WonderWool Wales 2017

I can’t believe it’s a month already since Wales’ premier woolly event, the Wonderwool Wales show!   Me & Cy packed up our cameras & tardis-like shopping bags, raided the cashpoint and donned our best me-made crochet wearables, landing at the Royal Welsh showground in Builth around 10.30am.  THREE giant halls packed with all kinds of displays and GORGEOUS STUFF awaited us!

Some of the local Guild Group’s work We saw plenty of real ones too but only this sheep was up for a photo opportunity with Cy Felt fish!  I loved this rug-making technique using scraps of wool fabric rolled up like swiss rolls, although I couldn’t quite work out how all the sections were joined together!This amazing piece is a hand-knitted map of Llandysul, home to the National Wool Museum.  (Spot the me-made crochet jumper No. 2, finally finished just in time for summer, oh well…) I loved all the tiny little details, SO much work has gone into this beautiful pieceThere didn’t seem to be so much crochet on display as I would have liked, although to be honest we didn’t get round the whole thing so I may well have just missed it.  My fave was the vibrant colours and varied textures of Jane Crowfoot’s ‘Sunshine and Showers’ blanket Since we are now both totally hooked on needle felting we had a field day rummaging through piles of beautiful wool tops and I came home with a bulging bag full, as well as some gorgeous yarn for next winter’s first jumper project.  All in all a Grand Day Out – the sun shone, we met up with friends, had a yummy Polish Cuisine lunch and talked about crafts all day long!  Perfect… Already dreaming of next year’s…

Wishing you all a Wonderful Weekend 🙂

 

Winter Crochet Report

Winter is ALMOST over, hurray! And it’s feeling pretty spring-like here: the crocuses are out even if it IS still a bit chilly.  But I have braved the March winds and emerged from my hibernation, and I thought I’d begin by sharing with you some of my finished crochet projects from the dark months…

So, first up, YES, I did finish the purple alpaca jumper!  And I have worn it to death ever since!  It’s very warm and snuggly without being too weighty, which is exactly what I wanted.  It did look pretty smart when first completed but it’s already begun to pile rather disappointingly (shall I name names, Drops Alpaca yarn??) as you can doubtless see from these pictures.   Hopefully this will be temporary!  I pretty much followed a freebie pattern from African Expressions (download HERE, code 6006) using my trusty size F hook.  However their tension square/size guide made no sense to me whatsoever so I just measured an existing jumper and worked it out for myself.  My main other changes were to leave the bottom 3″ of the side seams free (tunic-style) and add two rows of the shell edging from the bottom to the sleeve cuffs as well.  I am chuffed to bits that I can make wearable jumpers and am now working on No.2!Inspired by this success, I decided to have a go at something lacey and complicted!  Ages ago I was given a skein of beautiful hand-dyed Araucania Botany Lace yarn and I’ve been pondering what to make with it ever since.  This Whole New Concept of crocheting my own clothes, plus the revelation that lightweight things can keep you warm led me to alight on THIS PATTERN by Girlie’s Crochet for a sassy bolero-shrug-type thing. The pattern actually looks more complex than it is, and because you join-as-you-go the squares, it turned out to be quite a quick make.  It also turned out that a 100g/415m skein was about 5g short of what I needed!  So: VERY many thanks to my lovely friend M. who came up with something suitable from her stash for me for the edging!  I think the contrasting yarn works rather nicely don’t you? – And I’m especially chuffed with the little shamrock ends on the ties!Now I bet you’re wondering what became of that marathon project, my take on Attic 24’s Cosy Stripe, the Boho Blanket?Whoo-Hoo!!  Finished just after Xmas, so yay, I DID achieve my aim of getting it on my bed before the year was out!I do totally love the way this turned out, with it’s sumptuous mini-granny-square border, finished with a combi of Cosy Blanket edging and a dinky picot.  The colours feel so gloriously gorgeous and it brightens up my dingy bedroom so much!  For the record it took ONE HUNDRED AND SIX squares to go right around this blanket and no, I will NOT be making another one.  EVER…And while we’re on the subject of squares, I have also spent very many an evening hook in hand engrossed in some DVD or other, and turned out yet another bunch of these to send off to KAS-CareI’ve been experimenting with making super-chunky squares by crocheting a thinnish yarn in one colour together with lots of odds and ends of other colours and weights.  These were done with a size G (4.25mm) hook and are great stash-busters!  (I think of them as my ‘Blake’s 7 squares’ as they took me the whole of Season 1 do…)Not content with sending them my own squares, I also unearthed some my mum had made aeons ago and offloaded passed on to me, together with a big bag of yarn.  So I had fun adding extra borders to make them up to size and into the parcel they go!I hope you’ve all had a cosy winter and are ready to venture forth into Spring!  As usual I have more projects lined up for this year than I will ever finish in a lifetime, but hey at least I’ve got plenty to choose from!

