Saturday, 16 October 2010

Making a note

After a summer without much sock knitting (too hot for socks!) I've finally got round to finishing some of the things I started before the temperature rose. I put an end to the monkeying around (I'm here all week, folks!) with these:

                                    (sorry about the blue-ish light, the sunlight isn't reaching my room today!)

and I managed to finish a pair of Green River socks which I started a while back. A bit of a complicated pattern for my little knitting brain to get its neurons round, but I seemed to get on okay. Until this happened.

I was sure I'd remember how many pattern repeats I'd done on the first sock. So confident, in fact, that I failed to keep a note. Well! Keeping a note is boringly efficient! I always lose the paper the note is written on, and then when I inevitably leave the near-finished pair of socks in a dusty corner for six months, they don't know how many repeats they have either.

So I have a pair of great socks for walking the dog. Hidden in wellies they'll be okay. Moral of this story: a rolling stone gathers nine stitches in a watched pot boiling. I think. I have it written on a piece of paper somewhere, hang on!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Blogging heck!'s been a while! I am still here though, honest! I've just been a bit quiet lately. Especially on the blogging side of things! You know how it is. Life gets in the way. As in, suddenly, Ken Loach gets hold of your scripts, re-writes them and decides that's your life for the next few months. And then, as if nothing had happened, hands the scripts back to the writers of Corrie, and it's all back to normal again. (at least, I'm hoping there won't be a fatal tram crash in Clutton). Agh! Anyway, I am back for now at least. She's back too:

And pretty much fully grown! Still officially a small (yappy type) dog though. A mere 5.5kilos of fluff and woof. She's 11 months old now - what's that in dog years? nearly 7?!

Well, since I've been quiet, I've still been doing stuff. I started a quilt.

This started life as an attempt to tidy up. Ages ago, thinking I might become a tidy person, I moved an old glass cabinet into my room and put fabric in it. "great" I thought, "now I can have my fabric permanently on display, and simply select the precise fat quarter as and when I need it!". About a week after that, the cupboard looked like it had vomited onto the floor. Oh yes, pretty Kaffe-Fassett coloured vom, but still looked like a pretty bad case of regurgitation. I don't have a picture to hand of that. Anyway. Rather than tidy the whole lot up, I grabbed a pizza-wheel cutter thingie and got cutting strips. And then sewed them into blocks, which are now sat on my floor. I think I'll leave them there for a few months until the dog makes her bed in them. Then I might think about re-ironing and sewing them together to make an actual quilt. Sound familiar, this process? hmmm.

Also, I've been getting out a lot. As usual.

Just bits and pieces from walking every day with Trixie. We've been exploring a lot around here lately, the weather has been fantastic for going further afield and getting to know new places.

We also went here. No, not Provence, but Somerset Lavender in Faulkland.

We went back in July, just before they 'harvest' the lavender, and it was beautiful! I did some embroidery of lavender fields when I got home as I was so inspired. I'll show you that later...if I can find it beneath the piles of STUFF round here.

I've been digging around in bottle dumps too, for bits of broken crockery. I found a great stash which I struggled to carry home in one bag...

No idea what I'll make from it all, but I'll find a use for most of it. Treasure! I particularly love this cup I found half-buried:

It's badly cracked inside so can't drink tea out of it - I think the crinoline lady is going to become part of a rather bonkers mosaic at some point. I just love finding pottery treasure buried in the soil! I know I'm not alone in my strange hobby either as people like Candace Bahouth go round doing similar things. Heck, it's free pretty stuff, I can't not come home with it! I have a couple of flat mirrors I bought from boot sales so when I get chance I shall be showing you my new mosaic efforts.

Thanks for your comments on the last post! Yes, the cardi is a Liesl - it's made from re-gurgitated Noro. I mean, Noro that was once another cardigan. I hated the cardigan too, so I spent a couple of days unravelling it (unravelling Noro "now! with added bits!" in it is not easy) and a few weeks knitting it into a Liesl, which I like but I'm still not sure it actually goes with any other clothes I own! I'm sure Trixie will find a use for it. The poshest dog blanket in the world, perhaps. So she can do this.

