Monday, December 20, 2010

Last minute gifts

How about a little round up of some last minute Christmas gifts I've been elving away at? (Thanks SouleMama for the great new verb).

3 Hats, the Hat most likely to succeed, the Marsan Watchcap, and the Hurricane respectively. My favourite, the black one, was the most complicated, with a new style of cable I hadn't tried before (a kind of plait/braid affair). Although saying that, they were all pretty easy knits. The hurricane hat went the fastest, with the stockinette stitch just zip-zipping along. The marsan watchcap was the slowest, and probably my least favourite. It came out a little bit too small, so I have spritzed, steamed and soaked it into relative submission. 

Also, this weekend I decided to make some potholder/hotpads for extended family members. I made 6 in total all on Sunday afternoon, so they were just perfect last minute ideas. I will write up a tutorial for y'all in the new year because I think they make awesome gifts, and can look really professional with not a lot of effort. (Although its pretty easy to work out what I did from these pics)... 

The brown fabrics just came from a stash pack I bought on ebay, no particular brand, but all the others are from the Charisma line by Gail Kessler for Andover Fabrics . I bought a fat quarter bundle from the fat quarter shop last month and pulled these (about half of the total prints) because they were just so bright and cheerful. I thought they would be perfect for brightening up the room as we head out of winter (if and when that actually happens...).

I used these pads as a chance to practice some different quilting stitches. I was really interested in trying the cathedral windows design and I think I came up with a pretty nifty way of doing it. Instead of circling around the squares (which I tried, and it came out really wonky), you do a sort of wavy line, working from the top to the bottom of the piece. Then pivot at the end and work your way back. Its ingenious really. Maybe this is how it's meant to be done? I couldn't find any videos or tutorials for it. Maybe that should be my next write up?

Also, I did some simple straight line quilting on these brown ones for my grandparents. Which although doesn't look as fancy, I'm actually most proud of. I used like, 5 layers of batting in these ones to protect their hands and surfaces so my lil' old machine did me well. She did chug a bit going through the joins but she did good, and theres not even a hint of a pucker on the back. Great success! 

Oh and since everyone else is doing it, heres a picture of my tree:

2010 will be remembered as the year of the great tree surgery. But the less said about that the better (4 words: small stand,  giant trunk). 

Sending out fun and festive wishes to you and yours over the Holiday season! Catch you next year, 

Laura ♥ 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bliss is...

Hooking away on one of my (not so secret any more) Christmas gifts while Kitty and I curled up on the sofa.

She was looking very cute and totally asking for another impromptu photo shoot. I used this cool online tool to vintage-ize my photo. Looks good no? ♥

*Update* Anyone with a keen eye may have noticed I swapped the picture, but only to further set the scene of my evening. Wine, and Twizzlers played a part too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Check me out!

I'm in a magazine!!!

This months issue of Let's Knit magazine arrived on my doorstep today, and what should I see on the "When were not knitting" page...

Me! and my Bea and Bob scrubbies...

My very first craft-related publication, how exciting!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday N!

25 years old young yesterday. A whole quarter century. Wow, how times flies...I've known you for 9 years now. Lookin' good babes :-)  ♥ ♥ ♥ .

We had a grand day out; there was walking and sightseeing and shopping and ice skating and train travel and lunching and cocktails and cuddles, amongst other things.

And to top it off, I can now reveal one of my growing pile of FO's. The guy next door cowl. N really likes it, and it goes really well with his turn a square hat (also a birthday gift, but I showed you that already). 

The stitch pattern looks nice, and it was easy enough to memorize, it just didn't have much of a rhythm; kinda hard to get the fingers going you know.  I also modded the pattern a bit and stuck some ribbing at the top and bottom (who wants plain garter stitch round the edges?) And did a whole extra pattern repeat just  for reassurance it would fit N, whose middle name could quite easily be "giraffe". It would have been a hell of a lot nicer in something gorgeously soft like Malabrigo, but he says the Cascade 220 is fine next to his skin (and I did soak it for a good couple of hours...!).

I was casually browsing eBay this morning when I notice the GIANT banner that says 12 days till Christmas! WTF! Better get my skates on eh? haha. I've got 2 knitting projects left, one is fairly extensive (24 crochet motifs is all I can say right now...) and the other is a hat. I think it will be okay. 

I also want to make a whole bunch of quilted pot holders/oven mitt thingys for extended family, I'm bouncing a pattern round in my head at the moment so when I'm done I'll let you know :-)

Haven't even got my tree yet! This year has totally snuck up on me, but I think I can finally start feeling festive. Speaking of which, I'm going to go snuggle up with a mince pie, mug of cocoa and some crochet motifs. Night! 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Swap with Sarah

Okay, I forewarn you all now that this post may become a little gushy. If y'all feel you can handle the ramblings of a most grateful and ever so humbled knitter then feel free to read on, but don't say I didn't warn you. This may become Knitting With Tears....Do you see what I did there? :-) Haha! A knitting pun, FTW!

Today I received my inter-continental swap parcel from the AMAZING Sarah. She blogs over at The Student Knitter. I may have mentioned this before, but we somehow found each other through the ether and discovered we were kindred spirits (if thats not too weird lol). We both like maths, and knitting and quilting (duh!) and cats and tea and blogging and and and... well, a whole bunch of other stuff. But seriously though, apparently we even have the same sewing machine. Cool huh? We reveled in our new 21st century pen-pal (Rav mail) friendship and organized to send each other a box of gifts for Christmas. 

