Sunday, 18 November 2018

Brain fog

It's been one of those weeks where I had hoped to achieve so much yet I have managed to tick virtually nothing off my ever-growing 'to do' list. I started on some treatment at long last (BIG celebrations  and turning virtual cartwheels here!) and while I hoped that the high doses of iv steroids were going to turn me into a knitter of great speed and endurance, alas they have totally befuddled my brain and messed up my sleep to boot! I'm hoping that as the dose decreases over the coming weeks, things will improve on that front. But on a positive, I can tell that they are working their magic. I'll go back to see my consultant in December when I should then be starting on immunosuppressants too, so I will be attempting to avoid all coughs, colds and sniffles. That's going to be fun!

The baby sock photoshoot should be happening on Tuesday and then, as long as the socks fit ok, and the patterns don't need any tweaking, I will be able to release them on Ravelry. I hope that baby Eliza is going to be a good model!

Have you seen that Stylecraft are holding an amazing raffle in aid of the mental health charity Mind? There are some really great prizes up for grabs, including a couple of little notions bags that I sewed earlier this year. The link to the Just Giving page is here - please pop over and consider making a donation to help others. You might just win a prize too! 

This week I am going to try and do something nice for myself every day as a little bit of wellbeing, so I'm going to share those with you next weekend. If you fancy joining me and being kind to yourself, you'd be most welcome! xxx

Monday, 12 November 2018

Not quite

The baby socks are knitted, the patterns are written up ready for publishing but I'm not quite ready for release yet. I'm hoping to get a real live baby to be able to model them for me. Now I'm not too sure how smoothly this is going to go. Said baby, Eliza, isn't crawling yet, so hopefully there will be enough moments of still to be able to get some good photos. We'll soon see! 

In the meantime, I have become ever so slightly obsessed with a crocheted poncho! It popped up in my Instagram feed and I really, really like it. It's in the current issue of Crochet Now magazine and I decided that I needed to buy a copy at the weekend. I had a poncho once; it was scarlet and white with a fringe and I can very clearly remember pestering my poor Mum to buy it for me from British Home Stores. I wore it to death so that's a good sign that any new poncho is going to be equally loved. The shops are full of cosy, chunky knitwear of the poncho and wrap kind right now aren't they? I hope that when I wear mine, I'm going to look the part and not like I've accidentally mistaken a blanket for my coat! This is the pattern I'm enthusing over ...

and I have two monster balls of Stylecraft Aran with wool in the gorgeous Pale Rose Nepp colourway which I think should look really lovely. I like the idea of being really snuggled up but still having my arms free.

I am trying very hard to ignore the call to crochet until I've finished the second of my Marie Curie socks as they need to be posted off at the start of December. Yesterday Flo supervised the cuff knitting. So it's a socks and photoshoot kind of week for me by the looks of things. What have you got lined up for yours? xxx

Monday, 5 November 2018

Job done!

I did it! For the past week, I have remained loyal to my Midnight Companion blanket and Opal sock yarn cushion and I'm very pleased to announce that they are both finished! Woohoo, go me! High fives all round! There is something very satisfying about completing some old WIPs isn't there? There are always so many bright, new, shiny projects tempting me, but I've managed to ignore the call so far! My friend Julia helped me sew in the ends on the last couple of squares, although her dog did try his best to scupper our plans. Flo wasn't particularly helpful either, choosing to plonk herself on my lap almost as soon as she saw me getting underway with the ends on the blanket! You can read more about my Midnight Companion blanket and what it means to me over on the Stylecraft blog here

I love the cushion cover, it reminds me a little of a stained glass window with all the squares of colour glowing brightly. I joined the front and back using a round of double crochet and then added the Bobble-Shell edging from Attic24. I wanted the cover to be removable, so I crocheted  some chain loops down one edge between the bobbles and sewed some polka dot buttons on. Looking at them just makes me smile. I've made one pair of socks from the Advent calendar miniballs, but have decided that I will keep the rest and put them with last year's balls for an exciting Advent project! You'll have to wait until December 1st to see! 

