Wednesday, 30 November 2011

WIP Wednesday and some Covenants

As well as the usual Wednesday update with Tami's Amis, I'm joining Ginny's Yarn Along today. This is something I usually follow (and have taken recommendations from) but as I've been reading the first four (huge) books in George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series for an eternity I don't usually join in. Having finished the fourth book last night - WOW! - and with just one remaining, it's time for a break to read something I'm rather excited about. 

Taking a break! 
When D was my 'new boyfriend' and he introduced me to his friends over a decade ago, there was one he described as being intelligent, an amazing writer, and an all-round good bloke. That friend was Dean Crawford, known to us as "Deano". This month Deano's first book - Covenant - was published in the UK after already being launched to rave reviews in Australia, USA and Canada. After only days of sales, Covenant hit the number 1 spot in the Bookseller Fiction Heatseeker chart (for rising stars) and was number 26 in The Sunday Times Bestseller paperback chart (despite all the celebrities and well-established writers having books out for Christmas) quite an accomplishment for a debut thriller! I really couldn't be happier for Deano who worked so hard to turn this dream into a reality - he is currently very busy with the next two books in the series (but took time to pop to the pub to celebrate our friend's birthday last Saturday - because he really is a very nice bloke!). 

I started Covenant last night - on my Kindle, but the paperback makes a better picture - and the first few chapters have me intrigued. I can totally see why there are comparisons with Michael Crichton, whose books I also like, and can't wait to curl up with it again tonight. If you'd like to read more about Deano, he has a Facebook page, a blog and an official website

And so onto the knitting. You can see I'm just past the elbow on the first sleeve of Chele, which is constructed in one piece from one wrist to the other.The pattern uses a yarn with drape, but I'm making a thicker and hence more structured version for winter with 100% wool - it's positively architectural and reminds me a little of Katwise sweaters - thoughts of a multicoloured version have already entered my head. I love this sleeve actually, it has a kind of concertina effect when it's not pinned down - I only hope the body works out as well. I'll see how it goes, but I may try switching to slightly bigger needles for the body section so it's not as dense as the sleeves. 

And that's all I'm working on this week, although I already posted yesterday that I am itching to get back to the Hexipuffs, and there are numerous other projects around the place needing some attention. For now though, I have an appointment with some glitter, glue, and a cheeky two year old! Have a great day. xxxx

Edit: A couple of people have now asked about the skin on my Kindle - it's a Gelaskin from Amazon, and there are lots of other designs too :) 
Tuesday, 29 November 2011

One a Day: Shhhh!

I know, I know. Hexipuffs and I are "on a break", and I shouldn't be taking part in Carole's One A Day update at all. But how could I resist? I have made 3 this week with the yarn from Natalie and having just arrived home to two gorgeous new skeins of sock yarn from my lovely friend Danielle (A Stash Addict) I have only one thing on my mind, and it's not SOCKS! At least one of these - probably the one on the right - is going to HAVE to become squishy puffs of colourfulness. 


When I started this project I was worried that boredom would quickly set in, but I'm really missing it. Especially as I have donated a few of my 'puffs to other causes. I can't wait to get back to it, but for now I need to get on with Chele. More on that tomorrow! 
Sunday, 27 November 2011

Year of Projects: In which I cast on (& publish another pattern)

Hello! I hope you've had a lovely day. It has been a very good Sunday here - a stunning drive to Brighton in the sunshine, a replacement iPhone (don't ask!), returning home to the most delicious roast beef lunch and then a lazy afternoon with my favourite people involving lots of cuddles and some fun superhero homework. Marvellous. 

For those who visited for last week's uncertain YoP update, I'm pleased to report the armwarmers turned out great. I made a long and a short version, with and without thumb-holes (I'm thorough like that) and I absolutely LOVE them. There are so many photos of their progress last week, I won't bore regular readers, but you can see the posts here should you wish to read the long version. And as a few other people have also successfully tested my pattern (thank you, ladies!), I'm pleased to tell you that it's now available on Ravelry as a free download.

And now it's getting on for 10 PM and I am about to cast on another YoP project before bed - it's Chele. The pattern is ready, the yarn is calling me, and as instructed by Faith in her comment a few days ago, it's time to just get on with it!!!  I've made a few Emma Fassio designs before and I love the way they are clearly written and easy to follow so I'm hoping this will be the same. I'm going to use some pretty Purple Pure Dyed British Wool from Blacker Yarns. I haven't used it before but it was on offer and I liked the colour so I thought I'd give it a try. I'll report back on it later in the week, but no time to stay here chattering about it now. I have knitting to do! 
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Snippets (of life): In which there is nothing grey...or knitted!

