Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Blogiversary Winner #2 is.....

...Lynn from Thoughts on Pumpkin - Congratulations!!!!! 

Your unopened 1st issue of Mollie Makes is ready to post once I have your details. 

Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to leave feedback on the post. I have another prize coming up next week which is for all you knitters, or wanna-be knitters so keep a look out as it's sponsored by one of my favourite pattern designers and a yarn dyer whose work I've used a lot in the last year, but that's all I'm saying for now.  

Q: What do you get if you cross a flamingo with a peacock?

A: The start of something very Spring-like...
YARNS: EasyKnits Splendor in Flamingo (50% superwash Merino/50% silk)
& Noro Silk Garden Sock in S304 (40% Lambswool/25% Silk/ 25%Nylon/10%Kid Mohair)
NEEDLES: 3.5mm - which is smaller than the pattern.

I've had this pattern in my favourites for some time, but the garter stitch put me off making it. After the success of last week's Hitchhiker (which had lots of lovely comments at Unravel and when out & about at the weekend from non-knitters too) I reconsidered and am glad I did. I'm itching to get on with it but alas D has been away this week and BOTH children have been struck down with a headache/sickness bug that seems to be making its way through our village at breakneck speed. Thankfully I've had my mum here *gives thanks to the Mother-gods* to do everything else that I can't do while comforting/wiping/cuddling the little ones, but I haven't managed to get very much knitting done!

Sitting up for the last 2 nights, I've finally managed to finish Look at Me by Jennifer Egan. I really liked certain parts of the novel - especially the initial set-up chapters - and considering it was released just before 9/11 it's an interesting read (one of the characters is a 'terrorist' in NY). The main theme of identity is both interesting and thought-provoking, but I did find the middle section to be wordy and cumbersome. It's a long book and 75% of the way through, reading it felt like a chore and then had an ending which felt quite rushed - which is a shame as Jennifer Egan can obviously write very well. I'd be interested to read her later, more well known novel, A Visit From The Goon SquadAfter that, and for a bit of light relief, I started reading Remix at 3am yesterday and am already 80% done - it's a far-fetched whodunnit involving impossibly goooood looking (did you read that in the voice of Zoolander?)  people, a supposedly dead rock star, and rocking horses. It's just what the doctor ordered! 

Later today I'll be randomly selecting the winner of the Blogiversary Giveaway Part 2 - which you can find here - I'll leave it open this afternoon to give the folks from WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along a chance to enter, and will make the draw tonight (I'll close the comments before I make the draw). 
Good luck! 

Monday, 27 February 2012

So much to tell you about (the Unravel 2012 post!)

What a weekend we had! Spring sprung (for the day, at least) on Saturday - the weather was amazing so we spent a few hours at our "second home". The kids had a great time ....... all FOUR of them! 

Sunday was our "girls day" out to Unravel. I went with mum and some friends, and met up with a few others (and some familiar bloggers) there too. 
If you love knitting/crocheting/spinning, and can get to Unravel I really would recommend it - the exhibitor list reads a bit like a who's who of the UK's yarny folk, with just a few of the well known names missing. And even if you don't want to shop (?!?!?) there is so much to see - from the yarn-bombing around Farnham, to the Best in Show exhibits plus all the knitted/crocheted samples - we managed to discover a few lovely (and free) patterns this way - a notebook is essential! It's also a great place to feel completely normal saying things like "Ooooh, look at those knitted fish - they're so cute".

Of course it's the perfect opportunity to meet the people who create the beautiful things I usually buy online! I have met the folks behind Nimu Yarns several times already, but this year also chatted with a number of others including the lovely people behind Easy KnitsSkein Queen, Tall Yarns (where there were 0.7mm DPNs that looked like hairs which are being used to knit FAIR ISLE!!!!! Go on, look at a ruler and imagine how tiny they are!!!) and my crochet faves at the Natural Dye Studio where I managed to get my hands on a copy of their new crochet motif book.

