Sunday, 27 May 2012

What a weekend!

What a lovely time I have had ... difficult not to with the glorious weather.  It's always a good start when someone else makes Friday tea and Dan made a lovely Thai curry with vegetarian Thai bites.

Saturday morning lie in with a cup of tea and too many wonderful books to choose from  ....

The walks have been stupendous.  Saturday a river walk ... with Rosie not sure whether she wanted to swim or not!!!

.. and Sunday Scout Scar in Kendal.  We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country with views like this 20 metres from the car!!

This is a wonderful walk because you get view of the fells all around but also the slate looks so wonderful against the trees and grass ... almost prehistoric.

The flowers are so lovely at the moment both the flowers inside ....

... and the lovely aliums in the garden

I've spent some time making up my first ever jelly roll; moda strawberry fields

I've done nothing fancy just the absolute basics, but so far it looks like this ... a picnic quilt and a couple of cushions.  Actually this is a bit of a cheat because this isn't a quilt as yet, just a topper at the moment.    More photos when it's finished.

The weekend also saw the emergence of a rabbit  ....

and finally, dressed for a spring day ...

What more can you ask of a weekend; sunshine, family, knitting, sewing, reading, eating (the odd glass of wine) and still sitting in the garden at 9.00 p.m. with a bit of undemanding knitting

I have had a couple of balls of  Mille Colori for about a year.  I hadn't come up with a scarf pattern, then I saw a lovely pattern for a corkscrew scarf on Helen Philipps' lovely blog and that's what I'm knitting.  Really easy except for counting the 680 stitches you have to cast on!  More photos later.

Well that's enough for now and roll on next weekend.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Happy families

A very happy end to the week with Dan and Gemma home, and this time for over 3 months .... fantastic!    So we are all settling in together and today there was a lovely walk in the woods

I had bought a really sweet book during the week ...

...  which Gemma and I have really enjoyed and which led to us spotting and naming as many wild flowers on the walk as we could.  There were lots!  This is cow parsley.

My dining table looked like a craft shop this week, with lots of lovely wools and fabrics.  I bought my first jelly roll (Moda) and also ordered a couple of lots of wool, of which more later as I use them.  I finally have a stash of materials after usually just buying what I needed to use (not that I haven't plans for all this ... and actually the jelly roll is half-used already).  I feel like a child playing with my toys, handling the wool and putting the colours in different combinations.  You have to hold yourself back from just starting lots of new projects to use the new bits as they come in, but sticking to my rule of a maximum of 4 on the go in each area of crafting! 

Most of my crafting time has been spent knitting this week.  I've finished most of the bunny clothes, body, head and one ear, so it should be finished some time this week (though I've run out of wool and am waiting for more).    I love the colours and am just going to crochet a little flower for on the jumper.

I've also been enjoying the joys of reasonably priced second hand books on Amazon.   All three books cost under 8 pounds.  The two knitting books are Patricia Roberts' ones, and it has been a trip down memory lane.  I had one of the books nearly 30 years ago and started (but didn't finish) at least one of the knits.  I really would like to knit some of them now if a suitable wool can be found (though the one below looks a bit beyond my skills). 

I did also treat myself to a new book and I love it. 

Knitting with The Color Guys

The pictures are gorgeous and whilst I probably won't knit many of the projects it is very inspiring.  The colours are wonderful.  Very good value at £8.50!  I've had a Kaffe Fassett needlepoint book for about 20 years and I still enjoy looking at it.  It makes you want to be creative and design something for yourself.  Not at that stage yet, though, I'm still using the patterns/charts etc. from others more talented than me and the bravest I've been is to change colours (which I do a lot).

The internet is so slow tonight that I'm going to have to post this Monday ... so enjoy the rest of the week - I'm sure I will.  Thank you those who left lovely comments, I am really enjoying reading them.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

New starts

Another enjoyable weekend with a bit of this and a bit of that.  A beautiful day yesterday and the flower colours at the moment are just glorious.  One of my favourite gardens is Levens Hall which is only a few minutes away, and their tulip display is always outstanding.

I finished another knit.  This time a Louisa Harding pattern.  It's another really quick knit or would have been if I hadn't, yet again, not paid enough attention to the pattern.  This time I didn't notice I was knitting an American size 12 which is an English 14 and the finished result was enormous.  I had to reknit the body, but for the collar I just had to pull it back, thank goodness, because the cable was a bit torturous. 

I've had  a bit of fun trying to photograph myself wearing it.  I tried in a mirror, but that looked a bit odd, and then I tried using the self-timer for the first time and this is the result!!

Well you didn't need to see my face or the bottom of the jumper did you?   The camera was propped on a chair on top of a table, and I still had to bend my knees -  I'll have to keep practicing this.

I feel a bit on a roll with the knitting and am becoming more ambitious so as soon as my next batch of wool arrives I will show you the pattern.   I have my next 2 jumpers planned!   In the meantime I'm going to knit a spring rabbit from Mary Jane's tearoom  ...

.... but changing the colours of the clothes

I've also been reminded how useful Ravelry is.  You can really see what a pattern looks like on real people in a variety of sizes and colours.  Very helpful and can save you lots of grief picking the wrong one.  I've even put a couple of projects on.  If you've never used it and you like to knit or crochet give it a try.

Crossstitch-wise I happened across a new French website and loved the charts from Madame La Fee.  I was spoilt for choice.  I really like the French vintage sampler look and chose this one.

