Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Glam Hat

The weather has been really nice recently but it looks as though it is turning again. Today is overcast and dull and I think the weekend is set to be like this too! We are off to Cumbria this weekend as it is Woolfest. If you don't already know Woolfest is a celebration of everything wool and wool crafts. It's the 10th Anniversary this year though I have only recently discovered it and this is my first visit! It is being held in Cockermouth, Cumbria for two days beginning on Friday and I will be going on the Saturday as my husband is working Friday, so we are travelling down Friday night and camping for the weekend at a local campsite! I'm really looking forward to seeing all the different stalls and checking out the demonstrations of various textile techniques by local artisans. The kids are looking forward to seeing lots of sheep and sheep sheering and my husband is expecting empty pockets as I will be on the look out for some hand dyed sock yarn! I think it will be a great weekend.

I'm hoping it doesn't rain and the weather isn't too bad but just in case I made myself a hat! I have had this one ball of Rico Creative Galaxy double knit in my yarn stash for a while now and haven't really known what I wanted to make out of it. So yesterday afternoon I saw it sitting there and thought it might make a nice hat! I really like the colours and the little sequins add a touch of glam! It's a wool mix yarn and I think the colour is Eden. It only took a couple of hours to make using a 4.5mm crochet hook, but I'm quite pleased with the results. Right time to get back to the packing and ironing! Funny how I'm always left with all that after our weekends away!

The Glam Hat

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Mint Tea and Ladybirds

Yesterday I managed to fit in some crochet, some sock knitting and some hand embroidery. I have found that if I do a little bit of each it doesn't give my hands and my back chance to hurt as much! Yesterday while sitting at my craft table I sipped mint tea and stitched a little ladybird onto one of the leaves of my sun printing piece. I'm really enjoying rediscovering my love of embroidery and nature by adding various stitches to the background and simple imagery as well. I'm working on adding a moth to another leaf at the moment.

Many thanks for all your comments I love knowing that visitors to my blog are enjoying my blog posts and hand embroidery tutorials and that I may be inspiring others to pick up a needle or hook and have a go!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Openwork Block

As well as working on some hand embroidery today I also found time to work on another crochet block. Block no. 8 is an openwork block worked in double and treble crochet. The double crochet stitches are worked in between the treble crochet spaces. I had a few attempts at this one and I'm not completely happy with the edges so think I need to practice working some more openwork blocks to perfect this!

Block no. 8 - Stylecraft Special DK - 4mm crochet hook

Finally Some Hand Embroidery!

Last Friday I was sorting through some of my work when I pulled out the piece I started for my Sun Printing Project. I really like the colours in this piece and I have been missing embroidery so much I thought I would give it a go again and see how my fingers hold up! I started adding some more texture first and then thought I would add some stylised butterflies and other insects to break up the green. I worked on the butterfly yesterday and the stitching doesn't look too bad! My fingers feel a bit more sore and stiff today and I kept getting pains in the back of my hands while I was stitching but it was worth it. I think I just have to get used to it again so I'm going to keep working on this piece until its finished. The photos below show the different stages of the butterfly.

Outline and first details

Adding the shading

Finished butterfly

Monday, 23 June 2014

A Sunny Weekend in Anglesey

After finding out the weather was set to be sunny all weekend we decided to set off Friday tea time to one of our favourite camping spots, Penrhyn Bay, Anglesey. Penrhyn Bay is a fantastic family run camping and caravan park which has great facilities and really friendly staff. If you have a young family and want a great place to take the kids then this is it! We go there every year and have been for a week and several weekends already this year. There is everything you need including a shop, children's park, tennis courts, indoor swimming pool, rocks to go crabbing with a net and a fantastic sandy beach! Brilliant I highly recommend it!

We had a great weekend and the weather didn't let us down we woke up on Saturday to glorious sunshine and after a walk on the rocks we cooked up some bacon then headed down to Sandy Beach. The kids really enjoyed swimming in the crystal clear waters and having great fun with Benji our Border Collie splashing in the waves. It was a really relaxing weekend and I even managed to sit down and have a knit while the kids and my husband chilled out in the sun. Back to reality now until the weekend!

