Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Choo Choo Thomas.....

The hat is done. And I love it! Warm and thick and just like a proper woolly childs hat. What do you think?

Knitted in the same DK oddments as the mitts, the hat itself is simple and very quick to knit up. The only time consuming part was the intarsia for the lettering. I hope it's clear enough what it says, the "K" isn't the best.

Owen hasn't seen it yet as it is now hidden away until christmas. Cain is the model and size tester instead as they are both virtually the same size for hats and gloves.

On the needles now is the scarf to complete the set but I think this might take a few days. Also on the go is the crochet blanket for John but not sure I will have this done for christmas. I keep it upstairs and do a row or two each time I go up there. I'm sure the family think I have some sort of bowel complaint, I'm going up to the bathroom such a lot the past few days ;-) But I don't want John to see it so I'll just have to keep it this way.
Well off to prepare lunch for waking poorly little ones, and back in a day or two with the latest makings.
Oh, do you know it's only four weeks to christmas?
There'll be late nighting crafting going on in all your homes I'm thinking!
Take care.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

And now for something completely different.....

Well ok, not completely different........same basic materials, needles and wool. But used in a very different way. Meet little Santa:

Can you see how he's made?

He's needle felted!
So he's not amazing, and I haven't been able to get a good face, but I did so enjoy creating him. It's very therapeutic and stress relieving, the repeated jabbing of the needle into the fibre until the shape begins to appear. And great fun manipulating the piece into the form I wanted it to be. I wasn't even sure what I was making at first so Santa's inside are made from multicoloured fibres which I then overlaid in red simply because the original colour was a little dull. Then as a body shape began to form the image of a little Santa gnome came to mind. So I jabbed some more and created a head, and then rolled and jabbed some arms to attach to the body, then jabbed away at some more red fibre to create a hat and then finally I jabbed a few wisps of white into his face and added a ring of white around his hat. No sewing, no gluing, no pinning, just all held together by each fibre locking onto its neighbour. Amazing isn't it? I left him up on the mantlepiece to be spotted and to see if anyone could guess how he came to be. And he confused them all. Was he shop bought? Was he glued from felt? Was he knitted somehow? Knitted? With no visible stitches? "Well perhaps he was brushed after knitting to make him fluffy?" was one suggestion. And when I relieved he was formed from some wispy bits of wool and a very sharp needle they were all rather surprised.
I think I like this needle felting thing. And I will definitely be having a go at some more christmas/winter themed makes. Not sure how they would hold up to handling by little people but as decorations they should be fine. Now what to make next?
Well after the gifts I currently have on the go of course ;-)
See you all soon with hopefully a glimpse of dearest husbands crochet blanket that I started yesterday. I am forever finding him asleep on the sofa in the cold living room as he insists on watching tv late at night, silly man. Or maybe I might be able to show you the Thomas hat to match the gloves from earlier.........

Hope you're all having much fun with your crafting and creating too.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Mitts and bits for christmas.

So I'm cracking on with the christmas list now. Finally got around to knitting the mittens to go with Sophie's hat and scarf:

Knitted on two needles so very quick and easy, the pair completed in one evening. I'm thinking of maybe appliqueing a little something on them just to pretty them up a little more. Emma likes very girly things for Sophie! The scarf is knitted in stocking stitch and so the sides curl inwards. To combat this it is going to be lined in some lovely pink cotton fabric and I might use the leftovers for the appliqueing. But no definite decision yet as sewing really is not my strongpoint.

And another pair of mittens, only not quite so easy and definitely more time consuming:

I've knitted these for Owen and his love of all things Thomas. The intarsia wasn't too bad, nor was the extra embroidering of features. The worst and most time consuming part was the sewing in of loose threads. Or more to the point, sewing them in neatly with such a limited working surface! All these threads (and more) to sew into one little mitten:

I have another handmade beautiful thing to show you today. This lovely little dolly made especially for Heather for me to pop in the christmas stocking:

Oh how I would love to be able to sew as well as this. But I can't. And so special thanks go to Pippa for creating this little doll just for us. Heather has already had a sneak peek and just didn't want to let go so I'm sure dolly will be much loved. Thank you Pippa.

Now I think I should go and finish sewing up that second mitten before little one opens her eyes. And maybe even start on the hat to match.
Happy crafting all.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Back to gift makes.

