Sunday, 29 April 2012

Crafting Balance

Am I a knitter or a crocheter, or am I a bit of both?

Its funny how even in the past weeks, my answer may have changed to this question.  I am definitely more of a crocheter than a knitter, but as I said on yesterday's post, I am finding I have a growing love for knitting.

I think it  is down to the fact it makes me feel challenged and it isn't a breeze......don't get me wrong, it doesn't stress me out so much, that I don't enjoy just keeps me on my toes.

I haven't taken on anything beyond simple stitches so far....(and that has still dumbfounded me!)....but I love the way the stitches form patterns......I love the higgledy-piggledy of garter stitch...the uniform points of stocking stitch......but when I discover more am I going to be drawn further in?  I think to be honest.....I may be falling hard!

So.....what happens with my projects now? 

Well, I love crocheting, the speed in which things grow, the 'instantness' of it all.......Hubby always says 'Here she goes again, bish, bash bosh I've made a blanket' and to be honest, he may have a point.  I think I am fairly fast and somehow, the projects are more portable, as I don't have to concentrate quite so hard......not like dropping a stitch while knitting at the pool the other day, and everyone seeing my 'serious knitting face'!

I will not stop crocheting, but I will have to make time to further my knitting........make time...........hhhmmm, that's an interesting concept...........

I think I will probably always dabble in both, and knowing my lack of organisation and order, I will probably have  two many projects on the go at once.....but that's what makes life more interesting.

So.....the yarn above..........yep, bought the lot.....especially all the skeins in that first picture.......I wish!

Wonder Wool was a feast for the eyes......but way beyond me.......I was totally overwhelmed  by the colours, fibres, feel, weight, extravagance of it all.  I walked round and around..... looking........ looking again....... walking away........ walking back..........I eventually came home with a few bits, but wowzers, what an event!

I saw so much I wanted......but actually, when it came down to it, I really didn't know where to start.....I definitely have the materials for my next project which I have been coveting a while....and that round ball of whirly colours will be a pair of socks....knitted for the next Year of Projects maybe....

My next project will be a knitting project....I'm not sure that means anything more than, my next project will be a knitting project........I remain a crocheter who knits I think.......and that's where I will try and find my balance.

This post is part of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, and is the last in a week's worth of posts.  I have loved every part of the last week, although I think my family may be glad that this is for a week, not a month!  I have neglected doing crochet for actually writing about it.....bad times.....but I have learnt, been inspired and moved forward........good times.

Thanks for all the kind don't know how much they all mean......I am beaming from ear to ear!


Friday, 27 April 2012

Improving my skillset

When I started out blogging, I would probably have described myself as a crocheter, and didn't really feel the need to do anything else......I guess you could say, I haven't really stretched myself when it comes to crochet, as I have stuck with straightforward, but never the less, satisfying projects.

I am not scared of crochet, in my own mind, there isn't a problem that with some advice I couldn't rectify.

The same cannot be said for my relationship with knitting. I feel full of nervous energy when I undertake a difficult 'manoeuvre', as I've mentioned before I hold my breath when I check my numbers against the's always an 'edge of the seat' craft for me.

So, I'm not sure why it is that I have begun a bit of a fling with knitting.... I think it is the need for personal challenge.....oh and in my mind it is the safer option in adrenalin sports to Base Jumping.

In the last few months I took on a jumper knitting project ...... after battling a bit with the constant swinging about with moss (seed) stitch I decided to rip it out and learn to knit continental style. It was a little hairy at first, but then as a comfortable crocheter, it soon came.

 I now appear to naturally revert to continental style holding and to be honest, I think it has been a bit of a revolution for me.

 I think this next year's Year Of Projects is going to be an interesting one, as I have far more idea of what I may challenge myself to do

(this YOP year's attempt at crocheted socks)

I have watched many people undertaking sock knitting this year and I would like to give that a whirl, along with some mittens or fingerless gloves.

Since starting the Stripe Study Shawl KAL, I have fallen in love with Veera Valimaki's designs and would dearly love to make some more.

D'you know, this week has been far more than I thought it would be.  I have learnt so much . .....mainly I can't juggle all my jobs and lots of, I have definitely come out of it with lots of ideas of what I want to do in the coming year.

