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Friday, 26 December 2014

Crafty Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Now that the busyness of yesterday is over I have a few minutes to show you the few gifts that I crafted this year.


First up, I made a quilt for my Mam. It was nothing too fancy, just my take on a jelly roll quilt. I wanted to make a quilt that would be big enough to fit my parents bed so instead of going out and buying several jelly rolls, I had a look through my stash and found some fabrics that would work with the colour scheme in my parents bedroom. I then cut the fabric into (I think) 4 inch strips. These strips were then sewn together to make the top. The fabric I used was sent to me by Diana (grandmabuck - rav ID) as RAK in the Itty Bitty Knitters group on ravelry. For the backing I use an old cotton bed sheet so I didn't have to worry about sewing pieces together to have a wide enough piece of fabric. So quite a thrifty present as I only had to buy the wadding!


It worked out well and my mother loves it! The only thing I would change is the binding. Just because of time limits I decided to machine sew the back of the binding down and it's not as neat as it would have been if I had hand sewn it. It finished up at approximately 1.8 m x 1.8 m (about 5' 11" x 5' 11", I think). Himself is doing a very good job at holding it up in the photo, he's 6' so that gives you a good idea of the size.



 Next up are some stocking fillers that Santa commissioned me to do. 

The little man is ever so slightly crazy about Fireman Sam so I managed to get hold of pattern to knit one! It's by Alan Dart which of course means lots of seaming and lots of pieces. I avoided most of the seaming by knitting it mostly in the round but there were still plenty of pieces! The pattern was based on Fireman Sam of the 90's and his uniform has changed slightly since then so I made some changes to the colours etc to make it work.
 


Finally, the little lady also needed something.

Meet Tilly, a cute little doll from Sewn Toy Tales. I've made one other toy from this book (blogged here). Again I found the step by step instructions very clear and perfect for the novice. I changed things slightly in that I gave Tilly a dress which I adapted from one of the other toys in the book and I put elastic in the waistband and cuffs of her bloomers instead of running embroidery floss through like it described. Again, the fabric all came from stash. The plain fabric I used for her hair and skin were given to me for my birthday a few years ago by my sister in law E. Her blouse fabric was again a RAK from Diana. The sparkly fabric (yes SPARKLY!!!) I used for her dress and tights were another RAK, this time from Judi (zowman). The purple fabric I used for her bloomers was a fat quarter I bought in The Cottonwood tree.


 

Santa was also bringing a pram for the little lady's dollies so a wee quilt to keep them warm was needed. This was straight forward enough, two fat quarters sewn together with some polyester wadding and bound with some satin binding. This also had some IBKers input! The kiddy fabric for the front was from Amber (amdezo) in the Earth day mini-swap last year, and the binding was from Katherine (kmacmillian2003) early this year when I couldn't find some for a baby quilt I was making!


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Doris

I'm back with another test knit or rather two. Again they're designed by Kelly Brooker.First up is My Aunt Doris is a pretty little cardigan. It has a round yoke, lace fronts and elbow length sleeves. The lace is a very pretty and very simple (read easily memorised) design but really gives the cardigan an even more girly feel. 

The pattern instructions were very clear and it's  written for 16 sizes (newborn to 10 years). It calls for DK yarn and as I've been mostly knitting from stash the amount of DK I have is fairly limited by now but I was lucky enough to find some Cushendale yarn in Haw which as I'd planned on this being the little lady's Christmas cardy was perfect!

I knit the 52.5 cm (apprx 18-24 months) size and used 164 g (328 m).


The second pattern was a matching hat, Dainty Doris. It's written for 3 yarn weights (fingering, DK and worsted) in 7 sizes. It incorporates the lace design from My Aunt Doris and can be knit as a beanie or slouch.

I knit the 45 cm size beanie in DK and used the yarn I had left over from the cardy. It took just 35 g (70 m) and is just adorable.

