Saturday, 17 September 2016

My Very Own Craft Room

Thank you all so much for your good wishes following my husband's retirement.  We're settling into a pleasant routine, helped by the lovely warm weather we had last week.

As a result of his retirement, I have taken over the room he used as his "study" and it's now been re-designated as my "craft room".  I had the foresight to decorate the room bright pink some years ago, so it was as easy process to convince him that he wouldn't want to use the room after his retirement.

I have collected together all my crafting bits and bobs.  They were previously scattered (hidden) around the rest of the house.  I must admit that I shocked myself at how much "stuff" I actually had.  Craft books alone fill most of the shelves in the bookcase.  I found so many duplicate items that I had bought that had been stored and forgotten about.  All I can say is it's a good job that I have spent this year de-stashing my yarn, because I would never have been able to fit it in the room otherwise.  It's certainly made me appreciate having a more streamlined yarn stash.

My mini sweater bunting is decorating the walls, and it's lovely to see all the different yarns and remember what I originally knitted with them (mostly socks).

There's still some more organising and tidying to do before I'm happy with everything and can remember where I've stored various things.

And because I'm no good at being disciplined, I bought three more craft books this week!  I'm going to struggle to fit them in the bookcase, but they were only £1 each, so I couldn't leave them.

There's something interesting in all of them.

This week I have finished the cardigan I was knitting.

Most of my cardigans are cropped or just below the waist length.  This is my preferred style for cardigans as I tend to wear dresses and skirts all the time.  Occasionally I wear jeans but I don't have any longer cardigans to wear with them, so this boyfriend-style cardigan fills a gap in my wardrobe.

It's in worsted weight yarn that had been frogged from a previous unloved cardigan and the pattern is a free one by Vanessa Townley.  You can see full details of this project on my Ravelry page, here.

 I'm now working on a shawl with the last of the unused yarn that I bought at Yarndale last year.

I love the colours.  The pattern is for a two colour striped shawl, but I'm just working with the one colour throughout.  It's semi-circular and the body of shawl is in stocking stitch with a lace edging.  The pattern is from a book by Kirsten Kapur and is called Cladonia.  I'm hoping to get this finished over the next week before Yarndale.

Finally, as well as the craft books, I bought some fabric this week.  I wanted something to make dresses and skirts for the Autumn.  I ended up with two fabrics, one for a skirt and one for a dress.

Dress fabric

Skirt fabric

I don't think I'll have time to make a completed outfit this week, but I'm hoping that I can get the dress cut out - ever the optimist.

Oh and finally, finally, I just remembered, Grace gave some some amazing fabric when I saw her recently.

Isn't it fabulous, Paddington Bear is my favourite character from my childhood and I still have all my books.  This fabric will be made into a tote bag for a knitting project.  Something else I'd like to get done this week - so long as I can find more hours in the day.

Well I had better get a move on if I want to get everything done.  I hope you all have a happy and productive weekend.  Bye for now.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Exciting Times

September has proved to be a very eventful month so far.  At the beginning of the month my husband retired.  It was something we've been planning for quite some time, but even so, it's a big change in our lives which we are going to have to get used to.  The plan is for lots of holidays and days out, but I'm sure we'll settle into a slower routine over time.

As a celebration of his retirement, we had a holiday away with our daughters for a week. It's been a while since we've all been away together.  As a reminder of holidays gone by, we booked a holiday cottage in North Wales, in Pwllheli to be exact.

It was a wonderful week, I enjoyed every minute of it.  We had some lovely walks around the coastal paths on the Llyn Peninsula.  The landscape is amazingly beautiful and rugged.

Hell's Mouth

Mynydd Cilan

We had a paddle in the sea at Abersoch.

So cold!

And I was quite emotional at finding the gravestone of one of my ancestors in the church yard in the village of Llanengan.

Llanengan Church

Lovely old pub in the village of Llanengan

It was all over far too quickly, but now that work is a thing of the past, I'm looking forward to lots of time away.

Our holiday cottage

The cottage we stayed in was lovely, but the internet reception was poor so I'm trying, this week, to catch up.

Before I went away, I finished my Fair Isle cardigan.

I love the colours, but I'm a bit annoyed with myself that I didn't check my gauge properly.  The cardigan is a lovely slim fit, but maybe a bit too snug on the sleeves.  Never mind, it's still wearable but would be just that little bit better if there was a little bit of ease around the arms. Details of this project can be found on Ravelry, here.

I also completed the button-through skirt I had been wanting to sew.

I used leftover fabric from a dress I had made last year and buttons recycled from an old dress.

I was so pleased with how easy the button holes were to make.  I'll definitely have to make more of these skirts.

It's less than two weeks to go until Yarndale and I'm so looking forward to it.  My knitting mojo has deserted me lately and I suspect that the stash busting has had an impact on this.  It will be lovely to have an injection of new yarn.  I'm sure that will get the creative juices flowing again.  In the meantime, I'm knitting up a cardigan in some frogged yarn - not very inspiring but I've only got one more sleeve to do.  I'm now busy dreaming of the new yarn that'll be coming home with me shortly.

