Saturday, 28 November 2015

Saturday Roundup and 3 Cheerz!!!

Hi everyone, I hope you're enjoying your weekend.

I'm feeling better after a week of 'the lergy' and have spent most of today cleaning my grotty house. Without fail I always want to disinfect everything after being ill, and I needed to get on top of everything as no housework has been done for days and it was getting me down. So after a few hours of domestic duties I look around me and it looks a bit better I suppose - at least I know the kitchen floor is no longer a health hazard ;0|





I mentioned in my last post that I've had a run of finishing things and so I thought I'd catch up with that today. This knitted hat is a pattern from issue 139 of Simply Knitting by Kirstie McLeod and I made it up in a lovely cranberry red chunky yarn - Lion brand Vanna's Choice. The pattern is easy and fun, although I would have preferred to have been able to knit it in the round as opposed to flat, but that's because I don't like seaming. It's so cute with the little pom-poms and fits perfectly. My little poppet was very happy to model too.


And then socks. I'm part of the sock-knitting craze sweeping the country yarn community. Actually socks are a very satisfying project, and it wasn't that long ago that the construction still mystified me. These certainly aren't perfect, I'm still a learner, but I'm generally pleased with how they have turned out.  Their name is 'Hyper Hyper Socks' as that is what the colour of this Sirdar Heart and Sole yarn is called - according to the drop-down thing on Ravelry anyway. They are bright and in your face, perfect to wear on a jeans and boots day. The pattern is Hermione's everyday sock by Erica Lueder, I got a bit confused on the heel part and ended up doing a slip-stitch one as I had done that before, but I think I have now figured out how it was supposed to be so will be able to do it properly if I use this pattern again. And I probably will, it's a good one.

And finally I can announce my three lucky winners in the Cheerz give away, yay!!!

The three winners are:

Sally Dodd

Joanne Roberts


S Phillips

Congratulations, I will email you your codes to spend £20 on the Cheerz website
I hope you have fun with it!

'till next time...

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Ramona Cardigan







I've had a run of finishing things of late. Because I often always have several WIPs on the go at the same time, there comes a point when they all seem to reach completion together. The first thing off the needles was my Ramona Cardigan, a design by Elizabeth Smith, made in Berroco Vintage in shades 5195 - Macaron and 5116 - Dove, a beginner friendly Aran weight yarn that is a mix of acrylic, wool and nylon. Lovely to work with, especially in these subtle colours. I had 4 skeins of the Macaron shade knocking about for ages and was in doubt whether it would be enough to make the whole cardigan, so I ordered the dove as a contrast and am really delighted with the outcome.

I had this pattern on my 'want to make' list for a while and it was a few weeks back when I sewed my vintage skirt that I remembered about the yarn and just knew it would match well with the faded roses on the printed fabric. I love being able to make a handmade 'outfit' although I've yet to wear them together. I tried the cardigan on once I'd finished the ends, and ended up keeping it on as it was a chilly day and I didn't want to take it off. The buttons I bought at Festiwool from textile garden and love the way they finish it off - being mis-matched gives it a 'kooky' feel that I'm keen on.

This was such a satisfying project, from beginning to end. It's worked top-down and the sleeves are knitted in the round. I used, for the first time, the magic loop method to do the sleeves and am chuffed I now know how to do it. I'm still using DPN's for socks right now, at some point I will buy a 2.25mm circular needle and have a go at magic loop socks too.

So yeah, this one ticks all the boxes. I really, really enjoyed knitting it, it fits well and I love the style. I'll spare you a selfie this time as I'm full of cold and look frightful with a bright red nose, sallow completion and limp hair. Lovely.

I hope you guys are all well and are enjoying a creative zest. I'm sure mine will return in a few days :o)

'till next time...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Cheerz...



Taking a photo of my photos!? Seems so strange, but this poster is from Cheerz, an online photo processing company that contacted me to do a review on their products. 
I know, I've had a little run on sponsored posts just late haven't I? 
 It's just the way it's worked out and actually it's great because I get to know about companies and sites I wasn't aware of but certainly am interested in!

So yeah, Katie emailed me and was very complimentary about my pictures on Instagram and here on my blog. Flattery gets you everywhere with me so I readily agreed to the review as once I had checked out the website I was genuinely impressed by what they had on offer, and just as importantly to me, how they presented their products and services on the website.