The hat was designed by Kelly for the Red Riding Hood Yarns 2014 Winter Yarn Club and it's description is beyond perfect - 

"The 1950’s woman effortlessly blended femininity and practicality to create a style unlike any other in the 20th century. Dainty Doris mimics the talent of those 50’s women; a beanie or slouch with elegant lace, simple enough for a time-poor housewife and mama to whip up."

That's everything that this hat is!


The patterns aren't released just yet but they should be coming in Spring 2015 so keep watch!





Monday, 10 November 2014

All Seasons Cardy

I've recently completed another test knit for Kelly Brooker.


All Seasons Cardy is a very cuteshort sleeved cardy with a little bit of lace. The pattern was originally released quite a while ago but has been revised to include more sizes and yarn weights! It's written in 3 yarn weights (fingering, DK and worsted) and 16 sizes (newborn to 10 years) so a wonderful pattern as to be expected from Kelly. 


I had this vision of the pattern being knit in a darker yarn with some bright buttons adding a pop of colour so I used DROPS Big Fabel in grey and for the pop of colour I used some blue spotted fabric from my stash to cover some self cover buttons.


All told the 52.5 cm size took 172 g (258 m) of yarn and I'm really quite pleased with how the buttons turned out and contrast with the grey.


With Christmas around the corner I have some gift crafting on my mind and I will be back soon with some of that. 

As the weather has turned decidedly chilly here I have also some knit designs floating around in my head if I could only find the time to knit up a sample (which will double as a Christmas gift or two!). All going well I will write them up and have the ready for testing in the next couple of weeks. If anyone is interested in testing let me know! One is for a hat (DK or Aran) for a range of sizes baby to adult, the other for a chunky weight cowl.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Facelift

We bought our house about 8 years ago. When we moved in the only furniture we had was a bed, a book shelf and a few camping chairs and so we set about finding homes for our boxes of stuff and finding furniture too! 

We borrowed a rickety old kitchen table from my sister which we used for a few months until we found a table and chairs we liked. Now this was 8 years ago and it would be many years before kids arrived so the fact that the chairs were upholstered in cream fabric didn't cross our minds. The only things that matter was that the chairs we're comfy, the table fit in our kitchen and more importantly it was on sale!

So 8 years has passed by, 2 kids have appeared in our lives and well many spill ages later the chairs were looking a bit worse for wear no matter how often they were cleaned.






A facelift was in order.

I didn't fancy spending a fortune on reupholstering fabric for the chairs but I did have an old oilcloth tablecloth which I bought a few years ago but as it had been badly stained from tomato sauce I had taken it off the table. I cut off the stained part and kept the rest of it thinking it would eventually come in useful.  Which it did!

There are many upholstery tutorials online but all I did was to measure the seat pad and add about 5 inches to the length and width to allow enough fabric to be folded under. Then using a staple gun I fixed the fabric to the underside of the chair starting at the middle of the side and working towards the corners, stretching and smoothing the fabric as I went along. I folded the fabric in at the corners as neat as possible before stapling that down too. Then reattached the seat pads to the chairs.

Et voila, nice new easy clean chairs and all it cost me was some time and effort!



Sunday, 31 August 2014

Up cycling.

Towards the end of last year I was lucky enough to receive a car load of hand me down clothes for the little lady from the sister of a girl I used to work with. When I saw car load I quite literally mean a car load. I even gave boxes of stuff to my sister in law, a cousin and two friends and the little lady still has more clothes than I do and will be well dressed up until she's about 4! 

In there was a very pretty handmade off-white corduroy dress with a bow on the front. The dress hung in her wardrobe until a couple of weeks ago when I figured she would soon be able to fit into it. I knew that if the dress stayed the colour it was I just wouldn't put it on her  after all, who can keep a white dress clean on a 1 year old?? Because if you can then you're a miracle worker! There was also a little stain near the hem that hadn't come out with treatment/washing. So I decided to dye it. I picked up some Dylon fabric dye in French Lavender and the result was more porcelain blue than lavender but I quite like it and it also hid the stain well!! (Of course I forgot to take a before dyeing photo).