There has been far too much grey here this week - first a bazillion pictures of the armwarmers... and then I went and changed the blog theme to a silvery-grey one for the Winter *slaps forehead Dobby-style*. 

In an attempt to redress the balance, here are some of the cheery things that have made me smile lately -  you'll notice NOTHING is grey! 
Rustling through beautiful Autumn leaves on the walk to school
Little Miss (who lives her life in a blur of excitement) dressed up & babywearing in playsilks
A basket-full of colour awaiting my next project(s)
A self-portrait by My Boy 

This school term has been based around super-humans and last week ended with 'Superhero Training Day'. The entire year (including staff) dressed up as Superheroes and their lessons included super-skills and senses, superhero fitness and so on. You can see it made a great impression, and My Boy even ran (flew?) to school. Please also note that he looks less like an elf in real life than in his portrait! 

It's been a great week for us. Following some dreaded surgery we've had wonderful news about a family member's health, my Mum's relocation to England is also gathering momentum and of course there are all the exciting plans for our family celebrations at Christmas to be getting on with (and for the first time in a few years we are not hosting them *yay*). So while the wind blows a gale outside, and I can hear the quiet snoring of someone upstairs, I'm sitting here alone enjoying the peace and feeling very content... and not in the slightest bit grey!

Friday, 25 November 2011

FO Friday: Don't ever work with (or around) kids!

I was all ready to take some webcam action pictures of the finished armwarmers, when Little Miss appeared - still in her pyjamas, singing Rolling in The Deep... and dancing. Of course that put an end to any photos, but I did get some cuddles and it would seem that the armwarmers live up to their name - they are indeed 'Cwtchy' (snuggly). 

So this is the best I can offer you today *sigh*  

Pattern: Cwtchy Cable Armwarmers (available as a free download)
Yarn: Rowan Creative Focus 1 x 100g  Needles: 4mm DPNs
 Pin It
They turned out exactly as I hoped so I'm really pleased with them and it's another thing off my Year of Projects list which also feels great. So it's a big thumbs up. And now I'm wondering what to cast on next! I'd intended to start on Emma Fassio's Chele once these were done, and have the yarn ready, but after buying several knitted things including a lovely knitted top yesterday (I know, I know - craziness but I just couldn't resist it!) I have the urge to make something similar to that in another colour... 
We're heading off to visit some family now, so I'll wish you all a wonderful weekend

PS. Today I'm linking in with Tami and also Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday.  
Wednesday, 23 November 2011

WIP Wednesday: Almost there!

Hello. Just a quick WIP Wednesday update with Tami's Amis before we head off to collect My Boy from school. Since my post on Monday, this week has mostly been about armwarmers! So far, I've finished a long one and a shorter version with an optional thumb hole. Here are the right arms before the ends are sewn in...

When they are worn, the cable opens out like this...

Tonight I'll make a start on the left arm (really should have made those first as it's hard to get an action shot of your own right arm!). With a bit of luck, these should be finished and ready for a ta-dah post on Friday *crosses fingers* and the pattern ready next week. I actually can't wait to wear these - they are very snuggly and warm! 

I'll take this opportunity to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to stateside readers -
 I hope you have a lovely holiday weekend. 
Tuesday, 22 November 2011

One a day: lusciousness

Yesterday I received a lovely parcel from Natalie at Misadventures in Craft. Not only did it contain the cable knitting book I won in her recent giveaway *grin*, but she included something very special for me. 

You see, for the last few months I've been stalking Natalie's blog. Not only do I think her knitting is beautiful (so perfectly neat), and enjoy her writing, but she uses some wonderful colours that I'd never normally choose and that I just love in her projects. I also love looking at her cookery posts - I'll be honest with you, I don't actually read them, I don't enjoy cooking that much as I do far too much of it around here, but I like to eat so I really enjoy the pictures :) 

Anyway, I've digressed, I've recently been drooling over these socks.  Since the first time I saw them I was in love with the yarn. But sadly (for me, at least) it was something Natalie had dyed herself and I couldn't just go out and buy a load and roll about in it.

