Friday, 2 November 2012

Smiley things

Way, way back, an eternity ago, before this little babe arrived into our arms I bought a wonderful kitchen larder cupboard off eBay. As I was very, very pregnant at the time (just a few days pre-birth), I didn't view the cupboard as I couldn't face the car journey. I spoke briefly with the seller on the phone and sent John and our neighbour off to pick up the cupboard. Now John is one of those people who talks to anyone, helps everyone and is generally just all round nice. So he chatted with the seller, admired her home, told about our excitement at soon meeting our new baby, and how I loved to sew, and knit, and all things crafty. He came home telling me what a lovely woman she was and how I would have enjoyed meeting her. He also had a bag of goodies that she was including in the sale, just because she thought I would like them. And such goodies they were. Would you like a peek?

There was a bag stuffed with pieces of fabric:

I shook them out and discovered that the two floral pieces on the bottom right were very pretty, but old, half pinnies, and the square motif fabric was a pair of vintage barkcloth curtains. The baby pink is a length of quilted fabric destined to soon become a quit for Heather's baby and the other fabric pieces were all at least a metre length each and so pretty I'm sure they'll be used, just no idea what for just yet....

There was a paper bag with a piece of white fabric poking out. As I tipped it gently out I discovered it was a heavy linen tablecloth partly embroidered, with a huge collection of embroidery threads hidden beneath it:

One day the love and care put into this piece will be continued, maybe by me, maybe by someone else, but it will be beautiful.

And then another bag to empty, this time containing a mishmash of sewing goodness:

Press studs, and needles, and threads, and bias bindings, and hooks ad eyes, and elastic, and needle cases, and darning yarn, a huge bundle of fixings and trims. And some still carrying their pre-decimal price tags!

Yet another lovely thought was in how this lady had wrapped the glass shelves from the cupboard - in heavy vintage cotton embroidered bedsheets! So lovely, and just what I like, crisp and white and beautifully trimmed. Unfortunately no photos of these as they are living in the back of the wardrobe for now until such time as I have a bed to just my man and myself, rather than two little girls, an occasional boy and an assortment of cuddly toys, odd socks and crumbs....
The final gift from this kind, sweet lady was these:

A riot of colour and fragrance picked in her garden and sent with John to become the first thing displayed in our lovely new unit.

A reminder of the old saying - A stranger is a friend we haven't yet met.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Photo flop!

I feel my crafty mojo creeping back after many months in hibernation. Even the thought of teeny baby knits couldn't lure it out of hiding. I guess that was for the best really as teeny baby knits wouldn't have lasted very long for this chunk of a girl. She's already outgrowing her 3-6 month clothes and she is the grand old age of 9 weeks! The few baby knits I made especially for her lasted roughly 2 weeks before they were too tiny.
So anyway, back to the rediscovered yarn love. Like I said, it's creeping back slowly. After the six week job of creating a little soft bunny, I gathered all the unfinished bits and decided to crack on with them. First up was this:

 Started when I was around seven months pregnant (even then I must have had an idea this baby was going to be a real biggie and so not to continue with the teeny knits), I just wanted to get cracking on winter cosiness. Oh, and use stash too :)

So I found a knitting magazine supplement that used a similar yarn weight and knitted up this hoodie for Cain. In the pattern it was stripey but that was a step too far for my tired, fuddled pregnancy brain. 
The photo's are pretty rubbish, but all I could grab between feeding, cuddling, and playing. It needs a button too for the collar, have to go search the stash for one later. Looks nice and warm though doesn't it? The only problem I had, besides the rubbish photography, was the arm length. Now I'm pretty certain Cain has average size arms, he's certainly not of gorilla upper body proportions, but when I knitted to the pattern the sleeves only came partway down his lower arms! Luckily they were knit top down so I unpicked and added another 13 rows, roughly 5cms, and they are now fine.  Just have to watch he doesn't fray the cuffs dragging his knuckles along the floor ;)

Another UFO on the needles right now, this time one that's been hanging around for maybe two years or more. Might even be able to share it within a couple of days.........


Sunday, 21 October 2012

The hare and the tortoise

This is the hare.......well actually it's a knitted bunny - the first little toy for our lovely little girl:

Actually she's not so small, she loves her mama milk, which explains why it took me 6 weeks to knit this one thing. So the tortoise? Well that's me and my crafting of course :) Remember when I blogged the one Helen knitted up for Heather's birthday? Well that one took her 2 days. TWO days for a relative knitting novice. I thought this would take me roughly the same when fitted round cuddles and feeds and general other stuff. I never thought I would take six WEEKS to knit a toy bunny!!

