Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Halfway through crocheted temperature blanket

I'm exactly half way through my 2016 crocheted temperature blanket. Here it is on my dining room table looking splendid, if I do say so myself.

January is far away at the fireplace end, June is closest to the camera.

So far it is 56 inches long which means it will be approximately 112 inches long at the end of the year making it long enough to generously cover a single bed. We don't actually have any single bed in our home but hope to by the end of the year.

At the moment, we don't have any guest facilities at our home, the only bed is our own double one though we have a sofa in MTM's study which converts into a Futon as an emergency measures and the sofa is always available at a pinch if we need to put anyone up.

One of the rooms I have earmarked for a spare bedroom with hopefully twin beds is planned to have major works on it very soon! Will our renovations never be finished?! We estimated it would take us two years when we moved in (three years ago) to do everything we wanted and it still feels like we have two years yet to do but we have found more to do as we got stuck in, family illnesses have taken up some of our time and also we've got a little more ambitious our plans as we've gone along but there's no reason to rush save it would be nice to finish and then sit back and enjoy it.

Other blog postings about progress earlier in the year on this blanket which details the pattern and colours of Stylecraft yarn that I'm using:

Meteorological colour clashes - 4 June 2016
Warming up on temperature blanket - 4 April 2016
Temperature blanket - 16 January 2016
Starting a temperature blanket - 6 January 2016

Here are individual month close ups of the temperature rows; top of the image is the 1st of the month going down to the end of the month (to within a day or two). Spring temperatures (and colours) arrived all in a rush in May in the UK!







I have plans to do a weather blanket next year which will incorporate more aspects of the weather like how sunny/rainy it is and wind speed ... am pondering how to do this at the moment and filtering my ideas - more on that soon! 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Nice one Ritchie - Rainbow at the NEC in Birmingham

MTM, our mate Steve and I were very lucky to get great seats to go see Ritchie Blackmore playing some Rainbow and Deep Purple numbers at the Genting Arena at the NEC in Birmingham on Saturday night. We were in Block A and about 20 rows from the front.

This is just a screengrab from some YouTube footage, taken when they were playing Burn, which is my all time favourite Deep Purple track. Before they played the UK, they did two gigs at open air festivals in Germany. Burn was actually missing from the set list on those gigs so I was desperately grateful they decided to treat the UK to it. I think Soldier of Fortune was also a UK only track. I have this dream that one day, when playing Soldier of Fortune either with the reconstituted Rainbow or Blackmore's Night, David Coverdale will walk on stage and take over the vocals ... c'mon David, you're friends with Ritchie again now, you know you want to ...!

My second favourite Deep Purple track is Mistreated, a complex song, slow and bluesy and needs a really good singer. Ronnie Romero is the dynamic young singer Ritchie Blackmore chose to front the new line up, This guy shoved a stick of dynamite in his vocal chords and just exploded at us ... what a talent! Ritchie always has a knack of choosing really great singers and Ronnie is no exception. Nice one Ritchie!

There were too many highlights to mention them all but Stargazer was a wall of sound, the keyboard player was amazing on Burn and Child in Time, in the absence of John Lord, wow! he'll do!

The drummer, base player (Bob with his natty black and white polka dot shirt) and the keyboard player have all been in Ritchie's other band, Blackmore's Night, at various times and all are exceptional musicians.

This was definitely gig of the year in my book by a long chalk. I don't want Ritchie to stop doing Blackmore's Night but I, for one, won't be complaining if they decide to do an album and tour some more.

Long Live Rock 'n Roll!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Brexit, dollars, lampwork beads and me

The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. I am very surprised, it never seriously occurred to me that this would be the actual outcome so I didn't really think through what my shop's currency being in dollars would mean to my beadmaking income. I wanted to stay IN.

I found myself awake in the early hours and so got up at 3.30am to see how things were going on the referendum. With the result looking cut and dried and the pound falling alarmingly against the dollar, I shut my Etsy shop temporarily until I could figure out how it would affect me.

Now I'm up (and far more awake), I realise that this makes no difference to my customers in the United States, they can continue to buy at the same prices (to them) as my shop's currency is set to dollars. A little over half of my customers are the US and so I can hope to continue to enjoy their patronage and one upside is that the exchange rate means I will get more sterling from those transactions.

The downside is that the rest of my customers are in the UK, with a small percentage in other countries in the EU. To them, my prices have increased significantly (10% at the time of typing). I imagine this will mean some of those customers may choose not to buy from me. I have considered lowering my prices or changing the currency of my shop but I haven't increased bead prices in three years, if I decrease them and things settle down again, well, I'm just not willing to make beads for a lower price. I'm not exactly getting rich out of self-employment! I hope that the two sets of customers will balance themselves out and I can continue making lampwork beads for all of my lovely customers.

With apologies to those it adversely affects, I've decided I will be rolling my sleeves up and just getting on with things as they are. It's out of my control, it's pointless to get all stressed about it. I will continue to monitor and make decisions accordingly. Watch this space for news.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Meteorological colour clashes

I am cross with the weather. 

The first time it was warm enough in the UK to get Stylecraft colour Tomato out for the temperature blanket I'm crocheting, there was a nice build up of Kelly Green, Grass Green, Gold Sunshine and THEN Tomato as the lower part of my photograph shows.

With the temperature rising a full seven degrees in the last 24 hours, I've had to jump from Kelly Green straight to Tomato ... the colours don't look nearly so nice next to each other. You'd think the weather would have a little more consideration for the fact that when I picked my colours back on 1st January, I imagined a smooth transition.

I may have to petition the Met Office if they keep this up.