Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Absolute Beginners - Vix's Adventures In Crochet




 Happy New Year!!

WEARING: Inherited crochet maxi coat with 1970s Ricci Michaels of Mayfair psychedelic dress (bought from Vintage Relics at The End of the Road festival, 2016)

You may have noticed my fondness for crocheted clothing. The multi-coloured coat I'm wearing was one of Mum's creations from the 1970s - she used to buy hand knits from jumble sales, unravel them and crochet the yarn into coats, selling them to the cooler teachers and trendier mums at my junior school. The proceeds kept her in fags and booze.


She also used to make crochet jewellery. I found this wooden pendant wedged under the skirting board in her bedroom when I was clearing The Cottage before we put it up for sale.


Here's the Afghan blanket Mum made when she was expecting me that I recently deconstructed and remade into a coat


 And the cat blanket from a charity shop I also took apart and made into a cropped cardi.


The shawl the ladies in a charity shop put aside for me because it was weird.


There's my 1960s crochet wedding dress bought from a car boot sale for £5 in 2008 and a regular feature on my blog since day one.



One of the matching ponchos Mum crocheted when I was little (this one was hers, I got too big for mine).


 There's the crochet skull cap that came out of the 3 for £1 charity shop dump bin,


The maxi skirt Liz made me for my birthday three years ago.


And I always travel to India with at least one crochet bikini.


This year there's three in my bag!




Mum was an ace crocheter but her genes never passed to me. Any attempt I've made to learn has ended in abject failure but when Jon gave me a crochet book for complete beginners and a kit containing everything I needed to get started for Xmas, I decided that 2018 would be the year I finally mastered the art of crochet.


On Boxing Day I attempted double crochet. After several false starts I'd completed these wrist warmers (or beer mittens, as I prefer to call them) by Friday.




Next I decided to follow the book's granny square instructions only to get to a certain point and for it to go tits up. After yet another failure I turned to You Tube. I found a few tutorials but none seemed to engage until I stumbled upon Jayda's channel (you'll find a link HERE). With her glittery makeup, spangly bangles and big hoop earrings I knew she was the woman for me...and she was! Above is my first successful granny square, completed by 9am this morning.


In my excitement I rushed into town and treated myself the brightest yarn in the shop for just £1 a ball.


Will I be wearing the Vix-made psychedelic version of Cate Blanchett's vintage Dior maxi by Summer 2018? Watch this space!

Linking to Modish Matrons #19 Warm in Knits


86 comments:

  1. Hoorah for learning a new skill! You're off to a good start.

    Watch out for the yarn purchases, though... I have at least three crates of the stuff kicking round at home, it's seriously addictive.

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    1. I can't believe that after 51 years I finally know how to crochet. Wonders will never cease!
      Luckily Poundland, Wilkos and Shaws Direct are the only shops locally that sell wool so no danger of being crushed by a yarn mountain just yet!

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  2. while doing my year end clean up, I found a storage bin full of granny squares taken apart from an old blanket. I may be sporting a Vix inspired jacket soon.

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    1. With the weather you're having I think you need a Vix granny square jacket now!

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  3. Oh vix i love crochet things too but never been able to master it , well done for persevering with it , Hope it gets better and better for you , I can knit but keep dropping stitches and cant sort myself out when it happens without undoing a whole row so it doesn't grow very quick lol xxx

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    1. I'm so excited to have finally got the hang of crochet. Have you tried doing a granny square? It's certainly a lot more straightforward as you never have to count to more than three! xxx

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  4. What Mim said about the yarn stash ;)

    Congratulations learning to crochet.

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  5. I do love crochet, my hubby reckons if isn't nailed down I'll cover it in crochet. I have so many crocheted bags it is ridiculous, basically I upcycle canvas bag for life type bags.
    My mum used to unravel jumpers from the jumble too, she used to make us a variety of knitwear usually, although she was also fantastic with the crochet hook. We need to keep these skills alive - so well done and I look forward to your crocheted creations.
    Happy new year - I'm looking forward to your India posts already. x

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    1. I remember as a child visiting some friends of my Mum's and every surface in their flat was covered with crochet - when I asked her why she told me it's because they didn't have children - maybe that'll happen to me!!!

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  6. Well done you! You’ll be making temperature blankets and paisley tops before you know it! A x

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  7. You really look great in all of those outfits.Over 40 years ago I wore a gold metallic crochet mini dress with bikini & metalic tights.Also white crochet dress with bikini for discoing.I think I could do the skirt now though.Thanks for the inspiration-I have got a bit boring at 58 x

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    1. I'm loving the sound of your crocheted clothes from back in the day, Flis!

