30 November 2011

Waterlilies

I'm so excited, I have so much to share with you my dear bloggy readers!  It is coming to one of my absolute favourite times of year and my wiggly, heart-bursty excitement and joy with all that is Christmassy is running at full pelt at the moment.

But, all that is to come.

First I have another something to show you....


Look familiar?  It might, as I've mentioned a couple of times so far, here and again over here.   Well, today I'm here with the finished article.

It's been a nice easy make and it worked up fairly quickly.  Which is good because the weather has just this week turned colder and I'm glad of the extra snuggle warmth in bed.




It's a little strange to be parading such a flowery and frankly, summery blanket around at this time of year.  I took the colours from the various fabric prints in my room and so it matches in well there at least.  You can see a lot of the same sort of colours here on my bedding. 


I had a few troubles with my border this time.  I was planning a fancy number to set it all off a treat but as it came to the end of the sewing together, I decided that a simple approach would be more in keeping.  I made up this version myself and although I like it, it curls terribly so it needs a bit more tinkering really.



I did seem to struggle this time to get a shot of the whole thing in all it's glory.  But I know you'll want to see the whole thing, at least, I would if I was you.  So I persevered and came up with this. 


Or there's this one.



I think it time we indulged ourselves in the facts and figures, the low-down, the 411 if you will!  'Let's break it down Angels':


Waterlilies:


First the yarn and colours:


1.  King Cole Big Value Baby DK - Banana (228)
2.  Stylecraft Special DK - Fondant (1241)
3.  Stylecraft Special DK - Pomegranate (1083)
4.  Stylecraft Special DK - Lipstick (1246)
5.  Hayfield/Sirdar Bonus DK - Lime (882)
6.  King Cole Big Value DK - Lawn Green (011) & Stylecraft Life - Fern (2311) (Cos I ran out!)
7.  Stylecraft Special DK - Sherbert (1034)
8.  Jarol Heritage - Skye (110)
9.  The cream I used round all the edges and for some flowers: Stylecraft Special DK - Cream (1005)

Weight of blanket:  1500g
Number of balls used: 15
Yardage: 4800 approx
In other words, you'd need 2 balls of each colour of the yarns I used, but I had some left over from each colour.

Flower pattern:  Waterlily from '200 Crochet blocks' a book by Jan Eaton
Plain pattern:  Solid granny square.  You can find loads of tutorials for this all over the internet
Border:  My own invention!

There, I think that's all you need to know.  If I forgot anything, please do just ask and I'll do my best to answer it for you.




Ummmm, snuggalicous!!


S x



PS  Did you spot the film quote?


24 November 2011

Testing times


I just remembered this week that there is one more thing that I haven't shared with you yet and it all started back in September....

That was when I was getting my Grannie Shrug pattern tested in the rather fabulous Ravelry group 'Free Pattern Testers'.


(I also just want to take this moment to say thank you for the fabulous response to this little idea of mine.  I'm so chuffed with how it's been received, I've had so many lovely compliments and it's been selling well, so...  thank you, thank you, thank you!)


I had a great experience having my pattern tested.  All of my testers were very helpful and wonderful going over my pattern with me and as the 'designer' part of the team, I felt that a learnt a lot.  I also thought it would be useful to try out the 'tester' side of the deal though and so I started scouting through all the patterns available.

It's a great place for getting sneak peaks of patterns soon to be released too, so I had great fun checking in on what was new each day.  One day, I stumbled upon this little beauty, a pattern by the very talented Gabriela at Josefina Knits.  I don't think I have ever before seen such beautiful, fine, lace-like crochet in all my Ravlery and bloggy wanderings.  I was stunned by it.


Could I test such a delightful thing?  Heck, could I even make it when the pattern had been thoroughly tested and any kinks worked out?  I wasn't sure, but I quickly studied all the in's and out's of what would be required of testers and was sorry, but not at all surprised to see that Gabriella wanted experienced testers for this pattern.  I certainly didn't blame her, it looked like a very delicate and intricate pattern and although I think I could call myself experienced at crochet, I had never crochet with laceweight before and had never ever tested a pattern before.

It was a shame but I could always wait for the pattern to be released and see what I could make of it then.  So I left Gabriela a note to compliment her on such a wonderful and impressive design and asked if she would mind awfully dropping me a line when the pattern was to be released?  To my shock and absolute pleasure she wrote back to say that she had looked through my projects and felt that I'd had sufficient experience of lace knitting and crochet in general to be up to the task of testing the pattern and she would love to have me do just that!

I was so pleased (if slightly anxious!) and I'm so grateful to Gabriela for giving me the chance to 'cut my teeth' on such an intricate and delicate pattern.  It was such a great challenge and I really did enjoy every moment of making it.



I must admit, crocheting with lace yarn for the first time did take a little getting used to.  Not for the faint hearted I would say, although I guess it's no different to knitting with it for the very first time.  I did quickly get used to it though and it was very easy and pleasurable once I got the hang of it.  Gabriela's pattern too was such a delight to make, it's amazing that such a impressive design can be straight forward and easy to understand.  I adored it, I really did.  Can you tell?

Let us have some more pictures to pour over...



That one's my fav, I love, love, love the edging of this shawl!




Ok, that last isn't so drool-worthy but I thought I ought to at least try and give you a 'how it looks on' type shot!

Well, I hope you like this pattern too and if you get a chance, do check out Gabriela's site or Ravelry page because she makes and designs some very boootiful things!


Till next week...


S x


17 November 2011

Putting a slant on it

Do you remember, way back in October when I was umming and ahhing over my choices of blanket squares?  Well, around that time, I was also working on a rather tip top  little crochet pattern, which looks a little, or rather, a lot like this...



