Wednesday, 13 November 2013

5 little ducks... (there were 5 honest)

The other 3 are over the hills and far away, I forgot to get a shot of all 5 together before I gave them to school, each one had something slightly different about them as I couldn't decide what features I liked all together! A straight forward pattern that used barely any of the 100g ball of Stylecraft Special DK I had - even for all 5.
If you would like to make your own, they are by Kat Lewinski and her Easter Peeps free pattern is available from Ravelry here.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Baking because...

I know I don't need a reason to bake but on this occasion I do have one, I have made Vanilla cupcakes with lemon buttercream icing, it was going to be white glace with a fondant design on the top... Then I got distracted on YouTube by a tutorial on two-tone Buttercream and voila!

The cupcakes all 30 odd of them are bound for tomorrow afternoons bring and buy sale in aid of the schools sponsor child - Frank from Mozambique. I wish I could send him a cake too but the school is hoping to buy him and his family a goat (for a christmas gift in addition to his sponsorship money)which, has considerably more longevity and use than a cupcake would. Having recently donated lots of old toys and books to the local charity shop I wanted to contribute with something and cakes to sell seemed a good idea.
I enjoyed the two tone effect but it took me a little while to get the technique right, I struggled with making the colours stay in the right place in the piping bag without trapping lots of excess air in which makes a mess as you try to pipe a nice consistent rose.

I also tried a new ratio of icing sugar to butter for the icing and would probably use it again but sparingly - a great consistency and flavour if on the rich side of things. I prefer cream cheese frostings as they're nowehere near as sweet but I didn't have time to make it fresh on the day and it doesn't keep well in my opinion.

There's lots of knitting on the go - a Heliopath vest by Emma Welford on Ravelry here, it's actually quite a bit further on than the image below now. I'm knitting it in Stylecraft Alpaca DK which is a new yarn and working up a treat.
Have a pleasant Evening x

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Five Little Speckled Frogs...

My next contribution to reception classes story sacks - 5 little speckled frogs, pattern by Stana D.S and available currently for free on Ravelry here.

I have offered to knit a brown tree sleeve as well but haven't started that just yet.

Friday, 8 November 2013

FO Friday... Cosy Urchin

It's very rare I complete a project and post about it on the same day but, seeing as Fridays are normally Finish Off posts on a few other blogs out there; I thought I'd tag along today.

Here is my version of the free Ravelry pattern Grannies Traditional Tea Cosy. A neighbour recently mentioned they've been after a nice traditional tea cosy, I told them to leave it with me and I'd see if I could find a pattern they might like. They will be moving house shortly which makes me and my boys really sad as their children play with us regularly and being on a Cul-de-Sac we have impromptu Scooter races and football matches when the sun is shining after the school run.It will make a good house warming present I think.
 I amended the pattern slightly to fit the colours I had to hand and the length of repeats is less to fit a shorter tea pot. I also wasn't keen on the big flower on the top so stuck to a loop. Finally, I added an I-cord loop and a button fastener for between the handle.

It rather reminds me of a sea urchin, I'm really pleased with it!

Homemade Spindles...

I wasn't going to 'get into' spinning, but i'm about as effective as a chocolate teapot at resisting yarn and now fibre of any kind!

As you know my very kind Dad got me going with a handmade drop spindle. I'd been looking at the handcrafted ones online and reading about what to start out with as a beginner and spotted a Top Whorl spindle I thought I/we could recreate simply and with little cost. 
This Top Whorl spindle is made from 11" of 9mm Hardwood Dowel and some Yew that Dad had been drying out in his shed for years, as you can see it's already been in use and has spun 10m of scrap fibre I had bought and now has a coarse fibre on that I'm cursing at as it breaks constantly (any tips anyone?)


 We then went on and made a whole bunch using some Ash and Laburnum branches too
This is my favourite - mainly because I found and cut the wood and when it had been oiled these beautiful rich colours came out. 

At the moment all the spindles we've made can be changed from Top to Bottom Whorl as the whorls haven't been glued in and are a tight fit (hand drilled and filed to be so). I love them all and feel myself getting a little carried away!

Any spinners reading this - can you recommend me a good instructional book/website as I've been watching You-Tube and got some basics but really need to answer questions like, how much twist is enough?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bakers Dozen...

I'm currently studying to become a Teaching Assistant and volunteering at the local primary school. I happened to wear the hand-knitted cardigan below (my own design but no pattern written I'm afraid) on a training day there and was asked if I could create some knitted items to make story sacks for the reception class, starting with 5 Currant Buns in a Bakers Shop...
 I researched the free patterns available and didn't find quite what I wanted so set out to make my own and this is what we have.
The pattern uses the ever popular Stylecraft Special DK, however you could use what DK weight you have to hand rather than buying new yarn as you'll still have a lot left over from each colour. It will make a 3" diameter bun.
It is available through my Ravelry Store or a direct download of the PDF is here download now. It's also a link from my Free Patterns page via the tab at the top.

