19 December 2009


I woke up on Friday to discover it had snowed in the night. Proper, on the ground snow. No buses running, trains badly affected. So - I walked to work. It wasn't that cold (though I was wrapped up nice and warm) but hard going at times. I decided to make the most of it and walk along the seafront into Brighton.

There's something magical about snow - especially on the beach.
When I eventually got to work, I found it had been all locked up as there was no electricity! I had to walk back again, but I'm not complaining; it was beautiful :-)

07 December 2009

A Quick Hello


Yes, yes, I know - I haven't been around lately, and thare is SOOOO much catching up to do with my favourite blogs! Just wanted to say hello, I'm still here.
Life is pretty busy right now - and probably will be through Christmas. I probably won't be posting much, if at all until the New Year now. But I promise I will be back in the New Year, hooks blazing!
Until then, wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year, however you are spending it!

01 November 2009

Theatre Night

Hello! I've been neglecting the blog a bit lately, things have been busy at work and there hasn't been much time for crafting or blogging. Last night though, I went ona long awaited theatre trip to London with my friend Susie. Susie is the only person I know who doesn't mind - even likes - driving in London, which meant an easy door to door journey there and back.

We went to see Inherit the Wind at the Old Vic inspired by the famous Scopes 'Monkey Trial'. It's been a while since I visited the theatre and Iwasn't disappointed. Kevin Spacey and David Troughton gave wonderful performances; quite mesmerising. If you get the chance I'd recommend it. No pictures to show I'm afraid.

I really must start going into town more often. Last time, a few months ago, I went up to the Natural History Museum. I absolutely love this museum - the building is as interesting as it's contents - a real cathedral to the natural sciences. These pictures are all taken in the main entrance hall (don't forget you can click on the pictures for a better view) - with dippy the diplodocus centre stage and Darwin looking down from the stairs.

The ceiling panels are botanical illustrations (wouldn't they make wonderful embroideries?)

There are carvings on the pillars:

This is probably the link my brain just made to Inherit the Wind: Man or monkey?
Yes - I really must go again SOON!

27 October 2009

Kaleidoscope fun

Ohhh This is so FUN! Spotted today on The Garden Bell's blog

Granny squares look so good like this. Thank you for sharing this Kate!

20 October 2009


Hooray! I got this book from Amazon today

I can't believe I carried it around all day with me at work without peeking! Just as well, or no work would have got done. I'm busy looking through all the delightful pictures and projects right now. The book even comes with pre cut CK fabric to make the cover bag. At first glance the projects are well thought out. They look simple enough and incorporate applique, quilting and patchwork. Something for everyone I think from kids stuff to household items and my personal favourites - the bags!

So please excuse me - I'm off to devour more!

13 October 2009

little things

Remember the beads I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show? Well, I put them to their intended use this evening to finish off some dragonfly wings. Thing is, they were the wrong size! I was trying to be so good at not buying beads (my first love) that I rushed the purchase.

However, I am extremely proud of myself for not succumbing to all the pretty glittery strings and sparkly vials of beads that surrounded me. Very proud indeed. You see... I have to confess I am a bit of a magpie. OK, more than a bit. I have had to check myself on more than one occassion in grown up company for exclaiming "Ooooooh SHINY!" or "SPARKLIES!!!"  with a slightly mad gleam in my eye and a dazed grin on my face when something sparkly catches my eye. Can be very embarrassing. Still...

Anyways, the dragonfly. About two years ago I bought some of Eliza McClelland's beaded tapestry kits. I am ashamed to say that I never finished them. Unfortunately, I don't think Eliza has a website, but if you google her you will find some of her things around. Eliza is an actress who took up beaded embroidery as a way to pass the time in the waits between sets and while sitting in dressing rooms, on tour etc. She appears at many craft shows  (yes - she was at Ally Pally, sorry I didn't get time to talk to her again). Eliza also gives talks on beaded embroidery - and her talks are wonderful. So here are some pics of two projects in progress 

You can see where the beads are too big on the dragonfly wing on the left. He's also missing a leg...but only because I haven't got that far yet! (Does kind of look like he's waving doesn't it, or putting his hand up in class"Miss! Miss!" ) The butterfly is almost finished (see where just ONE bead is missing in his body? Just need to think of what to do with it when done - I was thinking of a book cover.