The bow on the front was a bit off centre and at an angle which I knew was going to annoy me every time I saw it so I had planned on taking it off and centring it but when I took it off the bow just wasn't doing it for me so I left it. There was a little mark on the fabric where the bow had been which needed to be covered up. I searched through me ribbon box, knowing I had just the right kind of lace trim that would work and with help from himself I found some very jazzy buttons in my button jar.

A little bit of hand sewing and the mark was covered up.



So for the cost of some fabric dye and the time it took me to find and sew on some lace trim and buttons a new dress was born.


I have been contemplating adding a white Peter Pan collar but I haven't made up my mind yet. The little lady but she's wearing it today over a t-shirt that has a collar to help me decide. It looks well but I'm still not sure. Anyone got any thoughts on the matter?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Sprinkling Test Knit

I've just completed another test knit for Kelly Brooker.


Sprinkling is a cute little unisex slim fit vest. It's written in 3 yarn weights (fingering, DK and worsted) and 16 sizes (newborn to 10 years) so a wonderful pattern as to be expected from Kelly. 



I knit the 55 cm (3 years) size in Cascade Yarns Heritage Paints sock yarn in Isle of Skye, which is a beautiful semi-solid blue/purple combination. The contrast yarn was an orange mini-skein I received from Becky in the Itty Bitty Knitters group Rainbow themed Swap on Ravelry. It only took about 69 g (276 m) of the main colour and about 6 g of contrast colour. 

Quick Change trousers

I've been sewing again. Last week I whipped up a pair of QUick Change Trousers for the Little Lady. Again the pattern was from  Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner. These are a very cute pair of reversible trousers. The extra length allows for the leg to be turned up to show the reverse fabric but also means that they'll be in use for quite a while. If (or maybe when!) I make these again, the only thing I would do differently is to make the waistband wider. It's only a little over half an inch which I think is a bit narrow for active toddlers. I think 1 inch would be much better.







The little lady seems to be happy enough with them.






Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Paint!

We've been having some fun painting the last little while. I've been making up edible paint for the kids to mess about with. 

The recipe I've been using has been - 

1.5 cups corn flour
2.5 cups water
A few drops of food colouring


Mix the corn flour and water together. Then heat over a gentle heat until it thickens. You want thick custard consistency.




This amount makes about 2 jam jars full. I just store it in the fridge and then pour out a little and add a few drops of food colouring. It keeps well for about a week or so - well that's how long I've had it before it was used up. It does separate a little by the end but a good stir (and a little heat if necessary) gets it back to the consistency you want.






















The kids love it and when the littlest one inevitably decides to see what it tastes like there's no worries about anything nasty.



Friday, 25 July 2014

Composite Test Knit

I've just completed a test knit for Kelly Brooker. It's a cute little slim fit sweater with lace cap sleeves. It's written in 3 yarn weights (fingering, DK and worsted) and 16 sizes (newborn to 10 years) so a wonderful pattern as to be expected from Kelly.

I knit the 50 cm (18-24 months) size in Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk in shade 346 Dusty Pink. It took a little under 2 balls. Little lady is only 13 months but is a bit big for her age and as you can see this size fits nicely.










Pretty as a Picture

A little while back my friend Kerry sent me a surprise parcel in the post with a sweater and t-shirt for the little lady and little man but also some fabric and a book of patterns for me. The book was Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner. Leafing through it my eye was immediately drawn to the "Pretty as a Picture" dress and decided to make it for the little miss. I've been meaning to try sewing some clothes for a while (especially kids clothes as their small) but have been a bit daunted by it. I figured that this would be a good project to jump in with.

