Saturday, 7 May 2016

Festival fun . . .

Well, it's been a while . . .  That was a much longer than anticipated, and actually quite unintentional break.  It's not that I've not been making or doing, there's really been quite a bit of that going on, but just that my bloggy mojo seemed to disappear for a while.  It seems today however, that it's back - so if you're still out there, let's catch up shall we?

Picking up where I left off . . .  way back in March, the highlight was very definitely a short but oh-so-sweet daytrip up north to bonnie Scotland and the delightful Edinburgh Yarn Festival.  "That's a long way to go for a day trip",  I hear you say. Well, yes I suppose it might be.  But with the wonders of modern aviation, it's really just a one hour flight each way.  So here's how the story goes:

Our lovely friends, Saul & Paulette were coming over from Boston, USA to visit for a few days.  Saul, like the Hubby is a metagrobologist and ardent collector of mechanical puzzles so together they had already organised a puzzle party to coincide with Saul's visit.  Paulette & I, let's be honest here, would prefer to knit ; - )

 So when Paulette emailed to suggest that perhaps whilst the puzzlers were puzzling, we fibre addicts should consider an outing to the yarn festival, I didn't hesitate.  Not even for a moment. 
 A few emails back & forth across the pond ensued and within mere minutes we had booked our flights and our tickets for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.  Woohooooo . . .
 Kindred souls we are  : - )

And a few days later, with shopping lists made, comfy footwear donned and travel knitting projects packed for the flight, we got up early in the morning and excitedly flew north to beautiful sunny Edinburgh.

 Lovely Marina (she of RedSetter fame) joined us and oh what a fabulous time we had, ooh-ing and aah-ing over all the gorgeous yarns and pretty patterns and colourful stalls.   I was so busy trying to take it all in, and make sure we didn't miss anything out, that I hardly took any pics.

All too soon it was time to head for the airport and catch our flight back to Brum, but we returned with a few new additions to each of our yarn stashes and heads brimming with new ideas and future yarny projects. 

 And most especially, memories of a truly fun day shared. 

Oh, and we're already planning our next fibre festival outing . . . across the pond next year . . . probably be more than a day trip though ; - )

'til next time,

Monday, 7 March 2016

Another first: Weaving . . .

I'd been wanting to learn to weave for ages, then last year when we were across the pond in the beautiful city of Ottawa, Canada and visiting a delightful little shop called Wabi Sabi, their range of knitters and rigid heddle looms intruiged me.
   I was further inspired by all their fabulous creations on display, to the degree that I seriously considered the possibilty of buying a loom right there and then (the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar to the UK pound was very favourable).  But the logistics of schlepping it back on the plane stopped me, so as soon as we returned to our hotel, I was online googling Ashford Looms for a stockist closer to home, and as simply as that, I discovered FibreHut - a little shoppe teeming with weaving & spinning goodness, a mere 20 minutes from my front door to theirs.

The timing of our return to the UK coincided perfectly with my upcoming birthday, so lo & behold it came to pass that a mere couple of weeks later, I became the proud owner of my very own loom.

Another month or so later and I was pootling around Scotland's finest Craft Town, the pretty seaside village of West Kilbride, and came across the oh-so-delightful Weft Blown studio.  Ange makes the most lovely things, and was more than happy to have a wee chat and show me around - I really want need to do one of their workshops one day too - and I left feeling completely inspired to get stuck in and get weaving.

Weft Blown, West Kilbride - see what I mean it's inspiring?

Anyways, what with one thing and another it's taken me a little while but finally yesterday I finished my first ever weaving project, and I have to admit, I am tres chuffed indeed.

Okay so it's not the neatest scarf you ever did see,  but I think it's jolly good for a first attempt - and probably once I've sewn in all the ends {note to self: need to learn how to do that as I'm going along} and blocked it, it'll be better.  But either way, it's unique . . . and handmade isn't meant to be perfect anyway ; - )

It's such a fun way to use up my stash too.  Mostly I used leftover Debbie Bliss Mia DK yarn, with a few bits & pieces of others (DK and Aran) added in for good measure and to give it some variety in texture too.

It's just me & the pups at home today, and I'm rubbish at selfies so Ben very kindly agreed to model the scarf for me . . . in exchange for a few smelly treats, of course.

Wishing you a happy week . . .

'til next time,

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

A crochet story . . .

The story starts a few years back, not that long after we'd moved to England, when a friend & I pootled along to a workshop at lovely Harry & Floss in Alcester to make pretty fabric flowers - and that's where I first met Diane.  (You can read all about that here if you'd like.
 A few months later, and once again Diane was sharing her crafty skills with me, this time teaching me to crochet.
 Having been a knitter since I was six years old, I'd only ever dabbled in a little attempt at crochet but never quite mastered the art.  So very patiently and with lots of encouragement, Diane set about remedying that and very soon I was completely hooked.   Over the weeks, we spent many an hour at my diningroom table, nattering over tea & biscuits & hooking, and creating lots of samples & grannies . . . some square, and many others not-so-square  ; - )

Fast forward a few years to 2016, when lovely Diane asked if I'd like to teach some crochet workshops for her at Harry & Floss -  I never hesitated and jumped right in with a resounding yes.
I was afterall, taught by the best : - )

And so it was that earlier this month, I spent a fun & fabulous day with some lovely ladies, passing on my crochet knowledge and teaching them this delightful skill.
 It's such a privilege to have the opportunity to pay it forward, don't you think ?

all set up and ready to go . . .

it was hard not to be distracted by all the yummy fabrics around us too . . .

see what all you can do with some simple crochet stitches ?

the cushion on the right was my first ever granny square project, and I still LOVE it . . .

there's a whole lot of concentration going on here . . .