I'm looking forward to seeing the reception class using these next time I'm in. Hope you have fun making some too x

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Drop Spindle...


My first attempt at drop spinning (alone) following tuition from a lovely friend at knitting group and some online videos for the plying. I've managed to create an over twisted kind of string and can tell it's going to take me a long time to get the hang of this but it's already got me hooked.

The spindle I'm using above is one my dad has made from wood he saves from trees in the hedgerow he cares for in the next village over and a very basic design I printed out. It is a top whorl and works like a dream, he is so talented! Earlier today I took over some fibre to collect it and we all had a go there.

If you're interested I'm using the Navajo ply on the fly technique x

Friday, 25 October 2013

Meet Squeak...

A new addition to the family...    Squeak


Apologies for a blurry shot but she moves very fast! She's a White Syrian Hamster and very cute, she means business though.

Boys are understandably thrilled, not sure how much cleaning out they'll help with but they'll be encouraged to help and learn that responsibility too. They're already great with their rabbits Beep and Ping.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Where's Wally?...

Here he is - no wait it's just me in a stripey jumper!


Thanks to a friend who handed me some of her stash here is my boat neck aran, basic top down jumper knit to my size following gauge swatch.

Think I'll bring it out on Christmas day with a pair of stocking pockets sewn on!


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Holidays ahhhh...

We're 2 weeks in and we've settled down a bit, mornings are busy times, we try to do activities together - reading, puzzle books, crafts, science, trips to the park. Afternoons have very little structure and we play however the boys choose, they also get the chance to use 'devices' (TV, Tablets, Computer) if they've been good during the morning.

We've had a couple of PJ days and some trips out but we're doing it at our pace and it's lovely. I'm busy on a couple of makes myself but am not pushing on as I want to enjoy my boys before September routines come around again

Big bounces on a weekend camping trip...
 At last a cooler day, didn't stop us having lots of fun in and around the tent...
 Planting Cress and Mustard seeds and watching the mini forest grow...
 Believe it or not, this was a PJ day - a super PJ day...
 Intense concentration on a painting and stamping project...
Sure the first cooler mornings will have me reaching for yarn and needles with more urgency but for now it's fun to let the creative juices flow in different directions doing projects with the boys.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Glam...

Another FO for the year, I've no idea what yarn I used except it felt like a synthetic laceweight which I then held double in two shades, green and blue. The colours combined remind me of the sea on a clear day, I did add beads to both the cast on and cast off edge but despite blocking the edges curl up far too much to see them.

This knit is the Glam Cowl Free Pattern by Jacqui Harding, very quick to make and a good way to use up two odd skeins I had. If I were to do it again (highly likely) I will do the beads again but add them at all the decrease points for definition.


Sunday, 21 July 2013

Summer Holidays are here...

We've already been to the Beach twice and plan to go lots more times (it's a 300 mile round trip) despite how long and tiring the day is. The benefit of course is that we only choose to go when the weather is likely to be really good, the boys are growing more confident of the sea and approach the waves as a challenge to leap over and spend lots of time being towed in their little dinghy.

I'm working on lots of WIP's (work in progress) at the moment with not a lot to show for it but will knuckle down now there's not quite such a rush to get places for the next 6 weeks. My eldest sons first year at school is over and we're very proud of how it's gone - he's looking forward to next year as his Teacher goes with them in a swap around at the school, really lucky as she's fabulous!

I've secured a place at college in September which I'm thrilled about, it's been a long time since I've been a student and I can't wait to stretch the grey matter in that way again. I'm studying to formally support the teachers and students in the classroom, which I've been doing on a voluntary basis for a while now - looking forward to finding a job at the end of it!

Not many pictures this time but hope to be back sooner with some actual completed items and some shots of our fun this summer, I'll leave you with our fun from day 1 - pipe cleaners...

Antennae, bugs, aliens and daddy made a racing car and driver!!
 HRH King of the house...


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Big but brief...

A friend recently decided not to continue on her knitting journey - just one more thing that was leaving her home feeling cluttered and that she felt defeated by. I think we can all understand those feelings (mine come with paper crafting - just not my thing), they can be a dawning realisation that something is a bit unbalanced with life and there is no shame in saying no and getting some of your 'self' back.
She had started a garter stitch scarf with 4 skeins of Rowan Big Wool, I frogged that as I knew if I was careful I could get the following set from them. My friend has a beautiful young Spaniel and lives fairly rurally where snowy early morning dog walks are normal later in the year, I chose to make a hat, scarf and mitts that should make the experience a little (ok its 100% Merino, a lot) warmer.

