Friday, 30 November 2012

FO Friday: Doodling

With only a few rows to go, I should be showing you a finished 22 Little Clouds today, but if you have been following my Instagram or Facebook feeds, you may have realised there is a new WIP and a new distraction this week. It's the latter I'd like to tell you about, as it has a knitting theme.
It began while playing with Little Miss and her crayons - I *really* enjoyed it (I was sipping Champagne at the time) and it got me thinking. A few days later I'd downloaded the Bamboo Paper app (good reviews, free demo version, why not?) and within minutes of playing around with it realised how much I've missed doodling - something I haven't done since having children, and certainly not since replacing paper notebooks with gadgets. I immediately upgraded to the full app (£1.49) and got scribbling....
Last night, while browsing Ravelry AGAIN, I came up with this one...
... I have a feeling there will be more!
For anyone who is interested in the app: I really like using it. I found a bargain stylus so I no longer have to rely solely on my finger, although using just fingers works fine, as you can see above. It is very intuitive, supports multiple notebooks and page styles - plain, various lines, grid etc, you can add up to 5 pictures from your photo roll per page, and it's easily exported either as a whole notebook or as individual pages. For drawing it does have limitations - mainly the small number of colours and only having a few different pen/fill options. For the style of rough, purposefully scruffy cartoon I favour, I think it does a perfectly good job.

Little Miss and I have had lots of fun with it - yes, it's simple enough for a 3 year old. You can see her portrait of D above, and she's been practicing writing her name and drawing on it - it's saved us a lot of paper this week. The demo version is definitely worth a try.

Before I go, I'll share an inadvertent Finished Object of the yarn variety. It came about when I ripped out some crochet ideas and was left with the chain. My Boy was with me and I tied it around his wrist. He hasn't taken it off since - it's his "Love Bracelet" and when he wears it he can feel my love all day. Bless him. Just goes to show that one woman's (s)crap can make another boy very happy.... so mind what you discard today!

Today's link is Tami's FO Friday. Have a great weekend!
Thursday, 29 November 2012

Festive Gift Guide Part 8: All Wrapped Up!

I can hardly believe it's the final Festive Gift Guide post - eek! That means it's almost December and time to make sure everything is wrapped and ready for gifting. So for this last instalment I've found (and pinned) some attractive ways to pack your goodies that will make them feel extra special to give and receive whatever your budget, although chances are you'll already have yarn, paper and fabric you could use for these.

Clicking on the images will  take you to Pinterest where you can link back to the source websites 
which are also linked in the captions (although for some reason, the captions are half-hidden???).
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

It's been so much fun finding and reviewing different gift ideas over the last couple of months and I hope you've found a little inspiration here. I'd like to say a huge thank you to those who have contributed samples or additional information on their products so that I could tell you more about them. 

Next Thursday,  the new "Elf Antics" meme will begin. If you have an Elf on the Shelf (or similar, I know there are some handmade elves out there) visiting your home and would like to join in, there'll be a Mr Linky to link to your blog - if you don't have a blog, you can link to an online photo album etc. Please feel free to spread the word - you can find a share button here

So all that remains is for me to announce the winner of the Giveaway, which has been generously sponsored by Tangled Yarn (Jordana Paige Craft Butler Tool), and A Stash Addict (handcrafted stitch markers). 

THE WINNER IS STEFFH82 who said...
Congratulations! Please contact me with your postal address so I can get your parcel on it's way.
To all my dear readers who are outside Europe, there will be another giveaway in the new year which you will be able to enter - please keep a look out. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

WIPs, Books and Anticipation

KNITTING: 22 Little Clouds - pattern by Martina Behm 

As I'm using a lighter weight yarn, the repeats for the main section of this scarfette were done with over 60g of yarn remaining, so I'm knitting further before moving onto the edging. I originally planned to use the whole skein, but realised that will render it too wide. The new plan is to knit a few more repeats and then get it finished - I'm eager to move onto something else. 

I already posted that I'm loving Pride and Prejudice, so I won't labour the point. If you haven't read it yet and are looking for a good book, I'd recommend trying the first few chapters. If you're anything like me you'll be hooked after a couple of pages - the Kindle edition is free, and can be read on all sorts of devices via Kindle Apps

With 1st December rapidly approaching, my other WIP is a book advent calendar, like the one shown on The Green Dragonfly last year. I have a load of books ready to wrap while Little Miss is at pre-school later, and am expecting a further delivery any time.  

