Tag Archives: knitting

September and October

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Hello! I have managed to emerge from the life-sucking force that is school for one week only – the perfect chance to catch up on everything I’ve pretty much forgotten about over the last 8 weeks. I was actually hoping that I’d be able to write a post earlier in the week, but it seems that holiday times can be just as busy as work times!

I started the week by staying with my cousin and his wife in London.

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They are the most wonderful hosts, so very welcoming and lovely. I had a very relaxed stay with them and managed to do a lot of reading, a fair bit of crochet and a trip to Ikea! I deliberately didn’t take my laptop and it was wonderful to have a few days away from all the distractions of the internet. And I very much enjoyed looking at this picture on their wall…

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It’s so quirky, and I love the fact that the yarn is stitched on to the canvas.

I was also inspired by a blanket my aunt made – she knitted it, then backed it with fleece.

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It makes a really weighty, snuggly blanket. I think that if I ever get round to finishing my CAL stripy blanket (which I’d really like to do – at some point) I’ll back it with fleece. That might also help to disguise the wonky edges!!

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The crochet I’m working on at the moment can’t be revealed just yet as I’m busy making presents, but I can give you a sneak peek. This stripy item is a Christmas present…

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…and I’m using this beautiful yarn (James C. Brett Aria) to make a birthday present.

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The photo doesn’t do it justice – it’s really a deeper red, and has teeny tiny sequins attached every few inches. It’s really lovely, but a little tricky to work with. It’s really fluffy and if (when!) I make mistakes it’s quite hard to unravel.

There is a lot more I’d like to show you, but thought it would make too long a post to put it all in one! To be continued…

New Year, New Giveaway

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Happy New Year!

Before I get to the looking forward part, I wanted to do a quick look back. These are some of the things I made/came across/thought were pretty enough to photograph through 2012.

January

Jan 2012

February

 

MFeb 20122March

March 20124

April

April 201210

May

May 20128

June

June 20126

July

July 201210

August

August 20122

September

September 2012

October

October 2012

November

November 2012

December

December 2012

Looking through so many pictures made me realise just how much I’d made last year. Some months were a lot more productive than others, but I’ve enjoyed my creativity very much this year.

I wrote last January about my habit of starting things that I never get round to finishing. I still do that – I have a box of unfinished projects (that I’ve managed to lose somehow!) but I’ve learnt a lot even from the things that I’ve not completed. I’m hoping that 2013 will be the year when I learn to finish the things I start, but even if I can’t manage that I’m sure I’ll continue to learn a lot of other things along the way. I hope you’ll continue to join me on my creative journey!

One last thing before I go. On 12th January it will be my One Year Blogging Birthday! I decided it’s about time for another giveaway, and my Blogging Birthday seemed like a great time to do it. I’ll announce the details of the giveaway at some point over the next couple of days, so watch this space 🙂

Operation Christmas Child

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A few weeks ago my friend announced that she didn’t want presents for her birthday this year – or at least, not presents for herself. Instead, she asked for donations to a shoebox. You may remember (if you’ve been reading long enough) that I started making a few things for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes earlier in the year.

Well, I have to say that all my ideas of stocking up on hats, gloves and scarves over the year didn’t work out quite how I imagined it would. Basically, I got distracted! So by this point I don’t have nearly as many goodies as I had once thought. But my lunchtime knitting has been going rather well, and just this morning I finished the scarf I’ve been working on over the last couple of weeks.

I also popped into the wool shop in town this afternoon to see what they had, and found some lovely chunky wool. I started knitting with it almost as soon as I got home, and 35 minutes later I had another scarf! I’ve decided that chunky wool is definitely the way forward!

Last week I decided that a hat or two would be good to include too, so started looking around on ravelry (what a great place!) and came across a pattern for this hat.

I was also inspired by several other patterns to make this one. The flowers are from an Attic 24 pattern.