Ok, enough waffle and gratuitous dog pics, I'll post up some more STUFF soon!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Bloggus Neglecticus

I've been suffering from a bad case of Blogger's Neglect. Truth is, I've been trying to avoid the internet! Well, not entirely of course. I mean I've been avoiding those sites like FaceTwit, Betsy, DoomTube, Rabblery, etc etc. - the ones that suck you in before spitting you out in an exhausted heap seven hours later, minus your self-esteem, entire day, sanity and money. So here's a brief snippet of what I've been doing instead (click for bigger):

I knitted, went for walks, embroidered, joined the Cloud Appreciation Society, tidied threads and fabric, and read a lot of library books (not pictured. You know what books look like) and lots of other things I forgot to take pictures of! I got so much done, it's been like a holiday. All the stuff I used to do before the internet came along! Trixie's been doing a lot more too, since she's not been on Dogblog, DoggySpace and DogBook:

It's been a lovely 'holiday' from the internet! Try it, go on! :)
I've updated the shop (I did have to use the internet for that, hehehe) - have a look! This is my fave from this month's selection...

It's called Marsh Mallow. Named after the flowers I've been seeing on our walks! See you soon! A xxx

Friday, 7 May 2010

Just a quick post...

.... to let you know there's a shop update if you fancy popping over to look! There are delicious colours like this one (Flowers in the Rain it's called. Although I'm not really a fan of The Move...!)

and this one, which was inspired by the Greater Spotted Woodpeckers I sometimes see on my walks with Trixie:

Speaking of which...look at this innocent face:

and now look just a little bit closer:

The very definition of a Mucky Pup! She's a terrier...ergo she loves to was only a matter of time, and now the garden looks like a flippin' Miniature Golf course! Good job I'm not a fan of immaculate lawns anyway...worms, daisies, moles (we haven't had any visitors yet) and moss are all welcome. Trixie trenches less so but...ah well!

Thanks for your nice comments on the last post. Glad you liked the book recommendation - it was a great read, did you got round to reading it, Josie & Minniemoll? It was on the antiques roadshow, yes! years ago I think? Alexandra, moving buildings sounds amazing, just like the book. I'll look out for those documentaries! Ooh thanks for nice photo comments Ros and Alexandra...I'm no real photographer but I like a good blue sky :) there's some blossom in the garden expect a slideshow of that soon, lol :) see you soon x

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Spring Stitching

Ah, nothing like the bursting forth of blooms to make you realise spring is here. (That, and the rude awakening due to the arrival of British 'Summer' Time). In the garden the forget-me-nots are out...

...and I quickly picked these daffs before the slugs got to them. I love the contrast between blue and yellow. Although this pic does have the 'Windows Desktop' feel about it!

All this got me inspired to stitch. I made a little embroidered card (click for bigger):

and an unholy mess:

When I cleared all that up I made an even bigger mess with fabric and thread, and here's a sneak preview of some rather nice new knitting accessories that will be going up in the shop soon:

Over the Easter hols I also got around to tinkering with an old sewing machine. I got this one from freecycle - it didn't work, it had no foot control or accessories, so I stripped it back for its parts. I am a savage!

It's wearing its Halloween skeleton fancy dress outfit. ha. I couldn't believe how many screws held the thing together. Sixteen to get the front panel off; plus another dozen keeping the back panel on. It was a modern plastic thing (bah! yuck!) - my old model Jones only has two screws to keep the access panel on. Eeee by 'eck, modern stuff just in't like it used to be!

(good old Quality Street tin again. I have a few, mostly fillings thus remaining largely intact!!)

Here are the sewing machine's innards. I'm going to mend another old machine with the new motor. Recycling at its finest!

I've been inspired this week by reading (this week, I have been mostly reading...!) Miss Savidge Moves Her House - the tale of a lady who, upon finding her house was to be demolished to make way for a by-pass (not an hyperspace one I don't think) decided to dismantle the house (and next door) and have it moved, piece by piece, a hundred miles away, where she then set about re-building it, without any help.

