28 February 2012

Velynda

Way back at the beginning of the year I started knitting a cardigan.  I talked about it and showed you a little bit here, when it looked like this.



It didn't actually take me too much longer to finish the knitting part, but it did take me a heck of a while to get my lazy self to the button shop.  I do have lots of buttons at home, but mostly mismatched and nothing that would work.  Eventually, I got some cute little spotty ones that I'm quite happy with.



So, at last, I can show you the whole garment.




Hoorah and ta-dah!

You can see also, that I'm wearing the very dressy-tunic top that inspired me to make the cardigan in the first place.  The yarn colour is exactly what I wanted to go with it, which was a very lucky break.  It just so happened that I had found this particular yarn only a few days before in a Christmas Sale.  So when I thought of the cardigan idea, there it was, ready to go.  That never usually happens!



A little word about the yarn, while we're here.  It's Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK, which as you can see, is not that cheap.  That's why I was so glad to find it in the sale!  Now, I would whole heartedly recommend this yarn, it's gorgeously soft, a lovely colour, delightful to knit with.  The stitches look good and it feels lovely to wear.  But...

It was absolutely full of knots!  I should think of the eight balls I used, only two balls didn't have a knot somewhere in them and some had more than one!!  Is it just me, or is that a bit much?  I mean, £6 a ball and you can't even give me a whole piece of yarn - wow.  So, I'm torn.  I love the yarn, but I don't love the knots.  There.  That's the full disclosure, I shall leave you to make you own choice!  Maybe I was just unlucky?



Well, that aside, I really enjoyed knitting it.  The pattern is great and well written.  It's called Velynda and it's by Bonnie Marie Burns of Chic Knits.  It's actually a worsted weight pattern, but I knit to the 38" instructions and it fits my 36" frame very nicely.  I even did a swatch and everything to make sure!




The only other thing I changed, was to change the sleeve to a three-quarter length sleeve, instead of the full length on the pattern.  Strange really because I always used to hate 3/4 length sleeves.  'What's the point?' I'd say.  'Surely if it's cold enough to want a cardigan, I'm going to need my whole arm covered', I'd moan.  Yet now, I love them.  Odd.  I wear layers more now-a-days, that's the only thing I can put it down to.  I often wear full length sleeve tops under my cardi and hey, if I'm still cold, then that's what hand knitted arm warmers and mitts are for, right?




Just to make life easy, here's a summary of all the essentials:

Pattern: Velynda by Bonnie Marie Burns (And the Rav link)
Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK
Yards: I used 1172
Needles: 3.5mm (US 4) and 4.0mm (US 6)
Size:  Knitted a 38" in DK to get a 36"


S x

26 February 2012

Linking with love

Are you a 'pinner'?  And, are you a responsible pinner?

I read a couple of interesting posts lately about Pinterest, by Annie of Knitsofacto and Sue at Quince Tree.  If you pin, and especially if you craft, create or capture with film, you'll probably want to read them too.

It's all about giving credit to the creator.  I've been through my pins to make sure that I have a link to the source of each photo I've pinned.  It turns out that some of my pins weren't linked correctly, so I went to track down the proper source so that the clever person responsible would get the credit they deserved.  In cases where I couldn't find the source, I've deleted the pin.

It was a terrible wrench to lose some of those images, I lost a couple of real beauties, but I just sat and imagined that the image was mine and on someone else's board with no link or trace of evidence that it was me who made it.  That would make me sad and I don't want to make anyone feel sad.

If you want any more information about linking your pins.  Check out 'A Love Life' -  When to pull the pin.

I'm going to be linking with love.


LINKwithlove



If you link with love too and want the badge, which is available in lots of pretty colours by the way, you can find them here.

Happy Pinning!


S x

23 February 2012

Curtain call

I've dropped a few hints lately, here and here about some fabric type activity that might be going on?  Do you remember this picture...



You do?  Marvellous, because I've been busy cutting and stitching and I've got something to show you! 

For a very long time now, I've been fed up with the curtains in my hall.  They're drab and dull and I'm sick of them.  Also, there's the small matter of the mess below them too!



Not a very nice sight is it?  Time to do something about it and put some of my thrifty finds to good use.

