charity, craft, crochet, knitting, Uncategorized, yarn

Works in Progress

I’ve been rather lax in writing my blog recently, work has been so manic and I’ve had little time or energy to do much crafting, let alone write about it!

Crafting has always been a stress reliever for me and I have really missed it… ¬†Thankfully things are starting to get back on track and I’ve been getting out some projects¬†to enjoy…

One thing I did make time for was some squares for the fabulous craft community project¬†Jenny’s Blanket of Hugs. ¬†Organised by the brilliant Just Pootling¬†this was a wonderfully supportive idea.

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Jenny is the daughter of Amanda from¬†Little Box of Crochet¬†and has been battling¬†multiple tumours with grace, style and strength. ¬†I’m so pleased to have been a small part of the crafty effort to make something beautiful, but also useful,¬†for Jenny.

Hundreds of crafters across the world made enough squares to make seven large blankets, some of which will now be raffled for various good causes!

Apart from my squares, I have actually managed to finish a couple of things Рfirstly this Flower Shawl which is now for sale on my Etsy shop.

I’ve also started making some eco-friendly cotton shoppers – since we have to pay 5p a bag now in any shop we may as well shop¬†in style!

Next up is a new ripple scarf I am designing in a gorgeous variegated Artesano superfine DK Alpaca – lovely to work with, but a bit hard on the eyes sometimes!

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Apart from these I have several other little bits that I am working on – but they have to remain secret for now… ¬†I will leave you with a gorgeous basket of Noro yarn which I picked up for a bargain during my recent visit to¬†Worthing to visit Mum and Dad.

I haven’t got any plans for these yet… ¬†But that may soon change…

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charity, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized

Project Linus, Proud Daughter

My crafting inspiration has always been my Mum. ¬†She is able to do pretty much everything with apparent ease…

She has consummate skills as¬†a quilter¬†–¬†all hand pieced and quilted, although she’s also a dab hand at sewing anything. ¬†She¬†can also knit and turn her hand to pretty much anything¬†(except crochet, don’t ask her about crochet!)

She has made some really cute and kooky things, which appeals to my random sense of humour, such as my kitty knitting/crochet project bag and the bunny bags with added felted carrot!  But she can also do pretty things like these hearts with lovely batiks, cottons with beautiful ribbons and trimmings.

Mum often makes things for my craft fairs and for my Etsy shop such as these lovely Japanese-style Origami Bags.

But what I really want to draw attention to in this post are the amazing quilts made by Mum and her ‘Sew and Sew’ group for Project Linus¬†– this is a wonderful charity which provides quilts and blankets for sick and disabled children at Hospitals, Hospices and at home. ¬†They distribute around 2,000 quilts a month in the UK alone.

Here’s Mum with two of her amazing creations. ¬†The work that has gone into these is phenomenal.

And here are some of the ‘Sew and Sew’ ladies with their gorgeous offerings. ¬†All in all the small group of ladies made 14 quilts in 5 months. ¬†I am so proud of my Mum and her friends in doing something so selfless and kind and have such an appreciation of the time and love put into each one of these quilts.

The look on the Project Linus lady’s face says it all – she was amazed at how much they had produced in such a short time frame! ¬†I hope the joy and love put into these creations will give the children who receive them a boost in their time of need.

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Andalusia, craft, crochet, knitting, Spain, spring, travel, Uncategorized

Marbella Yarn Bonanza

After my latest visit to Marbella and another round of the haberdashery stores, I came away with some new ideas and some fantastic cottons.

First up is one of my new projects using more of the fabulous Marbella Cotton which I bought last time. ¬†I’ve decided to make a range of vintage-style cotton shoppers – in the UK as in many places, we’ve become more aware of the use of non-recyclable and plastic bags and so I thought these would be a welcome addition to my range.

These bags will be finished off with straps and lovely large buttons with some ribbon or cord threaded through the top.

As a true yarn freak,¬†I couldn’t help myself but buy, erm, a few more cottons in various colourways – oops!

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My next project is to make a few different versions of my favourite shawl – the original grey one is in a cashmere/cotton blend which makes it a bit on the pricey side, so I felt that a range of different yarns would suit all pockets.

These lovely cotton yarns in coral and soft pastel pinks and blues (again from Marbella) will certainly fit the bill.  I shall be delving into my stash to find some other possibles.

Finally the post-holiday blues meant a visit to my favourite local yarn shop –¬†Marmalade Yarns¬†– I must truly be a regular as this time I earned a discount – yay! ¬†I came away with the three gorgeous yarns above – without a definite plan for them other than I can see them all as lovely wraps or shawls.

