Thursday, 31 January 2013

January... done. In theory I like January. Or at least I like the idea of it - fresh starts, new opportunities and that clear, still feeling that comes with the calm the succeeds the excitement of Christmas.

In practice, its really a month that just has to be 'got through' rather than enjoyed!

January has had its moments though! All the snow - very pretty at first. Some spectacular skies. Saturday afternoons spent with legs outstreched before a fire in the pub. And for me, the best thing of all was the sight of a badger roaming our garden one snowy Sunday night a couple of weeks ago - sadly I wasn't quick enough to get a picture!

I have done quite a lot of crochet - finished some projects, started others. I think I have kind of stuck to my new years resolution not to have too many things on the go at once - currently I only have 3 projects in the queue - 1 chevron cushion cover and 2 blankets, one of which I am not sure will ever grow to be a full size blanket. Its fate is currently hanging in the balance.

I was happy to finish the colour journey I started with my Colour Therapy throw, seen in the images above, though I have yet to find a suitable home for this throw, or work up the courage to try and sell it. Since getting the brights out of my system with this throw, and using up some of my stash, I have, as planned, been able to progress to more pastel toned, spring like shades.

Despite the cold, there have been flowers, inside and out - some real, but most different varieties of artificial - crocheted, fabric, and quartz! Nevertheless, I love them all - I have a feeling flowers will be a theme for me in 2013.

Generally its been a good month - I've made some plans for the year, and so far, have stuck to them. Hopefully things will develop as planned as the year continues, but I'll say no more for the moment.

I hope you all had a happy January too - look forward to more crafty fun in February!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Feeling floral

It has been a glorious spring-type day here - all blue skies, blustery winds and sunshine - very cheery. Sunrise, daytime and sunset have all been gorgeous.

As the snow and ice has finally melted away, I've really been feeling ready for spring - bringing spring flowers inside:

Oh okay, so these are all fake flowers! But I can dream can't I? It would be lovely to be able to have such colourful real flowers around! Sadly I don't have a garden, and even if I did, probably wouldn't have time to make anything grow and of course its the wrong time of year etc. etc....Still pretty though aren't they!

Here are some more fake flowers, but made of something a bit tougher than fabric! These are flower necklaces which I made myself using semi-precious carved flowers bought from a bead shop in Covent Garden. The pink one is rose quartz, but I'm not sure about the blue one - I think possibly its amazonite of some kind. I just threaded them on some ribbon and attached clasps. I think I'll be wearing them a lot this spring, I love them!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Blue skies

Today there were blue skies over London and the South East - finally! After so long of cold and grey and slush and snow it was lovely to see the sunshine - it really made my heart sing.

This week I have been using up scraps of pink DK yarn to make the ripple stitch cushion cover from Nikki Trench's Cute and Easy Crochet. I had to adapt the pattern slightly as its written for aran weight yarn, not dk. 

Here is a little preview - I'll show a proper picture when it's finished - hopefully next week.

I've also been on a yarn shopping trip for a new project - a blanket from a pattern seen on Coco Rose, Millie Makes and on Ravelry (the pattern is by Millie Makes):

So much fun to make!


Sunday, 20 January 2013

A winter's tale

The weather here this week has been so cold. Ok, I know temperatures of freezing or just below are spring like for those of you in more nordic climes, but for the UK, it's pretty cold!

To be honest, I haven't felt like doing anything much this past week other than hibernating, which is why I haven't been here. It can pretty grim at this time of year if you are a commuter. Anyone who has to rely on public transport to get them to and from work, and works more than a few miles away from where they live will know what I mean - getting up in the dark, standing around waiting for buses and trains in the freezing cold and the knowledge that you will barely see any daylight that day because by the time you head home it will be dark all over again!

Still, I can't complain too much - I am happy to have the job I do! It's just hard getting going at this time of year. And, freezing weather isn't all bad - a walk in the park last Saturday meant a chance to see some more lovely early blossoms. I hope they haven't all been killed by the snow this week!

Of course cold weather is also an excuse for snuggling up in lovely handmade knit and crochet garments - as if any excuse were needed!

Since finishing my colour therapy throw, I've been working up a cosy crochet scarf for myself:

The pattern used is the Arcade stitch from the Essential Handbook of Crochet stitches by Betty Barnden. The yarn used was Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply with a 3mm hook.

Its the first time for a while that I've attempted a stitch like this and had success - I normally end up with wibbly edges! I seem to have it figured out now though!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Colour therapy throw finished!

This week I completed my first project of 2013! Well I started it in 2012, (do you remember? I began this as part of a colour detox!) but its the first thing to be completed this year. I think finishing something in the second week of January is not bad going!

Unfortunately I don't have a lovely picture of the blanket all spread out and complete to show you. I just haven't been around to take a photo in the few hours of decent daylight that we have each day since finishing this. In all the pictures I've taken of the finished object, I've had to use artificial lighting and the colours look so distorted - I'd rather wait to show it as it actually looks. Hopefully I'll be able to take a decent picture during the week.

