Cosy toes

The weather forecast on Friday warned of high winds and heavy rain across the UK, especially in coastal areas. I hope no one has been affected by the storms that continue to batter the country. In most circumstances this sort of weather would mean that we would stay at home, draw the curtains and watch DVDs back to back. This weekend? No. A while back I had booked us a short break away on the North Devon Coast so we went to the seaside instead!

We had a lovely time, visiting Clovelly (a unique, hillside village with cobbled streets and no cars) and braving the beach at Instow (it was windy!). I love the seaside and a bracing walk on the beach certainly helps clear the cobwebs away. Unusually for me, my project bag didn’t get opened at all. Mind you, I do find it tricky to manage knitting whilst holding a glass of wine which may or may not have had something to do with it.

So yesterday, when everything had been packed away and the boys were settled in bed, it was catch up time and I was on a mission. Of the sock variety. The result? My first pair of socks, knitted by me!

hand knitted sock knitting

You may recall a month or so ago I attended a sock knitting workshop and learned all about heel flaps, gussets and toe shaping. I didn’t know whether I would cope at all with knitting, let alone 5 needles at one time, but it was great fun and incredibly rewarding. You can see my dinky little test sock that I made at the workshop here. I am so proud of that sock.

Maybe not as proud as I was when I completed my first proper sock a week ago. So proud I had to take a picture of it. If you follow my Facebook page you will already have seen it. Do you know I have never worn a knitted wool sock before? I couldn’t get over how soft  and cosy and comfy it was.

I certainly couldn’t have knitted the sock without attending the initial workshop at my local wool shop (The Wool Stop, Thornbury), but I wouldn’t have finished it without the help of Christine Perry, aka Winwick Mum who I was lucky enough to meet at the same wool shop last weekend. Christine was signing copies of her book ‘Super Socks’ and offering a sock clinic. She was so kind, spending time with each of us, answering our questions and offering advice. Christine has written a post all about her visit on her blog here.

Once I knew how to finish my first sock there was no stopping me. I gather many people struggle to motivate themselves with the second sock once the first is completed but I felt the complete opposite. The second sock was whipped up in a fraction of the time and I am pleased to report has the correct length gusset, has no dropped stitches and no odd lumpy stitches, unlike the first which has all those flaws but is nonetheless perfect to me.

150

I still need to block my socks to even out the stitches although my second sock definitely suffered less from the ‘ladder effect’. Christine’s tip was to make sure that the first two stitches on the needle were pulled a bit tighter. (Yes, we have our Christmas tree up!)

Everyone said that, once you knit your first pair of socks, you are hooked and I can well believe it. For my next pair I am going to try a small circular needle (luckily I have already bought mine, it seems there has been a national shortage since Lucy Attic24 revealed her first pair of knitted socks). I have Christine’s book and have joined her Facebook group Winwick Mum Sockalong (a lovely supportive and inspirational group of sock knitters) in case I run into any problems. I have a choice of about 5 different sock yarns I have been stashing for just this occasion, the only question is… can I resist starting them now in order to get on with all of my Christmas projects? Hhhhhmmmm, I doubt it very much.

x

 

 

 

 

Christmas Crochet

I have to say that I am not enjoying November and its dreary, damp days very much at all. No time for my moaning though, the time is flying by and I still haven’t done a Christmas post. The reason being that I haven’t made a single thing for the festive season yet. Despite my best intentions it hasn’t happened and now my priority is to make the gifts I want to. Still all is not lost and I have lots to things to share with you that I have made previously. That’s not cheating, is it?

In 2013 I did a couple of craft fairs selling crochet items so I thought I would share some of the bits and bobs I made and who knows? there might be something here you fancy making.

Who doesn’t love a bit of festive bunting?

Here are The Royal Sisters crochet stars in Christmas colours chained together.

This pattern is so easy and makes lovely baby bunting.

crochet garland star bunting baby blue boy

I also made trees using a pattern from the same website.

crochet granny christmas tree

These green trees  were the same pattern but only two rounds. I sold these as bunting with rainbow coloured buttons (no pics, sorry) and individual decorations. They looked good on the from of a card too for the recipient to remove and use.

crochet granny christmas tree decoration

The angels are so easy to make and people bought them to tuck inside their Christmas cards that they were sending.

crochet christmas decoration angel easy

I made bauble decorations from circles and a detail I found here.

crochet bauble decoration mandala

I have only ever made two of these robins following Attic24’s birdie pattern, one for a friend in 2013 and the one I sent to Meredithe of Pomegranate and Chintz this year.

crochet robin christmas decoration

It has been great fun looking back at these photos and the blogs that the patterns came from. Lucky I kept a photographic record of what I made, guess even then I was blogging in my head!

Everything you see here is made from Drops Muskat cotton and probably a 3.5mm hook if my memory serves me correctly. I did block and starch all of the decorations to make them a bit more robust. I hope the links work. Let me know if there are any problems.

That just leaves me to thank Lynda, rather belatedly, at Sultanabun for nominating me for a Liebster award. So kind. Please hop over and take a look at her amazing blog if you haven’t already.

x

Making new friends

Many of you will know of the fabulous blog Pomegranate and Chintz and will be familiar with Meredithe’s visually stunning posts (if you aren’t, do take a look, it is lovely). I frequently gush over the fabrics she and her class/group use for all manner of sewing projects and a while back I admired a fabric panel she had been sent in a fabric bundle.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when Meredithe contacted me and asked if I would like the panel as she wouldn’t use it. Of course I said yes and asked for her address so I could send a gift in return. Addresses were exchanged and if you read Meredithe’s blog you will know that we each received our parcels incredibly quickly. Meredithe has already posted about the gift I sent her and here is part 2!

Just one week after sending my address, I was delighted to receive a parcel from Australia in the post. I was at home with my youngest and he still talks about opening the present together. Of course I knew about the panel but I did not expect any of the accompanying treasures within. If I had been thinking I would have taken step by step pictures but no, I was too excited.

Just take a look at this bundle…

005

Can you believe that there was more. Chocolates and lots of them. TimTams (amazing chocolate biscuity bites), a Cherry Ripe (coconut, cherry and chocolate heaven) and Turkish Delight (my all time favourite chocolate bar). These were saved and savoured but never photographed alas.

The card was a beautifully handwritten note from Meredithe (how rare it is to get a letter these days) and recipes from her and the ladies in her class.

006

The red peeking through?

008

A gorgeous needle case made with fabrics which were part of the original bundle that I had admired. How lucky am I?

007

And then there was the fabric panel. You can see why I admired it I am sure.

009

I have been riding on a high since I received Meredithe’s original email, offering me this amazing gift. I have found the whole experience so uplifting and I am so grateful to have made another new friend through blogging.

And Chicken in the Kitchen? She has finally been made! I am not great with needle and thread and broke my sewing machine a while back so decided to take the bull by the horns and hand sew her. Here she is in her full glory … in the kitchen of course.

046

She’s not shy, so here is a close up…

042

Thank you again to Meredithe and all of the other supportive, kind bloggers out there.

x