Wishing you all a very cheery week 🙂

Winter crochet projects

Brr, I don’t know about you but it’s FREEZING here in the Marches at the moment!  This morning the water in the top of my rain barrel was frozen solid, and it didn’t thaw out all day.  Times like these, the best place to be is snuggled on the sofa with some cosy winter crochet projects.  And since it is properly cold now, my creative thoughts seem to be rather pre-occupied with making things to keep me warm!

Remember about a year ago, when I started an Attic 24 Cosy Stripe blanket project for myself?  And then I saw this lovely version with a granny square border and was inspired to do something similar?  Uh-huh…  Well, it took me about 2 months to crochet the blanket, and I am STILL working on the border!  In fact I Lost the Will with this project over the summer, but recently I’ve picked it up again and have now made what I HOPE is all the granny squares, so maybe it will even be finished and on my bed before the year is out, who knows…?!somanysquaresNow, another past project with which I Lost The Will was my first attempt at crocheted clothing – the granny square ENORMO-CARDIE, way back in Feb 2014.  It’s taken me quite a while to get over that particular disaster, but I thought I’d have another go, this time at a nice simple jumper.  And it’s coming along rather well, as you can see!  Watch this space for a WhooHoo any day now!purplealpaca1

Right, that’s it – the sofa is beckoning…

Wishing you all a very warm & cosy week 🙂

Stirring from Hibernation

helleboresWell Helloooo!!  What’s that you say, winter’s nearly over??  Time to wake up?!  Hang on let me just rub the sleep out of my eyes…

Ah yes, it has been a while, hasn’t it?  But I wasn’t asleep for the entire winter, I promise.  I may have spent most of my evenings cosying up on the sofa during Nov/Dec/Jan, but I was crocheting like a Demon while I was there!  The Boho Blaket is my take on the Attic 24 Cosy Stripe.  I started it back in November and it’s now actually finished, stripe-wise.  But I was inspired by Kathryn of Crafternoon Treat’s version and decided I want to add a granny square border, so there’s still some way to go before I do a full ‘WhooHoo’ post on that one!blanket&squaresI had a day out back in January, visiting the lovely town of Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire.  The main highlight was the Aladdin’s cave of yarny goodness that is Sheepish, where I splashed out on some very funky sock yarn.  sockyarnNow, I haven’t knitted socks for over 20 years, when me and my fellow hippies used to knit with multiple strands of DK on chunky needles to keept our feet from freezing in our trucks and busses in the winter!  But having read Lucy’s blog post on the subject, I decided to have a go with this modern new sock yarn and Winwick Mum’s pattern.  And yay, look!  Socks!  Well, OK: Sock.  And a bit.  I guess this is just a Whoo, for now.  Yes I know it looks a bit stumpy, ‘cos I have very small feet – I made the right length but it’s a bit baggy around the foot to be honest.  But not bad for a first go, I reckon.onesockAnd then suddenly it was February, and the rain stopped, and I felt the urge to be sewing again.  A while back, Béa’s Sewing Adventures posted about 2015 being her year of ‘Total Sewing Fail’ and I commented that it had been pretty much the same for me.  I could write a whole other post about why, but one reason was that I’ve not sorted out a proper sewing space since moving to this house.  So the first thing I needed was a decent table.  And then my lovely friend Jas (she of the amazing Vintage Pattern collection) gave me the most brilliant table, that was sitting up in her loft!  It’s sturdy and HUGE (in this pic only one of the extensions is pulled out!), so I’ve basically just cleared the front of my living room for it and decided that this is now my sewing space.  I’ve got some shelves to go up on the wall to the right, and I think you’ll agree that with maximum light from the bay window it’s a pretty good set up.sewingspaceFeb16bAnd yes, I HAVE been sewing!  Cutting out is SO easy!  In fact I’ve almost finished making something, more soon, but here’s a sneak peek.  Oh wow, just LOOK at that retro-tastic fabric…skirtcuttingSo it looks like hibernation is over, and various winter projects are nearly finished.  Good thing too ‘cos the garden is going to need some serious work very soon!

