Sunday, 7 August 2011

Moving on......

As I am finding it increasingly frustrating to use Blogger (it takes me far too long to make a post look 'pretty' and let's not even talk about adding photos......), I'm moving this blog over to Wordpress

From today, you can find me here

It will take me a few days to move everything over - but I look forward to seeing you all over at the 'new place' soon!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Crochet Mania

I've been completely bitten by the crochet bug - again! It's funny - I've always loved crochet, not least because it gives you quick results. But my love for it seems to come and go in waves - I can spent a whole week churning out squares and then touch my hooks for months.

Which might explain why this little blanket for SIBOL was started back in March and only finished yesterday:

Can you see my little helper in the bottom of the picture? Hee hee!

But that's not all - one of the ladies in the Knitting Goddesses group on Ravelry has recently 'discovered' crochet and was showing off her latest creations - rather funky scarves that let all the lovely colours of sock yarns show in all their glory. Cue me spending several happy hours browsing scarf and cowl patterns for all those yarns in my stash that have never really wanted to be socks.

One of these in particular was a gorgeous skein of Dream in Colour Stardust in a lovely mix of turquoises and blues, shot through with fine silver thread. I had tried to turn it into a knitted shawl, but I have now realised that these are really my thing (to either make or wear). So, on Sunday afternoon, I started this little cowl/neckwarmer - I only put time into on the bus to/from work and it's already done:

And I only used just under half of the skein - which means I've got plenty left for a matching pair of gloves (now those will be knitted - crochet gives too thick a fabric when making gloves - ask me how I know!)

But that's not all. Flushed with the success of my blanket, and in the hopes that the current hot weather will continue (which is not really conducive to major sock knitting....), I have decided to see if I can make a different granny square for each day of August. I'll be using my Jan Eaton book, as well as a new book that I got from Amazon (with 99 different patterns) as well as all the freebie patterns I've printed off the web in recent months.

Here are the first two - makes a nice change from blue :-)

NB: for future reference, I'll be using a 4mm hook with double-knit yarn and aiming for 6" squares (as they are going to SIBOL). If I need to make extra rounds, any crochet terminology that I use will be US terms

Square 31:1 - Bea's Flower Square, added 2 extra rounds of DCs

Square 31:2 - Spinner from Jan Eaton's 200 Blocks - no changes to pattern

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Trying to be good........ that things have calmed down a little (we're back from what was possibly the wettest, coldest 'summer' holiday I think I've ever had - but at least we got to eat Mum's cooking for a week - never a bad thing!), I'm trying to be good and finish up some projects before starting anything new.

I finished my Sam socks - the Sanguine Gryphon Kypria yarn is deliciously soft (unlike many merino/bamboo blends) and the colours are just dreamy....

I even had enough left over to make a little hat for my nephew - just hope it fits!

I did a fair bit of 'holiday knitting' - made good progress on my BFF socks, using the fabulous Sirius yarn from Barking Dog Yarns - I was concerned that the colours were hiding the cables, but now that I've finished the first sock, I'm not so worried. This is a very simple, straightforward pattern, with very little brain-power required - but strangely, I'm also finding it a little boring. Still, it's perfect for knitting on the bus, so I reckon I should have no problem getting the second sock finished by the end of August

Just before leaving for France, I also decided that it really was time I knit a pair for Miss A. There then followed an interesting conversation, where I offered her the choice of all kinds of beautiful colours (lilacy-blues, purples, greens - you name it, the colour was available). But no, Madam would ONLY consider a pair in pink - and the brighter the better! So, four days later, her wishes were granted - and she didn't take them off four the next two days (not surprising, given how cold it was.......)

Yes, one is a little longer than the other - because I was so distracted by being constantly asked when they would be finished, that I forgot to change needle sizes the way I had done on the first sock..... I also only used about 2/3 of the skein, so I guess there will be another pair in this appearing at some point in the future.

So now, for the rest of the summer, I'm going to concentrate on finishing up my outstanding pairs - such as this one, which I finished back in March, but haven't touched since......

I have another three (or is it four - really must go investigate all the bags in which my projects have taken up residence) pairs where I have completed the first sock. It's going to feel so good to get them all finished!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

On a roll.......

Having finished today's first layout, I thought I'd try and see what I could do with the same papers. They came from a coordinated page kit that I had put together some time (along with about 20 others - must get to those).

For the sketch, I picked a page at random from Ali Edwards' book "Designer's Eye 2", which I recently 'rediscovered' when doing a major tidy-up of my study.

I think the title says it all really. Also, I find it so hard to believe that there are 16 years between the two photos I used today........

Possibly the most special photo ever......

