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 :)