Saturday, 4 May 2013

Bitten by the Crochet bug

I never quite thought it would happen, but yes I have been bitten by the crochet bug! It's not that I haven't crocheted before because I have, but it never really amounted to very much. The skills didn't increase, the will didn't come and it was just set to one side as a lot of things are as you go through life (lets not even deal with the painting here as it takes up too much space).

As a child I could crochet the basic stitches (in UK terms) chain, double crochet, half treble crochet, treble crochet and so on, and although I loved the rhythm of the stitches as they were created I didn't feel able to create an actual item from them.

I'm not quite sure what happened recently, but it must be a mixture of looking for a simple project, needing to use up lots of stash before a house move and a couple of babies arriving on the scene. I sat down one weekend and started looking at crochet blankets!

If you're looking for crochet inspiration then look no further than Lucy at Attic24 who has fantastic tutorials, beautiful pictures and is so inspiring. I spotted her Granny Stripe blanket and knew I'd hit the spot! I had a quick look at the instructions, had a play around and realised quite quickly that I needed a bit of a refresher. After searching t'internet I found maybematilda.
Her crochet tutorials are great; simple, clear and perfect for me to follow. In fact I loved the blog altogether. With an hour or so of practice I was off and running and able to go back to Lucy's pattern and start, wee hee!

These are the first two. Cute and such good fun. Perfect pram sized, chuck on the floor snuggly baby sized blankets. I'm itching to hand them over but I'm ahead of the babies being born, so need to wait. Hmm, yes, wait? Now that's an interesting concept. No, what I normally do is just start another one! In my defence there are many reasons why:

I'm trying very hard to get my house ready to put on the market, this is a) Very hard work physically b) quite hard emotionally for lots of reasons and c) quite therapeutic. A strange mixture, but whatever way you shake it, it's tough and I need distraction in the evening when I'm too tired to do any more. Add to that the enormous amounts of coloured dk yarn that keeps emerging from my house whenever I start digging and you can start to see why I started the 'big one'. It's a stash buster 'honest guv'.......

There is a plan. I will need to have a double sofa bed at my next house for use during Uni holidays, and this is it's cover. Goodness me I'm loving it. Crocheting has a different action, so after knitting on the Relax for so long it's helping my shoulder which can get a bit sore with relentless stocking stitch. I think it's approaching a third done so moving on well and it will be my house warming present to myself :)

Hmmm, nice....

I'm linking up with the lovely Nicole of FrontierDreams today. So hop on over to see lots of inspiring projects. Happy Saturday x

Friday, 12 April 2013

Round and round we go, where it stops........

Following a short stop off in Stratford on Avon a month or so ago I wandered into a shop called The White Company. A tiny bit out of my frugal price range if I'm honest but a lovely spot nonetheless. They stock a beautiful range of clothes and homewares which frankly made me feel a bit scruffy and dishevelled! I was on a long coach journey on a freezing cold day so not unexpected.

The colour palette, smell and general display in the shop appealed to me on so many levels that I just didn't want to leave. I did at least manage to pick up a little catalogue to make me smile. They had some beautiful, simple knitwear, loose fitting styles, batwing sleeves and a lot of exposed seams. None of which are design features that normally appeal to me, but as an overall look it certainly did. Consequently when I was back from my trip away I spent the following few days searching Ravelry for possibilities. That's the great thing about being a crafter, you're always looking for how you can 'make it'! In the end I settled on Relax published in Amirisu Spring 2013 for its simple, clean lines. Admittedly the thought of that much stocking stitch in 4ply did make me gulp slightly, but having converted it to knit in the round felt a little less daunting :)

Hence the title 'round and round we go....'. I am enjoying it, despite the fact that I picked yet another wool/alpaca blend. When will I learn that I'm allergic to alpaca and it gives me a sore throat and runny nose to knit? Honestly get a grip woman....


Friday, 8 March 2013

Good grief it fits...

I hardly dare believe it but I have finished my Atelier and it fits! Yay, so excited and so pleased. It's not that I'm unable to knit a cardigan, but lately I seem to have been singularly unable to knit one that fits me properly. Having finally listened to lots of advice about measuring myself carefully and realising that I'm actually considerably smaller than I thought I was (particularly in the bust area :( ) and also doing as I'm damn well told and knitting swatches, it's worked! Phew...

The pattern was so enjoyable, interesting construction, plenty to keep you moving on, yet lots of mindless stocking stitch to watch TV by. With a slight unintentional variation to the pattern, ie I picked up more stitches for each front than I was instructed to meant that I ended up with the xs size to start with but with s size fronts. Hey ho it looks good still.

I just love the way the fronts look.

Getting decent pictures that really show a project is a tricky one for me, as my 17 yr old son thinks I'm a complete twit and refuses to photograph me and he's the only other person in the house at the moment. I intended to get a pal to do some at knit night last night but as I hadn't been for a while there was just so much catching up to do, so of course it went right out of my head!

