Monday, 27 December 2010

....and relax.....

I can't move my head this morning.  This is most alarming as I've not been doing anything vigorously enough to ensure my neck goes into spasm apart from trying to get my turquoise footless woolly tights off last night without bending down or falling down the stairs but managed to get entangled anyway.  Maybe that's the problem.  I've been sat sitting on this sofa, in the same position, with a laptop on, um, my lap for what feels like most of this year and perhaps, just perhaps, my body's decided it's had enough.  But, listen here body, causing the muscles in my neck to lock up so that I have to dose myself on Ibuprofen and Paracetamol just so I can turn my head is hardly conducive being more active now, is it? Hmm?  No, it's bloody not. I can barely twist my top half enough to reach the giant sized tube of Smarties on the side table, so I'm hardly likely to head off outside into the freezing wind for an invigorating jog now, am I?  Didn't think that one through, did you? Asshole.

So, here I am, sat sitting on the sofa with the laptop keeping my bits warm, necking Smarties directly from a giant tube, and reflecting on the Christmas that has come to pass.  On the whole, it was pretty good.  There was snow on the ground so it was a proper White Christmas for the first time for many years.  Log burners were lit, champagne imbibed and food crammed down the gullet, which is as it should be.  Sadly I didn't get to see my family beforehand due to the weather, but we're meeting up next week for present-swapping so that's a New Year's Day to look forward to (probably the first ever!).

I discovered the joys of the Amazon wish list a few months back and was using it as a handy place to keep note of the books that I fancied reading at some point in the future.  Then it dawned on me (razor-like brain that I have) that as Xmas approached it could usefully work as a christmas list so when family asked what I wanted, I’d just point them in that direction. They bought me the lot! Nine books in total, including some on knitting ('Domiknitrix' by Jennifer Stafford and 'Purls of Wisdom' by Jenny Lord) and crochet ('Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots and More' by Christen Haden) as I'm intending to teach myself how to knit this year; a big vegetarian cookery book (Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian); a gardening book telling you how to grow interesting stuff ('A Taste of the Unexpected' by Mark Diacono); a thriller set in Eastern Europe at the start of WW2 ('Night Soldiers' by Alan Furst); two anthologies covering the entire six books of the Mapp & Lucia series by E F Benson ('Lucia Rising' and 'Lucia Victrix') and finally 'Auntie Mame' by Patrick Dennis.  These are all very fine books indeed and will keep me quiet for an extremely long time.  Bizarrely I have discovered that it takes me ages to read books - I'm yet to start reading books I got for christmas last year!  I've found that if I start reading in the afternoon, after half an hour I have to have a nap, so I mostly now like to read in bed but I don't get the chance to do that very often, hence it takes ages to get through a book.  Perhaps I should make a New Year's Resolution to try and read a bit more....

Apart from the lovely books I got perfume. a scarf, a CD, waterproof gardening gloves, general bits and pieces, but my favourite presents were from The Lovely Husband.  He normally gets me something really special and pricey (in the past I’ve had a camera, or a kiln, or a diamond ring, or an expensive charm bracelet, etc. - yes, yes, I'm materialistic but I'm helping to keep the economy going.  Don't judge me) but money’s been hard-won this year so he’s scaled back - I don’t care because they’re gorgeous:

Purple Celtic Sheepskin slippers - mmmmm, toasty!
Beautiful purple Celtic Sheepskin slippers - mmmmmmmm, toasty!

Beautiful fingerless gloves, Xmas 2010
Gorgeous fingerless gloves, handknitted and crocheted from handspun, hand-dyed wool.  Just look at those colours and wallow in them.  Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Closeup of beautiful fingerless gloves, Xmas 2010

This is most definitely something to aspire to with my future knitting projects.

So today is a lounging around day.  Look, it's after midday and I'm still sat sitting here in my dressing gown and purple slippers, and I really don't give a toss.  Sylvester's been fed some smoked salmon so he's happy.  I'm listening to The Lovely Husband plinking away most proficiently on the ukulele while he's waiting for labels to soak off the many empty wine bottles in the kitchen sink before he spends the afternoon bottling up the Blackberry wine and Damson wine that's been sitting, getting all fermenty, in demijons in our garage for the last six months, and It's. All. Good.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Seeing ghosts....

Sergey Larenkov is an amateur photographer who collects old wartime postcards and had the idea of combining them with modern day photos.  He spends time researching the exact place where the wartime photographer stood to take the shot, so that he can line up his modern day photo to match it, then uses Photoshop to meld the two together.