Not this moody in real life! :)
I also came across a stall I haven't seen before and which I LOVED.  The stall-holders were Ruth & Belinda (and on Ravelry). Not only were they selling scrumptiously soft yarns, their patterns were beautiful and the people themselves were a complete delight - and even mentioned the word "cwtchy" upon hearing our accents. I especially liked the designs made with Buttersoft which was indeed the softest most yummy thing I felt all day. Sadly we were spent out and already running late so I didn't get to buy anything *sob*, but I am sure that I will be ordering a few things online (as soon as the coffers have recovered from Unravel). Look out for their names here again in the future!

So what DID I manage to buy? Erm..... a few things. Would you like to see them? Okay then, if you insist.....
Whoops - a bit blurry! It was the excitement! 

I think that's all - not a bad haul for a few hours! 

Next year I'll be taking a picnic and staying for the whole day so there's no panic buying at the end, and so I won't go missing out on any beauties like those on the Ruth & Belinda stall (where I *should* have bought at least one pattern and some Buttersoft and probably some Rosewood needles as they looked lovely enough to persuade me to try straight single-pointed needles.) 

I've already cast on something with 2 of the yarns, so I'll be back on Wednesday with a peek and the winner of the Mollie Makes Giveaway (it's not too late to enter!). In the meantime I have a sick lad to look after, so all that remains is to wish you a happy Monday! xxxxxx

Friday, 24 February 2012


I'll keep my 'FO Friday' brief today as I've already inadvertently posted EVERY day this week! 
(photographed prior to blocking)
YARN: Rustic Rainbow from A Stash Addict on Etsy
NEEDLES: 3mm KnitPro interchangeables which match the yarn! 

This was a real pleasure to knit thanks to a great pattern and lovely yarn. I'll be making another of these in something thick and chunky with large needles as I think it'll be stunning. It was a very simple pattern that was perfect for "TV Knitting" and  would be great for travelling too. 

If you didn't already see Part 2 of the Blogiversary Giveaway, you can find it here and there's plenty of time to enter to be in with a chance to win an unopened copy of the Mollie Makes magazine 1st edition.

I'll be back after Unravel with plenty of photos and hopefully some lovely new things to show you!
Thursday, 23 February 2012

Have you heard...?

The third annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week has been announced for 2012!
You can join up at Eskimimi Makes or if you're not sure about taking part, you can also sign up for more info as it is released. Last year it was an absolute blast - I loved preparing my own posts for each of the topics (topics are released in advance) and then spending time each day reading the other posts from yarny bloggers around the world. It's how I found many of the fab blogs I still love to read.

Who else is 'in'?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Hitching along nicely

Missing the kids!?
Good morning. It's a cold bright windy day out there and I  spotted the first few snowdrops in a neighbour's garden this morning - a welcome reminder of Winter's progress. At the start of each year, D works on a 2 month project for the BBC which involves very early starts and late nights so unless he is working from his home office the kids don't see him at all on workdays, and he doesn't see daylight. Getting to the end of the month means we get him back ... until the next project. They love having him around especially because Daddy is all about the tickling, jumping around, dancing to rock music and piling on top of each other - they don't get much of that with me. 

Of course it also means the days are getting longer - it was LIGHT when I got out of bed this morning - the first time this year. Poor light is becoming tedious - roll on Spring. 

I don't feel I've done much knitting, but compared with last week I can see I've made lots of progress and am hoping to finish my Hitchhiker tomorrow as it's almost time to start decreasing. I've also been making more hair for Pixie Moon - it's surprisingly time-consuming but completely worth it. Just a bit more to go and she'll be done. 
YARN: Rustic Rainbow from A Stash Addict on Etsy
ALSO SHOWN: crocheting additional hair for Pixie Moon
I'm still reading last week's book - Look at Me by Jennifer Egan - after getting just over half way I've stalled and am not sure if it's the story or just having less time to read now that I'm up and about. Either way, I haven't read much yet have still managed to purchase a few new books in the Kindle Daily Deals so I do need to get on with it so I can read those! 

If you missed yesterday's post, and would like to get your hands on a rare unopened copy of Mollie Makes first issue, you can find details of how to enter here. I'm happy to post anywhere so all you lovely international readers can enter too.

