Sunday 31 July 2011

Just Back From Holiday

Hi, we've just got back from a wonderful holiday in Belgium.  We stayed in Bruges, which is a lovely, picturesque town with numerous canals. 

I'll post some pictures just as soon as I've got myself organised. 

Saturday 23 July 2011

My New Skirt

I haven't been able to find a skirt that I like in the shops - so I decided I would have a go at making one. 

I didn't have a pattern so I used the skirts I already had as a basis for drawing up a pattern. 

I bought some cheap cotton furnishing fabric - £1 per metre!!  Something bold and jolly (nice curtains!)

And this is what I got.

It consists of 6 tapered panels and a side zip - very basic but a good fit and the right length. 

The fabric isn't too light, so it will be wearable through to the autumn, but it's colourful enough for a summer skirt. 

I already had a zip, the fabric cost a total of £2 - so how's that for cheap and cheerful!  It only took a couple of days to make up and hem.  I'm very pleased with the end result.  I shall have to find some other interesting fabrics and make some more. 

As I was coming downstairs to show the finished article off to the rest of the family - I suddenly had an image in my head from my favourite film of the von Trapp children in their 'playsuits' made from curtain fabric.

Obviously their curtains weren't as colourful as mine.  The outfits from the film worn by Marta and Gretel (in the picture above) recently sold at auction for $35,000 - if I look after my skirt, in a few years time it could be worth something - vintage and all that!!

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Farewell Harry

We went to see the last Harry Potter film last night. 

We really enjoyed it, Eve was quite tearful that it was all over.  Both Grace and Eve have grown up with Harry - he's been a major part of their lives - queuing up for the books as soon as they are published, seeing all the films as soon as they come out, then buying the DVD on the day of release. 

Neville Longbottom was the star of the show, such bravery and all whilst wearing a rather nice Fair Isle cardi. 

I was a bit nervous about the final scene - 19 years later - could they pull it off?  Actually it worked quite well.  Harry and Ron were believable, Jinny didn't look any different - only Draco Malfoy raised a snigger in the cinema. 

So that's it now - Harry's all grown up - all finished.  Just the final DVD to wait for now.

Monday 18 July 2011

Fully PDF-ed

I've worked hard today and now all my patterns are available as free Ravelry downloads.  I have also linked all the pattern pages on this blog to the download (Grace showed me how to do it!)  I feel very organised. 

Please let me know if there is a probelm with any of the links. 

Saturday 16 July 2011

Rain and Golf

A few weeks ago I made this cute little raindrop. 

I forgot to blog him - probably because the sun was shining so he looked out of place.  But today the rain has arrived, so my little raindrop is happy, staring out of the window at his fellow raindrops. 

The pattern is by Sherry M and is called Rain Droplet in Red Galoshes.  The pattern is available for free, here.  I got a bit lost on the instructions for the galoshes, so in the end I made it up. 

My little raindrop is sitting beside me as I work away.  Whether it is sunny or raining, this weekend I will be in front of the television watching the Open Golf Championship.  At the moment, there are so many people in contention - it could be a close run thing.  My weekend knitting will be the Fair Isle cardi I'm designing.

I'm making good progress - back finished, half of left front done.  Golf and knitting - should be a good weekend.  Enjoy yours - whatever you are doing. 

Wednesday 13 July 2011


I started knitting a new bear in February - it was supposed to be ready for my birthday in March - but too many projects, too little time - he was never finished. 

It was one of those projects where you keep saying, "I must get around to finishing that" -  but you never do. 

Well yesterday I decided I would do some work on my bear, make some progress.  When I opened the knitting bag I was surprised how much I had already done - in fact the bear was finished apart from sewing on the arms and legs.  So here he is, thankfully freed from the knitting bag and all complete. 

His name is Errol and he is boisterous little boy, full of fun and mischief. 
It was difficult to get him to sit still for the photos!

The pattern comes from Claire Garland's wonderful book called 'Knitted Bears'.

The bears in this book all have so much personality and are not difficult to make - they also shouldn't take several months to make - I'm not usually that bad at finishing a project off.  He's made with double knitting weight yarn and the actual bear took less than 1 x 50g ball.  The clothes are really cute - a shirt and dungerees. 

Here is a picture of Errol with his little sister Rosie, who I made at the beginning of 2010. 

Maybe next year I'll add another bear to the family.

