Saturday, 30 May 2015

Doctor Sue

I bought this cactus at a garden centre along with some other casualty cases needing some TLC for £1 each from the bargain bench a couple of weeks ago. Some of its leaves were half eaten by slugs, it had silvery trails all over it, it was in really dry compost and altogether looking very sorry for itself. It already had some flower buds on it, presumably the stress of the lack of love made it think "quick, reproduce by making some seeds, I'm gonna die soon".

I got the compost wet again by soaking it in a bucket, gave it a feed and then repotted it into a larger pot, cleaned up the leaves and this is how it repaid me!

My dad used to grow them when I was a child, we used to call them Christmas Cactuses because that's when they used to flower. I haven't told the plant it's a bit late, don't want to hurt it's feelings whilst looking so splendid!

Some other plants needing my triage skills were these three fuchsias photographed on the day I got them, also dry and looking sorry for themselves.

At only £1 each, I snapped them up and gave them similar treatment, they've put on new growth and are looking very grateful already. I'll do a photograph of them when they're back to full health.

Don't you just love a bargain?!

Friday, 29 May 2015

At it again

I have been buying yarn again; very naughty of me.

We had to go into Oakham to do some banking so I called in at The Wool Zone again this afternoon. Julie who owns the shop confirmed Drops still had its sale on so I bought two 50g balls of Drops Delight (top right in the pic). 

I've just finished crocheting another lacey summer weight scarf, this time a shallow triangle with hanging flowers. I made it at first in two ply hand dyed lace.

lacey crocheted summer scarf

I've also done a grey one in the Drops Delight I bought on Yarn Shop Day (which is blocking as I type), the yarn weight is around 4-ply so it's given it a chunkier feel, more for Autumn. I want to do an all over colourful one and as well so that's what my latest purchase will be turned into.

I think really the pattern could be adapted to any weight of yarn providing a suitable hook size is used. I'm in the process of writing it all up along with the tutorial, I'll put it on Ravelry very soon.

The other yarn is Drops Alpaca, I already have some of this in my stash, I'm going to make a small blanket for Missy out of that. When I was bead making this morning, she joined me in the studio, it was raining all morning so we didn't put her cushion out on the balcony as I normally would, I have a piece of fleece for her as it was a bit cool too, it would be much nicer for her to have a handmade blanket.

Whatever you're planning for the weekend, I hope it's a good one!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Spring into Summer - Flight of Fancy

My real name is 603, I have been in my new home for several days with a bunch of my friends with other numbers. My new owner is very affectionate, She keeps squeezing, kissing and stroking me, she tells me I am her very favourite but she can't decide on a new name for me, sometimes she calls me "magenta" and other times I'm "winey purple". I was told by my previous owner I would be made into a Peacock and my new owner tells me we will have adventures and go to wonderful places together. 

This is what me and my friends are destined for, I don't know why, but we can't get going until 10 June 2015.  I wish she'd get a move on, I'm fed up being stuck in this bag and if that scarf pin pokes me any more, I might just run away!

Scheepjes Spring-into-Summer CAL 2015 Facebook Group

#scheepjeswol #scheepjesCAL2015

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Getting my Unfinished Objects completed

I'm busy getting my UFOs completed so I'll have time to do the CAL next month.

Here's a less colourful version of the spiral blanket on the back of the sofa, I've turned the circular spirals into hexagons this time. I don't know why I was so bothered about the border .... you can't see it!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Last weekend and next weekend

This tidy pile of materials arrived on our driveway on Friday morning.

We live on a bit of a thoroughfare through the village so they couldn't stay there, worried they might go walkies so the weekend's priority was getting them shifted round the back. I'm still on my "nothing too strenuous" orders so Geoff did most of it on his own but those big 9x3 "sleepers" were a bit too bulky for him on his own. Slow and steady it wasn't too tiring for me to grab one end and MTM on the other, we got them round without any retinal incidence.