The kids having fun in the sea
Me chilling out knitting in the sun
Husband Andrew and Benji having a splash
Gorgeous Sandy Beach
Sunset Penrhyn Bay

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Giant Granny Square Blanket WIP

I was so inspired by my granny square making that I started a new giant granny square blanket yesterday. I'm using random colours from my yarn stash and adding a white row in-between to break up the colours. I think it looks quite pretty and just the ticket for summer. I think I will add a shell edging to it once it's big enough.

Crochet Blanket WIP

Lots of lovely bright coloured yarn

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Three Grannies

I have been busy catching up with my crochet blocks today. It's been a lovely warm day here in Tod and I have enjoyed working on some granny square variations in bright colours. Crochet block number 5 is the classic granny square, this is one of my favourites as you can make wonderful patchwork blankets or if you keep going adding more rounds one big giant granny square! Block number 6 is a plain granny which looks fabulous in bright bold colours or pretty pastels and block number 7 is granny stripes which I think would make a fantastic blanket in its own right using lots of left over wool from your yarn stash. I'm having lots of fun working on all these squares and learning some new techniques at the same time.

Block no. 5 - Classic Granny Square - Stylecraft Special DK -  4mm crochet hook
Block no. 5 close up
Block no. 6  - Plain Granny Square - Stylecraft Special DK - 4mm crochet hook
Block no. 6 close up
Block no. 7 - Granny Stripes -  Stylecraft Special DK - 4mm crochet hook

Block no. 7 close up

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Slow start to the week

I'm back from our surfing weekend in Saltburn by the Sea, but I'm feeling totally shattered this week and it has been a slow start to the week. I'm always left with loads of washing to do which takes me a couple of days to plough through! My husband had a great weekend surfing, though I actually forgot to take his Father's day presents and we had to go all the way home after being on the motorway for an hour! Well it was Friday 13th. Needless to say we arrived at the campsite quite late! The weather was a bit overcast but it was still warm and the kids put on their wetsuits and had a go at surfing too.

My little girl getting a surfing lesson from dad!

When I wasn't busy being the towel bearer I put my feet up in the camper and did some sock knitting. Talking about knitting the local knitters, who remain anonymous had been out in force and had yarn bombed the pier in honour of the World Cup! There was knitted characters and flags representing the countries taking part and it was a great hit with everyone visiting the pier! The kids loved all the knitted characters especially the one in the deckchair!

Salburn yarn bombers World Cup celebration!

Our favourite!

I didn't manage to get any more crochet blocks done over the weekend so I'm playing catch up now! Will post some pics tomorrow.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Surfs Up! Block Number Four

Well it's the end of the week and it is Father's Day on Sunday so we are off surfing in Randy the Rambler! My husband loves to surf, so as it is his weekend we are going to Saltburn to see if he can catch some waves! I'm hoping we will be able to have a trip into Whitby so I can have a look around at some book shops and the kids will be happy kicking back with a bucket and spade on the beach! The little lad however has discovered them loom band thingies that seem to be the craze at the moment! My hoover loves them as they get everywhere! I am sporting three bracelets at the moment he made me (see pic below) and I am sure they are destined to go away with us this weekend.

Loom band bracelets
Husband Andrew Surfing

I'm taking my latest sock knitting project with me in my Cath Kidston knitting bag which goes everywhere with me, as well as wool for my next couple of crochet blocks. Block number four though was made up of double crochet and treble crochet which worked up quite quickly once I got a hang of it and I added a marker to indicate the front this time! I think in the close up pics it looks like a design you would use for a cardigan rather than as a block for a blanket. Anyway we are hoping for sun and good waves for the next two days so catch you on the flip side of the weekend!

