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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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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Might as well face it, I’m addicted to yarn!

My stash is growing to ridiculous proportions at the moment, and that’s the way (uh-huh uh-huh) I like it. ¬†OK, so enough with the music puns!

I do try to keep a track on my staff¬†on Ravelry, both in terms of trying at at least partially control my excesses (see my previous post on Curb your Woolly Impulses) and in terms of keeping a track of my spending so that I can plan my costings for my forthcoming adventures into¬†Etsy…

But this adage I found on Facebook just about says it all…

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I’m sure like most crafters (especially those knitters and crocheters I have been lucky enough to meet) it is almost impossible to stick to one project at a time. ¬†I need a bit of variety in my crafting life!

I’ve just finished these fingerless gloves, made in Debbie Bliss Cotton DK, which I finished with Art Deco-style buttons which I bought at a little market in Normandy. ¬†I’m going back to France in June so am looking forward to finding some more stylish little trinkets like these…

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At the same time I was also working on my Shell Scarf, the first thing I have made¬†for myself… ¬†I’m not 100% thrilled¬†with the way it has turned out, despite following the pattern to the letter, it seems to have been a bit uneven on one edge, so I patched it up a bit.

I have grown to really like the yarn though, Sirdar Americana has certainly grown on me.  It was a bargain-bin buy but looks far more attractive when made up.

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At the same time as all of these I was finishing Mum’s Infinity Scarf…

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and had also made a start on a knitted scarf for my cousin…

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as well as starting on my crocheted design for my Etsy shop. ¬†Up until now I’ve had to rely as a beginner on Ravelry patterns (all copyright-free of course!), but I now feel able to begin designing my own patterns. ¬†This V-Stitch pattern I’ve temporarily named V for Victory is my first attempt. ¬†Although I usually only work in natural fibres with the occasional mix of acrylic, this is 100% acrylic – James C. Brett Marble Chunky – but the colours were absolutely gorgeous, so I couldn’t resist!

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I’m not sure the colours come out so wonderfully in this damp overcast light, but they are the jewel colours which I so admire.

Next weekend I’m off to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia, London. ¬†Of course I will add more to my stash, and more projects to run concurrently and keep my interest, no doubt about that!

I’d be interested to hear about your WIPs – how many can you have ‘on the go’ at any one time?

Happy crafting!

Lou x

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My Top Ten Crafting Trends for Spring 2015

Morning all!

I’ve had a lovely week off at home – poring through all of¬†my favourite magazines – Craftseller, Simply Crochet and Homemaker – as well as trawling the internet for inspirations for Spring 2015.

So I thought I’d put together another Top 10 (see my previous posts, you’ve gotta love a Top 10!) for the season to come. ¬†Spring is one of my favourite seasons, it holds so much promise for the year to come and the buds and new growth spied on a frosty walk brings a warm feeling that’s nothing to do with the temperature outside!

One – Marsala is the Pantone colour for this year ‚Äď a rich earthy warm red-brown – expect to see this throughout our homes and fashions all year. ¬†It’s a difficult colour to match without a direct comparison, but this lovely wool from Wool Warehouse comes fairly close.

ce154b643acb6d31e03c1f78ddda8e6aTwo – Upcycling seems to be a trend that is showing no signs of going away – the latest edition of Craftseller had a whole supplement devoted to it. ¬†There are some wonderful ideas on Dixie Henderson’s Pinterest¬†including this use of recycled drawers. ¬†It’s a bit too pinky frou-frou for me but the idea is fabulous…

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Three РCrocodile stitch (crochet) Рthere is a great tutorial for this on Lost & Found Lane Рthis would make up a fabulous dinosaur or amigurumi monster.  On a more practical level I think it could make a most stylish cushion or scarf as found on Yarn Muse.

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Four – Crochet jewellery ‚Äď I think we can now safely move on¬†from loom bands to something a bit more stylish! ¬†In the last few months I’ve seen quite a bit of crochet jewellery and have pinned some lovely ones to my Pinterest board.

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Five – Farmland animals ‚Äď as well as the ubiquitous woodland animals which I’m pleased to say are still here. ¬†Getting a little bit political for a minute, some hunting morons¬†– I mean enthusiasts¬†– think the British public are turning back towards their favour in repealing the hunting foxes with dogs ban. ¬†This is clearly not the case when you see the popularity of the fox in every corner of British life over the last few years. ¬†Just look at this Etsy page for inspiration, fox fans!

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Having had a lovely day with Mum in Southampton on Thursday, we enjoyed our trip to our Mecca, John Lewis.  These were the farmland scenes that awaited us in the cushion department.  Being an avid woolie fan the sheep in particular do appeal to me.  But I love ducks as well!

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Six – Yellow ‚Ästall shades of yellow (particularly those going towards green) are going to be big this year. ¬†I love yellow, it’s such a bright and sunny shade. ¬†Most of us can wear a shade of yellow which suits our skin tones. ¬†I personally live bright, acid yellows. ¬†Deramores¬†have a wonderful selection of yellow yarns, I have my eye on a few from Bergere de France. I’ve pinned these to my new Colour Pinterest board.

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Seven – Polka dots and gingham are going to be everywhere (not together ‚Äď imagine ‚Äď what a dog‚Äôs breakfast!). ¬†I particularly love them on ribbons and adornments. ¬†Knock me down with a feather if this gorgeous satin ribbon from the ever-reliable Wool Warehouse doesn’t tick three of the Top 10 boxes in one – yellow, grey and polka dots! ¬†The grey gingham ribbon, again from Wool Warehouse covers two trends. ¬†I can see this as a plain contrast on a very bright article. ¬†I shall have to get my thinking hat on…

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Eight РBlue and white Рall the trends are included in these gorgeous fabrics from Craftsy РI spy (with my little eye) gingham, blue, grey, yellow, and possible some polka dots.

