29 November 2012

Unexpected outcome

I had a lovely treat a few weeks ago.  My darling hubby brought me a brand new coat.  Aren't husbands just lovely when they do things like that?

I'd been coveting one I saw on the Seasalt website, a pretty patterned mac that caught my eye.  But it was  a little pricey and I was loathe to commit that much money on something I hadn't even seen in the flesh.  So I decided to pop to  my local John Lewis and see if they had one in the Seasalt outlet there.  

They didn't as it happened, but they did have another very delightful velvet coat there which I loved at once.  (Despite completely overlooking it online.)  It was gorgeous in colour, a sort of chalky aubergine shade and looked wonderful on.  All thoughts of patterned macs flew out of the window as I decided that if Santa was kind and brought me some Christmas pennies this year, I would spend them on this wonderful coat.

 It was at this point where Mr P surprised me with his 'we can get it now if you like' comment.  Generous, unexpected and wonderful.  Not only that, but I ended up with something completely unlike my plan, but still completely wonderful.

Once I was home with my fabulous purchase, I had a sudden inspiration for a pair of mitts.  I made these colourful mittens back at the beginning of the year and not only did I have plenty of yarn left over, I also had a vague recollection of picking up some extra colours, just because... well, just because.

I quickly checked through my stash and yes, sure enough a pretty pink and a precious purple were sitting right there, looking just perfect to go with my new coat.  I had my idea all ready and so set to work.  A little swatching, lots of colouring little squares on a computer screen until things looked right and then the needles were in motion.

I was so, so excited about these little mitts, I thought they were going to be the most perfectly perfect things I had ever created.  I was going to wear them every day, get admiring glances everywhere I went, write up the pattern and sell a million copies.  Or something like that.

But I have to confess, despite numerous adjustments and re-knits, these darlings are still in the tweaking stage.  They are too long and baggy around the fingers and I'm not happy with the thumbs.  I love them still but, I sadly admit, they just aren't right yet.

Undaunted, I plan a re-knit.  I've made some more adjustments and I think this draft could the one.  We'll see how that pans out when I get around to it.

But, newsflash!  Just today, I had a major brainwave!  Why do these have to be mitts?  They could be gorgeous, wonderful, cozy wristies.  It's not what I planned, but it could be wonderful.

You see, I do love fingerless mitts these days.  I wear them until it gets too cold, like now, and I have to tuck in my thumb and fingers all up inside while I walk along.  So, my thinking is, why have a thumb hole?  I can wear them further up my arms when it's a bit warmer or when indoors and then pull them down more over my hand and fingers to stay warm outside.

This time it's the idea of the century, I know it!

Goodbye for now Mulberry mitts, we may see you again soon.

What about you?  Do you prefer to wear wristies or fingerless mitts?

S x

PS:  The yarn is Rowan Fine Tweed, in case you were wondering.

27 November 2012

They're Multiplying

I've finished all my homemade gifts now and this little one here is the last.

I came up with this idea when I wanted a case for my new phone, mine is the deer one.  My sister has hinted that something similar would be a welcome now that she too has moved to the fifth edition of the iPhone.  What else can a loving sibling do, but oblige?  It is for Christmas after all.

As you may know if you've been reading a while, treading old ground is not my favourite thing to do, but in some cases it's no hardship at all.  Especially when it's a quick and fun project like this one.  Picking out the fabrics is probably one of my favourite bits.  It's such a lovely and relaxing way to spend some time.  Mulling over colours and trying fabrics next to each other.  Heaven.

Then there's the part where you see all the little patchwork squares come neatly (hopefully) together.  Did I get the colours right, are they spread out nicely with and getting on well with their neighbours?  
Yes, that part's rather fun too.

In fact, I think I can honestly say I enjoyed putting this one together just as much as I enjoyed making the first one.  It seems that sometimes once just isn't enough.

 I've been taking lots of photos of the process this time which, I'm happy to say, means that a tutorial is a coming!  I hope that'll be good news to you all.  A couple of people were kind enough to express an interest last time, so I thought it'll be silly not to make this second go around a bit of a photo opportunity.

It  probably won't appear until the New Year now I don't think, but it's definitely on the list and hopefully there will be a lot more of that sort of thing to share in 2013.  Plans are afoot, but more on that later....

In the meantime, I'll keep my eye on my sister and woe betide her if she doesn't stay on the 'nice' list.  I'm not sure  which of these two cases I like best and if she's 'naughty' I might have to be the beneficiary!

S x

22 November 2012

Churning them out

 Another in the line of planned Christmas presents can now be ticked off the list.  This one took me a day to make.  Just one day, but it was long and slightly arduous in places.

The fabric picking was fun and the arranging and piecing of the dresden was fun.  Of course, that's the bestest bit.  But the bag itself?  A little more tricky.