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be announcing the Festive Gift Guide Giveaway winner (entry is open until Midday GMT) and with that complete, the remaining Thursdays of 2012 will be dedicated to the antics of our "Elf on the Shelf". I am expecting the elf to make himself known to us later this week - the book will be Day 1 of the advent calendar - but the children have no idea about any of it, which is very exciting! If your home is expecting an elf of any sort, and you'd like to share what they get up to, please come and join in by adding your link next Thursday, and feel free to spread the word by using the button below - it would be lovely to swap ideas and inspiration. (You might also like my Pinterest board.) 

Elf Antics at Crafts from the Cwtch

As always, I'm linking with Tami and Ginny today. Have a great Wednesday! 

If only I could bottle it....

There is something about this girl. When she talks to me - which is most of the day - it gives me a feeling deep inside the pit of my stomach which bubbles up until I either have to grab and kiss her, or laugh out loud. (Unless it's before 6am and she wants to have the "which dress shall I wear today?" conversion, or I'm cooking and hear "muuuuuuum, wipe my buuuuuuum!", which is a different matter...)

Three and a half must surely be the most perfect age - she is curious, articulate, insightful, hilarious, not only tolerates being cuddled but still LOVES it, and to top it all, is incredibly cute. She questions everything and her honesty is refreshing... except when I'm about to leave the house and she says things like "You don't look very lovely in that, Mum."

I know she will grow up and I know from experience with My Boy that it won't always be like this between us, especially when she is at school. I also know I can't bottle this gorgeousness, so I'm doing the next best thing - writing it here. One day, perhaps after a disagreement, or upset, I can look back and remember sitting in bed past midnight thinking about our funny conversations and chuckling to myself (silently, so I don't wake the snorers!) There are times when motherhood can be really tough, but it's the moments like these that make each and every one of the hard times worth it.
Sunday, 25 November 2012

YoP Update #14: New Things

On Saturday afternoon I started reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time. I can't believe it has taken me so long to pick this book up (well actually, it was a free Kindle download) and I loved reading the first 17 chapters. So far at least,  it's as sharp and pithy as an episode of The Newsroom. I really had no idea! 
If you missed Friday's post, another YoP Project flew off the needles in the last week and I'd hoped to show it's full glory today, but it is still blocking. Great pattern, lovely yarn. What more can I say? 
PATTERN: Rondelay by Jennifer Dessau
YARN: Malabrigo Sock - 100% Merino in Rayon Vert 

22 Little Clouds has also made it into the Project pile. Since it's recent release I've wanted to cast on this pattern, and lacking any suitable DK, resorted to using a sturdy 4 ply from my stash and slightly smaller needles - after all this Year of Projects is about using up yarn I already have. I like it so far, despite the inevitable "stocking stitch roll". As with the other Martina Behm patterns I've tried, this is a straightforward and clearly written design. It's simple and basic enough for a beginner. Were it not so quick to knit, it would run the risk of being a little boring (which is my current problem with Nuvem) but is a good "TV" project or one for knitting whilst travelling as it doesn't require much attention. 
PATTERN22 Little Clouds by Martina Behm
YARN: Nimu Striding Edge - 100% wool (BFL) in Saxony

Plans for not purchasing more yarn were, unfortunately, dashed later that evening when the Kemps Clearance Sale details appeared my inbox and I managed to pick up some bargainous bits and pieces to make a few other things I have in mind. (£1.69 for 100g of wool blend Aran isn't to be sniffed at this close to Christmas.)

This morning made it to yoga for the second Sunday in a row. It's frustrating to have become seriously unfit, unbalanced and inflexible after a few months of neglect - it seems possible likely that my motivation to exercise was removed along with my gall bladder, as it has never fully returned - but I'll get there... eventually! It's fair to say that while I was huffing and puffing at the back, the rest of the class were like this: 
That's it for today apart from a reminder that the Festive Gift Guide Giveaway ends this week - entry is open until midday on Thursday 29th November. For links to more Year of Projects blogs, head to the Ravelry group. Happy Sunday! x
Friday, 23 November 2012

Almost Finished Object Friday

I don't usually consider an item to be "finished" until it's blocked, but as I'm not going to have time to block this today, and because I have grown to love the look of garter stitch,  I'll tell you about it now and post another picture of the whole thing truly finished on Sunday, for this is a stash-busting project (yay!) and therefore part of my Year of Projects

PATTERNRondelay by Jennifer Dessau
YARN: Malabrigo Sock in Rayon Vert - almost 90g used

You can see from my project notes that I had a false start, caused by jumping straight into the pattern without reading all of the notes. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now, but it would appear not. Aside from that this was a very straightforward knit and didn't take very long either - in total around three evening's work. I am already looking at a skein of Stash Addict yarn on the shelf and imagining another....

