Saturday, 31 December 2011

In The News: EU Politics in Knitted Form

Doing the rounds yesterday was this, one knitter's stance on EU politics. Going viral, the pictures reveal knitted dolls resembling Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy et al engaging in high level political negotiations. In another, my personal favourite, a knitted figure akin to Silvio Berlusconi hosts what appears to be a Bunga-Bunga Party. Could that be the beautiful but ill-fated Ruby the Heart Stealer?

Strange yet compelling, all at the same time!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Gotta Love Croydon

For years, Croydon in south London has been the subject of much ridicule. Despite incubating the talent of two world famous supermodels in the '90s, and hosting an efficient transport interchange and an IKEA superstore; the densely populated metropolis is more widely associated with featureless concrete commercial buildings and teen mums. To its credit and to my surprise, I discovered today that Croydon has a crochet square named after it! And here it is, papped nonchalantly on its creator's fair laminate flooring. Gotta love Croydon.

Mustering all my patience and courage, I plan to have a stab at a similar afghan granny square soon. Will keep you posted.

Before I go, here's a snap of mum's hat. It turned out lovely, don't you think? She's more of an old skool knitter so I don't think her pattern came from cyberspace. However, I'm sure if readers were keen to replicate it, someone is bound to have added a similar pattern to Ravelry's patterns section.




Thursday, 29 December 2011

Reflection

Well, it's that time of year again when people start saying they're going to join a gym or give up smoking. Being the Doubting Thomas I am I usually struggle to feign interest when people tell me this; but then, with my empathetic side intervening at the last possible moment, I manage to utter a few encouraging words: "Good for you!"

With a fondness for reflection, I myself have been wondering, what will 2012 bring and what, if anything, should I change about my life next year?

Well, with 2011 going into my Room 101, I decided there's definitely space for a whole lot more fun next year and that's about as far as I've got.

And speaking of fun, once I've brought my PC back from it's comatose state (yes, it's still poorly and in need of a geeky once-over), I will be able to share pics of my new knitted footstool and mum's cosy hat. Yes, that's right, the pouffe is finished and it actually looks rather good!

Revelling in the relaxing and cosy bubble that is Christmas week, I have no qualms about enjoying a few more days rest before January rudely interrupts us all next week.

Have fun. Surround yourself with people that make you happy. Create things. Gx

Monday, 26 December 2011

Having a Cool Yule

Our Christmas Day went smoothly, with my mince pies and homemade ice cream receiving high praise! Mum completed a burgundy Donegal yarn hat, whilst I spent a couple of hours continuing to knit the pouffe. To my envy, mum also received a set of ergonomic Japanese crochet hooks.

Next week I plan to experiment with my fabulous new purple sewing machine, crochet and mochimochi (a Japanese word, meaning knitted toys) books. Bliss!

Here's my sister-in-law opening her presents on Christmas Day...

Friday, 23 December 2011

Step by Step

The pouffe is coming along lovely! I'm delighted by it's chunkiness and the texture reminds me of wattle and daub or something medieval. What do you think?

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Spectacle

"Oh what a night.." as the '70s classic goes. I got in at about 3am after a work night out so am blogging from my bedside as I smile to myself, recalling my evening of shenanigans. At one point last night I took it upon myself to enforce a strict podium policy, "If you're not here to dance, get off the podium!"

As anticipated, my rust coloured trilby was passed around the club as everyone tried it on. Seems I'm not too old to party after all. Oh dear.

Anyway, back to reality... Today is my last day off before Christmas so I really need to get the food shop sorted for the big day. I'm also planning my Christmas knitting projects so I can have a bit of a craft lock-in at home with mum.

I'm glad to hear that some of you have been amused by my invitation to go on Location, Location, Location. It is a shame that we can't do it and if I'd brushed up my knitting skills a bit more I could have used it as an opportunity for some blatant product placement... maybe..?!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Barking Mad

Yes, it's a dog's life! I spotted this in Crochet Patterns Today and just had to share it! I don't know where the phrase 'Pug Ugly' comes from but in my view, pugs are super cute. Having seen this knitted mini marvel I am inspired to make a pug dog of my own one day. Design by GurumiORama on Etsy.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Star Baker

Here are my mince pies!
Other news today - you'll already know this if you follow me on Twitter - the Hubs and I have been invited to go on Location, Location, Location! The only problem is, we can't move at the moment so we will have to forego fame and fortune with Kirstie and Phil. In case you are wondering; yes, I am a bit gutted.