 It was those pesky corners that did it, well, those and lining it too.  I've never made a tote style bag before and no doubt things would have gone a whole lot smoother and easier if I'd followed a tutorial, but for some unknown reason I didn't.  I think I thought I had it all figured out.

Famous last thoughts!  It wasn't so bad really, just a bit more fiddly and time consuming than I'd wished for.  Still, now I've done one, maybe next time will be easier.

Maybe next time, I'll find that tutorial before I start.

 But, it turned out ok I reckon.  This pressie is for my other lovely Nanny.  She's a poppet to buy for because she always likes to have a nice haul of Marks and Spencer's bath and body creams.  This year I thought I'd spice things up with a nice bag to present them all in.

As an added bonus she can use it as a little shopping bag afterwards.  They're always handy in these bring-your-own, re-useable, bag-for-life days that we are living in.

Pretty and with purpose, what could be better?

S x

20 November 2012

From one knitter to another

 I'm happy to say I've been very productive lately (it's been a while since I've said that!) and finished objects have been flying off the needles and hook around here.

This is the oh so famous African Flower pattern, which I've adapted into a pincushion.  It's such a great little present idea and just right for my Nan.  She's a knitter too, and one that tends to lose her yarn needle at least twice for every seam she sews!

She's the one who taught me to knit as a child and reminded my Sister and I when we started down the knitty path again as adults.  So a little case to keep her well used needles all together seemed like a good plan too.

She keeps them all in haphazard order in a basket by her chair and hopefully it'll save her rummaging around quite so much.

I hope she'll like it.

S x

18 November 2012

Early presents

A little while ago, after some bloggy related tinkering about, I promised that those changes would be the last for a while.  Yeah.... that turned out to be a big fat lie.  Sorry about that.

I've gone for a total overhaul this time.  Out with the old and in with the new.

It's a more streamlined look and I'm pleased with it so I hope you guys like it too.

If you're looking for something that used to be in the sidebar, it's probably just been moved.  You can try the 'ME' page and the categories and archives are now down at the bottom of the page.

So that's kind of my present to me, but there's a present for you guys too.

It's about comments you see....

You can now comment without having to sign in and without the dreaded, horrible, fiddly, horrible and eye achingly difficult word-verifier thing!  YIPPEE!

My plan is to just moderate comments to try and avoid the irritating spam, but last time I ended up getting so so much it just wasn't possible.  This time I shall make no promises, but we'll see how it goes...

In the meantime, have at it!  Commenting freedom is yours!

S x

15 November 2012

Merry Baby Bibs

This is one of those times when I'm happy to let the pictures do most of the talking.  Well, actually I think it's the fabric doing the talking as it's so cute it speaks volumes all by it's self.

It's getting to that time when my lovely little niece will need some bibs.  She's not quite at the eating stage yet, but as these are intended as part of her Christmas present, it won't be too long after that when she'll want to be making a mess of them.

At the moment, she's at the drooling stage, so maybe she'll be content just getting them wet for a while.

I don't mind either way because I got most of my pleasure out of making them.

Those of you that follow Nana Co will probably find them familiar and that's no coincidence as she is my absolute heroine of sewing and her baby things are so divine and perfect that I couldn't help but try some of her clever ideas out.  (I hope you don't mind if you're reading this Amy!)

There's something else I can enjoy.  Seeing the little recipient wear them for the first time.

S x

13 November 2012

I ♥ weddings

I'd almost forgotten about this huge pile I made a couple of weeks ago.  It was all part of a little favour I was asked to do and as it was for a favourite Sister in Law and because it was a pleasant, crafty little task, I was happy to oblige.

She's getting married next year and she wants a low-key, homemade, sort of country fete meets tea-party type of affair.  It sounds like it's going to be wonderful, so I'm very excited about it too.  She wants lots of knitted, crocheted and sewn goodies about the place and luckily, she has an army of willing helpers ready to lend a hand.

My job, as you might have realised, was to make some hearts to hang up and around the wedding venue.  She's been collecting a lot of material off-cuts and picked up some end of line bargins at her local fabric shop, so I had a whole stack of pretty piles to choose from.  I couldn't resist adding a couple of my own too, in soft dusky rose and greens, the colours of the big day.

She trusted me with a free rein and kindly told me 'whatever you do, I know I'll like'.  Which was very sweet of her of course, but made me worry slightly, in case I went horribly wrong.  Fortunately, I was also reasonably sure I knew what sort of look she is trying to go for, so it didn't take me too long to get a plan and get started.

I made some hearts to dangle down...

Some hearts to hang in a row...

Some with pretty beads...

And a whole load of hearts in all different shapes and sizes to hang around anywhere and everywhere.

I hope that'll do the trick!

S x

08 November 2012

I predict a riot!

 Look at the colours, lots of lovely colours!