So now I have a lovely little pile of woolly goodies ready to take to my friend later 🙂

 

Catching up

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Autumn has definately arrived here in the UK. The days are feeling much colder and I have spent every day this week with a scarf firmly wrapped around my neck. I’m quite an odd person as I really don’t like being too cold, but I love autumn! It’s my favourite season – I love watching the trees change to glorious reds and yellows, I love the golden glow of the morning sun, and I love getting wrapped up in scarves and gloves. My favourite days of all are those when it’s really cold, but when the sun is brightly lighting up all the wonderful colours of the trees. 

The lakeside Pantheon at the National Trust’s Stourhead House near Warminster.

Of course, we’re not quite at that stage yet (and knowing what our crazy weather is like, we may yet have another mini summer before we enter the full glory of autumn) but I’m looking forward to crunching through fallen leaves and getting wafts of sweet, smoky air as the neighbours light their fires.

Autumn also makes me want to knit. I sort of dabble all year round (although this year my focus has mainly been on crochet) but the colder months seem much more suited to knitting than when it’s warmer. As I seem to have so little time in the evenings to just sit and be creative I’ve come up with another solution – I’ve taken my knitting to school! I usually spend the first part of my lunch break in the classroom, tidying up from the morning, getting ahead with some marking or setting up for the afternoon. But I try to make sure I have at least half an hour in the staff room, and after I’ve eaten lunch I normally have at least 10-15 mins of just chatting before the bell goes. So that chatting time has now become knitting time. I’m only making a scarf, so I don’t really need to concentrate, meaning that I can still be sociable. But it’s a lovely relaxing end to the lunch hour before doing battle with an art or science lesson.

Photo: Had such a fab evening learning to crochet! Laura Dimon and Emma Higgs what great teachers u guys r! Thank u so much, am well proud of my coaster... That may be going to grow into a hat, or a bag, or a purse, or a table mat... Ah just endless possibilities = one WAAAY too excited Helen!! Lol!! <3

Helen’s first ever crochet circle – so much better than my first circle was!

I’ve also taken Debbi’s advice (see her comment here) and set aside Tuesday evenings as my craft time. This week that involved teaching a crochet class! That actually makes it sound grander than it was – a few friends and friends of friends gathered together and I attempted to show them how to get started on crochet. I was expecting it to be really stressful (I’ve only ever tried to teach crochet to one person at a time before, not a whole group) but thanks to my friend Emma (who’s far more professional than I am!) who lent a helping hand, it was a really fun evening.

Helen’s second circle – she started this at home with no help from anyone. What a star pupil!

One thing Emma and I both learnt was that there is often more than one way of doing something in crochet. Pretty much everything I do one way, she does another way! We tried to make it as simple as possible for people, so hopefully they weren’t too confused! I saw one of our ‘students’ yesterady – she came bounding up to me asking when the next crochet evening would be! This is someone who claims she doesn’t have a crafty bone in her body, so I was so excited that she’d enjoyed it enough to want to do it again. And she’s been practising at home too!

As well as teaching others, I’ve also managed to add a few more rounds to the granny blanket I’m making for a friend (she’s going to give it to her Nan for Christmas).

I’ve also enjoyed flicking through a couple of mags – I’m already getting very excited about all the Christmas stuff and am planning out some projects. I think that realistically I won’t have time to make them all, but I can dream!

And finally – I was recently nominated for a couple of awards. Rainbow Junkie passed on the beautiful blogger award

…and the wonderful team member readership award!

Thank you so much for your generosity in nominating me for two awards! I really feel like I don’t deserve them as I’m hardly posting anything these days, but thanks for your encouragement! I’m not going to pass them on at the moment, but may do at some point in the future.

Now I’m off to catch up on some blog reading – I have about 120 new blogs sitting in my inbox demanding my attention! Enjoy your evening, and I’ll maybe see you in another couple of weeks 🙂

Patterns and Tutorials

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Good morning!

I just wanted to pop by to let you know that I’ve added a new page. You will see a link for Patterns and Tutorials at the top (hopefully!) where I will occasionally add either patterns or tutorials (did you see that coming?!).

