Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Crochet Hero

A late starter, I am joining Knitting and Crochet Blog Week three days in. Pictured here is Ruby, my crochet hero. With a passion for decorative one-off pieces, Ruby can often be spotted trading antiques in London's Portobello Road market. This little lady is a demon with a crochet hook, creating intricate and colourful shawls and clothing at breakneck speed. Sadly Rubes has cast her hooks aside for the time being but I hope she'll one day snap her fingers back into action and start 'hooking' again. Knowing my favourite colour is purple, she whisked up this cosy shawl for me last year. Check it out!
If you think Ruby should start crocheting again, leave a comment and maybe we'll get to see some more of her work in the near future.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Craft Geek

Having had a whale of a time, I've just got in after enjoying a few drinks in 'skinny jeans country', A.K.A. Shoreditch, east London. This neighbourhood is still very much trend centrale however, tonight I was there for the company, my gaggle of jovial ex colleagues.

Now slumped over my dining table, I've at last had a chance to swot up on the topics for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week (next week). As I have the attention span of a gnat, I am delighted the topics are pretty general so hope to tackle at least two or three of them. Colour, photography, talk about your craft skills... all easy peasy topics to blog around. I look forward to planning some knitting and crochet projects and getting stuck in.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Just Gabbin'

Well good evening or good morning, depending on where you are in the world! It's a couple of hours away from bedtime for me and as usual I'm shattered. I narrowly missed going to my gym class due to the heavy rain this evening (its lame I know). If the rain keeps on coming like it has for the past few days and I keep skipping the gym, I'll get so fat I'll have to be air-lifted into work.

So, what's been happening in the world of Micro G? I've been working away on the crochet blanket tonight and whilst at work today was quizzed about why I like to blog. People forget it's usually a personal thing and a hobby and often don't really understand bloggers' motivations. For me, well I enjoy meeting new people through blogs and Twitter, I also love learning about the technology behind it and like to keep friends and family up-to-date on my latest knitting and crochet projects, especially mum, "Hi mum!"
Mr brother takes a dim view of company Facebook sites and 'corporate' blogs and I have to admit, even though I'm not getting any younger myself, when I hear of men in their '50s gloating about how influential they are on Twitter, I can't help but smile wryly. Could social media be the new symptom of midlife crisis now that the banks have taken all our money and no one can afford to buy Porsches anymore?

I have plenty of other hobbies, too many really and I firmly believe blogging is way cooler than Facebook, or bragging about work or money (no one likes a bore).

Little by little I've been tinkering with my new blog site over the last couple of weeks and it's slowly starting to take shape now. I'm not sure how it's going to turn out but sometimes it's nice just to let your imagination run wild...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Wet Blanket

Only two posts this week as I've been a bit poorly. My crochet blanket is nearing completion but I may have to leave it for a week or two as I won't be home much.

To keep us cheery, here are two pictures I took last spring in Croyde, Devon, England. Spring lambs! Super cute!

I now need to take time out to read up on Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012 as it's fast approaching. Will you be joining in?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012

Check this out, it's the perfect blogger event for craftivists! Fingers crossed, I hope to get involved!
I haven't done anything quite like this since BlogtoberFest back in October.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Crochet Heaven

Well happy Easter!

As you can see, I've been a busy bee. It was lovely to visit Greenwich and see all the quirky buildings and the independent shops on the high street. Greenwich is of course steeped in history, what with the Royal Observatory, Planetarium and Cutty Sark all within spitting distance of each other. 'Cutty Sark' was once a Scottish term meaning short dress apparently, hence the scantily clad lady poised at the front of the boat. Bijou and with a village feel, I couldn't help wondering how we have allowed the rest of the UK to be blighted by chain store fever with the same coffee shops, clothes shops, pubs, restaurants and supermarkets in most of our towns and cities. Ok, so I do shop in many of these stores but I am always cheered by the sight of an indie store.

Here's my stack of crochet squares and a quick snap of the lovely colours I've chosen for the blanket I'm making. Next week I will be popping over to meet fellow blogger Anna from Anna's Creative Corner over on the other side of London. I very much look forward to catching up with her and marvelling at some of her latest luscious knitting projects.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Greenwich Me Time

Hello, hello! Just a few photographs from Greenwich, south London where we spent this afternoon and evening.