Is there a collective noun for cushions do you think? A squish of cushions? A plump? What do you reckon? All I know is, there's no such thing as too many cushions! 

As setting myself a target last week seemed to work really well, I'm going to do the same again this week. I have some baby sock patterns that I need to write up and knit some samples for photographing, so pattern writing is the name of the game for the coming week. Have a good one. xxx

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Ends and no beginnings!

My Attic24 Harmony blanket is finished! I cannot begin to tell you just how much pleasure it gave me to make it. The rhythmical motion of hook against yarn and the beautiful colour palette have really helped me get through the last few pretty stressful weeks. I had always loved this blanket from the very first time I saw it on Lucy's blog. But I was put off making it because it was made of squares and each round of each square was a different colour. On previous crochet projects, I haven't been very good have been absolutely awful about dealing with the ends as I've gone along, and believe me, there is nothing more tedious than having a gazillion ends to sew in once all the crochet is done and all you want to do is snuggle under said blanket. So when I started work on this one, I followed Lucy's very wise words and sewed in the ends as I went along. It actually was no trouble at all to do this and I wondered why I've found it so difficult to do so in the past. After hooking the last round of the border and sewing in those two ends, my blanket was done and ready to show off! And it is a beauty, there's no denying it. If you'd like to find out more about the pattern, you can find details on Lucy's blog here and buy a yarn pack from here if you're inspired to make one of your own. I took a couple of photos the evening it was finished but the light wasn't too great.

The next day I took it outside and spread it on the bench at the bottom of the garden. It was a perfect, sunny, autumnal day. The kind that brings a smile to your face. I don't even mind it being cold if it's bright. I just stood there admiring the sheer gorgeousness of the blanket. It really does live up to its name, Harmony. 

Naturally a blanket photoshoot wouldn't be complete without Flo! Despite her attempts to ignore the blanket during its making, she couldn't resist posing alongside it.

I told her not to get too attached to the blanket as it wasn't going to live at our house. While I was making it, I decided to give it to my friend Julia - she has admired it in its various stages of making. Julia has been such a good friend and has come with me to every single hospital appointment - and there have been nearly 20 since the beginning of August. That's an enormous amount of her time given up for me without any hesitation, so I wanted to thank her by giving her back some of my time too. She was delighted with the blanket and sent me this photo of it on her bed. I'm so pleased that it's going to be used and loved.

So what am I up to now? I'm itching to start some new projects but I'm being very strict with myself and have a list of WIPs, some of which have been hanging around for way too long. And two of them are crochet projects that just need the ends sewing in. One is my Midnight Companion blanket that I started soon after Mr JK died and I was unable to sleep. I actually finished the blanket about a year ago, bar the ends. I'd even considered going with the fringed effect and leaving them! But I'm going to get them woven in and my aim is to show you the finished blanket next week. As long as Flo doesn't want to spend too much time on my lap, that is! 

I also have my Granny square cushion made from the (ahem!) 2016 Opal sock yarn Advent calendar which also needs the ends sewing in before the cushion can be put together. Again, I tried to convince myself that it wouldn't matter if I left the ends, but I know that I'd be able to spot them poking out to taunt me! So I'm going to work on that this week too and hopefully then be able to put these two long-standing WIP's to bed. What's the oldest WIP that you have lurking? Time to confess all to me! You're amongst friends! xxx

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Sock winners!

At long last I've managed to get the winners picked from my Stylecraft Head over Heels All Stars yarn and Tiptoe sock pattern giveaway. I'm so sorry that it's taken me far longer than it should have done to do so, but the last few weeks, my life has been taken over with hospital appointments and lots of stress. Thankfully things are looking a lot more positive now, so I got on with the job this morning. All the comments from my blog, Instagram and Facebook were allocated a number and then I used a random number generator to pick five winners. They are:

hannah wolstenholme
pamela cawley
helen hamilton

I've messaged all the winners. Thank you so much to everyone who entered and also for all your wonderful suggestions for sock yarn colourways. If you'd still like a ball of my colourway, Woldgate, you can buy it from Stylecraft stockists. I know that Wool Warehouse has plenty in stock too. My Tiptoe pattern is available as a leaflet from Stylecraft stockists and will eventually be available to download for free from the Stylecraft website. When that happens, I'll let you know. Happy sock knitting and may your toes forever be cosy! xxx

