Sunday, 7 December 2014

This week...

...has had it's ups and downs. Food poisoning on Friday was definitely a down, but bouncing back and teaching some lovely ladies to make crocheted snowflakes on Saturday was an up! My latest knitting project has also had a bit of both. What started as a simple project to make a stocking filler turned into an epic nightly battle with wool and needles!

This was the rather unpromising start where I turned some beautiful Rowan yarn into strange and unrecognisable shapes.

Then followed some carcass construction - still not looking great!

At one point I was stared at by a manic penguin...

But then finally I finished, and lo and behold it looked like it was meant to - a bear!

The pattern is in the book Knitted Woodland Creatures and I have to say it was very well written - you just have to believe that the strange shapes will actually come together in the end!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Christmas is a coming...

...and the window at Marmalade Yarns was due it's festive makeover!  We had a sociable gathering last week to finish the snowmen and give them all their own personalities! I made a couple of strings of crocheted snowflake bunting, which will also be used in our Christmas Crochet class on Saturday 6th December. Maxine did the shopping for the tasteful (mostly!) accessories, and then put it all together today.

I rather liked the bunting on my own mantle pieces so I might need to make some more for me and also for the Christmas fair this weekend - do come if you're in the Frome area!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

This week..

.. I finished my socks, I chose the yarn to make hubby some socks for Christmas, I finished the linocut, I experimented with hand colouring it, I crocheted some snowflakes in preparation for a Christmas crochet class and I redecorated the bathroom! Strangely, the ironing remains untouched!

Friday, 31 October 2014

Lino printing

My studio is a tip. I keep finding images of beautiful workspaces on Pinterest and vow to keep my little space tidy but it just isn't happening! However, I had to ignore the mess today and just get on with doing a test print of a Lino I finished cutting ages ago. This is a commission to make a print of someone's house and it's larger than the linoprints I normally do.

I used to moan about not having enough space to print - now I have the space, but seem to have filled it with just as much clutter as everywhere else in the house. Still, I managed to do a rough print just to see if I needed to cut away any more of the block. Overall I'm quite pleased with the outcome - just a bit of fiddling with it before I do the proper print.

I also need to get cracking with paintings and crocheted bunting for the Christmas Craft Fair which is coming up in a few short weeks (why does this always take me by surprise?) but that hasn't stopped me from casting on a couple of knitting projects! The first is a pair of socks in some beautiful stripy yarn which was a birthday present. It was the perfect project for the flight to and from Rome. Secondly, I'm mixing a lace weight yarn with some kidsilk haze to make a soft and fluffy scarf/ stole thing. 

Rome was wonderful - we had glorious weather, delicious food, fun with friends and cuddles with gorgeous babies! I also got to see the Sistine Chapel for the first time - it was breathtaking. 
Now it's back to reality and time to tidy up!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Citron Shawl

I've finished another shawl and am determined not to cast on another until I've completed a pile of unfinished projects first! This time I made Citron, a free pattern on Ravelry. The yarn was a lace weight ombré alpaca and silk mix and I didn't want to detract from its gorgeous colour change with too much pattern. The Citron is a lovely knit with easily created ruffles. I made an extra section to use up as much of the skein as possible.

I did knit a chunky little number over the weekend in Debbie Bliss Paloma but it felt like knitting with broomsticks after all those hours knitting with lace weight yarn!

My shawl and top are being modelled by my new sewing buddy! My youngest has forbidden me to give her a name as he says she's creepy enough without one but I think she might secretly be a Maud! I have also invested in a new sewing machine - my old one is now 32 years old and deserves a quiet retirement!

Trouble-free sewing here I come!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Baby knits

Hubby and I are off to Rome in October to visit our friends and their twin baby girls. It would be rude to turn up empty handed so I had the perfect excuse to knit up a couple of little stripy cardigans in gorgeous Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I decided not to go with an obviously girly pink colour way   going instead for one in yellow and one in green. I used the same silvery grey for the contrast in both  and it's interesting how different it looks against each colour.

I had a small amount of yarn leftover so I used it in the border of a hat and did the main part in a Sirdar Snuggly Crofter yarn to add a bit of pattern.