Those will be used to form two more terraces for growing vegetables underneath the block retaining wall which is where the greenhouse is going. After the terraces are formed .... that's the bank holiday weekend's job ... there will be a delivery of topsoil directly onto the greenhouse base, over the top like the limestone last Autumn, that can then be shovelled into the new beds and then .... then .... we can put up the greenhouse. 

So, after a bit of a lay off over winter to allow finances to recover and the weather to improve, we're back to work on renovating the house and garden. Hoping for good bank holiday weather!

Friday, 15 May 2015

I'm a Peacock! (in the Scheepjes Spring-to-Summer CAL 2015 Flight of Fancy)

I have joined the Scheepjes Spring-to-Summer CAL 2015 (short for Crochet-A-Long)! If you don't already know, a CAL is where a group of people all make the same item in stages at the same time, comparing notes, sharing the joys and triumphs and asking for help if you need it on social media. It's also a great way to connect with other people all over the world who like crocheting.

This is a sneak peak at the Flight of Fancy shawl we'll be making, designed by Annelies Baes.

Crochet-A-Long Flight of Fancy Scheepjes Spring to Summer CAL 2015

My Scheepjeswol yarn is already pre-ordered in the Peacock colourway, there's a choice of 3, you can be a Heron or a Hummingbird too! Deramores start dispatching the packs on 18 May; I'm hopeful it will arrive next week, we all start crocheting on 10 June. 

It's the first time I've ever joined in on a CAL, I'm really excited and I'm thinking it's going to be super-fun. The yarn sounds divine, a mixture of linen, cotton and acrylic. I'm so impatient for it to arrive! 

 #scheepjeswol #scheepjesCAL2015

Thursday, 14 May 2015


My first pair of all matching socks made from self-patterning yarn is completed, I'm well pleased with them!

I pledge that from now onwards, I shall be attempting to make all my hand-knitted socks match when using such yarn.

Friday, 8 May 2015

New recycled glass earrings made from Talisker whiskey bottles

Two new pairs of earrings in my Etsy jewellery shop. They're made from recycled Talisker whiskey glass and sterling silver.

Drink responsibly!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Travelling wastes crafting time

I wish I could knit or crochet in the car. If I look down for any length of time, I start to feel nauseous. I can't even send a text or read a map for any length of time. All I can do is listen to music and admire the scenery, maybe doze off from time to time.

I can do nearly anything in a train, knit, crochet, read, you name it, the trouble is, I very rarely have occasion to use the railways these days. I used to commute by tube when we lived in London in my younger days and I was always knitting (and nearly missing my stop!) Even before then, I would take the train up to Leeds to go see Geoff during his college days, the journey was about an hour and a half out of King Cross on the 125 .... Bliss!

When we travelled to Bamburgh recently, it's a four hour journey in the car and something to be endured for the sake of the destination rather than enjoyed for its own sake.  If I had a four hour train journey, I would be so excited at the thought of that length of time for uninterrupted crafty time.

When we hit traffic due to roadworks around Newcastle, we were crawling along, I suddenly realised I might be able to do some simple crochet or knitting whilst we were going so slow but my carefully selected holiday projects, needles and yarn were safely stowed in the boot and not get-at-able. Mental note made to self to keep a simple project in the glovebox from now on.

Never has travelling in the car felt such a waste of time, I really don't like just sitting and doing nothing.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

New yarn and matching socks

As promised to one of my regular blog commenters, Caroline, here's a picture of the latest additions to my ever-growing yarn stash

There are three balls of Stlylecraft Special DK in their latest "vintage colours" of Sage, Storm Blue and Parma Violet. I don't know what I'm going to do with those yet, I just wanted to have them.

The ball of glittery black loveliness is Sirdar Ophelia which was in the bargain basket. I've got a lined bag project planned for that.

