Over the past 4 or 5 weeks (basically since 23rd October) every spare waking moment has been spent making granny squares for my Attic24 Harmony blanket, which arrived at the "join as you go" lap-warmer stage just in time for Storm Arwen and the first snow of winter, last weekend.
Thursday 2 December 2021
Thursday 4 November 2021
Tuesday 26 October 2021
Sunday 17 October 2021
Sunday 26 September 2021
- One of my former colleagues gave birth to a tiny baby girl three months ago, after enduring several heart-breaking years of IVF treatment. This week I'm going to be meeting the 'miracle baby' for the first time, and I wanted to take a little gift along with me. I'm a knitting pattern magpie at the best of times, so when I saw this knitted top over on the 'Three Stories High' blog a couple of weeks ago, I had the perfect excuse to add it to my library. "Like Sleeves" is a cosy pullover tunic, very simple to knit - which can be made in two pieces and seamed together or knitted in the round. I followed the advice of other knitters on Ravelry, who had changed the neckband to plain stocking stitch, which creates a rolled edge to hide the loose cast off (needed to ensure the top will fit over the baby's head). I think if/when I make it again I'll do a garter stitch border at the bottom to match the 'sleeves'.
- This week I finally assembled the remaining bits and pieces (wooden beads and skewers, sand) I needed to be able to make this adorable pin cushion, designed by the fabulous Ann Wood. I'm a huge fan of Ann's work - she is incredibly generous with her creativity, offering many free patterns on her website, always accompanied with clear step-by-step instructions and photos. The only tricky bit of the assembly (for me) was joining the circular base to the body. I stitched the seam by hand to begin with, but was worried that the sand 'stuffing' might leak out, so I carefully overstitched it on the sewing machine afterwards. I also used iron-on interfacing to line the body and protect against sand leakage. Ann recommends using crushed walnut shells for stuffing, but this is difficult to source/extortionately priced in the UK! My little pin girl is going to be a birthday present for a friend. I wanted her to have a 'vintage' cottage-garden feel, so I added some little felt flowers to a couple of pins for extra decoration. She looks perfect sitting next to the Alfred Meakin tea-cup on my shelf, and I will be rather sad to see her go!
- In other news, we have passed the Autumn Equinox, the leaves are falling and dusk comes earlier every day. This year I'm going to try to make the most of the darker, colder months by focussing on enjoying time spent indoors rather than dwelling on the absence of light...and I'm going to take my Vitamin D supplements too!
Thursday 16 September 2021
Just before I retired one of my friends at work asked if I had any use for an old pair of worn out jeans - e.g. for patching/repairing other denim items. She is a keen recyclist, and she was reluctant to just throw them away. So I said I would take them off her hands, along with some linen ties she had cut off a set of cushion pads.
Sunday 12 September 2021
A few months ago, not long after I retired, a friend asked me if I could do something to brighten up some special wall-mounted plant frames she had bought, second-hand. Although they were rather expensive (even second-hand) she didn't like the shiny white plastic finish. She wondered if I could think of way to make them "not shiny, maybe even with a pattern or some colour". I said I'd be happy to have a look, so she brought one round and we discussed ideas over a couple of weeks. At first I wondered if it might be possible to sew fabric covers for the frames (like a sofa slip cover), but I wasn't sure I could tailor them to be 'off-and-on-able" without being too loose. Then we discussed using wall-paper, but I wasn't sure if wall-paper paste would adhere well to the plastic surface, and I was quite keen to come up with something potentially reversible, given the cost of the frames. Eventually, after some tentative experimentation, I suggested painting them with acrylic paint. This would be water resistant and tough enough to withstand dusting/gentle wiping with a damp cloth, but could be removed (if needed) by soaking in hot water.
Saturday 4 September 2021
It was my good friend C's 50th birthday last Sunday. When I met her for lunch the week before she told me she was hoping her kids might get her a Steven Brown print - of a pair of rainbow-coloured giraffes, or a jolly Highland cow, perhaps - "And maybe one day you'll do me a painting too!"
I know the sound of a gauntlet hitting the ground when I hear it, and funnily enough I'd already been pondering the idea of doing a birthday painting for her - I'd just felt uncertain as to what she might like. So this conversation gave me a bit of a steer (if not a McCoo, if you'll pardon the pun) in the right direction: rainbow bright colours (see also Elmer the Elephant), simple/bold design, cheerful subject-matter.
Since painting animals isn't really my forte I decided to go for her favourite flowers instead - after all, there's nothing cheerier than a sunflower in full bloom! At this stage I'd normally start fretting about getting things "right" - searching for reference material and generally tying myself in knots before even starting - but the 100 Day Project really seems to have lessened my anxiety about simply putting brush to canvas and seeing what happens. So I put brush to canvas and this is what happened:
Monday 23 August 2021
- Here is the completed Lintilla shawlette. I'm so happy with how it turned out. I used all but 28g of two skeins of Schoppel-Wolle Wunderkleckse yarn so it's quite a substantial shawlette - long enough to go twice around the neck and tie in a twirly knot, or to drape around the shoulders in all its ruffled glory! I think the yarn complements the pattern beautifully, as it really highlights the short row construction of the borders.
- An afternoon mooch around the garden with my camera, capturing the latest summer blooms......provided the inspiration for a little wedding gift for Lucy and Sam. A friend gave me a set of acrylic gouache paints as a retirement present and I tried them for the first time in this painting - they have a chalkier, more matt finish than ordinary acrylics, but are just as easy to use.
- I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself this week after rescuing a knitted cowl that was destined for the bin (I've started another de-cluttering cycle, and it hadn't been worn for ages). I originally bought it in the 'Accessorize' Winter Sale many years ago - it had been love at first sight when I originally spotted it on the scarf rack in the shop, but I'd been unable to afford/justify the hefty full-price tag, so I just kept going back, and coveting it, and kept my fingers crossed that I might eventually find it with an end-of-season discount applied. I was thrilled to bits when I did.