I am grabbing this quick opportunity to blog, as the computer seems to be going a bit haywire and we are on our way to Wonderwool........see you later!!!

This post is part of a Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.


Something a bit different!

As you may know, this week, I took up the personal challenge to start something new, and I decided upon Brioche Knitting.

This is a totally new way for me, and so good, although the book is crammed full of different stitches and I have only attempted a couple of things so will be a long journey.

I figured there may be some of you who hadn't come across Brioche and therefore might like me, with my vast knowledge of all things Brioche to explain all I know.

Prepare to be speechless..........

Now you too can call yourself a Brioche knitting expert like me!

This post is part of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.


(in my defence this seemed like a good idea at the time and looked really professional until I tried to upload it....well, thats my excuse anyhoo!)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Crafting my perfect day

I decided to go with the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week's wild card today, as a crafter I am totally frivolous and flighty and tend to make what ever catches my attention, so the day four subject   'A Crocheter for all Seasons' seemed wasted on my   'what's wrong with a scarf in summer?' attitude. perfect crafting day..............

Gosh.....this is harder than I thought......I guess I would like to wake up feeling refreshed after a good nights sleep .....breakfast would be there waiting...rather like in a good hotel...... there would be a good selection to choose from...... continental, full English, pancakes....(you see that I  have to mention the food, as this is my perfect day!) 

On to the crafting...I know in reality, faced with a whole day stretching ahead of me, I would find it difficult to settle on one thing.......

So  in true flighty style, would probably dabble a bit with one thing until I was tired of it and then on to the next.

The beauty in my perfect day would be to have everything in reach of the sofa that I would remain parked on, and all my projects would be safe from cats, puppies or children waiting to unravel, chew, trip over the chaos, organised piles.

I would have a selection of dreadful girly films to choose from, a Wurlitzer full of my favourite music and a waiter within shouting distance to bring drinks as I required.

At some stage during the day, I would probably put down my crochet and take a small break to play some really crashy bangy music on the piano (Margarita Pracatan stylie)  and also have a quick stint infront of the easel painting a lovely sky.

I should say....all this lovely dreaming aside....I am extremely blessed to be able to stay home with my kids, to cook and  make our home comfortable......but there is something very appealing about the idea of ordering my own day, with no schedule, school runs and impending meal times to worry about.

This weekend I get to go to my first woolly festival.....WonderWool 2012 and I am off the scale excited about it....but the best bit will be experiencing it all with my three lovely boys and generous hubby .......oh and I believe they have an ice cream stand too!


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

My knitting and crochet heroes

I started crocheting about two and a half years ago, mainly inspired by a friend who makes the most amazing amigurumi people and animals.  I bought myself a 'learn to crochet' magazine with free hook and yarn, and got stuck in.

Once I got over the initial 'fingers and thumbs' stage of just trying to hold the yarn, I was totally obsessed.  My friend then pointed me in the direction of Ravelry, and the rest, as they say, is history!

My knitting started a little earlier and there was plenty of inspiration to be had in the family.  My Gran is a fantastic knitter and growing up I wore lots of homemade jumpers with fairisle, cables and TV characters of the time....(but maybe not all  in the same jumper....can you imagine!)

My Mum has also knitted from a young age, and whenever I do attempt to knit, she is a phone call away to come over and pick up all my dropped stitches....I am amazed at her ability to go down row by row and pick up a stitch, where I would sit and cry and then rip it all out!

These people have all been a great influence in my starting out, but my break in crochet and more recently in knitting has most definitely come from Bloggyland!

I'm not quite sure why I started blogging.....but I am so glad I did!

Blogging and being part of the blogging community has challenged me, taught me, allowed me to see my progression and ultimately improved me!

A comment left after a post, gives the answer to a dilemma, a tip on a better way to do something, a pattern that I might like....

Other bloggers posts have sparked my creativity, encouraged me to try something new or pushed me harder.

A chance 'Go on, you know you want to' is sometimes just the thing you need, to sign up for something you may not have otherwise.

In my case this is certainly true when I joined in with Ravelry's Year of Projects.......I can't believe how many things I have made in the last year....and all for a passing 'why not?'

