cats always have their own set of rules and their own pace. Dogs just go with the flow and hope for a playmate. It’s so interesting to watch – cats always win in my experience.

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    • And thank you for noticing the avatar change – and for thinking me a cutie 🙂 My kids often refer to me as Pooh Bear. As to the book, yes I agree. It touched me in ways one blog post can’t begin to contain!
      One of the things I think has gone wrong in the world of education – and culture in general – is that (except in Waldorf Schools) kids don’t get taught the myths and legends and local history and family history and world and epochal history generally in appropriate phases at appropriate times any more. No ground to stand on, nothing to be grateful for, no stories of bravery and challenge and discovery and overcoming. No sense of belonging, no culture. No touching of their souls.

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      • Pooh Bear, I love that!!! You know, I hadn’t heard about Waldorf Schools while my kids were young. They went to Montessori and then a Carden school before they went into our public school system for high school. The Carden curriculum was getting really outdated, so the school got rid of it and operated under a different method. Montessori was a little loosey-goosey for my son. But a friend’s kids went to Waldorf. She was very taken with that whole philosophy, but later on–much later–it seems that there was a racist undercurrent. The question is, was it the individual school itself or the program? Whatever it is, what YOU are saying about what they have to offer sounds absolutely BEAUTIFUL and gives people a sense of what life CAN be. Thank you for that!

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        • I was a teacher in Waldorf for 25 years. My kids were educated in them. I loved it, it was my life and my girls thrived both within and without the education. My schools were on the whole wonderful places – I taught here and in the UK. But in every school I was associated with I found a few people – parents or teachers – who didn’t quite get the educational process and philosophy right – people who seemed to have no commonsense but who thought they knew what needed to happen. People who, quite frankly, could really screw things up for everyone else. As every school is an autonomous community, the school is only as healthy as the teaching body and the parent community. It’s not, or shouldn’t be, a racist, elitist, religious or sectarian system. It really breaks my heart when I hear that things like that suspected or actually are happening. I could go on, but I won’t. 🙂

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  4. I won’t buy into the pavlova debate. I’ll let you be the Pavlova Queen in New Zealand while I’ll take the title over here. That sounds fair. It doesn’t matter who started it, we both won it!
    I always did like variegated cotton and I do like it in your doily but I understand what you mean about the pattern. Would it be any more obvious with plain thread though? You’d have to do the flowers individually to get the colours to pattern.
    Gotta say, I love the detail on that blanket. Wish I had it here with me tonight. It’s a bit chilly. Got down to minus one last night, probably the same again tonight. Happy crafting!

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    • It’s the first pav I’ve served up in over 20 years Norah – I’m far from being the queen despite Kelly’s shot of me doing my best (insert name of any renown baking diva here) pose. I happily bequeath the crown to you ❤
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the crochet, I love getting all this feedback 🙂 Yes, the pattern would be more obvious with plain thread – and the flowers are all made individually any way so I could have used variegated yarn for the flower and made the leave part a green even – but of course being me I didn't think of that til after 🙂 I'm a practical learner and a slow one…..

      We are warming up here – though it's probably temporary. But gosh I'm looking forward to spring!

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      • Thanks for the crown, though I’m not sure my neck is strong enough to hold it. 🙂 Your pav looked mighty good!
        Next doily! 🙂
        I hope spring comes and hangs around for a while – here as well as there. I don’t want it to be summer too soon. 🙂

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  5. Personally, I like the variegated yarn as it adds instant visual interest, although I accept that a plain yarn would show off the stitch pattern better. All these Coastal Crochet blankets are looking fabulous!

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    • Thank you Sheila, I appreciate hearing your view. And actually the variegated look is growing on me, I was terribly unsure at first. As to the stash busters – yes they do look amazing don’t they. It’s as if you can’t go wrong 🙂 Thanks for popping in 🙂

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    • Thank you again Jodie 🙂 I’m not terribly photogenic (I cringe at cameras) and I love that Kelly got that shot in. She is one of those clever people with cameras and then doing stuff to her pics afterwards! I’ve adopted that photo as my new avatar – the pink hair has been gone for over three years now so it was time for a change.

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  6. I think you are on to something big and beautiful. I look forward to seeing your creations. I have a wall that would look great with colorful mandalas. But I must fall down only one rabbit hole at a time and my current one is spinning. Sending big hugs to Siddy. He is such a little love. I feel bad for him and the way the cat treats him. He deserves so much better.

