Birthday surprise

As this is the first time I’ve written in 2016 I’d better say a very belated Happy New Year to you!

Friday was my birthday and I had a really wonderful day. My partner and I went to Betty’s in Ilkley for lunch. Rhys had some delicious sausages and I had a fish gratin. Both came with rostii – my Betty’s favourite! Then we picked up some goodies to take with us to my mum’s house to share with Mum and Dad over a cuppa. Sadly they had run out of vanilla slices which are Mum and my favourites but we enjoyed our treats very much.

Finally it was time for the main event. Rhys had bought my tickets to go and see the Strictly Come Dancing tour which was in Leeds on my actual birthday no less! What a fantastic show they put on. I saw the tour two years ago and this year it was even better! How I would love to be famous – just for the chance to get on that show!

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To top it off Anita Rani and Gleb won the show on the night which was fab as she’s a local girl. In fact she was about 5 years above me at my school! Her dances were very dramatic and it was fab to see her win as she was knocked out of the show in the semi final. Another highlight was getting to see That Jive! Jay and Aliona’s Pulp Fiction – inspired Jive from the series. It was one of the best dances ever on the show in my opinion.

Oh dear I sound like such a Strictly geek. Well hey ho, I guess I am just that!

Rhys also bought me a beautiful necklace and Kate Davies’ latest knitting book Buachaille. Her books are so much more than just knitting patterns and this time she has included some of her husband’s traditional Highlands recipes. I can’t wait to try the cranachan! The beautiful book even matches on of my crochet WIPs (not from Kate’s book!). It’s a short cowl I’m making from left over sock wool.

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Finally, yesterday afternoon we went out to a local town called Batley to visit the mill shops there. There are two – one is a mixture of all different shops including outdoorsy things and cookware. The other is the amazing Redbrick Mill which is full of top homeware and furniture brands. I was after a walking jacket (spending my birthday money from Mum and Dad straight away!) and Rhys wanted a pizza stone. We were able to pick up both items and bumped into some friends along the way. But the best bit of the trip was as we were leaving the house I spotted this:

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The first daffodil and iris of the year flowering in one of my pots in the garden! It’s so strange that they are out before the snowdrops though but how it made me giddy! During the week I’m still leaving the house in the morning and getting home in the dark and so I haven’t noticed these delights happening in the garden. It looks as though there are plenty more nearly ready to come out and some crocuses too. Roll on spring time!

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Christmas chaos!

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Here’s a little example of why I’ve been struggling to find time to blog recently.  Meet Donna the Reindeer from the amazing Edward’s Menagerie collection by Kerry Lord of Toft Alpaca. She was at the top of the list of projects I wished to complete this year as I didn’t have time to make her last year. I’m very satisfied with her, not least because I’m not terribly confident with embroidering the faces and she only has eyes to contend with; no nose or mouth!

I am also hoping to complete a pair of crochet gnomes (you may have seen them in a recent issue of Simply Crochet magazine) and a Christmas tree skirt. This is in addition to some gifts I’m still hoping to make and all the other usual Christmas preparations. So much to do, so little time!

There is also the matter of the International Diploma in Crochet that I have decided to undertake AND preparations for my very own crochet classes that I start teaching in the New Year at Dolly’s Craft Corner in Bradford!

I’m not quite sure how I’m going to get everything done around work and Christmas socialising but I usually find that if you just keep going everything has a way of working out in the end! 

Thanks for reading x

Cosy Cottage blanket part 2

Back in January I wrote a post describing the beginnings of my Cosy Cottage blanket. Now I’m back to focusing on my blog and all things crafty I thought I’d better finish the story!

So I was using the Cottage colour pack from Lucy of Attic24’s collection from Wool Warehouse and the Cosy blanket pattern. When I last updated I’d done a bit over two sets of stripes. Instead of following one of Lucy’s plans for using the different colours I decided to make up my own.  Not quite random but each colour would be used in each set of 15 stripes. Often those colour choices had to be made in the evenings when the light was less than ideal as it was winter time.