Seafood lunch including fresh crab

Canary Wharf by night

Party boat on the River Thames

The O2 Arena at night

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

I Heart Amazon

Yes, it's time I declared my feelings for online shopping Mecca, Amazon.

Amazon. I love you!

Until today I have been content with frivolously purchasing wool from my local department store at £4 or £5 a ball. I'm relatively new to knitting so it suited me to buy from a well known shop, benefit from their instore expertise and of course, be able to touch and see what I was about to buy. However, the cost quickly adds up so I thought to myself, as I just need some generic White DK wool, perhaps I should try to save a few bob and buy them online for a change.

It goes without saying that I will also consider increasing my stash by buying yarn from the blogosphere but I thought it was worth building up a small list of reasonably priced and reliable yarn Amazon sellers. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I know I should consider using EBay to source yarns but I'm still psychologically scarred from my first EBay experience. What happened? I was sold some fake Anchor embroidery floss, I consequently posted a bad review and was then hassled by the seller who tried to log a complaint against ME - the cheek! I took down my social media picture for fear of being stalked and breathed a sigh of relief that i chose to blog under my alias, Micro G.

I just don't want to go down that road again.

Anyway my new purchase will almost certainly be used to join my crocheted afghan blocks once they're completed. Let me know what Amazon sellers you favour and I'll pop your comments up on the blog.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

A Vintage Dinner Party in Manchester

Despite my fatigue, I didn't want to miss my trip to Manchester this weekend for anything. So here I am, nestled cosily in the back bedroom at a friend's house with her cat Lula wandering in and out looking for someone to make a fuss of her. Having visited local pub the Pack Horse on Friday night, yesterday I woke up to the pleasant sound of birds singing in the trees outside.
Introducing... Lula and her pet human, Nellie
Didsbury bound, we attended a vintage dinner party last night. Hosted at a friend of a friend's, the evening was complemented with a full cocktail service, handmade sushi rolls and dancing. The gentlemen arrived in debonair 'The Talented Mr Ripley' style blazers, cravats and boating shoes, whilst the ladies resembled starlets from the '40s and '50s. Mancunians certainly rise to the occasion!

With my feet firmly back in the present, I can now look forward to a four day working week next week and being reunited with all my home comforts.

Vintage inspired shenanigans in Didsbury, Manchester

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Checking-in: Perth, Scotland

Been in bonny wee Scotland this week, I did a speedy one day return trip for a meeting in sunny Perth. Catching a glimpse of the rolling hills, wild horses and deep blue lochs between Edinburgh and Perth was really uplifting. I also managed to rustle up two more crocheted granny squares on the flight home.

Have you ever noticed that many Scots have surnames that are colours such as White, Black, Green etc? These originate from the coloured fabrics produced by the local textiles industry there many years ago. Of course Scottish designers continue to send ripples through the fashion and textile worlds today, with Louise Gray's collection creating a stir at London fashion week in February.

Here's a piccie of my deluxe airport lunch taken in Giraffe at Heathrow's glossy terminal five. It's granola with yoghurt, honey and fruit - what a great way to start the day!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Finished Object: Knitted iPhone Cover

As my marathon effort to make a crochet blanket continues in the background, I thought I'd reveal how my iphone cover ended up. And here it is! My iphone and earphones fit snugly inside and I've wrapped the knitted square around one side again to form a separate pocket for the earphones, preventing the handset from getting scratched.

It's my first finished object completed using an acrylic mix yarn - Patons Beehive soft blend four ply, colour 02 (jade green). I originally intended to button it closed but, not wishing to 'guild the lilly', I think I like it as it is. As you can see, I chose to stitch it with the wrong side facing out to give it a less predictable look. Ad-libbing, this is my own design, not even a design really; I just adapted a practise square I knitted last year, et voila, an iphone cosy!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Shape Shifters

More woolly adventures! Not much news today, so just a quicky. Here are the latest crochet granny squares I've made. I will eventually sew them all together and - hey presto - produce a blanket.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Head in the Clouds

It's Friday so I'm on the crest of happiness today, particularly as I've had a hideous amount of work to do this week. Time to book a summer holiday me thinks...