I also made up some quick flowers ( I just wanted to play with my new buttons!) while I was waiting for my computer to fix itself

And here are my granny squares in progress: I decided to stick with the grey after all and so far am working on every colour combination with a yellow centre. Then I'll make a batch in every combination with a red centre, and so on before stitching them together.  
I have read through and corrected more typos than ever tonight - it's just one of those days I think;  so please excuse any outstanding errors. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be a bit more with it :-)

11 October 2009

Crafty shopping

Hello! I've recovered from my mega shopping trip in London yesterday. Like I said in my earlier post, I ended up spending waaaaay too much money! But then, I knew I would, heehee. That said, after uploading the photos it doesn't seem a lot. But ohhhh what fun it will be to play with these. I also made my first mosaic - hope you like it.

 So....what do we have? (Don't forget that you can click on the images for a better look!)
Working left to right along the top row - I got myself some new tools that I've been wanting for a while.

Two Clover soft touch crochet hooks (4.5mm & 5mm); a yarn cutter pendant - also by Clover; a silver coloured scissor chatelaine (for embroidery) and some AB beads for an unfinished project (more about that in another post).
Then there are some new buttons

(now living in my Cath Kidston button tin).

Then we have three new stitchy projects with everything included in the packs.

First off is a little boxy zipped bag kit - I thought this would be good to keep projects on the go in. Then, the most gorgeous seahorse silverwork embroidery kit. It doesn't show up well in the picture (theirs or mine!) but they had a sample on display and it was truly beautiful! When I get started I'll post pics as I go. Then there's a crewel work kit of a pink rose. All three of these projects will introduce me to a new thing - inserting zips, silverwork and crewel work.

Along the bottom row is - a stack of colourful felt squares fron Blooming Felt.

These are pure wool and approximately 4mm thick. I've been wanting to do something with felt for a while now - but aren't they just pretty to look at stacked like that with a bow around them?

Then quite a little hoard of buttons from the button company.

The two little bags were pic n mix, then there are some lovely coconut buttons (top left), cute little gingham printed buttons, pastel shades of a larger button and colourful flower shaped buttons. Irresistable!  

So it will be porridge and beans on toast for me now until Christmas; but that's alright because I've got plenty to do!

10 October 2009

Ally Pally

Today I went to

The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London.
It was hot...
and crowded...
and I spent too much money....
And now I'm exhausted!

I'll unpack the bag and show you my goodies tomorrow when I've got my energy back!

07 October 2009

I Love Blocking

Yes I do.

Blocking has an almost magical effect on crochet, transforming mishapen blocks into wonderful pieces. Even if you start with an ok looking granny square for example, blocking will improve it. What I like even better is the feel it gives to a piece. I'm not sure how this happens... and maybe it's just my imagination; but a blocked piece of crochet feels softer, more fluid, it just wants to be handled.  Best of all blocking is oh so simple to do. If you have never done it - please give it a go. I promise the results are worth it.

There are apparently special blocking pads that can be bought. Some people make their own. Most people, myself included, use whatever is to hand: mattresses, sofas, cushions...even the carpet! I mostly use a small cushion. Just spray the piece with tepid water and gently ease and pin it into shape. Wait for it to air-dry and job done! If you're more of a perfectionist, you can use paper templates or draw squares to ensure each piece comes out just so. (I did this piece in a rush to see if I could like it again joined together and blocked - these won't be the actual squares I use)

Joined squares sprayed and pinned out;

Left overnight to dry. Unfortunately I can't show you a pic of the result yet because it is too dark here at the mo (I did try but it was yuck). However, the finished article put me back in love with the colours - even the thundery looking grey I wasn't sure about. So no doubt there will be plenty of pics to follow! (Oh, but I do LOVE hexagons now too!!!).


Ahh, I LOVE blocking :-)

05 October 2009

Granny Madness

Yes, a bad case of granny madness has broken out here. You can probably tell from my last post that I'm still feeling under the weather, and although I enjoyed making up the crochet squares and hexagons, the colour combinations were driving me doolally.

So today (still off sick) I decided to take a break. Not from hooking you understand, oh no, just from the project. So, what will keep my hook busy, give near instant results but most importantly not need my brain working properly? I did a LOT of browsing and decided on this crochet rose pattern. You'll need to sign up to access the site but it's free.  Flowers were the original reason I wanted to learn to crochet, so it seemed fitting.