So imagine how excited I was to open the parcel.... and out popped the scrap extraneous yarn from those very socks!!!!!!!!! Of course, it meant I had to take a short break from my Hexipuff break! Here's the first one - now my favourite - and I'd guestimate there is yarn for at least 3 or 4 more. I'm very happy. Thank you again, Natalie xxx

And while I'm here talking about my Beekeeper's Quilt, I'll remind you of the charity quilt being made in aid of NACRO which I linked to in a previous post. There are still spaces for donations, you don't need to be making a quilt yourself to contribute and you only need to send in two hexipuffs which could easily be made in less than two hours with a very small amount of scrap sock yarn. Full details (and a list of current contributors) can be found on the UK Handmade website

Despite the strong urge to carry on making more hexipuffs, Little Miss and I have been busy this morning, and we finally made a start on some of the Christmassy things I mentioned on Saturday, but more about those another day. 

Enjoy the other One A Day posts (from people who are still actually MAKING one of something every day) and I'll be back tomorrow with my Work In Progress update. 
Monday, 21 November 2011


I was going to wait until my WIP Wednesday post in a couple of days but can't stand that I had to use those horrible dark pictures in my post last night, so having photographed the first finished armwarmer today and feeling very happy about them,  I have to share these....

.... aaaand breathe!  That's SO much better :) I really like it in the daylight - see how much the cable opens up on the arm, and the subtle colour variations in the yarn - it's exactly how I hoped it would look *grin*.

Over the last few days, I've seen a couple of pictures (including this and this) of items made from my patterns and it felt so incredible that the notes I'd made on my screen had been transformed into an actual THING by someone else's hands! As a result, I'm now in the process of making a few different versions / options of these armwarmers and finalising the pattern which will be made available as a free Ravelry download once it's been tested (thanks to the lovely Raveller who pointed me in the direction of the Free Pattern Testers group!). Writing some more patterns - even very simple and basic ones like these - feels like the next step forward as I approach my first "knitaversary". 

And before I go, you may already know that I also co-ordinate the fledgling blog at Natural Mamas. Well today I posted a poem by one of the Natural Mamas forum members which has had a record number of hits and mentions for us around the web so it's clearly struck a note. (If you are hormonal, I'd recommend a tissue) You can find it here. Enjoy! 

I'll be back tomorrow with something very special to me *squee*
Sunday, 20 November 2011

Gone YOPing!

For more information on the Year of Projects visit Ravelry
:: Please excuse the horrible photos - I had intended to write this after lunch during which D produced a bottle of my favourite wine which we shared, then I promptly fell asleep... and woke after dark! Whoops!::

It's been a few weeks since my last Year of Projects post as there has been SO much to distract me. When I finally decided to take a break from the completely addictive Beekeeper's Quilt to focus on other projects, Pixie Moon came along. Then there was the knitted boob recipe that had me busy at the beginning of the week.   So I'm pleased to report that there has been a little bit of progress on the projects from my list (and the page had a re-vamp too). 

On Tuesday a friend came around for a crochet lesson. She wanted to start by making the Apple Jacket from Mollie Makes issue 1, so I made one too. This is the third I've made but somehow it's turned out huge...or our apples have shrunk - I'm not sure which. 

The pattern is quick to make, very easy to follow and uses only a few basic stitches - it was my first ever crochet project six months ago, and beginner-friendly. I noticed tonight it is now available via Ravelry.

The White Company - £55
Also I finally started the cable armwarmers I wrote about last time. The joy of making things myself has been in the ability to make them exactly how I want them (give or take the odd mistake). So when inspiration struck in the form of The White Company catalogue, I didn't want to just make a direct copy of them, and when I couldn't find exactly what I wanted in any pattern, the process of making up my own began. 

The yarn selection was based on a review in Knitting magazine. It's Rowan Creative Focus Worsted which is 75% wool and 25% alpaca so whilst it's a very sturdy-feeling yarn it still has some fluffiness to it. 
I knitted a swatch (this is highly unusual for me as I'm a "wing it" kind of girl), and I tried out lots of different cables before deciding on something really simple and uncluttered, and last night cast on the first one. 

Having decided to make them narrower than the TWC pair - so they'll also fit underneath certain sleeves - the cable section is fairly narrow, and I'm not sure if I would prefer it to be wider. Looking at that dark sorry-looking picture it is quite amazing how much background work has gone into something that's wholly underwhelming!!! Hmmm... this one might yet end up as half a pair of child's legwarmers - that's another thing on my list.

The plan is to get these finished this week (one way or another) and then I can move on to Chele as I have some scrumptious purple yarn waiting to be transformed. 