Great minds think alike as they say and when I was looking at Penny's blog last week I immediately recognised a piccie of an amigurumi weather baby mobile I'd earmarked to make this year. It's a pattern from a book (or at least that's where I originally spotted it) but gaining confidence week by week, I thought I'd have a go at hooking it 'sans pattern'. What do you think? Attracted to the cheerful and dinky little weather symbols, this project really made me smile. It's by Baxter's Rest.
As ever, when I'm not at work I often have my head in the clouds and long for the day when I can dedicate more time to my blog, as well as befriending more like-minded bloggers. Sorry to those of you whose blogs I normally visit and comment on, my email address has now been attached to a new site so isn't allowing me to leave comments until I get it sorted. You'll see why in a few weeks!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Evolution of the Granny Square

I was going to show you my first few granny squares with these but then thought better of it; they were so misshaped it's embarrassing! I changed my mind back again and decided to put squares together for a blanket rather than spiralling round after all. I'm not sure whether these two will get used yet as they're not perfect and I would imagine I will have produced some even better ones by the time I've finished.

By rough calculation I've estimated I'll need approximately 24 squares to make a very small blanket. At the moment it takes me an hour to make one square but I believe accomplished crocheters can make them in half the time. With this in mind, hopefully I'll have a blanket finished sometime next month.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Nest in Crouch End, Glasto... and my New Camera

Purely by accident I just came across Amy from Nest's responses to my recent crafty Q&A and here they are! I'm with you on Glasto Amy, but it's not returning until 2013 so that's plenty of time to buy some new wellies and a tent in preparation!

Still in my final year of school, I first made my way across the country to the legendary Glastonbury music festival 21 years ago. In January, I decided I was due another visit so have decided to try for tickets again for next year. I sincerely hope the magic's still there, as a young teenager, visiting Glastonbury was the highlight of my summer and I was in my element there, enjoying my favourite bands performing live on an outside stage and meandering through the fields gazing at the exotic food and second-hand clothing stalls and watching the circus of colourful characters who passed before me.  I am definitely regressing to my teenhood these days, I don't want to get any older than I am now, just gradually younger instead!

Tonight, with tape measure in hand, I will be sizing up my reclaimed black footstool to establish just how much fabric I'll need to re-cover it. As Amy reliably informs me, the Nest team will shortly be ordering a bijou collection of lovely fabrics for their Crouch End knitting shop. I'm sure that they will not disappoint! I'll also be playing around with my new Nikon Coolpix camera. Thanks to Anna and Josephine who kindly suggested some other quality point and shoots but I decided to stick with the Coolpix. So far I've been impressed with the visual quality of the video feature but haven't established whether I can adjust the volume on it or whether it's fixed at one level. The picture quality is ok, I'm not bowled over, but as I've only taken about 10 snaps, the jury is still out on that one. Will keep you posted!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Afghan Hound

To my surprise, for the Commuter Crochet Challenge I completed two granny squares going to from work on a packed commuter train this week. It is not something I plan to repeat as it's a struggle to even get a seat on the train and even if you do, you barely have any elbow room for 'hooking'.

This afternoon I frogged the granny squares as I've decided that rather than make lots of itty bitty squares, I will instead just keep spiralling round to make a huge multi coloured rainbow blanket/ afghan. The plan is to change colours on each row and blend the colours from light in the centre, to dark around the edge. I'm calling this post Afghan Hound as I think this project will take me a while!

So what else has been happening? Well, spring has most definitely sprung now so yesterday hubby and I enjoyed a lovely evening in Brighton. If you've never had the pleasure of visiting Brighton yourself it's arguably the UK's most fashionable seaside town and has a kind of arty bohemian vibe. It's also a melting pot of youth sub cultures and was a popular haunt for Mods on Vespa scooters in the 1960s. If you're visiting the UK from overseas any time soon I recommend you visit Brighton, it's less than an hour from London and is very cool. True to form, Amazon promptly delivered my new Nikon point and shoot within two days and I managed to pap this crimson vision - the sun setting behind the Victorian pier that once was.