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  7. Kelly’s artwork advises us to eat dessert first so I am glad you started your post with Pavlova. Feeling well filled, but not completely stuffed, I enjoyed all the other sweet treats on offer. And of course the sweetest treat of all was the lovely photo of Siddy and your daughter. Please tell Siddy that I have it on good authority that dogs have overtaken cats on the internet. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38702996 Dogs really are top dogs. 😀

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  8. You are a Renaissance woman, Pauline! The Pavlova is beautiful. I’ve never tasted one, but it sure looks like a refreshing dessert. I hope you’ll show photos of the wall mandala when it’s finished. That’s a great idea—a mandala wall hanging. I’m not an artist, but I really like the variegation. That blanket screams pure joy and happiness! The colors are amazing. Siddy is pretty amazing, too:) And so is George! I’m always happy to catch up with you and hear about what you’re doing, creating, reading. A friend recently visited Australia and New Zealand and showed me the most beautiful photographs last night. One of a very humongous boulder (Big Rock, perhaps? I forget the correct name.), it’s quite famous, but I had never read about it. Its magnitude was astonishing, and the image is stuck in my brain today. What a beautiful part of the world you live in. xx

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    • Probably Ayres Rock Cheryl which is just it’s European explorer given name. The Aboriginals call it Uluru. It’s in Australia and is a sacred site. Our two countries are quite different geographically and in terms of flora and fauna despite being so close. We have a little adage that sums it all up quite well. We say if you are going into the Australian bush you must take water, if you are going into the New Zealand bush you must take fire. And they are both very beautiful countries 🙂

      Those pavlovas are pure sugar overloads Cheryl. The Aussies make them hard and brittle as Kelly describes and we make them soft and melt in the mouth. Isn’t that blanket great – made just using up all the left overs and unused balls sitting around in my yarn stash. It’s going to be big enough to make a cover for my bed I think.

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  9. Pavlova – delicious, and we won’t even go any further into that NZ/AUS discussion! Lucy does beautiful work, and her website is full of helpful information and patterns. I met her two years ago when I went to Yarndale. She is as lovely in person as she is on the blog. As for variegated yarn, every time I start using it I stop and restart with plain colours. I just can’t seem to get it to work well. But yours does look lovely.

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  10. You are busy! I actually like the variegated thread in this crochet, especially the way the flowers change color around the outer edge. Can you switch back and forth between the variegated and some solid, to get different effects? Siddy has been so used to Orlando, he probably doesn’t know what to make of a feistier cat. I hope they make friends with each other . . . .

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    • Hello Kerry, I like the variegated on the flowers too, it works nicely there – not so much the middle design though. I could switch of course, I just didn’t have any other fine cotton colours to hand. I’ll make another version later on. We hope they make friends too – or at least George lets him in the door without making a charge and a swipe at him. Siddy is not used to not being adored – it quite traumatises the poor boy 🙂

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  11. I have to confess that I am not entirely convinced about the combination of crochet and variegated yarn – it seems to work better with knitting somehow, but nevertheless those subtle colour changes seem to be coming out ok. The blanket is looking wonderful – what a riot of textures and colours.
    The pavlova looks fabulous… even to one who has been particularly uninspired by food recently (it’s been too hot to eat).
    My sympathy to Siddy, it’s not good to be exposed to mean cats when you are loving little dog. Daisy sends him a friendly wag by way of compensation.

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    • I’m with you on the variegated yarn – especially for the first part of this pattern, the flowers fare better. I’ll make it again in a plain colour sometime. The UK is melting! Though I hear there is now a cooling rain going through some parts. I hope you get some. We think Siddy will eventually win George over and so we visit as often as possible. It is becoming a little less fraught……. Pats to Daisy, it is taking me a bit of time to get used to hearing her name instead of Max. You must tell us more about her in a post!

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  12. I love the idea of those mandalas as wall hangings. I have a long, narrow, plain hallway which I’ve always felt needed something on the walls but never known quite what. Now, I think I might. I’ve had a nosey at Lucy’s examples and on Ravelry. I like the colourful ones but was also taken by these https://goo.gl/zVnzkQ. I once bought a pack of Paintbox dk cotton in all the colours of the their range and, so far, have only used part of the beige and red ones to make a dishcloth so I could go berserk. I’m going to keep an eye out for child size hoola hoops and then try to work out Lucy’s method of attaching the finished mandala. After I’ve finished my current three crochet WIPs that is :/
    I actually like the variegated yarn effect in your version but, if you’re not entirely happy with it, you could leave it at the size it is now which would still be lovely and start your wall size one with new yarn.
    Siddy has taken possession – I love the look being exchanged between your friend and her cat which speaks volumes.

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    • Oh dear and that’s pretty too! Thanks for sharing it – The way things are going on this blog tonight I may not finish anything I’ve got underway – I may just disappear down the rabbit hole of hula hoops and crochet doilies/mandalas and never be seen again…… It would look lovely on any plain wall this idea wouldn’t it. I hope at least one of us actually manages to do it. That friend in the photo protecting Siddy is my daughter, isn’t she lovely! 🙂

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  13. I have sent a link to your post to my cousin who loves all things Orkney, just in case she has not come across the book you mention.
    Thanks so much for the shout out. I love the mandala pattern you are using. I do like the colours in the variegated yarn and like the effect …… ish! I’m wondering if breaking it up with a defining round of a toning plain colour now and again might giive you the best of both. I’m really excited to see where you go with this – I might have to follow suit – I definitely have a crush on mandalas at the moment.
    The colours in the Seaside blanket are GORGEOUS!!!! It really is fun to see it growing.
    Love the sound of your Pavlova, I’ve never made one, but often order them if they are on the menu, that or Eton Mess….. mmmmmm!