It's like looking at ghosts.

It's a reminder that the past is all around us, we are enmeshed in history whether we like it or not.  Where we are walking, stuff happened - good, bad, beautiful, horrific, mundane or of world importance - it occurred, right here. Do click on the pictures to make them bigger and get the full details:

You can see more of the pictures at Sergey's blog

Jo Teeuwisse has done something similar with pictures from Amsterdam:

You can read more information about her work here.  (My Modern Met - where I found all these pictures in the first place - is fast becoming one of my absolute favourite websites.  It says it's a site "where art enthusiasts and trendspotters connect over creative ideas" which is a very Hipsterish thing to say and hence open to ridicule but I'm constantly in awe of the photography and art that is featured there.)

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The Joneses have a conversation - Algonquin Round Table or Old Peoples' Home? You decide

So, it's snowed a bit then.  Again.  We had a small amount on Friday and then it stopped overnight, and then the next morning (i.e., yesterday), between 8.15am and about lunchtime at least 5 inches of it got dumped on us.  The organiser of my final craft fair of the year rang to cancel it - hooray!  I don't relish having to get up at 6am at the best of times but in the depths of freezing wintery temperatures with the added frisson of the chance of an impromptu sliding car crash with additional visit to A&E thrown in it was not appealing at all!

Mid morning I went out to feed the birds and was quite surprised at how, well, 'warm' is not the right word really so 'not as cold as I was expecting' will have to suffice.  It was so still, like the world was holding its breath, and the snow was loose and powdery, truly like giant drifts of icing sugar.  It was utterly delightful. I got my camera and took some photos of the garden:

As always, there was a robin, waiting for its breakfast of dried mealworms.  Their breasts seem extraordinarily red at this time of year - I've no idea if that's deliberate or just the perceived contrast with the black and white of nature's winter colour scheme.  Anyway, it had a feed and flew off just as I pressed the button in the second picture - an action shot!

I cleared a path up the steps and into the garden in the vain hope that Sylvester could find his way out there to 'use the facilities' rather than leaving stinky great deposits in the litter tray as he currently is.  Stupid human - of course he's not going to freeze his ring off outside when we've provided a convenient and warm alternative.  And as soon as my back was turned, little Bruno from next door appeared, off to hang around the feeding station to hassle the birds (click on the pictures to embiggen):

(I took the following quite interesting self-portrait as I was heading back in - it's me reflected in the double glazed door that leads onto the bridge.  You can see the garden behind but also into the sitting room, with our Christmas Tree on the left, Sylvester on the rug and the snowy hill in the distance between the two houses opposite):

I came back in and suggested to TLH that I rather fancied actually going out for a walk in it, perhaps to make a snowman, but definitely with my camera, maybe to the nearby favoured sledging hillside to photograph suicidal teenagers hurtling down the slope on plastic trays.  "I have a better idea", he said, "Let's walk into town and go to the pub!"  A much better idea!

There were plenty of people walking around, all wrapped up and - shock! horror! - actually acknowledging each other as they passed.  Complete strangers talking to each other!  Cats and dogs sleeping together!

There were no cars so we walked down the middle of the road.  In fact, we sort of live on the side of a hill and the road that goes up it behind our house had been closed by the police.  Presumably it's easier to do that than actually get the gritter lorries out....

Anyway, we walked along this road - view looking towards the town:

And looking back, 180 degrees, along the same road in the direction we'd just come from:

We rounded the corner at the end of this road and went along another, really quite posh street - big houses on one side with panoramic views over the town and hills in the distance:

This road takes you down to another that runs above the railway line and has tank traps beside it, with a lovely view towards the church if you stand in just the right place:

It probably took us about 45 minutes to walk into town, possibly longer, as you can't race along on such a snowy surface.  We wondered if the pub would be open but of course it was - they even had a wedding reception going on in the big back room.  Pints were drunk, lunch was consumed and a most convivial time was had by all.

Now, I may have referred to this in the past but I can't be arsed to go back and check so if I'm repeating myself then you'll just have to suck it up and deal with it.  TLH's hearing is not top-notch and I swear it's getting worse.  He says I speak too quietly these days but, as far as I'm concerned, I'm the same volume I've always been.  Admittedly I don't exactly whisper but I'm not exactly foghorn class either.  But neither is he, I think he talks quite quietly and occasionally we have conversations where we mishear each other.  These conversations always and without fail turn out to be more interesting than the one we were trying to have.  I never, ever remember what we say but I shall endeavour henceforth to write down the most noteworthy ones because, honestly?, to those who overhear us, we must sound like we really need to be in the care of the community.  This is the one in the pub:

     TLH: Let me take a photo of you in the pub, to prove that we were here.

