30 April 2011

Crafty Endeavours

I'm soo excited!!  You may remember a little while ago, I posted about 'A Room to Come' as a tasty appetiser for this very moment, this reason for my current excitement.  Since that post, I finished the last main outstanding job and a few other pieces have come into place and at last, my craft room is complete!

I know, too many exclamation marks already, but I have to warn you it probably won't stop.  You see I get all worked up and bouncy inside and I feel really rather... exclamish!

The biggest job that I needed to complete were the curtains, which for some reason I put off for a few weeks.  For some reason I wasn't looking forward to making them, I don't know quite why as I had a very simple idea for them and in the end, my fears were unfounded.  I think I was maybe a little tiny bit afraid of my expensive (for me), fancy (for me), new sewing machine.  However, after a little trepidation, I got stuck in and I think they turned out just great.

As you can see, I still haven't made a decent set of tie-backs but I have to leave something for another day, right?

So, in order to appreciate the full glory of the thing and hopefully give you some insight into the reason for my 'can't quite keep still in my seat' excited wigglishness, here's a before shot.

As you can see, not very appealing!  A dull wardrobe, some not very useful space and clutter everywhere.  Something most definitely had to be done.  After a weekend's slog, things looked more like this.

Still not looking very beautiful yet, but at least the new furniture was now in situ and the pleasurable part could begin.  I won't go over it again, as I touched on the subject in the last post but suffice to say, although things took longer than I expected, as they always seem to do, I got there in the end.  So here it is and I'm soooo happy with it.

My lovely, large sewing and crafty table.  Big enough to have my sewing machine out full time - wow!

See the pretty shelves!  See the dainty covered boxes!  See the colourful bead trays!  See the piles of fabric!  Oh my, I could almost sing!!

My cute Cath Kidston nestled tins and hand made baskets.  I love these piles of fabric, which I'm most certainly going to be adding too.  And a most adorable little bird house, which I stumbled upon the other day and thought was perfect.

The colourful beads.  Oh, I love to see all the colours!

I adore my covered boxes.  Wallpaper samples, a nice and easy way to beautify anything.

A place to keep my knitting and crochet books and magazines - much needed!

The spring wreath in pride of place, right next to the desk.

More, yes more, boxes, wrapping paper this time.  Except the top two, which were a last minute, but un-pass-upable Laura Ashley bargin.

So what do you think?  I have absolutely no excuse for not being wonderfully creative now do I?  I'm absolutely loving having it already, it's so delicious to have a home for everything and to know where things are.

I'm looking forward to working in and slowly adding to my own little inner sanctum!

S x

27 April 2011

Roses and Daisies

I recently brought this lovely book called "Crocheted Throws and Wraps: 25 Throws, Wraps, and Blankets to Crochet" and found quite a few projects in it that I wanted to make straight away.  Look...

But the absolutely best one, in my opinion, is the Roses and Daisies Baby Blanket.  It's only a small blanket, so I'm going to use it as a lap blanket for my Little One to have in the car.

I already had a lot of dk and sport yarn in various colours, so I set to work testing out the two square patterns.  For some reason I had a bit of trouble with gauge.  I know, it's a blanket so it doesn't really matter, but if I made them in dk with my usual 4.0mm hook they came out looking too big for my liking.  Even using the recommended 3.5mm hook they came out larger than the pattern states.  Luckily I had quite a lot of sport weight colours mixed in there too, like Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and Bergere de France Ideal and even a 4ply.  So, if I use my 3.5mm hook and remember keep the white (dk) edging nice and tight, the squares came out a very pleasing 9cms which seems to me to look just the right kind of size.

So, I set to work manufacturing all the squares I need, 99 in total, 49 roses and 50 daisies.  I started on the roses first, as they took a tiny bit longer to make than the daisies.  At first I only had a few...

>But they started to multiply

And before long I had piles of them

I managed to complete all the roses and started work on the daisies before I went away, so it's coming along grandly.  Now I'm back, I've ploughed straight back into them.  It's getting quite exciting now, I can't wait to start putting them all together.  I have high hopes for this little teeny blanket.  I think it's going to be fab!  

S x

25 April 2011

We've all been on a...

Summer Holiday!

Well, technically an Easter Holiday I suppose but as it will be serving as our family get away and dose of sun worship for the year, I'm going with Summer Holiday.  See, how warm and inviting it all looks.

This has been a bit of a departure for us because since The Child was born we have been sticking to holidays in England or France.  Generally the format would be renting a cottage, so that we could cater for the Little One's needs easily but now that she's getting a bit older we thought the time was right for something a tad more adventurous, so this year we decided to brave a four hour plane ride and jetted off to Fuerteventura for a week of sun, sand, sea, wind and even rain!

