Thursday, 31 December 2015

Giving and Receiving

Hi guys, have you had a nice Christmas? I had a lovely time with my family thank you :o)

I wanted to call by to show you some of the gifts I made this year and a very special handmade thing I received too. It has just dawned on me that I forgot to take pictures of some of the gifts I made but never mind - here are the ones that got photographed:



I made both my husband and my son a Handbrake Cowl each in Rowan Felted Tweed Aran. This knitting pattern is a design by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears podcast. It's an easy make that is very enjoyable to do. My gauge was really big to start with so the cowl was coming out really large. Instead of going down needle size I decided to reduce the stitch count and this worked out fine. I reduced the stitch count down further to make a smaller one for my boy - the pattern is quite easy so it's not difficult to work out the maths.
Both my men like their cowls but the weather right now is so mild they don't really need to wear them. I'm hoping the yarn isn't too itchy for either of them, I've yet to do the blocking and that might soften them up.



I also made my friend Saffron these socks and she loves them too! They are made with gorgeous cashmere, merino and nylon hand dyed yarn from The Yarn Gallery on Etsy. They were such a joy to knit due to the beautiful feel of the yarn. They are just vanilla socks, but who needs patterning when the yarn is so pretty? Look at all the subtle colours and the way they sit in the stocking stitch.
I didn't use a pattern for these, I cast on 60 stitches (she has narrow feet) using 2.25mm dpns and knit a 2x1 rib. Then I made the cuff 6" in stocking stitch and did a Fish Lips Kiss heel (funny name but super easy pattern)


And look what the lovely Sandra gifted me! I am so touched that she made me this gorgeous shawl, which is a new design by her (at the time of publishing this post it's still to be released, but coming soon I think!)
It's so soft and pretty, with a lovely drape. I think the yarn is Regia Angora Merino, it's fabulous anyway! I wore this all day on Christmas day with my favourite shawl pin and loved it. 
Thank you my dear for such a special present 


So lots of lovely things going on here over the holiday period. I'm trying to get up to date with all my patterns on Ravelry and will check in with you again soon with my updates. I will also be getting organised for my Spring crochet workshops, so keep posted for that too. In the meantime, take care my friends,
'till next time...


Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas Time...












I feel a bit like I've lost my place on my blog. It hasn't benefitted from much of my attention of late, probably due to the busy-ness of this time of year. I've also been doing Christmas present crafting which of course means not publishing pictures of the makes for the time being. Still I did want to pop in to show you my decorations, on the same red and white colour scheme as usual but with some gorgeous Gisela Graham additions picked up at the garden centre the other week. The tree decorations have worked well this year because the lights I bought in the sale in January are white coloured so the overall effect is more co-ordinated than previous years. I find festive decorations quite tricky - it's very easy to get it wrong. A few of my friends decorate in such tasteful and sophisticated ways, in comparison to the 'throw it all on and hope for the best approach' ! We decorate the tree as a family after dinner, it's a sweet tradition and one which we all enjoy. The children have all declared how much they love the tree and how our house is very cosy, and we've discussed our favourite bits. The little scene with the bisque house, glass tree and Santa's sleigh candle holder is probably the winner, but I love my little red car, carrying the tree home on it's roof (that I got form BHS by the way).


Apart from all the presents I've been working on I have been trying to knit on my #AdventSocksKAL each day - and not succeeding! There is doubt in my mind that they will be finished by Christmas day. But never mind - I love them anyway and will definatly wear them when they are done, even if that is January the 15th! I'm very happy with the cream contrast cuff and heel (the toes will be cream too). Both yarns I'm using have sparkle in them, which is brilliant and make for a super pair of festive socks. I will attempt to finish them in time, we'll see how I get on!

So all it remains to say is to wish you all a happy holiday time. Whatever you celebrate (or not) I do wish you all happiness, fulfilment, good health and peace in you hearts and I look forward to sharing my creative life with you all in 2016.

take care my friends, 'till next time...

                                                                     

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Advent Stockings

   

So my stocking advent calendar was finished yesterday, 2nd December, and of course better late than never! The cute printed stockings are a Makower panel that I bought from Singers in town. They had them made up and strung like bunting along the stair banister, but I couldn't think of a place to hang them like that in our house, so came up with this idea.