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When I was about half way through I loved how it looked in the winter sunshine draped over a chair.

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Here it’s nearly done. I was debating whether it needed one more set of stripes but in the end I decided it would be too long.

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And finally onto the edging…

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I did the edging all in one day but it took aaaages!

And now for the ta-da moment…

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I love, love, love my Cosy Cottage blanket and was so happy to finish it although I did miss working on it when it was done. It only took about 5 weeks over all to do. It didn’t get much use over the summer but now we’re back into autumn I’m loving snuggling in it once again. I highly recommend Lucy’s patterns from the Attic24 blog as they always turn out lovely!

S x

Little crochet bag

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I am going to be teaching some crochet workshops in the New Year which is super super exciting! I’ve been looking for small, quick projects that my students will be able to complete in the full-day Saturday workshops. One thing I’ve been considering is a small bag made from granny squares. I managed to find a pattern in my collection. It was printed out from a website but sadly I now have no idea where it originally came from! Anyway I’ve experimented with the original pattern and adapted it to suit my needs and I think I quite like it!

It is made from four granny squares of coordinating colours and a base and tie from a neutral shade. I’m not sure it’s the right project for the workshop in question but it’s been fun to do.

What do you think?

Cosy Cottage Blanket part 1

Hi again everyone,

I hope the new year is treating you well so far! Mine’s been fairly quiet but enjoyable. I’m making good progress on my cosy cottage blanket. Did you see the colours I got for Christmas here? It’s the “Cottage” version of the Attic 24 Stylecraft Special DK colour packs. I’m not normally a fan of acrylic yarn although I do think it’s good for toys and things, but so far I’m a big fan of this yarn. I love making blankets but they take such a lot of yarn they can end up being very expensive to make so it’s great to be able to create something so pleasing to the eyes and the touch at a very reasonable price! My blanket is going to be lovely and warm and cosy when it’s finished. Would you like to see some pictures of my progress so far? Here we go…

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The first picture is me in the car on our way back from spending the new year in Wales with my partner’s family,which was lovely. We drank some bubbles and let off fire works on the beach at midnight in memory of his step-mother who we sadly lost to cancer in the autumn. New year’s eve would have been her birthday. Over the years R’s dad and his wife had started a bit of a trend locally to do fireworks at midnight on the stretch of beach in front of their house. It really is a beautiful place. Anyway, it was lovely to see that there were already some other people on the beach who’d lit a fire. There was a lovely atmosphere down there and the weather was kind as it had been somewhat stormy earlier in the evening!

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This last picture was taken on the morning of new years day.

So, back to the blanket. As I (may have) mentioned before, I’m doing the Cosy Blanket from Attic 24 blog which you can see here. Lucy did it as a crochet-along but as I’d asked for the Cottage pack for Christmas from my parents I thought I’d hold off and do the cosy blanket with the cottage colours instead of the cosy pack. So far I’ve done 36 1/2 stripes and I’m totally loving it. I think it looks just as good as Lucy’s version in the cosy colours. I will have to start thinking of the order for the next 15 stripes soon. I have no specific plan for the colours I’m just using my little colour pegs to work them out in batches of 15 so there’s one of each colour in each section of 15 stripes.

I think I’ve written enough about it now, I’m dying to make a cuppa and cosy under it to do a couple more stripes!

What are you working on at the moment? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah x

2014 Catchup

Happy New Year lovely reader! I hope it’s been good to you so far.

I was creating a page to summarise all my completed projects that have associated blog posts with information about them, which you can see here and I realised I’d done so much last year that I hadn’t shown you.  Unfortunately I think it’s probably too late now to catch you up on everything but here’s a gallery of pictures that you might enjoy. If there is anything you would particularly like to hear more about, please leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to oblige! If you hover over the image it shows the caption which you can use to tell me what you think of them. I’m going to try to write more regularly this year as I do enjoy sharing my crafty projects with you.