I haven't sewn any buttons onto the cardigans yet as I haven't decided which to use but I'm currently liking these little pink flowery ones (well I've got to get a bit of pink in there somewhere!).

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

I think I have a problem...

...just how many shawls is it reasonable to make? I can't seem to stop casting them on, they're my absolute favourite thing to knit at the moment. I have just finished the Pebble Beach Shawlette by Helen Stewart. When it came off the needles it looked like a misshapen dishcloth but some strenuous blocking has revealed a lovely, lacy little wrap. I really like the way the front hangs down. This isn't a colour I would normally choose but it was part of the generous bag of yarn from a fellow yarnaholic and I'm actually quite drawn to the Limey yellow and how it contrasts with the grey.

This is a delightful pattern, well written and very clearly laid out. I want to cast another one on straight away but I already have a lace weight shawl on the go and I feel I should branch out to more useful things - things with sleeves, for example! I did finish the little bolero (with very tiny sleeves!) which has proved very useful as the Summer comes to a close.

I have done very little art of late but now that sons 1 and 2 have finally gone to university (for years 3 and 1 respectively) I feel like I have more mental and physical space to change this. Knitting and crochet are easy to do when chaos is all around you, it soothes the mind, but to do any art I really need peace and calm. A houseful of large and hairy young men is not really conducive to this! I hear a lot about empty nest syndrome where mothers are saddened by the quietness of their lives once their children have left home - I have to say that I have yet to feel anything but relief (that the fridge stays full, the bedrooms tidy and the washing machine is no longer on at least once a day!)

Friday, 15 August 2014

Summer projects...

I seem to have taken an unplanned blogging break during the Summer holidays - the house is full of teenage boys and associated ephemera and my crafting room has been reclaimed as a bedroom by son  no. 1! I have, however, managed to squeeze in a few projects and have planned many more!

Firstly I made  a Kate Davies Northmavine Hap. I used some sock yarn that was kindly gifted to me by a friend who was having a clear out! Instead of using 5 colours as in the pattern, I used just 3 but as two of them were variegated I felt that would give enough variety. I love the undulating ripples and shape of this pattern and the colour way reminds me of damsons and plums.

I still have a crocheted cowl to finish and am one sleeve short of a little cotton bolero..

Whilst spending a few glorious days in Lyme Regis with hubby (and no children!) I picked up some coloured twine which I plan to make a basket with, and I also have a pattern picked to turn the beautiful ombré yarn (part of the de stashing bounty!) into yet another shawl. I also have a Lino block ready to cut but really need to tidy the studio before I can start. 

I need more hours in the day, or maybe just more domesticated boys!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Decisions, decisions...

When I started playing about with the crocheted version of linen stitch I wanted to see how it would look with a multi coloured yarn. I chose a vibrant sock yarn, Mille Colori by Lang Yarns, as it seemed to have the widest range of colours. I made a chain that was wide enough to work as a scarf and just hooked away until I'd used up one ball.

Initially the stripes didn't appeal to me but as it grew they seemed to make more sense. However, I felt it was just too stripy on its own and needed some circular motifs to break it up. As the linen stitch is quite solid in appearance, I made some solid circles and turned them into simple squares.

The plan was to edge both ends of the scarf with three rows of five motifs, but when I laid them out to arrange the colours I really liked the depth of six rows. I have enough of the second ball to make thirty more motifs but that won't leave any left over to make the stripy section any longer. I'm also contemplating alternating rows of  stripes with rows of motifs. Or joining it up to make a cowl? I love this part of making up a new design - there are so many possibilities and whilst it could all go horribly wrong, it might just go beautifully right!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Yarn bombing Fun!

I've spent the morning with Maxine, co-owner of Marmalade Yarns, prettifying the shop front in readiness for Frome Festival which starts this weekend. I never thought I'd find myself sewing knitted snails onto drainpipes or teetering on a ladder hanging up strings of pompoms but we had a good laugh and lots of positive feedback from passers by!

Catriona, the other co-owner of the shop, is responsible for the gorgeous bike (although Maxine and I couldn't resist adding a snail or two!).
One generous passerby has promised us £100 for the yarnbombed bin. This money will be donated to

I now need to finish preparations for Open Studios which also start tomorrow - it's all happening in Frome!