Four different colourful self-striping shades of Drops Delight 4-ply, plus three balls in grey. I have in mind a granny style blanket made up of small squares, the grey will be used on the outer edge of each one to hopefully stop the colours arguing too loudly (that's the theory anyway). Not a bad haul for a little over £17! If the granny squares don't work out, I can rip them and turn them into socks, which reminds me ....

Coming along nicely! It's so easy to do this, I just wound one ball from the outside of a 100 gram ball of Opal Sweet & Spicy and one from the inside.  When they were roughly the same size, I cut the yarn and then unravelled the start of one of them until they were the same colour. 

No more mis-matched socks from now on!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Happy Yarn Shop Day 2015!

Leading Morpeth yarn shop Treacle Wool Shop

Just got back a couple of hours ago from a lovely week's holiday in Bamburgh (again!) But rather than talk about that at the moment, I want to celebrate Yarn Shop Day cos it's today!

When I realised we'd be travelling back on Yarn Shop Day 2015 (organised by Let's Knit and Let's Get Crafting Magazines), I was determined to support at least one yarn shop but didn't know which one to go to. I consulted the list of those participating and read out the location of every one in the areas we were passing through to to my ever-loving and supportive MTM and he told me how far out of our way it would be to call in. When we got to Treacle Wool Shop, Morpeth, it was only just off the A1 and so we had a winner!

We arrived in the lovely town of Morpeth just before lunchtime. Treacle Wool Shop is located amongst other wonderful shops in the Creative Quarter of Morpeth. The two ladies photographed, Kym (left, the owner) and Stephanie (her wonderful assistant and sock tutor) greeted me warmly. Tea and cakes were on offer for Yarn Shop Day. This a well stocked shop, a great variety of yarn and accessories, it's also full to the brim of enthusiasm and charm. There's a lovely welcoming room upstairs with a big table and chairs where they host a variety of knitting and crochet workshops.

I came away with a bag of yarn (how can I resist such a lovely selection). The bag in the photograph shows my purchases. When I discovered there was 35% off Drops, there was not stopping me! As the tenth customer, I got a free Drops Knitting and Crochet Design magazine and every customer got to choose from a basket of lovely goodies, I chose a 12mm wooden crochet hook, I've never owned a crochet hook so large, I'm looking forward to giving a try so thanks very much Kym! I had a super time in your shop and look forward to visiting again. I wish I live nearer but as you can order on-line from Treacle Wool Shop's website, I'll definitely be ordering more yarn from them in the future.

Just one complaint though ... through the clear plastic bag, my other half could see exactly how much yarn I'd bought, plain opaque bags are really a better choice for those of us who have to try to play down how many balls of yarn we've bought when our partners already think we have enough in the house to last for at least two lifetimes!

I hope Yarn Shop Day was a big success for all the shops who participated and in particular for Treacle Wool Shop!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Perfectly matched socks

Well these aren't really perfectly matched are they? My latest creation using some self-patterning yarn bought in Oakham (Drops Fabel Print if memory serves). I have been using self-patterning or self-striping yarn to knit socks since I started knitting socks a few years ago. 

We're on holiday at the moment and naturally I bought plenty of things to knit, crochet and read along with me. One of the books I bought with me is At Knit's End by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka The Yarn Harlot). Until I read this book, it never occurred to me to try to knit exactly matching pairs using self-patterning yarn, On page 75 she says "It can be fun and interesting to work with, but be warned. For those inclined to be obsessive , it can lead to a dangerous fixation with making the two socks match". Obviously, since the subject has been brought up, now I'M obsessed with doing this. 

I must have dozens of mis-matched ones in my sock drawer. As someone who considers herself to be quite a good knitter, I have only just now realised how lazy it is not to at least try to match the pattern on them both. How often have other sock knitters been looking at my socks and laughing?! 

I have some Opal Sweet & Spicy yarn with me, also purchased in Oakham, I'm going to try to knit two identical socks with it ...

Here goes .... Wish me luck!