Sunday, 31 July 2011

Back to basics!

After finishing the YoP knit I brought away with us (more on that later) I found myself on holiday with a ball of Noro Kureyon Sock and needles but no access to my pattern library, which is stored online.

I will admit that at one point I considered asking someone to text me a pattern line by line - a kind of mystery text-along - but thought better of it. So it was left to memory.

The only pattern I could remember was the very first I knitted back in January to make my cowl.

It's been quite amusing to come back to this after a few months - it seemed a little complicated the first time around, and I didn't really understand the instructions, I just followed them blindly, but is the simplest pattern! It's not quite what I had in mind for this yarn, but I think it might make a pretty scarf for someone.

Sent from my iPhone on a wing and a prayer.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011

WIP Wednesday (27/07/11) - from the Welsh coast!

Hello!!!!! If you're seeing this, it means I've (a) done a bit of yarny stuff while on holiday, and (b) managed to find somewhere with sufficient mobile phone reception to get online! (Edited to add - this post appeared and then disappeared on Wednesday when I tried to amend the posting date/time, and is being reinstated on my return home. Next year, remind me to book a holiday with wi-fi!!!!)

Not too many words today but I do have some pictures! So far I've added a few more flowers to the Lula crochet scarf...
... and I managed LOTS of knitting on this one during our journey - here's a sneak peek:
I'll update properly on that one in my next Year of Projects post.

The sun is shining here so my mum is driving out to us and we are all heading to the beach - check in later if you would like to see some pics!! (Edited to add - I couldn't upload them.)

Hope you're all having a wonderful week :)

(And don't forget you can click on the WIPW image above to visit Tami's Amis for more works in progress!)

(Posted using Blogpress on iPhone whilst being "measured" by a 2 year old - please excuse the formatting!)
Sunday, 24 July 2011

Year of Projects - week 4 update

Eek! It's week 4 already and I am barely started on my list! (This is a scheduled post as I'm away so I hope I've already managed LOADS more progress by the time you read this!!!)
This week I ...
  • added a new page to keep a track of my YoP list and progress (or lack thereof)
  • knitted about 6 more rows on the No Fuss (No Frog) shawl - ignoring the mistake I made the last time I worked on it, and still unhappy about that, but feeling unable to frog the poor yarn AGAIN! (It's on it's 3rd incarnation already - the fates of the others are here and here) - so I may have to make a few modifications to the remainder :)
It's disappointing that the only two colours of the yarn available when I ordered are so similar, maybe I should have waited until after Knit Nation when stock had been replenished...? It means there is very little variation in the colours, but I'm going to carry on and make it anyway. It may be necessary to make another in other colours as well :)
I'm taking both these projects away with me but am unlikely to be able to post an update next week, so hopefully there will have been significant progress when you see them next!
Enjoy the next week, and I'll catch up on all your YoP week 4 posts as soon as I can!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Smiley little things

After all the sadness in the news, this post is dedicated to the little things that made me smile this week ....

♥  A note left on the Chalkboard wall in the playroom 

(I heart Mummy) 

♥ My 'little' sister coming back to the UK after several months abroad without a 
mobile phone - now we can chat all the time

Trying out one of my headwraps

♥ Winning a fabulous Giveaway!!!
(Please excuse the shockingly bad photo!)

♥ Finding a picture of my Great-Grandmother on someone's facebook page 
(I didn't have any pictures of her!) 

♥ A gorgeous new crochet cushion tutorial from Lucy at Attic 24

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

♥ And most of all.... these two little cuties having so much fun together! 

We're heading to Wales in the morning for our holiday - I'll schedule a couple of posts for the next week and HOPEFULLY I'll have an internet connection at some point, but in the meantime ...

Friday, 22 July 2011

FO Friday: Toddler Tunic Ta-dah!

A quick Ta-dah after finishing the second sleeve of this last night. 

Pattern: Improvised (for number of stitches see Ravelry project page)
Yarn: Patons UK Smoothie DK and I used just over 1.5 balls
I'm not sorry to have finished knitting this yarn - it's really unpleasantly splitty and there were a few times where I had to cut the yarn to rejoin a better piece as there were broken threads. Although the finished fabric is really soft, and perfectly suitable for a child, I definitely wouldn't rush to use it again. Regardless, Little Miss loves the tunic and is especially fond of the acrylic heart butons which came from Atomic Knitting

I'm having trouble linking to Tami's Amis today, but hopefully that will be resolved soon and there will be more FOs there later. There's some crochet to follow on Sunday (when we'll be heading off on our holiday) in the meantime, I hope you all have a fabulous start to your weekend! xxx
Thursday, 21 July 2011

A long-term wish fulfilled

Since the mid 80s when I had my first girl crush on Lisa Bonet (then in The Cosby Show and A Different World) I have coveted dreadlocks. I tried my best to model myself on her in my teenage years with harem trousers and layered tops but it didn't ever work without the hair - fine mousey brown hair with a bit of curl in it was just no match for the long luscious dreads. Then came *cringe* Milli Vanilli (give me a break, I was 14!) - their music was awful and they weren't even the real singers, but for the adolescent me, it was all about the hair!
Source: Wikipedia 

The list of dreaded lovelies goes on... Terence Trent D'Arby, Lenny Kravitz....... right up to the modern day (and co-incidentally Lisa Bonet's latest partner - I swear she had MY life!) Jason Momoa.

