Thursday, January 31, 2013

Twit twoo.....and a visit to an English country town

This morning I saw a lovely tutorial to make a Little owl decoration on Bunny Mummy's blog. The tutorial is really, really well written and easy to follow so this afternoon I sat down and had a go:
 
 
Ahhhh isn't she a cutie?
 
 
 
I think she looks great hanging on our bed, I'm fairly sure my husband won't though!
 
Other than the owl, today I'm going to post some photos of a town called Brignorth. It's really close to where I am from originally and when we went back to visit my family this christmas we went there for a day.
 
It's a really lovely town on the River Severn in Shropshire and it dates back to 1101.
 
 
It had been raining a lot in the days before our visit so the river was really high.
 
The town itself is split into two parts, the high town and the low town, and they are joined by a funicular railway:
 

This photo is what is left of the castle there:



We had lunch at the oldest pub in the town, The Swan, which dates all the way back to 1392! It was great to enjoy such beautiful countryside and history together.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Stash busting and 100 followers!

The stash buster challenge has already had a good effect on me. This weekend I organised and wrote down everything in my stash. And it took ages! After writing down all that I have I've got to say that I really need to take part in this challenge!

Here is my stash list:

  
After adding everything up I have a total stash of over 11 and a half kilos! I have been building it up for quite a while but that is a lot of yarn and I really am committed to working through it this year!

My first project is the granny square blanket/lapghan/throw I wrote about last week. I've worked on it over the weekend and it's starting to grow.


I've weaved in all the ends and have joined all of the squares I've made so far together. I've also started the edging in a reverse single crochet (double crochet in UK terms):

 
I love that kind of stitch, it's great for edgings. Anyway, so far I have managed to bust 202 grams of my stash :)
 
I finished some gift tags that came as a free gift with Craft Seller magazine last year too:

 
Before I go I wanted to say a BIG thank you to everyone who is following me. I've made it to 100 followers and I am so proud to have reached that milestone! So thank you to each and everyone of my followers :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A little hat and a stash buster challenge

At the weekend I made a baby hat from one of the old patterns I wrote about last week.
 

I've left off the pom pom. I need to try and find a good way to make pom poms. Does anyone have any tried and tested ways? When I make them they never look anything like they are supposed to :)

The hat pattern was such a simple, yet pretty one to follow. I think it would look lovely made as a throw or blanket:


 
As I mentioned yesterday I've been trying to organise my stash. I have quite a few odd bits of yarn left over from some projects which I need to try and use up some how. I also have quite a few left over skeins in the same colour.
 
I started to make a few granny squares with some DK cotton before Christmas and after seeing the stash buster challenge on Linda's blog I've decided to sign up and try and work through my stash.
 
My first challenge is going to be to use up this yarn:



Now, this is going to be a double stash buster because the pink cotton was originally my mum's. She didn't want it and de-stashed it on to me. Now I'm destashing it from my stash. Do I get double points for that? :)

This is what the project is looking like so far:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Flowers, pineapples and shawls

I got given a two shawls for Christmas and I wanted to show them to you today:
 

This first one is really fine, cotton wrap. It's made with the thinnest yarn and would have needed a thin steel hook (the  kind I hate using!) to make. It'll be great as a summer cover up.


There are so many flowers on it and each one is so intricately made. Just four colours of yarn were used, but the way the flowers are laid out makes it look like more.

 
It is a fairtrade product so I hope whoever made this beautiful piece received what they were owed for all the hours of work that would have gone into making something like this.
 

This next shawl was made for me by my mum:


This is more of a Winter shawl so I'm enjoying using it already :)

 
I really like the pineapple stitch in shawls and cowls because it looks so complicated.


This shawl is made with 100% alpaca yarn so it's super soft and warm.

I've got a new box to hide my stash in too! I've seen on some blogs the 2013 destash challenge and I think I'm going to sign up for it because my stash is getting a bit out of control. I've got a set of 6 drawers, a big plastic box and now this new cardboard box full of yarns!

 
I love cats so when I saw the box I loved it. But even though it's cute from the outside, it's even better when you see what's inside....
 
....yarn, yarn, yarn! :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

My christening dress

The pattern for the dress I started the other day was the same one my mum used to make my christening gown:
 


It's a little hard to tell from the picture but that is me wearing the same dress (just made longer than the pattern calls for) as the one I just finished making!

 

 
I used some stash buttons I got last year to finish off the back of the dress and then some matching bootees in the left over yarn.

 
Here's the set together:

 

It's supposed to be a very rainy weekend here so I'm hoping I'm going to have lots of crochet time :) Have a happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday wip

This week I've made a start on one of the old patterns I brought back home with me:
 
 
It's going to be a baby dress. I think it'll take about another hour or so to finish so hopefully by the end of the week it'll be a F.O. My wip bag is bursting at the seams so I need to finish something soon! I'll have half a skein of yarn left over so I'm planning on making some booties and mittens to match. 
 
This is my second baby pattern and they really are fun to make - so much faster than adult sized clothes!
 
I've also used up all of my home spun yarn. I made another little flower to embellish something. This one is a little more even and I think it could almost pass for 'real' yarn :)  
 
 
And at the weekend I wound all those pink skeins of yarn into balls. Now I can start making something pretty...


Friday, January 11, 2013

A surprise in the post

This morning my doorbell rang and it was my post lady with a parcel for me. It was a surprise because I wasn't expecting anything.
 
