Monthly Archives: February 2013

Beside the Seaside

Miss F and I had the chance of a little impromptu trip to the seaside today (Miss E is away on school camp so there was no school run) and I thought I would share some photos with you.  We don’t live near the sea so it was a special day out for us (combined with a work trip for my husband).  I love being by the sea at all times of the year and there’s something particularly nice about going out of season and having virtually the whole beach to yourself …..

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Time for a short jaunt along the pier….

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A spot of treasure hunting: I love heart shaped pebbles!

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And we HAD to stop and admire these Beautiful Rainbow Coloured Beach Huts, aren’t they gorgeous!?  They remind me a little of my crocheted Ripple Blanket!

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Oh I do love a beach with beach huts…..

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You’d never guess would you!?

We’re tired out now, particularly as it was a long drive, but we are home having had a welcome dose of sea air and a change of scene for the day!

Do you like to visit the beach during the winter months too?

I love Dorset.  Do you have a favourite place to visit?

Goodbye seaside: hope to visit you again soon x

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Labour of Love: Snow White Waistcoat

As soon as I saw the book Labour of Love : Over 20 Knitting Patterns for Treasured Girls by Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard, I instantly fell in love with it.  Vibe, who was brought up in Denmark by her mother who was a fashion designer, was taught to knit from a young age by her grandmother.  In her book, she talks about how her desire to combine knitting, children’s wear and photography (some of my favourite things…!) sparked the idea for the book.  She describes her collection as an accumulation of ideas of shape, texture and colour rather than a collection with a set direction and it was this combination with some beautiful photography that sold the book to me!

Vibe’s book contains patterns for girls ranging in ages 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 and includes sweaters, cardigans, dresses and tops, skirts and snoods and accessories.  Beautiful techniques feature on every page, such as the fan stitch cardigan, bobble stitch skirt, cable and little branch dress, frost flower lace cardigan, and layered leaf skirt teamed with gorgeous colours such as geranium, pale sky, lemon, moonflower, cottage rose, snow drop, pearl and poppy.  Even my little 3 year old has been lingering over the pages exclaiming at the ‘pretty patterns’!  Are you tempted yet?

I had just enough Mirasol Sulka yarn in Snow White to to try out the simple but stylish Penelope Garter Stitch Waistcoat.  I wanted something quick and warm to knit up (something simple : good TV knitting!)

Here it is nearly finished, with ribbon chosen from the local craft store by Miss F:

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Trying for size and showing off the pretty gathered detail at the back:

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And finally finished (and Ravelled here):

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I love the texture of the garter stitch which is really brought out by the Mirasol yarn, and the combination of knitting with crochet: the sides of the waistcoat are finished in double crochet.  I’m very tempted to try some of the other patterns in the book, they are stunning.

Vibe’s designs have been much admired and luckily for me and those other knitters out there who have been inspired by the beautiful shapes, textures and colours that feature in Vibe’s childrens designs, Vibe has just published patterns for grown ups together with Rowan Yarns: a short sleeved jumper in Frost Flower Lace and a summer shawl.  What a fabulous collaboration!

Happy weekend, whatever you are creating! X

A Lido Day Out

To celebrate my husband’s birthday yesterday we decided to treat ourselves to a Lido day out.  We’ve known about the Lido for a while now but rarely get a whole day to ourselves (work, children, pets etc.!) so a birthday on a beautiful blue skied February day seemed like the perfect excuse to check it out.  Look at this pretty pink blossom that we passed on the street: Spring is definitely in the air, don’t you think?

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We were very excited about our day out, having looked at lots of pictures of the Lido on the internet and having been inspired by Kate Rew’s book Wild Swim.  We planned our visit to include the swim and lunch package. You can read about the history of this once abandoned very special Victorian pool if you are interested here.  The Lido is tucked away from view, a hidden gem in the City.

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Doesn’t this water look inviting?

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There were outdoor changing rooms for those who wanted the authentic Lido experience and some lovely natural body washes to use : the Lido runs a strict policy that requires all guest to wash before using the facilities and by ensuring that all swimmers enter the pool squeaky clean, the need for chlorine has been greatly reduced.