First¬†is Fyberspates Vivacious 4Ply, a 100% superwash merino in ‘Sunshine’ – a yellow which is just so bright and spring-like, it makes me smile just to look at it (the test of a true yarn-mad person). ¬†The next yarn¬†is¬†Skein Queen Entwist 4ply, another 100% superwash hand-dyed merino in Emerald Lies, a breathtaking¬†mix of gorgeous greens. ¬†And finally,¬†Rowan Fine Art¬†in Pheasant – a beautiful mix of autumnal colours – reds browns and chestnuts.

So, you would think I have enough to be going on with, but I also have some other plans that I have been working on (more of them later in the week!).

 

 

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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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craft, crochet, knitting, yarn

Top 10 Stash Loveliness

I was inspired by the recent post from Cassy of knit the hell out¬†about her Blogiversary and reminiscing about her stash, especially those special¬†yarns you¬†almost don’t want to use because they are so gorgeous.

I thought I would have a look through mine… ¬†I love a Top 10!

One. Rowan Creative Focus Worsted РI bought this for a particular project and have not yet started it Рa series of knitted bags with bamboo handles.  I also have three in a fabulous fuschia pink which I bought for a scarf but ended up using something else instead so it is also sitting in my (ever increasing) stash..

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Two. Araucania Ranco ¬†– this¬†yarn I bought on a whim from my local yarn store and then, on a whim, again on the next visit (oops!). ¬†I love the soft, subtle colours¬†but have no idea what to make with it! ¬†I’m not a big fan of socks, but there must be something lovely and delicate which I can put this pretty 4 ply yarn to use on…

 

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Three.  Aubergine Silk Рhand dyed and 1 ply but knits / crochets up as 4 ply.  This was bought for me as a present from Mum when we attended a Craft Fair in Sussex.  But what to do with it?

 

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Four.  Some beautiful hand-painted Alpaca Silk, Cashmere Silk and Merino Fine Lace from the excellent shop Watercolours and Lace Рthese are definitely ear-marked for a series of shawls, but I decided to learn more first about designing my own patterns before I use these lovelies.

 

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Five and Six. Another set of wonderful yarns, delightful colours and beautifully dyed and spun by the very talented Jean at Kaeravel Crafts РI did start making up the citrus one into a scarf but ran out of time and ended up using something else instead.

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Seven. Some Sari silks – I have three in total – they will be lovely as a little embellishment, but to what? ¬†I haven’t made my mind up¬†yet!

 

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Eight. ¬†Some Noro Silk Garden – what a lovely yarn. ¬†I bought this at the yarn exhibition at Olympia, back in March. Since then I’ve been made aware of the delicious ribbed striped scarf design by Jared Flood¬†– I just need to buy another set to contrast with it!

 

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Nine. This amazing chunky handspun and dyed yarn was one of my first purchases, at the Craft Fair where I got the Aubergine Silk. ¬†It was the most I have ever spent on a yarn but so worth it! ¬†It came with two shawl patterns and I haven’t been able to decide yet which to do…

 

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Ten. Well, this is a bit of a cheat really… I did actually get round to using most of this (although have 3/4 of a skein left to do something with!) ¬†this is Amorini, a 4 ply Cotton / Cashmere blend from the Little Knitting Company. ¬†Perhaps a scarf or small shawl with the leftover yarn is in order.

 

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I’m sure I’m not the only one with an ever-increasing stash… But any ideas on what to do with my favourite yarns would be most gratefully received!

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Uncategorized

Holiday Crafting Plans

So, we’re having a lovely time in Bayeux, and will be very sorry to be leaving!

I have plenty of photos and information to post on my return, but as promised I thought I’d send through the projects I took with me… ¬†Mum is a first-rate quilter, sewer and has now taken up knitting as well (I’m sure it has nothing to do with me though!)

She made me this fabulous project bag which I use lots and lots – and have packed to capacity with bits and bobs from my stash that I thought I would like to use up…

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Firstly some lovely Rowan Pure Wool Aran that I have been saving up – I have had many ideas of what I would like to use this for – a hat or scarf, I’m not sure I’ve made my mind up yet!

Next some Crofter DK – I wanted to try this out so only bought a skein of each… ¬†My plan when going on holiday was to make some prototypes, let’s see what I have done with them when I get back home…

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This Artesano Alpaca yarn I bought in Marbella, I have four skeins so that is plenty to make something yummy with – I so love to work with Alpaca, but this is much finer than I am used to!

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Another Marbella purchase, some Filosofia Palma in the most beautiful colour schemes – perhaps some crochet jewellery or a set of rather stylish coasters… ¬†What will these become?

Finally some Sirdar Americana РI made a lovely shawl with this cotton, but they only had one skein left in this colourway so I bought it on impulse.  What will the plans for this be?

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What fabulous creations can you make with one skein?

Happy crafting!

Lou x

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Uncategorized

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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