I can't remember now exactly where I first saw this diagonal stitch.  It might have been here on Vanessa's excellent blog, Coco Rose Diaries.  Or maybe here, on another Vanessa's (different Vanessa!) excellent blog, Do You Mind if I Knit?  Beautiful right?

One thing I do recall at least, is where I found an excellent 'how to' for these slanting crochet stitches.  Mam'zelle Flo provides an excellent tutorial on her site.  When I looked I was able to follow the wonderful pictures and diagrams on the french tutorial with no problems, but I notice clever Mam'zelle Flo has now very kindly added an english version to make us English Speakers' lives even easier.

I decided to go for a cushion, which is my usual solution to the whole ' I really like this pattern but don't want to make a whole blanket' problem.

So I went to my stash of Baby Cashmerino and had myself some pleasurable hooky time dipping in and selecting colours at random.  Here's what I ended up with.  What do you think?


I also used my new favourite method of backing the cushion, which is to just crochet away directly onto the front I've just made.  I used it for my Elmer cushion too and it's so much quicker and easier than me working up the effort to sew a back.  With the added advantage of being able to use some lovely mismatched buttons from my button jars!




That blue one at the bottom is my absolute favourite.  I love that button and have been waiting for the right time to use it.  This natty cushion I have deemed to be worthy of the 'favourite blue button'.  Although, it's a shame I can't see it all the time I suppose.

I've decided that the new cushion can live on my bed for now.  I quite like the look of it sitting together with my Bouquet of Granny Love cushion that I made earlier in the year.



Yes, a very happy sight to see, I hope you agree?



Such a happy sight in fact, I've been much more eager to make my bed properly in the morning, just so I can set those two atop of it and grin at them!

What's been making you grin this week?


S x

09 November 2011

Itch to Knit

I've been talking for a while now about showing you the things I've been working on lately.  Well, at last, I'm here to do it!


I have two things to show you today and they were both finished weeks ago now, one even in that long distant past known as September.  Yes, I really am that behind. 

First up is and cute pair of socks.  I haven't done much knitting this year, I've been on a crazy crochet streak for months and months now.  However much I adore my crochet though, every so often the urge to use two sticks comes upon me and I get the 'Itch to Knit' again.  This time the first chill of Autumn motivated me into sock making.



I'm quite pleased because I got to use this beautiful sport weight yarn, 'Blush' from Skein Queen.  It's in Eau de Nil, which is a colour I adore and the yarn itself is gorgeous, so I've been saving it for something special.



I also got to use the Sepentine Socks pattern from Wendy D Johnson's book, Socks from the Toe Up, which I've loved for ages. 




So a lovely yarn, a lovely pattern and some lovely socks at the end of it.  How very heart (and foot) warming!  Just what I needed for Autumn.





Apart from just missing the feel of knitting, the other thing that gives me the 'itch', is when I come across a pattern I just can't resist.  Like when I saw the Kudzu Shawl by Rachel Henry.





I thought it was delightful and wanted it at once.  Not only that, but I was able to make it from stash yarn and I think you'll probably easily understand the importance of that.  (You certainly would if you could see my overflowing stash baskets anyway!)



I used Rowan (RYC) Bamboo Soft in Jewel (117), which is a fabulous autumnal colour.  Very rich and cozy looking.




You can't see the colour well in this photo unfortunately, but I hope you can see the cozy.   This next shows it off better.



It's taken me this long to share it with you because the poor thing has been moping around the house waiting to be blocked.  It didn't want to face the world until it looked properly finished you see.  Although I must confess, I have been wearing it anyway, even in all it's curly edged untidiness because it's been a bit cold and well... it just looked all inviting.

I adore it.  It's as warm as toast and the rich colour looks fabulous.  Another perfect Autumn treat.





You know, I've never thought it before, but I'm practically enjoying the coming of Winter this year, with all these goodies to keep me warm.


S x

03 November 2011

Sweet Treats



Already half-term has rolled around and already it has rolled past.  Where does the time go?

We have had a busy week though.  Mostly we have been working and visiting people, playing with friends and playing at home but we also found time for some spooky baking too.

Good Food October 2010


I found these recipes in the Good Food Magazine last year and being me, of course I didn't get around to doing it that year, but we did manage it this year!



At the beginning of the week we made Scary Skull biscuits, amongst other scary Hallowe'en type shapes.




Little Miss had great fun spreading, squirting and eating the icing and quite frankly, so did I!




Then, for Hallowe'en night itself, we made some Monster Cupcakes.  Excellent fun and a really good one for small people to do as they can shove things on in any haphazard way and they still look good.



That was fun too and they were very popular with our scary evening visitors.  My Little Witch in residence for the evening took great delight in dolling them out to everyone.




I even found time to finish a little something for me, so there were treats for everyone this week.





I saw this delightful idea of Amy's from Nana Company.  I do adore absolutely everything Amy makes, she is so clever and has such a fabulous eye for the beautiful.





For my effort I used some of the left over patches from my sewing machine cover.  It's not as gorgeous as Amy's things, but I do love these fabrics so I'm still pretty happy.






Oh, and I must, must, must catch you up on my other finished projects too.  Otherwise, they won't be my latest  completed projects, they'll just be 'some stuff I made ages ago'.  I'm so behind!  I just need to take a couple more photos, but next post for sure.

Till then...



S x


PS - In case you're also interested, here's the link for the in the Marshmallow Ghosties also shown on the magazine page.  (The other recipe links are up in the post.)

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