As ever, I'm linking with the lovely bloggers at Tami's FO Friday
Have a great weekend! 
Thursday, 22 November 2012

Festive Gift Guide Part 7: All I want for Christmas is....

... quite a lot, actually! After more than 6 weeks of reviewing products, I have a case of The Wanties so in this penultimate Festive Gift Guide I'm going to tell you what's on my own wishlist. I'm hoping I might find one or two of these under the tree on Christmas morning although I know I'm pushing my luck after already having my rose tattoo (D says he's wrapping my arm up on Christmas Eve so I don't forget that one) and some other early presents already. 

I currently use a Kindle Keyboard 3G, but would really love an upgrade for the built-in light and extended battery of the new Kindle Paperwhite 3G, which is top of my list. This gorgeous skin and bright leather case look like they'd be perfect with it too. 

My friend Marinke at A Creative Being pointed me in the direction of Remember Wynne's handmade buttons a few weeks ago and the makers kindly sent me a few samples so I could have a closer look before I recommended them, which I am very happy to do after seeing how lovely they are - the level of detail on the candy skull button is quite amazing!
These gorgeous wooden button are made to order to include your own message or name - I think some Crafts from the Cwtch buttons would make a lovely addition to some of my projects, and I am already thinking of more uses for button cufflinks as I type. 

Custom dyed yarn, co-ordinating nail polish,  a knitting pattern, luxury hand cream and some Soak wash all in one box! How great are these Soakboxes? They are new and available in the US and Canada already - thankfully they will soon be in stock at Tangled Yarn in the UK so even if I don't get my hands on one for Christmas, it might make a good new year gift for myself :) 
There are LOTS of shoes on my Amazon wishlist, but at the moment I only have eyes for these warm snuggly suede clogs on eBay - they are just so... Santa-ish.

In Part 5 of the FGG (the Giveaway post) I asked what other people wanted for Christmas and several readers replied that they'd like a set of ChiaoGoo interchangeables. I suppose it was stupid of me to go looking at them when I am already perfectly content with my Knit Pro Symfonie and KnitPro Nova sets and the odd Addi Lace in my favourite size, but look I did.... and now I find myself with this additional item on my wishlist!
Available more widely elsewhere, in the UK I found them at Purlescence (but you need to pre-order as they are sold out before they arrive!) If I am lucky enough to get some, I'll be sure to post a review/comparison with KnitPros and Addi Lace as I have struggled to find reviews which include the kind of geeky comparisons that I want to read. 

When I reviewed Crochet Workshop by Erika Knight, I was instantly in love with the simple designs made from beautiful Rowan yarn. The project I would most dearly love to make is the granny blanket. The pattern, which is also featured in this month's Mollie Makes, requires 24 balls of Rowan Cotton Glacé with a regular price of £4.95 a ball and it's the quantity of yarn that has so far prevented me from casting on. I would love to get the yarn to make this. (Deramores stock it and often have good discounts as well as offering Quidco cashback so I'm hoping there may be a good deal at some point) 

Apart from these, I'd also love to learn to spin which would of course require classes, a spinning wheel and lots of fibre. Maybe that should be 2013's Christmas wish....

Next week's final FGG post will include lots of different ways to gift wrap the lovely things you've made and purchased. The winner of the GIVEAWAY will also be announced and if you haven't yet entered there is still time - just head on over to the post and leave your comment(s). 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

WIPs and Books: Round and round

KNITTING: Rondelay by Jennifer Dassau

Rondelay is a lovely one-skein sock yarn pattern. It's very simple with lots of garter stitch and yarn overs, and the interesting shape courtesy of the short rows (wrap & turn) mean it is not boring to knit. I had hoped to get most of it done last night, but poor Little Miss awoke, boiling hot and covered in a raised red rash, like welts all over her body. Some antihistamine and paracetamol settled her but I didn't get to do my knitting after all. One more evening and it'll be finished so I have my fingers crossed for tonight.... 
Source: CariadJude on Instagram
After my post last Wednesday I finished Victoria Hislop's The Island and whilst it was readable and quite interesting in parts, there was nothing extraordinary about it and I felt the ending was a little rushed in comparison with the start of the book. At the weekend the lovely Jude (Cariad in Crete) brought it to life with an Instagram photo of Spinalonga (the "island") and the coastline where the book is set - I would imagine that reading the book whilst there would be quite a different experience, and it's definitely a 'beach read' type of book. There is nothing particularly challenging about it and I didn't feel as empathetic as perhaps I should at certain points in the story. In short  it's a hard luck tale with a bit of romance and family drama thrown in. 

