Wednesday, 26 February 2014

My first Harty Hook Club and a penguin hook.

For Christmas my lovely boyfriend got me a stunning set of Harty Hooks from Fleabubs by Lala and I absolutely love them.  They are so pretty and incredibly comfortable to use.



I fell head over heels in love, so when it was announced that there would be a Harty Hook Club I was all over it like a rash!  It's a monthly subscription for just £9.50 and each month a hook, a mini skein of yarn and a gift arrives

This month was the first month and after seeing a few references made on Facebook on Monday I just could not wait to get home.  After flying through the door I opened by beautiful parcel in haste and was amazed by what I found inside, I mean WOW!!




The theme was Golden Rainbows and alongside the prettiest opalescent hook was a mini skein of  rainbow sparkly 4ply from unbelievawool, so squishy and beautiful.  The whole package smelt lovely thanks to a bar of orange and cinnamon soap from the clovelly soap company, it smells so seriously amazing I want to carry it everywhere.  There was also a lovely little handmade stitch holder from doodlestop, these are well worth a look, very pretty.  It was beautifully finished off with a yummy chocolate heart.

Nicola (aka Fleabubs) also wrote a lovely little pattern to use the 3.5mm hook and the yarn it was paired with.  The pattern was for a lovely little single hook carrier, perfect when transporting those delicate harty hooks with a project in a bag.  Such a clever idea as I have a large hook roll but worry when transporting my lonely hook loose in my bag.


This is one of the best things I have ever spent my money on.  Spaces are incredibly sought after so I am very very lucky to have secured myself a 6 month slot.  I think when my time is up I will be very reluctant to give up my space but it is only fair to let someone else experience the joy of these little parcels.

This week I also received a brilliant custom made crochet hook from for the love of yarn.  There is a mutual love of penguins between my partner and I so it only seemed right to have one in my hook collection.  Isn't he just adorable, I love him.


I also received a lovely free cleanser sample through the post from a mo skincare a company who specialise in handmade natural skincare.  I can't wait to wash my face. 

All in all a beautiful week for post falling onto my doorstep.

In other matters I have finshed the back of my latest sweater, I cannot wait to share this with you all but I still have a lot of work yet.


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Mosaic making.

Yesterday I met up with some friends I haven't seen for some time to take part in a Mosaic Workshop run by the wonderful Lily Mosaics in her studio at her home.

I have had a go at Mosaic before, when I attended a speed craft event. I wasn't overly enamored but in hindsight I think this was down to the short time frame and the teacher who wasn't really all that helpful, such a shame.  I left with a very pathetic looking wooden heart with a few bits stuck on it not knowing how to proceed and finish it off.

 

Therefore I was a little apprehensive in case I didn't enjoy this workshop but oh-ho-ho was I worrying over nothing, I loved it.

We were greeted and soon handed a lovely cup of tea and some biscuits before settling down to work.  The first and probably most important thing we learnt to do was to use the nippers.  Nasty looking little things but actually very safe in the right hands, oddly mine were safe enough!

We cut small squares from large squares of ceramic and later glass, then we made a petal shape.  Mine didn't really lose its pointy edges so resembled more of an arrow head.

Once we had learnt the basics we made our selections for shapes and colours.  I decided on a square hook to hand in my kitchen and went for a random selection of colours.  I was going to go with a colour scheme but I was taking too long to choose and thought I would go against my inner OCD regarding colour schemes for a change.


I didn't have much of a clue what I was planning on so started by drawing a heart in the centre of the square and filling it with buttons.  The buttons in hindsight were a bit of a pain because as the glue oozed through the holes I had to fish it out with a cocktail stick to make sure the grout would later sink into them.  This took a long time but was worth it in the end don't you think.


After taking so long with my buttons I didn't have an awful lot of time to cover the rest of the board before the end of the session.  I therefore decided that a quick arrangement of square tiles around the edge would be suitable, they would also make the heart stand out.  I mostly used already cut tiles to save time but I did cut a few.


I was really pleased with the end result and loved sticking all the tiles down to create a lovely pattern.  Here are the five that we made while we there, didn't we do well!


We left with a bag containing a small pot of grout.  My other half was grouting the kitchen tiles last night and it took all my strength not to do my own little bit of grouting but I had to wait to make sure the glue was entirely dry.

After being rudely awoken by a crying cat at 7am this morning I decided I would get up, I just couldn't help myself and did my grouting before I had even drunk my morning dandelion compound, a delicious alternative to coffee.