Little bunny knitted in soft and cuddly Sirdar baby crofter on 4mm needles, using just under 50g for the whole thing.
Want to see the whole shot?

Aaaawwwwww! I know you're thinking it :)


Monday, 27 August 2012

The long project

For anyone who doesn't read the other blog.......

The 9 month make is finally ready to reveal:

Ivy Marian, 18-08-2012.

Did you guess?
All that tiredness and lack of motivation?
Broken only by a teeny knit or two.
I'm sure you won't mind if I stay a non-committed blogger for a while longer, although I do have a few things to share from the past few months. 
When I can tear myself away from the newest addition I'll try a proper catch up :)


Friday, 10 August 2012

Popping in.......

So's you know I'm still around :)
So much going on around here at the moment which means I haven't enough time to either craft, or blog about crafting! There has been some making going on but not sure it's that interesting to the world in general lol. We have been having a major sort out and shift around of our downstairs space which has meant lot's of painting, decorating, upcycling of furniture, sewing of curtains etc. We have lived here for eight years now and at last I know how our kitchen space works to the best, so lots of re-arranging in there, ready for it's final touch-ups when I get the energy. Maybe I'll share then?
I have crocheted some more little dishcloths in colours that are around and about the room:

Can you tell I wasn't paying much attention when I made the stripey one - haha, hiding it under the nice one is the best idea :)
 I love crocheted dishcloths, they last for ages. The ones I made 2 years ago are just about ready to move from the kitchen to the garden so about time I made some more.
There's another pretty big project that's been taking up a lot of my time and energy, but again that is not quite ready for a big reveal. Hopefully soon :)
So yes, still here, still reading all your lovely blogs, still gathering inspiration, just finding it really hard to find time to actually do anything!
Oh there was something I  wanted to share:

Isn't that so lovely? A cute handpainted darning mushroom that was one of my birthday presents. So what if I had to buy it for myself ;)

Catch you all soon with some big ta-dah's.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Oooh, that's Zingy.

I'm sure you've all seen the ad, and know someone who's fallen for this little guy. Owen definitely had, especially when a flyer came through the letterbox in the shape of the mascot. He really, really, really wanted his own Zingy to cuddle. So mama set to work - scrap yarn from the "oh my - why did  ever buy this colour? Oh yeah - knitted carrots!" bag, a pattern found free on Ravelry (not that it isn't easy enough to make up on the hoof), a few scraps of felt, and a spare hour whilst the littlies park themselves in front of a Tom and Jerry DVD.
So here he is - Zingy:

Owen loves him, Cain wants one too. Whoever thought that a little orange blob on an energy suppliers advert would be such a big hit?
Mind you if you would have seen the price these knitted mascots were selling for when they first hit EBay I' sure you would have knitted up a few yourself. They were originally selling for up to £10+!! For barely 10g of acrylic DK and a scrap of felt. And not even an hours work. That power company certainly missed out on a moneyspinner. Makes a change for one of those companies ;)

Editing - Just realised when adding the link that the pattern is no longer free as some unscrupulous people have been taking advantage of the designer by selling the pattern on EBay.


Saturday, 21 July 2012


Well every three months isn't very regular is it?
The problem is that I can either craft....or write about craft. I don't seem to have the time or energy for both. And it's not just here, the other blog is fairly neglected to, although I am trying to make an effort over there. 
So why the lack of posts? Well I'm just so tired lately. Nine o'clock is about my regular bedtime, or earlier as often as I can manage it. Dear me, I feel old. 
There has been a little making going on though. I have some things to show. But really today I wanted to share a special something :)
A couple of weeks ago we were celebrating a third birthday. Yep, Heather is that old already. Doesn't it just fly? She had a lovely day and her most favourite gift was a handknitted friend:

Isn't she lovely?
She goes to bed every night with Heather, we can't possibly forget. And then back down every morning when attention becomes a little more hit and miss. Sometimes she joins us for breakfast, lunch, shopping trips, playtime, and so on. Other times she slides into the sofa cushions and stays there ignored all day long. Until the cry goes up at bedtime....."where's rabbit...?"
I can't take any credit for this much loved little friend though. The work was all Helen's. Pretty wonderful don't you think? Definitely her mama's daughter when it comes to hobbies, and ideas, and non commercialism too. Well you know, I fib a little. The whole work wasn't strictly Helen's. The knitting was, the stuffing and make up too, and the features. She presented the lovely gift wrapped naked bunny to Heather for her birthday where she was instantly loved, but a couple of days later Heather decided she needed clothes. And so I had to create the little dress. Helen might be becoming a dab hand at knitting but she still has no interest in the sewing machine. An unfortunate incident in school resulting in sore bleeding fingers has put her off this particular craft.
Still, she's a lovely rabbit, don't you agree?