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Are you ready to take a dip?

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There is something very special and exhilarating about swimming in an outdoor pool or the sea….

Time for a warm up in the outdoor hot tub, then shower and change.  There was a lovely little boudoir room upstairs where you could dry your hair, overlooking the pool:

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Next, a much appreciated cappuchino to warm up (!) and a fantastic lunch in the restaurant overlooking the pool:

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We savoured every moment and hoped fingers crossed for the chance to return another day soon….

xx

Kidsilk Creation Scarf: A Quick and Fun Knit for the Weekend

As a rather nice thank you for joining the Rowan Subscription Club (a recent birthday present!) I received a gift of Kidsilk Creation in the colour Smoke.   Super I thought, as well as having the Rowan Knitting & Crochet magazine delivered direct to my door before it hits the stores, I get to try out a new type of yarn!  Kidsilk Creation comes with a free pattern to make either a knitted or crochet scarf from a 50g hank of yarn.  You just need a pair of 5mm (no.6) (US 8) needles or an 8mm (no 0) crochet hook. The pattern is very quick and easy and produces a fun scarf with a lovely effect in less than an hour.  You can go to knitrowan.com to see images and the downloadable pattern of the scarf, and also knitting and crochet videos to help you make the project.

Kidsilk Creation is a limited edition yarn with a net, tubular construction made from Kidsilk Haze which is 70% super kid  silk Mohair and 30% silk.  The yarn comes in some beautiful colours selected from the favourite shades of Kidsilk Haze: cream, dewberry, trance (a beautiful blue), candy girl (pink), jelly (lime green) and smoke.  Kidsilk Creation Stripe is also available in a range of scrummy shades to give a gorgeous stripe effect.

I decided to knit my scarf.  Its super easy and fun to make.  I think it would make a great gift for family or a friend:

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Have fun with whatever you are knitting, crocheting or making this weekend!

xx

Vintage Sheet and Crochet Valentine Heart

At our recent valentine themed craft group evening I couldn’t decide whether to knit, crochet or sew!  I ended up crocheting a sweet little heart from a pattern that a kind friend brought along from Bella Dia but in my mind, an idea was forming to create a little heart that combined both fabric and yarn and today I decided to put my plan into action….

I rummaged around in my stash of fabrics and found a cute little pile of sweet vintage sheet fat quarters that I had been saving for just the right project, bought from Donna Flower at the Christmas Vintage Fair in Frome.  The perfect companion : my little stash of Adriafil crochet cotton.

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I printed out a heart shaped template from the internet.  I cut out my heart shaped pieces from my vintage sheet fabric and sewed them together, and stuffed the heart.  Now for the fun bit, creating a crochet border.

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First, I sewed in chain stitch all around the outside of the heart, to form a basis from which to crochet:

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Then I played around for a bit with my hook and yarn until I had created a suitably pretty crochet border.   Next, I crocheted a chain to hang the heart from and attached it to the heart:

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It looked extra sweet with a little crochet flower embellishment:

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Time for a cuppa and some valentine cupcakes:

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I hope that you are having fun with any valentine crafting that you are doing?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Crochet Scarf by Erika Knight for Rowan

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Woo hoo: I’ve just finished putting my crochet scarf together.  I have to admit the crochet motifs have been finished for a while, waiting to be assembled! The pattern was designed by Erika Knight using Rowan Amy Butler’s Sweet Harmony, 100% merino wool with a fabulous chainette structure, featured in the Rowan Farmhouse Knits brochure (published by Rowan in 2011 for the Autumn/Winter season).

Amy Butler describes the “synergy and fit” between her yarn Sweet Harmony and Erika’s “gorgeous contemporary style” creating “the perfect combination to illustrate the spirit and inspiration behind her Farmhouse ethos”.  “The ‘Farmhouse’ idea is a state of mind, a cozy feeling you get over a long weekend in an isolated location…. surrounded by all the things you love… the air is crisp, a warm fire is in the fire place, homemade food is slow cooking in the kitchen and you’re planning what ‘not to do next’ with your closest friends and family…. Maybe a long walk in the sunshine is in order or possibly some lounging with a favourite book.”  