A couple of months ago I mentioned to D that I'd love to have dreads - I'd hit 37 and decided if I were ever going to do it, it had to be soon. To say his response was less than enthusiastic would be an understatement. He actively tried to discourage me (with threats of an extreme hairstyle himself, how I'd look ridiculous and how my head is too football-like), but the idea stuck with me, and I just couldn't shake it.

I kept seeing people with dreads EVERYWHERE (I should remind you I live in a small English village where there must be hardly ANY dreads - nevertheless I saw several people with them which *seemed* like they were everywhere). I admit to a mild obsession over the last few months and even a dedicated Pinterest board.

So yesterday I sat for three nerve-wracking hours while Sharne from Funky Rapunzels braided the equivalent of 120 custom made dreadlocks into my hair. I have to say I was extremely anxious to see them finished and kept doing double-takes every time I walked past a reflective surface last night, but today I think I love them! Granted, they make me look nothing like Lisa Bonet, but the more they settle and I get used to them, the more I feel like they are a manifestation of a wish I've carried for at least 25 years and it feels SO good.
These pics were taken when they'd just been done. 

So what have you always wanted to do that you've not yet done? 
Wednesday, 20 July 2011

WIP Wednesday (20/07/11) - A quick diversion doofer

Hello! I must firstly thank everyone for the lovely messages/wishes for My Boy :) He had a wonderful birthday and now we have the excitement of the end of term (more parties!) which will be followed by a trip to Wales at the weekend. It's non-stop! 

And so onto my WIPs. Last Friday I salvaged some yarn from a frogged project and cast on a tunic for Little Miss. Yes, I know. It's not something on my Year of Projects list - and it's yet ANOTHER diversion, but something she needed that didn't take long. (Now you see why I didn't commit to many large projects for YoP.) 

I've improvised the 'pattern' and as it's small, I've been able to pick it up here and there during the last few very busy days.

Just one and a half sleeves to go and it'll be done, so I should have a Finished Object for Friday! I'm not really loving the way the colours have turned out on the bottom half - it reminds me of an untuned analogue TV -  but it's a quick project that should be useful for her while we're away as the weather has turned quite cool this week, so it's a "doofer". 

I have hardly touched the No Fuss (No Frog) shawl since last week so not worth any update on that, but I did manage to wind the glorious Natural Dye Studio Dazzle and it's sitting quietly in the Cwtch waiting for me to get half an hour of hooky time to start it's transformation. More on that in the Sunday update :)  

I'll be checking out the other Works in Progress at Tami's Amis later - you might like to too. And if all goes well, I'll be back with a different kind of crochet-ish update later.... *crosses fingers*

Bye for now 
Monday, 18 July 2011

This Moment

I find myself sitting alone in a quiet house 
and thinking back to this night 5 years ago when I was ill, exhausted and terrified.
In the early hours of the next morning I was anesthetised and cut open ....
... and the most amazing person I ever met was pulled from my body
 and placed in my husband's arms.

I became a Mother. 
We became a Family. 

"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. 
It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body"
- Elizabeth Stone
Sunday, 17 July 2011

What a weekend!

It's been a manic weekend with TWO birthday parties yesterday followed a celebration of My Boy's 5th birthday with 22 other children, close family & friends and Magic Marty today! 

We are all completely exhausted but it was worth it as he really did have a magical time and I think all the other children enjoyed it too. My family have driven back to Wales and the house is now back to some sort of order, albeit with an unbelievable amount of gifts - people are so incredibly generous. 

For his actual birthday (Tuesday) he's asked to open his gifts from us when he gets home from school and to have his favourite "treat" -  a Chinese takeaway :) 

With all the organising, entertaining and catering, I haven't had time for much crafty-ness this week and my Year of Projects update is a little light as a result, but here goes! 

I decided that my next project should be the Queenie's Lula Crochet Scarf. This week I bought the pattern, ordered the yarn and new hooks and started practicing the flowers while I waited for it to all arrive. They were looking cute and I thought of making something with them, but sadly the inconsistent Noro I was using just wasn't up to the job, and while I was tightening the centre of the third flower to sew in the end, the yarn snapped :( 

But the positive news is that the pattern is great - really easy to follow and should be fine for a relative crochet novice such as myself. 

