Sunday, 31 March 2013

Elise

A while back I read this lovely little post about the Elise Shawl which I fell in love with.  How pretty is it!

As I am going on a posh cruise in the summer with Tom and my family I decided I needed something special to cover my shoulders when wearing my bargain £20 charity shop ball gown originally from Monsoon.  I looked at other shawl patterns but kept getting drawn back to this one so the next choice was yarn and colour.

I wanted an elegant and special yarn to match the occasion and decided to treat myself to a ball of  Regia Lace in the purples colour way.

I am using a smaller hook than suggested and it is creating a lovely tight pattern and the changing colours are very evident.  I didn't realise just how beautiful it would turn out to be, the yarn has a lovely sheen to it and the colours are just so rich, well worth the few bob I paid for it.

It is however taking me quite some time to make, Eleanor cast on one evening at knitting group with a large hook and double knit cotton soft, she was done the next day!  She is a speed demon anyway but this made me incredibly jealous and I have to admit I didn't look at mine for a week.

I am far from finished but I wanted to share my progress and show you all the lovely flower patterns forming in the shawl.  There are simple five petal flowers blooming but there are also what look like Fuschias forming aswell and I think this is because of the tightness of the pattern.

I am also working on a large number of other things but I just had to talk about this as I think it is one of my faves at the moment.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Bobble beard baby beanie (try saying that quickly)

How cute and utterly ridiculous is this!  I was sent the pattern by my sister and instantly thought of my pregnant friend and her beardy husband, who wouldn't want a beardy baby to add to the collection, it's brill!

The pattern can be found here on this lovely blog.  I made a different beanie to the pattern but loved making the beard, so simple and easy!

I do hope it fits Baby P-W when she gets here.


I only had my hands to model it on...or a cat!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Baby blankets.

I would like to tell you all about a little project I am helping with.  I was perusing the online notice board at work when I spotted an article requesting wooly blankets for premature babies.  I do love an excuse to crochet and for such a good cause I got in touch with Katie.  Katie has given birth to two very premature babies and as a Thankyou to the hospital for helping her babies and as a comforting gift to parents in the same situation she is collecting blankets.  They only need to be little at 15" by 15" so they don't take long l make at all.  I have made two already and plan on making plenty more.

Please get in touch if you would also like to help.








Friday, 22 March 2013

No code tabs for me!

I'm due to go laser tagging in the woods tomorrow and it is flipping cold round here today and we are forecast snow tomorrow!  I therefore thought that I really should find something to keep my ears warm.  I had a rustle and located some beautiful yarn in a bag donated to me.  The yarn was donated for a baby blanket project I am working on but not all of it is suitable so I grabbed a ball for myself, it's is just so lovely.

I made up the pattern because it's really rather easy to knit a band.  If you do wish to have a look you can get my little pattern from HERE.

I'm really rather pleased and I think it should do a very good job at keeping me tabs warm.




Thursday, 21 March 2013

Mother's Day hat

I have already posted about the teeny tiny dog I made for my Mum and now I can reveal the big present as she has it. I made her a hat for her dog walks along the beach, it does get a bit blowy! I chose one with ear flaps that can be let down for the extra cold days.

I chose a self striping yarn to make the hat even more interesting than the pattern alone was, I love how the puff stitches are a different colour to the stripes they cover, I think it looks fab.

The pattern called for a double weight yarn which i used, whilst the circumference of the hat was perfect the depth was not enough so I added a band to the front and back and it fits perfectly. I'm not sure if this was my tension or the fact the yarn is a light double weight (in my opinion).

I'm very pleased with it and so it Mummy so a big fat tick in the box.

There are a few other projects on the go but they deserve posts of their own so watch this space.

Also....on a non crafting note I have joined slimming world, fingers crossed the shrinking process is a success!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Teeny tiny crocheted woofles

Mother's Day this year was probably the easiest in a long time, now I can make things I got my thinking cap on and decided to get creative.