I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone else's updates now, so that's it from me. 

Toodle pip! 
EDIT: Here's a better picture taken in the daylight the following morning :)
Saturday, 19 November 2011

Festive Fabulousness!

You may remember that I had a little rant about Mollie Makes last month, but today all has become clear - they must have been saving all the good stuff for the festive issue - in my opinion it's by far the best to date. Absolutely FULL to bursting with so many lovely gift ideas and decorative bits and pieces to make for Christmas. Look at these little cuties for starters....

I've also been pinning some Christmasy things on my Pinterest board - here are some of my favourites: 

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

And this one made me laugh... SO tempting!!!!
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Thursday, 17 November 2011

FO Friday: I made a boob!

Friday again *gasp*, and this week there are a couple of Finished Objects to share.
First a quick ta-dah that completely got overlooked last week in all the Pixie Moon excitement! A friend published her first Ravelry pattern last week in time for Remembrance Day - a crochet poppy. A great little pattern - really easy to follow and very quick - this was made within half an hour including finding and sewing a brooch back onto it. It's a bit late for this year, but worth bookmarking.
I mentioned on Wednesday that I'd been reading an appeal from Catherine, who is about to qualify as a breastfeeding peer supporter for East Kent and is hoping that each of her fellow course graduates will be able to have a knitted breast for demonstration purposes. Breastfeeding rates in the UK are very disappointing, with Unicef reporting that only 35% of babies are exclusively breastfed at one week and this is down to 3% at five months.

Having struggled for over a week to get My Boy to feed properly while he was in the Special Care Baby Unit after birth, this is a cause that's close to my heart. Without support - for us in the form of some lovely midwives - it would have been so easy to give up and buckle under the considerable pressure to switch to formula feeding, which was not at all what I wanted to do. Thanks to the help we had, we went on to successfully and happily feed for his first year. 

After reading Catherine's post I couldn't stop thinking about it, and so I started looking for a pattern. There were already several to choose from but none I could find that met my criteria of wanting to knit one-piece, top-down and in the round. So I decided to make up my own "recipe" - here's the sample. 

The idea is that it can be customised to make different shapes, sizes and colours - just like real boobs. The recipe is available as a free Ravelry pattern here*. 

If you'd like to make any donations of knitted boobs (from any pattern), please feel free to send them to:
c/o Caterpillars Children's Centre,
Chart Road,
 Folkestone CT19 4PN.

The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted a few little changes to the blog this week, including a new page for my own patterns. Not much there yet, but I'm planning a few things so there should be more soon. There is one more little Finished Object this week, but I'll save that for Sunday's long overdue Year of Projects post. In the meantime, enjoy the other FOs over at Tami's Amis and have a LOVELY Friday! xxxx
*if you're not a member of Ravelry (if you can knit, you should be!) you can also access this recipe in Google Docs

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

WIP Wednesday: A patchy attempt at a sock, a fluffy loop, and a boob!

Hello and happy Wednesday to you! 

First of all I must say a big WELCOME to the new subscribers/followers and Facebook 'likers' over the last few days. It's a real pleasure to have you here in the Cwtch *pulls out virtual comfy chair, cuts a slice of cake and pours a cuppa* 

It's been a very busy week here so my apologies for my absence over the last few days. Exciting plans are afoot for our family, but I shan't tempt the fates by writing about it... yet. 

While I've been away from the blog I've been working on a few projects. The Leisa Loop has finally had some attention - it's on row 70 (after ripping about 20 rows out following the wine incident) and I've been knitting this for the last few evenings - it's coming along nicely and the pattern is very simple / easy to remember but I still can't knit it with the little people about (I can't do more than 10 stitches between interruptions which makes counting even simple pattern repeats very tricky). It feels so deliciously soft and scrumptious I can't wait to wear it, although it's going to take a while at this pace.

The camera really can't capture the colours at all *sigh*

And I've also started my first sock.... for Pixie Moon! I'm not sure how it's going to turn out yet - it's not looking all that great on the needles, but as her feet are not exactly like human feet, it may be that they'll turn out fine for her. If not they'll become legwarmers. I'll save the photo until I have  made more progress - I need to do the foot decreases now, but that's another one that I need sit quietly to finish so it's having to wait! 

This morning I saw a request for some knitted boobs to help with breastfeeding support and had a little look at the various patterns available. When I couldn't find one I wanted to make, I decided to make my own. So today, at every opportunity, I've been knitting a boob and so far I have this... 

