hat

Joining the gang

Last week was my birthday and my lovely mum bought me something I’ve been lusting after for ages – a Wool And The Gang knit kit.  I could’ve chosen any number of their kits – but I settled on the one that first brought them to my attention – the Giles EEK Hat.

The kit came in the post in a giant paper bag, containing three balls of the gang’s lovely Crazy Sexy Wool (100% Peruvian wool) and a pair of rosewood knitting needles (12mm).  It should have contained a pattern too, but sadly this was missing.  Still, as soon as I let them know, they emailed the pattern out to me right away.

kit

Unfortunately, there isn’t much of the winter left for wearing lovely warm snuggly hats, so I wanted to get started on it straight away.  And after two evenings, one at my new knitting/crochet group with some fellow military wives, it was done.  With huge needles and lovely thick yarn, it worked up really quickly.  And embroidering on the eyes was speedy too, once I’d got the hang of the technique.

sewing

My lovely EEK hat had its first outing today for a belated birthday lunch in Oxford – it was lovely and warm and I definitely didn’t see anyone else wearing the same one.

hat on

hat

Now I just need to decide which Wool And The Gang project I want to make next…

wristwarmer

NYC wristwarmers courtesy of Purl Soho

Remember a few days ago when I said I had too many projects on the go and I wanted to finish one?  I’ve finally managed it – and I’ve now got a lovely pair of wrist warmers to keep me toasty for the rest of the winter.

At Christmas, we went on our honeymoon to New York City – and high on my list of things to do was to check out at least one yarn shop in the city.  Before we went, I’d knitted my husband a scarf using a pattern from the Purl Bee blog and when I realised the blog was linked to a shop, I decided that would be the place to go.

So before we travelled, I chose two other patterns from the Purl Bee blog and made a list of the yarn I’d need to buy in the shop, Purl Soho.  I knew there’d be such a huge choice of new and exciting yarns that I’d be better off knowing what I was looking for rather than browsing aimlessly (and I think my husband was grateful for it!).  Here’s what I came away with:

purl soho yarn

I liked the idea of making a couple of things that would always remind me of my honeymoon and that I would wear a lot.  So it’s lovely to finally have one of them finished.

The pattern I’ve just finished was for Colorblock Hand Warmers and it involved knitting with fine yarn using double-pointed needles.  This was a first for me and took a fair bit of getting used to – at first there seemed to be points sticking out everywhere, and it was really fiddly.  But as with most things craft-wise, it just took practise.

Here’s the finished article (well, one of them – I needed to hold the camera with the other hand):

wristwarmer

I am notoriously cold-blooded, and am always shivering at work – so today I took these along for the first time and they kept me lovely and warm, especially as they almost reach my elbows.

The next target is to finish my other New York project – this lovely Herringbone Cowl using a nice soft alpaca yarn.

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A handmade wedding – my biggest ever craft project

As I mentioned in my last post, last year was a busy one – and one of the main reasons was our wedding.  Jon proposed in late January 2014, shortly before he left for Afghanistan for four months.  His timing was a stroke of genius – we just had time to choose our date, venue and other important details before he left.  And with the wedding set for three weeks after he came home, it meant I had all the fun stuff to plan while he was away – my dress, flowers, favours, hair, accessories etc.  It was the perfect distraction for a difficult time and gave us both so much to look forward to when he got home.

Me being me, the wedding was always going to be a crafty affair…  the prospect of making my own dress was never on the cards, but I knew there was plenty I could do in the way of accessories and decoration.  The first thing I had to do was teach myself to crochet lace.  Gone were the 4mm hooks I was using before, and in came the 0.75mm steel hook (and other assorted tiny sizes).  It took some practice but I loved producing crochet that was so delicate and pretty.  One of the brilliant things about crochet is its versatility – with the same set of skills you can create giant chunky scarves, cute hard-wearing toys for toddlers, and beautiful classic lace on a tiny scale.

It started with doilies – the wedding was small, only 20 guests, and I set about making five doilies to sit underneath the flowers on the dinner table.  This one was the centrepiece:

doily

Before long, I’d chosen my wedding dress.  It was by the brilliant Catherine Deane, and I had a fantastic day out in London with my mum and sister-in-law trying on different designs at the studio in Metropolitan Wharf, Wapping.  The Brits among you might recognise the name Metropolitan Wharf as the building where the Great British Sewing Bee is filmed.  The dress had a distinctly floral theme, so that set me thinking about crocheting flowers for accessories.

So I started crocheting flowers, including daisy chains – so simple and so effective.  The first thing I did was use them to embellish handkerchiefs for my mum and mother-in-law.  By this point I’d also chosen a colour theme of pale turquoise and peach, so I bought Amazonite beads to use too (which also came in handy for bracelets for me and my bridesmaid).

