Saturday, 31 March 2012

WIP: Bargello

So, I'm still working away on my Bargello quilt. It's actually going to be a wallhanging. We have a bit of wall above the stairs and I hope it'll hang on there.

I've now got the main part of the Bargello done. It (probably) needs some small borders and I need to decide on a colour for binding, as well as deciding how to quilt it. This is the bit I most struggle with. I'd love some swirly, loopy flowers on it to go with the flower print that's in it but I think that might be beyond my capabilities! I also don't really have the time to practice at the moment and I'd like this one finished soon so that I can hang it up.

I'm pleased with the overall look of it but some bits are horrendously wonky. At least above the stairs nobody will get close enough to see how bad some bits are!


What A Difference!

So, this is the yarn after reskeining.


I quite like reskeining DK & Aran yarn as it's pretty quick and Orla likes to call my swift an "air plane" and run around with her arms out going "zoooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm" but when it comes to laceweight, OH MY, is it dull! It seems to go on forever. You go for ages and look and think "I must be halfway now" yet it never is halfway. It makes my arms ache and I sometimes wonder why I bother....but then you see how lovely the yarn looks afterwards.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sneak Peek at my latest hand dyed yarn

So without revealing the givaway yarn, which is in these pics somewhere ;-) here is my latest batch of dyeing.

I tend to dye as and when the mood hits and of course I have to have the time to do it, which is why it is often sporadic. I have to dye once the kids are in bed or occasionally at a weekend by getting my husband to take them out. It's easiest when they're in bed though because my husband helps out by washing things up as I go along so it gets done much quicker.

Sometimes I choose the colours as I'm dyeing. I often think about what colours will go well together but sometimes when I get the dyes out to start making them up something else whooshes into my head and I go down a totally different route. That yarn above for example was going to be a black and yellow combination when I first got my dyes out.

The two yarns below were dyed in the slow cooker.

The yarn above is made using a splattering technique that gives a huge random mix of colours. I really like using this technique on sock yarn but decided to give it a try on something else this time.

I experimented a little on the next one

This one was dyed at the same time as the purple one above, in the slow cooker.

Something a little brighter

Another slow cooker one


Monday, 26 March 2012

Giveaway! Get yer free yarn here ;-)

Ok, so I'm a couple of days late but never mind. It's been lovely and sunny this weekend. I spent Saturday browsing in the shops with my birthday money. I didn't find anything though...the only top that I think I'd have bought was sold out in my size.

Sunday was mainly spent playing in the sun. I'd got the kids some bubbles on Saturday and they played with them for ages on Sunday morning!

Later on we went to play with one of Erin's friends before going out for a meal to Red Hot World Buffet. We came home rather full (their mini desserts are rather tempting!).

Anyway, onto the Giveaway.

Ok, not very informative but I've got the undyed yarn soaking ready for dyeing later. I will be giving away one skein to a lucky winner. The colour will be a surprise for now but I might show sneak previews through the week.

All you have to do is follow my blog and leave a comment answering this simple question:

My quilted placemat was made from a pattern from which book?

You can get additional entries by posting on Twitter, Facebook and your own blog. Leave me an extra comment for each one so I know!

Competition will close next Monday evening (UK time!) and I'll announce the winner asap.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Mmmm Cake!

It's my birthday tomorrow and, unusually for me, I'm going out! It's not really a birthday night out but my friend was going out with her friend and has invited me and a joint friend out too.

It also means winning a prize from the Lucy 'In The Sky' blog was great timing! In the spirit of passing on the good fortune I'll start a giveaway tomorrow to celebrate. I think I can find some hand-dyed yarn that needs a home ;-)

Of course, it can't be a proper birthday without cake. I was hoping Orla would want to bake with me but despite saying yes she refused to come into the kitchen :-/ so if it tastes awful I've no littlies to blame it on!!!

The recipe I used is from this book, which was a Christmas present from my sister.

Every time I use this recipe I have a slight panic that it's gone horribly wrong. It never seems to have the usual cake mixture consistency, it's more like pastry when it goes into the cases/tin. I've never had a problem with the taste of it though ;-)

I also got to try out my butterfly cake silicon mould. I've had this one and a train one for ages now. they came from a clearance sale at Lakeland some time ago and I've just not used them. One thing that has put me off is I threw away the cardboard that was around them that told me how much mixture to make. Anyway I was brave and it seems the recipe I followed (Vanilla Cupcakes) makes pretty much the right amount!

See what I mean about the consistency????

But it seemed to turn out ok...

I'm hoping Erin might help me ice it when she gets home from school. I might use this mould and recipe for her birthday cake as the plates & party bags are butterfly themed.



We've got some very important guests at the moment.

Erin 7 Orla watching the guinea pigs
Erin & Orla watching the guinea pigs

The kids are so excited by them, though Orla jumps up and runs a mile if they come near her.

