art, cats, craft, knitting, travel, Uncategorized

30 Day Knitting Challenge – Days 11-16

Unfortunately I had to go away with work unexpectedly for a few days and therefore have to catch up now on my 30 Day Knitting Challenge.

Day 11: Do you have a ‚ÄúKnitter Hero‚ÄĚ or someone that is just way too awesome for their own good? Do share!

My knitty heroine is Lauren O’Farrell AKA Deadly Knitshade – a graffiti knitting artist with a fabulous sense of humour, she also loves cats, so what’s not to like!?

This is one of my many favourite pieces… ¬†A Phone Box cosy from her book¬†Knit the City.

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Day 12: Where do you keep your stash?

My stash is finding itself strewn across the house – it started off in my purpose-built Tardis cabinet¬†but has now stretched across to the bottom of my dresser and to many different nooks and crannies¬†downstairs. ¬†It hasn’t yet trickled upstairs yet but I think it’s only a matter of time…

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Day 13: Do you have yarn that you love but can’t find a project for?

I love Noro yarn and bought this bargain-tastic lot recently – but not yet found a project for them all…

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Day 14: What’s the worst yarn/fiber that you’ve worked with and why?

When I started knitting and crocheting, i started with a lot of cheap acrylic double knitting yarn to practice – such as the one for this mobile phone cover which I made for my friend… ¬†I rarely work with acrylic now.

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Day 15: What was your least favorite pattern and why?

I tried this¬†Eyelet Scarf¬†in Jarol Heritage 4ply, which I was never very happy with, but looking back it is not as bad as I thought…

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Day 16: Have you ever had a knitting related injury?

When I first started knitting, I found it very hard to wrap the yarn with my right hand, as I am naturally left-handed, however after a few teething pains it became bearable over time.

My worst injury was a series of small, odd-shaped bruises on my legs and shoulders, which I could not work out where I had got them from.

Eventually I worked out that I was using needles that were too long and was pushing them into my legs or shoulders to help move the yarn along sufficiently!  I soon moved onto better yarn and needles which resolved the issues.

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cats, craft, crochet, knitting, music, Uncategorized, yarn

Top Ten Review of the Year

Well, another prolonged absence due to work – I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but next year I will make more time to post on my blog as I have missed not being able to post so regularly.¬† Getting organised is half the battle I think…

This year has been an interesting one (in all senses of the word!) – a new addition to my family (OK, so he’s a kitten) and a rebranding of my blog and business as well as opening my Etsy Shop.

Add to that the most manic year of my (full-time) working life and major changes within my working structure – which are all still in a state of flux!

But in many ways a fantastic year, much love and laughter with friends and family, and finding a kindred spirit in crafting in my friend Anna (and her five-year-old Mikey who’s favourite phrase is now “let’s get crafting!”)

So here is my Top Ten Review of the Year on looking back through my blog, I do hope you enjoy it!

One – The arrival of Sir Patrick of Naughtiness

As an Astronomy geek, I managed to persuade Anna and Mikey to name their rescued kitten Professor Brian (Cox) after everyone’s favourite physicist and ex-popstar.¬† I was amazed they went with it…

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I was even more amazed that I ended up rescuing his brother, whom I named Sir Patrick (Moore) after the famous and much beloved Astronomer and BBC Presenter (RIP).¬† It particularly helped that he had a squinty eye in which I could imagine the real Sir¬† Patrick’s monocle.¬† I met the real Sir Patrick¬†once, he was absolutely delightful, and was very kind to me when another celebrity was very rude to me (you know who you are, Michael Fish!).

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Two РOpening my Etsy Shop

This was a long-term aim over the year and was delayed many times due to factors outside of my control!  In the end it was opened in October and I had my first sale within 24 hours.

I haven’t quite had the time since then to promote it as much as I would like, and I have exciting plans for my Etsy shop¬†for 2016, so my upcoming week off in February will be spent at home getting things sorted…

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Three – Vintage Shopping at the Car Booty

Regular readers will know that I love a bargain.¬† Most Sundays I can be found at Frome Car Boot Sale, rummaging around in other people’s junk.¬† For several months this year I had an amazing run on vintage notions and patterns and went a bit overboard buying them.

I have now decided to offload some of them in 2016 when I take part in a Craft Fair which also lets you sell related goods.  Some, though, I cannot bear to part with!

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Four РYarn, lovely Yarn

I wrote about my yarn addiction on several occasions, it has perhaps got a little out of hand, especially after I visited the Kensington Olympia Knitting and Stitching show in March – but I did get some beautiful yarns, including the cashmere / cotton blend to make this lovely shawl on my Etsy Shop.