As usual I'm linking in with Tami and Ginny today, where there are lots of other yarny and bookish posts.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sharing some love - aka "The Blogiversary Giveaway - Part 2"

To celebrate my first year of blogging, I decided to share with you some of the things I love, or have loved in the last year. It's the reason the first giveaway was an Unravel 2012 ticket - Unravel 2011 was my first real initiation into gorgeous yarns and the real arts of spinning, dyeing, knitting and crochet. 

If you've been here from the start, you'll know that I've been reading Mollie Makes magazine since the first issue, which I happened to read about pre-launch as Tiff Fussell, one of my favourite bloggers aka "Dottie Angel" was featured in it. 

Over the months, there were one or maybe two issues which were not quite as exciting for me - mostly due to having too many felt creatures or adverts in them - but I've been inspired by a lot of things between the Mollie Makes covers and have made several things from it or inspired by it, including these little cuties which were both from the first issue. 
iPhone Cover (kit) & Crochet Apple Jacket - my 1st EVER crochet item! 
(The latest issue is great by the way, there will be some things from it coming soon to a blog post near you!) 

So, to share the love, my second Blogiversary Giveaway is an original copy of the much coveted 1st issue of Mollie Makes - still in the original packaging which is unopened and includes the free gift - the kit to make the iPhone cover.  I'm hoping that it will make one of you lovely readers happy, especially as the rare early issues are worth quite a lot on auction sites! 


Over the last few weeks I've been really touched that so many people have visited and commented while I was unwell and in hospital - a comment from Chrissy at Stitched Together to the effect that she came for the crafts, but stayed for the rest too made me stop and wonder what you all like to read about and the type of posts you like the most. And I'm hoping this is my chance to find out! To be in with a chance to win this prize, please leave a comment below including a link to your favourite post from this blog and why you like it, by midday on Wednesday 29th February (GMT). I am happy to post this prize to ANY country, so please just make sure your entry includes a way to get in touch. One entry per person. Please feel free to share this post.

There are more prizes to come, so if you already have a copy of this issue don't despair! I'll be sharing more love next week :)
Hitchhiker progress update tomorrow, hope to see you then!

Monday, 20 February 2012

And the first Blogiversary winner is......

Congratulations Vicki!!!!!! 
I'll send you a message to arrange getting your Unravel ticket out to you. 
(If you're going on Sunday I'll be there and  it would be great to meet up!)

The NEXT Blogiversary Giveaway will be announced tomorrow and will be open to everyone, 
including international readers so I hope to see you then. 
Sunday, 19 February 2012

Snippets (of life): Recovery, re-styling and relocation

It's been a crazy few days here as Wednesday was the day my mum relocated from Wales. She starts her job tomorrow and should be into her new home very soon. For now though, we are having a great time together and the children are in their element while she is staying with us. With an extra pair of incredibly capable hands here I've been able to take it relatively easy and a fortnight after being taken into hospital, I'm starting to feel great. The friends who have seen me have remarked that I already (still swollen and bruised from the surgery to remove my gallbladder) look much better and seem to have more energy than in recent months. Hoorah! 

Apart from the arrival of our new house-mate, half term break has been fairly low-key with just a few trips out and about, and a lot of preparing Little Miss for her first morning at pre-school (yes, tomorrow is a big day around here!) including a haircut, and a special outing to get her indoor "pumps" and a school bag. She is delighted with that and has hardly put it down since we got it. 
A lady asked who made their lovely hats and was shocked when I said I did, because
it's "so unusual to see young people knit" - I was very flattered
... but did have to point out that late-30s isn't actually that young! 
My first trip out after 10 days! 
There has been A LOT of knitting. Having another knitter in the house is really nice - there's something very comfortable about sitting at either end of a sofa without needing to say much, just listening to the gentle clicking of my mother's needles. Little Miss has been joining in too.... in her own way.  
"I'm making something for you, Mummy, for your forehead" (!!!!!!!!)
I've been crocheting more hair for Pixie Moon and will post some more pics when she's absolutely done - I think it's a considerable improvement on the single ball I used when she was made. Progress on the Hitchhiker scarf is also good (LOVE this pattern, beautiful knitterly-geometry, and I know that's not a word, but I don't know how else to say it) which I'm hoping to finish in time to wear to Unravel next weekend. 