Erin, Orla and guinea pigs

Guinea Pigs


Wednesday, 21 March 2012


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FO: Quilted Placemat

It's quite a while since I spotted these lovely red and white fabrics at a stand exhibiting at the Great Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate but I couldn't resist them. They were small pieces (about 10" square) and I think I paid about £1.50 for a pack of 4 pieces.

I was planning on making something for Christmas with them. The stall I bought them from had joined strips of each fabric then cut triangles to make Christmas trees for placemats, etc. I was thinking of doing the same thing and making a table runner or tree skirt or similar. As it happened I just never got round to it and I've now used them for a square placemat to go under the fruit bowl.

I had a bit of a tidy up in the kitchen the other day. This involved moving all the cookbooks to the top of the dresser making space for the scales and fruit bowl and freeing up worktop space.

Here's a close up!

and one without the fruit bowl

The pattern is from A Passion For Patchwork, in fact it's the same as the cushion you can see on the bottom right of the cover. The book gives different dimensions to cut for a few different items.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Look what I got!

I went into town last week and while I was there I spotted a yellow plastic basket. I pondered buying it to put yarn in for my current projects. I needed something that would keep the yarn together, be easy to move about the house and that would hold enough yarn. That was the tricky bit...after all, how much is enough yarn???!!!??? So I looked at the basket and thought about whether I could fit the yarn for my vertical stripe blanket in there - that's 5 balls (i.e. one for each colour) and I thought, yes, yes, I definitely could fit that in there...but I'm also making a neat ripple cushion, that's another 3 balls. Hmm. Now it's definitely not fitting in. Scrap that idea.

Of course a few days later I thought I really need something to keep this yarn in and, of course, regretted not getting the basket. It was 79p!!! Why? Why did I not buy the 79p basket to make my life easier. Ok, so I know that I didn't buy it cos it was yellow and I really wanted a purple basket

Yesterday the weather was lovely and sunny, so I wandered up into town. My plan was to BUY. THAT. BASKET. then take Orla to the park.

So, into the shop, down the aisle for the basket. The basket was not there. Off I go up and down the aisles searching for the basket. Nothing. None.

Hmm....plan out the window. Decided to look in some of the other shops and guess what I spot? A basket. The same basket as before's purple . Hang on though, it's definitely smaller than I thought. Yes, I think it's too small. See a pattern here????

I did pick up this plant though, to brighten up the windowsill. I also got some seeds for the kids to plant.

Today we happened to go to a garden center. Shhhhhhh...don't tell my husband that I suggested going to the garden center so I could look for a basket. The baskets weren't big enough and more for flower displays than yarn until I saw it. A bright pink tub trug. As we approached I saw....a PURPLE tub trug. So here it is, filled with current projects(those knitting needles are in use - I'm making a simple shawl and loving it)

I know, it's ridiculous to be so excited about a plastic bucket but it's just perfect. Look, it really is

See that card? Well that's the Mother's Day card Erin made for me at school. She was desperate to give it to me this morning. Oh and check out the floor. It's far, far nicer than the grubby old carpet.

And I just have to share this picture of Orla playing with my neat ripple blanket the other day. She was playing 'bedtime' with Dora.

Friday, 16 March 2012

FO: Hexagon Blanket, Granny Square & Spotty Cushion Covers

So I finally finished the Hexagon Blanket. I don't have accurate amounts for the yarn used because I started with leftovers from the granny ripple blanket. Basically I finished the leftovers and used 1 more ball of each colour, plus maybe half a ball to finish the border rounds.

The first 6 rounds of the hexagons were made in various combinations of lipstick, teal, grey & graphite Stylecraft Special DK. There are no repeated hexagons. Then each of the 39 hexagons had a final seventh round added in parchment, joining each as I went along. I then added the first border round in parchment. I couldn't quite decide what colour to use for the second border round but decided that the first parchement round didn't really look like a border, so I added the second border round in parchment too. I did then ponder adding a third round but decided against it, or rather my husband did.

So, we changed the cover on the sofa so that I could display the blanket nicely:

This gave me an idea of leaving it on the sofa. Of course it needed cushions...luckily I'd finished the granny square cushion cover by sewing three buttons on (that's been waiting a while because it's one of those 5 minute jobs you just never get round to).

And then I dashed into the kitchen to whizz up a couple of spotty cushion covers with the sewing machine. These only took about 20 minutes. They're made with Cath Kidston fabric that I've had for ages. I bought it when visiting the in-laws a few years ago. It had 25% off and I planned to make a bag with it but never got round to it. I am so glad I didn't because I think the cushions look fab! What do you think?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

WIP: Hexagon Blanket

Do you remember this big pile of hexagons?

Well, on Monday I put Orla down for a nap and half an hour later she walked through the living room door. Yes, it appears she's on the verge of dropping her nap. So yesterday when she asked to go to bed I sat watching tv for a bit to make sure she'd gone to sleep before starting studying (good plan it was too, she was up 20 minutes later). That big pile was sat there taunting me ;-) so I started the long, boring task of weaving the ends in.