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The next project was to make a headpiece to match my dress and somehow work into my hairstyle for the big day.  I started out using only crochet, but eventually realised I needed to add some details that were even more delicate to really make it into what I wanted.  So I bought myself a tatting shuttle and learnt how to make tatted lace.  That way, I could use tatted flowers in the headpiece too.  It took two attempts and a lot of time, but in the end, I was really pleased with it:

headpiece

Once I’d learnt to tat, I started to really enjoy it.  With just a tiny tatting shuttle and a ball of thread, it seemed even more portable and easy to carry around than crochet.  So I decided to make one of the table doilies a tatted one:

tatted

After all the lace-making, there was one final craft project to complete.  My four-year-old nephew was going to be our ring-bearer on the day and he and I share a love of Thunderbirds (the original Thunderbirds, strings and all!).  For his benefit (and mine!) I wanted to make a ring cushion with a difference – so with the help of some vintage fabric I found online, salvaged from a former duvet cover, I made one.  I tried to keep it in the wedding theme with a bit of turquoise and peach ribbon, but I don’t think my nephew cared too much about that:

cushion

Anyway – enough talking about the making of everything – here are some pictures from the day itself (with a big thank you to our talented wedding photographer – and my cousin – Mark Wallis):

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Once Jon got home we had the fun job of putting the finishing touches to the favours for the table, and a few other associated craft projects.  But I’ll save those for the next post.

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Very long time, no blog

Well, it’s been a year since I last said ‘I haven’t posted here for ages, I should definitely start again’ and then totally failed to do so.  My excuse is that last year became something of a crazy year…  shortly after my new blogging resolution, I started an exciting new job (with a 90-minute commute), then my boyfriend proposed and we had a mad few weeks of wedding planning before he left in March for four months serving in Afghanistan.

He duly came back in one piece after four eventful months, and we got married three weeks later.  Shortly after that we moved into a married quarter (eliminating the massive commute), adopted some kittens, made our new house into a home and went to New York for a Christmas honeymoon.  That brings us almost up to now, and the revelation that yes, like I said a year ago, I really should start blogging again.

2015, thankfully, looks set to be a far less eventful year than the last one, and with more time to devote to messing about with yarn, I genuinely do want to start keeping the blog up to date again.

Since last January, there have been many crochet projects (most of which were wedding related), and a few knitting ones too (mostly because I was sick of crochet after all the wedding projects), which I will probably post about in the coming days and weeks.

But for now, here are my current works in progress:

doll

A doll I started making to cheer myself up while recovering from the flu

cowl

A herringbone knitted cowl using yarn from Purl Soho, NYC.

wristwarmer

A pair of wrist warmers, again using a pattern and yarn from Purl Soho, NYC.  I started making the second one after this picture was taken, only to have it unravelled by two cheeky kittens…

Three works in progress is too many, so my next job is to get one of them, any of them, finished.  Before the kittens can get to them, that is.

New year, new projects

It’s been almost two months since I updated my blog – but one of my new year’s resolutions is to get back into updating regularly and finding some new crafty blogs to follow.

Lots has happened in two months.  I’ve worked hard, run lots, got a new job (which I start in three weeks’ time), had a lovely Christmas and most importantly for this post, done LOTS of crochet.

Here’s a round-up:

A bear hood from Simply Crochet magazine:

bearhood

A shawl for my grandma for Christmas, using an Erika Knight pattern…

shawl

Someone commissioned me to make a giraffe…

giraffe

And I had a go at making my first proper doll, red riding hood style…

ridinghood

Closely followed by a better doll, with better hair and clothes…

doll2

At the same time, I was making a cowl from Inside Crochet magazine using Malabrigo yarn…

cowl

And now I’m making the unicorn from the film Despicable Me – another commission, halfway through…

unicorn

Making it up as I go along

Last weekend I had a little trip to the big John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway near Bristol, and treated myself to a few new yarns for making Christmas presents and various other bits and pieces.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been trying out new shapes and ideas lately to try to expand my repertoire a little… So I thought it would be good to try out some of my new yarn (Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Cotton) with a bit of free form monster making…

When I told my other half what I was doing, he said it ought to have stripes, three legs, one floppy ear and one normal, one arm longer than the other and tufty hair on the top. And that’s exactly what I’ve done – he was brilliant fun to make and due to his wonky nature, he’s been christened The Wonkatron.

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A new twist on an old classic.. Red rabbit

A good few months ago I made a couple of red bunny rabbits as commissions for friends at work.

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So when another friend in the office asked for a similar red rabbit, I was quite pleased to go back to an old favourite. But as I’ve got a bit better at crochet and how to create different shapes, I’ve modified the design a bit. I wanted to try different ears with a less flat design, and also a body and legs that are a bit more flexible. I wasn’t 100% sure it would work, but this one actually sits up on its own (with a little bit of help from the little bobtail stitched on the back of it).

I’ll be getting the pattern for this one typed up and on to Etsy soon (I have signed up but not yet found time to upload any patterns), so watch this space if you fancy making your own.

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