At last, back to the christmas crafting. A present for Sophie the Cinderella topsy turvy doll.
This way up she's a sad young lady missing the fun:

Then flip her skirt over and she's the belle of the ball:

A Jean Greenhowe pattern knitted up on oddments of DK and 3mm needles. This dolly took ever such a long time as the needles are so thn and the resulting knitting was quite stiff to work with. The skirts were the time consuming part as they were just mostly rectangles but with several thousands of stitches in each one! The rest of the parts, arms, hair, body, trims etc were quick and easy though so once the skirts were out of the way it was a nice speedy make. The making up was a bit time consuming too, stitching all the little parts together. I was hoping to make one for Heather too as she seems quite taken with it but I think that will have to wait until next year, I really am not that patient of a knitter...........
Oh well, one make off the list, many, many more to go!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

At last!

I finished the cardigan!
Actually it needs a slight adjustment to the neck opening, maybe another button, but yep, it's definitely finally all knitted. Lovely and warm and very autumnal. The older girls aren't so keen on it, they say it looks too old for me and that it should be more fitted but there is a special reason it's a size bigger than it should be.............I wanted it big enough to cover two. No not another bump.............I want to wrap it around both Heather and myself. It's very warm work carrying a lump of a baby against ones body no matter what the weather is, and I find it simply too warm when I wear a coat so the cardigan is the way to go. Tried it over us both when Heather was in the wrap and it's just about right for a front carry. So I'm very pleased. Shall I show it off?

The details? Patons shadow tweed in shade 6202. Seven 100g balls in total to knit up an approximate size 12/14. Well I'm a 10 just now and it fits around me and Heather. The yarn costs around £4.50-£5 per ball but luckily for me John came across the yarn originally in the car boot sale priced £5 for 6 balls. Not so fortunate was that I had to go buy another ball at full price to finish the collar. But £9.50 total cost is pretty good for a handknit wool mix cardigan don't you think? Knitted up on 7mm needles so should have been a quick knit but because of the overall moss stitch pattern it took a little longer. The yarn is lovely to knit with. It is a chunky yarn but in a single ply so the stitches can be a bit fluffy and occasionally I put my needle through in just the wrong spot and so had to have a quick look that all was well. The colour changes are fantastic, working in long sections of deep green then turing to rich russet red before going back to green again, with lots of subtle flecks of gold, blue, orange and lighter green. The flecks are barely there but are a lovely surprise flash of colour as you knit.
So there you go, I can finally stop going on about "that" cardigan and enjoy keeping warm and snuggly in it instead. And get back to the christmas list.........

Friday, 13 November 2009

New favourite shops.

I finally found somewhere that sells this:

The Paton's Shadow Tweed I needed to finish my cardigan.
Blacksheepwools is a great website for bargain wools and I think I may have mentioned it before. Well I knew it wasn't too far from where we lived and today I finally got the chance to visit the real life store. I was going to order the ball I needed online but John suggested we drive out there as he needed to go up that way anyway. He thought it would save on postage costs for just the one ball of yarn. All I can say is that he must be ever so slightly deluded! So we went off to find the place and it was even closer than I thought, barely 20 minutes drive away. Oh and it is a lovely shop. Rows and rows of beautiful yarns as soon as I stepped through the door. And further into the shop a huge selection of needlework supplies, embroidery cottons, cross stitch kits and charts and such wonderful things. But so tempting too! I really had to orce myself to scan the rows as quickly as I could and seek out the yarn I had gone for. I finally found it at the far end of the rows of yarn and so I grabbed a ball and headed towards the pay desk. But I knew I would have to take a closer look at some of the yarns on the way out so thought maybe I should pay after I had admired, just to avoid any confusion you understand..........
Well I just happened to spot some gorgeoulsly soft Mirasol Sulka at only £1.99 per hank. I made a couple of hats from this yarn early on in the year and I remembered how lovely and soft and warm they were. So I picked up a hank.....and a second..........and a third.

And as I wandered around I spotted this amazingly coloured Araucania Limari, £4.45 I think per hank. I only picked up the one hak just to admire the colours and imagine what a beautiful little hat it would make, but then I forgot to put it back forgetful of me.

I knitted the little pumpkin hat for Heather from Paton's colour 4 me pure wool and I really liked the feel of it and the richness of the colours. So when I saw a shelf of the same wool in some fantastic pinks I just had to take a closer look. And at only £1.30 a ball then I just had to pick up a couple of balls with the thought of making something for our little girl. Well when I say a couple of balls I meant of each colour obviously, and 4 of each is only just over a couple isn't it?