So with a big huge cheesy smile and big squashy cuddle, I say a huge THANK YOU!  You're all a jolly clever old lot. ......yes, I'm talking to you too!  Without your encouragement, giggles, timely advice, inspiration.......I would be a  rubbish, bored, lonely welsh girl sitting here typing to myself whilst crying into my cup of tea.......instead....well, I'm pretty much tickled pink, starry eyed, pleased as punch and sparkly that I've got to here......where will I go next?

This post is part of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.


And the brioche?

I've had a day of ripping back.....hhhmmm....maybe tomorrow when my my brain is more on the job!

And if you were to choose....would it be a Tea Cosy (Mrs. Micawber you are absolutely right!) or one of those dressed up Barbie dolls that looks after your loo roll?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Photography Challenge - if only you kn-ewe!

(Either sheer genius....or the workings of a woolly decide!)

The announcement was making quite a stir out in the fields

The organisers of the event....couldn't have guessed at its popularity....they were turning the ladies away at the gate.....these are just a few of the crestfallen onlookers.........

The tutor for the course....gathering her thoughts  before kicking off the first session
'Hat knitting for beginners'

The men-folk were disappointed to find that there wasn't a beer tent at this knitting event.....and made it known by depositing something in the 'comments box' at the end

This is (somehow) part of my posts for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.

I think to be honest I may have missed the original idea behind the set topic..........


You know how blogging may have lead you to taking photographs of the most ridiculous things (come on, you know you have!)....well the best bit about this is that I even roped my hubby in, who already thinks I'm a little cuckoo when I'm blogging......kudos to him eh! 

It's one of those cringey moments when you are in a field dressing one of your sheep and your farming neighbour pops his head over the hedge to see what exactly you are up to!

The beautiful lady tutor is a Welsh Mountain Badger Face Torddu (Torddu being Welsh for can also get a Torwen which is all black with a white chest)....she was handsomely rewarded in grass for her excellent modelling.....

.....And the brioche.........well, I am truly loving this new stitch....I have now progressed to two colours, and I am loving the stripes!  This is a dabble with some contrasting colours, but today, I will work on something a little more subtle.....come catch up tomorrow to see what comes next!  Where it goes....nobody knows!!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Colour Lovers - showing my true colours

Colour to me, is my playground.

I guess starting out with paints, before discovering yarn, I have never shied away from using colour.......colour talks to me.......

When I see a dramatic sunset.........


.......a still sea........

........a field full of oil seed rape flowers....

So when I crochet and I any different?  Are my yarn shelves weighed down with varying shades on the same theme? 

Which colour floats my boat?  None of them really........on their own.....but throw a load together and now you've found my love. 

I'm not sure I could pick a favourite....but I can tell you this, as I'm running along the home straight at the end of one project, the next one is in my mind.....not that I'm fed up with what I'm working on....but I just can't wait to see what the next project will look like.

When it comes to colour..... I like natural, bright, gaudy, toning, pastel, clashy, pale, sparkly (I do love sparkly!).....and most of all....I like them all me frivolous or flighty....but then that's my true colours.

One thing, you may see again and again, is a love for stripes, straight or wiggly, they draw me in!  As part of this Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, I am going to learn a new skill.

To go with my love of stripes, I've picked up a library book about Brioche Knitting....follow my progress over this next week to see where it takes me.......

This post is part of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Year of projects 22.04.12 (+ lots more!)

I have a feeling that this post could be lengthy......I have lots to remember, so if you think I've forgotten something at the end, can you remind me?

First and foremost, is a catch up on my project.....

I have now completed my 12th stripe and have just got to put the border on....I say just.....but as the shawl has grown, it is becoming a long way round, so the border will not be a quick job.

I have to laugh, as Jill (from Stocki) said, 'I sense a ta-dah moment at the end of the week' on my last post, and although it was unachievable on my available knitting time, it still sent me in to stubborn mode....I might otherwise have only been on stripe nine....thanks Jill!  Maybe you should send some inspiring comments on my ironing pile!

I love the way the stripes radiate makes me think of rays of reds and oranges in a  beautiful sunset.