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    • I’ve had this idea in my head for about two years and never got it underway of having doilies of various sizes all mounted on rings of various sizes, tied together somehow and decorated with hanging beads and baubles to makes a HUGE wall hanging. I have a ranch slider door that looks at nothing and now and again I look at it and think ‘mmmmmm……’ The original idea started when I saw a pile of old hand crochet doilies in a charity shop – now I think hand crochet by me would be even better. Inspired I have to say, by seeing what you were up to – so thank you again for sharing those!

      I just recently found out from Derrick what Eton Mess is – it sounds quite yummy – like a trifle that’s been treated a bit roughly. I’m not really a Pavlova person at all but I ate some that night and thought it okay.

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  14. Always nice to visit with you Pauline. I love to see the progress you’re making with whatever you’re doing and feel the enthusiasm you always put into things.The great Pavlova dessert, honestly it doesn’t matter as the only time I eat meringue is as part of a lemon meringue and it’s the topping not the base.
    xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

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    • Oooh yes, I agree about Lemon Meringue Pie David – Yum!! I had to make them a pavlova, it’s regulation for a visit here and it would have been considered a crime had I sent the Americans back without experiencing our version of the over-the-top sugar laden, cream laden concoction. I love that you visit – thank you! xoxo

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  15. Your hands are never idle I think 😀 To wit all your gorgeous projects transpire. I can see where you’re going with the mandala idea after linking to Sandra and Attic 24. Your work is so gorgeous but I see you might be right about choosing a none variegated yarn for your final project. The circles would probably work better. I really like the photo of them hanging in tree’s at Susan’s site I think it was. Will you use a hula hoop or what are the big circles? Thank you so much for linking back to my first post in 4 months. Good grief, I really did take a wee break. 😀 big hug xoxox

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    • I keep seeing hula hoops hanging around in stores, they are obviously back in vogue. The first time I saw one I thought ‘Oooh, mandala!’ 🙂 But I’d want different sizes too and getting big circles of different sizes might not be that easy. Was it four months between posts? Doesn’t time fly!! I agree about the variegated yarn – it works well for plainer patterns, these fancy-dancy things require a solid colour. As usual, I didn’t think it through! I hope you get loads of visitors popping over ❤

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  16. My favorite birthday dessert is very much like the pavlova as I mentioned to Kelly. I’ve never tried to make one and only have it on birthdays. We have one coming up and I’m so looking forward to it. I saw this post as I was loading up your last with your beautiful purple witch to show my daughter tonight. She was in awe as well. I like you crocheted mandala’s. In your favorite colors. Like your blanket.:) Love it and all the happy colors. It looks like George is having some jealousy issues. That lap he wants all to himself. 😉 I’m glad you were able to read such a lovely book. The old books are often the best. Hugs, m

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    • Hello Marlene! I think the time is coming when I must make things in other colours. There are other colours I like – surprisingly 🙂 George is a stroppy little chap – absolutely hilarious, cute as all get up and Siddy tries so hard to be non-threatening but George simply doesn’t care. He has issues. How lovely that you showed the witch to your daughter. Thank you xoxo

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      • Plus Marlene, I meant to say this earlier and it slipped my mind as so many things do – did you notice your gorgeous embroidered snow flakes – little snow mandalas – hanging behind me in Kelly’s photo? That is apparently where they live, they are still there! Aren’t they pretty!!

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  17. I’m pretty sure I’ve read something by George McKay brown and will have to google to try and recall. Your crocheting is lovely and I like the variegated blues. It looks like the sky!

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    • I didn’t know him before this introduction Susanne, he has been a nice surprise – nice in the quality of his prose, not necessarily his characters and their lives……. If you recall what you have read, do share.

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  18. I have had troubles with the variegated yarn on some of my projects. But I honestly didn’t notice the yarn was variegated on yours until you mentioned! The flowers are beautiful on it! I love it!

    My poor Gran could never say “variegated”! LOL! She started crocheting in her 60’s. She hadn’t known what crocheted “afghans” were. After she made her first, she couldn’t stop! ;o) That was 40 years ago and I still have several!

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    • Your gran sounds like my great aunt who was given to malapropisms which caused much hilarity! The flowers are a really nice touch aren’t they. I think when it’s all blocked out they will be the star of the piece. I’d like to make it in different colours for each part, just to see how it works out. We’ll see.

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