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Blanket games

Meow humans, it's Flo here today. Do you want to know a secret? Well Mum thinks that I have taken a dislike to her latest blanket! But I'm just having a little bit of fun, lulling her into a false sense of security and then, when the moment is right, I shall take rightful possession of the Harmony blanket! I've done everything possible to convince her that I don't like it, not one little bit! Usually, when there's anything woolly around, I'm first on it and in my book, possession means everything! But I've been playing it very cool around this blanket so far. 

One strip wide - not even worth a sniff!

Two strips done - nope! Not interested!

Three strips joined - boring! Zzzzzzzzzzz!

Four strips - that's more like it but I'm playing it cool!

Five strips - looking more like a blankie but I must resist the temptation to try it out! Tee hee!

Six strips finished - I'm going to look out of the window to pretend I'm not interested!

I've even taken yarn out of the project bag and had a play with it, chewing the end to make it all fluffy! Mum was not best pleased when she saw that and had to cut the yarn!  Ooops!

I also looked at the pattern to see what colour yarn she needed next and hid that ball behind the sofa! A stroke of genius if I do say so myself! 

Of course, when Mum's not been looking, I've tested it out for squishiness and snuggability and it gets a definite paws up from me!

She's joining strip seven on now so I shall have to feign disinterest when it's laid out on the floor for a photo. It is getting so hard to resist setting paws on it. But as soon as it's finished, I shall be plonking myself squarely in the middle! Just you wait and see. Meow meow meow! xx

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Stylecraft Blogtour and Frosted Blooms

Hello there! Come right on in and make yourself at home. I'm super-excited to be taking part in Stylecraft Yarn's Blogtour again this year. Yesterday you will have visited Polly Plum at Every Trick on the Hook and tomorrow's host is Emma Varnam.  The yarn that is being showcased is the new Bellissima range alongside its baby sister, Bambino, which was released earlier this year. As soon as the Blogstars were introduced to Bambino, we all fell in love with it - soft and springy with great stitch definition and a rounded merino feel. We wanted more colours and lo and behold, next time we got together in July, we met the gorgeous rich shades of Bellissima. The yarn is absolutely delightful both to knit and crochet with, and I really hope that there will be even more colours introduced very soon. I chose the 'Summer Pudding' yarn pack to design with as I love purples and blues.

As the Blogtour coincides with the start of Autumn and cooler days, I decided to knit an infinity scarf and cowl using the yarn. There's nothing nicer than being all cosy and warm, snuggled into some knitted accessories, when there's a nip in the air. And dare I say it, the patterns are both pretty quick to knit and would make perfect Christmas gifts for family and friends. So let me introduce you to Frosted Blooms. You can choose to knit an infinity scarf or a smaller cowl, or both! I made them out of one yarn pack and still had almost three quarters of each of the colours left, but a lot less of the cream. So if you don't mind which colour is the main one in the infinity scarf, you can make several variations!

Frosted Blooms Infinity Scarf

Copyright - Stylecraft Yarns
Copyright - Stylecraft Yarns

Frosted Blooms Cowl
Copyright - Stylecraft Yarns

Both the infinity scarf and the cowl are knit flat and then joined once all the kniting is done. They feature snuggly garter stitch along with a pretty floral star motif - it looks complicated but it isn't! This was one of the stitches that I learnt when I took a shawl class with the amazing Melanie Berg and I have been wanting to include it in a design for some time. 

You can download the patterns free from Ravelry for the duration of the Blogtour so make sure you get your copy now! The link to the pattern is here.

Thank you too to my lovely friend Julia who I persuaded to model for me. She looks fabulous and her little dog Benny couldn't miss out on the action either!

If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning your own 'Summer Pudding' yarn pack, then Stylecraft are having a giveaway and you can enter here. The giveaway closes at 10am (BST) on October 5th. Good luck - may the yarn gods and goddesses be with you! xxx