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Sunday, 16 July 2017

2CV Dolly



I had fun making this red and white 2CV for an Etsy customer. This model is called the 2CV Dolly. I have tried to find out why it was called the Dolly, but can't find any information. So if you have any idea I would love to know. 

This was going to be a Christmas gift, but the buyer says "... can't wait to give it to him, don't think I can wait til xmas. Here is a photo of the actual car that I worked from.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Alpaca



I've just looked it up, and the plural of one alpaca can be either alpaca or alpacas. I wish there was a more interesting collective word for a group of them than herd. Perhaps you can suggest one. But for now, as I have no better word, I have been knitting a whole herd of alpaca. This new pattern has now been thoroughly tested, and I am really pleased with the result. My husband keeps telling me that I should have made the necks thinner, but these are meant to be alpaca who are just about ready to be sheared. Sorry about the huge number of photos - I just can't make my mind up.



The very first brown alpaca was made with Bearhouse Alpaca mocha double knit, and you can see some more photos here. I made the second one with the same weight of wool, but this time Bearhouse honeycomb double knit. The smaller cream one is made with Bearhouse vanilla ice 4ply, as I really wanted to knit one in this shade, and it doesn't seem to come in double knit. I just reduced the needle size, and he has turned out fine, although I recommend the double knit on the pattern. This is quite a tight knit, with a small needle size, as I wanted to make sure that the knitting is quite firm and the neck doesn't flop. I am sure that there are other alpaca wools, but I would recommend this one which knitted up really nicely, as is 100% pure alpaca.


I just love alpacas. I have sat and watched a TV show about some alpacas near Oxford, which shows them giving birth. I definitely want to go on visit the alpaca farm where this wool came from on our next visit to Devon. I have some oddments left of all the wool, so may have a go at a piebald alpaca.


The pattern is available on ravelry, Craftsy, Etsy, and LoveKnitting. This was just one of those projects that I felt compelled to do.


 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

"You Gotta Have A Dream ...."



I truly believe the lyrics of this song, you do have to have a dream. So I am going to "talk about things I'd like to do". My dreams have changed over the years, some of them I have achieved, and some I am still striving towards. The current dream, which I frequently natter on about, is to move to the country. There I will have a herd of alpacas, will spin the wool, still design my patterns, but also maybe run knitting workshops. My husband's dream is to have a small area of woodland, which he will stride around managing. I am not sure if we will achieve any of this, but as I started by saying, you do have to have something you think about when drifting off to sleep at night.

So perhaps I talk about this dream too much, which may be why my other sister-in-law gave me this lovely pure alpaca ball of wool for Christmas. The wool was from Bearhouse Alpacas, near Sidbury in Devon, and is doubleknit mocha. I have been working on this alpaca for many weeks, and in fact this is version three. Number one alpaca was too sheep-like, and Number two was really like some sort of mutant. So they both had to be unravelled. I am finally happy with Alpaca Number Three, but won't publish the pattern until I have tested it out a few times. So I am going to order a few more balls of alpaca wool, and get to work on creating my own herd.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Alan the Alpaca


I would like you to meet Alan the Alpaca. Alan was one of my birthday gifts from my daughter. She disappeared up to my sewing room, and the only thing she said she needed for my surprise gift was some stuffing. (I have been slightly obsessing about alpacas recently, and I hope to show you the reason soon.) 

Alan is very soft and cuddly, and when I asked where she had got the material to make him, she said "Oh, I cut up my dressing gown". I should be cross, I know. But as I was shown the dressing gown with some alpaca-shaped holes in the back, we had to laugh. I have a plan to fix the dressing gown, with a interesting new panel. I could not really be annoyed, as she had been so ingenious, making Alan without any pattern. She has always had that confidence when making things - just to go for it.

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.