Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A cushion and my first ever button holes.

Tonight I got home and felt the need to get out my sewing machine.

I had a tired old cushion that I thought would be better suited for our spare room with a new cover.  Sadly I forgot to photograph the cushion before I binned the old cover.

Recently I was given a lot more left over fabrics from a friend so just had to raid the new collection.  Our spare bedroom is very colourful, it needs a lick of paint but I try to liven it up with colourful bedding and decorations.  I tend to use either a multi coloured bed set or a purple one.

Seeing as all my fabrics were too small to make a whole cover from I decided to go for patchwork.  I chose 4 vibrant colours for the front and 4 more purply coloured fabrics for the back.  One side for each set of bed linen.

I got straight to it and actually measured things this time, a habit I must get into with sewing!  I decided to use some lovely buttons I had recently been given so knew I had to tackle my first button holes.  I looked up what to do and whilst they are not perfect I'm pretty pleased for a first attempt.

Then I just had to sew it all together.  I'm so pleased with it, it's a very happy looking cushion.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Fantasm shawl.

Recently I picked up some beautiful Truly Hooked yarn from a selling page on Facebook.  The colour way is called Gothic and I just fell in love with the rich purple and black combination.  A bit like a Cadburys dairy milk wrapper.

As soon as it arrived it just had to be hooked so I consulted my favourites on Ravelry.  There is was, the Fantasm shawl, it jet had to be done.  The Fantasm is doing the rounds at the moment and as Eleanor from Knit Nottingham says, it seems to be the new Elise.

I don't care that I have hopped on the band wagon because look how beautiful this shawl is.  I absolutely adore it!

Have you made a Fantasm shawl or do you have you're own favourite pattern?

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Polymer clay hook handles

As you're probably aware I do love a good hook from Fleabubs and Lala.  Here is my collection.

I have wanted to have a go at this myself but didn't want to invest in all the kit to find I didn't enjoy it or wasn't very good.  

Last night I went to a baby shower at Avago Crafts in Ilkeston and they have Fimo.  I asked if they had any plain crochet hooks and after being given a box to choose from I got all excited.  Some of the fimo was off and just crumbled but I found three lovely colours.

I didn't photograph the process because I was having too much fun but here are my unbanked hooks ready to take home.  There was a lot of rolling, cutting and mixing of colours involved.  My arms hurt today!

I couldn't resist a bit of bling, I'm not really a blingy person but it was there and the colours matched.

Here are my cooked hooks.

Just look at these colours, reminds me of a peacock.

I'm so happy with them but I have realised I couldn't do it often as they take a lot of time.  Hats of to all  the lovely ladies who make them for us, you must have guns of steel!!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Getting back in the blogging mojo with a little charity.

I was doing quite well keeping my blog up to date with my happenings but having recently started a new job I have let things slip.  Not just my blog but my life as well, starting a new job is hard.  I think I have over filled my brain with wool and crafting for the last few years and now it needs to remember complicated things it just doesn't know what to do!

Anyway, I thought I would set myself the easier challenge of blogging on a Sunday, I was previously trying to blog on a Sunday and a Wednesday but often had nothing to say.

I'm going to kick off my reacquaintance by telling you about the third pair of slippers I knitted recently.  I recently joined a page on Facebook called the Haphazard Dippers charity spin off.  A page where items are raffled to raise money for charity.  I offered up a pair of hand knitted slippers using Jem Weston's pattern from her book Cute Little Knits.

I raised £8 and while they probably cost me more than that to make and post I was very happy to be able to be able to donate this money to The Eve Appeal, my charity of choice.  I wouldn't have decided to just donate this money so I didn't mind the cost to me, it all went to a very worthy cause.

Laura-Jo won the dip and she asked for yellow slippers, I couldn't get the exact yarn of her choice so went for the nearest.  Here they are on her feet, they turned out quite nicely didn't they.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Love Your Local Yarn Shop

May the 3rd was national Love Your Local Yarn Shop day organised by Lets Knit Magazine.  Aren't they good.  As we all know I do love my local yarn shop and my local yarn shop loves a party!

I decided to head over at about 3 O'clock-ish, I didn't want to get there too early and drink too much and have to go home early.  There is always booze involved at these events.

Here is a little picture of my wonderful local yarn shop.  A little gem of colour and delight tucked between fast food outlets and all sorts of different shops on a very busy road. 

Look how many people fitted in it!

