Monday, 13 June 2011

Popping my head above the parapet

Hello! Sorry I've been away longer than I intended. I had such a bad cold, earache and sore throat that I didn't really feel like doing much at all. I lost my voice totally on Friday and had to give in and go to the doctors who were fab and sorted me out with some antibiotics even though I hadn't got an appointment. I had just called in as making a phone call with no voice would have been interesting and the receptionist took pity on me and my squeak.

Unfortunately for my credit card, being at home ill means that it has been getting a bit too much use. I had ordered the extra colours for my blanket and after a few days it became obvious that my parcel had got lost somewhere along the way as the company is normally so good and very quick. Because I am impatient and couldn't wait the 14 days to get a refund I ended up ordering again and now have everything I was after. I have made myself a tassel of all the colours to help match them up together, and it's also somewhere to keep my needle for making sure I sew in my ends straight away! When I spot a couple of colours that look good together they get pulled to the top and tied so I know what to do next, cuts down on dithering (of which I am expert) so I can get straight on with it.

I also bought a cross stitch book, Pictos, Logos and Tags, that arrived this morning. I haven't done cross stitch in about 12 years, back when I was trying to do a huge chart of the Mona Lisa. I made a mistake which meant her nose was somewhere else on her face and that was that. I've never been a fan of the Winnie the Pooh type kits that are everywhere so have given it a miss since then until I saw Mooncalf of Mooncalf Makes post on Twitter that she had bought this book. I fell in love with the simplicity of the fantastically modern designs and ended up buying one myself, not that I needed much arm twisting. It's in French but not a problem as the book is mostly charts. I bought mine from Amazon and it is £12.48. I sold it to Mr J as a hassle-free anniversary present to save him buying me the slightly random stuff that he sometimes does! I'm hoping to do a sort of modern family tree now my little family tree has all of it's branches.

Here are a peek at a few pages. There are 800 motifs in the book so definitely something for everyone. There are some adorable Christmas designs that would make an easy simple card. There is also a washing machine, dinosaurs, a snail.....


..............Houses and tents............


...........and yarn, knitting needles and a BUTTON!

Speaking of buttons I have acquired some more this week. I got these at an antiques fair for £1. They were in a large tin that needed rooting through, I managed to get a couple of matchy ones.

And these rainbow beauties were from a local yarn shop. When I see buttons I adore I always want to buy them all otherwise I'd be sad if I used some and couldn't find them again, though the cost of these prevented me from doing that. This little lot set me back just a shade under £5! But I love them dearly and they will probably have to be pried from my cold dead hands unless I find a special project for them.

And for someone who adores both socks and buttons, these were a surprise find from Tesco. I bought 4 pairs to lessen the risk of them being culled by the sock monster. They are brighter in real life, my camera is rubbish indoors.

And also speaking of socks, following on nicely I wanted to let you know about a great giveaway going on over at A Playful Day. If you haven't heard her podcast before it is well worth a listen and Episode 6 went out just yesterday along with the opportunity to win a skein of sock yarn from Knitting Goddess. All you have to do is pop over to the A Playful Day blog and leave a comment stating which lovely sock yarn you would like to win. Ends Sunday 26th June.

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Sunday, 5 June 2011

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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Abrupt end to Veggie Week!

As with all best laid plans my posts for National Vegetarian Week came to a bit of a shuddering halt! I ended up not having to cook at all over the weekend as the kids were kindly taken off my hands and fed at Grandma's house leaving me to eat junk by myself. I didn't go over as I had a bit of a cold and my in-laws are a little bit vulnerable health wise.

So what did I learn?

  • Peeling tomatoes, well worth the effort. Even though I still hate it!
  • Planning properly saves money (more money for yarn!)
  • My stir fry pan is an absolute pain in the arse to clean and will go rusty once you turn your back on it. Needs re-oiling.
  • Need to work on my pizza dough skills, pastry too for that matter.
  • My hands smelt of garlic - a lot!
I am going to try and keep up the momentum of trying new things. It's all too easy to fall into a food rut and end up having the same things even repeated on the same days of the week.

On to WIP Wednesday. Well not a lot going on knitting wise. My Little Coffee Bean cardigan has stalled on the first sleeve, mainly because this .....

has now spoken to me and told me what it would like to be, at last! Big news. I've been waiting so long to make my first blanket that I wanted it to be just right, you know? I have been trawling through Ravelry projects on and off just waiting for something to catch my eye. I wanted something that was made up of motifs so I wouldn't have to drag a whole blanket in-progress around with me and I am not a fan of join-as-you-go anyway. I also didn't want anything with a neutral border so all the colours could sit together in their wonderful brightness. And then I found it!

I have wound all 2kg of my basket of yarn into cakes to try and cut down on tangliness, plus it was a lot of fun Also meant I could find any knots or lumpy bits beforehand and snip them out before they had chance to ruin anything. There wasn't as many as I thought there would be, only 3 out of the 20 had any problems but one of the balls is now in 4 little bits. Grr! Nevermind.

I got my trusty hooks out and did some swatches and then realised it had been so long since I crocheted anything I had forgotten how! It took me a few tries to get it right. I pushed my swatches under the families' noses but they couldn't tell the difference between them. It is all too tempting (for me anyway!) to plot out the colour sequence on paper first or make a list of potential colour matches but I thought I would just get on with it! It's going to take me long enough to finish as it is without being finicky. I will take a progress pic once I am a bit further on, I'm only on 8 and have been naughty and haven't sewn my ends in yet and they look a bit of a mess. But they are keeping me verrry happy! I'm hoping the drive of wanting to see it finished will be enough to keep me going but I already have 'crochet claw' from too much hooking.

As always I like to try and add something useful to my not very useful posts so here is a link to a fab video for making a magic circle to begin crochet in the round. I am completely weird in that I don't like holes in the middle of my crochet so it's important that I learned this! It's also good for things that need to be worked tightly like amigurumis and toys.

For more WIP's head over here.
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