Today's first layout features a very special photo of Mr A and myself. I'm not sure I've told the story if how we met on here before, but we met at Uni in the late 80's and were actually best friends for over 10 years before we actually got together as a couple.

Those were the days when digital cameras / mobile phones were still quite far off in the distance - which goes part of the way to explaining why this is the ONLY photo I have of the two us from that time.

So here we are - dressed up in all our finery for the 1991 Midsummer Ball. This photo triggers so many memories / emotions:

1. It was a great night, enhanced by the fact that we all knew it was the last time we'd all be together in this way

2. Mr. A had just found out he'd missed getting a First class degree by a ludicrously small amount....I would still have to wait another 3 weeks for my results (but at least the exams were over!)

3. I was wearing my first 'designer' outfit - a luscious, strapless dress by Valentino in black velvet with a wide, emerald green satin sash that was tied in a bow. The dress was bought specially for the occasion from an awesome shop in Brighton's Lanes, courtesy of my wonderful Daddy. And if any of you wonder about my dress sense, remember this was the tag-end of the 80s when a lot of fashion faux-pas were made.....

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Anyone for Thickers?

If I had to choose my favourite 'bit' of scrapbooking stash, it would have to be letters. You name it: rub-ons, die-cuts, stickers - any kind of alphabet and it has to be mine! And my particular favourite has to be the Thickers ranges from American Crafts. Unfortunately, they are not exactly cheap.....

So, imagine my delight when I found a seller on eBay who was selling off her stash of Thickers - there were all kinds and even though some of them were part-used, at £4 for a set of 8-10 sheets, they were an amazing bargain. I had to fight off some fairly stiff competition, but nothing much was going to stop me!

This morning, I went to the Post Office, and picked up a HUGE box which contained this gorgeous lot of scrummyness:

Yep, 42 sheets of Thickers! Guess who's a happy girl today?

Even better, I've already made use of some of them:

Friday, 17 June 2011

The Weasleys go to Canada

And the 14th pair for 2011 are done - these are going to my colleague Jo, who is having a really rough time at the moment, and spending 3-4 nights a week in a hotel - hopefully these will help bring a little 'home' comfort to her.....

Pattern: Weasley Homestead by Erica Lueder
Yarn: Claudia Handpainted in Maple Leaf (do you get it now? LOL!)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


No, I haven't come over all religious - but I HAVE finally finished the *insert expletive* Rhombus socks:

Don't get me wrong: I love the colour and the yarn was delightful to work with. But it was such a slog to keep going with these - lots of twisted stitches, cross-over cables and picking up new stitches - just doing 6 rows (or less) was enough to give me a headache. And to cap it all, I'm not actually convinced about the final product....... In fact, I'm thinking of giving them away - but that would require finding some who a) has the same size feet as me and b) would appreciate the amount of work that has gone into them.

So maybe I should just put them in the sock drawer and hope I like them once autumn comes around again?

Friday, 3 June 2011

Sketch of the week

Every Wednesday, Shimelle posts a sketch of the week - a good way of getting the creative juices going - even if the final result turns out quite differently

This was the sketch for this week:

Which Shimelle turned into this:

And here's my take - a full double layout :-)

A few details:

Even Mr. A likes it!

Washi, washi!!!

So, I'm rapidly getting back into the swing of things scrapping-wise. Having browsed lots of different crafty blogs recently, I've noticed that lots of people are getting excited about washi tape - best description I can think of is that it is a kind of Japanese masking tape which comes in lots of pretty colours/designs. Now, because it comes from Japan, it's not exactly cheap.....I also didn't really want to risk buying entire rolls of the stuff, in case I didn't like / couldn't make it work.

So imagine my happiness when I found this fab shop on Etsy - and imagine my even greater happiness and excitement when the postie squeezed this through the letter box today:

And what was inside, I hear you ask?
28 little wooden spools of washi tape - in all the colours of the rainbow :-) So, if you don't hear from me for a while, you know what I'll be doing.........

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Knitting update

I finished my 12th pair for 2011 last night - which means I'm still ahead of my target :-) These were great fun to knit - the pattern is Rudy Got Sole by Amy Klimt, using Claudia's Handpainted sock yarn in the John B. colourway. Must get some more of this stuff - I love the rich, saturated colours and it knits up beautifully.

It will be interesting to see how June goes - I'm 'supposed' to start the June socks for the Knit.Sock.Love KAL (I'm substituting Sam for Stricken - can't face all those cables right now.....) and I also want to knit Yarnissima's Gush mystery sock for the Solid Socks group. However, I also have FIVE pairs of socks already on the needles, on which I really must make some progess.....

First up, there is Rhombus from Knit.Sock.Love - these are taking foreeeeevvverrr. I've finished the 1st sock, and the leg on the 2nd - really hope they will be worth all the work, because I'm totally not feeling the love right now...

