Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Easter Weekend

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend.  Here's a flavour of what I've been up to.

We spent our time in Sheffield with Grace.

A relaxing canal walk...

and a very refreshing pint in this atmospheric pub.

I also started knitting a new cardigan (no, I haven't finished the last one, but Fair Isle doesn't travel well).

Before arriving at Grace's, we dropped Eve off in Cambridge.  Her college has a lovely pond frequented by ducks and moorhens.  The babies are so cute.

And on the way home we stopped off at the new Hobbycraft store that has opened in Aintree.  I bought a mound of yellow yarn and these lovely balls of cotton.

Back home now and I'm feeling suitably refreshed and full of inspiration for new projects.  That cotton is calling to me so I'd better get my crochet hook and start making!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Inspiration - Beech Tree

Beautiful, cloudless, blue skies.

The pinky leaves on the beech tree almost ready to open.

What a lovely combination - just makes me inspired to knit it all up.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Odds and Ends

I've said it before, but I'll say it again and again, I love Fair Isle knitting.

I'm making excellent progress with the cardigan I started a few weeks ago.  Fair Isle knitting just seems to grow so effortlessly.

The one drawback with Fair Isle knitting, the MAJOR drawback with Fair Isle knitting, is of course the ends.

So many ends to be darned in.

Definitely a lazy Sunday afternoon task.

To break up the monotony of darning, I made this cute crochet sunflower.

Complete with cute crochet ladybird.

Which is now added to my woolly butterflies on the wall.

And then, back to the ends!!

Friday, 4 April 2014

A Well-Travelled Hanger?

I've been busy making more crocheted coat hangers.  My aim is to ban the plastic and have a wardrobe full of crocheted loveliness.

I've used the same pattern as last time - the one by Dottie Angel - it just looks so pretty.

Whilst emptying my Mother-in-Law's house I came across a useful collection of old wooden hangers to keep me going.

One of them you may notice has writing on it.

So I Googled it and it seems to be from a dry cleaners in Buenos Aires!!  Can this be true?  How did my MIL acquire this interesting item?  Sadly, a story I will never know but wherever the hanger originated from, it's now living happily ever after in a wardrobe in Liverpool!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Work - in - Progress

Now that the Braid Hills cardigan is finished, I allowed myself the treat of starting a new Fair Isle cardigan over the weekend.

Actually, I have to admit that I had started this Fair Isle cardigan two previous times but haven't been happy with the versions.

This version is coming on a treat and I'm pleased with the patterning.

I've missed doing Fair Isle knitting.  Now that I'm working on this one, I realise how much I do enjoy the work.  (I must make an effort to darn in those ends as I go along, otherwise it becomes a real pain).

I've also recently crocheted a new coat-hanger.  This one is from a pattern by Dottie Angel, you can get the pattern for free, here.  

It was surprisingly quick to make and I think it looks very pretty.  I must make some more.

Having recently repainted our kitchen, I decided to crochet some yellow bunting to give it a splash of colour - there's nothing like bunting for adding that touch of jolliness.

This pattern is just simple granny triangles.

So that's about it, as far as taking stock is concerned.  Obviously there are a number of other projects that I have started, but the ones above are the ones I'm working on at the moment - the others are out of sight and out of mind for now!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Handel's Messiah

I had a lovely treat on Saturday evening.  Eve and I went to the Catholic Cathedral for a performance of Handel's Messiah.

It was beautifully done in such a lovely building.  Liverpool has two cathedrals, but the Catholic one is my favourite.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Happy Mothers Day

A very Happy Mothers Day to all Mums out there.  For my Mum I did some more embroidery to make into a card - I'm so loving doing little bits of embroidery these days.

Little yellow bullion roses on a leafy green heart.  (I saw something similar on Pinterest and couldn't resist the design).

I add some lace to the top and bottom of the fabric and attached it to some colourful backing paper before inserting it into the card.

I think it looks lovely and is just perfect for my Mum.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Happy Now?

At last my Braid Hills cardigan is finished.

I redid the sleeves and now they are a sensible length.  I'm so glad that the sleeves were knitted top-down, it made the alteration so much simpler.