Talking of Unravel, remember you have until tomorrow morning to enter the 1st part of the CFTC 1st Blogiversary Giveaway which is a ticket to Unravel courtesy of Nimu Yarns. All you have to do to be in with a chance is to comment on the giveaway post letting me know that you'd like to be entered - simple. I'll be back tomorrow to announce the lucky winner and there are lots more prizes to come over the next few weeks so keep a look out here, on facebook or on Twitter for details. I think (hope!) you're going to like them *grin* ENTRY IS NOW CLOSED. 

Have a great Monday! 
Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Another good yarn... and Blogiversary Giveaway Part 1!!!!

Today I'm joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along as well as Tami's WIP Wednesday as it's been a very bookish week. In the last 10 days I've read several books, which has been the unexpected silver lining to having surgery! I haven't read so much in the last 6 years since I stopped commuting.

I've been reading Before I Go To SleepRoom , The One You Love (I didn't love it, and will skip any further free books unless they are classics), Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and now I'm onto Look at Me by Jennifer Egan. It's quite an engaging read so far (I'm about 38% through) and raises interesting questions about our own and others' perceptions of us and who we "really" are from the perspective of two Charlottes - one a New York model who has had facial reconstruction following a car crash and the other a plain looking teenage girl in a small town. I'll let you know how it goes. 

Onto knitting - my sock had a little progress a few nights ago, but since I cast on Hitchihiker, I haven't touched anything else. What a great pattern! I love the way it's shaping up - quite literally. 

YARN: Rustic Rainbow from A Stash Addict on Etsy
YARN: Regia Design Line "Random Stripe" by Kaffe Fasset


 Blogiversary Giveaway - part 1...
At the end of the month it'll be the CFTC one year Blogiversary and I have some great prizes to give away starting today, courtesy of the lovely Clare at Nimu Yarns. If you've been visiting for a while, you'll already know I'm a great fan of Clare's dyeing skills and one of the first things I made last year was Mizzle, knit with her gorgeous Torva. It's still one my my favourite 'finished objects'. 

My first published blog post was inspired by my day out at Unravel, which is where I first met Clare and got to stroke all her amazing yarns, so it seems fitting that for the first giveaway she has kindly donated a ticket to Unravel 2012. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment below to let me know that you'd like to be entered, and that you'll be able to attend Unravel on either Saturday 25th or Sunday 26th February. Be sure to leave a method of contacting you (by email or link to your blog). The winner will be announced on Monday 20th February and I'll post the ticket out to you by 1st class post on Tuesday, so get your entries in before midnight on Sunday!   

This prize is going to be of most use to people who are in the UK, or more specifically in the South East or able to get here easily and I'd like to assure readers that there will be more prizes coming up over the next few weeks which can be sent anywhere :) 

It's an exciting day here, but I'll be back to tell you more about that another time. 
Have a great one!  
Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Random knitting thought of the day

One a Day update: 
0 new hexipuffs = 0 progress on my Beekeeper's Quilt since leaving hospital *sigh*...

...BUT as well as making Pixie's dress, I have cast on something else.
 Aren't those colours divine? If they aren't going to make me feel better, then nothing is! I am not generally a fan of garter stitch, but in this beautiful muted rainbow yarn from A Stash Addict it's absolutely perfect. 

I'll be back to show you more tomorrow, and if you don't yet have tickets for Unravel but would like to attend, be sure to check back then as I'll be announcing details of the first part of the CFTC 1st  Blogiversary Giveaway.  
Monday, 13 February 2012

#FF0000 (RED)

I'm a very proud mum - on Saturday My Boy did his first karate grading and got his red belt! 
Yesterday, I was feeling in the mood (finally) for some knitting therapy, and decided to cast on a little something for Pixie Moon (if you didn't already meet Pixie, here's her Ta-dah, my favourite to date) who has been scantily-clad since being finished. 
PATTERN: Improvised & noted on Ravelry project page
NEEDLES/HOOK: 2.5mm circulars & 2.5mm hook for neckline
YARN: Patons Dreamtime 4ply in colour 4370 - 60% wool, 40% nylon
(in artificial light)

She seems really pleased with it and so does Little Miss - the yarn is lovely, very soft and so bright and best of all was only 99p for 50g in the Kemps sale! Next she'd like some trousers but that's a job for the sewing machine. 