However, there has been plenty to amuse me over the last few days as I seem to have inadvertently turned into some kind of celeb magnet! On Saturday I ran into Linford Christie and today I met Jessie Wallace (Kat from EastEnders)! Micro G glitterati indeed. Upping the ante, I'm secretly hoping I'll bump into Brandon Flowers from The Killers tomorrow, but somehow I don't think that will happen. Hey-ho!

More crafty news on its way later in the week.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Tangled

My eventful week is now drawing to a close as I sit in a local Thai restaurant waiting for my aromatic starter (if I tell you which restaurant it is, it won't be a well kept secret anymore!).

A great deal of time has been invested in untangling my newly beige yarn today and I'm glad to say, the pouffe is now half complete!

As well as working full-time I've also been busy meeting people about other vacancies on my day off so I can't wait to put my feet up after Christmas Eve.

This morning I baked two batches of pecan mince pies in preparation for Christmas Day. Despite taking a risk and using a recipe from my Recipe Spinner iPhone app, I have to say, they taste rather good! "Who ate all the pies?!" I hear you cry. Well, actually I scoffed three or four, all in the name of science of course.

Better go, I can smell my starter!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Put your feet up

This week I spotted textured knitted cushions in both John Lewis and Laura Ashley, but of course I enjoy the challenge of making my own unique pieces.

Here's an update on my latest project... I've finally made a start on my foot stool and have included images below of the newly dyed yarn and my first few rows: 35 stitches in garter stitch on circular needles. As you can see, it's very dense and chunky so will hopefully be really thick and hard wearing when it's finished. I can't remember whether I included a link to the pattern previously, but here it is just in case. The pattern suggests stuffing it with duvets but I plan to use two pillows instead, depending on how large it is.

Well, I'm off to a Christmas pub lunch now. Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Cold on the outside, warm on the inside

Isn't it lovely when someone else's good fortune brightens up your day? I can at last report that baby Willson has been born. A healthy baby boy! Bonnet and mittens will shortly be in the post to 'mum', a good pal since my teens.

My beige yarn is now ready to be transformed into a pouffe and I spent this evening crocheting another navy DK bow to match the one I made.

Thanks to the festive season and the quick witted folk I've met at work, I'm feeling pretty cheery this week. Friendly banter... surely one of the simplest pleasures in life?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Manic Monday

Busily blogging before I start work! The two hanks of yarn I dyed yesterday came out beige but that's ok as it will still be more practical than the natural ecru tone that it was before. To get a strong colour I will have to use two or three packets of dye in future. It's quite exciting dying wool, I think I will be doing a whole lot more of this! Crochet with Raymond gives some fab examples of what can be achieved with a little patience and elbow grease. My yarn is still drying in the bathroom so I won't be able to start knitting the pouffe until later in the week now.

In terms of 'paper work', I also stumbled upon some free origami patterns on the web yesterday so will endeavour to make some hanging Christmas decorations when I get the chance. Hopefully I can squeeze this in between making mince pies and writing out Christmas cards, phew! I'm so looking forward to having a few days at Christmas to work through some projects, mum also plans to  make something on Boxing Day so we'll have a little production line going on.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Craftacular

Christmas is fast approaching! It's been great to hear about Craftacular in Bethnal Green on Sunday and all the other craft fairs taking place between now and the 25th December. If you haven't already lovingly crafted your own unique stocking fillers, you would have been spoilt for choice at Craftacular.

On Sunday I will begin making a knitted stool. The pattern for the pouffe looks very simple, so fingers crossed! As I mentioned before, I may dye the natural coloured yarn I have first. Hopefully it won't shrink too much, otherwise what's intended to be a stylish piece of home furnishing will end up the size of a pin cushion instead. Will keep you posted...

Monday, 28 November 2011

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Bow Belles

If your computer has ever had a virus, you will know it's a NIGHTMARE. As my PC is now completely unusable, I am having to resort to using my Blogger app today, thank heavens for mobile devices.

This week has been hugely busy but I did get the chance to rustle up a crochet bow this afternoon (sorry no photos until my PC is fixed). I thought I'd try making the little embellishment as it will look pretty sewn onto gloves or used as a brooch.

I'm itching to try some simple crochet squares but need to find some easy patterns to get started on.

More from me soon...

Monday, 21 November 2011

Following the paper trail

And now for something totally different! Last week I realised I don't have enough hanging Christmas decorations for the festive season so I thought, why not make some? When I was nine years-old I had a Japanese friend called Yuko who introduced me to the creative art of Origami. I remember being tantalised by the richly coloured patterned paper she used as she demonstrated how to transform a simple square of paper into a swan, a dog's face or a familiar object.