Block no. 4 Stylecraft Special DK - Aster - 4mm crochet hook
Block no. 4 close up

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Stripy Block Number Three

Well happily my shoulder and arm hasn't been too bad today which meant I could get on with my next block. It's still a bit stiff, but better to keep using it than not! Block no. 3 is entirely worked in treble crochet in rows. I actually think treble crochet is becoming my favourite crochet stitch. I like the colours is this stripy block though I have to say I wasn't entirely sure when I had finished it which way was the right way. I liked it this way so that's how I presented it! The design leaves little holes which you can see in the close up. I think this would look rather nice as one big striped blanket with a double crochet edging. May have to have a go at that, possibly in shades of pink and cream for my daughters room.

Block no. 3 Stylecraft Special DK - 4mm crochet hook
Block no.3 close up

Free Crochet Flower Dishcloth Pattern

I've just added these crochet flower dishcloths to my ArtyThreads Etsy Shop. They are available in a set of three and are made with Lily Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton yarn which I buy from the Wool Warehouse. Each dishcloth measures 13cm (5.5inches) in diameter and can be used in the kitchen or bathroom.

Crochet Flower Dishcloths - Set of Three

If you would like to have a go at making your own I have included the instructions below. The colours I used were Rose Pink, Robin's Egg and Sunshine. This is my first time writing a crochet pattern so I hope it is ok! I have included US conversions in brackets.

You will need:
Lily 'n Sugar Yarn (100% cotton, 70.9g/109m)
5mm (US H/8) crochet hook

ss / slip stitch
st(s) / stitch(es)
ch(s) / chain/chain stitch(es)
ch-sp(s) / chain space(s)
ch- / chain made previously
tr / treble crochet (dc - double)
dc / double crochet (sc - single crochet)

Make a foundation chain of 6 stitches and join with a ss to form a ring.
Round 1 Ch2. 23 tr into ring, ss to top of ch-2.
Round 2 Ch4. 1tr in same st. Ch1. *Skip 2 sts. In next st, (1tr, 2ch, 1tr) ch1; rep from * 7 times. Ss in top of ch-2.
Round 3 Ch2. In first ch-2 sp work 1tr, 2ch, 2tr. *Ch1. In next ch-2 sp, (2tr, 2ch, 2tr) rep from * 7 times. Ch1. Ss to top of ch-2.
Round 4 *7tr in ch-2 sp for shell. 1dc in ch-1 sp; rep from * 8 times. Ss in first st. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

I've used this design for coasters as well as dishcloths but you could join them together to make a throw, bunting or even a scarf in different weights of yarn!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Block Number Two

This morning I woke up with a frozen shoulder which has been troubling me all day! So today is a quick post as I'm typing with one hand! I worked this block yesterday and I haven't been able to knit or crochet today as my whole shoulder, arm and hand is affected. Today I have spent time kicking back and resting. I forgot to mention yesterday that all the blocks are 6 inches in size so it will make a fairly big blanket if I manage to work them all. The ones with the flowers in the centre look really tricky though! At least block no. 2 wasn't too bad to work and after I made it I thought that a pair of these would make great patch pockets on a cardigan! Once again it uses double and treble crochet stitches and instead of being worked in rows was worked in rounds. I need to block all the squares to the correct size but haven't done that yet with the first two. Hopefully tomorrow I can get back to work as I want to finish the sock I'm working on and start a pair for my daughter in an alpaca / silk mix yarn.

Block no. 2 Stylecraft Special DK - 4mm crochet hook

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

One down, a hundred and ninety-nine to go!

I have only been crocheting since November last year so I am still learning different stitches and techniques. I love crochet blankets and have been making granny square ones since I learnt the classic granny square. I recently bought a book called 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans: Crochet Squares to Mix-and-Matchand I am keen to have a go at the different styles of blocks and granny square designs in the book. It's a really great book and the blocks are all illustrated at the beginning of the book and graded 1, 11, 111 from beginner to advanced. The book also gives you ideas for mixing and matching blocks and how to create a design for an afghan which is a great resource. There is also a techniques section in the last part of the book giving instruction on how to work the stitches, edges for finishing your afghan and tips on choosing yarn.