It's really modern and fun, and most of all friendly! 'The Team' page here shows headshot of the staff which I think is just brilliant! It does help that they are all very good looking people though :o)

I had a super time ordering my mosaic poster from them. It was a case of uploading the images I wanted to use. That in itself was the only difficult bit because I couldn't decide which ones I wanted, but there is a save facility so I was able to go away and have a think about it. Once all the images had been selected, you can shuffle them around as many times as you want to get your desired effect. The ordering process is very easy - how it should be. I know it sounds obvious but when a company wants you to buy their stuff and part with your money, they need to make it as easy as possible for that to happen, I am often surprised and irritated when that isn't that case. Rest assured the team at Cheerz have thought it through, and the whole experience is fun and buyer friendly, the costs are transparent so no VAT's or other 'extras' added as you near checkout,  so you really know what you are getting.


I really love my poster! It's so me, isn't it? It's printed on good quality paper and it arrived rolled up in a tube. I did blue-tack it up on the wall at first, but knew it would look so much better in a frame. This frame was bought independently, but you can order frames from Cheerz for this standard size poster.

I do encourage you to pop over to the website to see the other products on offer. There are the photo boxes, strips that look like the ones you get from photo booths and very cool wedding stationary. Such artistic ideas, different from anything I've seen before. Top marks to the design team for their innovative and creative shop window. I am very tempted to order the magnets printed with head shots of our family so my little girl can play with them on the fridge. I think the prices are very reasonable too, and it would be brilliant to make Christmas presents for your loved ones.

And because we are approaching the season of good-will, I am please to be able to host a give away from the generous crew at Cheerz. I can offer 3 of my UK readers a voucher code worth £20 to spend on the Cheerz website and all you have to do is leave a comment below and I will pick a winner with the random generator on Saturday 28th November 2015.
It's that easy guys! But you do have a have a UK delivery address, sorry to my overseas readers :o(


“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” 
― Marc Riboud


'till next time...


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Festiwool



This image above is total eye-candy (or dye candy!) for me. I took it whilst at Festiwool on Saturday following an invitation from Helen at Wooly Chic Designs to be on the guest list (yay!) and attend the fair and blog about it. I hadn't heard of Festiwool before, but as I had a free day and with my husband unusually being around to take care of the kids, it was a perfect opportunity to check it out and make a few little purchases. 


Last week was a bit of a stressful week for me, and so spending the day with lovely Sandra mooching around all the yarn stands was just the tonic I needed (especially as that morning the news was breaking of the terrible and upsetting events in Paris, an injection of positivity was in order). The fair was held in North Herts College in Hitchin, which is a lovely town not far from me, it was a medium size festival filled with quality sellers. There also was felting demonstrations, a Q and A with model Daphne Selfe, a fashion show and book signing.



We popped over to say hello and thank Helen at her stand where she sells such pretty colours of 100% british wool that is from the sheep on her Aunt's farm in Pembrokeshire. These little cakes are so much fun and the colours she dyes them are vibrant and sweet. I'm becoming more conscious of my carbon footprint and feel buying local is the way to go. Bear with me though, I have a considerable stash to use up first and some of it comes from further afield - like my current WIP which is a North American yarn!
You can visit the Wooly Chic Designs online shop here to check out Helen's wares.



Rosie's Moments were selling these fun hand wound balls of yarn. Inside are loads of little presents like stitch markers and sweets that you reach as you knit along, this one obviously Christmas theme. I love that personal touch!



Beautifully decorated knitting needles were being sold by www.bigcrocodile.co.uk as well as their exclusive extremely soft and fluffy Snuggle Soft yarn in the most gorgeous pastel colours.



Both Sandra and I were drawn to the appealing aesthetic of travel knitter and the yarns Larissa sells live up to this too! So soft baby camel skeins were ever-so-tempting in the stunning jewel colours that are her pallet, and we oohhed and ahhhed for a good while.



The stand that completely won my heart was www.textilegarden.com where Maggie was selling THE MOST gorgeous buttons I have ever seen. I'm not kidding, I was in my element choosing buttons to go on the Ramona Cardigan I'm making that is nearing completion. The colours, designs, shapes and presentation were everything I wanted in a button seller, and there doesn't seem very many button sellers around. I understand these are sourced from France and Italy, and it was a joy to discover! So glad I have found this shop, I know it will be my go-to whenever I need any fastenings for my projects.

I had a lovely time with Sandra, several people recognised her from her podcast and blog and came over to say hello, it was fun to bask in her well deserved celebrity status :o)
Festiwool is definitely in my diary for next year, hopefully in the same venue as it's easy for me to get to. Fairs like this are the place to get wonderful hand dyed local yarns from Indie dyers, they generally have Etsy shops too but it's worth being able to touch and feel and smooch over their wares in the flesh as it were.