I didn't know when it was until about a week before we went away so I knew I wouldn't get the big project finished in time even if I worked like a demon. With this in mind I thought I would make something nice and small to fit in an envelope. I consulted a few books on my shelf and decided that a teeny tiny dog would be just perfect as the sock yarn I had slightly resembled my parents Dogs fur.

Anyway, after purchasing a good hook because my cheap one kept bending I had him finished. Isn't he sweet!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Marrakech!

Tom and I have just had a lovely 4 night stay in Marrakech, it's been such a fun experience and so very different to any holidays I have previously had.

I was initially very apprehensive due to the "horror stories" I had been told and read about but I travelled with an open mind and I am so pleased I did.

We made a few trips to the souks which really are an experience like no other.  Thin winding alley ways full of little shops, artisans at work and mopeds whizzing past.

  Watching men carve wood using their feet because two hands were not enough was incredibly impressive not to mention terrifying as I was expecting to get hit with a severed toe at any point!  The souks could be a little intimidating at times due to the sellers who desperately need to earn a living but generally complimenting the goods but saying no Thankyou was enough to be able to move on.  On one occasion we had a guide who took us through the deepest parts of the souks, the places you would never find on your own and this is where we saw some true spectacles!  We witnessed raw hide being turned into beautiful hand stitched bags, metal being made into lanterns and wool of every colour imaginable hanging from washing lines overhead to dry. 
On two occasions I was dressed in a head scarf, the first time I was Princess Aisha and the second Princess Fatima, the second chap was very hard to get away from and got very cross when I did not buy a scarf...I didn't want one though.  We were also taken to carpet shop to learn about the Riad it was housed in, we learnt nothing of the Riad but had a lot of carpets waved at us and it was very hard to get out, we did though!  The smells from the food were wonderful but I have to admit we did not eat in the souk as the implements did not look the cleanest.  I made two wonderful purchases in the souk, some leather boots and a gorgeous handmade leather bag.  Together for the princely sum of approximately £90, I think that is a rather jolly bargain!
 

The other big shock to our system was Jemma El F'na, the main square in town. 


 It is entirely geared towards tourists but a fantastic place none the less.  You name it we saw it, snake charmers, monkeys (on chains which I hated), story tellers, herbalists, belly dancers, transvestite dancers and orange juice stands as far as the eye could see.  The orange juice was beautiful and a half pint only costs 4dh, that's approximately 30p.
  We sat and overlooked the square one evening while the sun was setting behind the Kattoubia Mosque, we watched it come to life.  
The revellers increased in volume, the food stalls appeared, the smoke started rising, the sounds of music got louder and the atmosphere became incredible.  We ventured down into the market for dinner which was delicious.  Finding the right place to eat was not easy though, we were met with people forcing menus in our faces, shouting "cheap as chips" "have a butchers" "cheaper than Morrisons with the finest chicken from m&s". I found the experience highly amusing and just told them I would take the stall number and come back later.  The guy who won me over in the end didn't have to say a lot, just that he wouldn't touch me or bother me too much but he was stall 100 if I wanted to go back, we did.  We went for a relatively tame looking stall and ate couscous, vegetables and a mixed grill.  I can't begin to describe how tasty it was, it did however turn out more expensive than we expected as I think we were even charged for the paper place mat!  

We did look as best we could at the other stalls selling everything from a whole smoked goats head to a humble boiled egg.  After dinner we decided to buy some sweet pastries from a cart moving around the square, thinking this was perfectly acceptable we were not prepared to be ordered to follow the stall at great speed with a box and tongs in hand due to the approaching police, quite a comical experience, made even more amusing by the discovery the maid had eaten half of them the next day!
  Fortunately we were told before we travelled that nothing is free, Tom had a monkey forced onto his shoulder at one point and as much as I would have loved to photograph his discomfort I knew I would end up having to pay for the privilege so the monkey was forced back onto the owner and we rapidly left.  It was also good practice to check our change because it was often giving incorrectly and not in our favour.   It's not a place for the faint hearted!  