I started the grouting process by masking around the edge of the tile to make sure the edges finished of nice and neatly.



Then I stuck my fingers in the grout and got smoothing it out.

 
 I have to say this was pretty difficult as the buttons gathered the grout in the middle, the tiles were all different sizes and the gaps were therefore tricky to fill.  I mostly managed, it is by no stretch of the imagination a professional finish but for a first attempt I am quite happy.



I left the grout to dry a while and then checked on it, a few gaps had appeared so I went over it again.

My impatience then got the better of me and I just had to tidy it up and see what the finished item looked like.  My grouting instructions said to use a damp cloth to wipe away the excess grout once it had dried.  I wrung out a baby wipe and used one of them, it worked quite nicely but I could have done with something a little ticker.  The buttons were again a pain to clean so if I ever use them again I will be laying them upside down and therefore flat side up.  Once the hook was attached to the back and the nails were hammered in the wall it was hanging and ready to be used.

I plan to eventually hang my new pinny on it next to my home made carrier bag holder and a peg bag I made ages ago.  My kitchen is turning into a beautiful home made haven.

If you have ever considered learning to Mosaic I highly recommend Lily Mosaic here in Nottingham, she has a great little studio and her work is so inspiringly beautiful.   Go have a look at her website.





 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Oh look at that lovely pinny!

Today has been such a lovely day.  It started with breakfast in bed, a rarity when living with a shift worker because we never wake up at the same time.  I then made my way into town for meet up with friends for knitting and Sunday dinner.

I collected a few lovely items I had purchased from my friend Amy Blackwell (a great artist).  This yarn is beauts and I love the panel, no idea what I will do with it yet but I shall figure it out, I'm thinking bag.


After devouring a months worth of calories in one hot chocolate I decided I would head home before the sugar crash.  When I got home I decided it was time to make the hedgehog apron.

I started by cutting the edge panels and one for the bottom.  I forgot that the bottom panel had to be the length of the whole piece with the edges sewn on, it was too small but it did fit the middle section.  How silly!  I then decided I didn't want my apron to have a bottom strip so forgot about cutting another.

After I stitched the edges onto my fat quarter I attached my lovely friendly looking hedgehog.


Next I cut the backing for the apron and stitched it on.  Being a novice sewer I made the mistake of sewing a lovely line that was level with the edge of the fabric...my fabric was wonky so therefore the seam was!  After using an iron and some tailors chalk I soon amended this but I did lose an inch from the bottom of the apron.


To make the straps for the apron I cut two 1 metre lengths of fabric 7" wide and stitched them together making a 2 metre strip of fabric.  I will try to explain how I stitched it on but it will probably make no sense.

I first laid the fabric face down on the apron making sure the centres of both aligned.  I then stitched it in place and ironed it flat so the seam was hidden.  I then folded the strip in half, turned the edges in and stitched along the long edge, this seam is visible.  Then I stitched the end seams and voila it was done!


Such a lovely apron and I am so pleased with it, I can't wait to wear it.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A carrier bag holder.

What a boring title for a post!

Last week I felt like someone had put a rocket up my derrière and I went to B&Q for a few bits to get our kitchen resembling a kitchen and not a building site like it has since last summer.

We have very limited storage space and have found that we have a heap of carrier bags stuffed in between the legs of the stools for our breakfast bar, not very attractive at all.  

From this I decided I would knock up a quick carrier bag tube to hang from the wall under my new shelves.  I spent ages looking for fabric and decided a fat quarter would be more than enough for my needs.  I just fell in love with this Hedgehog fabric, isn't it lovely.


So lovely I couldn't bear to use it for a boring carrier bag holder so it now has a new destiny, an apron. This will have to wait a while though.

As I like to try to blog on a Wednesday and had nothing to blog about I decided I would raid my fabric stash (thanks to friends I now have one) and see what I had.  I had some beautiful floral fabric that was just the right size.

I was in such a hurry I forgot to photograph my progress so I have made a selection of drawings to explain the very easy process.

First I stitched along the top and bottom to make a seam to pass some ribbon through at the top and some elastic at the bottom.


Next I folded the material in half length ways and stitched along the side.  I started below the top seam and ended before the bottom seam so that I could easily thread the ribbon and elastic through once I had finished.