Then there is the May Mystery sock from the Knitting Goddess group - I'm making these using a skein called Heather Trio (bought way back in 2009 would you believe?). Again, these are going slowly - I've only done the 1st clue on both brain doesn't seem able to cope with charts at the moment. There is no real deadline for these, so maybe I'll just let them 'rest' for a bit....

I then have a pair of SKA mystery socks that have been hibernating since March (these are the same pattern as the red/brown ones that Mum claimed as her forthcoming Christmas present)

I don't have photos of the fourth (Tresse Socks by Nicole Masson aka Stefanina, using Angels & Elephants sock yarn in the Mevagissey colourway) and fifth (Solid Socks March Mystery socks by Lisa Stichweh using a lovely delphinium blue from Patons) pairs - but that's because I haven't really made enough progress to justify getting the camera out......

UPDATE: I did indeed cast on the Gush socks :-) I couldn't decide between three shades of blue, so Mr A helped me pick this: Knitting Goddess Merino 4ply in Hyacinth:

Aren't they the most gorgeous colour???

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

You won't believe it........

....but I've actually been scrapping! I know, I'm still pretty amazed about it myself!

By my calculations, it's been about 3 years since I did full layout. Not good, especially given a) how much pleasure I got out of it and b) how many photos I have accumulated in that time. There were all sorts of reasons why I stopped, but the main one was that it was absolutely impossible for quite a long period of time to devote myself to something that meant separating myself from a small person - ever tried sitting in a separate room from an inquisitive toddler who totally breaks your concentration by a) wanting to know what you're doing and b) wanting to 'help'? Trust me, it's not possible. That's one of the joys of knitting - it can be done in the same room as the small person

Anyway, my mojo / inspiration has recently returned in a major way, triggered by three things: Shimelle Laine, one of my favourite designers has been posting some awesome weekly sketches. Then the naughty girl mentioned Pinterest a few weeks back - if you don't know about it already, go check it out - it's the most awesome online tool for helping you keep track of all the lovely photos that can be found on the web, be they crafty things, interior design, colour schemes, you name it. It is simply the best thing to come to interweb in simple ages

And the final trigger for this return to inspiration? The arrival in February of my totally adorable, cute as pie, little nephew Alexander. I know I'm biased, but he is just the sweetest little baby with the sunniest, happiest of natures - and he's got the most adorable dimples too! His parents are holding a naming ceremony for him in a fortnight, so here is how I've been spending my Wednesdays for the last few weeks - a paper bag mini album:

- the afore-mentioned dimples :-)

- chilling with his Mummy

- see that gorgeous smile?

- and lastly, one for all you Fawlty Towers fans (this is a bit of inside family joke - my sister was a massive Fawlty Towers fan and used to do the most hilarious impression of Manuel.......):

I've actually done four more pages, but these are the ones I'm most happy with. It's been sooo wonderful getting back to this fabulous hobby - choosing the photos, the papers and embellishments - seriously, this much fun really shouldn't free!

I think it's safe to say that you'll be seeing lots more scrapping projects in the near future :-)


As you know, I have a bit of a passionate love affair with Hazel Knits yarn - I've made three (or is it four?) pairs of socks with Artisan Sock now. And of course, I've joined the HK club for the last 3 shipments, so I have plenty more to play with :-)

Anyway, I recently got a message from Viki, who 'runs' the Hazel Knits blog, asking if she could feature my Mona socks.....once I'd picked myself up off the floor, I said yes (of course!).

So my lovely blue socks are now reaching a wider audience! Check it out here

P.S. I haven't been ignoring the blog - I've just been super busy. And......I've been scrapping again! More details soon, I promise!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

May madness

It's the start of a new month, and you know what that means, don't you? Yep - new socks!

To be honest, I might just have bitten off more than I can chew this month......after all, I've still got the Mermaid socks, the 2nd pair of Monas and the 2nd pair of March mystery socks still on the go as well. Hmmm.....maybe I should finish a pair before starting new ones? Nah! what's the fun in that?

First up, this month's pattern for the Knit.Sock.Love KAL is Rhombus - pretty damn complicated to be honest, but I'm making good progress (I'm at the heel flap now so quite a bit further on than when this picture was taken):

I'm using the gorgeous lilac-coloured Hero sock yarn that I received in the Secret Santa Swap I took part in last December - it comes from Flamboyance Yarns. Go take a look - they have the most gorgeous, one-off colourways in all kinds of lovely fibre mixtures.