I'd bought the hessian a while ago with a vague Christmas purpose, and it came into it's own here and I was glad to have it on hand. I stitched the Merry Christmas ribbon horizontally and attached each stocking along the way. I sewed the red and green buttons on in embroidery floss, I so love four-holed buttons with a criss-cross middle.



It hangs on the kitchen door that leads through to the rest of the house and I have filled it with goodies for the children - they have to work out a system of who's turn it is to eat the treat!


When I was little the advent calendars I had were little doors to open and reveal a sweet festive scene,  there was no chocolate inside (my kids find this hilarious for some reason). Anyway, I remember it would really bother me that the numbers were all mixed up and not in the proper order, I think I liked things to be just so and it was far too random for my liking. However, I have deliberately arranged these stockings out of order, for the fun of searching for the right number. Appears I am a more random person theses days....

'till next time...

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Advent Socks

Happy first of December everybody! Yikes my advent calendar isn't finished!! I've still got all those buttons to sew on and figure out a way of hanging it up. And fill with sweet treats of course.


Hopefully I can get it done this afternoon, but I have a busy day as I'm preparing all the last bits for my workshop later. As usual I'm holding it at Fancy, my friend Saffron's coffee shop, and tonight is our Christmas special where we will be making crocheted granny coasters and sewing them to scented pads that I have made. I filled them with festive smelling tea, the idea being you can rest your hot drink on it, and as well as protecting your table, it should also give off a lovely smell that will get you in the Christmas spirit. It really is a full house tonight, I'm a bit nervous as I want to make sure everyone gets the attention they need, most people however are my regular ladies and I'm sure they will have a super evening chatting and crocheting. I'm running a free raffle too, two prizes of handmade stockings filled with goodies are ready and I will get everyone to write their names on bits of paper and get Saffron to draw the winners from a hat. It's my way of saying thank you for the support of all my regulars, they are all such a fantastic bunch of people.


I'm also joining Sandra for our #AdventSockKAL. We've decided to have a knit a long for Christmas socks as we'd both bought festive skeins whilst at Festiwool a few weeks back. The idea is to cast the socks on today and do a few rows each day aiming to complete them on Christmas eve so we can wear them on the big day. I'm so excited, just as my little one is about having the chocolates out of her advent calendar (if I get it finished).


I treated myself to a pretty mug and made a project bag too so I'm all set, just need to find half an hour to actually cast on, even if it's a few rows it doesn't matter. I just want to get started!!!


If you want to join in with me and Sandra with our #AdventSockKAL don't forget to post your progress on Instagram :o)

Have a great day,

'till next time...
                                                                

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Saturday Roundup and 3 Cheerz!!!

Hi everyone, I hope you're enjoying your weekend.

I'm feeling better after a week of 'the lergy' and have spent most of today cleaning my grotty house. Without fail I always want to disinfect everything after being ill, and I needed to get on top of everything as no housework has been done for days and it was getting me down. So after a few hours of domestic duties I look around me and it looks a bit better I suppose - at least I know the kitchen floor is no longer a health hazard ;0|





I mentioned in my last post that I've had a run of finishing things and so I thought I'd catch up with that today. This knitted hat is a pattern from issue 139 of Simply Knitting by Kirstie McLeod and I made it up in a lovely cranberry red chunky yarn - Lion brand Vanna's Choice. The pattern is easy and fun, although I would have preferred to have been able to knit it in the round as opposed to flat, but that's because I don't like seaming. It's so cute with the little pom-poms and fits perfectly. My little poppet was very happy to model too.


And then socks. I'm part of the sock-knitting craze sweeping the country yarn community. Actually socks are a very satisfying project, and it wasn't that long ago that the construction still mystified me. These certainly aren't perfect, I'm still a learner, but I'm generally pleased with how they have turned out.  Their name is 'Hyper Hyper Socks' as that is what the colour of this Sirdar Heart and Sole yarn is called - according to the drop-down thing on Ravelry anyway. They are bright and in your face, perfect to wear on a jeans and boots day. The pattern is Hermione's everyday sock by Erica Lueder, I got a bit confused on the heel part and ended up doing a slip-stitch one as I had done that before, but I think I have now figured out how it was supposed to be so will be able to do it properly if I use this pattern again. And I probably will, it's a good one.

And finally I can announce my three lucky winners in the Cheerz give away, yay!!!

The three winners are:

Sally Dodd

Joanne Roberts


S Phillips

Congratulations, I will email you your codes to spend £20 on the Cheerz website
I hope you have fun with it!

'till next time...

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Ramona Cardigan







I've had a run of finishing things of late. Because I often always have several WIPs on the go at the same time, there comes a point when they all seem to reach completion together. The first thing off the needles was my Ramona Cardigan, a design by Elizabeth Smith, made in Berroco Vintage in shades 5195 - Macaron and 5116 - Dove, a beginner friendly Aran weight yarn that is a mix of acrylic, wool and nylon. Lovely to work with, especially in these subtle colours. I had 4 skeins of the Macaron shade knocking about for ages and was in doubt whether it would be enough to make the whole cardigan, so I ordered the dove as a contrast and am really delighted with the outcome.

I had this pattern on my 'want to make' list for a while and it was a few weeks back when I sewed my vintage skirt that I remembered about the yarn and just knew it would match well with the faded roses on the printed fabric. I love being able to make a handmade 'outfit' although I've yet to wear them together. I tried the cardigan on once I'd finished the ends, and ended up keeping it on as it was a chilly day and I didn't want to take it off. The buttons I bought at Festiwool from textile garden and love the way they finish it off - being mis-matched gives it a 'kooky' feel that I'm keen on.

This was such a satisfying project, from beginning to end. It's worked top-down and the sleeves are knitted in the round. I used, for the first time, the magic loop method to do the sleeves and am chuffed I now know how to do it. I'm still using DPN's for socks right now, at some point I will buy a 2.25mm circular needle and have a go at magic loop socks too.

So yeah, this one ticks all the boxes. I really, really enjoyed knitting it, it fits well and I love the style. I'll spare you a selfie this time as I'm full of cold and look frightful with a bright red nose, sallow completion and limp hair. Lovely.

I hope you guys are all well and are enjoying a creative zest. I'm sure mine will return in a few days :o)

'till next time...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Cheerz...



Taking a photo of my photos!? Seems so strange, but this poster is from Cheerz, an online photo processing company that contacted me to do a review on their products. 
I know, I've had a little run on sponsored posts just late haven't I? 
 It's just the way it's worked out and actually it's great because I get to know about companies and sites I wasn't aware of but certainly am interested in!

So yeah, Katie emailed me and was very complimentary about my pictures on Instagram and here on my blog. Flattery gets you everywhere with me so I readily agreed to the review as once I had checked out the website I was genuinely impressed by what they had on offer, and just as importantly to me, how they presented their products and services on the website.



It's really modern and fun, and most of all friendly! 'The Team' page here shows headshot of the staff which I think is just brilliant! It does help that they are all very good looking people though :o)

I had a super time ordering my mosaic poster from them. It was a case of uploading the images I wanted to use. That in itself was the only difficult bit because I couldn't decide which ones I wanted, but there is a save facility so I was able to go away and have a think about it. Once all the images had been selected, you can shuffle them around as many times as you want to get your desired effect. The ordering process is very easy - how it should be. I know it sounds obvious but when a company wants you to buy their stuff and part with your money, they need to make it as easy as possible for that to happen, I am often surprised and irritated when that isn't that case. Rest assured the team at Cheerz have thought it through, and the whole experience is fun and buyer friendly, the costs are transparent so no VAT's or other 'extras' added as you near checkout,  so you really know what you are getting.


I really love my poster! It's so me, isn't it? It's printed on good quality paper and it arrived rolled up in a tube. I did blue-tack it up on the wall at first, but knew it would look so much better in a frame. This frame was bought independently, but you can order frames from Cheerz for this standard size poster.

