Thursday, 12 December 2013

A new craft...more ways to spend money!!



In the past I've had a go at many different crafts and quilting is no exception! I've done the basic 'block-patchwork' for simple cushion covers and somewhere I have an unfinished attempt at a hexagon-patchwork piece.....!

However, some friends (I shall call them 'friends', anyway, despite the fact that are leading me astray!) took me to a local 'quiltery' place this morning and now I am well and truly smitten!  I foresee many hours drooling over fat-quarters and much parting with money......

I will try to curtail any over-ambitious projects, and maybe post a few 'results' here in the coming months. In the meantime, here are a few photos of some of the quilts on show, a special exhibition of work by 'students' from classes at this shop and other entrants.

(with apologies, I do not have the names to credit the creators; also the photo-quality is not great - lighting conditions and being snapped by phone is not ideal! )






I saved my favourite until last - it got my 'vote'!






Saturday, 19 October 2013

More socks - and shawls!



After commenting about the luxurious feel of hand-knitted socks, while on holiday in New England, I offered to create some for coz and his wife. So, one of my first projects when I got home was to hunt out the dpns and get on...


Photo: Ha-ha! The socks actually match! (2 rows to go ;-p)
(and they actually match!)

Next, the shawl - coz's wife selected the yarn and I agreed to knit it for her (she's more into crochet!). Here it is, blocking out:
Photo: Shawl blocking - has to be done - will it look this good when the pins come out.....?

I was so impressed with the pattern - I grabbed a hank of yarn I picked up while 'across the pond' and set to, creating my own version:

....Indeed I do love this yarn!
It's absolutely wonderful to work with - but I can't seem to buy it here in the UK :-( 

-oOo-

I spent some time yesterday trying to re-organise my 'craft-space' (ie. the reclaimed bedroom from my son!) It has become somewhat a dumping ground - one day it will be wonderful - but for now I have my own little place to play!  


A relative gave me a bag of 'treasure' when I visited recently - now decanted into two glass jars:
They must be quite old, as they are solid wood bobbins! I wonder what I can use them on......

.....and in the midst of tidying up and allocating space for things I pressed
a recent 'regal' souvenir into service, too!


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Back from the 'colonies' - with a big bag of booty!



Earlier this week DD and I got back from our trip to New England  - see my other blog. As I mentioned previously, I'd been clearing projects out of the way in readiness for utilising all the the things I planned to purchase! We went with half-empty cases in anticipation of bringing back a few bits and pieces - and boy, did we!

High on the list of priorities was a  trip to Michaels - which we'd discovered for the first time on our last visit to the cousins in New Hampshire. As my cousin's wife is keen on crafting it didn't take much arm-twisting to get her to take us to the nearest store.

Only half-way round the shop!

There was just so much on offer we trundled up and down the aisles gawping at everything - there was much 'ooooh-ing' and 'aaahhhh-ing' I can tell you!  Back here in the UK we don't have stores on this scale; Hobbycraft , bless it, is teeny compared to Michaels.

But even better was yet to come - when we were told about Hobby Lobby ! This out-did even Michaels - a quick visit 'just to look'  turned into several hours and parting with many $$$$$s!

Inspecting some of our bounty!

Getting all the bags and packages out of  our luggage was fun, reliving the joy all over again. :-)

The range of yarn on offer was gobsmacking! These I bought a with no particular
projects in mind - just loved the colours:
There are patterns printed on the inside of the ball bands so I may try out anything suitable.

Coz's wife is more into crochet, so I volunteered to knit her a scarf/shawl
as per the pattern on these two balls

A couple of patterns in this book caught my attention - the yarn is a mohair/wool/acrylic mix

There was a request for socks from coz and wife - but this particular yarn is just for me! ;-)

A selection of pattern books -  Bavarian Crochet is new to me,
so I'm looking forward to seeing what that entails!