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Five – Devon knows how they make it so lovely

Through my lovely friend Anna, I’ve had the chance to visit Chagford, in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, twice this year for Craft Fairs.¬† Such a beautiful place and the people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s a real treat to visit there. ¬†Bonus treat – the tiny ponies and other cute critters at the Miniature Pony Centre nearby.

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Six – Holidays-a-go-go!

I’ve been extremely lucky this year with holidays – having a gorgeous week in Marbella in March, with Mum, and then again in Bayeux in June with Mum, Dad and my brother.¬† The first time we’d all been away together for several years.¬† Both were fabulous holidays, much needed and much enjoyed, and allowed me to expand my stash even more with some really lovely yarns and notions (as well as some cheeky¬†goats producing the softest mohair)

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Seven – My first giveaway of Crochet Patterns

In October I gave away the pattern for my first designed project, some mini Halloween Treat Baskets – to fill with yummy chocolates.¬† I had great fun designing the different faces and putting together a beginner’s project which I was happy to share for free.¬† Although a simple design, it has given me a taste for more!

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Eight – Geek Loveliness

A fabulous year of nerd-dom¬†has been bookended by Star Wars. ¬†In May I posted about my trip to Marbella and the surprise of hearing a youth orchestra starting up with the Star Wars¬†soundtrack – I have never departed¬†a cafe in such a hasty fashion¬†before… ¬†In May I also posted a cheeky geeky guide and then followed up with a visit¬†to the Doctor Who Exhibition in September with my family. ¬†There is an adventure to go through which is rather interactive – I was more scared than the kids!

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Nine – Animals A-Plenty

It never surprises me that my most popular posts tend to be around my two black cats, Ella and Sir Patrick.  After all, they are endless sources of amusement to me!

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Ten – Art and Crafts

And back to my main loves Рart and crafts.  In April I visited Standen, a home filled with delights from the Arts and Craft movement which I so admire.  Moving on to June I waxed lyrical about Salvator Rosa, one of my favourite artists, and in July I wrote about the beautiful lace that I encountered on my goaty adventures in Bayeux (and of course the famous Tapestry).

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And finally, throughout the year I have been extolling the virtues of crafting,¬†thank you for joining me on my journey this year, and here’s to 2016!

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Feeling Festive and Feline Fun!

Since my last post, so much has happened. ¬†Having had nearly a month off from posting due to a mad few weeks at work which has consumed all of my time and energy, I’m finally having some time to myself and am able to get back to my crafting (and blogging!)

I completed two Craft Fairs, the one in Devon went really well and I enjoyed the mini-break, meeting some lovely folks.  I then did a small Christmas Fair locally which was not so successful, but great fun nonetheless.

Adding to all the madness is the preparations for a certain festive period – I have done most of my Christmas shopping, and am now moving on to last-minute gift-making…

First off is a crocheted scarf for my Dad which I am making in Katia Kathmandu – a gorgeous colourway in blue/green/grey which hopefully keep him toasty warm through this winter.

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Next up is a scarf for my brother РI am trying to decide whether I have enough time to knit this or if I should crochet it a bit more quickly.  Again I have decided on a Katia yarn РBasic Merino Flash, a soft wool/acrylic mix with a soft variegation in colour from bright crimson to a more mellow maroon.  My brother looks fantastic in red and as both he and Dad loved the scarves I made previously, I hope they do also with these.

 

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My Mum is also getting something, but as she reads my blog I am not putting anything on here about it – she will just have to wait and see!

Another present in the making is an upcycled project that I made and then was never happy with.  It is a lovely pattern and the first major item I made when I learnt to knit.  It is from the book Knitty Gritty by Aneeta Patel, whom I wholeheartedly recommend as a knitting teacher.  I wish I could have made it to one of her classes, but the two Knitty Gritty books gave me a firm foundation to start from.

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I am going to remove the pink flower (which I only put on as a tester) and am going to crochet some pretty embellishments around the shoulders of the hot water bottle.  This has been sadly sitting in a box since I made it, and Anna has remarked on it a few times, so I hope she likes the final result.

I will then turn my hand to a secret project for my little friend Mikey, who turns 5 on Boxing Day. ¬†I may not complete it in time, so will save it as a January present…

And finally, a project for myself РMum and I had our annual pilgrimage to Peter Jones in Sloane Square (part of the John Lewis brand) and we saw some beautiful yarns.  I bought some for myself which I am going to knit up on different sized needles.  This stunning yarn is Debbie Bliss Angel Prints, Kid Mohair and Silk, as soft and strong as you would expect with that gorgeous mix.