Each item took me no more than a day to make, whilst looking after my littlest man who was feeling pretty poorly on the sofa next to me - we hunkered down with films, plenty to drink and knitting for me.

 Hat - my own creation - 1 Skein Rowan Big Wool
 Mitts - my own creation  - 1 Skein Rowan Big Wool
 Scarf - Leaf by Susan B Anderson - 2 Skeins Rowan Big Wool

I used Susan's free pattern as the start point for the other two items - a lovely well written pattern and I agreed with other Ravelry users and made it a tad wider instead of longer as I want warmth around the neck and chest rather than bulk by having to wrap it more than 3 times to get the same effect.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

KCBW Day 6 - A tool to covet

There are many tools I could not do without when crafting, yarn related crafts in particular come with plenty of their own paraphernalia so for today I thought I would keep it simple* and show you what goes around with me wherever and whenever I take my Knitting or Crochet.

It's all carried in a 3 pocket pencil case and is used every time I'm creating. The only thing that doesn't fit in is my little notebook.


Easy to grab stitch markers and cable needle key
Pencils and extra leads for when I'm sketching
Cable Needle
Crochet Hook (not for dropped stitches you understand as I never do that)
Scissors - never used on paper and they're beautifully sharp and good at snipping
DPN Stitch Saver - teeny jumper
Plenty of different sized yarn needles
Cable Extenders
Row Counter
Retractable tape measure

Some more crochet hooks
DPN Stitch Savers - the other sizes in the set
Loads of stitch markers
Darning needles
Cable Needles
Needle Gauge
Stitch Holders

There are only a couple of things missing from the case at the moment; a set of 3.75mm DPN's, not sure why I keep them here, must have been needed at some point and a couple of circular needle cables and their stoppers.

Is there anything I've missed that you use all the time? Or am I missing out by not having an amazing multi-tool?




*especially after yesterdays efforts - safe to say I will not be making a career of animation!!!

Linking in with Eskimimi Makes: 4KCBWDAY6

Friday, 26 April 2013

KCBW Day 5 - Something a bit different...

the aim today is to blog in a way I don't normally - podcast, vlog, wordless, pictureless, different topic etc here goes (let me know what you think x). I had a go at a stop motion animation featuring my house mascot and my Bee:nie design - love to know what you think x


video

ps have had no end of trouble trying to get the video on to this platform so hope this works!

Linking in with Eskimimi Makes:  4KCBWDAY5

Thursday, 25 April 2013

KCBW Day 4 - Colour Review...

Today, I'm thinking about the colours I use in my projects and to start with I must share what I think I use and then check the actual later on:

If i'm making for myself it's likely to be...

LIGHT GREY 
DUSKY PINK 
FADED PURPLE

I looked up some colour wheels to show a bit more of what I like and dislike...the shades below left tend to leave out the ultra brights and are on the pastel side of things - I don't think there's a single colour that I dislike individually or even together. On the other hand the second image on the right freaks me out quite a bit as the really bright colours overpower those I like so much that I can't see them.


How accurate was I? A quick count of my Ravelry projects page and the split is:

9 - Grey
5 - Purple
4 - Teal
3 - Pink
3 - Cream
2 - Green
2 - Red
1 - Brown

Pink wasn't as popular as I thought - that could be as I have approxmiately 30 skeins in differing shades in my cupboard yet to be knit up! Completely forgot about Teal too - it featured in some of my grey items as well.
Note to self, no more cream - doesn't suit me at all and the 3 items I looked at are hardly worn too.

A very worthwhile exercise indeed. What's your favourite shade?




Linking up with eskimimi makes: 4KCBWDAY4


Image Sources: www.sunflowers-dragonflies.ca  and www.highlightwebdesign.co.uk

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

KCBW Day 3 - Infographic Challenge



Day 3 was an Infographic challenge and after thinking about the Hive side of the Bee:nie from yesterday, I thought I'd see if I could find a program to enable me to make one with a professional look - in steps infogr.am, it wasn't easy to see how I would get the chart onto my blog but I went with embedding the HTML in the end and sharing on my pinterest too, wonder what followers will make of it. 

Well I've learned something new - not least that an adult sized hat takes on average just under 7000 stitches to make errrr! Dread to think what a sweater would be!

Linking up with eskimimi makes: 4KCBWDAY3

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

KCBW Day 2 Mascot Project

Yesterday I explained my choice of House of Bee for Knit and Crochet Blog Week 2013, today I'm going to talk through my process for creating a Mascot that embodies that - you never know I may even make it too (see how time flies!!!).

I have a notepad next to my usual knitting spot and when I head out to knit and natter I normally take it with me too, here's my starting point for my Bee Mascot - just thoughts and images to get me going.