A couple of weeks ago I got time to cut out the pieces and yesterday I finally got them sewn together. The instructions in the book were laid out clearly step-by-step, so perfect for a beginner like me. It may not be perfect but I'm quite proud of the result as I've never sewn a garment before.


Little lady seems happy with the result too!



Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Log Cabin Blanket

The never ending log cabin blanket is final finished!

Coming up on 2 years ago I won some Knit Picks Brava Sport in Red, White and Blue on Julie's blog and then picked up some yellow and green to go with it and decided to make a log cabin blanket for Alexander. 

There was a false start where I messed up picking up the stitches, I didn't pick up enough, which meant it puckered so it was ripped back and started again. 

Slowly over the last 2 years (and many periods of hibernation) it has taken shape...


Then last week I finished it. Finally!! I pretty much ran out of yarn and didn't have enough left of any colour to complete the 20 rows for an additional block.

After a few days of contemplation I decided to add an applied i-cord border. I think I'm going to have to give it a bit of a blocking as the corners now don't lie flat but the kids have claimed it so that might never happen.



Saturday, 31 May 2014

New addition to the dinner menu

I tried out this recipe for dinner tonight and served it with some spinach on the side. It was very yummy even the kids enjoyed it.
I halved the amount of salmon and only used 300 ml cream and milk (about two thirds cream, one third milk). I also used slightly less pasta, about 140 g. There was plenty for the 4 of us even with the quantity adjustments.
Nigel Slater is one of my favourite chefs. His style is very down to earth and simple, and of course tasty. While, I do love Michel Roux Jr, with 2 small kids, I don't think Michelin star haute cuisine will ever be produced in my kitchen. So when I'm looking for something new to try or have a particular ingredient that needs to be used soon Nigel Slater and Mary Berry are the cooks whose recipes I turn too. I always find something that's a hit!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Athena

I've released a new free pattern. Athena is the solution of what to do with the small amounts of sock yarn I have in my stash left over from other projects. It takes only about 7 g of yarn and is knit up in a matter of hours. It took me a couple of evenings but that included trying to figure out a design, ripping back when it didn't work and fixing a few mistakes along the way.

When it came to thinking up a name I went to Greek mythology. Athena was the Greek Goddess of knowledge and wisdom (among other attributes) and represents intelligence, creativity, education, enlightenment and eloquence. She is frequently depicted as an owl or with an owl which has evolved so the present day belief of the owl being the symbol of wisdom.

Books are obviously a source of knowledge and enlightenment, so what better than to combine the two and have a bookmark with an owl cable to make sure you don’t loose your page!



Wednesday, 30 April 2014

All for Lea

I've just released a new pattern with a very special background. 

Lea and her husband Sterling are active members of the Itty Bitty Knitters group on Ravelry and I consider them to be friends of mine (online at least!). Towards the end of last year Sterling made the announcement that Lea was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and was in for quite a battle. Of course the call went out for funky hats, socks, shawls etc that could be little Random Acts of Kindness that would keep her cozy during her treatment and stays in hospital and of course remind her that there were many knitters out there that were sending her all the extra strength she was going to need during this fight. 

And so I decided to knit a hat and sat down to think about a special design especially for Lea. I had a look in my stash and came up with some oddments of Debbie Bliss Rialto DK that were lovely and soft and well if they were soft enough to use on a baby hat then they were definitely soft enough to keep a post chemo head warm. So stripes were in order but stripes can be a bit boring so I decided some texture needed to be added and so All For Lea was born. I've written it up for a range of sizes from 0-6 months up to Adult Large. I hope you enjoy it.

From now until the end of May the profits from the sale of All For Lea will be donated to the Irish Cancer Society.


P.S: That's my wonderful niece Laura modelling the hat in my garden way back in chilly January. The honeysuckle behind her is now covered in leaves and just about to flower. You can see the progress in the background of the photo of himself modelling Rathcoran in March and me modelling the Little Pines hat in April. Isn't nature and Spring wonderful!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Make Over


After almost 2 years of play, poor George the Giraffe was starting to look a bit worse for wear. His tail and horn pompoms were starting to come off and with little hands around it was time to give him a bit of a make over. 