I’ve kicked it off with the pattern for my Cable Cushion Cover. It’s taken me a little while to work out what all my scribblings mean, and turn it into proper knitting language, but hopefully it all makes sense. However, if you try it out and you fnd a mistake, please let me know and I’ll fix it!

Now, I need to stop procrastinating and get sewing. Have a good day!

Cable cushion cover

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Hello everyone, how has your day been? My day has felt pretty good because a) it has been sunny nearly all day and b) I finally finished my cable cushion cover! And just in time too – it’s my Aunt’s birthday tomorrow – phew!

Here it is, all knitted up and ready to be sewn together.

The button holes went a little squiffy – I’m never really sure how to do them, even when I’m following instructions (in this case my Mother’s advice), so end up just kind of guessing and making it up.

But after working blanket stitch around them they look a lot neater! And thankfully the buttons are pretty big, so they will hide any messiness 🙂

Here’s the bottom flap sewn together…

…and the whole thing. It looks so skinny against the cushion!

It’s always at this stage that I start wondering – is it really big enough? But thankfully it was!

And here’s the back.

I’m working on writing out the pattern, but it may take a little while – I’ve used lots of my own random shorthand, which actually doesn’t mean much to anyone (even me when I haven’t looked at it for a while!) But I’ll let you know when it’s finished 🙂

What a difference a day makes

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Yesterday I saw some of the worst flooding I’ve seen around here for years. I didn’t have my camera with me on my adventurous drive, but my friend took this picture. It’s pretty similar to some of the sights my friend and I saw. Trees and debris all over the place and a whole lot of water.

Today couldn’t be more different. It’s beautifully sunny and warm and just like a day in July should be.

I’ve made the most of it and hung out some washing. These are the 2 tablecloths I’m planning to use next week at my sale. I knew that if I didn’t hang them out now I may not have another chance all week!

The cloth on the right is a fairly new one, just plain and boring. But the one on the left is one which I think my Granny made (although I need to check that). It’s looking fairly worn in places, and needs a little TLC to get it looking lovely again. Sadly I don’t think I’m going to have time to stitch it up before Saturday, but I’ll try to arrange it so the most worn bits are either hidden at the back of the table or under something else!

I’ve finished the last few lavender bags…

…and here they are all together.

I’m really happy with them, but I need more, so I’m sitting watching the tennis and stitching away. I’ll show you how they look later in the week.

Before I get back to my lavender I just want to share with you Alternative Use for a Crochet Hook No. 3:

Use it as a cable needle! I was struggling to sleep last night – I was really tired but my mind was buzzing with all sorts of ideas. One of them was inspired by tinyinc. After reading about my cable cushion cover, she sent me a link to some cable work she’s done. I thought her cushion covers were great, but especially loved her hot water bottle covers. My mind went whizzing away, and I thought to myself, “I wonder if that would work as a wheat bag cover?”

The thought came and went pretty quickly, but then came buzzing back around when I was trying to sleep. I thought I might as well try it out just to pass time whilst trying to sleep, but I couldn’t find my cable needle. My hook pouch was right in my line of sight and Hey Presto! A makeshift cable needle. It actually works pretty well too 🙂

I’m happy with how the cover’s going so far – now all I need to do is get some wheat to make up some bags to go inside.

Cable cushion

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The last few days, as well as trying to dodge the rain and coping with a class full of small children who have been cooped up for way too long, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting. I’ve not done much knitting since Christmas, mostly because I fell in love with crochet. But last week I picked up something I started way back at the beginning of the year. In fact, I even mentioned it in one of my very early posts – and have not worked on it since!

This is the cushion cover that my Aunt and Uncle asked me to make. I made one for them for Christmas and they asked for a matching one. Well, I lost interest (as I’m sure you can guess by the fact that I haven’t worked on it for so long!) but Mum asked if I’d finish it for my Aunt’s birthday – which is next week! So I’m frantically trying to get it all done in time.

I’m making good progress though – I have got half the back (which was nearly finished anyway) and the whole of the front done and I’m nearly halfway through the second part of the back. Hurrah – the end is in sight!