I’d love to tell you more about many of these projects but I feel like I’d never catch up. Please do drop me a line though if you would like to know more – I’ll happily write to request and add more photos if I have them! There are still more projects not pictured here. Hopefully I’ll get around to showing you them all at some point! Seeing everything laid out like this makes me realise how much I actually got done last year!

I hope to have lots more crafty projects to tell you about soon. I’m already in the middle of a crochet blanket inspired by Lucy at Attic 24 blog and also have a new pair of socks on the go which are a pattern from an old issue of The Knitter. I have lots of plans for more projects for 2015 and I can’t wait to share my progress here with you!

Best wishes for your crafty 2015 too!

Sarah x

Christmas reflections

It’s Saturday morning and it’s time for the last of our Christmas guests to head home. We had some snow fall last night that we hadn’t really expected and it was even settling. I excitedly looked out of the window this morning hoping for a winter wonderland; a picture perfect crisp sunny day with blue skies and clean white snow under foot. However looking out at 7:30 it was still dark for one thing and it must’ve been raining or milder overnight as there was no snow on the trees at all and not much on the ground, although the school field opposite looks quite nice.

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It turned out to be pretty icy though and it took quite a bit of scraping before my unofficial father-in-law could set off on the drive home to Wales. It is a beautiful day though and if it wasn’t for the ice it would be a lovely day to go for a walk. Instead I’m sitting in the sunny dining room writing and planning! Here’s a pic of the sun rising earlier, just before it came over the houses at the back of ours…

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…and the sunny reflection on the wall a few minutes later…

So all this means that Christmas is over for another year and its time to take stock. Overall I’d say it’s been a resounding success. I finally managed to finish the advent stockings on Christmas Eve-Eve, having managed to stay at least one day ahead all through December.

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My boyfriend made a magnificent Christmas cake and used a picture from Pintrest as inspiration for the decoration. Here’s how it turned out…

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Beautiful, don’t you think? I was very impressed. I helped with cutting out some of the stars. It was very fiddly work!

And now it’s time to look forward to the New Year. As you could probably expect, I got a few craft related presents for Christmas. R got me this beautiful knitting book by Kate Davies.
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I’m very excited to start planning what I’m going to make first. Looking through, the author seems to have used some very well priced yarns, so I might actually be able to work the patterns in the recommended yarns for a change, instead of trying to convert them to a cheaper alternative! I the patterns in this book will help me to work on my approach to colour for the makes I wear. I’m often tempted to use brights as I worry that I’ll get bored and not finish things if I use a muted colour palette but I think working some of the designs from this book will help me to find the pleasure in working with more wearable colours.

Conversely I also received the “Cottage” pack of colours by Lucy from Attic 24’s blog. Not very muted! Rather than the Cottage ripple blanket she made, I’m going to make my own Cosy Cottage blanket like the Cosy Crochet-Along that she was doing before Christmas. I’ve been playing around with colour combinations with my colour pegs this morning as you can see here…

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Lucy from the Attic 24 blog hit on such a great idea with these coloured yarn pegs, they’re great for this process of planning the colour order.

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And here’s all that lovely squishy yarn, all ready to play with!

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I can’t wait to get going with it, I just need to decide on the colour order for the first 15 stripes! Here goes…

Blog anniversary catchup!

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So yesterday was the anniversary of my first blog post! Sadly I haven’t blogged in a while but I think I just might start again. I have been posting pics on my instagram @saref2901 incase you want to follow me over there too?

Anyway the photogrid shows some of the things I’ve been  up to in my blogging absence. I made my tea dress that I mentioned in my last post. We’ve had a good summer so I’ve been able to get plenty of wear out of it already! The little lilac dress came from the two balls of stylecraft lullaby I showed you last time. It was a lovely yarn to work with even though I don’t really like acrylic that much but I know it’s more practical for babies. My friend loved it, even though it was still too big even in a premmie size. My pastel blanket is still on the go. Think it’s going to take forever! I’ve been working hard on the garden, made some “home sweet home” bunting for the staircase, a basket for yarn, embroidered a cushion, knitted a goat for a girl at work and I’m in the middle of a stripy amigurumi giraffe! So I think you’re all up to date now… I’ll try not to leave it so long next time…

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I wish I could do more at once!