Couldn't resist this cross-stitch kit of a typical New England lighthouse. Although, I don't know when I shall get around to starting it - given the other cross-stitch project already sitting in the queue!

Couldn't turn my back on this little trio of miniature birdhouses, either! I have plans to paint them up in contrasting shades of the colours of my new kitchen (coming soon!)

Last, but not least - I bought this in a Christmas decoration store. Can you believe it - whole stores selling just Christmas decorations - all year round!
(....should I change my blog-name, I wonder......?)


So many projects, so many possibilities - where shall I begin.....
:-)

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Winding down.....



It's almost the end of August - the Summer is ending, here in the UK, but next week I'm off on holiday to visit my cousin and his wife in New England! :-)

Along with all the trips they have planned for us, daughter and I are looking forward to visiting a few craft and yarn stores, in particular Michaels ! (we've deliberately pared down our packing to make room for purchases! ;-p)

Of course, that means I need to clear the decks of as many WIPs as possible so that I can enjoy new projects using all the stuff I hope to buy over there.

Here's the cable jumper I started earlier in the year:
I finished it ages ago, but it sat in a box for quite a while until I got my act together
this week and sewed all the pieces together.

I enjoyed the ongoing construction of this jumper,
picking up stitches and knitting transversely;
it's interesting to see the cables running horizontally as well as vertically.

It's beautiful to work with and gives a lovely crisp definition to the stitches.

I took the design from this book:

I love the ribbed picot edging on the neck!

As the Autumn draws in, I look forward to snuggling up in this gorgeous sweater!

Other projects that are drawing to a close are a selection of baby items for a charity I came across via another blogger,  Una, at Great Balls of Wool

The charity, Greenfields Africa , provides baby clothes for families in Kenya and Uganda. The 'Mama Bag' project provides the clothes as an incentive to encourage poor mothers to attend ante-natal classes, ensuring both mother and prospective infant receive health advice and medical care.

So, I've knitted a baby blanket:
and a couple of  cardigans (just need the buttons!) plus a few little hats:
I'll be sending these off when I get back from holiday - I'll do a couple of little knitted teddies to add to the pile. Feel free to click the links and read up about the project - or find a similar one in your own neck of the woods, perhaps?


Talking of 'woods' - I'm looking forward to seeing all the New England foliage - I wonder if the 'Fall' colour will have started.......? 


:-)


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Back in the day.......!



The 1940's cardigan I mentioned in my previous post was finally finished for DD:

She was planning to wear it to a WW2 re-enactment weekend at the Black Country Living Museum - but the weather here in the UK was just a tad (;-p) too hot for such garments!

Still, she's planning another WW2-type visit later in the year, to Bletchley Park - home of the Enigma code-breakers and Station X - so I guess it will have an 'outing' then! (unless she wants something else knitted....!)

Anyway - if you want to see what she got up to last weekend and
re-live the nostalgia, try here  

Keep Calm
And 
Carry On!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A li'l bit of nostalgia!



Haven't been updating much here lately - the reason is, I'm busily knitting a 1940's cardigan for my daughter that she can wear to a WW2 re-enactment event later this month.

It's in 4ply with a 20-row cable pattern - not too bad once you get the hang of it, but the sleeves are making me grit my teeth - increasing and taking those extra stitches into the pattern is tricky!

The pattern comes from this book:

This book has original vintage patterns, alongside modern adaptations to suit different sizes (often just one 'standard' size was given) and currently available yarns.

I've done the back and fronts of the cardigan, then stitches are picked up around the neck to form a yoke. I confess, I had several attempta at this part but couldn't get the pattern to work out as it was written (possibly a typo?), so in the end I just 'fudged' it to fit:


Now - back to those sleeves......and I'll try to get a picture of it being modelled, along with all the other WW2 fashions! :-)

Thursday, 30 May 2013

I've finished......so I'll start.....!



