Monday, 28 March 2016

Mini Granny Square Ta-Daah!!!

I have finished my Mini Granny Square Blanket!! Huzzah! It is so colourful and pretty, and used up the vast majority of my leftover Stylecraft Special DK wool which is also very handy.

I hadn't any proper plans for this blanket, I just wanted to use up the leftover balls of wool from the Log Cabin blanket and started making them into three round granny squares. Along the way I discovered more balls of Stylecraft in my yarn basket and added those to the mix as well, ending up with nearly 300 squares!

A yellow square started me off in the centre and then I worked in circles around it, matching the colour of the previous square to the next one so that I ended up with a loose rainbow gradient effect.

The size of the blanket was dictated by the amount of little squares I had, and I ended up with 15 rows of 15 squares (225 in all) which is a lovely lap size at about 1.5 metres square.

The only yarn bought specially for this blanket was 6 balls of Silver Stylecraft Special DK- most of which has been used.

I took the photos of the blanket before I had finished the edging as I didn't want a big or showy edging, just something to protect the edges of the squares. This I added on after the 'photoshoot', and it consists of one round of double crochet in silver, one round of dc in a red and one round of treble crochet in the silver again.

So there we have it!! A beautiful, colourful blanket using up all of my odds and ends! I really love how this compliments my growing collection- I will have to get all of my blankets together and do a big photoshoot with them all.

Of course, because I had so many squares, there were a few left over that I couldn't add to the above blanket- 64 to be precise. I couldn't leave them lying around being individual squares, so using up the oddment of silver, I have started crocheting them together.

Handily, 64 squares divides nicely into 16 lots of 4, which translates into 4 rows of 4 squares in a block, which is what is happening. I have been joining 4 squares together using the join-as-you-go method, then working a round of treble crochet around them, and finally ending on a round of treble one, miss one, treble one which will enable me to do a very close join-as-you-go stitch. (That sounded a bit complicated, see the below images to make things clearer.)

I am enjoying this edging. It moves from the traditional granny square look, to a nice neat, thick looking border, which then in turn changes to being more open. I am intrigued to see what it will look like when all of the squares are joined. This will be the perfect size for a baby blanket!!

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Fabric Packs


I hope everyone is enjoying a lovely Easter weekend. We are just waiting for the roast to be cooked and then there is a huge family meal to be had (roast lamb- lovely) with the extended family members. Whilst in this pre-lunch moment, I feel the need to talk shop. Our new shop!!! Well, revised and updated shop in a box!

The Mother and I have had an idea. We have so many fabrics, buttons, beads, trimmings, ribbons and exciting bits that we cannot possibly use them all and therefore have created some lovely colour co-ordinating fabrics packs for you to buy and use. You could either add the bits to your own stash or use them to create something beautiful. Therein lies the challenge!! What can you make?

The variety of materials we have collected is amazing and there are so many memories being brought to the surface as we remember individual projects the fabrics were initially bought for, or the bewilderment as we pull out fabric after fabric of which we have no idea of the source. Occasionally we have found things we have lost which brings lots of excitement and more careful filing for later use.

We are working through the boxes at the weekends and putting them together, carefully choosing what goes with what (whilst making sure that there aren't too many of the same types of fabric in one pack), pressing, straightening the edges, layering them up and debating over what haberdashery items to add, then photographing, editing the photos and finally popping them onto our Etsy shop. There is a lot of work that goes in to them to get each pack from our box to your letter box.
Currently they are costing between £10 and £15 with free UK postage, and you will always get a variety of materials regardless of what pack you go for.
So, if you are interested in buying a pack, be it for yourself to try or for a fabric loving friend, then you can find us on Etsy, either with the button on the right hand side of the blog page, or by clicking the link here. Be sure to favourite the shop or item so that you can find it again easily.
Ziggy is also very keen on the packs and checks them over one by one before we can send them- he thinks he is Minister of Quality Control!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Easter Weekend

Hurrah!! The Easter weekend has arrived! I didn't have Good Friday off of work so my weekend is only 3 days long, but I'll take it! Last weekend I was up early getting ready for a Spring Fair with the Guides, to raise money for the district fund. Our stall was simple, we had a 'Guess How Many Eggs In The Jar' competition, and a 'Guess The Name Of The Bunny' competition. I had to take lots of Eastery props with me to try and bulk up our table and make it look pretty.