(when I picked this up off the floor after photographing it, I noticed that about 40 stitches had fallen off the needle....... with shaky hands and held breath (yes, I do hold my breath a lot during knitting!) I have put them back on, but two stitches have fallen out of themselves, so I will probably be spending hours this evening trying to work out what to do!)

If you would like to see other Year of Project work, pop over to our Ravelry page here.

Onwards and upwards........

We all took a walk up some local mountains (although some may say they are hills!) yesterday and it was absolutely glorious.........the boys ran around full of silliness and the dogs joined in too!  The weather was clear enough so you could see for miles........

The intrepid mountaineers

So what else is going on, I hear  you ask....those of you still listening to my dulcet tones.....well, tomorrow marks the beginning of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week and I will be blogging each day on the given subject....I am looking forward to the challenge (it will be a challenge to work out how I will fit it in the day!).....I have some thoughts....... but most of them revolve around me being on a sun lounger in the Bahamas whilst being waited on hand and foot.........we will see what materialises........

The most exciting piece of news I think, is that I will be going to my first Wool Show.....I am beyond excited and keep asking hubby if it is just some elaborate joke!  We are all setting out, boys and all, to Builth Wells to Wonder Wool 2012........if anyone else is attending, I will be the slightly insane looking lady, with fuzzy hair, three unruly boys and bored looking hubby in tow!

I think, when I get back, I will have a little celebratory giveaway for all my lovely readers, with something carefully picked out from the show..........what d'you think?  Good excuse?

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Striped Study Shawl KAL

What a weird-weather day it has been today, I woke up to hailstones, then we progressed on to blue skies  and sunshine, we've recently had a downpour and now the sun is streaming through the is a girl supposed to know how best to dress???

Well here I am with an update of my shawl, and quite honestly (not wanting to moan) I don't want to go outside to photograph my shawl in the rain, but the sun is pouring in through our leaded-light (this sounds posher than the fake UPVC that they actually are) windows, and  I am getting shadows....

So there we have it, my 80cm circulars are making it impossible to photograph now, as it would be a big crumpled mess and me stressing about the stitches making a quick run for it, and diving off the ends.

I have done seven stripes now, there are five stripes to go, then a border of the multicoloured sock .... I'm guessing there is at least a week left in it for me, with limited knitting time (unless I forgo my motherly duties of course!)

I am loving the knit, really simple to plod along with, and now I am back to good health there is no stopping me!  Thanks for all your get-well comments, I am soooo much better........yay!

Sarah, Crafts from the Cwtch has been reminding everyone of the Knitting and Crochet blog week that starts next week over at Eskimimi Makes, and this morning I've signed up sounds like a good challenge with lots to be inspired by.  Why not take a look and think about signing up too? This is the third year that it has been done (obviously the first time I have done it) and this year they have lovely  prizes connected to the different post challenges for each day.

Well, better go look out weather we are having now and plan my wardrobe accordingly!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Year of projects 15.04.12

At the beginning of the week I decided to jump on board with Sarah (Crafts from the Cwtch) and Nat's (Misadventures in Craft) Stripe Study Shawl KAL.....and I have to say in the beginning it took every ounce of concentration, but now it is straightforward and dare I say......enjoyable.  I use the term tentatively as yesterday when beginning some kind of lurgy and being a little sleep deprived (smallest boy being very sick in the night) I decided unwisely, to do some knitting and ended up stuffing up a few rows which I took a good half-hour to realise this morning.....typical......lots of ripping out and starting does seem to be a familiar theme when it comes to knitting and me!

Although I've obviously caught a sickness bug, I seem to have escaped with just horrible cramps and nausea, which is fine by me as I am not a fan of being sick.  I have done little else but lay about, and that has been about it.....

So here it is, I am five stripes in, each stripe taking gradually more time, so I guess I am a while off yet, and probably a bit behind everyone else.  But it is a relaxing knit (when you are running on all four cylinders)

Fallen by the way-side is my baby blanket (and I guess if I admitted it, lots of other half started projects) which I must fit some time in on, as the baby will be a teenager before he receives it!  I have to say I am liking the yarn for this pattern, it's very delicate.

