Hello and welcome to my little corner of the internet. I intend to use this blog as a showcase for my latest crafting endeavours and to provide detailed reviews of patterns, kits and accessories on the market along with details on where to find everything yourself, should I inspire you to try it out. Please feel free to comment on my posts, provide your own thoughts on the subject, answer questions and even suggest posts.

It has always been my goal to add a post every Wednesday, but due to current circumstances posts may be as scarce as once a month. Appologies and I hope to return to my weekly posting shortly.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Neck Squishy

Brand: Rowan
Item: Alpaca Colour
Available from: Love Knitting
Price: £7.35

Available From:
Price: Free Download

There are some yarns in this world that are so delightfully squishy that you just have to have them, even with no project in mind, you crave ownership of them and justify it with "I might not use it, but squishing it makes me happy anyway". There are also some yarns whose price to yardage ratio makes your jaw drop in astonishment and you become convinced that the only way you can afford enough of it is to remortgage your house? Isn't it a crying shame when those two yarns actually happen to be the same yarn? That would be this yarn. Your £7.35 will maybe buy you enough to make a pair of fingerless mittens...if you're lucky. To actually make an item of clothing you will need at least two skeins for a baby and around 10 for an adult. It really is silly money, at least for this thrifty Yorkshire lass who has only paid that much for clothing on her wedding day.

And for that price, it doesn't even come ready to use. Now I have no idea why companies do this, but the more expensive your yarn, the more they make you work for it! Skeins, also known as hanks, need to be balled before you can use them properly, it's really easy to do and for a skein this size it's really fast and quite enjoyable to do by hand (would you like a tutorial? Comment below) as it only has 131 yards and feels like something out of a dream, but if you try and work directly from a skein it will tangle and ruin your yarn. It's not impossible to work directly from the skein, there's a photo somewhere of me doing it while making a shawl, but it is inadvisable.

The hardest part of any project, for me, is the casting on. Not because I find the method difficult, but because of the counting involved. I have Dyscalculia and aside from sounding like the cousin to Dracula, that means that I have trouble with numbers. It's like Dyslexia, but but numbers, and that means that when I count stitches I might get completely turned around without realizing it and it's not unusual to hear me count "28, 29, 20, 21, 22", skip number or just pull random numbers out "39, 40, 51" so I always have to count a thing several times and even then I sometimes get it wrong. I got it wrong on this and had to pull the piece off and start again. Pulling it off the needles and ripping back to the start was harder than starting, the halo sort of attaches itself to the surrounding stitches and does not want to let go!

Once I finally got started I was delighted and slightly saddened. The yarn was a dream, each stitch felt like a baby animal nuzzling my fingertips, I was creating a blanket of dreams on my needles...and every stitch was one stitch closer to no longer touching it. Fortunately the pattern was really simple to follow and I quickly had it memorized, which left me more time to devote to simply enjoying the yarn. Watching the gentle gradient of it and caressing the thing. Before I knew it I was finished, and this pattern that claimed to take 125-135 yards actually only took 60, so I can make it again for a friend if I want to.

I can't see why I wouldn't want to though, aside from the simply dreamy softness of this yarn and the beautifully simple, yet delightfully pretty pattern, this is actually a really fantastic project! The soft halo doesn't obscure any of the pattern detailing as you might expect, nor does it tickle when worn against the neck, what it does do is add a bit of extra covering to the lace and block out quite a bit of the draft knitwear often allows through, and combined with the thickness of double knitting this actually makes a neck-warmer that is warmer than my thickest scarf while being completely bulk free. It's the must have accessory of the year. And I do mean that, this not only works in winter chills, but we can get a gale blowing through this part of the country in even the sunniest of weather, and this will protect your neck on those days too, without looking out of place as a winter scarf does, offering more protection than a summer scarf.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A T-shirt of memories

My grandmother was one of those people who makes the world a better place just by having been in it, and you a better person for simply having played witness, She wasn't an activist, she didn't run charities or travel the world, she was a member of the salvation army, a friend to those who knew her, a matriarch to her family...and a hero all the same. You see, her talent was inspiration. She inspired you to reach higher, go further and dig deeper.

So, in a blog that has sworn to keep the drama out and focus only on crafting, why am I telling you about one of my personal heroes? Well among the great many things I love her for, she's the one I thank for my crafting abilities. It was she who taught me to take time, enjoy the process and to create, even if you can buy it, because nothing is as special as something created with love.

Sadly, my gramma left this world 5 days and 6 years ago, but it shouldn't come as a surprise to heart that she had a lot of crafting supplies. So much so that my aunt is still sending me home with bits that she's unearthed. I'm not sure if she's staggering it on purpose, but it keeps my gramma close to me. It feels like she's still there, somewhere close by, encouraging me to create, inspiring me to explore new things and new idea.

