Zig and Zag

Craft | Thursday September 22 2011 | 11:10 pm | Comments (5) | Tags: , , , , |

Hello again! I’ve been a bit bad at blogging again haven’t I!! I look back on last autumn when I took part in Blogtoberfest and managed to blog every day for a whole month and didn’t resort (too much I hope) to writing nonsense. How do I get things back on track? No idea!

I have been busy though and that’s one reason I have come back today. Last week I finished a baby blanket I have been working on and have presented it to its intended recipient and so I can now share the details. Well, when I say ‘intended recipient’ that’s not quite accurate. The baby it’s for isn’t due for another 10 days yet but I won’t see the baby’s mummy for a while as I don’t know when I will be back in Scotland in the next month or two. So when I was there last week I went to see Kerry, my sister in law’s sister in law! Work that one out… my brother’s wife’s brother’s wife!! (is that punctuaton correct – I’m not sure!)

There are loads of rippley blankets around but I wanted something with a bit more of a well defined pattern, so I chose a zig-zag pattern and found one on on Caron which was just what I wanted. I used Sirdar Calico which has a lovely weight and finish and it is really easy to work with – not at all splitty. And the colours it’s available in were perfect! Oh, probably most important for the end user – machine washable. In the end I used approximately 1 and half balls of each shade repeating each colour just twice. One of the things I really love about this pattern is the ribbed texture from crocheting into the back loop at all times. Also there is a little hole at the top of every zig (or zag?) which gives it an interesting finish too.

Want to see more? All of these pictures were taken when the blanket was pinned out for blocking. (more…)

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A call to arms!

Craft | Monday July 18 2011 | 2:33 pm | Comments (2) | Tags: , , , , |

There has been a lot of talk of yarn bombing recently.  It keeps popping up when I least expect it, but then I guess that’s part of what it’s all about! 

First my cousin’s shop, The Dress Exchange in Kilmarnock, got yarn bombed in the cutest way by the Pixie Knitter, who leaves pretty knitted gifts around the area in the dead of night!:

(Picture courtesy of The Dress Exchange)

Then a last minute night away in Hebden Bridge brought colourful knitted bunting, cakes and pom pom hats all over the town centre:

 

Within days of that I ran into local crafty gal Sarah from The Art of Moodling who is planning some yarn bombing, right here in south Manchester on 23rd July!  So get those needles and hooks out and dig out any old yarn that you just haven’t found a use for!  Details are on Sarah’s site, or drop me a line.  I can’t wait to share pics and details from the ‘bomb’ itself!

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Owls and Pandas

Random | Tuesday January 4 2011 | 9:50 pm | Comments (7) | Tags: , , , |

I thought I’d show you some of the lovely owl things that I was given in the past few weeks for my birthday and for Christmas.

I’m a lucky gal as my friends and family are very good at choosing gifts for me that I love.  And I love owls!  Just look at all these lovely, snuggly, gorgeous owls:

 

There’s a hot water bottle in an owl cover, lavender filled owls and a bright blue owl purse, as well as the cutest owl cards.

I especially love the hot water bottle.  I’m a massive fan of hot water bottles and take one to bed on all but the hottest nights of the year.  I know that might sound mad, but I love to be cosy in my bed.

Now, while I’m on the subject of animals, there’s another that I have a fascination with.  I can’t in truth say its a love fascination, more like a strange curiosity!  Am I the only one in the world that finds pandas a bit weird?  Caveman gave me this hugging panda salt and pepper set:

They have such strange block markings and they bumble around eating bamboo shoots while looking really quite sad! 

If it ever came to light that pandas aren’t actually real I wouldn’t be at all surprised.  You heard it here first!

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Welcome 2011…

Blogging,Craft,Random | Saturday January 1 2011 | 12:12 pm | Comments (5) | Tags: , , , , |

Are you feeling that anticipation of a fresh, new year starting?  I’d love to say I was but I just can’t get it.  Maybe it will come, maybe not.  I’ve never been the biggest fan of new year.  I tend to think if things are to change then why wait until a landmark date.  The last few months have been pretty tough for me and my family, and will be for a few months yet, so maybe our fresh start will be later in the year.