Wishing you all a bright happy week 🙂

All about October

metalsculpture1

Ola!  A little late, but I’ve been laid up with the cold-lurgie that seems to be sweeping the nation this last week, so let’s go back in time and I’ll show you some of the highlights of my October…

Earlier in the month I visited the outdoor sculpture exhibition Out of Nature at Newport House in Almeley, just a few miles from here.  Not only were there some brilliant and inspiring sculptures, but the setting and the lovely gardens were a real treat as well.  The driftwood sculptures by Heather Jansch (below) and filigree metalwork by Aragorn Dick Read (above) were amongst my favourites…driftwoodhorses…but I also loved the huge ‘land sculpture’ by The Cart Shed community, made entirely from fruits, seeds, leaves, and other natural ‘harvest’ goodies.  This is just a small detail, the colours and textures were wonderful and I although I took dozens of photos, none really do it justice!harvestsculpture

…So yeah, all that fresh air and walking about makes a girl hungry, y’know? – Good thing I still had some of my own harvest left!  Fresh basil pesto with the last of the tomatoes was VERY yummy this month…heypesto

…as mentioned in my last post I finished my latest blanket project, the Late Summer ripple blanket, around the middle of October.  I loved every stitch of this project, a gift for my dad, who was over the moon to receive it – it really has been a joy!  (And yes, I am already planning another blanket!)…finishedblanket…just before I came down with the lurgie and the weather turned to mist and drizzle, I did manage to get over to my local woods in time for an eyeful of the beautiful acers as they did their spectacular autumn thing…ParkWoodMaples2…whilst in my own garden, the cosmos and sunflowers put on one last dazzling display…cosmos&sunflowers…so, now the clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in, and it’s time to start making things for the Xmas Craft Fair!  This year I’ve been using up my yarn stash on some stripey kids’ hats, I’ll show you more of these when they’re finished…hats…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because there’s still fireworks, trick-or-treat, dressing up and PUMPKINS to be had!  Oh yes, I do so LoVe Halloween!pumpkinlantern

I hope you’ve all had a bright and breezy month, have a cosy colourful weekend 🙂

 

Whoo-Hoo! Late Summer Ripple Blanket!

finished1

I did it!  The Late Summer ripple blanket was finished the weekend before last, with a couple of days to spare (and take some pictures this time!) before heading off to visit my folks.  75 stripes of Dad-Pleasing Gorgeousness – hurray!bedspread finishedI presented it to my dad the next day, and he was VERY chuffed!  As usual, he’d completely forgotten that he’d ever mentioned liking the Purple Waves blanket and asking for one in shades of orange, and my mum had kept it quiet, so it came as a real surprise to him when I handed it over.  He loved the colours and told me later it was one of the nicest presents anyone had ever given him.  Aaah…  I’m SO pleased!border2

So, for all you blanket-makers out there, I used the following eight shades of Stylecraft special DK: Citron; Saffron; Sunshine; Gold; Jaffa; Spice; Copper; Matador.  The finished blanket covers a double bed, although I actually made it to fit a single bed with lots of additional wrap-around, snuggle-room.  I began with a Ch 213, and worked 75 stripes of 2 rows each, beginning and ending with Jaffa.

border1

I wanted a nice colourful border, so I did the rows of trebles on the long sides of the blanket in Sunshine, then filled in the ripples top and bottom and continued along the sides with a row of sc in Jaffa.  Finally, I did two rows of sc all around the border in Copper to finish off.corners1

I really like the nice ‘crisp’ finish that the two rows in the darker colour gives – I did the same on the Blue Waves blanket as well.

This has been my quickest blanket make to date: I started it on 16 August and finished on 17 October!  It’s also been one of the most interesting, as this isn’t my usual colour palette and I wasn’t at all sure how they’d work together.  But I loved the way it turned out, and seeing my dad so happy was BRILLIANT!finished2

Thanks as always to Lucy at Attic24 for the patterns and tutorials, which you can find HERE and HERE.  If you’ve been thinking about having a go at blanket making, I urge you to have a go at the ripple blanket.  It’s very simple and satisfying to work, and such great fun to play around with different colour combinations.  You can’t go wrong!

Wishing you all a ripplin’ good weekend 🙂

 

Late summer colour: ripple blanket inspiration

SunflowerBorder

Around the middle of August, it always feels like the garden begins to move into a different ‘phase’, as the warm colours of late summer and early autumn really come into their own.Sunflowers1Just look at these fabulous sunflowers, towering cheerfully over everything, full of sunny yellows and rich browns!Sunflowers2

I love mixing flowers into the veg garden, too, and seeing the squashes and courgettes ripening amongst a jungle of nasturtiums is like finding secret treasure at the bottom of the gardenSquash&Nasturtiums1Squash&Nasturtiums3

Calendulas (pot marigold) are one of my favourite annuals, and this year they’ve been amazing, brightening the borders and veg garden with masses of yellow and orange bloomsCalendulas&Nasturtiums