**********************************

My heart goes out to all the people of France and their family and friends who have been effected by the horrible happens in Paris on Friday night. It effects all of us doesn't it? I know I keep thinking about how terrifying it must have been to be caught up in such horrific events. Many have died and have been injured and emotionally traumatised by what happened. From my little corner of our world my love goes out to you, and to the beautiful city of Paris xxx


'till next time my friends...



PS this is a sponsored post 'cos I got free entry into the festival, but all opinions are my very own xx

Friday, 13 November 2015

Meredith Cardigan








Making things for my little girl is an honour and total pleasure. 
Each stitch is made with love.
This is the Meredith Cardi pattern by Ruth Maddock, a top down construction with a lace yoke and cute 3 button fastening. The beauty of top down knitting is it can be tried on as you go, which this little lady loves as the circular needles are still attached which she thinks is great. She comes to me and asks if it's finished yet and I say no, "have you still got a lot to do?" she asks and I nod.
Of course I had to make it in her favourite colour of blue. To be more precise she seems to like navy blue best but this yarn is such a gorgeous shade with a very slight grey tint that matches her eyes and suits her so well I thought it would be perfect for a cardigan. It's James C Brett Double Knitting with Merino (colour DM11) and it's a lovely, reasonably priced yarn that washes well.
We went to Barretts in St Neots to get the buttons (I love this shop). She was very definite about the cat ones, I couldn't persuade her to have flowers instead. She of course was spot on with her choice.
I loved making this little cardi, the lace pattern is fun and and relatively simple, and it's always great not to have any sewing up to do - apart from the funny bit under the arms which I didn't do very well, but it's hidden so hey, I can live with it. The original design is with long sleeves but I quite like the shorter style, looks sweet.
My little girl generally assumes everything I make is for her. She accepts gracefully if I explain it is for another, but I quite like that she takes what I make for her for granted. 

I hope you all have a fun weekend, whatever you may be up to,

'till next time...


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Star Skirt

It's Guy Fawkes night here in the UK, we celebrate the fact the Houses of Parliament didn't get blown up in 1605. I prefer not to dwell on the terrorists failed plot and because I love fireworks so much see it as more of a light up the sky celebration to cheer these dark Autumn evenings.

We've got family coming over later and Mat and his Dad will be setting off fireworks in our garden, my son will have a field day with the sparklers and after our baked potatoes, chilli and hotdogs for tea there are Chococinos and warm cookies for afters. The school at the back of us is having their annual display so we like to time ours just before they start and their display acts as our finale :0)
Small cousins are coming too and so I find home fireworks fair better with young children as they can get upset with the loud bangs, so can be taken inside if necessary. Keep your fingers crossed for us as there is rain forecasted and I really hope it stays dry - otherwise it will be Mat and his Dad getting wet setting off fireworks in the garden and the rest of us can watch from the upstairs windows!



What I wanted to share with you today is some sewing. Last night I started making my star skirt and finished it off this morning.  The pattern is Newlook K6035 and I'm pretty sure I got it free with a magazine. The skirt is the first thing I've sewn from this pattern but I fancy making the little top too for the summer and maybe even challenge myself and have a go at the jacket?
When it comes to dressmaking, getting the fit right is always tricky. I've given up measuring myself as my hips are on one end of the size chart and my waist measurement is at the opposite end, so instead I used an existing, store bought skirt that I like the fit of and laid it on the pattern pieces to determine what size to cut. This worked out so well and my skirt fits perfectly with no adjustments at all, yay!
The fabric is a Lotta Jansdotter Stella, 100% cotton corduroy from the Brighton Sewing Centre, a shop I've visited and also ordered online from too. A total coincidence that I finished this star skirt on the day we plan to shoot stars into the sky, but very app, so I have to wear it today of course!






It's an 'A' line shape, perhaps not that obvious from my selfies, with a dropped waist and narrow yoke incorporating belt loops or 'carriers' as they are referred to in the instructions. Super easy to make, and therefore quick too! As we speak I have some wool blend fabric from stash going around in the washer for another one of these. Once I find a pattern that works well for me fit and style wise, I like to get the most out of it and try it out in different fabrics.
As the needle cord fabric is quite thin I did line my skirt which is not in the pattern. I cut the front and back skirt pieces in the lining, 2cm shorter than the skirt itself and included it when attaching the yoke. I know I've made it sound simple, but if you can sew this skirt then adding a lining is not too difficult.
So yeah, very happy with this make. I'm getting a big sense of satisfaction building up my hand made wardrobe. I'm crocheting a shawl that will be perfect to wear with this and so I need to get it finished soon.
I hope you all have a lovely evening whatever you are doing. Take care and keep warm.

'till next time...