So here we go, the first of those ideas is this T-shirt, created using a bag full of her yarn:

Brand: Christabel Seneque
Item: Nami
Available from: Ravelry
Price: Free Download

Brand: Hayfield
Item: Beaulon 4
Availible from: Discontinued
This project was a classic case of the yarn choosing the pattern. I wanted something simple, classic, casual and pretty. Nami looked the part; a classic ribbed t-shirt with a pretty lace panel across the center. it looked the perfect fit for the yarn and I love how it turned out, but I do wish that I'd chosen to write something similar from scratch than attempt this farce of a pattern.

The whole thing was badly written and probably untested, reading more like someones notes of what they did than an actual pattern and I knew it would be a lot of work from the start. The first change was pretty simple and occurred at the start of the lace paneling (bearing in mind that this design is worked bottom up). The "pattern" called for an increase in the stitch count that would leave a two stitch run of plain stocking stitch right down the center of the lace! I decreased it for a more seamless look.

The "math" of the sleeve placement was just plain lazy and ill conceived. It wasn't wrong, but it wasn't good either and by the shoulder shaping I had thrown the pattern away and began doing my own thing as it had become completely illogical and convoluted. Beautiful shirt, but I won't be using the pattern EVER again.

The yarn on the other hand, was lovely to work with, but about halfway through I realized that it was much less pink than I had believed when I started and much more flesh toned! My co-workers all say it's dark enough to work on it's own, but I won't be wearing it without another top underneath all the same.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Autumnal Earring board

Over the years, like any woman, I've managed to acquire several pairs of earrings, unfortunately for me "several pairs" happens to mean more than will fit in my jewelry box's and thus they've been sat in any old box that I could find, getting tangled, broken and even lost. I decided to clean house the other week and was shocked by how many pairs were no longer useable!That's when I really appreciated the genius of my aunts cork-board. I'd thought it purely decorative to have all your earrings hung on the wall, but actually it's a genius idea that's really quick and cheap to implement. Two cork-boards is a houses limit and since I have one in my craft room/office and I want to put a second one in the kitchen, but I do have sheets of plastic canvas and since I always thought my aunts was mostly decorative I decided that mine should be.

Our bedroom colours, dictated by the art we bought before deciding on a colour scheme, are reds and golds. Think sunset and you won't be far wrong, one of the paintings in there is Stone henge bathed in black red and gold at the start/end of a day, we can't decide which. I wanted those colours, but I didn't want another sunset piece, so instead I decided to represent my favorite season...autumn!

You will need:
10count plastic canvas
Anchor perle 5 #1316
Anchor perle 5 #1385
Tapestry needles size 22&26
Beaded Ribbon
Madeira No.4 #4021

  • Cut the canvas to size. Mine is 78x97 holes.
  • Work the embroidery as charted, using the Anchor thread and larger needle, repeating the pattern as desired to fill the space..
  • Whip stitch along the outer edge of the ribbon, using the Madeira thread and smaller needle,  to attach it to the edge of your canvas.
  • Cut the beads from the ribbon framing the top edge of your canvas if required..
  • Pin to your wall, no need for a hook, the holes in the canvas will serve perfectly fine as a hanging device.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Coloured Snood for casual wear

Every vintage wardrobe should contain at least one snood, in fact I'd even go so far as to say that everyone with shoulder length hair or longer should own a snood, and this is by far the prettiest snood I've seen so far and best of all, it's wonderfully simple and quick to make! Once you have one, all you need is a couple of bobby pins to secure it in your hair, maybe a pretty ribbon to dress it up if you feel so inclined and you're ready to go. It looks every so pretty and hides even the worst of bad hair days, and unlike a hat...you will not have to take the snood out once you get to work or school. It stays there, hiding the mess within, but a snood isn't just your friend on a bad hair day, it works with beautifully styled hair too.

I've made this pattern multiple times and it never seems to get old. I personally have about seven of them in my wardrobe in different colours to go with different outfits and I will probably acquire several more because they are so quick and easy, but the one I'm making today, the one that inspired this post, isn't for me. No, this one is a commission.

1oz. wool cotton or yarn
Pair of knitting needles size 10
Medium Crochet Hook
Round Elastic to fit back of head.

About 1 patt. to 1 in.

Cast on 42 sts.
1st row. - knit
2nd row. - k1, *(k1, p1, k1) all in the same stitch, p3tog: rep from * to last st. k1
3rd row. - Purl
4th row. -  k1, *p3tog, (k1, p1, k1) all in same stitch: rep from * to last st k1
5th row. - Purl
  The last four rows form the pattern and are repeated until work measures 14ins (or suitable length). Cast off, but do not break the yarn.

Make-up. - Holding the elastic against the knitting, work d.c. over it into the edge of the knitting. Work round three sides, leaving the cast off edge plain for the front of the head. Draw up elastic to a suitable length and sew neatly to beginning and end of d.c.