The Natural Dye Studio yarn used in the pattern arrived yesterday and once it's been on the yarn winder I'll be ready to get started. Isn't it pretty? It's 100% British Blue Faced Leicester wool and feels gorgeous - it's going to make such a lovely scarf. 

Three skeins of Araucania Aysen also arrived - it was bought to make a Hudson Hat or two for my YoP, but it's so delicious it may end up as something else *grin* I have used this yarn before in another colourway and it's just so wonderful - smooth, silky and incredibly beautiful. It was a total pleasure to knit so I'm quite excited to have more of it.

And that's just about it!  Hopefully I have something to show you next week before we head off on our holiday, and in the meantime I'll be checking out the other YoP posts from this week

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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Some pretty things & a Welsh heroine returns

It was Open Afternoon at the school today and I got to meet My Boy's teacher for the next school year. It was also an opportunity to have a mooch about and I was particularly taken by the Wellington Boot display in the garden. What a cute way to use outgrown wellies!

While I wait for some yarn and new hooks to arrive (more on that in the update on Sunday) I finally tried the 'Starburst Flower' granny square pattern in the 2nd issue of Mollie Makes
These particular squares seem to have been popping up everywhere in the last month - on numerous blogs and in my friends facebook feed, so I was keen to give them a try and decided to use up some of the inexpensive Stylecraft pack left over from my Granny Blanket. I'm glad I did because this pattern uses SO MUCH yarn! EEK!

I've made just 4 squares - I don't love them enough to make a load more, but I'll incorporate these into a little something-or-other, perhaps a little cushion cover....?

And what better accompaniment to an evening of grannying than the return of one of our favourite TV shows! I'm not generally a sci-fi fan, but I enjoy Doctor Who (I used to hide my face in a cushion to 'watch' it as a child) and we have followed the 'adult' spin-off Torchwood since it began. I will admit we were a little concerned to hear the BBC were partnering with a US company for the new series - British shows tend to lose their 'Britishness' when they travel, and this show in particular is close to my heart as it's not just British, but primarily WELSH! 

[At this juncture - a small note for my many international readers: We live in England and D is English but I am most certainly Welsh - and that carries with it a sense of pride in our national identity, a Welsh accent, and - some would say - a chip on the shoulder!] 

The main character - Gwen Cooper - has a strong Welsh accent and a sizeable gap between her front teeth - two things I was worried would be lost in favour of an international audience, but I was delighted to see that my favourite fictional Cymraes (Welsh woman) was intact - no cosmetic dentistry in sight, as Welshy as ever - and looking great!
And while we are on the subject of Welshness,  after a conversation at our Knitting night, I've been meaning to clarify the correct pronunciation of  'Cwtch'. Quite simply, it rhymes with "butch". (If you missed the post about the meaning of the word, you can find it here.)

It's unlikely I'll have anything finished tomorrow, and we have a hectic weekend with three birthday parties including My Boy's, and family visiting from Wales, so I'll be back on Sunday with an update.

♥ Wishing you a VERY lovely weekend 
Wednesday, 13 July 2011

WIP Wednesday (13/07/11) - Still no fuss... & a scruffy little flower

Hello and good afternoon! What a wonderful Wednesday it's turning out to be. 

We all spent the morning at My Boy's first school sports day and our pep talks about taking part and having fun being the most important thing were completely unnecessary, as not only did he hold his own in the events, but his House (team - do you have 'houses' in other countries?) were the overall WINNERS!!!!!! 

And on to my WIPs - after finishing The Blanket in time for my Sunday Year of Projects update, it's been fairly relaxed on the crafting front. I've been compiling some patterns for my YoP list and ordering the necessary yarn so there's not much to see this week. 

Regular visitors may notice a little progress on the No Fuss (No Frog) shawl although there was almost a little ripping back last night until Christine made me consider that one extra row of knit stitches in a black scarf probably isn't going to be that noticeable. We shall see :) 

(Oh - did I mention that we were having a little 'knit & natter' last night at mine? It was great - Christine, Danielle and Lee came over and we shared some cake(s!) and several cups of tea. Lovely evening, even if I did mess up the simplest shawl in the world by chatting too much - I hope we can do it again soon.)

Did you spot that scrappy little crochet flower in the picture? 

I bought the pattern for Queenie's Lula Crochet Scarf last night. I haven't followed a crochet chart before but it looked so clear and easy to follow, with each step shown in a chart, picture and words, I really wanted to give it a try. 

The only vaguely suitable yarn I had was the leftover ball from the Spring Tulips shawl so I tried it out and it looks like the pattern will be easy to follow. I've ordered a Clover Soft Touch hook in the correct size (I find them much nicer to hold than the plain hook pictured) and I'm hoping both hook and yarn will be here in the next few days to get started for real - although I may make a few more of these little flowers and use them to decorate something for Little Miss in the meantime. 