I'm not going to re-build my sewing machine 100 miles away :) But taking things apart and putting them back together (or re-using them somewhere else) is something which fascinates me, and I love to breathe new purpose into things that would otherwise go to landfill. I'm not an evangelical Greenie or anything like that; I just like making use of old stuff like bits of broken pottery...old fabric...old sewing machines...old cardigans... (coming soon: a patchworked mosaic of knitted sewing machines)! The book is a really good read if you get the chance (don't be put off by the only blurb being from the Telegraph and the Daily Mail - no idea why the Guardian review didn't feature). I borrowed mine from the library (recycling, haha). I think it's her determination in the face of bureaucracy, the elements and ill-health that is so inspiring. And her eccentricity - the characteristics that make me like Hannah Hauxwell...or the Lady in the Van, Miss Shepherd. (one day I will tell you all about my late, crazy, mum...but not just yet!) Here endeth the book recommendation. I don't usually shout out about books on this blog but I liked this one so much I thought I'd tell you all about it!

Hmm, I think my waffling might be testing someone's patience:

I think she's saying "play with me!!"

"...pretty pleeeease?!" How can I resist a face like that...!

Thanks for all your lovely comments about the mosaic mirror! It's really not technical - you could have a go - it's just incredibly messy and you need a tolerant other half who will put up with a) the banging and b) the disappearing tea-cups. Oh and the missing hammer. And tile cutters :) Glad you liked the end result! x

Monday, 5 April 2010

Cracking piece of work, Gromit!

I got messy this week, with my mosaic mirror. Annoyingly, it's not one of those crafts you can do sitting by the fire, watching telly, with the puppy on your lap. You need a dust mask, industrial strength gardening gloves (which make holding anything like trying to grab on to a wobbly jelly) your working area (and yourself) wrapped up like a Christo artwork, a plastic bag to work inside to stop shards flying everywhere, goggles, and strictly no puppies. 

I used a few of my stash of found pieces - a collection I've hoarded over the years and just knew it would come in handy for something. Argh, our house is full of things both Paul and I think 'will come in handy for something'! It means we have a lot of things that haven't yet found their purpose in life (Thinks: ooh, I can now mosaic most of them though...).

The sticking bit was really addictive and I stayed up late to finish it off (impressive, believe me. I never stay up late). The challenge of finding the right smashed-up piece to fit in the gaps was fun. No, really - where are you going, come back! It was fun!!!

The tricky bit: waiting for 24 long hours for the glue to dry. Grrrrrr. Not good for a crafter like myself, who is used to rushing headlong into the next process. I really had to sit on my hands to stop myself moving the pieces of china - I kept wanting to re-arrange or even go back and fill in some of the larger gaps. argh!

Enter stage left: THE BLUE GROUT! White grout? No way. I like colour too much so I added some blue pigment and got mixing. Well, I thought the cutting bit was messy - but this turned my work room into a building site. Blue grout everywhere. And when it dried it went all powdery so there was blue powdery mess, (like lines of a Smurf's recreational drug or something...)!?! Not to mention my hands, which were blue, as I'd dispensed with the jelly-gloves at this point. All that done with, I had to wait another 48 long hours for the grout to dry to its finished colour. I gave it a lick of acrylic paint round the edges and then...ta-da...that was it:

 Finished! Shame the bathroom wall isn't quite as finished :) There's a bucket of B&Q's finest 'Turtle Seas' waiting to go on the wall - I just have to get round to doing it. However, there may be a problem because these caught my eye in a charity shop:

And I might just find smashing these to smithereens slightly (ever so slightly) more interesting than decorating.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Tale of the Giant Granny Square.'s stash blanket time again! I've supplemented the by now, rather folorn-looking stash basket with a few balls of acrylic yarn.

 Stylecraft acrylic has some gorgeous jewel colours that I love (teal, violet and bright pink...hmmmm!)! I know, not everyone's a fan of the old synthetics but when you have a dribbly puppy and one heck of a messy (read: lazy) owner, it's quite good to have something super-washable. My favourite ripple blanket I made a while back was full of lovely cashwoolmerinoalpacamohair type content, but it's felted a teeny bit because I stuck it in the washing machine. (gasp!) Life's too short to stuff a mushroom and all least it has, um, an 'interesting' chunky texture to it now...!