Ooooh, I’m there already Amy….

Amy Butler introduces the reader to some fabulous knitted and crochet designs from throws, cushions, and chair covers to accessories such as a slouch beret, multi coloured scarft, gloves and cabled socks.  The garments are described as being a mix of key pieces including simple cables, stripes and a crochet skirt.  The Sweet Harmony colour palette is selected from Amy’s fresh and vibrant fabric collection Soul Blossoms, which work together offering a beautiful mix of fabric and yarn.  The colours are simply beautiful as you would expect from Amy Butler in collaboration with Rowan, with names including Snow, Lake, Frost, Mist, Glamor, Saffron, Henna, Fern, Jade and Cinder.  Sadly (for me) the yarn has now been discontinued, but you can quite easily pick up the yarn from Rowan suppliers on the internet; alternatively you may find a suitable substituted yarn from the current range (a yarn substitution list can be downloaded from the Rowan website’s FAQ area).

My pretty crochet scarf is made up from 3 x 100gm Amy Butler Sweet Harmony in Frost 132 and features a mix of flower and circle motifs.  A size 9mm (no 00) (US M13) Crochet Hook is recommended.  The scarf is very generous, being approximately 86 cm (34 inches) long and around 18 cm (7 inches) wide.  The scarf was great to work on: crochet is a very portable craft and it was easy to pop some yarn and a crochet hook in my bag and work on a motif here and there when I had the opportunity.  Project Ravelled here.

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What have you been knitting or crocheting recently?  Have you made or admired any of the items in the Farmhouse Knits collection?  I would love to make this crochet cushion or this patchwork throw, which combines knitting and crochet: an effect that I really love. The throw combines bobble, rib, cable and moss stitch.  Do you like to combine knitting and crochet too?

I have a little project in mind for the Spring combining some yarn with a piece of gorgeous Liberty Tana Lawn fabric that I purchased a while back from Ebay.  Here is a sneak peak:

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Watch this space… xx

Knit Your Own Sheep and Wonderwool

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This weekend I have been knitting up an adorable little sheep called Pearl.  Project Ravelled here. I bought my Knit Your Own Sheep kit from Made by Ewe at Wonderwool Wales last April and she has been waiting very  patiently since then to be brought to life.  Pearl is a sheep helping to support British farmers, being knitted from 100% pure British Wool.  Her removable fleece is knitted in beautiful blue Shetland yarn and she is stuffed with soft natural fleece.  I have a feeling Pearl will be keeping her hooves crossed for some more little friends to join her flock soon…

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your own flock of sheep and produce your own wool to spin and knit with?

Talking of Wonderwool, I was very excited to see the event being advertised again for 2013.  Hooray for wonderful yarn events to look forward to throughout the year.  Last April my family and I spent a very enjoyable day at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells at this fabulous festival of Welsh and British wool and natural fibres.  When we visited, we were fairly new to such events and both my crochet addict daughter and I were overwhelmed by the wonderful displays : a feast for the eyes…

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So many stalls of wonderful yarn and accessories in every texture and colour of the rainbow…

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Look at this amazing crochet:

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Gorgeous natural fibres….

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Some amazing local produce (make mental note to return to Wales and sample the award winning icecream from Llanfaes Dairy and Ralph’s Cider & Perry again: yum) and of course lots of fun for the little ones…

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We came home full of inspiration and totally buzzing with ideas; each with a bag of highly prized and carefully chosen yarns (and in Miss E’s case, materials for needlefelting) for projects to try out in the coming year.

Which wool shows / yarn festivals are you going to this year?  I’m hoping to go to Yarndale: it sounds fantastic.  A trip to the Rowan Mill in Holmfirth would be pretty amazing too don’t you think!? I’ve just been reading about the designer Kate Davies collaboration with Rowan and a visit to the Mill would be the icing on the cake for a yarnfilled 2013, I think.

I hope you are enjoying making crafty and yarny plans for 2013.  Happy weekend!