So that's it! Not much to show for a whole lot of words - sorry :-/ As always on a Wednesday I'm linking up with Tami's Amis - you can find lots of other Works in Progress by following the links there. 

Have a great afternoon (or whatever is left of the day, wherever you are)
Monday, 11 July 2011

A proper Granny Blanket Ta-dah!

Righty ho, after the major photo-fail last night, here's my FINAL Blanket update with all the particulars in one place. 

The 'Pattern': It was based on this square throw from Lucy at Attic 24 using Lucy's Summer Garden Granny Square tutorial, and joined following this tute. It's rectangular rather than square to be used as a child-sized blanket. 

The Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK bought in a "Lucy Pack" of 17 assorted colours from Mason's. The total cost for the yarn including postage was £30 but I'd estimate the actual cost of materials to be around £15. No, I won't be making another of these, but I would like some cushion covers and things in these same colours with the remaining bucket full of yarn :) 

Ravelry project notes including additional photos can be found here.

And this is what it was really made for, snoozy snuggles after a morning of busy 'kid things' 

I think she likes it! 
Sunday, 10 July 2011

YoP Update: The Granny Blanket is finished!!! (Almost a Ta-dah!)

Hello, and good evening! I'm delighted you dropped in to share my excitement (everyone else is already in bed). Today has been one of single-minded determination to get the Granny Blanket finished before this post. And I DID IT!!!! I can't tell you how good it feels to have finished and I'm really really really happy with how it's turned out *grin* 

Unfortunately it's now past 11pm and far too dark to get any decent pictures, but I took some today while going along (as I have all the way through this project - you can see them together on the Ravelry project page if you're so inclined) so I'll share a few of those with you now and come back in the daylight to post a 'proper' ta-dah picture tomorrow. 

Here is the back after the loose ends had been sorted (well, almost all - a couple were hiding until I thought I was done) but hadn't completed the border - the light was already going so it really doesn't do justice to the lovely bright colours of this yarn pack, but I'm pleased with the way the joins look and would happily use this method of joining squares for future projects, although it was very time consuming. 

And the borders - I was seriously tempted to stop at this point as I love the colours together...

... but I'd always intended the final border should be the lighter of the two reds, so I did one more before declaring it complete. Sadly I can't show you the final border tonight as it isn't photographing well with the flash.

It's the perfect size for a child (or an adult lap). It's incredibly warm. Most of all, it's so jolly to look at. I love it. 

There's nothing else to report for YoP - all other projects this week have been supplementary, so I'm now looking forward to starting the next thing from the list - not sure which to pick and I don't have yarn selected for everything yet, but it's a great feeling to be able to move on to something new. And now this is done, I can read the other posts to see how everyone else is doing :) 

YoP - week 2 posts - twitter #YearOfProjects

Hope to see you soon! 
Saturday, 9 July 2011

Embracing my Inner Hilda
Yes, you read that correctly - Hilda - as in Hilda Ogden! (For those who are not familiar with Hilda, she was one of the most popular and iconic characters to ever appear in Coronation Street - a British soap opera institution that has been running since 1960.)

It all started with the Noro Headwrap I made a few days ago (posted here). I liked it so much I immediately started another one, this time in soft scrummy alpaca. Then onto a silk scarf but it was a bit too big...

... so I was delighted to find a beautiful vintage silk scarf in the charity shop,  that's just about perfect.

Thanks to Danielle for pinning this great tutorial on Pinterest - all the encouragement I needed.  
So today I'm firmly embracing my Inner Hilda - and loving it. 

FO Friday: A little (headwear) ta-dah!

It's been far too long since I posted any "ta-dahs" so yesterday I pulled out the small scrap of remaining Noro from my Boneyard Shawl and settled on a pattern for a headband (my thanks to those who left suggestions/ emailed me after the last post) - Britta Lalena Headwrap/Earwarmer by Elisa McLaughlin.

It's a really nice simple pattern and was finished within a few hours (including a school-run and cooking dinner) although I didn't quite have enough yarn left so a few modifications were necessary - the wide section is shorter than it should be and the narrow piece at the back is longer to compensate.

The pattern suggests wearing it "inside out" for the added textural interest and indeed it does look better worn that way, so the buttons are sewn on the 'wrong' side. I don't intend to block it as the rolled edge also looks better, and you can't see the back section as it's hidden beneath my hair. 

Ravelry project notes can be found here 

Not the greatest photo - it's surprisingly difficult to take a picture of the top of one's own head - but I really like the headwrap and have already cast on another with the right amount of yarn (baby alpaca and it's delish!) so I can follow the pattern properly.

There will surely be far more exciting Finished Objects over at Tami's AmisThere are more posts to come over the weekend but in the meantime, have a WONDERFUL one! xxx
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