Now to drop a few hints about another little person and how they might like a big sister handknitted friend...........


Monday, 30 April 2012

On the go....and not!

Sorting through my project bags today I realised I don't have that many on the go.
There's this:

A cardigan I was supposed to be knitting for a Christmas gift for a grown girl but which got cast on, quite literally, and then left without one further stitch worked. In fact I didn't even finish casting on, I was 14 stitches short when I pulled it out of it's bag today! So where did all those extra rows come from I know you're asking? Well after counting and finishing the cast on I decided to just work a couple of rows to see how the colour looks worked up. I love it. Hmm, I'm about the same size as the grown girl I had in mind, maybe I'll sneak this one away for myself?

Next up was this:

One single sad sock. Well actually it was a sock and a bit but I couldn't work out where I was up to with the lace pattern so I pulled the second one back ready for a fresh start. Probably a good idea as my tension may well be completely different by now - I completed this first sock getting on for two years ago now!

Then there's this:

Another of those little KC Dolman jackets. I enjoyed working the first one so much, after the initial worry over what I was actually doing, that I cast on this next one straight away. Haven't got too far have I? Well at least pulling it out of it's bag has reminded me that I owe Dawn an email (thanks for your pm btw - the patterns would be lovely and you got the email address right x).

And finally there's this:

The crochet bobbly cardigan. Not many projects on the go really is there?

Actually there's one less:

It wasn't the sore fingers making the bobbles that forced me ti rip it back - honest :) It was just that I felt the many colour changes in the yarn were swamping the pattern rather than allowing the bobbles to be the design feature. So it is no more. I still want to make that cardigan though, I'll just have to go through the stash and find a nice single colour yarn to work with.

Oooh, talking of stash, do you know I have bought only 2 skeins of yarn so far this year - how good am I? As always I started the year resolving not to buy yarn until I had seriously dented the stash. And then I lost my crafting mojo which meant I didn't even want to buy yarn, oooer. But now my mojo is back it seems, so I'm determined to start denting that stash......

Better get back to it then. Hmm, which project shall I pick up?


Sunday, 29 April 2012

Two little things

Both from the same book.
First up this little hat, knitted in an unknown yarn, which I think is most likely pure wool with maybe a little cashmere, it is so wonderfully soft and lovely to work with. I came across a bag of miscellaneous yarn at a charity shop and this was in there, only the one skein but enough for this super cute hat. So good to finally use it after having it in the stash for several years.

And then this little wraparound cardigan:

Worked in Sirdar Bamboo ribbon yarn, again stashed away for several years. This cardi used around 70g so I still have some left although it might be a long while before I use it again. I really don't like using ribbon type yarns - far too slippery! Actually this cardi was very quickly turning into a disaster as my tension was way off but I didn't realise until I had knitted the fronts and back and then wasn't going to rip back and start again! I kind of stretched bits and gathered in others and it looks ok, don't you think?
By the way - what do you think of my model? She's my demo baby for work when demonstrating breastfeeding positioning but now she has a second job too modelling my makes. Good job she doesn't want paying for all her work, she does more hours than I do......

Oh and I know I was supposed to be coming back with a finished bobbly cardi, and I will, but I needed a little break from all that hooking already. Maybe I'll get back to it later, especially if this rain, wind and cold continues to keep us inside......


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Yarn along

Keeping the yarn flowing and joining in with Ginny after a long break.

After the knitty makes of the past week a return to the hook after many month of them being hidden away - well apart from the constant that is the Granny stripe blanket (now in hibernation).

Working away on this cardigan from the book weekend crochet for babies using yarn from stash. It's a bit of a detour from my usual hooky skills (or lack of), I'm pretty much sorted with basic stitches but this cardi uses a bobble pattern with a stitch called htr3tog which means making one stitch from 7 hoops for every other row. And seeing as my crochet is worked very similarly to knitting as I still can't get the hang of tensioning the thread in my left hand, this means an awful lot of stopping and pulling the hook through the loops individually. It's coming along though and I'm envisioning a finish by this time next week. Who said crochet was faster than knitting then??
Reading at the moment, Breastfeeding special care babies. Support is offered to mums right cross the newborn services so I spend a proportion of my time in the hospital in the SCBU as well as the delivery suite, the postnatal and of course the community. Knowledge is fairly basic around special care babies and breastfeeding and refreshing this knowledge is always a good idea. And it's of genuine interest too so not just a "work" read.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is up to this week :)


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Oh no, it's a.........