I haven't dabbled in the paper arts since, that is until yesterday when I made a paper ski boot! I plan to create a few more little folded clothes and then progress to constructing some larger scale hanging shapes to decorate the apartment at Christmas.

One more thing before I go, I've always admired the contemporary look of clothing with intricately folded material and came across this fabulous example. Wow! So modern and unique. I must admit I feel a tinge of craft envy that I didn't design it myself, but it's certainly something to aspire to
nonetheless.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Truly scrumptious

My PC is driving me mad today, I really need to take everything off it and get it serviced. Anyway, technical details aside, here is my finished baby hat and mittens set. The recipient still hasn't been born but I'm sure he will look totally scrumptious and toasty in said items. For those of you from exotic shores, it's getting really dark in the UK now which plays havoc with my blog photography as I can't take any decent pictures in natural light after about 15.30  (a real pain). 

After consulting the translated Pickles 'Small & Clever' patterns and feeling puzzled for quite some time, I decided to totally bastardise the original patterns (!) to make it easier and worked the mittens flat rather than using four needles and knitting them in the round. The end results are pretty similar and I may have a go at the super cute booties another day. I am once again extremely grateful to the Pickles and the sublime Ravelry social networking site for providing these eye-catching free patterns, oh and also to stitch sleuth Anna for tipping me off about them on her own blog.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Counting sheep

Greetings! I haven't had a chance to blog for days as I started a new contract this week. However, I wanted to tell you I finally received my little gift from Morocco: a huge amount of extra chunky weight wool hand spun by the local artisans. The yarn isn't quite as refined as something you'd purchase in a regular UK haberdashery but it gets a definite 'thumbs up' from me as I find its rustic charm rather appealing. In fact, I'm amazed by just how much there is, when I pile it all up together, there's almost enough to clothe a sheep! My only regret is that I wasn't able to scour the North African streets myself to investigate the variety of wools available. Toying with the idea of dying it a more practical colour, I'm planning to use the natural coloured fibre to make some furnishings before the New Year.

Also, earlier in the week, news of this quirky Paris art exhibition caught my eye, knitting certainly seems to increasingly be on people's radars.

Enjoy your weekend folks, more from me again soon.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sundaysentials

I always feel a bit blue on Sunday nights, another weekend almost over, boo-hoo! Well, at least I've mastered some new knitting techniques today and completed a project (to be showcased later in the week).

I've always loved the fluffy stuff - mohair and angora - so as a Christmas week project, I'm thinking this Suzie Blackman Dream cardigan could be just the ticket!

I'm constantly amazed by the sheer volume of projects other knitting and crochet bloggers turn around in just a few days. There are so many more craft and style blogs that I plan to check out and in the spirit of 'sharing', I will add a more comprehensive Recommended Blogs list to my spot in due course.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Having a yarn

I've been browsing patterns trying to decide how to use this fantastic textured wool/synthetic mix yarn I picked up at the Knitting & Stitching Show last month. Its thickness falls in between the navy DK and jade green acrylic 4 ply I have so I think I'll use it as a trim on some funky fingerless gloves or perhaps make an eye-catching hat. We shall see!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

Just a quickie tonight to show you the finished article. Ta-da! Here's my little rabbit amigurumi toy, crocheted using Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino. If you'd like to make this little chap for yourself, check out the 'Amigurumi' book by Lan-Anh Bui & Josephine Wan. As mentioned previously, I was hoping to have a bonnet, mittens and booties set ready in time for the birth of my friend's baby due any day now. However, if it's not completed in time I'm sure Miffy will make a lovely present instead.

Monday, 7 November 2011

United Knitdom in Amigurumi Today

Jostling for a position amongst the edited selection of Japanese crochet news from across the blogosphere, my Making Miffy post has been featured in Amigurumi Today! I do enjoy networking with fellow crafters from around the world and this added exposure gives me increased impetus to crack on with more projects.

Before I go, I also wanted to draw readers' attention to this spectacular kaleidoscope blanket by Meme Rose as highlighted on Crochet with Raymond, one of my favourite crochet blogs. Isn't it stunning? It has definitely inspired me to produce something similar and reminds me a lot of the Muse album cover.