I'll share more about the recipients (and if it works out ok, I'll also publish the pattern) when it's finished.

I'm trying really hard not to cast on Chele or the planned cable armwarmers for my Year of Projects list until I have finished something else, but the yarn for both is here and looking very tempting!!!! 

Hope you are having a happy and productive week wherever you are! 
Remember to check out today's other WIPs at Tamis
Friday, 11 November 2011

Ta-dahhhhhh! (Are you ready to meet Pixie Moon?)

I've had so much fun with this wonderful pattern. I really can't tell you how satisfying it has been to bring Pixie Moon to life from just a few balls of yarn. 
So in my favourite Ta-dah to date, I'd like to invite you to meet Pixie. 

Pixie's favourite colour is blue, 
she loves Marmite on toast 
and to sit around chatting into the early hours. 
She also has a fondness for Hexipuffs and is often seen snuggling one (or more).  

So far I've only made her boxer shorts - socks and a top will be on the needles this weekend

Oh, and a 'quick and dirty' poncho from scrap yarn.  
(This will move on to someone else once Pixie's clothes are made - she deserves better.) 

I could write about this little lady all day, but I have two of my favourite people arriving this weekend and far too much to do around the house. If you would care to read more about the pattern and the process, there is a day-by-day commentary on my project notes *blush*. 
Find more FOs at Tami's
I have LOTS of other things to be getting on with but the only other Finished Object was a little crochet Remembrance Poppy from a pattern published by a friend this week. For some reason I can't add any links at the moment, but you can find it and link to the free pattern on my Ravelry page.  

Edited: In the Pixie excitement, I forgot to show you the other exciting thing that happened this week. Look what was in Let's Knit magazine....

Hoping you had as much fun and excitement this week x
Wednesday, 9 November 2011

WIP Wednesday & a peek into the Cwtch (...or "How I hide my projects")

{WIP = Work In Progress}
Hello, hello! Regular readers of this blog or my Facebook page may have noticed this already from the copious updates, but I'm LOVING this week's main project - Pixie Moon. She still needs a right arm (tonight's job) and some more hair. Oh, and some facial features. I'm really hoping she'll be ready for a reveal on Friday - although she will be unlikely to have any clothes until after the weekend. Here's a peek. 

More pics can be seen on the project notes

Perusing some of my favourite blogs this week, I  enjoyed reading this post and as my other projects have remained almost entirely abandoned this week, I figured I'd skip the mostly pointless "progress" shots and show you instead where they all live during inactive periods. 

The concept of a knitting/crafting "bag" was abandoned quite soon after learning to knit, as it was clear I'd never fit everything in a single bag. I seem instead to have an ever-increasing collection of things dotted about my Cwtch, especially around the armchair where the Leisa Loop is still waiting for some attention, the hexipuffs for my Beekeeper's Quilt are hidden (can you spot them in that basket to the side of the chair?) and 16 balls of yarn that just arrived are waiting to be put away (... not sure where). 

There is also a Hexibag hanging on the door, a large tub containing two crochet projects tucked away under the table (Sitting Room Circles and Lula), a 'Pixie corner' and a basket of scrap yarn with the still unfinished crochet slippers (although last week there was just one sole, so that's SOME progress)! Oh, and a little plastic wallet containing a "mini mobile hexipuff kit" which gets moved from bag to bag so I can knit a few rows whenever I get the chance. Once the yarn is hidden put away, it should look quite tidy again, but it does make me glad I have the luxury of my own little sitting room, or I don't know how I'd keep so many things on the go. How do you store your projects? 

I'll be back on Friday with a Ta-dah or two, in the meantime, you can 
see more WIPs via the links at Tami's blog.  
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Tuesday, 8 November 2011

(Far less than) One A Day

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. 

(Click image to view my Pixie Moon project notes on Ravelry)
Once I spotted the pattern for this sweet little lady last week, everything else fell by the wayside, including my 'one a day' project. I think in the last week I've only made about 3 or 4 new hexipuffs so rather than giving myself a hard time about it, I've decided to take a short break from the Beekeeper's Quilt to finish some smaller projects. I'll save an official count for another day, as I have limbs to finish, hair to crochet and itty bitty clothes to make!!!! (Can you tell I'm already rather fond of Pixie Moon?!I'm hoping to have her finished by the end of the week.)

Find more One a Day bloggers at Gingerbread Girl's place
I'll be back tomorrow with my (lack of) progress on everything else :D 

Have a great day! 
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