I must confess to being a little sceptical about this holiday.  My Darling Child does not always handle change well and can be 'sleep resistant' shall we say?  However, she did me very proud and not only handled the long journey and reasonably late nights very well, but also put up beautifully with the two hour flight delay on the way home, which meant that we landed at Gatwick in the early hours of the morning, still needing to drive a few hours to get home. 

I'm making it all seem like problems, with talk of rain, flight delays and a potentially awkward child to deal with but none of my fears were realised and we had a lovely time.  It was an 'inclusive' deal which worked wonderfully well for the little ones on the trip.  A steady supply of drinks and ice-cream on demand make for contented children and a happy holiday it seems.  We also travelled with some close family members who have a little boy of a very similar age, so the children were happy to play their own games in the pool or the beach sometimes, so I even got some relaxing and reading in.  Rare pleasures indeed!

I have a few more holiday moments to show you but you know, I really didn't think for one moment about taking some interesting photos I could share on here.  Silly me!  I guess I'm too new to blogging but it simply didn't occur to me I'm afraid.  Here's what I've managed to scrape together from the snaps we took though...

Beautiful moments to remember.  I do love pouring over old holiday photos, it'll be great to look back on these in a year or two.

But now, I must away and work on my Roses and Daisies blanket, which hasn't seen the light of day for over a week now.  I carefully made sure I had enough space in my suitcase to cram in the upteen and one colours I'm working with, so I could get some squares done while I was away but they never made their way out of the project bag in all the time I was there and I didn't dare take them as hand luggage in case my hook got confiscated.  In all honesty, I didn't really even give them a thought which is probably no bad thing!  I am glad to be getting back to them though, they are coming along rather well and looking very sunny, happy and colourful.

Something to share in the next post I think....

S x

06 April 2011

Colour Explosion

I have been having such colourful crochet fun lately.  Ever since I found the most fantastic Attic24, it's totally re-kindled my love of crochet and the very best thing about it is the complete heart swelling joy of playing with yarny colours.

I love every aspect of this part.  I love buying them, I love touching and comparing, holding the colours together, throwing in a random one to see how it looks.  I love to see all the lovely new colours lined up at home, filling a basket or bag, nestling up against one another and forming wonderful combinations by themselves.  I love selecting the colours to use together, trying endless permutations, thinking of new ones while I work.  I love crocheting them together, the final test to see if they'll work in harmony.  I love seeing the pattern emerge in glorious technicolour and, you know what, I don't even really mind too much, sewing all the ends in.  If only because, then you get to see the final article, unsullied by messy, pokey out bits.   Ahh.... (contented) sigh....

Which brings me to the point of this post because, this is exactly what I have been spending much of my time doing, in the pursuit of a mind boggling, colour explosion of a Granny Stripe Blanket.  Although, possibility even better then I mentioned above, because I have also been busting some major stash while I'm at it.

For some time now, I've had a mounting collection of Hayfield Bonus DK from previous projects and blankets.  It's an excellent acrylic yarn for blankets and brilliant value for money but I find it to be quite thick for a DK yarn, so I'm finding it hard to use up by mixing in the colours in with other DK yarns that I have.  As I had so much of it, I needed a good use for it and this seemed the perfect answer.  I had a couple of rather dubious colours in there, internet gambles that didn't pay off, but with careful arrangement and a very small amount (2 balls) of purchased yarn, I hoped to get away with it.

I've only given you a sneaky peak up above, so I think it's time to show you my latest love and my new favourite evening cuddle...

Isn't it a riot of colour?  I do adore it, it makes me very happy to look at.  Here, lets have a closer look...

It's quite hard to get a full sized picture of it.  I think it's definitely the largest blanket I've ever made so far.  But here it all is stretched out on the bed...

And sort of water-falling off of it...

I haven't actually measured it yet, but that's a king sized bed it's sat on and as you can see, it falls over the sides to so I'm guessing at about 7x5 feet.

And because I'm slightly strange and enjoy such information here's some other stats for you:

I used a total of 4130 yards of yarn, 3557 for the blanket and 573 for the border.
I used a total of 18 different colours, 16 of Hayfield Bonus DK and 2 Stylecraft Special DK.
I made a starting chain of 240+3 (for the turning chain) which made 80 shells across each row.
I did two rows of colour for each stripe and there are a total of 66 stripes.
I used a average of 54 yards per stripe.
I did 7 rows for the border.

Well, I hope you like it as much as I do, I'm off to cuddle it and work on the next colourful project....

S x
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