Next up, the theme of Sock Knitters Anonymous is 'textured' - i.e. producing texture using knit and purl stitches. I've chosen to use some of my favourite yarn - Claudia Handpainted - in the John B. colourway and using the Rudy Got Sole pattern (will be a nice, mindless break from Rhombus!):

And last, but not least, we have the May Mystery pattern from the Knitting Goddess group. I'm using the Heather Trio colourway that I bought waaay back when I first discovered Joy's yarns. I was a bit uncertain as to whether the colours were hiding the pattern, but I love the diagonal stripes so much, I'm going to continue regardless!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Not green!

I forgot! One pair of completed Monas, using Hazel Knits Artisan sock in Cloudy Day. This was one of the December 2010 club colours - I wasn't a member at the time, but was lucky to find a skein for trade

I enjoyed knitting this pattern so much, I've already started another pair - this time I'm using Barking Dog Yarns' Sirius sock yarn in Sonoran Desert:

P.S. See our pretty little pansies and violas in the background, hiding behind the blue Monas? The garden is coming up really nice after all the recent sunshine. Now, if we can just keep the slugs away........


It's been a busy couple of weekends! Having had a very intense month-and-a-half at work, I decided that I merited a wee break - one of the joys of working part-time is that I only need to take a few days leave to have a good spell away from the office. This, combined with all the lovely Bank Holidays we've just had recently (there was the four-day Easter weekend, followed by another four-day weekend courtesy of the Royal Wedding and May Day), meant that I've just had almost two weeks off - can't remember the last time that happened!

I took Miss A to 'chocolate heaven' (aka Brussels) for Easter weekend - a great opportunity to spend some quiet/quality time with both her and my parents. One of my oldest (and bestest) friends was also there - a great excuse for a reunion over a lovely Easter Sunday brunch and an easter egg hunt!

Just before we left London, I had managed to finish a little pair of socks for my friend's daughter, who just happens to share the same birthday as Miss A. I've given her mummy a few pairs now - and she's apparently been fascinated (and just a little jealous!). Time to redress the balance then!

I even have enough left (i.e. half the skein!) to make a pair for Miss A - in fact, she's getting quite desperate for a new pair, so I really must get a move on.....

Miss A had a special pair of bunny ears just for the occasion (yes, she has an easter egg planted firmly in her cheek!)

As you might be able to tell from the photos, we had the most amazing weather - I'm pretty sure it got to 30 degrees on the Sunday afternoon. A perfect excuse to sit on the terrace and run up a few crochet squares for SIBOL - amazing how many you can get from just a few balls of wool!

Then it was back to London for a few days of 'peace' and quiet before all the madness of the Royal Wedding. Miss A woke me on the morning of the Big Day at 6am, asking if it was time yet......thank goodness the BBC started broadcasting at 8am! But seriously, even though I'm hardly a supporter of the monarchy, it was a great show - the bride looked stunning, the couple looked so happy, and the crowds were pretty amazing. All in all, a great day!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Someone's been using my camera again........

......funny the photos you find on your camera when you've left if within easy reach for a few minutes!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Teddy Bear's Picnic

Look what I found when I walked into the living room this afternoon:

I just love the way she's lined all the animals up in straight lines......... :-)

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Trio of Mysteries

I finished my first pair of SKA March Mystery socks on Tuesday night - these were already claimed by Mum during her visit last week. Which means I've already finished my first present for Christmas 2011 - mwah ha ha ha!! The colour is proving amazingly hard to photograph - but hopefully you get a good idea of the strawberry pinks, coral reds and mushroom browns:

I immediately started a 2nd pair for me (well, it's actually the 3rd pair as I have another one on the needles in a mix of browns and greens). That naughty skein of Dream in Color Smooshy (in Some Summer Sky) is finally behaving itself. Isn't it pretty?

The final part of the trilogy is this rather gorgeous design, Summer Blooms by Marcy Vandale. It's the April/May mystery sock for the Solid Socks group. I'm using Fleece Artist Sea Wool in a gorgeous shade of raspberry pink. It's a strange design - seems like a really slow knit, but actually goes very fast. I'm using 2.25mm needles for this one, as I wanted to see just how much firmer the fabric would be than with 2.5mm needles. I only have one circular needle in that size, which means I'll be forced to take this project nice and slow - makes a change :-)

My final contribution to the SKA March / Lace challenge month are these:

This is another yarn (Juno Fibre Arts Buffy Sock in 'Passion') that has been a little 'naughty' - I've tried knitting a shawl and a different pair of socks, with no luck. Don't get me wrong, I love this stuff: the colours are amazing, it's soft and squishy. The problem is that it's a little on the thin side, and I don't do so well with those. Case in point: these socks were supposed to be for my sick colleague (the one I made the uber-bright rainbow socks for, which never reached their destination.......) and they have come out waaaay too small for any full-grown adult. Thankfully, they will fit my best friend's 9-year-old daughter perfectly, so no trips to the frog pond this time around.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin