Monday, 22 December 2014

Not quite 'the night before Christmas' - but it's a close-run thing!

Never mind '....the stockings were hung by the chimney with care',  how about: the socks were all pegged up  - and not just ONE pair!

Phew!  Just about done in time for Christmas, six (yes SIX!!) pairs of socks! That'll teach me to offer to make them at short notice!

I started on 25th November and finished the final pair on 20th December - and I think I shall have a wee break from sock knitting for a while! (although I do need to make a pair for a January birthday present.....)

After knitting in 4ply sock yarn for so long, using DK yarn feels like knitting with rope!! ;-)

Still, back to some of my other projects-in-waiting......a blanket, an experiment with knitting  'log-cabin patchwork'-style,.....and delving into my stash....bliss!

Happy Christmas, everyone - I wonder what projects YOU have in mind for 2015???

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Turning a design on it's head - part deux!!


A few months ago I posted about a new crochet technique I'd come across called 'c2c' or 'corner to corner' (here)

In a fit of clearing the decks of 'WIPs' prior to a visit to the craft show in Birmingham (more on that in a forthcoming post!) I pulled the completed squares out of a bag and began sewing them together!

Thus, this....

...became this....


...and soon 'morphed' into this....

......and with a little more 'embellishment' it finally became this....

(apologies for colour quality - using phone cam under electric light :-/)

Sewing the squares together was tedious, matching the white and green wool on each seam - if I do this again I will try to find a more satisfactory/simpler way!

It was just an experiment to find different ways to use the squares - not really keen on the colours though (reminds me of broccoli and cauliflower!) However, it didn't turn out too bad! (even if it ends up as a car blanket! ;-p)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

B.O.Y - just what I needed!

A good few months ago I had a message on Ravelry from a local knitting group inviting me to join them. I had every intention of following it up - but then 'life' got in the way, as it so often does.

However, I got a 'second chance' when our local newspaper did a feature on the group, celebrating their first anniversary and I thought "I'll have some of that, please!" So, DD and I plucked up courage and went to join Ball Of Yarn - and what a warm welcome we got! :-)

It is SO nice to meet up with other knitters and crocheters (sounds better than 'hookers'!) all doing such a variety of different things with yarn! Great to be able to learn and share from each other, too!

Currently there's been a drive (for those who want to, it's not mandatory) to produce cot and incubator blankets and hats for a local SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) - a project dear to my heart as DD was a wee 'premmie' herself, all those years ago!

Well, the request was for 'colourful' items so I took them at their you think this is colourful enough? ;-p

A cot blanket, waiting for ends to be sewn in:

....and hats...

Meanwhile, back to B.O.Y - I'm enjoying getting to know a few of the members of the group and I'll try to snap off some pics of them at 'work'.....what DO you call a collection of knitters, I wonder?

Friday, 26 September 2014

All 'dolled-up'

Recently, I laid down my yarn, crochet hooks and knitting needles and picked up my dressmaking shears for another 'unexpected' project!

A friend who volunteers at a local home for the elderly had asked my help on behalf of one of the residents, who had made a doll but was now unable to make any clothes for it. I say 'it', but of course this doll has a character all of her own and her name is Matilda!

The lady who owned her had made her from scratch, with jointed limbs....

...and an amazing Victorian-style hairdo!

.....but she needed some clothes to preserve her modesty!

My friend supplied a pattern and material and one Saturday morning a couple
of weeks ago I set to work with my shears and sewing machine.

So, she soon acquired a petticoat:

....and a blouse:

Then came a new over-dress:

(I had forgotten how fiddly 'rik-rak' braid is to sew on - I'm glad it was just for a 21" doll and not a full-sized garment!)

However, Matilda was barefoot and I couldn't have that!
So a bit of fiddling about with some brown felt produced these:
 (They were as near to Victorian-style boots as I could manage!)

Now Matilda sits in splendour, admired by residents and staff alike; her maker was
absolutely thrilled to see her new clothes.

It took me a couple of long days to complete
(good job hubby was away, so I could just work right though!)
but hearing of the elderly lady's pleasure at seeing Matilda restored to glory
is more than sufficient reward!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Turning a design on it's head.....!

In my last post I was waxing lyrical about the 'c2c' crochet technique I've recently discovered. Well, I got to thinking about how to progress from just doing the large squares and rectangles I've seen it used for so far. So - I decided to play around with the concept and have fun....! ;-)

One little square, with various stripes:

Doesn't look all that much, right?

.....but try adding a few more:

...or shuffle them around ....and add another couple....

....see where I'm going with this....?

It's like a combination of crochet squares and patchwork and now there are all sorts of possibilities rattling around in my head.......!

I'll get back to you with some other combinations!

(oh, I do love a NEW project!!)

Monday, 25 August 2014

New tricks!

I haven't died - just been too busy 'doing' to have time to blog about it! I've been having adventures in yarn...... here's some of what I've been up to:

I discovered that the Drops 'Cotton Light' I talked about in my last post (months ago......!) has proved to be a right royal pain to crochet with, because it's very splitty and I kept catching the hook in it which slowed progress :-/  However, it is rather nice to knit with! One of my quartet of recently-finished cushions was crochet one side and knit on the other side:

....and here's the full quartet:

This diagonal striping is commonly called 'c2c' (corner to corner) - here's  a link to a fab tutorial if you haven't come across this!  It is fast becoming a favourite - two cushions and a part-finished baby blanket already testify to my growing obsession with this technique and I'm starting to tinker around with the design for my next project.......wait for my next post!! :-)

Of course, all this crochet takes it's toll - my right hand was exhibiting some pressure damage and I was getting pins and needles from where my steel hook was pressing into my palm and causing nerve problems. 
But then I discovered the sooper-dooper hooks pictured at the top of this blog - and hubby treated me to a set for our 34th wedding anniversary a few days ago! These Knit-Pro 'Waves' hooks are just SO comfortable to use......I may never go back to ordinary ones again!