So, if you remember, last December when I was working on my Purple Waves ripple blanket, my mum asked me for one in shades of blue – and so the Blue Waves blanket was conjured.  And my dad said he’d love to have one in shades of orange (his favourite colour), with maybe some reds and yellows mixed in.  I didn’t want to do Yet Another Mexican Sunset colour scheme, so I began by playing with graded stripes, from cream and pale yellow through orange to deep red.  But it looked a bit too subtle and ‘flat’, somehow; it just wasn’t getting my colour-mojo going!  It got me thinking though, about the grand riot of late-summer-garden colours that I love so much.Nasturtiums1Crocosmia

Oranges, reds, yellows, russets and browns – just looking at the calendulas and ripening tomatoes against the mellow brick of the old shed made me want a blanket full of these colours, all jumbled up together! Toms&Calendula

As with the other two blankets, I chose my yarn from the Stylecraft Special DK range and found all the colours I wanted.  I dropped the cream and deep red and added russet brown and gold instead.  I wanted it to be cheerful and colourful, but a bit more ‘masculine’ and, dare I say it, subdued than my usual psychedelic style!  Here’s a close-up of my final colour scheme ripples:CloseUpbest

I just finished stripe No 54 today, and lay it out on the bed for the first time.  Seeing all those colours working together is a real thrill!Stripe54

I only started this project just over a month ago, so I’m definitely getting quicker at this pattern!  It would be lovely to finish it in time for my next trip down to visit my folks in October.  By then, the summer colours will have faded and blankets will definitely be required!  But for now, I can still sit out in the garden some days and crochet away amongst the flowers, veg, and happy bees!Bee&Marigold

Wishing you all a warm and colourful weekend 🙂

I’m Back!

flowergardenHELLOOOO Blogosphere!!!  I’m back!  I have emerged from The Summer of Broken Technology at last!  First, my 3-days-out-of-warranty Canon Powershot (yes, I am Naming Names) camera broke; then my laptop died; then my strimmer collapsed as well.  As you can see from the length of the lawn in the above pic, taken with my trusty 9 year old Sony Cybershot (again Naming Names!).  What a ride!

Anyway thanks to our local Hero of a computer Wizard, my laptop at least has happily been restored & I’m back in business.  Oh, I have MISSED my little blog-world, and reading all my fave people’s blogs, too.  But don’t think I’ve been sat here pining away for Pinterest and iPlayer though, there’s been lots of crochet, gardenening, and out-and-abouting going on.  How about a quick picture round-up? – Go on, you know you want to!

Early in July, I went off for a long weekend retreat at Tir Heddwch led by Val Young.  Val is an incredibly talented artist, healer, and meditation leader, you can find out more about her work here.  A truly amazing, inspiring weekend…

TirHeddwchTeepee…I also finished the Blue Waves Blanket in time for a visit to my folks’ mid-July, so I was able to present it to my mum.  She was delighted with it and loved the colours, even the little bit of purple I sneaked in!  I didn’t get to take many pics due to the camera fiasco, but this is the finished article, just before it got packed up for the journey…bluewavesfinishedthe garden has really come into its own over July & August, and despite the slow start, the flower border has been looking pretty spectacular…gardenborders…while the veg garden has been feeding me extremely well!……veggarden…after finishing a crochet project, I always find there are lots of oddments of yarn left over.  What to do with them?  Well, these little solid granny squares from Attic 24 have used up my Purple Waves blanket leftovers, and were really nice to sit and do in the garden on sunny days…purplesquares…but I have my aunt to thank for another stash-busting inspiration.  In fact, my aunt is an inspiration in herself!  In her late 70s, with arthritis in both hands, she still knits squares for the wonderful orphan charity, KAS (Knit-A-Square).  If you haven’t come across these lovely folk before, do take a look at their website.  It’s not just knitters they want!  You can crochet squares for them too, like these in super-chunky yarn that work up in no time …KASchunkysquares…or why not try making something from one of their free patterns?  See if you recognise some of the yarn I’ve used here to make the pieces for a funky kids’ pullover…bluewavesfront…these are great little ‘portable’ projects to take out & about with you.  I’ve been off on a few dog-sitting weekends for some close friends this summer, and it’s been lovely to sit with a cup of tea, a basket of yarn, a soppy dog and THIS view (even though it’s mostly been raining whenever I’ve been there!)…BrynTeganview…of course small projects are great, but I can’t resist the lure of another blanket!  I’ll save the details for a separate post, but this might possibly be my BRIGHTEST blanket yet…

test&chain.jpgI hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer, and are looking forward to the bank holiday here in the UK, and a glorious autumn.  Thanks to all for bearing with me during my hiatus, it’s very good to be back!

Wishing you all a bright sunshiney week 🙂