     Me: Ooh, no.  I'm far too self-conscious, there's too many people around.

     TLH: "As self-conscious as someone reading Kerrangg!"?

     Me: There's someone reading the Koran?  In the pub?

You see?  FAR more interesting.  We'd decided we'd probably drunk enough by then and headed off into town where we rather surprisingly managed to finish our Christmas shopping and wandered off towards home through the park close to the church in the picture above and that runs beside the River Wey and through the Lammas Lands:

It was a fab walk and I'm really glad we got out of the house.  Anyway, I hope it's not too horrendous where you are, and if I don't manage to post again before next weekend, I really hope you all have a lovely Christmas and no-one gets too drunk and shouty.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Annual 'Bah, humbug' post....

It's been a little while since I checked in, about 2 1/2 weeks I think.  Some stuff has happened in the intervening period, some hasn't, you know, the usual things.  I think I've had a spot of mild depression, actually.  Or maybe I've just been busy being my usual miserable cow at this time of year.

The nasty, virusy-headcold thing I had lasted a good three weeks and quite how TLH managed not to stab me due to the incessant coughing is a wonder, but he didn't.  The weird thing is I have absolutely no idea where I got it from - I've been my usual fairly antisocial self of late and haven't seen anyone other than a handful of people, and none of them had the remotest snivel or hacking cough, so it's a mystery.  I did get very sad and miserable for about a week following the death of poor Pepper Bean and being quite that down does, I believe, depress your immune system so in some ways I'm not too surprised that I contracted such virulent head-rot with additional gangrenous throat and tubercular lungs, plus additional nosebleeds.  It was definitely as cheery as it sounds.

But it's gone now.  Just in time for Christmas.  Whoopee.  I don't know why I take against Christmas so.  I mean, before the days of the intertubes, it used to be unadulterated hell shopping for presents, elbowing your ways through crowds of people in overheated shops, and fighting over the last turkey on the shelf.  Plus I was working full-time so had to cram all that in as well.  By comparison I have it so much easier now - as I'm a Trophy Wife (aka lazy layabout) I'm at home all day and I can just do all my shopping over the internet and have it delivered to my door!  Bliss!  I don't have children so the only presents I have to get are for a few young nieces and nephew and the rest are grownups who can be placated, usually, with a bottle of spirits and a decent book so I'm not really sure what my problem is.

I still feel the pressure, though.  The endless, endless, bloody advertisements for food and perfume and aftershave, the no-getting-away-from-it-ness.  I hate it all with so much passion that I would willingly consider going on one of those silent spiritual retreats to a monastery in the arse-end of nowhere where you get a little room to yourself in which to contemplate the infinite, only emerging after all the bollocks of New Year has been and gone.  I know I've said it before (probably last year, actually), but as far as I'm concerned, the best Christmas I ever had was in 1989 when The Artist and I buggered off to Thailand for 10 days and sat on a beach from 22 December to just after New Year and managed to avoid the whole damn thing.  I can still remember how stress-free I felt in the run up to going away because the relentless TV advertising didn't mean a thing to me that year.  And by the time we got back it was all over anyway and felt like it had never happened.  I shall do this again one year, I hereby promise myself.  I shall donate some money to a charity in lieu of presents and cards, and go lie in the sunshine for a couple of weeks.

/end rant.

So what else has happened while I've been maintaining radio silence?  Sylvester Bean is healing up nicely from his cyst removal and the fur is beginning to grow back, so he looks less like a lobotomy victim and more like someone's had a bit of an accident with the hair clippers.  He's also turned into the chattiest cat I've ever been pestered by.  It's quite odd.  Obviously now Pepper's gone he's become the focus of all our attention and that seems to have resulted in him suddenly discovering he's got an awful lot to say about things.  He's also having a difficult time coming to terms with the new cats in the neighbourhood.  Our immediate neighbours have an adorable young cat called Bruno who looks exactly like the cartoon Felix cat (the one advertising the cat food) -

He's a lovely little cat, the most curious I've ever met.  He wants to know absolutely everything that you're doing and I think has been inside everyone's house in the close because as soon as a front door's opened, he's in there like a shot!  Except Sylvester hates him with the heat of a thousand suns, and has already beaten him up at least 3 times in the last 10 days, like the grumpy old man cat defending his territory that he is.