Have a good week everyone.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Reliving the Past

What another gloriously hot and sunny week we are having.  I hope the sun is shining down on you, wherever you are.  I've been busy again in the garden each morning, keeping it tidy and admiring my handiwork.  Keep up the good work, Janet!

I've also been out and about this week.  My husband had a meeting down in Hinckley, so my Mum, my Step-Dad and I accompanied him and while he was in his meeting we visited my Auntie in one of the nearby villages.

When I was younger, we used to spend a week of the summer holidays staying with my Auntie, Uncle and cousins.  We would wander around the countryside and the local farms and I remember going to Burbage Woods on a nature trail with the Rector's wife.  Children were so much freer to go out and explore and have adventures by themselves in those days.  Memories!

I had a lovely time wandering around the village trying to relive the past.

Forty years ago, I was a bridesmaid in this church.

It really is a very pretty village.

Obviously I took some knitting with me for the journey.  My Last Chance Scarf has been accompanying me on all my car journeys over the last few months.  It's prove to be an ideal travelling project.  I finished it off once we got back home.

I like the end result and I'm hoping that I will actually wear it when the weather turns cooler.  I think the colours work well in the scarf, but as the yarn has been frogged from a sweater and then from a shawl, we shall have to see if I really take to it now.  The pattern is called Be Simple Variations, and it's a freebie.  You can see details of this project on my Ravelry page, here.

So I'll have to start a new project for travelling now that the scarf is completed.  But first I've off out into the garden again - just to admire its tidiness!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

I Don't Like Gardening...

It's amazing how creative I can be when it comes to making excuses not to do the gardening.  Mostly I rely on the weather to back me up - it's too wet, too windy, too cold, too hot.  This week has been a gloriously hot and sunny one and guilt about the garden has finally caught up with me.  The flower beds are full of willow herb, moss and grass, so some action was needed.

My usual excuse for it being too hot might be worth a try but the guilt won in the end.  So this week I've been out in the garden having a good tidy up and do you know what, I've really enjoyed it!

I made a point of starting early before the sun was too scorching and I was surprised at how much progress I was able to make each day.  Just goes to show what you can do if you make an effort.

The garden is looking so much tidier and weed free.  The flower beds, now stripped of the weeds, don't look as green as they were, so there are a few gaps that look a bit bare.  But on the whole it's been very satisfying.  I don't have much in bloom at the moment but here's a few photos of what there is.

I don't think I'll ever be a true gardener, but my fingers do feel just a touch greener this week.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Working My Way to Gold

How are you?  I hope that life is treating you well.  Have you been watching the Olympics?  I've tried to catch as many events as I can but it's a pretty packed programme so it's difficult to fit everything in.  There's been some very impressive performances, you've got to take your hat off to the dedication and hard work that all the participants have put in.

I thought about trying to have a themed knitting and crocheting event to coincide with the Olympics, but in the end I decided I just needed to get my works-in-progress progressing!  As it turns out, I'm actually doing a triathlon.  I have three projects I'm working on.

The first of my triathlon projects is a knitting one.  It's my Fair Isle cardigan.  I'm trying to get this off the needles because it's a summery cardigan and I'd like to be wearing it sooner rather than later.

It's slow going but I've reached the armholes on the body and one of the sleeves.  I need to work out my shaping of the armholes and hopefully hit the home straight soon.  I have a horrible feeling that I'm going to run out of my main colour but I'm putting that to the back of my mind at the moment and just concentrating on getting as much progress made as possible.

My second triathlon project is a crocheting one.  My Mandala Madness blanket has been hibernating for quite some time now.  I put it to one side whilst I had a sock blitz and then there was the stash busting blitz, so it has been sadly neglected.

Having picked it up again, I'm loving working on it.  At the moment it's my project of choice.  Such fun picking the colours for each round and seeing how it all comes together.  There's still quite a long way to go with this project, but it's a super way to use up my acrylic yarns, so it all helps to reduce the stash.

Finally, the third triathlon project is a crochet pattern I'm hoping to publish shortly.  It's for a colourful mandala that I designed last year.  Grace kindly tested the pattern for me  but I've been very dilatory in completing the pattern.

At the moment I'm working through the pattern again and taking round by round photos to support the pattern.  Every time the pattern has been worked, the variety of colours used creates a unique interpretation of the pattern.  It's such fun to play with the colours and see the effects produced.

All these projects will take some time to complete so there will be nothing off the needles for some time.  They will eventually make a significant dent in the stash, so that's good news.  I did finish my August socks last week.

Again these are toe up socks - firmly established as my favourite way to knit socks.  The pattern is called Fine and Dandy and you can see full details of this project on my Ravelry page, here.

So, now I'm back to my triathlon projects for the duration of the Olympics.  I hope you have a good week and I'm looking forward to picking up my gold medal shortly!