The blanket I'm working on now is a monster of a granny square. It started off okay, and I was enjoying it. Until about round 16 when I realised that each round was only going to get longer...and longer...! It's the trade-off for not having to sew squares together, though. I'll probably end up doing rows-within-rounds, changing colour every so often to stop me going spare! It's not grown a huge amount, despite 16+ rounds... It's the perfect Trixie size though:

And here she is proving that acrylic yarn is FUN!!11!!1! and rather delicious, too:

Maybe the lack of enthusiasm for the Biggest Granny Square in the World will spur me onto finishing the second Monkey never know!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


I spent Sunday afternoon doing something absolutely *smashing* (hohoho)! I've been dabbling in mosaicking (that verb looks wrong...but it needs a K in there, right?). I've already accumulated a sizeable collection of blue and white shards found out and about on my walks, but I need a bit more. So I started on my huge collection of dust-catchers.

 Take one Royal Albert china cup and saucer. Apply hammer liberally to its backside (if you can bear to!), covering with an old towel and a plastic bag...

 I'm sure if you found its point of resonance you could hit a high note and smash it that way but my soprano days are over so the hammer has to do! It looks awfully destructive, doesn't it? But it was just sitting there on my shelf and I never got to see the pretty pattern - which is inside the cup. Presumably as some sort of surprise to spring on your guests whom you were having round for 'high tea'? Once they'd imbibed their cup of Earl Grey they found - but o! - a most beautifully delicate posy in their cup and said the 1920's high-society equivalent of "OMG! OMG!!". Oh I bet that was such fun to do in those days. Without television. Or the internet. Or the Wii. (Wii Surprise China Teacups. Ever played that?) (Aside: I just tried reading Virginia Woolf's diaries. Unreadable because she comes across as a snob of a woman. Most of the time she spent lamenting that there weren't any suitable 'Tea-Shops' in Manchester or anywhere else she visited Oooop Noorth. I wouldn't be surprised if that is why she put stones in her pockets and ran out to sea. The lack of tea-shops...)

A whole Sunday afternoon of this sort of thing:

...and I amassed quite a little collection. (yes, I know, she gets's unavoidable).

A word to the wise: it's good to follow health & safety rules when you're doing this kind of thing. I found this out to my cost. GLOVES next time woman!!

Apart from mucking about with pots, I put some YARNNNNN on the website too...go and have a look
here! See you in the shop soon :)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Monkeying around!

Astonishingly, I finished one of my Monkey socks! I loved knitting this. Although, according to addled brain, not quite enough to start the other one just yet, as is always the per usual brain and hands wandered off into a crochet-stash-blanket reverie. No sign of them yet...(or the other sock for that matter).

Being the matching accessory type, I thought I'd team the solitary sock up with a different type of knitted monkey:

 The other accessory available for this wardrobe is, of course, this perfect Little Monkey:


Monkey-tastic! Now I just have to finish start that notorious Second Sock. I wonder how long the other sock will be in coming...what's the record, do you think?!

To finish up, here's an aptly-themed pop quiz, pop-pickers! Which band is this...?!

(it's all in the head-gear)...

Friday, 26 February 2010

How to knit with your puppy! A handy cut out and keep guide!

1.Take your puppy and place it well out of the way of knitting.

2. Knit smaller.

3. Don't start ambitious projects.

These are Monkey socks. Bearing in mind the word sock and  the phrase 'pattern other than stocking stitch'  have never appeared together on the same playbill in this house, this is ambitious on a grand scale. I may regret this.

4. Get other people to knit for you.

These lovelies are from my kind and talented friend Elle. She made them with Hummingbird colourway too! (I love them, Elle, thanks :D ) Hmm, these were a surprise...I wonder how much a commission would be?!

5. See (1) - a reminder for all those not present at the beginning of this lecture - keep puppy away from knitting!

6. Accept fact that Monkey socks may not see completion until 2011. 

Oh, yeah, hilarious!!