Well, it sounds like the rabble have finished their roast, which I cooked but could not face, and once it has been cleared away, I may return to the kitchen, although the smell is making me feel a little wobbly. 

I think we may get some fresh air this afternoon, as outdoors is looking a lot more inviting than yesterday.

Looking forward to reading about all your progress later........thanks for your lovely comments, always soooo enjoyed.

Actually, while I think of it....those knitters among you, which circulars do you use?  I am finding the ones on my shawl hard to work with as the stitches always get caught in the join from flex to needle.  I was looking at those circulars with inter-changeable heads and wondered if the same thing happened?

Your thoughts very much appreciated!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Blue skies and KALs

Well, these Easter Holidays are turning out well.  The sun has been shining for the past few days, and we've got out and enjoyed it. 

Chester has been treated to some lovely beachy walks with three boys to keep him busy....and then flaked out infront of the rayburn for the rest of the day.  His running really isn't that of a graceful sprinter, as his puppy legs still don't have a huge amount of co-ordination and seem to splay out in all directions!

In crafty news, I've decided to join in with Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch and Nat of Misadventures in Craft in their Stripe Study Shawl knit-a-long.  I fancy a little knitting project, something to stretch my beginner skills.

I thought that an inspiring trip to the LYS was the way to go, but soon found that it was not meant to be, after struggling with a wild six year old, a tantrum-ing three year old and a stroppy nine year old  only to find it closed.

Having a strong stubborn streak and determined not to be put off, I decided to have a rethink and look at what I had at home. 

I found quite a lot of four-ply but the colour I really wanted was half  a shawl, that to be honest I had had a serious disagreement with (as I didn't really remember where I was in the pattern repeat).  Soooo, some frogging and winding later, problem solved and I was casting on.

Now this shawl promises to be straight forward and an easy pattern to follow, so how come I  ripped it back twice....three times before I got the correct number of stitches?  Hubby said to me last night 'I thought you knitted because it was relaxing?'

.......well, I think I am at last on track and it is indeed, a nice pattern, I think I am just over-thinking it all.....or maybe I'm just a little blonde!

purple yarn is Life 4-ply from stylecraft
sock yarn is from Knitglobal

I must admit, as much as my first love is crochet, I am loving knitting it normal to hold your breath when you count up the number of stitches when you finish a row?  

It is maybe a little brighter than I might have first gone for, but I think as the larger panels of purple start to work in, it will be better balanced (well, thats the theory anyhoo!)

I have to say....looking at the rest of Veera Valimaki's designs, I think I may be doing another after this one and then I can change gear on the colours.

Well, my tummy is starting to rumble which must mean we are nearing lunch time, so I will bid you all a fond farewell and go organise  lunch.

I hope you are all enjoying a sunshiney week too!xxx

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Year of projects 07.04.12

Well, this is just a quick post, squeezed in between chocolate eggs.

This weeks crocheting has all been Easter gift related, quick fix crochet, lots of fun and lots of colours!

These were Easter cream egg cosies in such Eastery shapes as bunnies, lambs, chicks and one-eyed aliens!  The pattern is easy to follow, in a simple slip stitch which makes the stretchy cosy easily able to fit a hens egg to keep your boiled egg warm.  The pattern is a ravelry pattern which I did in stylecraft (using some of my more girly colours)....I highly recommend it for a last minute gift idea.

These butterfly wings were quickly finished off with a ribbon to tie around the chest.  I spent ages deliberating the elastic arm loops on other wings I've seen, and decided on this simpler method for my small niece.  These were my own 'see where it goes' design.

I made these lovely little drawstring bags for my mother and mother-in-law with a couple of small eggs in.  The pattern was a ravelry pattern and  I used Rico Micro DK which just has the most beautiful colour changes and lovely sheen.

We have had a lovely Easter Sunday with our traditional egg hunt at my in-laws house with a huge scrumptious lunch which we all chipped in on.  I would show you the pictures of my heart-attack sausage rolls, but they've all been scoffed, along with the cheese muffins and sister-in-laws famous lasagne, chocolate mousse, carrot cake all washed down with some chocolate eggs! My family really know how to eat!

Looking forward to looking at all the other projects on this week....that is after I've eaten a little more chocolate.

Hope you all have a great week.x