Thank you so much for your comments on my holiday post. It was lovely to read how many of you have happy childhood memories - as I do - of similar camping holidays in France. Clearly it's still very popular!
There is something I should mention: I am delighted (really quite over the moon actually) to have been nominated for an Amara Interior Blog Award again. You may remember that I was nominated and even shortlisted last year. I still don't really know how that happened. I am a hobby blogger with a very non-techy blog and it's just something I do around work and family life because I love the connections, the friendship, the chat, but above all else I really, really love making stuff and blogging gives me a forum to share these things. But you know that by now. If you would like to vote for me then please follow this link. THANK YOU!!
Every Wednesday, from 7 till 8 pm, I go to a local beginner's yoga class. I have to be honest here and say that the timing is part of the appeal - at 6.30 pm, having rushed from work to home to the local swimming pool, I bring the kids back from their weekly swimming lessons and hand them over to John. I get changed and go out and think about nothing more than my breathing for an hour. He supervises showers and hair washes, gets the children ready for bed, listens to them read and then starts dinner. When I arrive home at around 8.15pm they are tucked up in bed awaiting a good night kiss and dinner is underway. It's amazing.
But of course that's not just why I go. I like yoga very much and have practised it off and on for some years, but never with any real skill or dedication. I don't subscribe to the more spiritual side of yoga, I just like how my head and muscles feel afterwards. Our yoga teacher is as inspiring, warm and encouraging as you could hope for, and at the start of every class tells us to leave our day at the door and just think about why we came, what we want from that hour. I always think the same things: a calm mind and a strong body. I don't need to be able to do the splits or stand on my head - and I find a great deal of it very challenging (especially anything involving balance) - but I do love that hour a week.
I had been carrying my mat under my arm until now and honestly, since I don't walk to yoga, there is no reason why I couldn't have just carried on doing that, but I wanted to make a bag. I saw lots of patterns on Ravelry but none that really grabbed me so I decided to have a go at my own.
It was a really easy make and I chose chunky yarn so that it didn't take all summer, and it came out really well. My friend Abigail said that the colours remind her of Neapolitan ice cream, and I guess there is a summery feel about it. There wasn't a single scrap of yarn left over at the end and that was pretty satisfying. I like it when a project uses up all it's intended yarn supply, because otherwise they sit there, and I start thinking about what to do with the leftovers, and then I plan a new project "to use up the leftovers" which of course ends up with be buying ten more balls of yarn....or is that just me?
For this I used three balls of Hooked Ribbon XL yarn, in Ecru, Stone Grey and Sweet Pink, with a 10 mm hook. Here is how I made it for those who are interested.
I began as though making a bowl, starting from a central point and working out in a spiral, increasing as I went. When the diameter was about the size of my rolled up mat, I stopped increasing and started working round and round in rows of crochet to create the body of the bag.
I needed my bag to be around 70 cm long, to allow for my yoga mat plus space at the top. I stopped counting rows and using a stitch marker at this point, and just crocheted three blocks of colour, each measuring about 23 cm, which was about 21 rows of each colour.
This is the reverse, where you can see the colour changes.
I left around 10 cm of extra crocheted rows at the top so that I could thread a length of the yarn through the top rows and gather it all together, like a drawstring.
Then, using the very last scraps of yarn, I crocheted two rectangles; a long one for a strap, and a smaller one for a little pocket on the front, just large enough to hold my phone, keys and money.
I sewed the handle on at either end with the ends of the yarn from the piece I had crocheted.
For the pocket, I threaded my tapestry needle with thin cotton yarn and used that instead as I thought it would show less.
It worked well and is very secure and almost invisible.