This little beauty is only two rows of crochet which you then coil up and stitch together. Simples! I used an Aran weight yarn and a 5mm hook. By adding a pin or a barrette you have yourself a nifty accessory to attach to your clothes, bag, hair or anything else you care to! I couldn't resist pinning it to my new winter coat for a touch of colour


Another thing I like about this particular pattern is that the rose has real dimension to it. This doesn't show too well in the (dark again - sorry!) pics. Here's a side view
It looks a little odd like that, admittedly, but in real life it 's beautiful. And just the kind of pick me up I needed today :)

04 October 2009

Trial...and Error

I've had a lazy, lollopy sort of weekend. I wasn't feeling at all well on Friday so took the day off work and have spent most of the weekend lounging and hooking. I did make a trip to get some yarn yesterday. I wanted to be in and out and back home quickly, but had great difficulty choosing yarn shades, despite having pondered over the sample cards.

So, after much stacking and lining up and arranging of yarn, I chose these to take home. Apologies for the poor photography, the light hasn't been good.

Of course, once home I was already doubting my choice and quickly made up two sample squares

I was quite pleased with the first square (on the left).The idea was to have the third rounds in green and bronze to reflect the changing leaf colours.The grey came out much darker than I expected. It probably doesn't help that the deeper and darker colours are all together in one square; it's just that I wanted to use all 8 colours in the square samples, and that's how it worked out.

So then I wondered - what if I make all the leaves green and use the two brown shades to outline? 
Hmmm, I think that looks better. That would mean using green for round three on all the squares, the two brown shades for round four and a random choice of the other four colours (omitting the grey now) for the central flower. Confused yet? I am.

But then....what if; what...if  when they're all put together the grey doesn't look too bad after all? Have I been too hasty here? I coudn't work out how to do this with PSP, so did a mock up in Word which I now can't post here. Hrrmmmph!!! You'll have to use your imagination - but it did look better - honest.

Back to square one (excuse the pun). Any thoughts and opinions would be MOST appreciated. Before I give up completely and make hexagons instead :)

29 September 2009

Getting Closer...

Just a quick post today....
I didn't get round to finishing anything on Sunday as planned because LIFE happened (nothing bad, just general stuff). Oh well. However, the big granny square blanket continues to grow

Not a great pic, but you can see it's getting there now.

I also decided that my next blanket is definitely going to be made of smaller squares in the Rowan wool/ cotton that I mentioned in my last post. I've convinced myself that if I continue with the big Granny and also make up some smaller squares at the same time then its not cheating (does anyone else have self imposed rules?). I made up one of Lucy's Summer Garden Squares in some nearby yarn last night (as in literally reach out and grab some from a teetering pile near the sofa).

I just did it in two colours so that I coud get a clear idea of how each row looks and fits together. I'm liking the rich reds and purples, browns and yellows that you can see in the picture. Not all of them together....well maybe, still not decided (I'm rather impressed that I've made ONE decision on this yet).

But very definitely, almost, nearly, but not quite there yet, at a final decision on this one.

EDITED TO ADD: Oops, forgot in the rush to add the pic of the square and the colours that I mentioned - didn't mean to confuse you!!!

26 September 2009

Decisions, Decisions

This morning I was browsing the English Yarns- Online knitting Store over my morning coffee and thinking how useful it would be to have some Rowan shade cards to choose the colours for my next crochet project at leisure. A look out of the window showed it was a sunny day and as Shoreham is only one "station stop" (when did they start saying that?!) away from me I thought I'd pop along to their shop (Shoreham Knitting and Needlecraft) in person.

Ahhh, the weather was lovely, I so wish I'd taken my camera with me so I could show you the Shoreham houseboats (next time - I promise!). I took a walk back to Southwick for brunch at Carats Cafe on the beach, mmmmmmm lovely! before heading back home.

Once the giant granny is done my next big project will either be a ripple blanket or a granny square blanket (smaller squares stitched together). Although I love the ripple - I'm leaning toward the granny at the moment because I think it'll be more satisfying completing each square as I go (not to mention more portable and easier to handle). Yes, I can just imagine a growing stack of squares being made over the autumn months ready for putting together for a winter blanket (double bed sized).

Sooooo....what about the colours? Well, I bought shade cards for the Rowan pure wool DK and the wool cotton (click on the pictures for a better view).      

I think I'm going to go for the wool / cotton mix. And depending on what squares I finally decide on (Lucy's summer garden, traditional granny or something from this book) I can choose the colours. I'm thinking warm, rich colours to snuggle up with. Decisions, decisions....