Well kind of, I haven't been able to get him back long enough to add his horns, Heather is rather fond of him you know.

Not sure he is quite as Gruffalo as I'd hoped but hey, Heather recognised him straight away and she's the one I was knitting him for although that may be more down to "the purple prickles all over his back" Can't think of any other creature that has such lovely features?

So now we have the Gruffalo himself to watch the DVD repeatedly, throughout the day, with Heather. And to be read the books too. Oh, and of course the video all about his child too..... In fact Heather keeps changing her mind as to whether this is the Gruffalo or his child, I think there is a little of the fear factor when it comes to the Gruffalo himself, although not so much as the BIG BAD MOUSE where Mama must always have her eyes covered by a tiny persons hands although he's not really big you? He's just a shadow ;)

Pattern found on Ravelry of course and knitted up on 3mm needles from scrap bag DK. 
Right, upstairs to see if I can ease him out of her sleeping hands and give him the horns I have waiting for him.....

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Will it, won't it?

So remember I told you I had 20g of the Fyberspates yarn left after knitting the cardi and hat? I really wanted to use every scrap as it is such yummy soft yarn, but what to make with such a small amount? The thought process went kind of:
.....20g can't make much and I don't want to knit away and run out near the end. If I knit something that can be be made in two halves at least I can measure one to be sure I want run out on the second. Mitts with matching card is a bit...hmm...woolly overload, so maybe footwear?"
So I cast on using a very old Woolworths' knitting booklet:

I knitted away and getting towards the leg part realised I didn't have an awful lot left. I decide to leave the pattern and make a little roll cuff finish instead. It looked very sweet but I was a bit wary of how much yarn was left. Still if there was less than half at least I'd only wasted an hour knitting up one, rather than longer and running out. So I grabbed the scales hoping for it to flash up with less than 10g for the weight of the finished piece. And you know what? It weighed...............10g exactly! The length of yarn left weighed exactly the same. Well that wasn't as great as I'd hoped! Now I would have to cast on the second bootee and hope that the finished 10g bootee was just on the 10g, not 10.4g, or 10.5g, but 10g exactly. And of course that the 10g remaining was at least 10g, maybe 10.5g, or even 10.2g,  as long as it was exactly, or more than, the amount used for the first bootee.
So I cast on, knitted frantically, not once daring to look at the dwindling amount, all the while wondering if I could tweak the first bootee further and skip a row somewhere.  And you know what? This is what I ended up with:

Do you want to see what was left? Here you go:

Could it have been much closer? John very kindly asked why I had worried, why not just get another skein of the yarn? Well I couldn't tell him how much just one skein costs, could I? He still lives in the world where yarn costs a couple of pounds for enough to knit a whole jumper, where it's more economical to knit your own than to buy....... He knows I have some nicer yarns, but I don't think he knows what a short distance they actually go. You and I on the other hand, well we know don't we? We know that getting all of these from just one £15 skein of Fyberspates handpainted sock yarn is totally worth every stitch and every penny :)

So the crafting hiatus is over, I'm back with a vengeance. In fact I might even be back in a day or two with a completely different finished knit, something I'm already working my way excitedly through.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Waving hello :)

Ooh, it's been a long time hasn't it?
I have posted on and off on my other blog, but here? Well there has been nothing, absolutely nothing to blog of creatively! I've had no crafting get up and go at all. Days are spent at work or with the children, evenings are spent reading with the children, watching a DVD, and going off to bed as early as possible. I've thought about making stuff. I've flicked through patterns, other blogs and Ravelry for inspiration, but I just haven't had the energy to do anything. By time the evening meal is out of the way and the dishes washed, children calmed, PJ's on, I just want to relax and then sleep. I haven't had the energy to even walk up the stairs to bed most evenings. You know, I haven't even bought a single knit/sew/crochet/crafty magazine this year! Oh no, I lie, I bought the March issue of Let's knit hoping for a hit of inspiration, but no, nothing. Even flicking through the magazines in the shop has failed to inspire me into actually buying them. I've bought no yarn, not checked out the links in the yarn shop e-mails, not even hopped around Ebay looking for beautiful yarn bargains. Creative crafting has been at an all time low.
BUT, and yes it's a big but (literally and figuratively lol), I did keep the creative flow ticking over in that quiet place in my mind. And so I worked on the mega granny stripe. An odd few trebles here, a few clusters there, whole rows taking days and weeks to conjure up. But I had to keep at it. It needed no thought, no planning, no concentration, it just came out, ticked along, and reminded me that the feel of the yarns, the hook in hand, the growing project, is all good, and not to be let go forever. So far the mega blanket is around 220cms x 100cms, almost big enough for a single bed, and I've stopped for now. The blanket is happily living across the foot of our bed, the days are slowly warming and it is providing just that little extra comfort for chilly morning toes, although it's a little too heavy to work on now the evenings are a touch warmer. I haven't edged it, I'm hoping to work some more on it when autumn returns, hopefully using up a lot more of the acrylic scraps I have lurking around:

