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Friday, 26 May 2017

"Trolleys"


I'm not sure what is happening with me. This is rapidly becoming a dog/poetry blog. A few weeks ago I posted a poem that my mother had written "If in April", but since then going through her things we have found this clipping of her only published rhyme. It was printed in her local paper, The Orpington Times, back in 1982. The trolley pound system is pretty universal now. Perhaps my mum's poem did something to help. The poem is a little dated, as pound notes went out of circulation long ago, but she did have a good way with words.




Saturday, 13 May 2017

My Scarf of Many Colours

I got some really lovely gifts at Christmas. Nothing nicer for me that an interesting ball of wool or two. My sisters-in-law both gave me wool, and I thought for a long while what I could make with them.

One gift was a brilliant ball of Riot Chunky by King Cole, Shade 623 Rainbow. I love the subtle colours, but what to make with just one ball of wool. I toyed with the idea of a hat, and also even started trying to knit a cowl. (I would love a really cosy cowl, but half way through I realised that it was more of a collar or necklace, and was going to look a bit silly, it was so small. I would end up looking a bit like Howard Wolowitz wearing a dickie. You will need to google this if you don't know what I am on about.)

So in the end a simple scarf seemed the best idea, and I decided to just mix it up a bit with sections of stocking stitch and moss stitch. But when it was done, it just wasn't quite long enough. So I had the idea to knit two end sections in mock cable stitch with this Sirdar Snuggly Doubleknit wool. Great stitch, which looks like cable, but is much easier and you don't need a cable needle. The colour, which I think was Wobble 403, matched really well, but it was not as thick as the Riot Chunky, so I knitted it double - two strands. Do you like the end result, which is a little unusual, but I think will be great for next winter?

But now I still have other sister-in-laws gift, which is completely different - a ball of real alpaca wool. Now what shall I do with that? Hmmmm ......




Thursday, 4 May 2017

"The Cupboard Was Bare ..."


I had the idea to knit a toy for our new puppy. The family scoffed. Given the rate that she is chewing through shoes, they did not think that a knitted toy would last more than a few minutes. But I was sure I knew better.

I found some wool that seemed like it will be hard-wearing, and then had a scout around ravelry to see if a bone pattern exists. Of course it does, so I downloaded Fetch! by KrisKnits and got going.


For my first bone I followed the pattern exactly. It seemed fine when I started knitting, but puppies grow very quickly (or perhaps I knit slowly), so by the time I had finished it seemed a bit small. So I had a go at a larger one, just by increasing the cast on and adding in a few more rows. And when middle bone was done I thought I might as well use the remaining wool to make a really big bone. So here are the bones hot off the needles, before being given to the dog. 


She had a huge amount of fun playing with them. She really did seem to really like them. Especially the largest one.




But annoying the family were almost right. As this picture below shows what I was left with after a day of chewing. (Don't worry I did keep a good eye on her, that she didn't eat the wool or stuffing.) Middle bone is the worse for wear, but the big bone and little bone have just about survivied. I still think it is a good idea, and might work as a more long-lasting toy if I could use string or nylon twine. So you never know I might have another go. But for the moment it is probably back to the plastic chewy toys.



Saturday, 29 April 2017

"If in April"


If in April


If in April snow still lies upon the ground
With icy patches on the path,
You slip and bruise your knee
But still can struggle up and say
"I know that Spring is on the way".
Then you've got guts, my dear.

And if a gale has roared for days
And all your shrubs have been uprooted
And half the fence has blown away,
So last year's gardening was all in vain,
Yet you can say "I'll start again".
Then you have pluck, my dear.

And if the rain is pouring down
And your garden's one gigantic puddle
With all your seedlings washed away,
But you can calmly say
"I'll have to sow again".
Then you are brave, my dear.

But if in April, inbetween the showers
You see a patch of bright blue sky
And smell the scent of newly opened flowers
And see the shoots are breaking on the bough
It's then I know that you will say
"Spring at last is here to stay".

Peggy Watkins (1920-2017)



Thursday, 20 April 2017

Puppy Dream Cushions


  
I can't believe that it was back in 2014 that I wrote a post about some cushions I made with fabric from sample books that a shop near me was discarding. I showed pictures of some of the other fabrics, with my plans for more projects. But just typical, I didn't get round to any of my great plans.


But recently I noticed my knitted cushion covers have got very tatty, so I have finally used my free fabric to sew some new cushion covers. 

This material is so velvety, and what I like is I would have never thought to combine the colours and patterns in this way, if I had not got these sample pieces. I did have to buy some zips (thank you Fabricland), and some backing material.

So although I know this is not the way to keep your new cushions in good order, they are clearly soft enough to let a puppy have sweet dreams.



Friday, 14 April 2017

Yarn Bombing


In Herne Bay, and once again they have been yarnbombing on the pier. It is nearly a year since I last took photos here. I was really impressed with the new displays. Here are two that appealed to me the most. The remembrance poppies were simple, but really effective. I like that the flowers are not all exactly the same colour. And I also liked this crochet peacock, which has been really well-thought out.


Friday, 7 April 2017

Meet Rosie


Meet Rosie, our new puppy. She has not been with us a week yet, but we are all in love with her. I expect you will be seeing a lot more of her, and perhaps this will become a dog blog. I haven't done much crafting since she arrived, and am having to keep all my knitting on a high shelf.  I have been banned from making her a dog coat, but ha, we will see about that.


We have never had a dog before, so it is a bit of a learning experience. At the moment it is just like having a new baby. She sleeps a lot, and then has short bursts of extreme playfulness. She is very relaxed and nice natured, and good at night. I can't wait for when we can take her out for walks.