I have finally finished the blue 'ripple' crocheted blanket! (there it is, adorning the bed in my son's former bedroom (aka my craft room ;-p)

Although I enjoyed making it, I'm glad it's finally done, with all the loose ends sewn in and neatened off. It seemed to take quite a while, but then I remember it was interrupted with a few other items.....

The grey cable jumper is finished, but awaiting blocking and seaming:



(spot the foam-matting squares in assorted colours to the right - actually, they're a set of  'hopscotch' tiles - a bargain from the kids' aisle in Tesco's, ready to slot together and pin out my knitting!)


I also managed to do a 'baby ripple' for my daughter's friend, who's expecting a little 'ankle-biter' in August:


So, now I'm casting around for other projects - hence a visit to the library, returning with a stack of books for inspiration:


The 'mitred-madness' creation (slung on the back of the chair) is still going strong and using up all the little oddments, as and when I get around to it!

Close-up on the books, in case any of you are interested:



However, I'm grateful to Una over at Great Balls Of Wool for making me aware of a charity knitting outlet I can contribute to....so it looks like I'll soon have a load of new projects on the 'go'! :-)

So, what's everyone else got on the needles...?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Craft space




Having the younger 'chick' spread his wings again and move out, hubby and I find ourselves as 'empty-nesters' once more! (see this )

So, it's time to re-claim my 'craft' room, now it's no longer needed as a bedroom.

I've made a start :



As the days and weeks progress, I plan to move all my yarn & 'accoutrements' into this one space, instead of in bags and boxes wedged in cupboards all over the house (and the sheds outside, too!)

The large PC and printer will be going, once I have extracted all the genealogy details and images I have stored on it - all my Family History files and charts are moving in here too!

It's lovely to be able to think about getting all my 'art' stuff available - and being able to leave it out instead of the tiresome need to clear everything away all the time.

I have some shelves ready for when I come across all the knitting and sewing books I've accumulated - they'll soon fill up, I expect!

I plan to have a dedicated sewing space, with my sewing machine readily available rather than packed away at the back of beyond - this might encourage me to get back to doing some 'patchwork'. ;-)

!....and I need somewhere to store all my cross-stitch threads, too!



I'm debating whether to organise my knitting needles properly..... but they look lovely bundled into jars on the windowsill!

(and this is only some of them!)



This old metal knitting gauge belonged to my Grandmother, it still comes in handy!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Mustn't get cross about 'cross stitch'!



It's been a few years since I last did any cross-stitch but at Easter hubby ordered this chart for me. I love Norman Rockwell paintings but I've never been able to find cross-stitch representations of his work here in the UK - until now!

What a wonderful way to make use of all the threads I inherited from hubby's Grandmother:

(this is only some of them!)

The chart calls for 89 (yes - 89!!!) different DMC shades, but my threads are Anchor, so using a conversion chart so I set to work checking off all the ones I had and those I'd need to order.

Well, it turns out I only have 18!!!!! Can you believe it :-/  So with a deep breath (and some good daylight!) I'll have to sit down and see how near a match I can get - I expect I'll still have to order a good few skeins, anyway.

But - it is such a beautiful and intricate picture that I think it'll be worth it.


 (Mind you, I'll probably be in my dotage by the time I finish it!)

Rockwell's original artwork appeared as the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, 3rd April, 1948 -  but for the purpose of this chart, the image has been 'reversed' in order to show his signature 'correctly'! There are a number of quirks about the picture, it was to celebrate April Fool's Day, after all - see if you can spot all the deliberate 'mistakes', or check here  to find the ones you've missed! Good luck!

-oOo-

In other news, the cable jumper is progressing: 


The back and front are done and now I'm onto the sleeves. Hopefully they won't take too long, being a 12-row repeat of stocking stitch with raised bands of the reversed stitch - I just have to remember when to purl and when to knit; it goes against the grain to knit on what you'd expect to normally be a purl row, and vice versa!