Once this was complete I turned the fabric the right way around and threaded the ribbon through the top.  I am still awaiting the arrival of my elastic so I haven't quite finished but I plan to thread it through and knot it in place so that it is hidden in the seam and pulls the tube closed to prevent the bags falling out.

Here it is so far, isn't it pretty.



Sunday, 9 February 2014

Disaster!

Last year I started knitting an sweater with Opium yarn.  It's funny stuff that is thick and thin but is generally very attractive.  It's not the easiest yarn to knit with but it looks good when knitted together, kind of like a lazy lace.

Anyway, like I said I started some time ago.  I found the pattern really boring and it ended up in a bag untouched for months.  I decided that before I allowed myself to cast on anything else this year I would finish it. When I picked it up again I remembered why I had put it away but I carried on, convincing myself the finished object would be lovely.

Sadly I don't think that now that it is finished.  I can't say why but I just don't like it, possibly frustration more than anything, sewing it up is a nightmare! 

I had to adjust the sleeves as the pattern asked for them to be knitted in 1 by 1 rib in their entirety, I don't think so! Anyway, I finished them and stitched them on and it didn't blooming fit.

I think my error with this project was right back at the start when I got distracted by how nice the ball of yarn looked.  I didn't think about the finished item and where it would sit in my wardrobe along side by style, or lack of.

I'm not getting upset about it though as I am sure I can sew it up and give it to someone who will love it, and fit it.  I have to say I have learnt a lot about myself and my knitting preferences to prevent things like this from happening in the future.

1. I am not a novice knitter anymore and I need a pattern to keep me entertained.
2. Don't get distracted by the yarn, think about the finished object.
3. Use a tape measure!

The sweater is now in a carrier bag to be put away until I decide to sew it up, I might fall in love with it if I ever finish it.


My packing it away I have allowed myself to cast on my next project, this is definitely suited to my clothing style and my knitting style, so exciting.




Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A little bit of crochet.

Remember when I wrote this post about my first attemt to dye yarn?  Well I got around to using it pretty quickly.

I ordered some yarn from Truly Hooked quite some time ago and oh my did I fall in love with it.  I had planned on using it for the stripes in a Paulie cardigan but I just couldnt wait to use it up and knew it would be years before I actually got around to the cardigan.


So, in need of a quick and easy project to satisfy my desires I whipped up yet another Elise Shawl.
A person can never have too many shawls and scarves, I wear one every day and still need a wider array of colours.



It may not be clear in this photograph but I used my hand dyed yarn to edge the shawl.  I estimate I had approximately 30g of my yarn so I knew it wouldn't go too far.  It did however get around the shawl twice to create a lovely edging like this.

 

I'm so pleased with how this one has turned out.  There have already been a number of attempted shawl-nappings take place.  It's MINE!


Whilst I am here, remember this?

I have finally got it out of its box and I am hoping to make some serious progress with it over the next few weeks.  Lucy of Attic 24 told me it was not colourful enough.  I think she might have been right!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Patchwork, my latest addiction.

Yesterday I went to sewing group at the lovely Steph's house and this was the time for me to start my quilt.  I checked before hand that there would be room for me and my machine and when I arrived I promptly got set up.

Having cut up all my squares the other day I decided that I would put them all together randomly in strips to start off with.  The only way I could do this was to reach into my bag, pull out a square and stitch it on.

  
The first two I stitched together looked good, I made a point of showing everybody there because this is my first ever sewing project and it is just so exciting.


I carried on until I had made my first strip and what a pretty strip it is, look at the lovely new door it is hanging on aswell.


I made the strip 18 squares long, the width of a double bed with a little overhang.  I planned to make the quilt square so calculated how many squares I would need and can you believe that 247 is not enough!  I then started looking at eBay but Steph kindly offered a bag of samples she no longer wants.  Yet more excitement.  These are the ones that came home with me.


I cut these up and had over another 200 to add to my quilt.  These fabrics are a lot more vibrant which is just what I wanted.  Lovely.

Between shopping, soup making, biscuit baking and lasagne cooking I have been stitching away.  Tom also chose the fabrics from the bag for two strips.  I have currently got 11 complete strips but there are only 9 in the photo below because I took it earlier.


When I laid them on the bed I purposefully laid them the wrong way so I could gauge whether 18 squares tall was suitable.  It is far too long for the bed so I am now aiming for 14 strips tall.  

I'm so excited to finish it but I suspect there are some trials and tribulations ahead.


There was an error in this gadget