I no longer had any of that orange yarn in my stash so an alternative needed to be found. I had a look in my fabric stash and discovered that I still had some of the fabric I had originally used for his spots on his back and to line his ears.  

So a little bit of sewing later, George now has a new look.





..... He still needs a bath though!! 


Monday, 21 April 2014

Violet

I'm currently taking part in a swap in the Itty Bitty Knitters group on Ravelry. The theme this time is rainbows and we have to include something representing each colour of the rainbow.

When it came to something violet I had the idea of knitting a washcloth with some purple cotton I had in my stash. To further stick with the theme I thought about having a violet motif on the cloth. I had a look on ravelry but didn't find a pattern matching the idea I had. So what's a girl to do but write one herself! 

The Violet washcloth pattern is available as a free download from my ravelry pattern store. Enjoy!


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Rathcoran

I've just released a new hat pattern. Rathcoran is a colourwork beanie in sizes 0-6 months up to Adult Large, knitted in Worsted/Aran weight yarn.

I knit a hat as part of the Fuego MKAL for my brother at the beginning of the year and having tried on the result so that I could see if would fit my brother himself requested one. As he rarely makes knitting requests, I happily obliged. He liked the yarn I used for my brothers hat (Malabrigo Worsted in Paris Nights) but wanted to use the colourwork pattern from a hat my sister in law E knit for the little man when he was 6 months old instead of the cables of Fuego. So using the Malabrigo base and some hand dyed yarn for the constrast, I took to working out charts and numbers and Rathcoran is the result. Here he is modelling it! Thanks to E for letting me use her colourwork design!


The name Rathcoran comes from a prehistoric burial cairn (also known locally as "The Pinnacle") on top of the hill here in Baltinglass. I see that from my house everyday and the changing colours of the Malabrigo reminded me of the lichen covered rocks up there on a misty day.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Surprise!

I knit my first Baby Surprise Jacket. It was for my friends little boy who arrived a week ago. It was quite an enjoyable knit with an interesting construction. With a little bit of folding this.....
turned into this...

I will probably knit another one in the future but it is an awful lot of garter stitch so I think I'll leave it for a while!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

It's a mystery!

I've been participating in a few mystery KAL's since the beginning of the year and been really enjoying them.

First up Fuego MKAL. I made this for my brother in Malabrigo worsted. The colour way is Paris Nights. It didn't take the full skein maybe only around 60 g (I need to wigh how much I have left). I omitted the pom pom from the top too. I had to guess the sizing on it a bit but he received it in the post last week and it fits perfectly! After being used as a sizer himself has now requested his own one. Thankfully I have another 2 skeins of this colourway left in my stash so this will be another project to use some more up.


Next Follow Your Arrow Mystery KAL by Ysolda. This is a lovely mystery shawl pattern. Two options to follow each week so plenty of variations to choose from. I'm a bit behind on this, Clue 3 came out yesterday and I've only just started clue 2!! This photo was taken while I was about half way through clue 1! I'm using some Dublin Dye Company Lace weight held double. It's lovely and soft and in a really nice blue-y/lavender shade. My sis-in-law gave it to me for Christmas about 3 years ago (!!) so it's nice that it's being used at last! Although hand winding 1200 m of lace weight into 2 balls was a bit of a marathon! Thankfully himself got me a swift for Christmas which made the job a bit easier!

Finally, a pair of mystery socks. Again I'm a week behind. I haven't started clue 2 and clue 3 is out tomorrow!! I'm not stressing about it though. The yarn is All For Love of Yarn Lublu Sock in Poppy Red. 

I'm enjoying my mystery knitting when I have time to potter away at it. New job and kids have been keeping me busy but that's a good thing too!

I'll be back soon with some FO's.