I'm really pleased with it.  The chart is the first one that I haven't had to enlarge and it is really clear.  I've changed the colours a little from red to pink, and this is the first week's progress (photo a bit dark),

I started using a hoop and was determined to make a good job, but I'm afraid patience got the better of me.  It's so much slower using the hoop and though I know it did look better, I just don't enjoy it as much.    I've picked my next project already!  Sometimes I think I need to slow down and enjoy the making rather than a bit of a race to the finish.

Speaking of slow to finish ... the crochet blanket is not coming on very quickly ... though still enjoying it.  But sometimes it feels very warm crocheting it with it on my knees!!  I have a rule for myself to prevent my crafting getting out of hand, that I can only have one knitting, one crochet, one sewing and one cross-stitching project on the go at once, and I am pretty good about it.  Thing is I keep seeing much smaller crochet projects I would like to have a go at (and also a Rowan jacket I have fallen in love with) and so I do feel the need to get on and finish.

Well that's about it.  A busy week ahead.  Monday in Leeds, Tuesday in Birmingham a school show on Wednesday and Dan home at the weekend!!  Lots of train time to get some knitting done though.  Have a great week, and thanks very much for any comments left .. it makes my day to get one.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Homeward bound

Just wanted to say I'm feeling good because my lovely Dan is coming home sooner than I thought!  Music in the garden ... fantastic.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Meg's meanderings

I'm becoming a little bit famous (or perhaps infamous) around the village as the woman who goes on a walk with a cat!  Several people have stopped to ask about Meg (and if she isn't with us where she is?) ... yes catwalking seems to have become a habit.  At first she just came to the corner of the street, then a little further and she waited until we passed on the way back to join us (and there was the one night when we didn't go back the same way and she was still waiting for us at 8.30 until I went to find her!).  Now she is doing the whole walk.  As soon as I start getting my coat on, she sits and waits by the door ... the only way to sneak out is by the back door.

Setting off ....

Half and hour later, still with us ....

... getting home and too tired to walk beyond the hall!

I have no idea why she is doing this ... and whether she enjoys it (I know it takes longer - hence the trying to sneak out!)

On the crafting front the handwarmers are finished.

I'm pleased with the end product (though the knuckle part is a bit lose).  Now I really need to emphasise that the fair-isle bit isn't difficult - it's just stocking stitch - although you clearly have to pay attention to the pattern (I had to take the band back on one glove because I didn't spot the mistake until I got to casting-off).  The most complicated bit was definitely the thumbs.  I enjoyed seeing the pattern develop  ...

... and I think it will be even more interesting on the jumper I hope to knit,  because there are no repeat patterns.  Oh and finally sewing up with mattress stitch is actually easier on the fair-isle because matching stripes  is much easier.  If you haven't had a go I would definitely give it a try.

Well its been a great weekend ... two sunny days (raining today), lots of crafting, a trip to the Trafford Centre with Dan and Gemma and a yummy lunch at Tampopos (Asian cuisine)

.. and lots of relaxing time.  I could get used to the three day weekend!  Enjoy the rest of the week.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Reasons to be cheerful (part 2)

As previously mentioned another couple of treats came ... some more Debbie Bliss wool  (lousy photo but you get the idea)

More about what I am going to use this for later.  I also bought my first teapot!  Yes, I've always managed with a mug and a bag in the past, but I had this vision of a pot of tea in the garden, a good book and some sunshine.  So the pot arrived ... lovely ... I'm very into the vintage postmark look and love this teapot from Greengate.  It is, perhaps, a little big for one, so I'll just have to drink lots.  On Saturday it was sunny and what better way to christen my pot than move into the garden for a restful cuppa ... OK that was rather optomistic because the wind in Cumbria has been anything but restful

So as I was attempting to take a quick photo my vintage embroidered tablecloth was taking off and the next shot was as it landed in the cup of tea and I had to quickly rescue my pot incase it took off too!

The wind added an additional challenge to the weekend walks and Rosie adopted a wind-swept look ...

Weather aside it has been a good month; what colour!

I've just loved enjoying all these!  I've also had a successful making month.  I have made:

My first quilt
a stuffed rabbit
2 easter hearts
1 needlecase and 3 pincushions
a knitted jacket for me
a knitted baby cardigan
An hyacinth cross-stitch
and almosts finished a baby sampler

Wow ...I'm impressed with the quantity even if the quality wasn't always quite there. 

I've had two lovely weeks with Dan and Gemma and some lovely days out.  So all in all great!!  Hope May turns out as well.

So back to the wool.  I came across a fair-isle jumper pattern and suddenly felt an urge to have a go.  Now this is quite strange as the only fair-isle I have attempted before was a little smaller (and I seem to remember actually thinking I couldn't keep going for a whole adult garment).  This is a pattern from the lovely (some of the loveliest photos on the internet).

So here I am for some reason very tempted, perhaps a fair-isle jumper is the macaron of the cooking world ... a real challenge.  Anyway the wool would be a big investment ,so I made a deal with myself.  If I enjoyed knitting some handwarmers then I would go ahead.  So here I am almost finished

Generally I have enjoyed it.  My usual lack of attention to the pattern and not enough care in checking the row is right, has resulted in having to pull back quite a lot of rows (this is a lesson I need to learn) and I found making the edges neat difficult, but overall I am pleased and yes I'm going to give the jumper a go (and as you can tell by the opening photo I have actually bought half the wool).

Finally my day has been made by reading the lovely comments made by Gillian ( who won the runner's up prize in my give-way.  I felt almost famous reading it and it's increased my confidence no end - I feel able to actually call myself a crafter.  I'm loving this blogging.... it's really brought something to my life (woops sorry to sounds a bit corny). 

Have a happy May.