Saturday, 11 February 2012

My week in pictures

The kids busied themselves while I was feeling off colour - a 'good luck' picture for my sister as she starts her (cow based) PhD, which seems to have inspired some other farm animal crafts I found them making.  

Since Monday I've spent a lot of time looking at ceilings and drinking tea. (Did you spot the vial of gallstones in the background?) When I came out of recovery I remember looking up at the ceiling and trying desperately to focus on those tiles - they were swimming and swirling about leaving me feeling very nauseous. It was only a day later when I looked at my phone that I found the picture. I think I must have taken it while I was still under the influence of morphine to see if they were swirling in the picture too. 

My Kindle has been invaluable, in fact, I may need to send it a valentine's card. I've read Before I Go To SleepRoom and half of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. There's something wonderful about finishing a book in the middle of the night in a hospital bed and being able to download another within a minute. 

Last night I finally felt well enough to pick up some knitting. Only an inch or so of my sock, but still, I think it means I'm starting to feel much better now. 

We couldn't have managed without our wonderful family this week who have taken great care of all of us and enabled D to work. I'm hoping to be much more mobile next week so that we can enjoy the Half Term break. It's Little Miss' last week at home before she starts pre-school *wibble* - she got her "uniform" (sweatshirt) yesterday and is super duper excited about it. 

Thanks again for all your lovely messages - here and on Facebook. I'll be back next week with news of the one year Blogiversary giveaway prizes - I hope they'll make up for the lack of crafty posts recently! 
Tuesday, 7 February 2012

An unexpected adventure

I became ill on Sunday night (again) and in the early hours of yesterday morning an ambulance took me to hospital. After numerous blood tests and scans I had an operation to remove my gallbladder. This afternoon I was allowed home but have to rest for the next week or so - I'm sore, bloated, bruised and my stomach has been glued back together in four places from the keyhole surgery. 

Apparently I must have been ill with this for a long time, so I'm quite excited to know how it will feel to be 'better' - hopefully in a few weeks time I can tell you. 

Thanks to everyone who has commented on my last few posts and to those who have awarded me with various things - I read all your comments from my hospital bed and they cheered me no end. 

I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!

Happy February, everyone!!!!! I can't believe we're already into the second month - yikes! Time really is flying.

So this morning I kept seeing rabbits everywhere - including this cute free pattern from Dot Pebbles. I love her patterns. I'm sure Pixie Moon (by the same designer) would like one of these as a friend...
I'm going to HAVE to make one! 

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest
It took me a while to realise that no, it wasn't a co-incidence, and yes rabbits really were everywhere. Trusty Wikipedia tells me that saying "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit" first thing in the morning on the first day of the month is meant to bring good fortune. Well I've never heard this before (have you?) and I missed it, but the sun is shining and there are so many exciting things to come this month I already feel very lucky indeed. (I can't wait to tell you all about the things I have planned for the CFTC 1 YEAR BLOGIVERSARY later this month,  but you'll have to wait a little while longer, just until everything is confirmed! *squee*)

Wednesday. Well that means it's time to join the lovely crafters at Tami's Amis and Ginny's Yarn Along for an update on projects and books. 
YARN: Regia Design Line "Random Stripe" by Kaffe Fasset

This is the start of my second pair of socks (you can see the first pair here) and as I've had very little knitting time lately I have managed only a few rounds in the last week. I made the little sock project bag the other day to keep this sock in my bag, and I'm hoping that I might actually get to do a bit more work on it if I'm carrying it around with me. I'm also working on my Beekeeper's Quilt which I posted about yesterday so I won't repeat that again. 

The book was a recommendation which was also started last week, but when we were all ill I found I'd only get to read a few pages at a time, so despite being 26% through I don't feel like I'm "into" it yet. If I feel this way after a few more nights then I'll probably ditch it, so I'm interested to see what everyone else is enjoying at the moment. 

Well that's it from me. I am going to have a little look at the Month of Craft Photos project at Untangling Knots which I found via Stitched Together as it looks like fun. 

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!

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