Also, as I mentioned previously, some extremely good friends of mine have moved opposite and have brought their 3 cats with them.  Two of them - Prince and Puffle - aren't interested in coming out yet, but Maggie has been around and about for the last week, including visiting our garden a couple of times.  Interestingly, although Sylvester was outraged and hissed at her, she stood her ground and didn't run, and neither of them attacked each other.  They both then moved a safe-ish distance apart and just kept a wary eye on each other. 


Why it didn't turn into a scrap - as it does every time with Bruno - I have no idea.  Maybe it's because Maggie's female?  I dunno.  Cat psychology, eh?

On the job front, TLH has been working for a couple of weeks in a town that Betjeman's 'friendly bombs' unfortunately managed to miss.  This particular job is likely to last until March and he doesn't seem to mind the commute so far, even driving through the heavyish snow and icy roads that we had recently.

I realise I haven't expressly described exactly what he does for work.  Mostly because he doesn't like being discussed in a public forum (and I'm happy to concede with his wishes) but also because I don't really know myself.  Let's just say that he does contract work and if that makes him sound like a hit-man, well, you didn't hear it from me, okay?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

.....I'll be in my bunk.......

More stylish than a tin foil hat....

Remember Pyramid Hat Man of a post or two ago?

The very lovely Steerforth who writes the fabulous 'The Age of Uncertainty' blog has just sent me a link which explains it all!

Apparently, Pyradyne will supply you with a head gear pyramid which will help to make you feel no different at all, but will help to make them very wealthy indeed.  I have to admit I hooted with laughter in a very unladylike fashion when I spotted this mad-eyed creature on their website:

Perhaps she's looking a bit swivel-eyed because she's just forked out $60 for something that's been plated with orgones, no less!

Who let a goose in the house?

Sorry for being silent for so long, but that's because I have been.  Silent, I mean.  I've still got this godawful plague-thing that started back on Sunday 14 November, and today's the 27th so that's, what, 13 days so far.  Bloody hell.  Colds are only supposed to last about 5 days max, aren't they?  So Allah alone knows what fiendish virus from Hell I'm carrying around.  I can't believe I'm still coughing up chunks of lung and blowing lumps of brain out of my head.

Earlier this week I even lost my voice!  Really, properly lost it.  That's never happened to me before but I was honking around the house like a very quiet goose for a good couple of days - it was bizarre to say the least.  Laryngitis is quite odd - it's an infection/inflammation of the voicebox (the larynx) so it feels sore but it's localised at the front of your throat, around the Adam's Apple, and you keep wanting to cough to clear it but that only makes it worse.

Anyway, that's gone now so I'm back to my usual activity of mindlessly stomping around the house barking out stentorian commands for everyone to ignore.

I've also found that a cold of this magnitude is really quite effective birth control as another side effect of it is that I'm having massive coughing fits at around 3.30am to 4am every single morning which has resulted in me and TLH deciding to sleep in separate rooms for the duration so that at least one of us can get a decent night's sleep.  So me and Sylvester are in the main bed, and TLH is in the (actually, equally comfy) spare bed next door.  We're not so far away that we can't hear each other fart and snore but not so close that my hacking and swearing disturb him.

Talking of Sylvester - his scar is healing up nicely.  I managed to take out his stitch earlier this week which meant we didn't have to put him through the trauma of a visit to the vet's for them to do it.  He'd be happy about this if he knew.  We think he might be vaguely aware that Pepper's gone.  He's been particularly clingy and needy over the past few days - constantly hanging around, shouting, climbing into TLH's lap for strokes and cuddles.  I've asked him a few times 'Where's Pepper?' and I would swear blind that his eyes flicked to the windowsill where she used to sit, and he wandered over to look behind the sofa (where she would go when frightened by loud noises).  But perhaps I'm just being overly sentimental and anthropomorphising too much.  He's probably just pissed off that it's too cold for him to sit out on the bridge and we're making him use a cat tray.  On the other hand, they'd shared a house all their lives and while they didn't get on, they were never really all that far apart.

So, what else has happened?  Ah, yes.  I live in a cul-de-sac of about 23 houses and on Thursday some very good friends of ours, along with their 3 boys and their 3 cats, moved in more or less directly opposite.  I have known the parents, J & S, for over 20 years now and we are close enough friends to know where each others' bodies are buried but I have no idea how living in such close proximity will work.  I hope (and expect, to be honest) that it will be fine....