But it's ok like this for now, it did it's job, it kept the creativeity ticking along. A few days ago I cast on the King Cole Dolman cardigan. It's very similar to the EZ baby surprise jacket I think? Anyone who has knitted the BSJ please feel free to offer your thoughts :) I wanted to try the BSJ for ages but couldn't find the pattern in the UK. A colleague at work was also trying to find the same pattern and she came across the KC dolman and kindly offered me a copy. So I took this as a sign that I needed to get the needles out and get creative once again. Casting on and starting the jacket was a bit ....hmm...strange? Apparently I was casting on the sleeve edges, shoulders and back of neck. Even looking at the front picture I couldn't work out how that was happening. But then it shows the jacket from the front, the initial knitting is the sleeves and the back I later discovered. Just like I've heard about the BSJ, this jacket doesn't reveal it's true self until you're almost through. There came a moment, about 80% through, that it suddenly clicked, and that was such a blinding moment that I was in awe. I couldn't wait to cast off and before joining I had to share the reverance with anyone who happened into the room - look, a baggy heap of knitted fabric, a quick fold up and ta-dah, a beautiful baby jacket! Stunned faces all around. Even the "not into knitting" passers through were taken back by the sudden transformation.
And so I joined the shoulders, the only joining required, and here it is:

Lovely don't you think?
I knitted it using some of my lovely, luxury stash, one skein of Fyberspates hand dyed Sheila's Sock yarn, and I used such a tiny amount, just about 60g, it's such a soft, squishily smooth yarn that I'm happy to have left overs. I cast on straight away with another favourite pattern - the Aviatrix. A super speedy knit, a couple of hours later I was done:

Ok so the buttons aren't added yet, but I wanted to share and let you know I was back, hopefully, the creative juices flowing once more :)
Both together, beautiful for a newborn don't you think:

And the hat itself took only 20g so I'm hoping there's enough for a little something to complete the set.....

Can I just say, if anyone has actually stuck by me through the drought, that I am so happy to be back, I've still been following so many blogs, but circumstances have just made it impossible for me to stay regular, stay in touch, and let you know I'm around. Thanks for the awards received whilst I've been away, accepted gracefully in mind if not in type. And thank you for coming back again, to share the haphazard creativity. Happy crafting days for all of us.


Monday, 9 January 2012

Dropping quickly by.....

I bet you've all forgotten me, haven't you? It's been such a long time!
Sorry I haven't been around much, in the run up to Christmas I had so much making to do that I had to choose between posting about it, or actually doing it, and of course the doing it had to win ;)
And then since Christmas I haven't been very well and have spent a lot of time just getting by day to day, and all spare time (after family and work have taken up such a huge chunk)  has been spent resting, sleeping and generally feeling totally lacking in any motivation whatsoever. Not a tot of knitting or crochet or any form of crafting has been tried. Trying hard now to find some motivation - and the ability to stay awake or even upright! - and maybe pick up the hooks or needles again.
So hopefully give it a few more days and I might finally have something to share.
But what motivated me to post today you might ask?
Well, I opened my stash cupboards (note the multiple?) and realised I had so many new yarns I had been so excited about just before Christmas, and so looking forward to using for actual planned and exciting makes, and so I thought I would go over and update my stash on Ravelry. And whilst over there I noticed I had 55 yarns in my stash, then doing a little adding up with the boys we worked out that I had over 200 individual skeins of yarn!!!!!! And that was without adding in the part used/unbanded/not particularly nice but might be useful yarns that haven't made it to the Stash page yet.
Hmm, a tad excessive do you think?
So if you want to see them in all their glory then pop over to my Rav page. There's some wonderful yarns there I can tell you :)
So yep, thats hopefully going to be the motivation that kicks me into gear......soon......after a good nights sleep.....and maybe another day of rest......

PS - The man was so concerned that he offered to cheer me up by driving me to my favourite yarn shop at the weekend. I turned him down. And that was BEFORE I realised the extent of the stash............. So yes, I need a good shake up......Although it's doing great for the old savings account :)