I was wondering around the haberdashery section a while ago when I stumbled across this yarn in some gorgeous colours.  It's called Patons Smootie DK and it's acrylic yarn, although you'd never know it.  It feels like a sort of bamboo/cotton blend and lives up to it's name too by being nice and soft.

It was one of those occasions, maybe you've experienced it too, where it just looked so gosh darn pretty sitting all colourful in a row that I had to have some.  So, with absolutely no idea of a project in mind, I started picking up all my favourite colours and seeing which worked together and which didn't.  To put the cherry on top of the already very desirable cake, nearly every colour seemed to go beautifully against every other.  Happy day.

Having got this delightful package home I arranged them in a pretty heap and let them sit awhile, waiting for ideas to form, take shape and grow until rich and juicy, ripe for picking.   In the end I decided they would be just right for an old idea that I had last year.  A nice, long, stripy, colourful, crescent shaped scarf with a lot of hangly, dangly bits.

I suppose fortunately, I'd always imagined this contraption to have tassels or some such trailing bits and bobs.  Fortunate because deciding to use this many colours on a knitted scarf would have been an end weaving nightmare otherwise.  Happily though, all of that unpleasantness was avoided and those flipping flapping bits of yarn were allowed to swing freely.


Not only did I make my life easy by leaving the ends to do their own thing, the joy of knitting these rainbow rows together was so huge.  I enjoyed myself so much and the colours themselves just fit together so easily.  So many wonderful combinations to try out, so few that wouldn't be happy neighbours if put together.  I do love it when the colour choices flow so easily.  Sometimes it can be an agonising, drawn out process and I can be stymied for ages while desperately searching for the right colour to use next.  Not this time though, this time was pure pleasure.

For the last finishing touch I decided to tie the ends into small groups to make little tassels, just to make sure nothing became loose.  What a fabulous little project it's been and how I've loved working on it.

I'm planning on getting the pattern finalised and into the shop quite soon, hopefully before Christmas.  So maybe, if you fancy it, you can have some fun with it too.  I really hope you'll get as much enjoyment out of it as I did.

The best part is that I still have plenty of those lovely colours left so I can make something else with it.  Oh, but what should it be?

Update (23rd January 2012):  
The pattern is now available in the  Cherry Heart Boutique, you'll find it on the 'Knit' page.

S x

06 November 2012

We're getting there

Goodness me, dearest Pretty Crafty Homers, here we are at the penultimate PCH post of the year.  Things are coming along nicely here and I hope you've managed to make a bit of progress in your homestead too.

I haven't managed to get an awful lot done this month, but I do have a little something to show you.  It's the neglected old wash basket from my bathroom.  Many moons ago, this used to be housed in my bedroom and as the bedroom was lilac at the time, so the basket was too.  Although it has long since made the move, it's colouring remains completely unchanged and completely out of keeping with the aqua and blue of the bathroom.

Finally, finally then, I've done something about it.  You know, that is the wonderful thing about this little project.  The satisfaction of crossing these ancient and nearly forgotten items off the list is huge and if it wasn't for the fact that I felt compelled to keep coming back here to report to you how I've been getting on, I'm sure half of them would still be undone now.  You don't know how much you've helped me in getting these long awaited ticks.

But, back to the basket.  I'd already made a liner for it, back in the days when I'd painted it lilac, so really, only some modification was called for.  I decided to use the same fabrics as I'd used for my bathroom bunting.  An effort to 'pull it all together' as interior designing types say.

It was quite a quick task once I got started, it was only really half-term that stopped me getting it finished sooner.  The old liner had never fit particularly well, always laying awkwardly at the corners.  So I trimmed it down and added a little patchwork with ties instead.

It lays quite nicely now, so the lid will sut down much better than it used to.  Yes, a big improvement all round, I'd say.

So there you have it, my made over bathroom wash basket:

It's not an awful lot to show for a whole months work, but something is undoubtedly better than nothing at all.

So, what about the month ahead? Well, as usual at this time of year, the dark shadow of winter seems to be looming.  The clocks going back always has that 'winter drawing in' effect on me.  So, after a jolly half-term...

...filled alternatively with playing around in the dark and then snuggling up in the warm again, my thoughts are turning to preparations for the 'Big C'!  I'm so excited (as usual) and I have a dozen or more ideas in my head, which I doubt I'm going to have time to do, but we'll see how it goes.  I'm looking forward to playing with these though...

Yes, I can't wait to get started in fact.  That's my plan for November then, getting the house ready for Christmas.  We're to be the hosts this year so I want everything to be cozy, comfy, happiness and cheer.  Some hand made touches are definitely called for.   What about you?  Are you making plans yet?

Just in case you don't share my mania for Christmas and can't bear to think about it just yet, how about preparing your house for winter?  Cozy blankets, soft cushions, pretty potholders for those warming casseroles.... think of the possibilities!

As always, please do come and share your makes on the Pretty Crafty Home Flickr group.  It's always a pleasure to see what you're up to.

S x

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