Monday, December 05, 2011

Happy Hexapuffs

I finally got around to purchasing the fabulous pattern for the "Beekeeper's Quilt" by the wonderful Tiny Owl Knits.  Since it was published knitters seem to have gone crazy for this simple but incredibly beautiful idea.  The quilt consists of hundreds of tiny stuffed hexagons that are tied together at the corners. Each "hexapuff is about 3 inches across, so it will take lots and lots to make a decent sized quilt.  They are fun to make and the designer suggests that you treat it as an ongoing take-along project that you work on in spare moments such as when queuing or waiting for a train. They are knitted from leftover scraps of sock yarn or 4 ply and the more colours you can throw in the better.  There are even tiny chart available for intarsia designs that you can work into them. This is my tiny pile of hexapuffs so far.  Many more to go!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Killer Sweater

Anyone who has watched the fabulous Danish thriller "The Killing" on television knows that Sarah Lund's sweater is a star in it's own right. The second series briefly features a new design - a red sweater with a textured snowflake design on the yoke. The Radio Times published a pattern for a similar "tribute sweater" and it has caused quite stir. I have chosen to knit it in double stranded  Drops Alpaca. Mainly because the aran weight yarn had sold out in red - could this be a coincidence? So far I have completed the body and one sleeve.  It is easy knitting.  I am looking forward to getting to the patterned yoke.  I expect to see a lot of these sweaters around this winter. Of course, I still would love to make the original chunky sweater from Series 1.

Also finished is my sparkly sequined wrap.  The yarn was purchased from Yarn Paradise, a shop I found on Ebay, at a real bargain price. The yarn is soft and has plenty of sequins on it.  It took less than 3 balls to make this huge fluffy wrap as I knitted it on size 10mm needles for a light airy look.  It can also be scrunched up and worn as a scarf.  I love this!

I have been having a real love affair with Drops yarn lately.  It is top quality and about half the price of other yarns. My new favourite yarn store "Nest" in Crouch End stocks some of the Drops range and so I have added a few balls to my stash.  The Alpaca Boucle is just about the nicest, softest yarn ever and is destined to become a snuggly poncho.  Drops also has an online pattern database and they are all free.  Eskimo is the superchunky single yarn that comes in a great range of colours and it took just 2 balls to make these simple slippers. I got the pattern from the Drops website and just made up the flower to use up the scraps.  It is always important to remember that knitted slippers stretch when you wear them. Despite going for a snug fit  I may have to a thread some elastic around the tops to keep them on.
Little Alfie loves these slippers - or is it my feet!
I have wanted to crochet some cacti for ages and finally got around to it a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately this project involves a lot of finishing - embroidering flowers, stuffing and sewing on cacti, brushing the yarn to make it fluffy.
As always, it takes me a while to get around to doing my least favourite part of a project.  Anyway ,I did manage to finish the small single plant...  
Finally, I think I have found the perfect sweater pattern for my husband.  There is something about it - perhaps it is the way it is being modelled...

Monday, November 07, 2011

The never ending cone of yarn

My recent obsession with the Crescent Moon Shawl shows no sign of abating.  I have just completed this gorgeous cream cotton/acrylic mix version and am already planning another black and sparkly one.  The yarn is Yeoman's Panama - I bought the cone in a local charity shop for £1 ages ago.  Can't resist a bargain.   I have now made the shawl, a doily, a tealight holder, and a mobile phone case from this yarn and there is still plenty left.  I really like the way the yarn works up and think it will wear well.
The small items that I have made from the Panama are all from the book "Kyuuto - Lacy Crochet".  It is a collection of Japanese style patterns that I bought on Amazon. The tealight holder is so effective. You just make a ring of filet braid to fit around your glass and it looks amazing when it is lit up.

I am still looking for a suitable clasp to finish off the mobile phone case and am finding it hard to get hold of anything small enough.  I may need to take apart a keychain.

The doily was made from crochet thread in the book but my slightly chunkier 4 ply version made a nice decorative mat to put on my dressing table.

My monthly church knitting group has been making hats to give to a local homeless charity.  They will be distributed to anyone who needs them during the coming cold Winter weather.  I had a ball of Sirdar Denim Ultra in my stash and am very pleased with the way it knitted up.