All week the shops Facebook page was being updated with excited tidbits of information of what the day had in store for us.  My favourite element and the one that did take over my brain for quite some time was the amazing hand dyed yarn by Verity at Truly Hooked.  Verity had hand painted 4 sock blanks exclusively for Love your Local Yarn Shop day and these were being raffled off at £2 per ticket.  This idea blew my mind, who wouldn't get excited about a hidden message in a knitted item.  My brain went into overdrive and I thought how wonderful these would be as a gift for a knitter with whatever message suited the occasion.  Anyway, enough of my ramblings here are the beauties.

As per all events at Knit Nottingham, there was a lucky dip jar.  This held token that read messages such as 10% off, lucky dip, hard luck and the ever sought after 100% off.  Sadly I had very little money so I went with the idea of buying just one ball of sock yarn.  I selected a lovely ball of zigzag 4ply sock yarn and when paying I pulled out a lucky dip prize.  I put my hand in the bag and pulled out a ball of regia sock yarn.  How delightful.

As the day progressed I took part in some casual street knitting with my friend and knit wear designer Jem Weston.

Had a chat and a drink with Sarah the Nottingham Knitter, Olivia (I love her blog) and Rebecka Hojeberg.

We ate delicious cake made by Rebecka, carefully stored a box of yarn, not a crumb went in the box.

As the day was drawing to an end it was pointed out that the elusive 100% off ticket was still in the jar.  I had been lusting after some Truly Hooked gradient sock yarn for some time after seeing this amazing socks so decided to take my changes.  If not I was happy to put it on my credit card and pay it off next month.

Well I only flipping pulled it out didn't I.  I must admit I did screech with delight and almost cried.  the whole shop became very excited.

 Isn't the yarn just scrummy, I now need to learn how to make toe-up socks in order to make the most of it.

Yet again Eleanor and June put on a fantastic do, I do not envy the tidying up that will have to take place tomorrow.  Thanks again guys for being the best.  I really do love my local yarn shop.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Another pair of slippers.

Remember these lovely bow slippers?

Well I love them and decided my sister would probably like a pair as well.  She lives in a flat that has wooden floors throughout and she does love to slide her way around it so what could be more perfect that wooly slippers.

I wanted to make her something more tailored to her tastes and when going for a walk around Holme Pierrpont was suddenly inspired by some Daisy's, Rheanne's favourite flowers.

I thought about getting some yarn dyed in the colours of the grass and Daisy's.  I ruled this out as the slippers would end up randomly distributed and wouldn't necessarily resemble Daisy's.

I decided I would make the slippers green with a flower on the top.  I looked at the boucle I had and I didn't have enough to do the whole slipper in chocolate brown but decided I would use this as the sole to represent the soil, the lighter shade could be the top soil, the green the grass and a daisy on top.

I didn't have any yellow wool, only acrylic so asked around my knitting group but they only had acrylic as well.  It was suggested that I use a big yellow button, genius!

Aren't they brill! My only disappointment is the obvious stitching around he sole.  I had to use one of the boucle yarns and whichever one I used it stood out on the other one.  I couldn't do a lot about it so just had to go with it.

Rheanne loves them, I'm really happy with them as well.  Thanks again to Jem for writing this wonderful pattern.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Crocheters unite to cheer up a poorly Mummy.

Last night I logged onto Facebook for yet another of my frequent checks and I read a post that really moved me.  I wanted to share this story to raise a little awareness of an illness called post natal psychosis.

I joined a group called The Haphazard Hookers......Hook Along some time ago. The group is made up of people from all over the country and the support I have witnessed within the group has always amazed me.  Such a lovely bunch of ladies, all with their own stories.  Until recently I had quietly sat back watching but having had a few tough weeks myself I got involved with the natter and everybody has been very welcoming.

Anyway, back to last nights post.  As you can see from the image a friend of a number of the members is currently suffering with post natal psychosis and those who know her best wanted to send her a big wooly supportive hug in the shape of a blanket.

I had never heard of this condition and after volunteering a square I got googling.  Not a lot appeared in my search results and what did was very similar to the last article I had read.  What I did learn though is that it is a very rare illness, affecting approximately 1 in every 1000 women.  A lot more rare than post natal depression and a lot more serious.

The best explanation I found was the one below taken from

What is postpartum psychosis?