But until then there is still plenty to do.  There’s always crochet and now that I have more time on my hands I will have more time to do the things I enjoy, which can’t be a bad thing, can it?

So what will I be doing with that time:

  • I have signed up and paid up to be in Jane Crowfoot’s Crochet Club, starting later in January.  I am really excited about this and can’t wait to get started!

 

  • I am going to finish the granny stripe blanket from which I took an unplanned sabbatical for several months.

  • I want to get more involved in the crochet ‘community’ online.  I already read a lot of sites and blogs but intend to get more active and talkative.

 

  • Speaking of blogging, I fully intend to have a more regular presence right here.  It’s my place in the crochet community after all, so I plan to use it!

 

  • I have a Folksy shop account, and I might just open for business.  Being unemployed now I will be glad of any extra funds I can bring in.

 

  • Oh, I will see if I can find time to get myself a job too!

I hope I see you somewhere along the way!   X X

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Christmas Q&A

Random | Friday December 17 2010 | 8:15 pm | Comments (5) | Tags: , |

Hello and pre-Christmas greetings to you!  Hope the shopping, cooking, cleaning, travelling and wrapping is going well.

The picture above is my sister and I at Christmas time, I’m on the left.  I think that was Christmas 1975!!

I’ve not been around here much lately because I’ve been feeling a little out of the normal routine of things, for various reasons.  I have been enjoying some crochet but just not been writing about it.  This evening, however, Heather at Little Tin Bird shared lots of lovely details of her Christmas and invited others to do the same.  I thought it might be a nice post to get me into the festive mood and to get a blog  post out there after a bit of a sparse time.

So here is how a frou-frou Christmas shapes up:

20 Christmas Questions

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Wrapping paper, mainly.  I am quite a fan of gift wrapping and love beautifully wrapped gifts.  I love ribbons, bows, pleats etc and everything has got to match!  In fact, the Christmas after I left university many years ago I worked in a shop which sold many pre-wrapped gifts.  I was so good at it that it became my main task in the shop! 

2. Real tree or Artificial?

Always artificial.  I have never, ever had another type and wouldn’t know how to look after a real tree.  Don’t real ones have lots of beasties in them?

3. When do you put up the tree?

Nowadays, my tree goes up whenever I am organised enough to tidy up, make space for it and get it done.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen at a set time.

However, as a child we always has a very strict routine, every single year for the tree.  You see, its my birthday on 18th December and the tree always got put up on my birthday.  Part of that was probably because my parents didn’t want it up too early, but I loved it linked to my birthday.  If that was a school day my mum would have got everything out ready for us coming home from school to do it.

As well as that there were other linked birthday / Christmas traditions.  Firstly, boxes of Christmas crackers were always in boxes of 12 in those days and as there were 6 of us in my family (I have 3 siblings) we used to pull a set of crackers on my birthday.  It seems such a funny thing now but I always love my birthday dinner as a child.  Also my mum used to chose my birthday cards really early in December while the shops still had  their normal stock, before it was taken over by Christmas stock.  The cards were always put on a particular place when they were bought and it always made me smile when I saw them there.  My birthday cards stayed up in the house all over Christmas too.

4. When do you take the tree down?

I usually take it down and pack it away before I need to go back to work after new year.  By then the whole festive period seems to be over.

5. Favorite gift received as a child?

There are two gifts I particularly remember but to be honest I don’t know if they were birthday, Christmas or joint presents.  They were a sewing box, which my mum still uses now.  And when I turned 13 I got a camera.  There are some very funny pictures of me taken on that camera (normally by my sister) such as this one below.  In case you are wondering, that’s a paper bird on my head – I have no idea why but it probably made sense or seemed very funny at the time!

6. Hardest person to buy for?

In my family we don’t buy for everyone any more, but we buy for my mum and dad and the kids in the family.  I think my dad is the hardest person to buy for because if there are things he wants, needs or likes he tends to buy them for himself.  He has lots of hobbies and interests so it isn’t hard in itself, but finding something he doesn’t have already is tough.