Diane kept us topped up with teas & coffees , and of course, the essential yummy cake too. Cake and crochet just seem to be the perfect combination methinks.

It was such an enjoyable day, and the lovely ladies all did really well.   I'm already looking forward to the next one . . .

Oh, and if you're ever in Alcester - do pop in at Harry & Floss, it's a treasure trove of yummy yarns and fabulous fabrics. Or follow along with their crafty adventures on Instagram or Facebook if you like.

'til next time,

ps. Linking up with Small Things Yarn Along today - another source of lovely yarrny goodness.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Pups on pillows . . .

We love having friends to stay chez nous and one of the necessary prerequisites for any visitors is "Must love dogs" or at the very least, tolerate them.
Mostly friends are coming to visit with the hubby & I, and the two most-adorable-pups-in-the-world are content with saying hello and being on the receiving end of the odd cuddle or tug-of-war with the nearest toy.  But when our two young Dutch friends come to stay, it's not about me or the Hubby, it's ALL about Ben & Jerry.

It works out well for us grown-up peeps too . . . the boys retreat to the puzzle cave, popping out occasionally for refreshments, whilst we girls chat & catch up & cook & chat some more, and maybe enjoy a little crafting.  All this while the young 'uns and the pups play, and play, and play some more, and at the end of the visit when it's time to leave, there are some very fond goodbyes and nearly always tears.  
Again, nothing to do with us, and everything to do with leaving the pups behind.

SO,  I had a little idea . . .  I made some pillows.  
The result involved two live canine models and a whole lot of smelly treats.  

And this time when we had to say farewell, they got to take a little momento home - a Ben & Jerry cushion each.

 I think they like their pillows . . .

All smiles, no tears . . . job done  : - )

'til next time,

Monday, 15 February 2016

tulips and daisies . . .

My dressmaking mojo disappeared for a little while back there, but when the sun shines - as it has been here for the past few days - thoughts can't but help turn to Spring, and one of my favourite things about the new season is tulips.  Well actually tulips, and daffies, and daisies, and sunshine, and blue sky, and that feeling of everything waking up, and being warmer.
Anyway, I digress . . .  back to dressmaking, and The Tulip Skirt to be precise.

I'm really quite over Winter already, although I do believe it may be around a little longer, so now is as good a time as any to make a start to my Spring/Summer wardrobe - don't you think?

This pretty daisy fabric has been in my stash for a wee while now, just waiting for the right pattern.  I considered a few, and then I spotted the lovely Tulip Skirt by Sew Over It - and voila . . . in an instant it was purchased, downloaded and printed.   At this point I should mention that I'm not really a big fan of PDF patterns, I much prefer printed full-size ones.  It's all that printing and cutting and taping together, then cutting out that seems like so much of a faff - but hey-ho, needs must sometimes. And of course, at face-value it's the less expensive option too.

can you spot the dots of the pocket fabric ?

It's such a lovely pattern, and really quick and easy to make (once you're over the whole PDF thing, of course).  The instructions are well laid out, although there were a couple of points that I had to read over a few times before I got what was meant to be done. Maybe that's just me ; - )
But either way, it comes in two different lengths - I'm tall so I opted for the longer one which sits just above my knees - and has handy side pockets too, for which I used a contrasting dotty fabric, just because I had it, and it matched nicely.

So if you're planning some Spring makes too, it's a fun pattern to sew and I'm already rummaging through my fabric stash again with the intention of making another one sometime very soon.

'til next time,

Monday, 8 February 2016

Spice of (Highland) Life - all the details . . .

Thank you so very much for all your kind and lovely comments about the Spice of Life blankie in my previous post  : - )
I'm glad you love it as much as I do . . .

I've had several emails and requests to share the details of the yarn & colours I used, so for those of you who are interested, here they are:

Drops Nepal - Off White (0100) 

Drops Nepal - Light Beige Mix (0206) 

Drops Nepal - Beige Mix (0300)

Drops Nepal - Light Grey Mix (0500) 

Drops Nepal - Grey Mix (0501) 

Drops Nepal - Medium Grey Mix (0517) 

Drops Nepal - Purple Mix (4434)
Drops Nepal - Navy Blue (1709) 

Drops Nepal - Aqua Blue (8908) 

Drops Nepal - Pistachio (1477) 

Drops Nepal - Deep Ocean (8905) 

Drops Nepal - Grey/Purple (4311)

Drops Nepal - Grey Green (7139)

Drops Nepal - Light Olive (8038) 

Drops Nepal - Light Grey Green (7120)

Drops Alaska - Grey Pink (40) 

Drops Alaska - Purple Mix (54)

I bought the yarn from Wool Warehouse - their service is always excellent and their yarns are very  reasonably priced too.

I used approximately 100g of each colour (2 x 50g balls) but that's not an exact science as I modified the pattern a little, and used these aran weight yarns instead of a double knit as suggested in the pattern.

The pattern can be found on the lovely Cherry Heart blog here.

Any further questions or info required ? Just go ahead & ask and I'll do my best to answer.

Happy crocheting . . .


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