The guessing for the eggs was quite intense, lots of deliberating and tongues sticking out as people tried to do it mathematically or scientifically; counting the number of eggs over a certain area and then multiplying it by so many, then taking numbers away due to the curve of the jar- it was all very complicated. Others just threw caution to the wind with a wild guess. In the end it was won by one of our rainbows who guessed the nearest at 395. The total number was 371.
The rabbit wasn't quite as popular, no one guessed her exact name, Spring, but Daisy was a popular guess so we put all of the Daisy names into a hat to draw the winner.

We also had a 'Ping-A-Jar' game where the player has three ping pong balls and has to throw them into one of the jars. Easy you might wasn't easy!! The ping pong balls had a nasty habit of bouncing onto the rim of the jar and pinging off again. I think we had two winners in the whole time.

At home the Easter tree has gone up! Squeezed onto the end of the table amongst Dad's papers and a button jar. I think it looks quite at home there. I have bought some new decorations this year, inspired by a display I saw in a shop window. We have got a great shop near me call Jeremy's Home Store which sells all kinds of little knick knacks and presents and useful items. They currently have an Easter display which is a huge collection of curly twigs gathered together and suspended from the ceiling like a beam, then covered in their Easter decorations, flowers and pom poms- it looks amazing!

I haven't quite gone that far, but I did buy some of the flowers for the middle so the branches come out of a lovely colourful centre. I also got new painted plastic eggs to go with our little wooden ones, and some larger rabbit and egg wooden decorations. I think it looks quite sweet.

Do you have an Easter tree? What does yours look like?

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Spring Things

Now that Ziggy has discovered how comfortable my wool basket is, we can hardly get him out of it!! He is spending whole nights in the same spot, and you can pick him up and move him around in it with barely a twitch of the eye.

He puts himself in the most hilarious positions inside this basket, and seems to enjoy it even more as I have taken out all of my Stylecraft wool for the current mini granny square blanket. It's created more room for his bottom to wiggle into.

At the weekend we visited my Grandmother. She has had her kitchen smashed up and re-installed how she wants it. There are lots of things she's redoing in the house, having moved in at the end of last year- every time we go round there is something new or different.

 She had been given these glorious purple tulips for Mother's Day by my uncle. Purple is her favourite colour.

And of course, I had to take a turn around the garden and see what's blooming. Most of the plants in her garden we don't know the name of of even what they look like, the majority being a series of twiggy sticks at the moment. There are promising looking buds on everything though- roll on summer!

And we did our bit for the wildlife. This ginormous bumble bee crash landed into a flowerbed next to us and then couldn't fly away again. We picked him up and gave him some sugar water on a bit of kitchen roll which he spent the next 15 minutes collecting up with his proboscis (or tongue- did you know the end of a bee's tongue is furry? And that they use it like a cat would, cleaning their fur, other bee's fur and also their hive). You can see it's tongue in the photos, scooping up the energy of the sugar. They are funny little things aren't they? Going out into the world until they completely run out of energy and then just collapsing. It reminds me of the Duracell battery advert, where the non-Duracell battery bunnies just kind of collapse also.

We have been having some beautiful sunrises. I love this time of year where it is light when I get up, but not so light that I can't enjoy a bright red sun blazing in the sky. The sunsets have been most spectacular as well, except that I am on the bus when I see these so can't get any good photos to show you. The benefit of sitting on the top deck of the bus is that you can see the sun for just that little bit longer, and also how it looks over the rolling hills and treetops. Really lovely.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Silver Linings

Things are moving swiftly in my woolly, blankety world. The little squares I have been endlessly crocheting on the bus, at work, in bed, in my chair, are joining together, linking corners and melding seamlessly together. Quite literally as I am using the join-as-you-go method of joining the squares together.

