Saturday, 31 August 2013


Some photos from my recent holiday in Brittany. The picture above was of some of the megaliths north of Carnac. I found these tremendously exciting (much to the amazement of my kids "but they're just big rocks". But there were so many of them and they are so mysterious. 

The effort that must have gone into the construction.

We then visited Cairn de Petit Mont near Arzon. Here the exciting thing were the neolithic paintings inside. You could look at them really closely, but unfortunately we weren't allowed to photograph inside.

And finally we visited the Village de L'An Mil a reconstructed village of about 1000 AD, built on an archaelogical site. There was also a garden just stocked with plants of the period. It was simply buzzing with insects, and is where I took some of my wildlife photos in Fauna and Flora.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Apple Blossom Shoes

I've been busy this week knitting baby shoes from my own pattern. I've been having a bit of a play with the embroidery decoration. One of the teachers I work with is expecting in September, so I have been thinking baby. She doesn't know boy or girl yet, and these are definitely girl shoes.

I really love the main shade, which although perhaps a bit unusual for a baby, has little flecks of all sorts of colour in there. Usually my shoes are one-offs, but I liked this wool and design so much I have made two pairs. It may not be completely clear from my photos, but one pair has white blossom and one pink.

They are both for sale in my Etsy shop, and I am busy with another new design  on my needles.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Dresden Block - 52 Week Scrap Challenge

I have finally finished my Dresden block for the 52 Week Scrap Challenge. I've had my mum staying which has been a bit distracting, but I was also dithering about what to put in the middle circle.

Although I have a big box of leftover material, when it comes to trying to find fabrics that go together, I find that nothing seems to match in colour or weight. So for this challenge I used some leftover bits from my watermelon bag that I made last year. 

I really enjoyed making and assembling the wedges. My son gave me a rotary cutting wheel and board for my birthday, which was great fun to use. I also love a bit of hand sewing, so enjoyed doing the running stitch decoration around the edge, where I exactly followed the tutorial.

I had the idea to make the middle look a bit like the seeds of a watermelon, but in the end I just sewed with a scallop stitch across some red felt. Used a huge amount of thread doing this.

I think this is destined to become a cushion cover.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

By The Quay

These photos are very much inspired by Madge at The View From Right Here.  These colourful kayaks were sitting on the quay at Exeter. I couldn't quite decide which photo to put on. I love the shapes and colours in the first, but I also thought the leafy shadows made the second interesting.

Thursday, 22 August 2013


Wild Lizard Photo Taken in France

My latest knitting pattern has really been a labour of love. I have interspersed some photographs I managed to take of a lizard in the garden in France on my recent holiday. It seemed such a coincidence to be sitting in a garden with real lizards as I was knitting mine.

Several years ago my son pestered and pestered for a pet lizard. I was not too keen, but have to say from the moment we got Noel, the green anole lizard, I was completely captivated. We had him for several years, but he unfortunately passed away last winter. 

What I really liked about him was the way he moved. He would stalk his prey (small crickets) around his tank, and moved in such an intelligent way. And when he was happy you could really tell, as out would pop his flaming pink dewlap (a small piece of skin at his throat).

This is a fairly straightforward knit. I used two double-point needles, as there is some icord knitting. I tend to use double-points for a lot of my knits now as they are conveniently short. The body of the lizard is knitted in two pieces, so there is some seaming, and the legs are knitted separately and have to be attached. I tried other ways, but this seemed to give the best result. I used craft eyes and beads, but if you are going to give this to a small child it is probably best to sew the eyes with wool.

These sample lizards are for sale in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Embroidery Pincushions

I have been saying for a few weeks that I was going to do a post on some hand embroidered pincushions I have been making.

This was my first attempt. I really like plants like cow parsley, or any plants that have a nice round seed head. I cut up a very old, partially felted, jumper to embroider on, but have decided shop bought felt may work out better. Although it doesn't really show in the photo it was a bit lumpy. The French knots is one of my favourite stitches, and have been thinking of other flowers that I could sew with knots.  

This is my version on shop bought felt. I wanted the cushions to have depth, but sewing a heart shape like this was much harder than I imagined.

Here are the bluebells that I showed before ...

And the final one is a dandelion clock. It has some clear beads sewn on too.

They have a few imperfections, so they are not heading for Etsy. I will keep them for a craft fair, as I feel more comfortable selling them in person.

My plan for the coming week is to get to grips with machine embroidery. My only previous attempt of a Butterfly I felt was too constrained. I enclosed everything with neat zigzags. I want to be able to paint with the thread, and it have that lovely free look. 

There are some blogs featuring machine embroidery that I really admire: one of the best is Sweet Birdy Love. The embroidery are works of art. I look at the beautiful work and think I'd just love to be able to make something half as nice. So I have a reel of machine embroidery thread, and am going to lower those feed dogs and just go for it.

Sorry about not commenting last week on Handmade Monday. We only got internet by sitting in one particular place in the garden in France.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Fauna and Flora

Some of the plants and animals I photographed over the last week in Brittany.

These birds were doing a lot of pecking along the shoreline. I would love to know what they are. Hubby thinks they may be a type of plover.

We saw lizards in the garden nearly every day, but it took quite a lot of sitting still to get this shot.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Needle Case - 52 Week Scrap Challenge

I've been a bit naughty today. I've been sewing and I should have been packing. It's the second week of the 52 Week Scrap Challenge at Samilia's Mum.

This has been a bit of a rush. I didn't have enough time to applique, so decided to hunt through my fabrics to find one where I could embroider on the pattern to add something. The fabric with the circles came from my sister. She is moving house so was having a clear out, which was lovely for me. If I had had more time I would have made all the circles into daisies.

The inside fabric is from some old curtains, which came from a friend. I love the gentle green of the fabric, and you may remember seeing it on my blog before for various projects.

I got a bit confused by the word pellon, but I think the fleece interfacing that I had left over from making some bags is the same thing. And for the inside pages to pin the needles I used some white felt.

I'm happy with the final needlecase, which I will probably keep for myself. Up to now I have either been using a tiny little orange felt thing (which I have had since I was a child) or I keep my needles stuck in a pincushion. Not very clever as they disappear inside!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

I apologise for the number of photos. As you can see we went for a day out to the zoo. I have cut and whittled down from the over 200 photos that I took. We had such a great day out. This was my big ones birthday treat. He really wanted to go to a theme park, but as he has his arm in plaster again (he fell off his bike) we thought that was not a good idea. Also secretly me and hubby could think of nothing worse than spending the day at a theme park.

These were all taken at Whipsnade Zoo, which is such a great zoo. There just seems a lot of space for the animals. I probably should have spread these photos over more than one post.  

I know we are all used to these animals in books and television, but up close their diversity and beauty is amazing.