I have never made anything for myself so this is going to be fun.  I am going to try it with 3 1/4 mm and 5 mm needles and adjust it if I am not happy with the result.

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Finally, a little update on Sir Patrick, who is now 7 months old and a real purr-sonality. ¬†He doesn’t ever stay still enough to take any pictures, but I managed to snap these today. ¬†He is fascinated by all the knitting and crochet activity and has a penchant for lace (he has excellent taste!).

The final picture is just typical Sir Patrick. ¬†He was checking out the camera lens and managed to fog it up with his breath, in true soft focus style… ¬†Ella is just beginning to cope better with him, and he is calming down a little, which is a relief for us all!

 

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It’s the Etsy Countdown… 3

Afternoon all!

So, the time has come for me to unveil my Etsy shop on Monday…

The countdown has begun!

Photos are being snapped, UFOs are beginning to turn into FOs, dummies are being dressed, seams are being sewn, descriptions are being written and policies polished to (hopefully!) perfection…

I will be counting down again tomorrow with more details, but here are a few of my first snaps of my items and WIPs taken with my new camera.  I decided on a Canon Powershot SX400 IS РI am certainly no camera expert, but this bridge camera is lightweight, has enough settings and gizmos to keep me happy without completely confusing me!

 

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This pebble stitch scarf with picot loop edging is made in King Cole Gypsy – although it is an acrylic yarn, it is such a beautiful, soft medium to work with and the colours are absolutely fantastic.

 

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Next is a double chain scarf in James C. Brett Marble Chunky Рagain I surprise myself in using an acrylic yarn, as I tend to prefer working in natural fibres.  I make an exception for this yarn.  Not only does it have a fabulous texture and is easy to work in Рbut the colour choices and mixtures are a treat for the eyes.  This project has since been finished and will be going up in the shop!

 

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This one, however, is still in progress… ¬†I’m a bit of a slow knitter! ¬†This child’s scarf is in half moss stitch, which gives a lovely flat almost ribbed appearance on one side, with little crescent moons on the other. ¬†For this scarf I am using Sublime Baby Cashmerino Silk. ¬†It’s extremely soft and seems to knit it up well…

So – back to the plans – or perhaps a cup of tea and a biscuit first!!

Happy crafting!

 

Lou x

 

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Etsy Works in Progress

What a busy week, I’ve had a day off this week and spent the whole day preparing my Etsy plans and policies. ¬†¬†I still feel like I’ve got a lot to do but have enjoyed all of the preparations.

Now I’m enjoying myself completing some¬†works in progress ready for the grand opening which I am planning for July!

Here is just a little sneaky peek… ¬†Unfortunately my camera is playing up so I can only use my smartphone camera, which is clearly not up to the job… ¬†The first pairing is the most lovely¬†acrylic – I’m really not a fan of acrylic (except as a mix occasionally with wool) but this yarn is so amazing. ¬†The picture definitely does not do it justice.

The colour scheme is King Cole Magestic and it is rather aptly named.  This scarf is made in pebble stitch which gives a soft, nobbly texture and the colour scheme is what I would term Electric Teal (eel!?) with tinges of blue and turquoise and shots of bright fuchsia and a muted, but bright lime green.  It reminds me of a stormy sea with a bold sunset.

The next project is a range of girls’ headbands in Rowan’s wonderful Wool Cotton 4ply. ¬†This is the loveliest yarn to crochet with and gives a sturdy but soft finished project. ¬†I will be making these in sizes from newborn to adult. ¬†Every time I have made these at craft fairs I have sold out, particularly for the under 5s! ¬†My colour choices for these are Old Rose, White and Lilac.

 

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These fingerless gloves were made in Debbie Bliss Cotton DK Рit holds its shape very well and the buttons are some of my most favourite ones Рart deco style, found in a street market in Dieppe in Normandy.  They look rather fabulous and tone in beautifully into the gloves.  I have enough of this yarn left in a bright lemon yellow, I think that would make another fetching pair!  This pattern is not one of my own Рit is a free pattern on Ravelry from Adriana Veleda.

 

 

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Finally I have been working on a granny square bag in Explorer Coast DK Рthis gorgeous yarn Р55% soft merino yarn mixed with a sturdy but soft 45% cotton.  Although not a fan of granny squares, this one I find particularly attractive.

 

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So, not long to go until my Etsy shop opens – and more finished projects to be shared soon…

I have really enjoyed having several projects (all very different) on the go at one time РI would love to hear any feedback on how many WIPs other crafters have at one time!