I have also stepped slightly out of my comfort zone here, having originally wanted to join them with white wool and make them pop out with a really fresh look. When mentioning this plan to The Mother, she very scathingly remarked that I'm always joining squares with white or cream wool- a fair point. So I side stepped, not quite ready to go the whole hog with black wool (too dark for me, I like COLOUR!) I went for a gorgeous Silver (1203 From Stylecraft).

So far so good I think. The grey is such a soft shade it blends really nicely and the colours still pop enough for me to be happy. I started with a bright yellow centre (marked with the green wool tie) and am working in a kind of rainbow-ish scheme around that, following where the colours need to go with no fixed plan in mind.

I am working quite systematically, going around and around in a kind of spiral, creating a square. It probably wouldn't matter if I went up and down in a rectangle but somehow the square seems right and I can make sure that there is an even coverage of all colours.

Ziggy has once more climbed into my wool basket. I think it must be its position in the sitting room; at about half past eleven the sun hits it and it does look super cosy now he's all settled I must admit. The purring is like having a small plane in the room, motoring along very loudly.

I'm not sure how big this blanket will grow- currently I have somewhere in the region of 270 little squares, using up most of my oddments of Stylecraft wool. I still have a couple of larger balls yet to use up but I already have squares in those colours (it appears I return to the same colours a lot). I can save those for a border though I think.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Olympia Knitting & Stitching Show

On Sunday The Parent's and I got up very early and hopped into the car just as the sun started peeping over the horizon. Dad was on taxi duty because The Mother and I were on our way to London, to the Knitting & Stitching Spring Show at Olympia. It was very exciting!! We caught a specially booked coach along with lots of other excited show-goers clutching bags of bags ready to be filled.
An hour and a half later we were there, waiting at the door to be let in and start our shopping!! The first stand we came across was Katie Essam, Contemporary Applied Art. I follow this lady on Facebook so it was really lovely to actually meet her in person, and The Mother bought one of her machine stitched chicken projects. She's well worth a gander through her website, her work is beautiful!!

We were very sensible as it was an all day thing so there was no rush, and slowly made our way once around the halls, making note of where we wanted to revisit and checking on our budget, then the second time around the buying really began in earnest! I admit I bought an awful lot of fat quarters and fabric squares, I just can't help myself- I love collecting them and playing with colours, seeing the juxtaposition of patterns in my fat quarter basket.
I will try and name a few of the shops I bought from, but won't be able to remember them all. The above three fabrics came from The Batik Guild I think- they are so beautiful, with slight gradients in colour and a washed space dye effect.

One of my favourite stands was Higgs & Higgs, for their presentation more than anything. They had quite a large square space, with shelves stacked high with blocks of fabric, but above them were lots of glowing lampshades all covered in the fabrics they were selling- it was so beautiful. The above fabrics came from them, although they had quite a lot of more modern looking cutsie prints or geometric patterned fabrics in pastels which were very interesting (not so much my style).

I think these two fabrics came from Euro Japan Links and are apparently authentically from Japan. I just love the gold in this fabric, it catches the light and outlines the flowers so prettily. Although the pattern is the same I love how the two colours in the background make it appear so different.

I had a bit of a blue moment standing in front of the fat quarter section of the Stitch Witch stand. Most of the above fabrics were from them, although I notice a Higgs & Higgs fabric has crept into this photo- the top left triangle spot print. Stitch Witch was at the Ardingly Quilt Festival The Mother and I went to a few weeks ago, along with a lot of the other stands at London. They are obviously all doing the rounds.

Such pretty little patterns. (It's a bit Wedgewood don't you think?)

I also bought some very cute little buttons. The ones spelling my name aren't buttons as such but mini letters which could be used as buttons. They are made of wood and have been covered in fabric before the letters were cut out, a very sweet idea.
Below are my beautiful heart and puss cat buttons. You don't often see wooden buttons like this- The Mother and I had a good rummage through the basket of buttons that these were in, and had to be very strict with ourselves on how many to buy as they came individually. So there we are!! A full days excitement whittled briefly into one post. At the end of the day we were exhausted but happy and everybody got back onto the coach clutching bursting bags of wools and fabrics and inspiration. Now I just have to make something out of it all!