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!

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

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…

Little sockies

Tonight I finished my first ever pair of knitted socks, woo hoo!
Well, I guess they’re more like slipper sock type things as they come just over the heel.

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The tension is much neater on the second one (on the left) than the first as I’m not really used to knitting on double pointed needles but I wanted to have another go. The only other thing I’ve made on dpn’s was a pair of cabled wrist warmers a few years ago which were too baggy, too big, never got worn and eventually got pulled back and I used the wool for something else.

No chance of the same thing happening with these beauties! I love them, though they are far from perfect.

I had some Rowan cocoon left over from the teddy project I did in the summer and really wanted to use it for something cosy for myself! I wanted to do socks and I basically just searched Ravelry for sock patterns in chunky wool that used the amount I had our less and this is what I found!

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I love them, they’re so cosy and comfy and the fit is perfect – as they’re home made! They were pretty easy to make considering how long I’d wanted to try socks and put it off. For a first go I recommend using a pattern in chunky yarn though because they make up quickly so you don’t get bored and give up – I did each one in two evenings.

Sewing a zip in a knitted project

It’s been aaaaages since my last blog – sorry about that! Things have been very busy lately and I’m struggling to get everything done (but what’s new).

The other day I had an urge to just get something finished. One of my projects that I’ve had ongoing for ages – and there are many of these at the moment! I’ve been knitting a cushion cover for my living room. I wanted quite a chunky but professional-looking finish but was pretty short of cash when I first started this project when we’d just moved house and got back from holiday! I found some aran yarn in Poundstretcher – somewhere I’d never normally think to look for knitting supplies but I just walked past it and it was the perfect colour. It also seems pretty good quality for an acrylic and is really soft and warm, but best of all it was only £2.49 for a 200g ball!

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I bought two. One day I’ll get around to making a matching cushion cover!

The pattern for the cushion was from The Knitting Book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Knitting-Book-Frederica-Patmore/dp/1405368039 and is called the Strawberry cushion. It was easy to follow and the cable stitch was straightforward. The fact that it is on a garter stitch (knit) background made it fairly quick to do once you get going. The two sides are worked in the same way and there is a special “cable” cast on that creates a pretty edge where you sew the zip in. I’d had to look this up for another project previously. It is easy to do and creates a lovely edge.

So here was my kit for sewing the cover together…

2013-09-25 20.34.43  16 inch long zip, pins, matching sewing thread, contrasting embroidery thread and spare yarn for sewing up the rest of the cover.

I began with some trepidation as I’d never added a zip to a knitted item before. I followed the instructions in the book and it turned out to be pretty straightforward, if somewhat lengthy. I’ll summarise the process here for you… First I pinned the zip to one side of the knitting, working with the right side facing and pinning the zip to the decorative cast-on edge. I started with the ends of the zip then spaced my pins evenly along the zip. I used lots of pins and the instructions advised to pin at right angles to the zip rather than along the same way. Using the contrasting embroidery thread I then tacked the zip in place on this first side. Then I used the matching sewing thread to back-stitch all the way along the edge and then turned the work over and ran a zigzag stitch along the edge of the zip to secure it to the knitting. I did everything by hand as I didn’t dare try to do it on the sewing machine. I made sure the decorative cast-on edge was quite close to the teeth of the zip. I then repeated this with the other side – which was a little bit tricky to do by hand as it was quite a big piece by this time and you’re stitching across the middle of it rather than an edge.

2013-09-25 22.40.58  My finished zip closure!

After I’d added the zip, working on the wrong side, I pinned the remaining three sides of the cushion, ensuring that the zip was open so that when I’d finished stitching the cover together I could turn it back the right way out! And here she is, the finished cushion…

2013-09-25 23.19.23 (the colour doesn’t look that great here I’m afraid but in normal light you can’t see the cushion pad through so much).

I’m really pleased with it and am looking forward to doing another one later in the winter when I’ve caught up with some other projects. Do you thing I should do another identical one or in a slightly different pattern? I think I’d like to stick with the cable but do a slightly different version – it would be great to hear your thoughts!

Here’s an update on my patchwork blanket made of knitted and crocheted squares that I showed you earlier in the summer – I still need to make a few more squares but I’ve started to sew them together!

2013-09-19 18.02.39  No grand plan – just trying to spread the different colours out throughout the blanket. I’ll keep you updated in future posts. I’m also working on a rag rug made from old t-shirts which I plan to feature in a blog post soon hopefully…

2013-09-18 22.34.54 What do you think of it so far?

Finally before I go, I thought I’d mention that I hope to finally feature some baking on the blog pretty soon! After moving into our house the landlord didn’t provide a cooker so we had to save up for a little while and make do with an electric hob thing for a few months. We finally have a cooker though and I’ve organised a “bake-off” at work which we do every so often in homage to the Great British Bake Off. I can’t believe we’re more than half way through the series already, I don’t want it to be over!

Until next time… x

 

Time for a teddy

It’s been a little while since my last post as I’ve had lots of things on the go, but hopefully that means I’ll have lots to tell you about over the coming weeks!

When I found out one of my friends was expecting a baby I felt like making something different to the usual little cardigans I tend to go for. So, I had a look through all my patterns and the one I couldn’t resist was a gorgeous little teddy bear from a book called Baby and toddler knits made easy. The link takes you to the book people’s website. I have no affiliation with them, it’s just where I got the book from! Anyway it is full of lovely patterns using some of my favourite wool brands and the patterns I’ve used from it work really well and are easy to follow – just like the title suggests!

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When I was younger I had a nasty habit of collecting bits of projects in my basket and never quite getting around to making them up. This probably stems from the fact that I’m not as confident with my sewing as I am my knitting. So on this one, as it was for a friend and had a time limit of the baby’s arrival, I decided to try to follow the instructions and make it up as I went along. It sort of worked out!

DSCF1922  How cute are his little legs!

DSCF1925 Nearly there now…

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And he’s finished! I think I put his ears on a little low down and his nose is a bit too pointy so he’s looks a little bit more like a mouse than a bear, but I’m still pleased with him as it was my first attempt at a toy since I made one of Jean Greenhow’s classic doll patterns when I was a little girl.

My favourite thing about doing projects like this is that they’re quick to do and so you get that instant hit of satisfaction! He’s also made of simple garter stitch (knit) throughout with just a little bit of stocking stitch for his nose (alternate knit and purl rows) and a smidgen of embroidery for the eyes, so it’s a really easy pattern but looks pretty impressive. I’d highly recommend you to have a go!