I've literally been wearing this all week. It's comfortable, warm and a great length, one happy lady :)

Notice the nice flowery background? My new cotton lawn fabric ready for me to dive in to a simple dress project. Well simple to others maybe, but I'm feeling a bit nervous! I'll keep you posted.....

I'm linking up with Tami for FO Friday, with Linda for Creative Friday and with Wonderwhygal for Fiber Friday. Check out all those other great projects. 

Have a great weekend x

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Bunnies and books...

A couple of years ago I knitted two Bunny Blanket Buddies for a friend's new baby and her slightly older brother. They were knit in Rowan Bamboo Tape which whilst to me was and is an awkward tape yarn, it is in fact lovely and soft for a baby cuddly toy. These bunnies went down a storm and became both in turn the constant companion of little Isobel. The family subsequently moved back to their native New Zealand and it's always wonderful to see their latest exploits and news on Facebook especially when Izzy is still carting around bunny. She's two now and absolutely gorgeous like her big brother, but I noticed an appeal last week on Facebook from her Dad and I quote...

"Dear Codicote friends, can someone please ask Tracy Rogers to help....rabbit (2 of 2) is on his last legs (not that he had legs to start with). Prospect of Isobel without rabbit is daunting..... "

How sweet! Of course I immediately sent a message back saying ok two balls of said yarn left which means two bunnies can be made. One now done and the other is two thirds through, so my challenge is to get them both ready to be posted off on Thursday to make the long journey to the other side of the world. Ah makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to provide a cuddle blanket for a little one growing up in this world :)

I finished 'Private' by James Patterson this week and although I made it to the end, enjoyable it was not. Didn't like the writing style, far to formulaic as i've said before and frankly I expected more from an author with that much practise, anyway you live and learn, moving on this week I'm reading 'Started Early, Took My Dog' by Kate Atkinson. I've read her previous Jackson Brodie novels and really enjoyed them, so I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into this one. Hop on over to Tami's place for lots of other WIP Wednesdays and to Ginny's place for crafting and great reads.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Routine service madam!

I'd already decided that before I use my new sewing machine a full service was in order. After all the poor old girl is nearly as old as me and as I said before a bit of sewing machine oil to the knees would be most grateful.

So, armed with the original manual and various maintenance instructions I'd found on the 'Tinternet' I decided to start my servicing. Honestly my Dad would be proud of me, screwdrivers, oils and brushes at the ready. It felt a bit scary dismantling the main body of the machine, but I was determined to remove all the fluff, lint and dust accumulated over many years before I started oiling. It's in remarkably good condition and my goodness it's a solid heavy thing, even just turning it over was a bit of a challenge!

So I carefully followed my instructions, found all the little places where the oil should go and did my service. 

 Before I started

 Revealing the top of the machine

 After almost giving myself a hernia lifting the machine up!

Phew, it felt quite scary, but I'm so pleased with myself. I threaded her up and tested the stitch and she goes like a dream. I set a challenge and I achieved it, one happy lady here :)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

What direction is this going in please???

I am loving the Atelier that's on my needles, but honestly I'm still not absolutely sure how this works. Having read lots of project notes on Ravelry I realise that its quite an unusual construction, and lets face it I'm pretty obtuse myself, so the fact that it's not glaringly obvious what direction I'm going in does kind of appeal :)

The thrill of just following the instructions and going with it is quite refreshing, I'll certainly keep you posted! At the moment I have to be honest that it resembles a pair of old mans combinations (or long johns in todays speak). What do you think?

Joining in a little late with the fabulous Ginny for  Yarn Along and Tami for  WIP Wednesday .

My book this week is a bit of a departure for me. Despite loving action packed, thriller type books for a long time, I've never read a James Patterson book. My Mum is constantly saying how good he is and how she's read every book he's ever written. Now I normally trust my Mum's reading judgement, but it's not working terribly well for me. I'm not enjoying the writing style, it feels formulaic, sensationalist and frankly not that interesting. I'll try and push on as I know from vast experience that my impression of a book in the first part does sometimes change. I'm up to page 89, lets see how it goes.....

Sunday, 10 February 2013

My new arrival!

She's here finally, my lovely new sewing machine! Well bless her she was new once, probably sometime around 1970, which frankly still makes her younger than me. I'm sure she'd appreciate a clean up and a bit of oil, again a bit like me as I'm sure a bit of sewing machine oil would do my creaky knees the world of good. She's obviously made of strong stuff as I could barely carry her into the house and up the stairs, portable machine she certainly will not be, but that's fine as the idea was to get a tough, all metal workhorse.


She's mighty lovely and I'm very pleased. Now just got to be brave enough to plunge in and start sewing. You know what this means don't you? Yes, more craft, more addiction, more stash! There I am trying hard to clear the stuff from my life and now I've just added more.....