Do you know, virtually all those hexagons have 12 ends to weave in EACH???!!!??? There's 39 hexagons and I think I figured out there were 438 ends. By the time I went to bed last night I'd weaved in the ends on 35 of the hexagons, Alan had done the other 4.

I also started joining them together and have now got 14 of them joined. I decided to use the Join As You Go method for a couple of reasons:

First, and probably the most important one, I was totally sick of weaving in ends and the thought of adding another round to each of those damn hexagons and having another 76 ends to weave in before starting to join them filled me with dread!

Secondly, I rarely use the join as you go method with granny squares as I prefer to slip stitch in the back loops so it was a good excuse to use a different method.

So here's my progress so far:

I've left a few ends to weave in at the end so that I know which side I started with. I chose the position of the hexagons before starting to join by laying them out on the living room floor and moving them around until I was happy with the look. I've now got them in piles for each column in order from top to bottom so it's important to join them in the right place. It's fine when it's uneven (as above) but when you have a symmetrical piece it's hard to know which way is which.

And this is what Orla has been doing:

The pumpkin bowl is her hat!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Another WIP: Vintage Vertical Stripe Blanket

I've started yet another blanket. This time it's the Vintage Vertical Stripe. I've been wanting to make one of these for a while now because I love the look of it. It's a very simple pattern, made of US dc (UK tr) but with the stitches made into the spaces between the previous rows stitches rather than under the loops of the stitch and with two dc in the final space to keep the number of stitches correct.

I've chosen to make this in deep, warm, earthy tones in Stylecraft Special DK. Here's my progress so far:

WIP: Neat Ripple Cushion

I just couldn't resist getting my hook out and starting on the Stylecraft I bought from Coldspring Mill. I knew I was going to make a cushion cover with it and had a browse on Ravelry to see if there was a pattern I liked. I was really struggling to decide, mainly because I really fancy doing a circular cushion but the pads I have are square. In the end I decided to do another ripple cushion but this time I'm going to make the whole thing crocheted, rather than backing it with a jumper.

Here's the progress so far:

The yarn is lovely to work with, though it's a bit thinner than the Jarol Heritage DK.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Day Trip: Coldspring Mill

Erin hasn't felt great the last couple of days but she seemed to perk up this morning after a bacon sarnie! So, we decided to go out somewhere. After a bit of debating where to go and what to do on such a lovely day, we settled on heading over to Coldspring Mill at Cullingworth. I've heard lots of people say the wool shop is great for a bargain but it's hit and miss what they have in stock. They seem to have given their website a little makeover recently and the picture of the wool shop made me want to go and check it out. We thought we could head over to Hebden Bridge afterwards and have a wander round in the sunshine.

By the time we got over there it was time for lunch. I settled on the small breakfast at a super value price of £2.50. Alan went for sausages in Yorkshire pudding with mash and peas, despite plans for a roast dinner later. It certainly filled us up and the kids loved looking out of the windows at the fields.

Then we wandered into the outdoor shop. I was tempted by the jams but managed to resist. We had a quick browse of camping stuff, before heading down the stairs into the Wool Shop. Now I have to admit, I was expecting a few shelves of yarn but there was loads. I thought it was slightly randomly spread out too, I found some Stylecraft Extra Special Dk but the Stylecraft Special DK was the other end of the shop. There was some cotton on one aisle and others elsewhere. A little mixed up, you might say. I still haven't decided whether it was frustrating or if it just added to the treasure trove feeling.

There was a good range of cheap acrylics (lots of Stylecraft, James C Brett) but a few higher end items. There were tubs of bargain packs of unlabelled yarn and various random balls at £1.99+. Definitely the sort of place you could go and find something for your latest project.

So, what did I buy? Well, so many things were tempting but I am supposed to be Not. Buying. Yarn.

Just 3 balls slipped in the basket. This Stylecraft Life DK.

I'm planning on making a cushion for the living room with it. When I saw it I knew it would be perfect colours for the living room, though I couldn't quite decide between the Cobalt (on the left) or a more grey colour. I didn't like the two together and settled in the end for the cobalt and I thought it just looked a bit fresher. the other colours are Heather (in the middle) and Crocus (on the right).

We never made it over to Hebden Bridge as I managed to break a tooth while out and didn't really fancy it.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

WIP: Bargello Quilt

I have to admit that when the lovely Annie mentioned she was going to make a Bargello quilt, I had to google it. I was really amazed by the results and thought "I have to make one of those". I was given a gorgeous Moda jelly roll (Sophie by Chez Moi) for Christmas from the in-laws that I thought would be great for it. Then I discovered that to make the size I was wanting I'd need two jelly rolls, so I decided instead to use half a jelly roll (20 strips 2.5" wide) to make a wallhanging.

It took me a while to decide on the 20 strips to use and the order to put them in but once that was done it was fairly quick to sew all the strips together. Here they are before I joined them into a big loop.

I'm hoping to cut the strips and start sewing them together this week. Then I'll probably have to look for a fabric for borders.