Kaleidoscope blanket by Meme Rose.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Making Miffy

My plans to create an ami koala bear from the enchanting 'Super-super Cute Crochet' Brigitte Read book were dashed today as my local 'craftery' had completely sold out of 3.5mm crochet hooks. Instead, I thumbed through old favourite 'Amigurumi' by Lan-Anh Bui & Josephine Wan and started on a seven inch bunny, not dissimilar to cult Japanese cartoon character Miffy. With the ears complete, I will now move on to the head and body.
Russian dolls Katia and Natasha marvel with curiosity at Miffy's ears.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Big Knit 2011

Here's a quick note about Innocent's Big Knit campaign. Yes, once again for a limited period mini hand knitted hats come free with purchased smoothies and a small contribution goes to worthy charity Age UK. I love this campaign because its just so silly and yet after many years, still continues to go from strength to strength. I've seen some lovely free patterns on Ravelry for those wishing to join in and knit a few themselves. Check out YouTube to get a sneaky peek at staff building up to it in Austria!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Knitting machines & vintage pattern books

Sadly I've been too busy to knit or blog this week. I'm dying to get going again at the weekend. So many projects, so little time! I've also been toying with the idea of buying a knitting machine as I spotted some fab vintage '60s and '70s Brother machine pattern books online. I suspect the only decent machines I could buy would be secondhand. If anyone has one they want to sell, please comment on the blog.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

How to knit an i-cord YouTube stylee

This is what I'll attempt to do this weekend in a bid to make the side straps for baby Willson's bonnet. I'll let you know how I get on! YouTube clip courtesy of knittingtipsbyjudy.

The house that funk built

I've always loved retro style so am considering going against the grain by buying a well proportioned '60s or '70s property in a nice area, retrofitting it to make it energy efficient and styling it up inside. Just like this home in Living etc. Properties of this era aren't as popular as victorian semis for example, but I think with confidence and a little creative flair, a stylish home that's sympathetic to its roots can be achieved.

Friday, 28 October 2011

The Sample Life

French purveyors of costume jewellery and welcome addition to Covent Garden, Les Nereides has a sample sale of up to 80 per cent off from 2-6 November. I overheard the shopping assistant advising another shopper to turn up early on the first day to get the best deals, to which the shopper replied that she was definitely going to go and intended to excuse herself from work, telling her boss that she "Had to go to the chemist". Love it! Les Nereides's quirky little adornments will look perfect juxaposed with your chunky knits this season.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Moratorium

That's it, no more yarn buying until I've used up some of my extensive stash! Coming soon: winter warmers for baby Willson, plus some amigurumi to use up my Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Get ahead with a hat

My finished beanies for Ruby and Katy! Free pattern courtesy of Lynn of Non Such Knits who can be found on Ravelry

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Guerilla Knitting

I spotted the news on guerilla knitters striking in Cornwall earlier in the month and decided it was definitely worth a mention! To the uninitiated, guerilla knitting, AKA graffiti knitting or yarn-bombing, is a new underground craze from Texas. Working by night, knitters sneakily decorate the streets with knitted items to cheer up their surroundings

Friday, 21 October 2011

Hotel Pelirocco

This Guardian article made me smile. The new Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton is a knitter's dream destination. Soo Brighton!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Moroccan Soffa

Blogtoberfest Day 20: My better half will soon be heading to Morocco and has promised to bring me back some soffa (wool). Looking forward to seeing what he brings back.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Hat for Ruby Zhan

A return train journey to Whitechapel this evening provided a golden opportunity to click through a few rows of the beanie I'm making for my sister-in-law, Ruby. Loving the unexpected black and multi-coloured fleck in the yarn.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Down but not out

Blogtoberfest Day 15: Its been a long week this week, with sadly no opportunity to knit on my daily commute. Finally I have a chance to start some new projects tomorrow: I will be whipping up another ribbed beanie and any leftover yarn will be incorporated into a flower shaped crochet cloth. Where crocheting is concerned I still have a lot to learn, so this will be a slow burner.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Frogged

Continuing the spirit of Blogtoberfest! Temporarily admitted defeat today and frogged my egg cosy project. I will revisit it soon after I've mastered crocheting clusters with a thicker yarn.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Knitting and Stitching Show 2011

My first post for Blogtoberfest! I enjoyed a fabulous day with mum at the Knitting and Stitching Show today. I bought some pretty butterfly stitch counters from the good people at Nest, as well as some Chanel style multi fibre yarn and appliqué shapes. Textile exhibits in the gallery area proved to be both unexpected and inspired.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Micro Gs photostream

IMG_0662Neve's bootieCupcake BearRose Bearzig zagcupcake bear

All my projects..

Living etc knitted pouffe

Spotted a special feature on stylish knitted homeware in the November issue of Living etc last night. Couldn't believe it when I saw a designer knitted pouffe for £795 which is almost identical to a free Norwegian pattern on http://www.pickles.no/puff-daddy-knitted-stool/Ravelry. x