I do encourage you to pop over to the website to see the other products on offer. There are the photo boxes, strips that look like the ones you get from photo booths and very cool wedding stationary. Such artistic ideas, different from anything I've seen before. Top marks to the design team for their innovative and creative shop window. I am very tempted to order the magnets printed with head shots of our family so my little girl can play with them on the fridge. I think the prices are very reasonable too, and it would be brilliant to make Christmas presents for your loved ones.

And because we are approaching the season of good-will, I am please to be able to host a give away from the generous crew at Cheerz. I can offer 3 of my UK readers a voucher code worth £20 to spend on the Cheerz website and all you have to do is leave a comment below and I will pick a winner with the random generator on Saturday 28th November 2015.
It's that easy guys! But you do have a have a UK delivery address, sorry to my overseas readers :o(


“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” 
― Marc Riboud


'till next time...


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Festiwool



This image above is total eye-candy (or dye candy!) for me. I took it whilst at Festiwool on Saturday following an invitation from Helen at Wooly Chic Designs to be on the guest list (yay!) and attend the fair and blog about it. I hadn't heard of Festiwool before, but as I had a free day and with my husband unusually being around to take care of the kids, it was a perfect opportunity to check it out and make a few little purchases. 


Last week was a bit of a stressful week for me, and so spending the day with lovely Sandra mooching around all the yarn stands was just the tonic I needed (especially as that morning the news was breaking of the terrible and upsetting events in Paris, an injection of positivity was in order). The fair was held in North Herts College in Hitchin, which is a lovely town not far from me, it was a medium size festival filled with quality sellers. There also was felting demonstrations, a Q and A with model Daphne Selfe, a fashion show and book signing.



We popped over to say hello and thank Helen at her stand where she sells such pretty colours of 100% british wool that is from the sheep on her Aunt's farm in Pembrokeshire. These little cakes are so much fun and the colours she dyes them are vibrant and sweet. I'm becoming more conscious of my carbon footprint and feel buying local is the way to go. Bear with me though, I have a considerable stash to use up first and some of it comes from further afield - like my current WIP which is a North American yarn!
You can visit the Wooly Chic Designs online shop here to check out Helen's wares.



Rosie's Moments were selling these fun hand wound balls of yarn. Inside are loads of little presents like stitch markers and sweets that you reach as you knit along, this one obviously Christmas theme. I love that personal touch!



Beautifully decorated knitting needles were being sold by www.bigcrocodile.co.uk as well as their exclusive extremely soft and fluffy Snuggle Soft yarn in the most gorgeous pastel colours.



Both Sandra and I were drawn to the appealing aesthetic of travel knitter and the yarns Larissa sells live up to this too! So soft baby camel skeins were ever-so-tempting in the stunning jewel colours that are her pallet, and we oohhed and ahhhed for a good while.



The stand that completely won my heart was www.textilegarden.com where Maggie was selling THE MOST gorgeous buttons I have ever seen. I'm not kidding, I was in my element choosing buttons to go on the Ramona Cardigan I'm making that is nearing completion. The colours, designs, shapes and presentation were everything I wanted in a button seller, and there doesn't seem very many button sellers around. I understand these are sourced from France and Italy, and it was a joy to discover! So glad I have found this shop, I know it will be my go-to whenever I need any fastenings for my projects.

I had a lovely time with Sandra, several people recognised her from her podcast and blog and came over to say hello, it was fun to bask in her well deserved celebrity status :o)
Festiwool is definitely in my diary for next year, hopefully in the same venue as it's easy for me to get to. Fairs like this are the place to get wonderful hand dyed local yarns from Indie dyers, they generally have Etsy shops too but it's worth being able to touch and feel and smooch over their wares in the flesh as it were.

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My heart goes out to all the people of France and their family and friends who have been effected by the horrible happens in Paris on Friday night. It effects all of us doesn't it? I know I keep thinking about how terrifying it must have been to be caught up in such horrific events. Many have died and have been injured and emotionally traumatised by what happened. From my little corner of our world my love goes out to you, and to the beautiful city of Paris xxx


'till next time my friends...



PS this is a sponsored post 'cos I got free entry into the festival, but all opinions are my very own xx