Next, I googled Bee and checked out some images and articles to get me thinking, this led me to the BGF (Bee Guardian Foundation - not the BFG, Big Friendly Giant as I keep seeing when I look at those letters)


And it led me to this article about my very own home city that I'd not even heard about (ok it was last year , but still I get the local paper each weekend and I do read it through). It was a project in Gloucester to plant a minimum of 2000 bee friendly trees called Bee: Inspired - how very cool.

I like to design accessories, mainly because they are small enough to keep my interest and I've not yet delved into the garment sizing issue with them. I know I'll make something but what?

Very spooky co-incidence but the very first bumble bee I've seen this year has literally just buzzed indoors attracted by my sons stripy ball they've brought in. Ok, now I know I have to make whatever it is I land on!

A thought has just popped into my head - how about the Bee:nie, there is one similarly titled on Ravelry but I'm looking at making something, a little more subtle I think:

Thoughts:

Reversible
One Piece
Hive Side
Flower top Side
Bee Button/Badge / embroidered on?
Hive - alternating honeycomb effect stitch and garter lines (decreases in garter lines)
Flower, Intarsia flower top?, start this side and increase up to ribbed Brim, then down on hive side?

Thats as far as my thoughts have gone so far anyway - more later in the week when/if I start making it up.

Linking up with Eskimimi Makes: 4KCBWDAY2

Monday, 22 April 2013

Basic Finger Bobs...


FREE Pattern for Cute finger puppets that you can whip up a handful in a couple of evenings, using leftover scraps, they look great in solids and variegated shades alike. The possibilities for different looks with fun yarns is endless. 

A great project for beginners as minimal techniques used: Knit Front and Back Cast on Cast off Sewing upKnit 2 Together 
Make them in your team colours or personalise the heads by sewing on yarn in your child's hair colour.
No specific gauge given, test knit a body and wrap around your finger - if you feel you want it a bit tighter, drop a needle size or sew up with a larger seam. If you need more room, add on 2 stitches to the cast on number until it feels right for you.
The 1 side A4 written pattern is available:

Linking up with Eskimimi Makes: 4KCBWDAY1

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week 2013 - Choose your house

I'm joining in with KCBW 2013, the brainchild of Eskimimi Makes. Todays blog quest is to a la Harry Potter choose my allegiance to an appropriate House and explain my reasons why - I have chosen:

The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest

The other options were, Peacock, Manatee and Monkey and whilst I see a little of them all in me (fun loving, calm, sparkly etc.) the Bee felt truer to my knitting persona.

I have not been blogging super regularly for a while and it's because I've been busy creating items and trying to be the best stay at home mum possible all at the same time. I very much have to flit between the things I choose to do in MY time and according to my level of interest will determine how much of it gets done!

Later on today I'm loading up a new free pattern for something that suited my sense of creativity and also allowed me to make something to entertain my children with in the 6 week summer holiday this year. I'm preparing a crafting/creative/exploratory storm for them so they can be busy bees too.

My vote has been cast - where would you be?

Linking up with Eskimimi Makes: 4KCBWDAY1

Friday, 19 April 2013

Skipping...

Just because - he was trying so very very hard!

Preparing for take off
Almost there
Feet off the ground but rope not yet round

Lots more time to practise though! I need it, kept getting very tangled - glad I didn't hand the camera over to him to snap me x

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Swinging...

Again, just because - our new play park has been completed, it's great for all ages and on this occasion we went after dinner for a quick play before bedtime, it was full of teens having a great time, climbing, gas bagging and having a kick-about - and they were all so considerate of my two much smaller boys.
The boys wanted to use the bucket swing above, it was already being enjoyed by 6 girls and when the boys asked very nicely if they could have a turn in a bit each one hopped off straightaway and even said how nice it was to be asked so politely!

Glad to see we don't have to believe the press, they're clearly not all bad - far from it.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Gift for Ruby...


A 'playground' friend has recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl to the world, I don't know many knitters who could resist the chance to make a quick, small something - myself included! So, a basic beanie and pair of slip on shoes in a non-girly denim blue but prettied up with a button corsage... Think the beanie is a Debbie Bliss pattern and the shoes are a take on Saartjes booties both can be found on Ravelry but I've made so many now they are second nature and I'm sure I've altered things along the way - 6-9mth size in time for the UK's Autumn/Winter.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Easter on the way...

If you're looking for a sweet gift to give this Easter there's still plenty of time to whip up a whole brood of chicks. A great stash buster using oddments of DK yarn, felt and thread. A "cheeper" alternative to bigger easter eggs when you fill them with the smaller fondant/caramel filled treat eggs that are everywhere in the shops at the moment.

The pattern is available here