This is a very simple ribbed hat with a turn back cuff so it will fit most sizes and can be pulled down over the ears for warmth.  My husband reluctantly modeled it for me before I donated it.  I hope to have time to make a few more hats for this good cause.
I recently discovered the amazing Yarn Paradise on Ebay and order some lovely sequined mohair yarn for knitting glam scarves with. The yarn is all extremely reasonably priced. I was amazed when my yarn arrived next day all the way from Turkey.  That is great service for you!  I couldn't be more pleased with my purchase - there are plenty of shiny sequins and it is very soft.  I am using large needles (10mm) to knit a big, airy scarf/wrap.

This year, we had the best Halloween ever.  Everyone in our neighborhood seemed to join in and enter into the spirit of the occasion.  There were some beautifully carved pumpkins sitting on local doorsteps.  Our simple effort looked great when we lit him up and attracted many more trick or treaters than usual.

This weekend we enjoyed the wonderful free firework display in Cassiobury Park.  So glad the weather held out - it was a lot of fun!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blooming Lovely!

 This week I have been working on my own interpretation of Stella McCartney's Falabella Bag. Ever since I first saw this gorgeous crochet creation I have wanted one of my own. The price tag was of course rather hefty but I thought it looked like something I could easily crochet.
I had a close look at pictures of the original and am crocheting similar types of motif  to embellish it with.  The key to it seems to be loads and loads of bobbles.  Bobbles are a real pain to make but I am going to persevere.  The yarn is Twilleys No. 1 Cotton - another amazing charity shop bargain!  I have six hanks of it which gives a total of 960 metres.  Should be plenty.  The original bag has a pewter effect chain trim and straps which I also hope to use on mine. The bag will also be lined to help it hold it's shape and give it some strength. Maybe some inside pockets too.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Millie made these fab fairy cakes.  They taste every bit as good as they look. 


Monday, October 10, 2011

Crescent Moon Revisited

 I loved my recent version of the gorgeous Japanese pattern "The Crescent Moon Shawl" so much that I started  another one in Rico Superba Poems sock yarn straight away.  It is a beautiful yarn, single ply with a kind of handspun feel to it.  The colourway I chose was called "Tropical".  It is always a pleasure to work with space dyed yarns and I managed to complete the whole project in a couple of days.
The finished shawl looks lovely - slightly less bulky than my first Crescent Moon and so colourful.

I love the way you can wear this shawl like a scarf or as a wrap.  It is a warm, versatile accessory and will get a lot of wear.  Looking at other versions of it on Ravelry has inspired me to start another one. This time I am using a very thin cotton/acrylic mix that I bought in a charity shop ages ago - because it was so cheap!  At last I have the perfect pattern for it.  Actually, it is a very large cone and I think there will be absolutely loads left.  The shawl will be thinner and more drapey.  So far it looks good made up in just about any yarn.

My next project is a crochet cap that I whipped up in an evening from a single ball of Patons Shadow Tweed. The pattern was from Noro World of Nature vol. 29.  I'm not sure the hat really suits me and am considering frogging it as I don't want to waste the yarn. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011



The Crescent Moon Shawl looks lovely now that it is blocked.

I can't wait to start on another one in a finer yarn.

The  Noro Kureyon sock yarn has blocked out nicely, feels a little softer and has stretched  to a decent size.  this is really wearable.

Crochet a Rainbow

I love Noro yarns  and would probably use nothing else if they weren't so expensive. The colors and textures are just amazing and guaranteed to make the simplest of projects look spectacular. I had a single ball of Kureyon Sock yarn in a wonderful rainbow colourway in my stash - bought it in a sale ages ago.  A quick search on Ravelry brought up some lovely examples of the Eva Shawl crocheted in this yarn and my mind was made up.  The pattern is very simple, just two rows of double crochet and then an eyelet row, repeated until you run out of yarn.  It was quick and easy and looks great.  The Noro yarn can be a little rough and I am hoping that it will soften up a bit when I wash it.  It will be severely blocked to stretch it out a little larger. I hope to have some pictures of the completely blocked shawl soon.
Also ready to be blocked is the Crescent Moon Shawl.  I didn't actually have the pattern for this shawl - it is from a Japanese crochet book and quite hard to come by.  I love the shape and texture of this shawl and the fancy fringing is the perfect finishing touch. After examining lots of pictures of completed shawls I thought I should just have a go at it. This first attempt is made from some fingering weight pure wool  yarn that I had in my stash.  The yarn is very old - possibly from the 1960's or earlier.  It was another of my amazing charity shop finds.  The yarn is in good condition but feels very dry.  Hopefully some fabric conditioner in the first wash will restore some softness to the wool. Some action shots will follow soon! meanwhile, Alfie has taken a bit of a liking to my latest creation... 
I think what I have created is fairly close to the fabulous original and I am now ready to try it in a gorgeous space dyed yarn to bring out the full glory of the design.  Two balls of Rico Poems Sock yarn should be arriving any day now in a lovely Tropical colourway.  The yarn looks a bit like Noro but is considerably cheaper.  Can't wait to get started!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Little Boy Blue