So, I will  finish the giant granny while I ponder on patterns and colour combinations for the next blanket. No more procrastinating....hooks ahoy!!!!

P.S. I haven't forgotten - I'm hoping to show you something finished later this weekend!

23 September 2009

Bits and Pieces

Despite having the week off work, I have come to something of a standstill.

Well - not quite.

The problem is that I have too many things that I want to do (plans for at LEAST two more crochet blankets - I blame the lovely Lucy !) and all that I have been doing is playing with embroidery (I blame the wonderful Jenny!). I think it's because of my new "don't start a new project until you've finished the one you're doing" rule. Oh, I HATE breaking my own rules, but oh well... 
Ooooh, by the way - I just got Jenny's new book (now available in the UK at last!) and am loving it!

I just can't decide what to do the next embroidery on. Maybe a bag, or my jeans, or a t-shirt? So far, I am just ironing and embroidering some designs on some scrap linen that was originally bought for a pair of trousers that I never got round to making  JUST that purpose!  But hey - that's practising isn't it? And today is the only day I've really had to myself so far (spent shopping), so maybe it's not sooooo bad.

Ooh! Ooh! I forgot - I did crochet a hat at the weekend, but for some reason it came out too small (grrrr!)

Still ... I hope to have something new to show you by the weekend!

13 September 2009

Finished Sleep Pillow

At last the sleep pillow is finished.The owl is from a Jenny Hart design, embroidered onto linen. Now that I've mastered stem stitch, I'm going to use that for future outlining; I think it looks neater. I have a growing collection of Jenny's patterns that I'm looking forward to stitching!
I made a small pillow case from a blue patterned patchwork cotton and sewed the embroidery to the front.
Inside the pillow case is a muslin pillow filled with a half and half mixture of dried hops and lavender, both renowned to aid sleep.
I decided to make the pillow case separately (rather then stuffing it) so that it is washable and the filling can  be changed easily. I'm gong to make a few more to give as gifts.  

05 September 2009

Updated Crochet Pics, with Thanks!

Hmmmm, well I haven't got much further on my projects in the last few days. I've been doing a lot of blog browsing though and got a lot of inspiration - as well as some useful info. I've never really got the hang of stem stitch....for some reason it never worked for me. It would either look spiny or just plain messy ....UNTIL I found this. I finally got it! Thank you Mary! Do go and visit her blog for some fantstic online embroidery demonstrations and lessons.

I also got some great photo tips from the wonderful floresita on the feeling stitchy website.  I wasn't about to  buy an expensive new camera or take a photogrophy course, but was struggling to get half decent looking pictures to share with you. Find the tute in the Crafty Blog School pages..

So ... ta-da!

Still not perfect I know - but just LOOOOOOK at that beautiful colour there :)
Want to see more? Oh, go on....
Now I'm ready for my close-up!
Incidentally, it was while taking these pics that another mystery finally resolved itself. I always finish at the end of a round. When I pick the work up again, I never remember which way round I'm working (a bit like how when I come out of a shop I don't remember which direction I'd been walking in!).
In fact it never crossed my mind as an issue until I heard someone mention about right side and wrong side of crochet. I couldn't tell the difference. One side - crochet. T'other side - yep, crochet again. But now see the difference between THIS:
and THIS:
You see it? Same bit of crochet - different sides. I'm still not convinced that it really matters... but now I know about it I'm going to have to take note of it. Actually, I'm now seeing where I have turned the work over in the above pic...a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing!

01 September 2009


Hello and welcome :)

I've been inspired so many wonderful crafty blogs, I thought I would join in the fun! The craft blogiverse is such an exciting and rapidly expanding place.

I love to crochet, sew, embroider, bead and make cards. Actually, there's not much crafty that I wouldn't turn my hand to. I would definitely put myself in the amateur class (although mistress of the unfinished project perhaps). I'm looking forward to sharing my projects with you - mainly crochet and embroidery.

One of my current WIPs is this granny square blanket:

The photo doesn't do the colours justice - that is the most gorgeous deep teal blue in the border. I still can't decide whether to continue the whole thing with one round of each colour (as in the centre) or as I have just started adding bands of solid colour. What do you think?

I'm also working on this embroidery from a Sublime Stitching patterm:

I plan to make this into a herbal sleep pillow as a gift. I'm going to back it with a printed cotton fabric and fill with dried hops and lavender.

I decided to stick to one colour (blue) and one stitch (split) for this project.

I'll post (better quality) pictures of the finished projects when they're done.