 

I have tried really hard to get a photo of her playing, but so far none of them have turned out. I realise she looks doleful in all these photos, which is not really her character, but just how she looks when I point my camera at her.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

"The Traditional Christmas Elephant"


Many weeks ago I decided to design a new pattern for a Christmas decoration. But what to do? It all seems to have been done before - stockings, baubles, snowmen etc. So I had the idea to research some more unusual symbols of Christmas from other countries. Did you know about the traditional Norwegian Christmas mouse? The Swedish Christmas goat? Or even the Christmas spider from Ukraine?
  
But even with this research I couldn't really come up with an idea that I thought would make a good decoration. So my next plan was to start a new Christmas tradition - The Christmas Elephant. Will it catch on? Probably not. Perhaps I could say it originates from the little-known fact that the Three Kings really travelled to Bethlehem on elephants.

So although I know this is completely the wrong time to bring out a Christmas pattern, here they are - Christmas Elephants. (I toyed with the idea of the Easter Elephant, but decided that was just a step too far!)


The pattern contains instructions for both large and small elephants. They have a felt backing, and my pattern contains photos and instructions on how to put the elephant together. You can also make it with or without the coloured seat section.  


What is great about these elephants are that they really are a very quick make. I can knit several in an evening, so if you were looking to give the decorations as gifts it is ideal, as they are handmade and personal but not too time-consuming. You can use up oddments of wool that you have left over from other projects.


I think the elephants would also make a great hanging baby mobile toy. Perhaps I shouldn't say that - as I don't want to distract you from the real concept, The Traditional Christmas Elephant.  Spread the word, I know this is going to be big!


The pattern is available on ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy, and will be on LoveKnitting shortly.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Blue 2CV


I just thought I would show you another of my 2CVs, made for someone in the UK, just a few weeks ago. I try really hard to get the colour of my knitted cars just right, but sometimes this is hard. 

I wonder if there is a wool manufacturer somewhere who could specialize in metallic car wool? Perhaps there isn't really the demand. (I better explain that I mean this as a joke. My husband says that my dry sense of humour is not always apparent.)
 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

My Sparkly Mittens


I have knitted myself some fingerless mittens, and have gone for elegant black with a bit of sparkle. I just love this wool.

Two of my local wool shops have closed recently, and in the town where I live that does not leave a lot of choice. (I guess it is so easy to buy wool online these days.) There is still the famous "never knowingly undersold" department store, and although it has a fairly big choice, is not particularly good value

So when I occasionally see wool in any other shop I always have a good look. This wool was from Poundland, although unusually I think it may have been £2 a ball. Totally acrylic, but for gloves something hard-wearing and washable seems like a good thing. What I love is the flecks of sparkle. Did you know it is really hard to photograph sparkle, but I hope you can see it.

 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Snowdrops




Busy making some baby shoes and mittens. These were ordered to match a specific baby suit. I love green - my favourite colour. And so I have been waiting for the chance to go out and photograph some real snowdrops. One of my favourite flowers, and a sign that Spring is on its way.


Saturday, 21 January 2017

Green 2CV


I made this Green 2CV for a customer in Spain. I have realised that most of my 2CV customers are from somewhere outside the UK and in Europe. It has now become much more unusual to even see a 2CV where I live.  

It was fun to make this car, and I hope the customer liked it. If you want to make your own you can find the pattern here, or how to order me to make one through Etsy here.










Friday, 13 January 2017

Lavender Love


I have finally got around to using the rest of the lavender from my mum's communal garden. You can see the first batch of lavender bags here. I started with a nice piece of natural looking linen, and the first attempt above was OK, but not very inspired. So I then decided to go for a leaf shape, and add a ribbon. This way they can be hung on a coat hanger to keep clothes fresh. I have kept the stitching quite simple, and the cream seemed to show up best.



For the last few I thought I would go for something a bit more unusual, and these are the ones I like the best. It is just a line of backstitching up the centre, and some big random spaced stitches to the side. So I hope I will be smelling nice this year.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Resolutions and Plans

I've been browsing other craft blogs, where there are a lot of plans and resolutions for 2017. Although some years I've done this, for the last few years I just make my crafty list of plans on a piece of paper, and pin it up for only me to look us.

As for crafty plans for 2016 - well as you might imagine, some things on the list I did, and some I did not get to. 

Sock knitting was on the list, and I did do a lot of this. I don't think I can call myself a novice sock knitter any more. There is something eminently satisfying about knitting a pair of socks.
















I also published a new baby garment pattern, Tundra Baby Top. Fortunately friends and family have been good at producing some new babies to keep me motivated with the baby garments.


I was really pleased with my teddy bear patterns. They were an enormous amount of work, and although they have hardly sold, did turn out exactly as I pictured them in my head. 


I have knitted quite a lot of cars for Etsy customers, but not got around to some new vehicle patterns which I have been thinking about for some time.  





I have also published two new animal patterns. Also, fewer than my plans.




 









I have blogged less, which was a deliberate decision. A few years ago I was posting blogs about everything I did. My daughter would say, "let's make cakes", and before you knew it I would be there photographing the whole thing for this blog. I have really tried to stop that, as it sort of takes the fun out of things. So this blog has become a bit more knitting focused, and less family. They are still here, but as teenagers spend a lot more time in their bedrooms. Perhaps I should start featuring hair and make-up tips? (Only people who know me in person will realize how funny that is.)

So for 2017 I still plan to come up with some new knitting patterns. It seems harder to come up with fresh ideas, but I still have a few in the pipeline. I do feel more confident with my pattern writing. There is still the usual dilemma of either going for the slightly bizarre (Why did no one want to knit my mermaid's purse?), or the more obvious (teddy for example), but then being up against large numbers of teddy bear patterns.