Postpartum psychosis (or puerperal psychosis) affects thousands of women in the UK each year. It is a severe episode of mental illness which begins suddenly in the days or weeks after having a baby. Symptoms vary and can change rapidly. They can include high mood (mania), depression, confusion, hallucinations and delusions. Postpartum psychosis is a psychiatric emergency. You should seek help as quickly as possible.
Postpartum psychosis can happen to any woman. It often occurs ‘out of the blue’ to women who have not been ill before. It can be a frightening experience for women, their partners, friends and family. Women usually recover fully after an episode of postpartum psychosis.
It is much less common than Baby Blues or Postnatal Depression. It occurs in about 1 in every 1000 women (0.1%) who have a baby.

I'm not claiming to be an expert after reading a few articles on the Internet, far from it.  I have no idea how terrifying this must be.  As a lot of you will know I have worked, and still am working my way through "a bit of a breakdown" and for a while I became extremely paranoid and afraid to leave the house but I was able to work through this with support from loved ones and professionals.   This was very hard but generally quite 'normal' so support was easy to find and people mostly understood what was happening due to the slight recent breakdown of the mental health taboo.  I fear this may not be the case for post natal psychosis so this is why I decided to write this post.

I hear the words "she's new to it, she'll get the hang of it", "motherhood is tough, you've just got to get on with it", "if I can do it then you can" etc etc etc said far too often.  I'm not even a Mum and still notice it!  It's not right, it is not fair and it is just mean.  Every body is an individual, individuals cope differently and individuals are effected by things differently.  We don't choose to lose control of our own minds and we can't all fit in a neat little "acceptable" box.

Individuality and understanding is what appears to be the strongest part of The Haphazard Hookers arsenal.  I was amazed by how many squares were volunteered within the first few hours of the post being made.  The organisers have had to allocate people to themselves to make sure the squares can be sewn together fairly and don't all end up on one doorstep.  I see a massive blanket in the making.  I don't know any of these wonderful ladies personally but have truly been moved by the incredible generosity shown. Here is a small selection of some of the lovely squares made. 

And here is mine complete with a Pukka Love tea bag, it's very tasty and soothing.

 Well done ladies!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Hue and Value shawl

Wow, I love this shawl!

I purchased a skein of 4ply sock yarn from A Stash Addict at Yarndale.  I knew I wanted to make a shawl with it and I knew I needed to use it along side another colour to make it less shocking.  I got hunting on Ravelry and came across the beautiful Hue and Value Shawl, isn't it gorgeous.

I just knew this was the shawl but for some reason never got around to casting it on.  That is until my parents offered to buy me a set of KnitPro interchangeable needles.  I knew that I would need to knit on them as soon as I got them so packed my yarn and off we went to Suffolk to see my family.

I did cast on straight away and made amazing progress over the few days I was there.  The shawl instantly grabbed my attention as it is such an interesting pattern.

Each section of the scarf is made of varying different slip stitch patterns, separated by a garter stitch band, one or two of my garter stitch bands turned into stocking stitch due to a lack of concentration but nobody would know just from looking at it.

As I worked my way through the shawl I kept thinking about the applied i-cord at the end, I have never knitted an i-cord before so had no idea how this would work.  I got to the end and considered just casting off because I have not heard great things about i-cords.  I am so pleased I didn't though as the final thing looks awesome.  It was a complete pain in the derriere but worth it in the end.

Normally I try to get away with not blocking shawls as they only get balled up around my neck anyway but this one really did need blocking, it was so curly that I was concerned blocking wouldn't fix it.  I gave it a go though and pinned it out.

I was so pleased it blocked nicely and have worn it as much as I can since I picked it up.  That is both days it has been unpinned from the floor.

I can honestly say I am chuffed to bits with this shawl, it only took me 2 weeks to complete and I didn't really devote an awful lot of time to it once I got home from parents.  A highly recommended pattern if you want to give some new stitches a go.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Mood Scarf Along

My friend and knitwear designer Jem Weston has decided to start a mood scarf knit along.  The start date is the first day of British summertime which is the 30th March.  You can read more about it here on Jem's blog.

I took this opportunity to treat myself to some new yarn, always got an excuse.  Last week we went to Lincoln and I purchased some beautiful west yorkshire spinners blue faced leicester dk in a pale brown.  Once my birthday money had cleared I ordered the other two shades to make myself a beautifully natural scarf for the winter.  It's amazing yarn, I am finding myself drawn more and more to natural fibres, yummy.

I love all of these shades so whilst I have one for good, not so good and not good at all days I feel that I can find comfort wrapped it up in it despite my mood.