I finished off two little coats for Alfie today!  They are both so cute on the little fellow. Last Winter, Alf got very cold and shivery when he went for his walkies and I had to get him a little jacket to wear.  He is a bit of a wuss really and often refuses to step outside on rainy days. So, this year he will be kept warm and cosy by a selection of handknits. The blue coat is from the book Vintage Crochet.  I was not impressed with the pattern as most of it didn't make sense.

I checked on Ravelry and found someone else who had experienced problems with it.  She kindly let me know how she had got around the lack of coherent instructions. I am fairly happy with the finished coat, although it has turned out a bit snug.  I had to follow Alfie around for a while before I could get a good shot of him in it.
Alfie was also rather reluctant to model the Gidget Hoodie from "Doggie Knits" by Corinne Niessner.
It was easy to get him into it but he wouldn't sit still while I tried to do up the buttons.  He then seemed most interested in attempting to eat the buttons. I will be making him a sweater next, as it seems that a simple pullover design might just be the easiest style to get him into.
In the kitchen this week...
Millie and I made cinnamon sugar pretzels.  They turned out really great and were fun to make. You need to roll out the dough into long thin pieces and then shape them into pretzels.  We found the copycat recipe for Auntie Anne's Pretzels on the internet - they are every bit as good as the real thing ( and so much cheaper!)

Wool left over from the dog coat worked up into a cute crochet beanie - I made this one up as I went along. The yarn was purchased in a charity shop some time ago.  Not sure about the fibre content but it feels as if it is mostly wool.  I still have 5 balls left!

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Valley Cowl and other things

When I saw the pattern for the "Valley Cowl" by Doris Chan on Ravelry I thought it would be the perfect project  for the yarn that I recently found in a local charity shop.  Five balls of Patons Pure Wool Crepe proved to be more than enough.  It took about three balls, so there is plenty left for a hat or some gloves to go with it. This is the first time that I have made a moebius scarf and I love the way it turned out.  The twisted loop is interesting to make and to wear.  I  will probably make this again in a different yarn weight to show off the lace pattern a bit more.

I also managed to finish off some more bunting this week.  I had made these triangles at the same time as I made the last lot but hadn't bothered to join them together

It didn't take long to crochet the joining chains and a couple of rows of dcs to make it a bit sturdier.  I came across a load of snowflakes that I made last year recently and I want to turn them into Christmas bunting - should look really effective.  I gave the pink triangle bunting to a friend at Knitting Club who just adores all things handmade.
Lately, I have been enjoying cooking and particularly trying out nifty kitchen gadgets.  Millie and I spent a pleasant hour making these cute little vanilla cookies with our new cookie press.  It really is great fun and turns out some great looking treats. It's important to get the dough just the right consistency or they don't come out so good.  We will probably make ginger spice cookies at Christmas.
As we were having such a good time cooking we decided to try making potato latkes.  This was also a fun process involving grating a ton of potatoes.  Millie decided to wear her swimming goggles to prevent tears as she grated the onions - what a great idea!
We ended up with a very tasty lunch and will definitely be making these again.

The hexagons are coming along at a good pace.  I try to make them in batches of about 10, working a round on each until they are all complete.  Originally I thought it would take about 200 to make a decent throw.  I am not sure why I thought that! After laying them all out on the floor today I have revised that estimate to about 600.  There is obviously a lot more work to be done on this project.Here is what I have so far...