I've started another crochet blanket.  I decided to go ahead with the Babette design I mentioned in a previous post.  I've made a few squares already but I'm not sure of the colour combinations yet. Will post pictures when there's something decent to show.

We've not had any snow yet although I understand that much of the rest of the country has been blanketed.  It's been damn cold though, daytime temperatures not rising above 2 degrees.  Due to my cold and, er, the cold I've effectively abandoned the allotment for the time being - I had only managed to cover about a quarter of it with black plastic but I'm not too concerned, the frost will kill off quite a few weeds and the ground's too frozen now to dig over anyway.  When I'm feeling more up to it and it's warmed up a bit, I'll go back and carry on.  With gardening, nothing is ever unrescuable (is that a word?)

Oops, feel another coughing fit coming on (which is just as well as I'm scratching the bottom of the barrel to find things I'm allowed to tell you) - stand back from the screen now....

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

What - this thing? It's keeping my brains sharp, innit.....

First off, a word of warning, don't get too close to the screen, you might catch my Dreaded Lurgey.  Dunno where I've picked it up from 'cos I've not been near any sick people, but Sunday night I started to have a bit of a scratchy throat and on Monday woke up feeling like crap.

This was not good, not good at all.  You see, TLH and I are shameless homebodies, which means (rather obviously) we don't go out very much.  However, several months ago I bought tickets for us to go and see the Klaxons play at the HMV Forum, Kentish Town on Tuesday (yesterday).

I lurve the esoteric, psychonautical Klaxons - anyone who can combine lyrics about the Golden Dawn and science fiction space travel with fiendishly poppy and dancey tunes that get into your head and keep you awake at night is onto a winner with me.  Their latest album cover features a space-cat:

Here, have a video:

Anyway, there was no way on earth I was going to miss this, so TLH took me and my sinus infection up to London yesterday afternoon.  We decided to eat first in Chinatown and then head off to Kentish Town.  Got to Waterloo then hopped onto the underground with a view to getting out at Piccadilly and walking to Chinatown.

As we stopped at Piccadilly, we both spotted a chap getting off the train along with everyone else, and heading towards the exit.  We both stared at him, then at each other.  TLH said I had the biggest grin he'd ever seen.  We followed the passenger onto the platform and then up the stairs.  I was watching the reactions of commuters who passed him in the opposite direction.  Some just flicked their eyes sideways at him as he passed but showed no other reaction.  Others openly gawped, some young girls sniggered.  One young chap did a proper, cinematic double-take and muttered 'what the fuck?' as he drew level with us.

What was causing this reaction?  Why was I just so delighted that we had spotted him?  What was it about this middle-aged white male who dressed like a geography teacher in cords and tweed jacket and who carried a briefcase?

He was wearing a brass wire pyramid on his head.  As you do.

TLH decided we needed to follow him around the station for a bit, just to see what happened.  Mr Pyramid Hat didn't do anything unusual, he went to an ATM and then left.  And you'll be pleased to discover that we finally came to our senses to take some photos on our phones just so I could show you all.  The quality's not great but I hope you can make it out (click to embiggen):

It's a bold statement, I think you'll agree.  The genius of the look is that he appears perfectly ordinary (depending, of course, on your definition of 'ordinary') in every way.  Except for the pyramid on his head.  I was completely in awe and thrilled beyond measure.  I wanted to ask him what it was all about (although I did suspect it was probably a load of New Age 'healing' bollocks) and how he coped with peoples' reactions but we were running late and, anyway, I'm a bit of a coward and don't tend to talk to strangers, no matter how fascinating they might appear.

After we got home, I googled something like 'London man with pyramid on his head' and found a couple of references (some dating back 3 years or so, so he's obviously been committed to sporting this elegant headwear for a few years now) and a youtube video!


PS.  The gig was fantastic, one of the best I've been to for years.  Amazing lightshow and the audience was incredibly enthusiastic and bouncy.  We're off to see 'post-punk doom mongerers' Interpol at Brixton Academy in early December, which should be different - our favourite song by them is purportedly to be about Rose West (as in Fred and .....).  Eclectic tastes R Us!

Monday, 15 November 2010

What next, then....

You've all said such very lovely things about my big blanket that I feel really quite bashful now - which is saying something considering what a 'mouthy trout' I am (as my mother calls me).