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Nine – Grey (forget 50 shades of…) is the hottest neutral ‚Äď it‚Äôs everywhere¬†from clothes and furnishing to fabric and yarn. ¬†It’s a great colour to use in knitting and crochet for men’s garments – my Dad was very chuffed with his Ombre for Hombre scarf made in blue and grey (made for Christmas – I am officially a trend-setter and so is he!)

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Ten – Macram√© ‚Äď initially I wasn’t sure¬†about this one as I grew up in the 70s and it was everywhere (and naff!) but I have seen lots of stylish macram√© influences around. ¬†Back to good old Pinterest for this inspirational board by Ana Maria.

So I hope you have enjoyed my little tour around the Top Ten Crafting Trends for Spring 2015 – hopefully I can get some serious crafting done so I can replenish my stash with some of the delights I found in researching this blog.

I’d love to hear your ideas about trends and whether they differ across the world – I am assuming most of these trends will be prevalent in the UK but what about Canada, Australia or the US?

I have some very exciting news which I will share in the next few days about my online presence and what new plans are afoot Рmore to come soon.

Happy crafting!

Lou x

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Works in Progress and looking to the past…

Morning all!

What a lovely weekend it’s been so far – I had an extra day off on Friday and it has made such a difference. ¬†Spent this morning dancing and singing around the house like a whirling dervish. ¬†That’s what happens when you put on your¬†Britpop CD rather than getting on with writing your blog…

I’ve been happily getting on with some long overdue gifts, including my first project for myself! ¬†I recently posted about my Dad’s ‘Hombre for Ombre’ scarf, which he loves, but realised I had neglected to list the yarn used – it was Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran which I bought at my temple – the wonderful Peter Jones (a John Lewis shop at Sloane Square, London).

This amazing shop is so much quieter than the John Lewis on Oxford Street, yet the range of goods (especially wool / haberdashery) is fabulous Рand the Christmas decorations are to be seen to be believed.  Mum and I do an annual pilgrimage every early December for presents and atmosphere (perhaps also a bit of cake!)

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As discussed in my last post I had finished an Infinity scarf for Mum – ssh, she doesn’t know about it yet – made in the same Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran as Dad’s scarf. ¬†I think this is the quickest scarf I have ever crocheted. ¬†If you haven’t already had a go at an Infinity scarf just do it, you can knock one up in an evening or two… ¬†This is just alternate rows of double crochet and treble crochets (UK terms). ¬†Finish at around 60 inches, and flip one end over before sewing up – this enables you to wrap it around your neck so it lies flat and can either be wrapped double or triple to make a real neck warmer…

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When I first started knitting I made Dad a simple ribbed scarf from Lanas Stop Top Merino which I bought in Wool, a lovely knitting shop in the beautiful Spa City of Bath, which I am lucky to live very near to. ¬†This was my first attempt at knitting and I was actually quite pleased with the outcome. ¬†As with all handmade things it has a few quirks (I don’t like to call them mistakes!) but that adds to its charm in my opinion… ¬†I must admit this was my favourite yarn so far to knit with, it was just gorgeous.

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My brother and Mum also benefited from¬†knitted gifts in the early days – these were both from patterns on Ravelry – on the left¬†Concombre¬†– I called it ‘Concombre en Bleu’ – as a French scholar my brother appreciated this. ¬†This was made in Rico Soft Merino Aran, again bought at Wool. ¬†Lovely to work with and holds its shape well. ¬†He was so appreciative of the hard work that he only wore it on special occasions… ¬†I told him to not be daft¬†and¬†get on and wear it…

Mum’s scarf ‘Easy on the Eye’ from Easy Eyelet¬†pattern¬†on Ravelry was made in Jarol Heritage 4 Ply which I bought in the bargain bin at my local haberdashery shop (don’t tell Mum!) – I ¬†must admit I found it hard knitting¬†with a much thinner yarn…

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I do have a hankering to do more knitting, so this will be my next plan РI have two classes coming up mid February at my local haberdashery shop РIntermediate Crochet Cables and Intermediate Knitting Рso hopefully will learn lots of great new techniques from those.

Finally I have to post another work in progress – I have never made anything for myself so finally took the plunge. ¬†I bought some Sirdar Americana DK in the reduced¬†bin at my local haberdashery (again – I love a bargain!) and it wasn’t until I started making myself a wrap that I realised this yarn crochets up to something much more beautiful than expected.

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This pattern is from Red Heart on Ravelry – it looks so pretty with a variegated yarn. ¬†I can’t wait to finish it so I can enjoy the fruit of my efforts for the first time…

Happy crafting!

Lou x

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To Infinity and Beyarned!

This year seems to be speeding by already, with little achieved. But I have had plenty to distract me!

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Ella has been very clingy after a run-in with a nasty New Kit on the Block. As you can see I’m not allowed to pick up the knitting needles without receiving her very best Paddington Bear glare! ¬†All attention must be completely focused on her…

However I did find time to make Dad a lovely ombre scarf from a pattern by Lisa Gutierrez on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hombre-scarf which I renamed Ombre for Hombre.  He seems quite happy with it!

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I’ve just finished an Infinity Scarf for Mum – it will be renamed To Infinity and Beyarned, piccie to follow shortly!

As my laptop is playing up I am having to write this on my Kindle, and due to the cold I’ve taken to my bed. ¬†This has of course resulted in another intrusion… More to come this weekend!

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Happy crafting!

Lou

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