I'm yet to start another novel (as I mentioned yesterday, the little one being ill has stripped me of my "me" time) so instead I'm perusing Granny Chic which I'm sure you will have seen all over the internet by now. I haven't read much yet but am already feeling inspired for a few little projects. Just need to find some time... 

Today's links are Tami's and Ginny's blogs where you'll find lots more knitting, crochet and books. I'll be back tomorrow for the penultimate Festive Gift Guide, and there is still time to enter the Giveaway!
Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Bits & Pieces (and a little Facebook tip)

Little Miss has been under the weather, it's a cold but she hasn't had many before and is feeling rather sorry for herself. By day she has been off her food, has needed lots of extra attention, and apart from a little bit of cutting and sticking or watching Brave, hasn't done very much at all. By night she has been coughing herself awake before I've gone to bed, re-assigning my usual blog-writing time as "snuggling-back-to-sleep" time. I missed my Year of Projects Update on Sunday and didn't manage to write the planned review of the first 5 issues of Gathered by Mollie Makes, so they are both to follow.

Those who already like Crafts from the Cwtch on facebook will know that I haven't been completely idle. Rondelay, is coming along well and won't take many more hours to finish. I'll show you some pictures tomorrow. On the subject of facebook, I'd been wondering why (1) a lot of the pages I follow were not appearing in my feed and (2) why some of my own posts hadn't 'reached' any of the 300+ followers there, especially those which had posted from other apps like Networked Blogs. I discovered that recent changes mean you no longer automatically see the updates in your newsfeed for pages you've liked. If you ask me, it completely defeats the object of following pages if you don't see their updates, but thankfully there is a way you can get them back. Just follow this screenshot to select "get notifications" in the subscriber settings. 

After doing this, my feed is slowly starting to fill up again - I hope you'll find it useful. As for my posts, I've stopped using Networked Blogs on facebook and am having to remember to post the links there myself which is quite frustrating as they have been automatic for the whole time I've been blogging, but I won't go into a 'facebook advertising' rant tonight or I'll never get anything else done. So that's it from me. See you tomorrow for WIPs and Books
Saturday, 17 November 2012

Snippets (of life): Red and Yellow

These last days of Autumn feel so incredibly precious. Chilly mornings and sunny afternoons filled with beautiful colours in shades ranging from gold to red. And of course brown, which serves as an ominous reminder that the beautiful colour will soon be gone and we will be left to face the long drab (and probably wet) Winter. On days like these there's only one thing to do - wrap up in layers and get outside for some family fun to make the most of it. 

Of course, after a family day out there's nothing better than a new project to look forward to. Meet Rondelay, a great little one-skein sock yarn pattern which, as you may recall, is EXACTLY what I was looking for. After today I can't help thinking I'd like to make another... in red and yellow. 
Hope you're having a lovely weekend too. 
Thursday, 15 November 2012

Festive Gift Guide Part 6: All Sorts of (Childish) Loveliness

Since this feature began, I've been spotting all sorts of cute things that didn't fit into any of the weekly categories but that I didn't want to leave out. So this week I'm sharing a seemingly random selection of  ideas - some handmade, and mostly aimed at, but not limited to, children. I hope you like them!

I can think of lots of projects these could be used for  - available from Great Little Trading Co. (My children have a lot of Melissa & Doug things, and they are always great quality.)
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

This would make an adorable handmade gift for older children/teenagers..... or just for yourself!
From Marie Claire Ideas (French site). Accompany it with an age-appropriate sewing book.
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Hedgehog Mittens Knitting Kit (and LOTS of other critter knit patterns and kits) from Morehouse Farm Merino -  perfect for the young at heart! 