Anyway, here it is.

My feelings towards the cardigan are mixed.  The yarn is lovely and I like the colour.

I love the cabled pattern on the fronts but not sure about the cabling on the cuffs.

The neck line is quite low and this is after I altered it from the pattern.

I definitely don't like the way the button bands curl when it isn't buttoned up.

Also, because the button bands are worked at the same time as the body and are in rib, they give a slight gaping appearance.  The original pattern was for less buttonholes but I added extra to try to avoid the gape.

The photos were taken as the cardigan came straight off the needles and I have since soaked the cardigan to relax the stitches.  Once it has been properly blocked I may feel kinder towards it.  For now, though, it's still on probation.

You can see full details of the project on my Ravelry page, here.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Lessons Learnt?

I've been knitting away lately at my Braid Hills cardigan (Kate Davies design).  All was going well.

The pattern is for top down sleeves - I've tried this method before but didn't like it - but I gave it another go.
The excellent thing about top down sleeves is that you can try on the work-in-progress to check the fit.  So why didn't I do this?

I was so eager to get on with it, that it wasn't until I was at the cuff of the first sleeve that I thought to try it on.  And yes, you've guessed it - the sleeve just wasn't right.  Far too tight - I don't have fat arms and I'd followed the pattern exactly but it felt like a straight-jacket on me.  So the sleeve was ripped out.

As the top down sleeve method was going well - I'd sorted out the tangle of needles and had a good rhythm going, I redid the sleeves using the same method, but added extra stitches.

You would think I would learn from my first mistake.  Yes I tried on the sleeves to check for tightness - all fine and dandy now - but what about length?  Too eager to finish to try on!!!

The cardigan is all finished but oh no!  The sleeves are too long!  I'm going to have to undo them - again!

Here's a photo of the current finished article as it is at the moment.  I need to work up the enthusiasm to do the alterations - at least I don't need to undo them by much - just back to before the cabling.

When I've redone the sleeves, hopefully I'll have a photo of me wearing it.  In the meantime, I think I've learnt my lesson!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

It's Arrived...

It's arrived... Pretty Nostalgic magazine.

I've been waiting for the post every day for the past few days anticipating the moment it drops through the letterbox.

It's only issued once every two months, so it's very exciting when it arrives.

And now it's here.  So time to put my feet up with a large mug of tea and some fun crochet and browse this joyful, feature-packed mag.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

No Longer a Teenager

Yesterday our lovely Eve was twenty years old.  No longer a teenager.  She's all grown up and independent.
It was wonderful that she was home from university - we collected her on Sunday - so we could have this time with her.

Most of her home friends are still away, their Easter holidays do not start for a while, which meant that I had Eve all to myself yesterday.

We had a delightful lunch out in a local coffee shop, catching up and having laughs.

For her birthday card I embroidered this little picture.

Then machine sewed the fabric to a colourful piece of craft paper to make into a card.

A wonderful, memorable day - I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Another Year Older?

What a wonderful week I have had.  With an approaching birthday, I put myself on "light duties" last week.  So plenty of time for treats!

One of my treats was a trip into the city centre.  I love going into Liverpool and being a tourist.  It makes you appreciate your home city when you look at it through a stranger's eyes.

I had a lovely afternoon at the Maritime Museum.

With tea and a cake overlooking the Albert Dock.

At the weekend we went and stayed with Grace in Sheffield on the Saturday night then on the Sunday (my birthday), after Skyping with Eve, we went on to York.

York is one of my most favourite cities (after Liverpool of course).

We walked around the city walls.

Pity about his thumb and my closed eyes

And who could resist this little treat.

We explored all the nooks and crannies of the city and found some beautiful spots away from the main tourist areas.

And it wouldn't be a proper holiday if we didn't find ourselves a quaint old pub.

Now I'm back home and it's time to catch up on the jobs around the house.  I'm sure I'll still find time for some treats.

So am I another year older?  Certainly not, I don't feel any older than I did many years ago.  I am, however, another year wiser and as such, another year more content.  I believe the passing of time is all about becoming the person you are meant to be.

So here's to another year of becoming me!