I was inspired by the light shade I got for the hall a while ago.  It's a pretty, colourful sort of thing and it made me think that a old floral sheet (Antique shop - £10) that I had previously rejected for the job, might actually work rather well after all.

I didn't have quite enough material in the sheet, so I decided to add a bit of something else to the bottom.  An old bedspread this time.  (Charity shop - £3)



I had originally planned on recycling the lining from the old curtains.


But it was very thin and as bedsheets aren't exactly 'curtain weight' material I decided to splash out on some thicker 'black-out' fabric (Local fabric shop - £20) for the lining.


For some reason, I decided that tied tab tops would look just the thing on these curtains.  So I set about cutting up more bedspread for that.


In truth, if I'd worked out how many I would have to cut and sew before hand (56!), I might not have bothered but I'd started so, I had to finish.

So I stitched and spent a pleasurable half an half catching up on blogs while I turned them all round.


Trusty old knitting needle to the rescue!

Finally they were all done, ironed and ready to be sewn into place.




Just a lacy finishing touch (Local fabric shop - £8) to add and I was all done.  Do you want to see?

Here we go...









I have two windows in my hall, one upstairs and one down, so that's two new sets of curtains which change the whole look of the hall for a total of £41.  That's prettiness on a shoestring if you ask me!



So that's my Pretty Crafty Home Project No 3.  Two pairs of colourful curtains.  One rejuvenated, tidy and clutter free (mostly) hall = One happy me!

Two Curtains:
Second hand floral sheet - £10
Old charity shop bedspread - £3
Black out lining - £20
Lace trim - £8
Total cost - £41



Want to come and join in with us and make a Pretty Crafty Home of your own?  Find out all the details here, and join us on Flickr to share your photos - hope to see you there!


S x

20 February 2012

Sneakily sewing


I've been working very hard lately, throughout most of January and February, cleaning and clearing the place up as thoroughly as I can to help make my PCH.  Diligent as I've tried to be with my chores, it's amazing all the crafty ideas that have been popping into my head as I've been making my way around the house, so I couldn't resist sneaking in a few little sewing sessions to make up a couple of them along the way.



Now you know all about my secret weaving habits, you'll understand my need for 'loom shaped' storage.  Not the easiest of devices to find a home for.  In fact, up to now mine has just been uncermoniously dumped down the side of my desk, with all the various necessary bits and bobs lurking around the general area.  Not exactly ideal.





So I made myself a bag to keep it in, and although I haven't found anywhere better to keep it yet, at least it's all together, easier to move around and looks a darn sight prettier in it's dumping spot!






The other thing that was driving me strangely mad is the blind in my upstairs bathroom.  I guess the recent close inspection showing me the levels of dirt it had collected had something to do with it, and it's lack of ease to clean was maybe another.



Either way, I decided it was out and some rather jaunty bunting should go in it's place.




I'm turning into a bit of a bunting nut.  It can't help but look cute and cheerful and although this one is very simple, it has lots of pretty fabric to look at and in my opinion has made the bathroom a much happier place to clean my teeth of a morning.  Important stuff I think.





Only small changes so far, but baby steps are so important.


S x

19 February 2012

Overdue thank you

I'm afraid I've been rather tardy in giving thanks to some, if not all, of you out there, so I'm here to make amends.

First, on awards.  There are some delightfully lovely people among you who have been kind enough to think of me when pondering the question of which, 5, 7, 15 (or whatever the designated number is) blogs to nominate an award to.  I've thanked each of you in person, and although I will have sent you an email or commented on your blog, I wanted to give you a mention here too.

I'll start with the Kreativ Blogger Award.



I did already receive this award once before and if you'd like to read the tortuously thought up 'things to tell you about me' and see the blogs I nominated, you can find it all here.  But I also want to thank Karen of 4 Lil' Girls who was also kind enough to give me this award.

Then there's the Verstile Blogger Award.




Dinki Dots, Linda of Linda's Crafty Corner and Little Orphan Skein all found it in their extremely wonderful hearts to bestow this award on me.  Thank you each and every one of you.

Last, but not at all least,  the Lovely Blog Award.


I owe a big thank you to Special K for this one. 

You see?  My award cup runneth over and so too must my thanks cup!  I really do appreciate all of you taking the time and making the effort to nominate me.

