Tuesday, 2 January 2018

New Year

Weather permitting, we've walked every day over the last few days. It feels like it's rained a lot and the woods are spectacularly muddy - you notice this more when you have a mostly white dog - and Ziggy even seemed to have mud on him after a beach walk yesterday. I'm not really sure how that happened.

It's been a lovely long weekend though. Old friends from Leeds, who've since moved to Australia, came to visit us and it was really was wonderful to watch the children pick up such old friendships, and for John and I to spend time with our friends too. We went for a walk, stopped off in the pub for a pint on the way back, then came home to make a huge chilli. We extended the table and all sat around eating and drinking and catching up. It was a really happy moment.

New Year's Eve was quiet. John has been unwell with laryngitis and was feeling quite out of sorts by Sunday night, so we watched tv (The Punisher on Netflix - excellent) and ate Chinese takeaway and I crocheted. It was a very sober affair. New Years Day was nice, with a slow, lazy morning at home followed by a bracing walk on the beach with all the family after lunch. 

The gifts which I was supposed to crochet the children for Christmas and which never got made in time, were completed in time for New Year. I wrapped them up and presented them on New Year's Day, after breakfast. The kids were delighted and I am now convinced that New Year's gifts should become a regular thing, if only to buy a little more time at one of the busiest time of year. 

I made an orangutan for Bella, who has been named Olivia. The pattern is from Edward's Menagerie and was my first time working in fur stitch, where you create lots of loops yarn in the crochet fabric as you work and then, at the end, snip them all in half to create the impression of fur. It was very tedious, the crocheting and the cutting, but I can't deny the effect is good.

Angus's duck, by comparison, was a doddle. Technically he's a mallard and the pattern is from Edward's Menagerie: Birds. Knowing how much I love these two books I was delighted to discover recently that Edward's Menagerie: Dogs will be released later in the year and...there's a pattern for a whippet! I am already very excited.

Another finished make I forgot to show you was this beautiful cowl from here, which I made for my friend Charlotte.

Everything about the weight, fit and size is perfect. It was really hard to give it away, and I have plans to make myself one in white, grey and pink.

I took the Christmas tree and decorations down today. The house feels cold and bare, becuase I haven't had time to potter around with greenery and make it all look lovely again. But I did blitz the bedrooms today, stripping beds,vacuuming and dusting, putting away presents, taking down the hundreds of Christmas cards the kids had in their rooms. That felt really good. This afternoon we went to the cinema with my parents to see Paddington 2. It was completely and utterly lovely and I came out of the cinema beaming. I'm enjoying the slower pace though, and I've ignored emails and any thoughts of work in favour of reading and jigsaws and lots of family time. I haven't given any thought to December's Cookery Calendar Challenge - we're still working through the leftovers. I will go back to reality soon though, probably starting with tomorrow's trip to IKEA. 

Happy new year you lovely lot. Thanks for being here, for reading and commenting. I hope 2018 brings you much happiness. 


  1. The cowl matches the tones in the beach pictures - you are just too damn perfect Gillian!! it is good to wind down. I had an almighty clear out yesterday and took the tree down too but I like it looking bare - it appears more manageable. Jo x

  2. I recently bought the Edwards Menagerie book but am not sure which brand of yarn to use. What do you like best to make your animals?

    1. Hi Lynn. It completely depends on how large you want your animals to be! I did these in DK with a 3mm hook so they are quite small. If it's your first you might prefer using chunky yarn and a 5 mm hook so it's not so fiddly.

      Good luck!

      Gillian x

  3. Happy New year to you and your family. It sounds like you have had a lovely time and I love the gifts you made! xxx

  4. Love your crochet duck and monkey. Hope your friend likes the cowl, lovely soft greys, very pretty. I don't think I'll be joining in with the Cookery Calendar Challenge. With all the Christmas preparation and visiting family in Hampshire it clean slipped my mind, oops!
    We've copied my in-laws Christmas tradition. They had what they called a 'tree present' which is a small gift -
    specially chosen and opened after dinner. They opened theirs at the table. We open ours later in the day, once on boxing day, as we got the boys some gel pens to use on a long car journey to see family.
    We saw Paddington 2 as well, very good.
    All the best for 2018, Happy New year, Cathy x

  5. Oh my goodness me, Edward's Menagerie Dogs, I shall certainly have to learn how to crochet those, the littlest boy will be absolutely beside himself. Pugs are his favourite and best, along with daschunds and cockapoos and, oh, all of them. Lovely beach photos, and I'm glad you had a good Christmas. I hope John is all better soon. Flu has done its rounds here. I manned up and got up at 6am on New Year's Day (with flu) to stand out on the estuary birdwatching with the biggest boy. Very happy to get home afterwards, you have no idea how good the sofa and a hot water bottle felt. Love the cowl, it will look lovely on you in grey and pink. Happy crocheting, and a very happy New Year to you and yours. CJ xx

  6. You have done a wonderful job with those incredible gifts. The cowl is amazing and I could even wear it in Florida today as it is chilly here. So many people have been really ill, do take care of yourself. Happy New Year.

  7. Loving that cowl. Feels good to get rid of Xmas for yet another year. I did exactly the same yesterday. Happy New Year to you.

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  9. The cowl looks really snuggly - no wonder you struggled to give it away. The duck and orang utan are beautiful too - the fur is very effective. Can't wait to see the whippet! We loved Paddington 2 as well - I dragged a reluctant husband along and even he enjoyed it! Happy New Year, Gillian. xx

  10. Thanks for all lovely blogposts from last year. Have a good and creative 2018.

  11. Gillian, that orangutan is awesome! My daughter really wants me to make her a knitted mouse, but the small needles and tedious instructions aren't my thing. Instead I bought her a handmade one on Etsy - the next best thing I guess - and sewed her a wonky wool cat. Happy New Year to you!

  12. Hey Gillian,
    I absolutely love the cowl. I've recently discovered the massive blanket scarf, but a cowl would be perfect. Especially during these windy wintery days of ours. As for crocheted dogs; I only wish that I could crochet.
    Happy New Year Gillian. May it be full of good things for you and your family.
    Leanne xx

  13. How nice to walk on the beach in that beautiful light. I wouldn't want to miss a day either. Also, the cowl is great.

  14. Happy New Year to you and your's! Stunning photo's, I can just imagine the bracing weather on your walk. The toys are adorable.

  15. Happy New Year to you & family (belated), due to visitors from UK (opposite to yours), who left yesterday evening. I love your crochet animals & think how clever you are, as they look so complicated. We aren't walking much here, due to heat, which reached 41.6 deg celsius today, but tomorrow should be cooler, so hopefully we'll be able to fit one in. Yours sound so bracing & invigorating. Take care.

  16. I love those new additions to the crochet menagerie, and I definitely think you have hit upon something with New Year gifts. Wishing you a lovely year ahead Gillian x

  17. We went to see Paddington 2 when it just came out. I love Paddington anyway and really enjoyed the film. On Saturday past I decided to have a look at the crochet magazines and see would I bother buying one. Lo and behold, there was a magazine with a pattern for a crocheted Paddington! It was the Crochet Now magazine and I had to buy it. I'm really looking forward to crocheting my very own Paddington bear. Happy New Year (belated), by the way.


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