And with that being more than enough wool to add to my stash I headed for the cash desk once more. But I happened to get waylaid at the very last minute by some stunning Rico sock yarn. And we all know how useful and multi purpose sock yarn is don't we? Self striping so the design doesn't need thinking about, light and soft so can be used to knit anything really, and 4 ply so great for baby trousers, socks and hats.

All in all a great days shopping and a new favourite place to visit. I have a feeling John is going to become very used to those country lanes..........

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Silly mum!

Sunday mornings.
Usually it's the car boot sale, the park, the shop and occasionally a trip to Abakhan or some such place.
This morning it was too wet and windy for the first two so we just went to the supermarket. Then this conversation:
John: Where to now then?
Owen: Mmmm, the making shop?
Me: The making shop?
Owen: Yes, the making shop!
Me: What for?
Owen: Wool of course, silly mum!

Maybe I should wean myself away from the making shops for a while. And the online ones too!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Who stole my willpower?

I said I wouldn't..........but I did!

A sale here meant I bought this:

But at 79p a ball it was well worth it. This crochet blanket is in the same yarn and is so snuggly and warm that I'm going to make a bigger version for John for when he watches TV late in the evening.

And this yarn is simply stunning:

Remember I told you here about the GP mama rehoming some of her stash/ Well I couldn't resist and after the T'ika arrived I just had to get back in touch and ask for the Araucania too. Thanks Kate, it's lovely. Now please don't offer away any more!
No makes to reveal today but I might have a new little one to show soon, just getting to grips with a new craft which is gripping me intently.
Take care all and happy crafting.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

It's been a while........

Where is the time going?
Lots of little and not so little illnesses flying around this home at the moment so crafting has taken a backstage. Which means blogging about crafting is impossible! But baby and big boys still sleeping, mama's awake and photo's are waiting to be shared. So lets go before the snuffling little bodies start to stir.

So first of all, a very special hat made for a very special little girl, by a very special big girl. Oh yes, Helen has definitely caught the knitting bug. Now bored with the neverending scarves she has moved on to knitting and purling in the same row, and a little shaping too. She made a beautiful moss stitch border for this little hat but then pulled it back as she was actually trying to create a single rib border. I thought the moss stitch was fine but she wanted it ribbed. So she started again and this time around mostly remembered to knit the purl an purl the knit. A few little blips and forgetful moments but we don't need to talk about those do we? It looks and wears just fine. And what about the flower? Nice finishing touch don't you think? Well Helen knitted that as well. This little hat looks so lovely on Heather, the colours and the style suit her perfectly. Almost tempted to pop it on her head to show you but not sure she is ready to awaken just yet.

And another hat, this time made by myself. Yes we've done pumpkin hats before but slightly too large for Heather and so offered to other mamas on the GP forum. One to a little girl in Wales and another went to this little one.

And what do you think of this scarf?

It is so warm and cuddly. And the colours are wonderful aren't they? Now I really don't like knitting scarves. So long, so monotonous, so......boring! But this one was different. Knitted in a gorgeous Twilleys freedom chunky pure wool on 10mm stitches, even though it is in a single rib it still knitted up super fast. I'm sure it took not much more than an hour of actual knitting. The only problem was that I could only offer it five minutes of work at a time whilst between nursing snuffly baby, cleaning after sicky children, coughing and wheezing myself, and trying to look after everyone. So in all it took several quick bursts over a three day period, mst of which involved actually getting into knitting mode, unwrapping the scarf and wool from its bag, and settling down to knit two or three rows before stashing it back away to run to one poorly person or another. But it was still an enjoyable knit and one especially for me. In fact I enjoyed making it so much that I went out and added this little lot to the stash, ready to make a couple more scarves:

Oh by the way, the red wool isn't for scarf knitting. Shhhh! It's for a secret christmas gift for one of my girls.

And talking of "the stash" how many of you have a mini stash like this? All the odd bits left over from other projects? Too big to throw away yet too small to really make much with? Well nows the time to start using it. Christmas decorations, stripey scarves, bags and gloves, baby bibs, dishcloths, knitted dolls, flower trims, all kinds of mini quick knits to be created at this time of year.

And finally, look at these two little books. John found them at the local car boot sale and brought them home for me. He wasn't sure if I would be interested but at 50p each he thought he would take the chance. And I'm so pleased he did. The cross stitch book has some lovely designs that I will use one day, maybe not in blue and white but definitely in the two colour theme. The other book is very pretty and a useful read for picking up new techniques.

So with those good buys I'll give my goodbye.
Take care all and happy crafting till I catch up with you again.