But I can't decide what to do next.  Really I should not do anything for a while because, to be honest, all that intense crocheting actually started to hurt my knuckles, mainly the big one at the base of my middle finger on my right hand and the one at the base of my left index finger.  They got really achy and stiff, especially the day after a long session of crocheting. But then I suppose I am 47 years old and in the olden days would have already been written off as a granny if not already dead!

But I'm not a granny (and, what's more, never will be) and in my head am still only in my mid-twenties.  I'm still wondering what I want to be when I grow up.  This year I started dying my hair pink and have been giving vague consideration to getting another tattoo.  Tomorrow night (Tues 16 Nov), TLH and I are off to The Forum in Kentish Town to shake our booty to the Klaxons, and next month it'll be Interpol at Brixton Academy.  I'm not ready to kick off my dancing shoes just yet.

Hmm, this post has wandered a bit.  What I want to ponder is which crochet project to do next.  I'm still interested in the blanket/throw/cushion side of things rather than trying to make garments.  I have a throw made of circles and stars that I was working on back in February this year which I put to one side when I got caught up in the Summer Garden Granny blanket - I could always go back to that:

This is as far as I'd got.  I quite like it but it obviously hasn't thrilled me enough to want to carry on doing it as well as the blanket.  I'll think about it.

What I might do is another ripple blanket.  I made a large-ish one back in January this year for the birth of my latest niece, Lyra, in early February.  It's a lovely design and, if you can count to 4, not difficult to do although it becomes weirdly hypnotic and it was a relief to finish it. 

At some point I'd quite like to make a scarf for TLH in ripple stitch in some sort of manly colours - shades of brown and cream, perhaps - in a lovely soft yarn - cashmere, perhaps, or something with silk in it. Perhaps for Christmas next year.

No, I'm leaning towards doing a Babette Blanket next. This was originally designed by someone called Kathy Merrick and is made from fairly straightforward squares but all of different sizes.  It's a design that makes everyone go 'oooooooooh' when they see it and immediately want to rush out to their nearest wool shop.

Here's one:

(I bet you went 'ooooooooooh', didn't you?!)  I adore the bright colours in this one, and the outline in sky blue and then black is stunning. 

But it's just as lovely in more muted colours:

Or even, um, 'mutier'...

But, yeah, lovely though the subtle ones are, you just know I'm not about to make one that tasteful - it's bright, bright colours for me, baby - all the way!

What do you think?  Do you want to start making your own as well and we can have a 'Crochet-a-long'?  You can download the pattern as a .pdf file for $6.00 should you want to but looking at the pictures shows that it's just one particular style of square made in different sizes and then all joined together - how difficult can it be?!?!??

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Finally finished......

The picture above is a shot of the final, FINAL stitch of a large blanket that I've been crocheting since the beginning of March this year.

I'm extremely pleased with how it's come out.  The design is called Summer Garden Granny Square and you can find it at Attic24, the blog of the very talented Lucy.  There were 17 different colours in all but that certainly felt like not enough, bizarrely.  And I'm not pedantic about what I used - wool, cotton, acrylic, cashmere, even camel - it's all in there, it was the colour that attracted me.

I made squares that harmonised, complemented and clashed.  Individual little squares were grouped into a collection of four, then two borders was added around them.  I then joined 3 more of these squares together so they made a block of four, then added a border each of fern green and glacier blue.  I then attached 32 little squares around that and did a raspberry pink border around that.  These big squares were 2 feet across. 

Here's one I was blocking a couple of days ago (the very dark coloured wool used in the central four squares is actually a dark auberginey purple, and not black - there's no black or white in this blanket):

Admittedly there were quite a few days when I didn't pick up the hook and wool but not many.  By the end I was able to crochet without looking which makes doing it in front of the telly much easier.  This picture is all 9 big squares laid out on the floor before blocking and stitching together:

It didn't take me too long to stitch them altogether, and here's the final product:

I made this for our bed so here it is in its final location, ready to be sat on by our one remaining cat:

Isn't it fabulous? Even if I say so myself although this does mean I won't be able to change the colour scheme in our bedroom as it goes so well with the raspberry pink walls and petrol blue/green curtains....

I think it was worth every second of the enormous amount of time it took me to make it.  People who are not crafty and don't make things invariably have no comprehension whatsoever of the amount of time and effort that goes into creating something; they equate 'handmade' with 'cheap' and then baulk when told the price.

I calculated how many stitches I put into this blanket.  You're not going to believe it but I swear this is accurate - 47,000.  That's right - there's at least forty-seven thousand stitches in this.

And I'm probably going to start doing another one....