Any way - back to to the hooking........!

( know what I mean ;-p)

Friday, 27 June 2014

Too busy 'yarning' to blog...

I realise it's a while since I last blogged here - life's events and excitements get in the way from time to time. However, there aren't many free moments when I HAVEN'T had some yarn in my hands, lately (even if that's just moving stash piles to other boxes.....)

Best of all, I decided to put in an order to The Wool Warehouse (yes, I know I already have SEVERAL large crates of the stuff up in my workroom.....but one can never have too much!) and it arrived this morning! (not bad, since I ordered it after-hours on Wednesday evening)  I'm SO impressed - quick service and VERY attractive prices, too! I don't normally like ordering yarn without seeing it, but I can happily say the Wool Warehouse is now my online shop of choice! :-)

Just looking at it all is making me lick my lips in anticipation :-)

I've also been experimenting a lot more with crochet, which is becoming ever more addictive.

I'd heard about the 'African Flower' motif and decided to have a go. (There's a great tutorial here )  Well, I was very soon hooked (excuse the pun!) and now I'm happily creating blocks (....a cushion cover?  .....a blanket? ....who knows!)

....and you all know how I HATE seaming things together, so I've taught myself to 'join-as-I-go' (I sort of made it up, don't think it's a 'proper' method, but it works for me) - on the final round, I hook the yarn through a trb on a finished side and then trb on the new square, like this:

Here's a finished seam:

I'm really loving using cotton and cotton-mix yarns, too. I recently made a loose cover for a footstool:
We've just inherited the footstool, which has an embroidered cover created by hubby's Grandmother many years ago:
It's beautiful, but to preserve the colours it had spent a lot of it's life with a cloth over it. Being re-housed in our conservatory we didn't want to risk the sun bleaching the colours, so a loose cover was the order of the day.

Now....back to the newly-arrived stash......where's that crochet hook......?  :-)

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Almost 'un'seamly......!

Any regular reader of this blog will know I try to avoid seams in knitting where possible - so I was intrigued when I was handed a pattern for a baby jacket that is knit all in one piece!

I quickly got to work and followed the pattern religiously, all the while secretly thinking it couldn't be that easy (could it...?) and wondering what I'd end up with.

Well, what I ended up with was this:


I sat and 'played' around with it, turning it first this way and then that  -  the pattern 'helpfully' just said fold it into shape....?! :-/


Then I turned it upside down:

Realising the button holes (can you see them on BOTH sides?) must need to run up the centre front, I folded one side to the middle:

....aha, I think I see where we're going with this....

...and the other side to match!

All that's left is to sew the top of the sleeves - just two small seams!
(even I can cope with that! ;-p)

The other nifty thing is working two sets of button holes - you can decide which gender you're knitting for at the last minute - and the 'unused' buttonholes are the ideal indicators of where to sew the buttons for a perfect match!

This is dangerously easy.....I could be making more! ;-)

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Busy, busy, busy.....

I used to laugh when I heard people say that after they retired they were were busier than ever before - now my hollow laughter has caught up with me, but in a good way!

I don't seem to get around to blogging much these days, partly due to a sudden flurry of family activity with folks moving house, and also the fact that I have got quite a lot of projects on the go all at once!

I've been tidying up my son's old bedroom (the one I've commandeered as my craft space!) and now he's at last moved into his new house I can start boxing up the last of his stuff to pass on. So this morning was partly about 'zoning' the place and deciding which crafty items to stack in boxes or display on shelves.
(still a few crates and boxes to move - but look! You can actually see the carpet!)

A good use for old coffee jars!

A couple of them house some of my small oddments of wool, balled up for one of my on-going projects:
Crocheting scraps of wool to create a new ball of 'yarn'!
Eventually I shall probably crochet this into some kind of fabric.

In fact, as I was wandering about the house trying to gather up all my arty-crafty bits to
relocate them into my new purposed location I realised there are little
baskets and bags of projects scattered about  all over the place!

A mitred-square blanket 'growing' in a basket in the corner of the lounge
(excellent accompaniment for watching TV!)

A jacket, sprawled over the arm of the couch in the conservatory  - I'm just finishing the collar - from a very old knitting pattern (the price on it is pre-decimal currency!)

Lovely muted shades of DK cotton, 'nesting' in a basket by the window - I've just started a 'Mini-mania scarf'. I bought it on a recent trip to Barrow-in-Furness (because hubby wanted to watch football and I went along for the ride and instead found a wool shop!) only to discover afterwards that the yarn is now being discontinued, but I think there'll be enough here anyway.

Another 'ripple' creation, spilling out of a bag - no idea what it will be!
(probably another blanket!)

A recent acquisition was this magnifying lamp - maybe it will encourage me
to get on with the cross-stitch pattern I bought in America last year.....I do keep myself rather busy!

Aside from all this crafty stuff my other passion is Genealogy - and look what I've
just been given to look through:
This is one of the boxes of old family photographs that my husband's elderly aunt has loaned me. Somehow I have to carve out some quality time to sort them out and scan them for posterity.

I've already digitised seven of her old albums - gorgeous old sepia-tinted pictures of  the family in India in the early days of the 1900's, right though to nostalgic black and white snaps from the 1930's. The fashions and glamour are right out of an episode of 'Poirot'!

So, if you don't see me blogging - this is what I'll be up to!