We visited a number of other local tourist attractions, one being the Majorelle Gardens.  Once owned by the French Artist Majorelle and later by Yves Saint Laurent they were a haven of tranquility in an otherwise chaotic city.  
We decided to walk and after a multitude of wrong turns we made it.  The walk in itself was interesting as we passed through a number of streets predominantly inhabited by Moroccan's which gave a great view on day to day life.  We also passed the cemetery on the way, an incredibly sad place that was surrounded by mourners who in a lot of cases looked like they would soon be inhabiting a spot themselves.  Once we made it though it was beautiful, I can completely understand why Yves Saint Laurent purchased the gardens to rescue them from ruin.  The plant pots are painted in an array of beautifully vibrant colours, they contrast wonderfully with the natural colours surrounding them. 
The garden is described as a garden of the world as it contains plants from all over it, we saw some fabulous specimens.  We spent a lot of time in the garden sitting, relaxing and enjoying the tranquility along with a Moroccan tea, my new beverage of choice.  I loved the little man covering the pot.
 

As we travelled so close to my birthday Tom decided that a horse and cart ride around the city one evening would be a lovely romantic treat.  It was a lovely way to see the city at night but after arriving an hour late to collect us with another couple in the cart Tom remembered his severe allergy to horses.  By the time we got back to the hotel he resembled a pink Michelin man, in hindsight this is incredibly amusing but not so much at the time.
 

We also visited Medersa Ben Youseff, a mosque in the middle of the souks that is now open for tourists to visit.  It was once a school where students would study Islam.  It was incredibly interesting to see the simplicity of the living space beside the elaborate architecture.  
 A beautiful place to visit which also had a great sense of calm.  From here we went to the museum of Marrakech, from the outside it didn't appear much but the interior was beautiful.  Hanging from the ceiling in the central room was an enormous lantern/chandelier.  
 
The museum housed a number of traditional Moroccan artifacts including wonderfully decorated pots,
 elaborate embroidery, 
stained glass windows 
and jewellery, 
to name but a few.

Between outings we spent a lot of time at our hotel just relaxing and soaking up some precious sunshine which is something we both needed after the last six months.  There was a pool outside which was lovely to enjoy the sun by but far too cold to swim in unless you are mad like Tom who came out like a block of ice.  I took a visit to the spa in the hotel for a traditional hammam, it was a wonderful experience.  It started off by sitting in a very hot room on a marble bench, I then had a lot of warm water thrown all over me and was asked to lay down.  I was then covered in orange blossom oil which smelt wonderful.  The next part was a touch more intense as I got scrubbed to within an inch of my life by a very rough glove and after that I was covered in black soap and left to relax for a few minutes before being washed down.  I felt like a new born baby when I left, it was lovely.

Such a wonderful holiday but in all honesty 4 nights was enough in the city, it is a very hot and very hectic place with a lot of poverty and desperation evident within its inhabitants.  Whilst we had no bad experiences I can see that a less cautious traveller may come across a few problems.  I would highly recommend a trip to anyone who fancies something different to "the norm" and can handle the hustle and bustle.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

I have finally finished my tunic!

After starting this in August I have finally finished it, such a boring knit but it has turned out better than I expected. My enthusiasm was slightly lacking when it came to this garment due to the yarn colour way I had chosen but now it is done I am a lot happier than I thought I would be. It's a good suit to my colouring and despite casting the neckline off a little too tight it's very comfortable. I was a size smaller when I started to knit it so it might fit better when I shift a few pounds.

Generally pretty pleased with this one. Sorry the picture is a bit dodgy, I had to take it myself in a mirror I have now realised needs a good clean!



Friday, 1 March 2013

My new knitting pattern

Way back in August I wrote this little blog post about a beautiful Aran jacket a colleague was knitting.  Well I have decided to be brave and knit myself the v-neck one, isn't it beautiful!  I am thinking a lovely dark purple colour.

Due to it's intricacy I think I am going to have a simpler project going along side it.  After seeing how beautifully this cardigan turns out at sweater club I have thought that it will be the perfect partner for my next Aran.

Oh isn't it all exciting stuff.

Ooh, as we speak I am knitting the last half of the front of my tunic...finally!




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