I think I need the arms of an octopus. I just sat down with a cuppa and actually thought to myself wouldn’t it be great if I could crochet a granny square while reading my sewing book. I’d
just get so much more done!

Here’s a bit of a roll call of wips and things in my head at the moment…

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1) long term project – Nicky Trench’s tweed skirt

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2) Heart pompom garland – as yet just a bowl of pompom hearts

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3) self striping socks using beautiful yarn from local company West Yorkshire Spinners that I bought on a trip to York with my wonderful and very patient boyfriend.

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4) Tea dress from the book from the first series of the Great British Sewing Bee. The fabric arrived today from Croft Mill. I do seem to have been waiting ages for it to arrive but it is beautiful and I can’t wait to get started. However first I have to wash the fabric and prepare the pattern – which I downloaded from the website and consists of 32 pages of A4 that need cutting and sticking together. I’ve never made a garment from scratch before and am a bit apprehensive but hope I can get it done before the end of summer and come out with something wearable!

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5) Knitted dress for my friend’s baby, luckily still in utero!

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6) Crochet jam jar cover to make a tea light holder. I’ve already made 2 of these which I’ll show you another day!

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7) Pastel granny blanket. In this picture you can see my notebook which I’ve been using to record what I’ve been using and planning my next squares so I can remember what I’m doing. As you can imagine from this ridiculous list of projects, I will work on something frantically for a while and then not touch it for weeks.

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8) Who knows what number 8 will be? My copy of the book from series 2 of GBSB arrived yesterday and I’d love to try nearly all of the patterns! Must complete tea dress first though!

Crikey. I’ve given myself a headache just thinking about all this! When will I learn to do one thing at once?

Happy crafting everyone! I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you are working on too. ‘Till next time…

Ripply ramblings

Hello lovely readers. I hope you are well. In my last post I mentioned how it was coming up to my birthday and that I was going to be really busy but would try to make sure I kept up with my blog posts. Well clearly I failed and three weeks have passed. I did have a great birthday though! I’ve just realised that I think it has got to a point where I was putting off writing a post because I felt like I ought to be catching you up with everything that I’ve been doing in the meantime and that felt like a big task. Then I realised that the whole point of writing this blog was to write for fun and to share the things I enjoy making and so to stress about it is ridiculous and I should just sit down and write!

So here we are. It somehow got to nearly the end of February! The seemingly endless rain has seemingly started to run out of steam and I’m almost driving to and from work in day light again, all of which add up to a pretty cheery mood really. Work has been pretty stressful the last couple of weeks so I’ve been so grateful to have a house full of colourful flowers to come home to after my birthday and Valentines day and they have helped to keep me smiling! Would you like to see? The lighting in these photos is awful so please forgive me – blame spontaneity!

I also have a ton of crafty projects on the go at the moment and that always gives me something exciting to come home to.

This lovely pile of chunky baby yarn…

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… is slowly turning into a baby blanket…

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… inspired by Lucy at Attic 24 and her lovely crochet ripple blankets. I wish I had the budget for all that lovely Cashmerino yarn she uses!

And here’s me playing around with the colours for the blanket on top of my foxy footstool, a pile of crochet squares and the front of a cushion cover they became…

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…and a pile of fat quarters I loved the look of but haven’t decided what to make them into yet! I got my sewing machine back from the servicing man last week and am determined to make more use of it although I keep procrastinating about a couple of projects I have in mind. I’m not that confident a sewer yet so I just need an evening when I’m in the mood to have a go and I’m going to sew up a storm – I’ll let you know how it all goes! And how exciting is it that the Great British Sewing Bee is back! Perfect timing to help get me motivated… Are you watching it?

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!