Tuesday 12 July 2011


Yesterday afternoon I had a little making session and made this cute little eagle. 

It only took a few hours to make and was easy to do. 

I made it to surprise Grace when she came home from work.  It's actually her own pattern, so she was really thrilled when she saw I had made it.  You can find the pattern on her blog, The Smiling Robot, here for free. 

She hasn't made any of my patterns yet - something I pointed out to her - no harm in giving her a guilty conscience!!

I haven't given the eagle a name yet - lacking inspiration - so at the moment he is just 'Eagle'. 

Sunday 10 July 2011

Marcus Pattern

PDF version
A fitted men’s sweater with Fair Isle pattern.

It is knitted in the flat with double knitting weight yarn.

To fit sizes small/medium, (medium/ large)

Knitted sizes
Chest 102 (112) cm / 40(44) inches
Length to shoulder 66(68)cm / 26(27)inches
Sleeve seam 51(53) cm / 20(21) inches
(Please note that I have only knitted up the small/medium size.  The medium/large size pattern hasn't been tested by me.)

I used Sirdar Balmoral wool, silk,alpaca mix double knitting yarn (125m/135yds per ball).
9 (9) x 50g balls in main shade in black (ms).
1 x 50g ball in grey (cs1)
1 x 50g ball in navy (cs2)
1 x 50g ball in dark red (cs3)
1 x 50g ball in cream (cs4)

3.75mm (US 5) straight needles
4mm (US 6) straight needles
3.25mm (US 3) straight needles

22 sts and 31 rows to 10cm (4 inches) measured over plain stocking stitch using 3.75 mm needles.

k = knit
p = purl
sts = stitches
tog = together
tbl = through back of loops
ms = main shade
cs = contrast shade
RS = right side
WS = wrong side
RH = right hand

Using 3.25mm needles and ms, cast on 116 (128) sts.
Row 1 (RS): (k2, p2) to end.
This row forms the rib. Repeat this row until work measures 6 cm, ending with a WS row and increasing 1 st at the end of the last row. 117 (129) sts
Change to 3.75mm needles and work in stocking stitch until work measures 31 cm.
Change to 4mm needles and work from chart to row 38, joining in and breaking off colours as required.

Shape armholes
Cast off 6 sts at the beginning of the next 2 rows (rows 39 and 40 of chart). 105 (117) sts
Decrease 1 st at each end of next 9 rows (up to and including row 49 of chart). 87 (99) sts
Complete last two rows of chart. *
Change back to 3.75mm needles and working in ms and stocking stitch continue straight until armhole measures 23 (25) cm.

Shape shoulders
Cast off 7 (8) sts at beg of next 2 rows.
Cast off 7(8) sts at beginning of next row and then knit until 12 sts are on RH needle, turn.
Working on 12 sts only, cast off 4 sts at beg of next row, purl to end.
Cast off remaining 8 sts.

With RS facing, place centre 35 (43) sts on a holder. Rejoin yarn to remaining 19 (20) sts, knit to end.
Cast off 7 (8) sts at beg of next row.
Cast off 4 sts at beginning of next row.
Cast off remaining 8 sts.

Work as given for back to * (end of chart). Change back to 3.75mm needles and working in ms and stocking stitch continue straight until you have worked 20 rows less than on back to start of shoulder shaping.
With RS facing for next row, knit until there are 35 (37) sts on RH needle, turn, leaving remaining sts on a spare needle. Working on 35 (37) sts only, cast off 3 sts at beg of next row. 32 (34) sts
Decrease 1 st at neck edge on next 5 rows. 27 (29) sts
Dec 1 st at neck edge on 4 following alternate rows. 23 (25) sts
Dec 1 sts at neck edge on following 4th row. 22 (24) sts
Work a row, ending with a WS row.

Shape shoulders
Cast off 7 (8) sts at beg of next row and following alternate row.
Work 1 row.
Cast off remaining 8 sts.
With RS facing, place centre 17 (25) sts on a holder. Rejoin yarn to remaining 35 (37) sts and knit to end.
Complete to match first side, reversing shaping.