However, I do have some half decent pictures which show the colours pretty much as they actually appear in reality. These are pictures of the blanket in its final stages while nearing completion:

Here are some of its vital statistics:

Hook size: 4mm

Blanket size: Fits a single bed

Yarn used: Stylecraft Special DK in shades:
  • Lavender (2 balls)
  • Fondant (1 ball)
  • Candy floss (2 balls)
  • Magenta (1 ball)
  • Bright green (2 balls)
  • Clematis (1 ball)
  • Sherbert (2 balls)
  • Plum (1 ball)
  • Aspen (1 ball)
  • Turqoise (1 ball)
  • Spring green (2 balls)
  • Wisteria (1 ball)
  • Violet (1 ball)
  • Bluebell (1 ball)
  • Aster (1 ball)
Wow, that was actually a lot more colours than I realised!

The blanket is 2 large granny squares stitched together (each granny square was 20 rounds), with many many more rounds worked around the rectangle formed by the original 2 squares. It ended up slightly differently to how I initially imagined it, but as I had no plan when doing it, I guess that's no surprise!

For the edging I initially worked a row of double crochet around the entire edge of the blanket. I then worked a kind of giant scallop into the double crochet. My basic fan shape was created by working 7 double trebles into 1 double crochet, skipping the next 3 double crochet stitches, working 1 dc into the next double crochet stitch, skipping 3 double crochet stitches and then working 7 double trebles into the next dc etc. Once the scallop edging row was complete I then worked another row of double crochet around the top edge of the scallop stitch, in a lighter purple. I had to work 2 double crochet stitches into the top of the 3 double trebles which sit at the apex of the fan or scallop shape.

I'm sort of thinking about selling this one, as I really did just make it for the pleasure of the task rather than for a specific purpose at home. Feeling a little nervous at the prospect though as I've never sold anything I've made before!

Apart from blanket finishing I've been out and about looking for more early signs of spring - and I did find some, despite the freezing cold! More on than next time though.....

Stay warm!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Some colour and hope amongst all the grey

January is a difficult month, there is no two ways about it. This weekend has been a little difficulty for me, for various reasons. However, I'm trying to stay positive and take comfort in small, simple pleasures.

 I spotted this lovely cherry blossom blooming away in one of London's squares last week as I was on my way to work, and I realised that I was right in my last post - its not to early to be thinking about Spring!
 I love the way the little flowers in this picture (above) are almost glowing white against the backdrop of last year's dead leaves, still clinging to the hedge.

 I'm sure these blossoms looked slightly pinker when I passed them by again the day after taking these photos.

Of course crochet is a constant comfort to me! Its like a companion that you can always rely on to be there with you through good and bad times. I know some people may laugh at that, I sounds pretty earnest, but there are so many articles around on the therapeutic values of knitting and crochet these days that there must be something in it! It certainly works for me anyway.

Till next time, stay warm and happy whatever you're doing.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Is it too early in the year to..... thinking about Spring?!

Yes, I know it's only 2nd January, but already I am looking forward to spring, thinking about spring colours and flowers - lavender, bluebell, crocus purples and magenta and daffodil yellow!

Hmm, as you can still I am still mostly fixated on purple shades at the moment! Still kicking around ideas for various new projects for 2013, but I have made a new year resolution to try not to end up with so many projects on the go at once. I bet I'm not the only crafter to come up with that one this year.

In keeping with my new resolution (which I'm sure I will miserably fail to keep before long - but at least I'll know I tried!) I am currently trying to finish the Spectrum, or Colour Therapy throw I started at the end of 2012. It's coming along and I am enjoying having these bright colours to brighten up my January evenings after work, even if I am daydreaming of lovely pastel spring shades while I work!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A new year!

Happy New Year everyone! I've had a bit of a break from blog-land - I've been away at S's place to see in the new year since last week, and it has been lovely. I hope you all had a fab time whatever you did last night, and wish everyone the best for 2013.

Naturally just because I haven't been blogging doesn't mean I haven't been knitting or crocheting! On Christmas Eve, I managed to finish my most recent knitting project, Emma, from the MillaMia book Country Escape.

Country Escape is the first book of adult knitting patterns from MillaMia. I've never tried their yarn or patterns before, not having had much occassion to knit for children.

However, now that I have finished this top I can honestly say I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I love everything about it, from yarn to pattern, to look when worn.

The pattern is brilliantly simple and easy to follow. It uses 3 needle cast off for the shoulder seams, a technique I love.

The yarn is soooo soft! It felt soft whilst I was knitting it up, but I can tell you that once I had given the finished garment its first wash, it really became baby soft. This top is a total luxury to wear. I used the recommended yarn, MillaMia Naturally Soft Merino, in midnight and snow.

The fit - well, I was a little worried whilst making it, because there is no side seam shaping in this pattern. The boxy look given by rectangular knitted garments doesn't usually work that well for me as I'm quite small and need fitted things really. But, for whatever reason it works here! It love it on - its relaxed but still a little glamorous and can be dressed up or down with accessories.

Well done MillaMia, I'll definately be on the lookout for your next adult patterns!

This isn't all I have been up to the last week or so, but I feel this is enough for one post. More tomorrow I think! Here's a sneaky preview though....

And before you wonder, no I haven't forgotten about the Vintage Pink throw I started before Christmas either - I have grand plans for a lovely frilly edging - watch this space!