I’m really hoping that I get it done soon so I can make more goodies in time for my stall in a couple of weeks…

Finished (or so I thought)

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I was so excited – my shawl was finished! I actually managed to get the right number of rows before I went to bed last night, but it seemed like it would be a little short so added 8 more rows this morning. It was getting a pretty tight fit on the needles so I knew it must be time to cast off.

So I cast off and tried it on – and it’s too short! I used a smaller needle than the pattern recommended (because I was too impatient to wait a day and buy the right size!) and even with the extra rows it’s just not big enough.

It looks pretty big when it’s out flat, but I’d like to be able to tie it at the back like the pattern suggests I should be able to. So I’m now adding more rows, but this time in crochet. I couldn’t face undoing the cast off row and I don’t think I could do many more rows before I ran out of space on the needles anyway. So I’m kinda making it up as I go along now – it seems to be working ok so far, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, in other news…

I found something to put in my woolly pot – basil!

It looks lovely sitting on the kitchen window sill. It still has no flowers but in amongst all the other bits and pieces on the window sill I don’t notice the lack of flowers so much.

And something especially for Mo…

This is a peg bag I made Mum a couple of years ago. I prefer it (in a practical sense) to the shirt bags as it can go round my neck or be slung over my shoulder. The strap is padded with wadding which makes it quite comfortable to wear. The little pocket on the front hasn’t ever really been used, but it looks cute anyway!

Retail therapy

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I went shopping today. I went to get fabric for a Top Secret Project. I have been commissioned to make Something Special for a Special Day. But as it’s Top Secret I can’t tell you yet what it is. I’ll make sure to take lots of pictures along the way (hopefully) so I can show you when all has been revealed.

In some respects my shopping trip wasn’t great. I forgot to take some very important things with me, and without those things I couldn’t but all of the fabric I need. But I did still manage to bring home a fair amount of other stuff!

I came across a HUGE basket of remnants in Dunelm. I can’t show you pictures of these as they’re currently whizzing through the washing machine. I’ll try to remember to take some piccies as I iron them tomorrow. Anyway, after rummaging through the basket, I found some lovely dotty Clarke & Clarke fabrics in sage green and red. I also snatched up some white cotton fabric (because you can never have too much) before making my way to the section I actually needed – the knitting needles.

I have rediscovered my love of knitting this week. Since my love affair with crochet began at Christmas I’ve really had no time for knitting. Crochet makes much quicker progress (great for the times I’m not feeling very patient) and was generally just new and exciting. But since having a knitting lesson with the girls earlier this week I’ve fallen in love with it again. A little while ago I saw this shawl over at Cozy Things. I completely loved it, but couldn’t be bothered with knitting. But yesterday I rummaged through my needles, found the biggest balls of wool that I could (this grey is left over from the slippers that didn’t work, and came from a humongous 800g ball) and got started.

Now, the pattern says to use circular needles, but I didn’t have any so made a start on straight needles. I’m now halfway through the pattern and realising why circular needles are necessary – the stitches are already starting to get fairly squished on the needles and there will be a great many more stitches by the time I reach the end of the pattern.

So here are my new circular needles…

How exciting! There will now be space for all my stitches – hurrah! The downside is that I can’t stick this needle under my arm as I usually do, so progress will be a lot slower from now on, but I’ll get there in the end.

My other purchases included a few more pin boards. The 2 bigger ones are the same size as I’ve previously decorated, and I thought the little ones were just cute! I’ll decorate them ready to sell.

I also found these fabulous, bargainous cards…

I like to make my own cards, but I like to have a few just in case I need one at the last minute. And these owl ones are just so cute (I especially like the stitchy detail and bunting) I couldn’t resist 🙂

And finally, some inspiration…

Just before I go, thanks for your thoughts and comments about the blog background. I’ve changed it to blue for now (which I do rather like) just to see what you think. I’m still pondering really, so expect a few changes over the next few days while I make up my mind!

Now, I’m off to have a cup of tea and a look at my new mag.