Needless to say I'm eager to have a go at all the different blocks starting with the beginner ones and working my way up to the advanced ones. I have set myself the task of producing a block a day or two if I can find the time between sock knitting and making products for my shop! I'm labelling them all so I know which ones they are but will eventually stitch them all together to form a sampler afghan. Here's my first block below which is a textured block using double and treble crochet stitches.

Block No. 1 - Stylecraft Special DK - 4mm crochet hook

Monday, 9 June 2014

Sunday, Early Risers, Flat Tyres and Planes!

Yesterday was a busy day and luckily turned out to be a nice one thank goodness as I am sick of rain! Now I don't know about you but in our house Sunday is no different from the rest of the week and it begins at 5.00 am! Since having children I cannot remember the last time I had a lie in and my 5 year old little girl has always been an early riser! Usually she gets up requesting a drink, one of us gets out of bed to get it and she hops into the warm spot and goes back to sleep, leaving us wide awake! Then our dog Benji wants letting out and we say right that's it time for a brew!

So yesterday we were up early as usual and when the kids had finally dragged themselves out of bed, we headed down to the Sunday Flea Market in Tod for a bit of a mooch. I'm trying to find some old tea tins I can use for threads and buttons etc. I've not had much look so far so I think I will have to check out a few local antique shops as I might have better luck! After a quick trip round the market we set off for Wigan to visit my husband's dad but on the way as we went round a corner we heard a great big hiss and yes it had happened our poor Randy the Rambler had a flat!

I think every camper should have a name and we have dubbed ours Randy! He is a 1989 4 berth Fiat Ducato Autosleeper (see pic below) and he may not be the prettiest camper on the block but he has everything we need including cooker, fridge, shower and toilet on board. So far we have been to Anglesey in North Wales, St David's in South Wales, Saltburn, Whitby and the Lakes! I have made crochet blankets to brighten him up and I'm planning on making him some new curtains and cushion covers too.

When finally we had fixed our flat we were off again and later in the afternoon we had promised the little lad that we would go to the Manchester Airport viewing point so we could have a picnic and he could watch planes land and take off (like watching paint dry if you ask me!). There was a private function on so we couldn't view the planes on display or Concorde which he was eager to have a look at, so while they went to have a closer look at one of the viewing platforms I kicked back and carried on with my latest sock knitting project!

Randy the Rambler complete with awning!
Mmmmmmm planes, when you have seen one easy jet you have seen them all!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Rainy Saturday and Sock Knitting

It's a horrible rainy day here in Todmorden today! I got up early this morning to sunshine and thought it's gonna to be a warm sunny day and maybe some outdoor knitting and a bbq were on the horizon. Was I wrong or what! I went into the bathroom and all of a sudden it went as black as night and then the heavens opened and it was thundering and everything! It has been raining pretty much all day and we got soaked popping down to the local market in Tod for some excellent local cheese, some other supplies, cards and a couple of my favourite mags! So after a cheese and cracker lunch I am set for an afternoon of sock knitting, slobbering over some knitting and crochet patterns, with a cup of mint tea or later a glass of wine perhaps! I have completed one sock (see below) and I'm currently on the knit one purl one rib of the second, now I have discovered knitting in the round I love it.

Hand knitted sock in Wendy Roam Fusion

Friday, 6 June 2014

Finished My Cath Inspired Crochet Blanket and Other Stuff

Here's my finished Cath Kidston inspired blanket and one or two other things I have been working on lately! We bought a campervan in April and we have been a way a lot over the last couple of months. I have also been really busy making things for my ArtyThreads shop and for the family! I have just got the sock knitting bug and I'm currently on my third pair of socks using self-striping yarn. I haven't done much embroidery lately because my fingers have been bad with arthritis and I just don't seem to have the sensitivity in my fingers anymore. Knitting needles and a crochet hook though I can manage! This could be the start of a new career!

Cath Kidston Inspired Blanket
Benji enjoying his first trip in the campervan!
Husband Andrew's New Socks

New hand dyed coasters for the ArtyThreads shop!