craft, crochet, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, yarn

New Products, New Ideas

I’ve had a lovely few days with Mum visiting, as I’ve been unwell and she has been visiting¬†to look after me. ¬†But also we’ve been practising my sewing skills, expanding my repertoire after having attended¬†a sewing class recently.

I had the idea to make a crocheted clutch bag, but wanted to know how to line it with fabric to get a professional finish.  Thankfully Mum has the skills to teach me!  This is the item in progress.  The first part after finishing the main crochet design, was to block it to size and measure up the fabric.

Finally I have managed to use my KnitPro blocking pins and mats and they were fabulous – well recommended (from Wool Warehouse with free shipping…) ¬†The yarn I used was Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran – it holds up very well and was a joy to work with.

We quickly decided that there needed to be some interfacing to stiffen the edges, otherwise it wouldn’t hold up too well. ¬†Eventually we settled on sew in interfacing which we measured to just under the size of the silk taffeta lining fabric.

And here is the finished article! ¬†I’m so happy with the outcome – finished off with a magnetic bag clasp and a vintage brooch.

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In fact, I love it so much I’ve even started on the next one already!

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craft, crochet, knitting, Uncategorized, yarn

30 Day Knitting Challenge – Days 2 & 3

I have combined the questions for Day 2 and Day 3 as I answered them both on Day 2…

Day 2: What is currently on your needles?

Day 3: Do you have any other WIPs (works in progress)?

I have loads of crochet projects on the go at the moment, but in terms of knitting projects, I have three on the go – one of which I can’t tell you about (ssh! ¬†it’s a secret!)

As for the other two – firstly I am using this gorgeous Debbie Bliss Angel mohair/silk mix¬†to make a lacy scarf – using one large and one small needle (I’m using a 3 1/4mm and a 5mm needle) – Mum and I saw the idea in John Lewis last Christmas and we have both given it a go, although I’m a much slower knitter!

Secondly – which I recently posted about – I have been making this half-moon stitch scarf for my brother for what feels like forever (and I’m barely halfway through)… ¬†but the Katia Basic Merino Flash is a joy to work with.

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As I have so many crochet designs on the go right now, this is the sum total of my knittyness at the moment!

 

 

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craft, crochet, knitting, yarn

Works in Progress and Stash Love

I’ve been very busy with some projects for friends and family, which has been great relaxation, as the weather has been grotty for ages and I’ve had a nasty¬†cold…

First up are a really fun couple of projects for my friend Donna and her new baby, wee Olly. ¬†This baby blanket is my first large self-designed project – it is cot/pram sized and I’m so thrilled¬†with the design and how it has turned out, so I will be giving it to them in the next week or so. ¬†I had enough left of the gorgeously soft Drops Merino Extrafine DK to make a quick pair of baby booties.

Thankfully I made them sized for around 6¬†months old – at¬†only 8 weeks I thought he might have to wait a while to wear them, but Donna has said that he’s already in 3-6 months clothes, so he may get use of them¬†sooner rather than later…

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Next the ongoing project for my brother, I didn’t quite finish it for Christmas! ¬†I hadn’t done any knitting for a while and I’m still pretty slow. ¬†But it’s coming along finally, now I’ve finished my other projects… ¬†I love the combination of bright, medium and dark reds in this Katia Basic Merino Flash DK. ¬†The design is reversible – Half Moon Stitch – and looks great.

 

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Now these projects are either done yarn, (or very nearly dusted!) I’ve been on another couple of trips to reinvigorate my stash. ¬†It is impossible to resist when passing¬†a yarn shop, or browsing online on Deramores or Wool Warehouse.

I bought the Noro¬†Kureyon and Noro A La Mode (both Aran/Worsted) at my favourite yarn shop, Marmalade Yarns in Frome. ¬†I have a particular project in mind for this but won’t say too much as I might spoil someone’s surprise!

I bought some Malabrigo Merino Worsted to make Mum’s scarf for Christmas (which I haven’t got a picture of yet but she has promised!) so I bought an extra couple of skeins to make something for myself. ¬†As yet, I haven’t made myself anything so I think it’s about time I got started on this!

Next up is some Jillybean yarn from Marmalade Yarns Рthis lovely red wool is called Yabbadabbadoo and as it is made in such small quantities and not marked up but it seems to be a DK sort of weight.  At 60% organic Shetland and 40% Mohair it seems quite robust and yet soft.

Finally a quick visit yesterday to Marmalade Yarns (again!) I could not resist these beautiful blues by Fyberspates – Scrumptious 4ply/sport weight 55% Merino, 45% Silk but machine washable.

So I think I had better get making!

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cats, craft, crochet, knitting, Uncategorized

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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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

Goat-y Adventures in Normandy

Goat evening everyone!

Some may say that I’m a bit animal-mad. ¬†‘Tis true, especially when considering my crafty love of yarn, so what better than a little trip to a Goat Farm on my recent holiday in Normandy?

La Grange au Mohair is based near Bernesq, a few miles west of Bayeux.  Mum and I decided to visit these lovely creatures and were not disappointed!

 

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Above are some of the friends we made, Cheeky Nose and Baby Face McGinty. ¬†They look cute, but really they are megalomaniacs-in-waiting, planning world domination… ¬†Don’t trust them!

Mme Glaise, who runs the farm, was very welcoming and offered a fascinating tour in perfect English (we started off in French but had to relent in the end!)  They keep the goats very well and they are happy to live out their retirements there in peace.

 

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Above is Baa Baa White Goat, a rather talkative personality, as you can see. ¬†She’s a bit of a gossip so make sure you don’t share anything too important with her, otherwise it will be all over the farm by sundown…

Unlike the cheap mohair, scratchy jumpers we all wore in the 80s (oh go on, admit it!) this beautiful yarn is sorted and carded by Mme, and as she explains, the ‘grey’ hair within the mix is the itchy part which is discarded. ¬†The yarn is then sent to the south of France and mixed with silk, spun and dyed. ¬†As well as selling the yarn, Mme makes clothes out of it, unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of these, too busy with my goaty pals!

 

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So, more Normandy adventures to follow over the weekend, and the Etsy shop plans are back on track now I’m feeling a bit brighter!

To finish, here are a few more of the characters I met over this lovely trip! ¬†They’ve definitely had their Goatibix.

 

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Compare and contrast, above left are the demure, reticent female and young goaties, above right and below are the boys.  Leering over the barriers and sticking their goaty noses out for attention.  Quelle surprise!

 

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Happy goating!

 

Lou x

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Uncategorized

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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