Happy crafting!

 

Lou x

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Marbella Crafting Fun!

Well, I’m pretty much unpacked and back to normal (ish) after my trip to Marbella with Mum. ¬†The dull British weather has certainly brought me back down to earth with a bump!

I managed to find the haberdashery/wool shop again in Marbella, but was a bit disappointed with their lack of range. ¬†I did manage to find one yarn that I really liked – Retinella by Oso Blanco. ¬†It’s a mix of Merino and Acrylic with a bit of Polyester to add a bit of sparkly shimmer. ¬†It feels like an Aran / Worsted weight but knits up as Bulky. ¬†I’m making a stretchy V Stitch crocheted scarf with this.

I also bought some more of the Marbella Cotton which made up lovely coasters which I left at the Marbella apartment last time and was glad to see that they are still there being used!

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On our last couple of days we wandered around trying to find a shop that we had seen earlier in trip.  The Old Town in Marbella is full of windy cobbled streets which all look the same, but I have a pretty good sense of direction (usually!)  We found the shop but on our way discovered another Wool Shop which had a fabulous range of Lanas Stop yarn.  This is really good quality stuff РI bought some in Bath and it cost me a fortune, but made up this lovely simple ribbed Alpaca mix scarf for my Dad when I first learnt how to knit.

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So I went a teensy bit mad, bought some gorgeous Extra Merino double knit in burnt orange, to make a scarf for Mum, and¬†Algod√≥n Soft which is 3-4 ply and I’m not sure what to do with it but I’m sure it’ll make something very pretty.

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More news to follow about my Etsy plans and also naughty cat behaviours!

Happy crafting!

Lou x

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WIPs and a mystery project…

Afternoon all…

What a week it’s been – a funeral, a manic week at work, grumpy cat and very little time to myself. ¬†So now the weekend is here, phew! ¬†And lots of lovely plans afoot.

Thought I would share a few of these with you, including some of my WIPs.

I’ve been asked to do a Craft Fair in Devon, my friend’s lovely Mum has offered us both a table. ¬†So I have had to make some quick plans to make some Spring gifts (unfortunately it’s the week after Easter!).

These flower headbands sold so well I don’t have any left so am frantically crafting some more in various girlie colours in sizes from baby to adult…

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I made some Spring baskets in pinks, greens and then realised that I never make any boy-ish colours. ¬†So I found some blue variegated yarn and started making these ones. ¬†I had a very small amount left of a peach speckled yarn which came out so beautifully I had to give that one away to a friend for her granddaughter (and didn’t get a photo of it, damn!). ¬†The yarn was given to me and I didn’t think I’d ever find it again.

Imagine my surprise when I was lazily daydreaming in the ever-reliable Wool Warehouse, and I found it! ¬†This fabulous package turned up today (as if I really need any more wool – I haven’t updated my Ravelry stash as I’m rather frightened of how many skeins I have hanging around at the moment!)

 

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This was THE peach yarn! ¬†King Cole Splash DK – bargaintastic price as well at ¬£2.99 for 100g. ¬†And wowzers – they do it in all sorts of colours including a fabulous blue mix and this rather mental combination called ‘Sunshine’ (for which you need sunglasses so I prefer to call it ‘Headache’).

 

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The colours aren’t really adequately expressed in this dreary dank natural light. ¬†Imagine a neon nightmare including a bag of Refreshers smashed together and sprinkled with pixie dust. ¬†Well, that doesn’t even cover it. ¬†It’s mad, but I kinda love it!

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I also got some more Rowan Creative Focus Worsted (above) Рin other exciting news, plans for my Etsy shop are coming along nicely, although I am rethinking my start date as I have two holidays coming up which are going to put my original dates under pressure.

For this lovely yarn (which I also have in Fuschia) I am going to knit (yes, I know, I will be brave and practice!) some handbags.  I am awaiting some lovely bamboo handles which are coming from China (via Ebay).

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This scarf is a wedge stitch scarf in James C. Brett’s Marble Chunky – I rarely work in Acrylic as I find it too uncomfortable next to the skin, and not always of the best quality. ¬†But this is a quality yarn, bought in my fave shop, Marmalade Yarns, in Frome, is really lovely to work with and the colours are amazing. ¬†As a geek, I thought I’d give this finished scarf a suitably geeky name – Wedge’s Antilles Scarf.¬† Get it?¬† If not, it might take a geek to explain!

Finally my other work in progress at the moment is a secret mystery project – what on earth will these covered curtain rings become? ¬†Answers on a postcard…

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Happy crafting!  Lou x

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