Well I opened mine this evening. 

I was not prepared.

I should have brought tissues. 

Sarah, you have absolutely outdone yourself.  I actually can't believe how much yarn you sent me!!! 

So heres the box:

And heres the FIRST layer of goodies. Considering this was only supposed to be a 3 BALL SWAP, I was certainly not prepared for the SECOND layer of goodies.  But thats getting slightly ahead of myself...

Check out those colours! The gorgeous cranberry red colour is malabrigo. Never before have I felt a yarn so soft and squishable and apsolutely squee-inducing! The purple, a glorious laceweight KnitPicks Shadow. It too is softer than soft but in a different way to the mal. Where the malabrigo is dense, silky and weighty, the Shadow is light, spongey even, with a spring in its step :-) Oh and the aqua blue ball? KnitPicks Swish Worsted. I'll just say right now that everything in America is better than here. Thats it, I've put it out there. I'm not taking it back. The Swish Worsted is amazing! I can't believe we don't have it here. This particular colourway is called Gulfstream. Quite fitting I think. 

So the second layer. My Oh My the second layer. As if all that yarney goodness at the top wasn't enough, my lovely spoiler went even further. 

One more ball of Swish Worsted, in a beautiful bright green colour that goes perfectly with the aqua. Its called Pea Pod, which funnily enough is the name of the paint I used for my kitchen. How cute?!  And then, yes, the spoiling continues... 2 balls of KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, which I've been dying to try for years now, in a dreamy pink colourway called Fairy Tale, and 2 balls of Lily's Sugar and Cream Twists in a colourway called Cottage which will be absolutely perfect for dishcloths. I've got so many scrubbies and cloths queued up that I can't wait to try with this yarn. Heres a pic of all the yarn together:

Honestly Sarah, you really did spoil me. It was WAAAAY more than I expected, I actually did let out a little squee when I saw them all lined up like that. I'm gonna have so much fun planning the perfect project for each and every skein. 

And now onto the edible goodies. I was probably a really bad swap partner, I didn't really give Sarah a lot to work with because the only thing I actually asked for were Twizzlers! (What?! I've never tried them!). 

Look at all those yummy scrummy treats! 3 sachets of flavoured hot chocolate which I look forward to trying over the holiday,  some yummy gummy lifesavers (one packet of which I freely admit has already been munched while writing this post), a jar of PROPER Ranch dressing (they just don't make it as good here...) and the infamous Twizzlers which I am soooo looking forward to trying! Also, a whole carton of wild berry tea, a Scrumdidlyumptious Wonka Bar (How cool is that?!!) and an interesting jar of chocolate roast almonds (N and I are very excited to break into these, so unusual!). 

I actually feel really humbled by my swap parcel. It warms the cockles of my heart, so to speak, that someone all the way across the pond would put all this effort into making a parcel to make me happy. So thank you Sarah, really. You went way above and beyond with this one. I LOVED it. And I really hope you like yours too! I'll wait on baited breath for the news that you've got it. ♥♥♥ 

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

To Market, To Market

Here I am, keeping good on my promise. Are you excited to hear about market day? I forewarn you however, the photos are fairly cheesy. I swear I don't usually look so manic. Honestly....

Anyway, yes, the Christmas market was SUCH a blast! I had a seriously great day. Having never done anything like this before, I was, understandably, a little apprehensive. The day started with a lot of prep, well, actually the entire preceding week was mainly prep. I was feeling so scatter brained all week in the run up, making sure I kept track of everything I needed was somewhat of a struggle. But we got there, in the end. 

After all the snow and ice of the week someone somewhere was obviously looking down on my because the day dawned bright and sunny! There was lots of trips back and forth from my house to the stall (luckily they were only about 50 paces apart), and a lot of setting up and taping down of tinsel, table cloths and makeshift Christmas tree's :-)

The day went off pretty well I think, I did a quick check around the rest of the stalls to suss out the competition, but luckily nobody else was selling similar things. And apart from that little walk round in the morning before setting up I spent the ENTIRE day stood at my stall, smiling at people... Yep, 7 hours of being a market lady. It was actually more fun than I thought it would be, but BOY did my feet hurt at the end of the day. To get some idea of the scale of it all, check out this local blog. I'm no affiliation, I just found it one day. It gives you a good idea of the area where I live.

I took 10 handmade Christmas stockings, (loosely based on this moda bakeshop tutorial), and about 200 felt decorations which I just sort of came up with as I went along really. I've shown you the decorations close up before in this post, they were all subtly different, and the design process kind of evolved as I made them. 


All in all I made £400 on the day, which I have to say I'm pretty chuffed with. I'm now looking forward to a restful week, and earmarking chunks of my profit for some indulgent frivolities like these, and this, and this. ♥♥♥ 

Monday, December 06, 2010

In Transition...

My blog is "in transition" apparently. Whatever that means.

I just invested in my domain name (without the blogspot bit), so if anyone experiences any problems accessing my blog over the next couple of days, my sincere appologies! I hope it gets fixed soon... my new address seems much more manageable, and has a hopeful kind of ring to it don't you think? I do, but then, I'm probably bias...

Also, I know its been a while. It was market day this weekend. So excited to tell you all about it but was waaaaaay to tired last night. Watch this space, its coming, I promise. ♥♥♥
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