I've been feeling really homesick recently for some reason and ever since Christmas it's been worse than ever. Last night I was feeling pretty sad and then I fell over...in the street...in front of loads of people! My husband was there to pick me up luckily :) I didn't do much damage but I've made a real mess of my knee - it's cut, bruised and swollen. So this morning when this parcel arrived, the timing couldn't have been better. It really has been a pick me up.
 
 
My mum sent it to me for no special reason and it is full of lovely things. A perfect parcel really... yarn, a kitty card, a fabric flower and chocolate.
 
 
The yarn is Ella Rae lace merino which is my favourite yarn.
 
 
The chocolate was delicious. It is from Chouchoute Chocolaterie. I'd never heard of that shop before but their chocolate is delicious. They sell online too so if you're interested their website is www.chouchoute.co.uk.
 
There was also a clipping from a magazine about crochet cushions. The magazine chose the one on the right as their favourite. I like the one in the centre best. How about you?
 

Also included in the package was the top of the knitpro hook I wrote about yesterday that my mum broke!



The Ella Rae lace merino yarn above is my third hank of this yarn and just yesterday I took a shawl off the blocking board that I made over Christmas with this particular yarn.

 
The shawl is called the Elise Shawl and is such a pretty, yet simple pattern. It is the third time I've made this particular shawl.


It's a lacy pattern and blocking works wonders with it. Before I blocked it the measurements were 100 cm wide and 49 cm long. After blocking it measures 141cm by 74cm.



The yarn is 100% merino and comes in 100g hanks. There are lots of yarns I love but this one in particular is my favourite out of all the ones I've tried. It is so soft and smooth to work with and when it is blocked it holds its shape perfectly. It's also a really warm yarn. If you get the chance, give it a try. I'm sure you'll love it too!

Have a happy, craft filled weekend!




Thursday, January 10, 2013

Some new things

Apart from spinning, I got to try something else new recently. I have always awed over the Brittany birch crochet hooks thinking how pretty they are and for Christmas I got given one of my very own to try out.


I normally use knit pro hooks which I love. I find the knit pro wooden hooks to be smooth, warm and really fast to work with but I know some people who can't get along with them very well. My mum for example bought a few of the knit pro hooks and over Christmas she managed to snap one and said she disliked them so I could have them! I'll never turn down free hooks or yarn so I came back home with extra knit pro hooks and my new Brittany hook.

Now, I'm not going to stop using my normal hooks but this new Brittany hook is probably the nicest hook I've ever used. It is so comfortable to hold and I love how light it is colour wise. It's just so pretty too:


It's definitely my new favourite hook!

Other than that, I brought home with me some new crafty books:



The first one is about embroidery. I've never really tried embroidery but I'd love to give it a go and this book is full of inspirational ideas. The next book is a pattern books for beaded crochet and the last one is a felting book. All of the patterns in the felting book are knitted but it is full of great tutorials for felting in general so I liked it but the back cover was a bit bent:


So I asked of they had another copy of the book. They didn't but they said because it was damaged they'd only change me half price!

I bought the three books in a shop called The Works in England where they sell all kinds of books about all different topics very cheaply. Whenever I go back 'home' I always go to that shop and see what bargains are on offer. The felting book has a retail price of 18.95 but was for sale at just 2.99 and in the end because of the corner I paid just 1.50!

Other than those books to keep me busy I've borrowed some of my mum's old baby crochet patterns. Some of these patterns are quite old because the price written on them is in 'd' which is the old term for pence. That was changed in 1971 so some of the patterns pre date that!



Now, to start making all of these patterns I need some....




....yarn! This was a christmas present and is the pink creative pack from Colinette. It is a mixture of quite a few of the yarns they make and in total the pack weighs 500g. I can't wait to get started using these yarns. I love the colours. But first I need to start winding those skeins into balls...any volunteers to help me? :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spinning

Happy new year everyone!

It's already the 9th of January so I'm a little late, but better late than never :-) I hope you all had a lovely Christmas with your loved ones, that your new year was was happy and that 2013 brings us all health, happiness and lots of love. And of course some wonderful yarn filled moments!

For my first post this year I want to share the outcome of my first attempt at spinning. My aunt bought a wheel at the end of the year and when we went back to visit my family for Christmas she let me try my hand at spinning.

I can't believe it but I totally forgot to take any photos while we were there but my aunt gave me a copy of the catalogue and there is photo of her wheel in there:


When I saw it I was really surprised to see that wasn't a traditional circular spinning wheel with a big wheel off to one side...like the one in Sleeping Beauty :-)

It also had two pedals (or double treadle) which were really comfortable to work with. It was pretty tricky trying to watch what you're doing while feeding the yarn into the wheel, move your feet at an even speed, and get your hands to move the yarn smoothly but after about 5 minutes I was really enjoying myself! It really is great fun and I'd love to try it more seriously in the future. I'd like to go on a course or have some lessons and perhaps one day I'll look into getting a wheel.

Anyway, the important part...the yarn...
 
 
 
There are some really thin parts and some really chunky parts but in general it is much better than I was expecting for my first try! My aunt said that the different thicknesses and mistakes in the yarn just give it more character. My yarn is definitely full of character! :-)
 

I only made a few grams but there is enough to make a couple of flowers to adorn something. Here is my first one:   


It is all lopsided and isn't all that pretty but I love it because I actually made the yarn myself!
I love all handmade things because no two items are ever identical and that uniqueness is what makes everything we make by hand beautiful. To make something unique from some yarn I'd created was lovely and I can really see why spinning can be quite addictive.
 
I have so many things to write about and photos that I've taken over these last couple of weeks to show you so I'm going to write quite a few posts over the next week or so...check back soon :-)
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