7. Easiest person to buy for?

Caveman is very easy to buy for, particularly because he loves lots of fun things, which I like to get along with a main present.  I also really like to treat my mum.  I try to give her things she won’t buy myself as she is rather frugal and sensible!

8. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Mail! Simples!

9. Favorite Christmas Movie?

I don’t think I particularly love any actual Christmas movies, but I love many that are associated with Christmas: It’s a Wonderful Life, Meet me in St Louis, Wizard of Oz!

10. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

This year I feel like I was organised a lot earlier than normal but its normally during the month of December.

11. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Haha probably! Although I can’t remember details (or am I just being discreet in case people realise what I’ve done!!)

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

I am very naughty and eat a lot of rubbish at Christmas, normally.  However, I don’t drink alcohol so feel a little redeemed! I normally have quite a sweet tooth but since I was a little poorly a few weeks ago I haven’t got my appetite for sweet things back the same.  I like roast beef for Christmas dinner, and also love lots of cheese over the festive period.

13. Lights on the tree (colored or clear)?

Clear lights on tree.  I don’t like colour overload and have a bit of a thing about matching colours, so clear lights allow me to decorate the tree with the colours I love.

14. Favourite Christmas song?

One of my faves, although I can’t explain why, is ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’.  It seems to be in my head at this time of year.

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

I love to stay at home during holidays, it’s where I live after all!  However, my family, and caveman’s, are all in Scotland so we will be visiting over the festive period: weather permitting!!!

16. Angel, star or ribbon on top of tree?

I always have a star on top of my tree, just because I love stars!

17. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

If I could get away with it I would argue to open on Christmas eve, but that’s purely because I am very impatient and hate waiting for treats or surprises.  I have to admit though that I never understood any time other than Christmas morning.

18. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

I get really annoyed at how busy everything becomes!  Shops, parking, post office, supermarket! Goodness me it is crazy!!  There is also an associated rudeness which people develop too.  Chill people, it’s meant to be fun!

19. What do you want for Christmas this year?

Without sounding ever so virtuous, which I’m really not, there’s nothing I really ‘want’ but  I have seen some lovely things in the shops this year.  I am very lucky to have family and friends who know me very well and are very good at choosing well!

20. Traditional colors (red and green) or other colors?

My favourite Christmas colours are turquoise, silver and purple.  Not traditional I know.  Those are the colours of all my tree decorations.

So that’s my Christmas.  Tell me about yours!

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Crochet and Cookies

Random | Wednesday December 1 2010 | 7:25 pm | 1 Comment | Tags: , , , , , |

So the snow continues!!!  I’m resigned now to just sitting this out at my sisters and enjoying the break.  Nothing’s going to happen fast and when the snow does stop falling it will probably take a while to get the local roads clear enough to get out.

 

In the meantime I am starting to put my time to good use.  As I showed briefly last time, I have started crocheting here.  I never travel far without some sort of crochet and a few days away from home usually involves lots of options so I’m not forced to work on something I don’t feel like.  So I have rustled up a pair of wristwarmer mittens!  Just the thing for this weather obviously!  Pity they are not thermal, but hey, who needs thermal when there’s pretty!!!

The snowball is an optional extra!

I used Austerman Step sock yarn (shade 133) that I bought a month or two ago for just this job!  I did start with a 3.5mm hook but just didn’t like it so frogged it and used a 4mm which I’m much happier with.  Isn’t it funny how 0.5mm makes all the difference!  There’s no pattern, just a rectangle of crochet to fit the length and width of your hand / wrist, slip stitch up the sides leaving a gap for your thumb, then add a picot edge!

This morning the kids wanted to bake so my sister rooted around in the storecupboard and improvised a little and we made choc chip cookies.  The main improvisation was that the chocolate chips came from a left over Halloween lollipop and come Christmas chocolate coins.  They went down a treat with a cuppa when the job was done.  Happy kids, happy grown ups: and well fed too!!

From this:

… to this!  All in the space of 30 minutes!

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