I'm hoping very much though if you'll forgive me if I don't fulfil the bloggy award criteria in the conventional way though.  I won't be added any more 'things about me' to my list, I'm sure that every last interesting thing about me has been wrung out of my brain already, which means only dull things are left and no-one wants to know them now do they?

Also, I know that the purpose of these awards is to get more visitors to blogs.  However, I hoping you'll also forgive me further if I don't nominate a list here and now that I think you should visit.  I would like to mention blogs as and when I find them, as I have been done in the past and will continue to do in the future.  But if you do want to find some right now, I have a list of favourites on my sidebar 'Wonderful Blogs' and another list of equally lovely blogs/bloggers 'We're all making a Pretty Crafty Home...' many of these are delightfully new discoveries to me and they could be for you too!

Wow, this has got wordy!  I'm almost done though....

I just wanted to say one more lot of thanks.  This time to my followers and you charming, charming commenters out there.  I have a lovely lot of new followers joining me this year, who I'm glad to welcome and some lovely regular followers who have be good enough to stick with me so far.  You've all been kind, generous and thoughtful in your comments and I read, enjoy, and appreciate everyone of them and all of you too.

Thank you all so much


S x

17 February 2012

Iloominating

I've been meaning to tell you about it for a long time... but when it first started I was a new blogger and I just didn't think of mentioning it.  Then I thought I'd bring it up here the next time it happened, but it's been a long time since I last indulged.  Until now.



I guess I need to tell you what I'm talking about.  I hope you'll understand.  Like all addictions, you start out with the softer stuff, but it so often leads on to something harder.  Well, yarn addiction is no different.  You start with knitting, or maybe crochet.  You might join Ravelry.  'I can handle it' you say to yourself, but then you find you want to knit and crochet.  Before you know it you suddenly want to dye or spin your own yarn, or maybe even... weave.

Yep, that's my little confession.  My name is Sandra and I'm a Weaver!


It started slowly, almost two years ago now, when I came across a handwoven scarf on Ravelry and I was kind of taken with it.  Then occasionally I'd see another, and another and before I knew where I was I was hunting then down and wondering how on earth they were made.  Over the next year I looked into the 'how' and the 'whys' and slowly, began to learn more about what was involved.

Eventually, after a whole year of looking, thinking, learning and browsing I finally took the plunge and brought myself a loom.  A Kromski Rigid Heddle 16" Loom to be precise.  I'm not sure why it took me so long really.  Partly I guess because it takes a little while to get the hang of the lingo.  Warp, weft, heddles, sheds and shuttles were like a secret code to be decrypted at first.  There's also the fact that there's no substitute for a 'hands on' type start to a craft.  I was introduced to knitting in 'the flesh' by my Nan and family.  Excellent for getting advice on where to start, what equipment you need and don't really need to get going.  Not so easy with a more 'niche' craft.  Luckily for me there are some very nice people lurking around the internet, especially on Ravelry and they were able to help me take my first, faltering steps into the mysterious world of weaving.

My first project was just an experimental practise run really and so I just used any old spare yarn I had lying around.  But it went well and I even got my 'selvages' (as us weaving people call 'edges') reasonably nice and tidy - not an easy task for the newbie!


Once I had that under my belt, I went for something slightly more ambitious.  This is my second project and I love how this one turned out.



Then I didn't weave again for quite a while.  But I had the idea recently of making a messenger bag from a woven fabric, so I selected some yarn (which looked absolutely fine together before I put it on the loom - promise!) and ended up with this.



Hummm.

I've called this project 'Taste Fail' but some kind people on Ravelry have said they rather like it so maybe it's not the utter disaster I thought it to be.  I still haven't made it into a bag yet though.  I'm not sure, in all honesty that I ever will.

Finally, this is my latest project.



I brought this yarn (Wendy Fusion in Aniseed - I think it's discontinued now) ages ago and it sat in my stash because although I love the colours I didn't know what to do with it.  As mentioned before on this blog, I have some 'issues' with varigated yarns sometimes, but for weaving, I love it.  It took me a long time to think of it, but I decided to weave it up and it worked a treat.  I love how this one turned out.


So there you are.  Now you know my little secret!


S x

15 February 2012

Neat and tidy

I think I've done it.

