Saturday, 27 July 2013


I should have gone to bed, but I have been sitting in the back garden trying to photograph the moon and the clouds, which are particularly beautiful tonight. Something quite relaxing about waiting for clouds to get in the right position. There really is not much you can do but sit and wait.  

Hubby is sitting indoors, but telling me I won't be able to get a good close up without a tripod. "Back seat photographers" is what I say with derision!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Goodbye Cricket Class!

Each class in my school is named after a mini-beast. The really nice thing is the children take that name up with them as they progress through the school. So most children will be in that class for seven years. Last year I was in Caterpillar Class, so you can probably imagine what I gave them as an end of year gift. I also gave them the butterfly to go with their caterpillar.

So it has been worrying me a bit, as this year I have been working in Cricket Class. Not an easy job to make a cricket. There are a few crochet patterns available for crickets and grasshoppers, but I couldn't find any knitting patterns. Perhaps I have been watching too much Apprentice, but clearly there is a gap in the market!

So last night I sat down and set about making Charlie the Cricket. I decided to just go for it, so I have made this first little fellow without making many notes. Really speeds up the process, and although he is going to be wrapped up, I had then to make a duplicate, this time writing down exactly what I did for the pattern. 

I will probably make a few more. I've knitted him in a traditional cricket green, but a bit of reseach shows crickets come in many different shades. 

Will anyone want to knit a cricket? He can be a pal for my stag beetle, which seems to appeal to certain type of small boy. 

And for a sneak clue to the class I will be helping in September Click Here.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Blueberry Clutch Bag

I am not very good at evening bags. I tend to have just one handbag that is large enough to contain absolutely everything I could possible need, and that goes everywhere with me. So when it comes to special events, I have often put thought into dress and shoes, only to find I have totally forgotten about a bag, and have to secrete the few things I might need for the night in my husband's pockets. 

So that is what put me in mind to design an evening bag. But the other thing was this lovely sparkly wool. I can't even tell you the maker, as I found it in a bargain bucket, and just loved its deep blue and sparkle.

This is my second design, as I started off doing something similar but with cables running down both sides. But in the end I undid this, as I thought the wool was pretty enough in itself, and didn't need too much fancy stitching.

The pattern explains how to sew in a lining. This helps the bag keep its shape, and I think the glimpse of a beautiful lining fabric also makes the bag much more glamorous. My lining is a beautiful piece of Thai silk. If you want to knit a larger bag the pattern also explains very simply how you can do this.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Tarka The Otter

This photo was taken by me at an Otter sanctuary in Suffolk.

I keep meaning to write about our Easter holiday, and post a few more pictures. I have also been trying to get to the end of reading "Tarka The Otter" by Henry Williamson, so I could write about that at the same time. But I had to wait for Frankie to finish it, before I could even start.

We were staying for a week in Skirr Cottage, in North Devon, where Henry Williamson lived while he was writing the book. As you can see it was very old and beautiful. I did think it would be rather wonderful for the whole family to sit in the evening reading this classic together in the place it was actually written (possible with me knitting an otter), but perhaps my children have got a bit old for that, and at the time I was concentrating on my shells and didn't want to start a brand new project. So Little One got her hands on the book first, and although I think she found it quite hard going at times, did get to the end (she is 10 years old).

Now I have finished reading "Tarka The Otter" as well. I had always thought it was a children's book, but in fact it was intended for adults. The descriptions of nature are beautiful, but also it doesn't pull any punches.  But I guess nature can be cruel. It reminded me a bit of Watership Down, although the animals are much less anthropomorphic (Do hope that is the right word!).

Friday, 12 July 2013

Lady Gaga - Tiny Icon

After Little One said my Cherry Fairies reminded her of Lady Gaga, it put in my mind to have a go at making the lady herself. I have had great fun with her. Her phone hat is sewn in place.

I have thought of a few other fashion or pop icons that I might have a go at making. If you have any suggestions for other Tiny Icons I would welcome them. Some ideas I have had are: Marilyn, Madonna, or Audrey. As you can see I am not very up-to-date. Lady Gaga is heading off to Etsy.

I have made her a little velvet bag to live in, with her name hand embroidered. I thought the deep burgundy suited her. I am going to put a tutorial on shortly on how to make these simple little bags. I've only made tiny ones for my toys, but guess larger bags could be useful for all sorts of things.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Monkey Business

I have finished my Baboon Pattern, and placed it on ravelry. It has been a bit of a slog, but three baboons later I have the final version. The nose was lengthened and then shortened. The shoulders were made narrower. The neck thicker. Ears added. I could continue ....  

Then off down the garden for the photoshoot.  I do think my neighbours may genuinely think I'm a bit mad. "She's arranging woolly things in her trees again!"

This pattern has been a real learning experience for me. I am happy with the final result, but this toy is not an easy knit. Well actually that isn't true. The knitting is really quite straight forward, but it is the construction that is tricky.  The pattern has photographs and diagrams to help. The head is made of five different panels. I really had to try to balance keeping it simple, but also getting the end result right.

If anyone does knit him I would love to see your finished baboon. Although any double knit wool would work, I do love this Sirdar Escape DK, and the variation in colour makes it perfect. I found some for sale at Black Sheep Wools.

So I guess this is the final word on baboons or mandrills for now. Or should I say the bottom line!

I'm have put these two baboons in my Etsy Shop for non-knitters.