I am yet to decide how I am going to knit my scarf but I am thinking some sort of slip stitch pattern.

I look forward to seeing who else is going to join in.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A Birthday trip to Lincoln.

Today is my birthday, it started off like this, what a great start!

Sophie the Cat gave me extra special cuddles, she has not been so affectionate in ages.  I must also say I do not normally eat so much for breakfast, this was a big breakfast to see us through the day as a trip to Lincoln was planned.

Our arrival in Lincoln didn't start terribly well with an encounter with some drug users and a phone call to the Police but from there on it was great!

Our first stop, after the bank where I paid in some birthday cheque's, was Spins and Needles where I got some beautiful hand spun undyed BFL DK yarn.  This was purchased for a particular project which will be revealed soon, once the creator has blogged about it.  The shop had a beautiful selection of yarns and the owner was lovely, I do love a friendly yarn shop owner, especially one who understands the need to grab everything and squish it.

From here we made our way towards Steep Hill, I feel the need to type DUH-DUH-DUUUUHH to reflect the sense of doom I felt standing at the bottom looking up.  Annoyingly this photograph makes it look rather mild.

We easily made it up the first and easiest part with a quick stop at a lovely old sweet shop called Goodies, we got some Rhubarb and Custard sticks and some Rhubarb rock.  From there we trudged up the hill.  Fortunately Steep Hill is lined with beautiful shops and art galleries so it broke the walk up a bit which was good for my legs which sadly spend most of their days under a desk.

We called in at a lovely gallery called Harding House Gallery.  It had a beautiful selection or art including some pieces from David William Sampson who we have met a number of times at the Long Eaton Art Rooms, it was lovely to see a local artist exhibiting a bit further a field.  There were lots of artists displaying there and it was all very impressive.  Well worth popping in if passing.

Next we called in at a shop called Annushka.  They sell hand painted stacking dolls, aka Russian dolls, and my word are they beautiful.  I was admiring some of the 10 piece sets and the tiny final doll that does fit in the slightly bigger one when I was pointed towards the 20 piece set.  This just took my breath away, I cannot begin to describe how beautifully painted it was and how small the final pieces are, and yes they do all open and go inside one another.  Each set takes two months to complete and the eyelashes are painted on with a single hair, just wow!  I took a photograph with my little finger in for scale, my little finger is reasonably small.

As we wandered further up the hill I stopped to take a photograph of the view from where we were.  The view was amazing, the sun may have prevented the photograph from doing it justice.  I don't mind though, I would rather have the sun on my back than a nice photograph.

 When we made it to the top we stopped in at the Castle, it is undergoing a huge and very exciting renovation so we couldn't access most of it.  I did manage to take a photograph of Lincoln's Crown Court though.  What an amazing Crown Court, made me briefly think about committing a crime just to get a look around.

We took a walk along the short stretch of wall that was accessible.  The views were great but I suspect they would have been better from the other side.  We also stopped for a quick selfie, got to be done.

After the Castle we wandered to locate a cash point, on the way we stumbled across the Whisky Shop, we get through a fair amount of single malt in this house so though we would pop in.  We left however with a bottle of Rhubarb Vodka, what a Rhubarb themed day we had!

 From here we went to the Cathedral, it stole the tallest building in the world award from the pyramids when it was built, I can see why.  How the heck did they get to the top without a crane?!?

We didn't pay to visit the whole Cathedral so we wandered around the free area, it is such a stunning building and the stained glass is beautiful.

Just look at the houses outside the Cathedral, we both questioned how much this beauty would cost, we decided on the figure of a lot.

Next we made our way to the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, a great Museum with a huge collection of items.  

Rooms arranged as they would have been, here is the bedroom.

A large collection of military memorabilia including at least 8 Victoria Cross medals, it was lovely to see these and to read the stories of bravery that earnt them.  Here is a giant WWII tank called Flirt, it was huge.

We also visited the Victorian School, it's like they knew we were coming.

After the museum we decided we would wander back towards the car and stop on the way for a cup of tea.  I had spotted a lovely looking tea shop of the way up the hill so we went back in search of it.  I couldn't remember what it was called but when we arrived I took note so I could share it, it's the bookstop cafe.  We had a lovely pot of Earl Gray and a bite to eat.  The building is a beaut, it even has some Roman Pillars in it.

Now we are home and I am drinking a chilled glass wine and relaxing before a trip to Suffolk for the weekend.  What a great way to start the last year of my twenties.