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  8. Love your beer mittens. I've never learned how to crochet, or knit. I learned how to sew when I was a kid but haven't done more than hand mending since I was a kid. You are super talented!

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    1. Thank you! Maybe you should give it a bash? It's cheap and relaxing!

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  9. Yay!!! Your crocheting is awesome!! 💙💙💙

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  10. Fab! I do love a bit of crochet. Your beer mittens are ace and I reckon you are now hooked (sorry) and wondrous creations will follow. I love all the possibilities and colour combinations. Get ready for compulsive yarn buying like Mim says!
    Love ya!
    xxxx

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    1. I do love a pun!!
      I can't get crochet out of my head, whenever I get a spare minute I'm hooking! xxx

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  11. You did excellent with what you've done so far! YouTube has always helped me out when I'm not sure what is written down in a book. I haven't mastered the granny square yet (and I've tried these last 7 years...ugh!), but I will try again soon. I've just started working on a baby blanket for my eldest niece (she may end up two from me). Keep it up and you will be a pro in no time!

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    1. Thanks, Tracie! I'm addicted to the granny square, they're so straightforward once you get the basics right !

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  12. All of your crochet clothes are so cool. I love the granny square jackets - maybe I should try my hand at one. Your beer mitts look cute!

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  13. Love the mitts, doing well and now you have the basics no stopping you. When I lived in New Zealand, early 70s, I had a friend who wanted a crocheted wedding dress but had never crocheted. Taught herself to make a granny square then made her wedding dress! Don't you just love ambition come to fruition!

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    1. Goodness me, your NZ pal was ambitious! xxx

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  14. Well done on completing the wrist warmers/beer mittens and yay! on completing your first perfect granny square. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress but judging from the colourful yarn you've bought, your next creation will be totally Vix, whatever it is. One day, I swear, I will learn how to crochet too. I do find YouTube tutorials much more useful than anything shown in a book. xxx

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    1. You'd love crochet, Ann - it would be a wonderful distraction on your daily commute! xxx

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  15. Well done you! Those wrist warmers look fab! I find YouTube much easier to learn from than books, it helps me to see it all in motion. Can't wait to see your dress!

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    1. You're right, it's a lot easier to understand when there's someone demonstrating it - I get stuck, follow a video and next time I read the book it all seems to slot into place.

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  16. I gave myself all of last year to learn to crotchet. It was my last ditch attempt after trying every method under the sun. So I applaud you wholeheartedly Vix for managing it. Well done your mum would be clapping her hands with pride xxx

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    1. I can't believe how many times I tried and failed an yet this time it all slotted into place - good old Jon and his Xmas present!

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  17. Oh well done, Vix! learning a new skill is always a wonderful thing and brings such a sens of achievement.

    I taught my self to crochet 40 years ago using a beginners book of crochet, one crochet hook (all I could afford) and a ball of wool. I initially made baby clothes as I was expecting my daughter at the time; went on to make doilies in very fine thread so they were like lace and I crocheted my ex mum in law a jumper. Then I stopped until I took crocheting up again in 2014 when I retired.

    I have to say I'm very inspired by your crochet wedding dress and the maxi skirt; so inspired I may well be tempted to make them for myself. All your crochet clothes are fabulous and you look amazing in your crochet bikini!

    Check out someone called Sophie Digard; I think she's a crochet designer but I've seen some astonishing crochet work by her. Pinterest is also excellent for ideas and links to free patterns.

    Just be warned though; crochet is addictive and as yet I know no one who can read and crochet at the same time...
    xxxxx

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    1. You're so right, I feel so empowered now I can get the basics right.
      I've looked at Sophie Digard's work - isn't she incredible? I love those necklaces!

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  18. PS - Meant to ask where you bought your 1.00 wool from? Poundland here only does 3 x 100 gm balls for 2.00 in a limited range of colours; mainly pastels. If I buy the standard 100 gm double knitting acrylic wool it ranges from 1.95 to 1.75...

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    1. There's a shop locally to me called Shaws Direct - I've just checked and they've got a website. It's "Marriner" 100g double knit and there's a choice of 21 colours. The chunky yarn I used for the beer mittens is £1.25.
      I did look in Poundland and found the colours very uninspiring.

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    2. Thank you so much! I've just ordered 10 balls for a future project. Those prices are charity shop prices!

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    3. Happy to help! Their prices are great. I needed some felt for another project and they'd got it for 30p a sheet, bargain!

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    4. I have a feeling Marriner is a sub-brand of Wendy (Ramsdens) though I might be misremembering. It's an old brand, though; I've got patterns from the 50s and 60s that are by Marriner.