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

My own children have this book and it's great, I wanted to keep for myself, because sometimes these things are wasted on kids. Also a cute stocking filler for an architect or town planner!!! 
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest
These lovely designs found at Country Kitty are so simple and so effective - how about taking these as inspiration and getting the children to draw their own designs for you to sew?
The Mary Kilvert online store has lots of great things - the large cushions would brighten up any room and Little Miss is fancying this one which is also my favourite!
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Requiring only basic crochet skills, this could be made in no time in the recipient's favourite colours - make it extra special by sewing in some colourful lining then fill with pencils, pens or toiletries!
Accompany it with a pretty notebook and his could make a nice inexpensive School-friend Gift.
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest
I was so excited to find these. Does anyone else remember them from the 70s? They would make a quirky retro stocking filler, don't you think?  Available from, along with lots of other gorgeousness
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest
The Elf on the Shelf is not very well known here in the UK but  for the last few years I've been following lot of different elf antics via the internet and could resist no longer, so this final idea is not a "gift" in the usual sense, but I think it's a really fun family tradition and one we'll be taking part in this year. 

For those who haven't seen this before, the elf comes with a rhyming book explaining that he will be observing the children prior to Christmas and reporting back to Santa at night. The elf returns while the children are sleeping, but they find him in lots of mischievous situations each day. I've been compiling some of my favourite ideas and you can be sure that this isn't the last you hear about this - keep a look out for more on the blog in December! 
I found various options in stock at the Book Depository for £23.99 and have them for around $29.99. 
Next week's penultimate Festive Gift Guide will include items from my own Christmas wishlist and  I have some great things to show you. In the meantime you can catch up with the previous posts - including the GIVEAWAY post, by clicking on the image above. 
Wednesday, 14 November 2012

WIPs and Books: Uninspired

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my Half-Somethings post - your replies made me chuckle, actually one or two made me laugh out loud! Despite some great advice given, I have yet to decide either way - so in the absence of any overnight progress I am showing you the lingerers. Again. Let's be honest, you've seen them before, probably several times over.
HALF-KNITTING: Nuvem by Martina Behm, Windward by Heidi Kirrmaier and
 a little earwarmer thingy to go with my Supremely Simple Versatile Cuffs

The blue-ish laceweight behemoth that is Nuvem is going to be lovely but it's so big I have lost motivation, especially as it's more suited to Spring/Summer than our current Autumn/Winter weather so I actually picked Windward up a couple of days ago, did a few rows, and then realised that somehow the stitch marker had magically moved itself along a few stitches and I need to rip some rows back. Once that's done it's easy work to get it finished, but this is another project that I'm just not that inspired about anymore. The Fyberspates yarn (Nef Sock) is spectacular, so I am actually considering ripping it out and making a cowl and mitts with it instead, although I think I really need a little project which is more challenging and interesting. Hmmmm.....

The third little thingy should be finished soon so I'll save that for the Ta-dah and tell you about my latest book. The Island by Victoria Hislop is not the kind of novel I'd usually pick up, but it's this month's book club choice and I am quite enjoying it. The island of the title is Spinalonga, a leper colony off the coast of Crete - although the book (so far, at least) is set away from the island as much as it is on it.

It's an easy read - the sort of thing you could finish in a few days while laying on a beach, but it is quite interesting, particularly as I came to it knowing nothing about leprosy or Cretan village life in the last century. I'll let you know whether I'd recommend it next week, when I've finished reading.

That's it for now. Today's links are WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along and before I go I'll remind you to pop over to the Jordana Paige 'Craft Butler Tool' Giveaway post. 
See you tomorrow for some more gift ideas!  
Tuesday, 13 November 2012


I am having one of THOSE weeks - there are several "half something" projects on the needles (more details in tomorrow's WIPs and Books post) and yet I'm STILL looking at other patterns! (I love this one, and how about this one, or this chunky version of the last shawl I made?)

Laying awake in the early hours of this morning I concluded the main problem is that I want to be knitting warm snuggly things but the stash mostly consists of lovely single skeins of 4 ply/sock yarn. There is NO more money in the "Sarah" pot this month after the unexpected tattoo and then filling the car with the wrong fuel last week, all of which ended up costing a small fortune (and a BIG black mark against my name with D) and it's just a few weeks before Christmas *sigh*

So...... do I finish a half-something that's languishing in the WIP bag, or look for something new and exciting to cast on in 4 ply? What would you do? Share your words of wisdom (or single skein 4 ply patterns) folks, please!
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DISCLAIMER: Crafts from the Cwtch is part of the Deramores, Craftsy, Etsy, Creativebug and Amazon Affiliate programmes and works with a few carefully selected sponsors. Where posts or projects are sponsored, the opinions will always be entirely my own. You can find out more about affiliate links and blog sponsorship here.

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