I've been through every room, I've cleaned everywhere, lists have been ticked and I've sorted, sorted and sorted some more!



With the exception of a few jobs left, I did forgot to clean the oven (arghhh) and the tops of the kitchen cupboards.  I haven't even thought about the loft (my nemesis) or the shed yet, but these last two can't be seriously tackled until warmer weather returns.  But, apart from that, basically... I'm done.  Yippee!

I've done great work in the bathroom downstairs where...



My little crafty room has been the site of many a decluttering mission and at long last I've made an impact in there.


And this gloriously organised, folded, stacked and labelled sight is now mine...



I decided to set January and February aside for my big 'Cleaning and Decluttering push'.  A fresh start and a clean slate so that I could re-assess my home and see what just needed a good tidy and what really need a crafty make-over.  In January I talked about the Cleaning part.  Today, in February, I'm going to talk about the Decluttering part and in March, I want to start sharing some crafty plans with you - fun!

I think I've finally started to find the whole decluttering process a lot easier in the last few years.  Even after working on it for well over a month now, I really still don't feel like I've finished.  But, I'm also not feeling bad about that.

Partly because I think that it's more of a constant process, a constant re-assessment of what you need in your home.  As your circumstances change, the things you need to have in your home change.  That's only natural isn't it?  I didn't use to need space to store yarn - now I do.  I didn't use to need space to my husbands comics, sorry, 'graphic novels' - now, apparently, I do.  I use to need space to store baby toys - now I don't.

Also because it feels so good when it's done.  So good.  In fact it feels so good, it's almost worth letting things getting in a state just so that it looks so different and fabulous and feels so wonderful when you sort it out - or is that just me?  My friend always used to say that it was a wonderful cathartic process.  Everything unwanted and unnecessary gone - only wonderful, wanted and cherished goodness left surrounding you.  Perhaps there's something in that.

It's amazing the joy I get from seeing my ribbon tin finally sorted and tidy for example...


So, how do we get there?  What's the best way to declutter and purge?  Here's some tips for you...

1.  Keep it short and sweet.
This is the only way it works for me, by keeping it in manageable chunks.  For the first hour, I'm an effective, ruthless and calculating decluttering machine, by the second hour I'm keeping everything and simply shuffling things around from one pile to the next in an aimless fog of dispair.  Pointless.  So as soon as I find myself dithering or shuffling I leave it and come back to it later, or even another day.

2.  Allow yourself to hoard!
Controversial maybe, but consider this...  Some things need to be hoarded.  Fabric, yarn, books, photos, sentimental bits and bobs and all sorts of other things that you hate to part with can and should be allowed space in your house.  But, only some and only if you do have room.  Set yourself an amount of space that you're 'allowed' to fill.  A jar, a box, a cupboard, an entire room if you have it going free - whatever you can spare and is reasonable, appropriate and most importantly - that you are happy with.  Then fill only that and no more.  If it doesn't fit in the allocated space, then there's some more 'pruning' to be done.

3.  Expert Advice.
This is a common enough problem and there's plenty of sites giving advice.  Here's a few:

Declutter a room in a day!
Declutter your life - Top Ten Tips
My favourite - Anthea Turner again

4.  A theory...
This is my Dad's theory.  I confess I haven't actually have the courage to try it yet - but I think when the Great Loft Clearance comes around I may have to give it a go.  This is the theory:
  • If you're having trouble parting with something, you think you still quite like it or you'll probably need it again, or that it may 'come in handy', then put it in a box.  Collect all of these things you're not sure about parting with quite yet and put then all in the box.  
  • Seal the box.  
  • Put the date on the box, and store it somewhere, the loft, wherever.  
  • A year later come back and check the box.  If the seal remains unbroken, pick the box up - do not look in the box - take it straight to the dump and never look back!
The theory of course being, if you've not needed, remembered or thought about the things in that box over the course of an entire year, there's no reason whatsoever to keep them, right?   Ummm... I'm not sure I'm quite that brave though - are you?

I hope that helps you a little if you're stumbling over taking your first decluttering steps.  If you've got any of your own to share why not leave a comment or come and join us at the PCH Flickr group?  We'll be very happy to see you there.

If you've not started your Pretty Crafty Home journey yet and would like to, details can be found here.





S x

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