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    5. I thought so, Marriner's rung a bell when I noticed it printed on the label. It's great for the money, it doesn't fray like the Poundland stuff.

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  19. woaaa, you've been bitten by crochet bug!, that's fabulous news!
    I've loved every piece of crochet you've worn, so many colorful and awesome clothes!
    Granny squares are my fav thing to crochet, so I'm glad that you managed to make one!, once you get the idea, it's easier to make whatever you want. I also fell in love with that crochet dress which Cate Blanchet worn and didn't understand why was so criticized! I would love to see you wearing something similar (I would love to wear it myself!!)
    Wrist warmers/beer mittens are the best thing when you're used to wear big rings! I do love them!
    besos

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    1. Of course, you're a crocheter, too! I always love your hats, maybe I could try one next!!
      I can't understand why anyone would criticise Cate's dress, it's cool, funky and timeless unlike so many of barely there frocks so many celebs seem to embrace! xxx

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  20. Stunning! Thank you for linking up with modish matrons:)
    Happy new year!

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  21. You must have had a fabulous mum. Full marks for conquering crochet. I tried and I tried. I was a good knitter but my crochet gene got left out. When do you leave?

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    1. I can't believe I've finally got it!

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  22. Oh WOW! LOVE Cate's dress and that it will be your inspiration.

    All of your crocheted pieces are fantastic. I'm especially envious you can pull off a crocheted bikini! When you've got it...flaunt it! And you've got it in spades.

    Suzanne

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne! Cate's dress reminds me of your amazing maxi and matching top, they look remarkably similar, don't they?
      I can't believe it'll be bikini weather for me in a couple of days, it's so grim here! xxx

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  23. eeeee, I can't even tell the difference between crochet and knitting. Obviously I can't do either. Luv your stuff and kudos to you for starting it. I luv your kit too. I can see paisley crochet in your future.

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    1. I've always loved crochet but run a mile from knitwear, not sure why, maybe 'cos crochet always seems prettier and more lacy?
      Isn't my kit cute? The boy done well!

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  24. I love all the crochet, it's like crochet heaven.
    Welcome to crocheters anonymous, you will soon be hooked (did you see that pun coming ;-))
    I think you've made a fab start the square is really good and I love your beer mitts xxx

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    1. Thanks, sally! I think I'm already addicted!!

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  25. Yey! Congratulations new crocheter, your crochet looks fab!

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  26. Yay Vix can crochet! Beware or you'll soon have baskets of yarn taking over your living quarters. Chazzas are great places to pick up balls of yarn, I can see you getting a few rows in, between serving Kinky customers at this year's festivals...or on your flight to India, crochet hooks are permitted on flights but questioned on a cross channel ferry FFS!
    That shawl is NOT weird... it's fecking fantastic and your beer mittens are ace. Xxx

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    1. I did toy with the idea of taking some crochet on our epic journey to Gujarat but them I'd be lumbered with a load of woolly creations I'd have to carry around India for the next month or so! How weird about cross channel ferries banning crochet hooks!
      I've been scouring the chazzas for wool, it's all been horrible pastel baby stuff so far but I live in hope.

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  27. Oh, I'm loving all these beautiful crocheted pieces! and how heartwarming to find one of your mum's pendants hidden away, just for you. You're giving me 70s flashbacks to my old matching tam and poncho combos that my mom made for me. I also had a crocheted vest, and I've made several blankets and a full Barbie doll wardrobe (including wedding dress) for my nieces several years ago. Hmmm...might be time to dig out the hooks again!

    PS - DAMN, you look amazing in a bikini! Girl! Woo!

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    1. You can crochet!! Get your sticks out, Sheila - with your eye for colour and style I bet you could make something incredible.
      I live to wear bikinis - if it was warm enough I'd wear one every day! xxx

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  28. You've been such a dab hand with the pom poms that I knew crochet was only a step away for you. How fantastic to be learning a new skill for the New Year. Best of luck with it, I can't wait to see more of your creations!! xx

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    1. I'm loving it! I think I'm addicted already!

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  29. i´m impressed!
    by your gorgeous collection of all things crochet and by your willpower to learn how to! its the perfect hobby for you with your love of flamboyant 70´s pieces. i can see you - sitting in front of your festival stall and crocheting dresses, skirts and coats - which get bought right from your hook!
    xxxxx

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    1. Now there's a plan! I'm sure it wouldn't take me too long to knock up a granny square sun top - a lot healthier for me than drinking all day when I'm working the festivals.

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  30. Fab! I've been saying for three years that I'm going to learn to crochet...all those colours. Brighten any dull day!
    Arilx

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    1. Maybe you should try it this year. Honestly, if I can do it anyone can!