With 3.25 needles and ms, cast on 60 (64) sts.
Row 1 (RS): (k2, p2) to end.
This row forms the rib. Repeat this row until work measures 6 cm, ending with a WS row and increasing 1 st at the end of the last row. 61 (65) sts
Change to 3.75mm needles and commence stocking stitch, work 2 rows.
Increase 1 st at each end of next row and 10 following 6th rows, and then on 5 (6) following 5th rows. 93 (99) sts
Continue straight until work measures 35 (37) cm.
Change to 4mm needles and work from chart to row 38, joining in and breaking off colours as required.
NOTE - the pattern for the medium/large sleeve has to accommodate the extra stitches into the pattern and so has a different starting and finishing point within the chart. 

Shape sleeve top
Cast off 6 sts at beginning of next two rows. (rows 39 and 40 of chart)
Decrease 1 st at each end of next 5 rows. (up to and including chart row 45)
Dec 1 st at each end of next 3 (4) alternate rows. (up to and including chart row 51). 65 (69) sts
Change back to 3.75mm needles and working in ms and stocking stitch, dec 1 st at each end of following 4th row.
Dec 1 st at each end of next 12 (13) alternate rows.
Dec 1 sts at each end of next 5 (6) rows.
Cast off remaining 29 sts.

Join right shoulder seam.
With 3.25mm needles and RS facing, pick up and knit 22 sts down right front neck, knit across 17 (25) sts on holder, pick up and knit 22 sts up left front, pick up 4 sts from back left neck edge, knit across 35 (43) sts on holder, pick up and knit 4 sts from back right neck edge. 104 (120) sts
Work in K2 P2 rib for 10 rows. Cast off.

Fasten off and neaten all loose ends. Join left hand shoulder seam. Set in sleeves and sew up sleeve and side seams.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Visit to Cambridge

Just got back from our visit to Cambridge University Open Day.  Well, it was actually two days - we stayed overnight because of the distant.  Even so we had to get up at 4 in the morning on Thursday to make sure we were there by 10! 

Eve stayed in one of the colleges, whilst we stayed in a B&B.  Here's the view from the window of her room. 

All very quaint and atmospheric - just what she wanted. 

We spent the two days wandering around as many colleges as we could - but after a while they all start to merge into each other and it becomes hard to remember which was which. 

Cambridge is a lovely city - a good size - not too big and not too small.  Lots of beautiful buildings and plenty of open green spaces.  We all loved it there.  The weather was erratic - one minute it was umbrellas and jackets but then the sun would come out and the layers came off - just as the next shower arrived. 

Here's some photos I took - yes I remembered to take the camera out of my bag this time!

Eve was impressed with the sound of the history course and was fell in love with a number of colleges.  However, only 1 in 5 people who apply get a place, it's very competitive - so we'll just have to wait and see.  In the meantime, we will probably go and look round a few more universities in the school holidays and maybe attend some more open days in September or October.  Now all I've got to do is to find somewhere to stash all the brochure, pamphlets and leaflets we've accumulated in the last few weeks!!

Monday 4 July 2011

Happy 4th of July

I can't believe it's a whole year since we were in Philadelphia.  What a great time we had.

To celebrate the day I decided in join in Megan's CAL (from Crochet Every Day) and make some star coasters. 

They were really quick to make and look really cheerful.  I made the four coasters in under an hour in between cooking the evening meal!  The pattern is available for free and can be found here.

Eve has treated herself to a new sweater to wear when she gets home from school this afternoon. 

Have a great day everyone.

Sunday 3 July 2011

Trip to Durham

The second of our university open days was to Durham University.  I think it was the hottest, most humid day of the week - not ideal conditions for a car journey, 3 hours each way. 

The city of Durham is lovely - so picturesque.  I took the camera but forgot to use it!  So here are some pictures taken by better photographers than me. 

The city centre is made up of narrow streets and old buildings.

The cathedral dominates the centre - it is awe inspiring in its size and simplicity of design - it's my favourite cathedral - it moves me everytime I visit it. 

We had lunch sitting on the grass outside the cathedral in the shade of the trees - perfect. 

We visited Van Mildert college - a typical modern-style residential college - it didn't have a great deal of character - but the duck pond helped.

Eve loved the sound of the history course, but wasn't wowed by English. 

Here's the history department building in the centre of Durham. 

We liked how green everywhere was and it definitely has possibilities.  We're now accumulating a collection of university bags which seem to have been left in the living room together with the pile of prospectuses!

Next week we're off to Cambridge - so an even longer car joureny to look forward to!

At least the knitting is making progress - although on the Durham trip the heat made it impossible to get a lot done. 

As a treat I made sticky gingerbread muffins when we got home.