Last week to the annual gathering of my husband's mother's family. Much has happened in the year, as usual most obviously to the youngest and oldest in the group. Thus the babe in arms at last year's event is now a confident toddler, while my husband's uncle is recovering from a bout of debilitating illness.
I am a great believer in the therapeutic powers of craft work. A close friend was once given a complete knitted Nativity scene, made as therapy by someone whose husband had decided to release his inner teen and leave her with three young children. Choosing suitable yarns and creating the figures had taken the edge off the long evenings for her.
So it has been for my husband's aunt: knitting these cute doggy figures helping to while away the hours of anxiety and concern. These are all worked from the book "Knit Your Own Dog."
I was not at all surprised to hear that the work in progress is a German shepherd, knit from yarn spun from the dog's own hair clippings - though it would not be my fibre of choice! For the dog-owner it will be a curiosity at least.
More craft work by the same hand. Last year I came across a collection of crochet cottons in a charity shop and passed them on. It is hard to believe that 50p worth of odds and ends can be turned into something so airy and delicate. This is tatting, not crochet.
And so is this: a handkerchief edged with lace made by tatting. There is something so crisp and perfect about the tiny picots bristling along the curves of this. Hard to imagine blowing one's nose on it!