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  31. A work friend gave me a crochet hook and ball of yarn and a couple lessons. It is still sitting a year later in the side of my computer bag. I really appreciate the art of crochet, but between my lack of manual dexterity, and vision, I might be lucky to even make a dish rag.

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    1. At least a dish rag's useful!

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  32. Whoa, there's no stopping you now!!! Look out! This is great. When I saw that first photo on your Instagram I thought, that makes me want to learn how to crochet. And already you are doing granny squares. You wear all these crochet pieces to the max. I can't wait to see your stellar creations. They will be jaw-droppingly incredible.

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    1. You should have a go - I learnt from the best - a fellow Canadian! xxx

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  33. Damn, you are fire in that crochet bikini!!!

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  34. What a gorgeous collection of crocheted pieces and what a wonderful start of new year!!
    Your Mum was talented, and you definitely got her genes, in so many ways!

    I grew up with knitters and crocheters (Mom didn't do a lot of it, but her sisters, my grandma and practically everyone I knew did) and learned some of it in my "former life". Here in America, I picked many new hobbies and interests, but I think some day I might make something again.

    Happy New Year!
    And thanks for linking with MM, it's perfect!

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    1. Thanks, Natalia! Crocheting is so rewarding and perfect on a cold winter's night - hopefully I'll remember how to do it when I get back from India!

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  35. I think your Mum would be quite proud to see you carrying on the Crochet Tradition! Learning new skills like knitting or crocheting helps keep your brain active, not that your brain isn't already on overdrive a lot of the time ;) I think my favourite piece of yours is the poncho that your Mum made. I had such a thing for ponchos in the 70's.

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    1. I do feel very proud of myself, I can't understand why I never got crochet before but I'm addicted to it now - or at least the granny square making!
      I do love ponchos even if it's nigh-on impossible to carry a bag when you wear one.

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  36. oh my gosh good for you!! The fact you love crotchet so much it will be wonderful for you to design and create your own pieces. I have always loved it as well, have had many things crocheted always, I have been away from blogging for over a year but found my way back, I started a new blog with almost the same name because while away someone took over my blog name trying to sell life insurance lol, can you imagine lol,, crazy world,, I have lots of catching up todo, you look well and healthy, Happy New Year to you and Jon, best wishes from Canada!

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    1. Laurie - lovely to hear from you! Happy New Year! Life insurance? I suppose that beats porn which seems to be what happens to many a dormant blog. xxx

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  37. Now I know where you get your creativity. Your Mum was a very talented lady! That's awesome that she recycled knits into other garments. Love all the pieces here that you've featured. Makes me want to start crocheting now too! Maybe I can start small, with something like that cute little skull cap. I hadn't thought about owning one until I saw it, now I think I really need one!

    Theresa

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    1. You'd certainly rock a skull cap, Theresa!

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  38. Congratulations on your crochet, the mitts are great. I am thinking of buying the book you recommended, thanks. You will be a head turner on the beach in those fabulous bikinis!

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    1. Thanks, Betty! I think you'll love that book. I haven't followed any of the instructions yet but I can spend ages pouring over the photos. x

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  39. I love your beer mittens! Practical and yet a beautiful colour :)
    I love the maxi coat, that's just gorgeous, and the matching poncho must be so lovely to wear - the memories!
    I've dabbled in crochet, I can muster up a pretty good granny square but I put it down for just long enough to forget how to do it and have to start again.
    Looking forward to seeing you Cate Blanchett dress soon ;)

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    1. Jadya was such a good teacher I only watched the video twice and it seems to have stuck, I keep saying "shell...chain..chain...shell" over and over again! xxx

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  40. Oh wow, I love every blimmin thing you have shown. Bring back crocheted ponchos. Maybe you should make a few and start a revival.

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  41. I'm tempted to take up the gauntlet/mitten challenge. A friend gave me beer mittens for Christmas and very useful they are in our -13 temps!
    Three crocheted bikinis to celebrate your sleek self: congratulations on the weight loss, Vix. It's hard work. Once upon a time, my sibling hosted a drinks party on his boat. A guest arrived wearing a crocheted bikini made with a fluffy yarn. My poor brother still closes his eyes in pain when he tells the story of what happened when the fluffy yarn got wet...

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    1. Happy New Year, Beth! Your weather's making headlines over here (a pleasant change from the Orange One). Beer mittens were a most thoughtful present, I'm going to make longer ones next time - maybe up to my elbows if I can stay focused on double crochet for that long.
      I can just imagine that fluffy crochet bikini and water - luckily mine have added Lycra! xxx

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xxx