For the record, the other pier (not pictured but located behind me when I took this photo) remains a big attraction in Brighton; a hive of activity, it was teaming with visitors on Saturday.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The day I saw the Queen

We all slog away at work, minding our own business. We keep our head down, smile, show willing and try not to complain too much when things aren't so great.

Well you wouldn't believe my surprise when I was taken into a room at work last week and was informed that 'the Palace' had been in touch and had asked: could we organise some transport for the Queen, Prince Phillip and Kate so that they could get to the next destination on their UK Jubilee Tour?

The mood in the room instantly brightened and after exchanging a few animated exchanges with my colleague, we got to work, planning the brief but momentous occasion.

Fast forward to 10.10 this morning. I'm standing by a customer information desk, waiting pensively. The sky is clear and bright but my feet are very cold from standing outside for an hour.

I glance over, I see the Queen emerging on an escalator. She is quite dinky and is wearing a vibrant fuchsia skirt suit and a tall, wide hat. Small but mighty is our Majesty, I think to myself. I am ecstatic. I start gasping, this is brilliant!

I scurry off to signal to my colleagues that she's coming. They're all beaming.

Flanked by two plain clothes policemen, she approaches, with Prince Phillip, Kate and a small entourage in tow. I'm just standing out of the way, grinning.

Kate is even taller than I imagined and is as striking as any top model. Today she is impeccably dressed in a slim fitting teal two piece (L.K. Bennett), black heels and a hat. Must wear hats more often me thinks. She's very slim and as you'd expect, well groomed. It would be impossible to ignore this lady in any room or setting.

And Prince Phillip? He just looks like he's really enjoying himself. They all go inside and sit down ready to depart and so sadly for me it's all over.

How do I feel now? Well I'm completely hooked on them! As I live in London I've met quite a few celebrities but the Royal Family are on another level entirely. I'd love to have spoken to them today but everything happened in the space of five minutes and also I had to behave professionally.

We know very little about the Queen's interests and personality. Does the Queen ever knit I wonder? What does she like on the telly?

Today's encounter has renewed my love of crown motifs and my fondness of the English sense of humour, our eccentricity and individuality. For this reason I will forge on with my knitting and crochet ramblings. It's a bit mad, but somehow, I think I've found my calling.

The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge pictured later on today.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Commuter Crochet Challenge

How can I put my new crochet skills to the test by better using my already packed diary of living and working? I came up with the idea of the Commuter Crochet Challenge yesterday and thought I'd have a go and see just how many crochet squares I can make travelling to and from work on a packed London commuter train this week. Bear in mind that usually on the morning train I often only get a seat for half or less of my 30 minute journey. It's a tough call!

Where did I get such divine inspiration? Well, a few weeks ago I heard about a man who finds a space on his commuter train each morning and embarks on a full yoga workout. That would be impressive to watch wouldn't it? I'd love to have seen him, I'm sure his fellow commuters have been equally inspired, slash, bemused. Compared to that, hooking a few crochet squares should be a cinch! Realistically as its pretty much standing room only, I think I'll only manage one or two crochet granny squares but here goes anyway...

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Practise makes Perfect

On the advice of blogger Ericht from Crochet Empire, I've decided to get back to basics this weekend and crochet a number of granny squares from the same Crochet Geek pattern I used previously. I've completed two already and although they're no 'lookers', I'm gradually improving and getting faster. I'm hoping that by the time I've made five or six they look neater, and that crocheting them will become second nature.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A Very Simple Exercise - Questions & Answers

I have been tagged into this ‘very simple exercise’ by Whispers in the Night Sky blogger Berni Kellett. Here are my answers to her questions...

1. If you could change just one thing about your life what would it be?

Buy a home by the sea

2. What is your favourite season?

Summer. I. LOVE. SUMMER!

3.Who is your favourite author?

I don't have one

4. Which is your favourite style of shoe?

Glam flip flops

5. What is your favourite precious metal?

Can I say silver and gold together?!

6. What was your best subject at school?

Drama (I was always showing off: dancing, making jokes and singing)

7. Did you have any hobbies as a child?

Yes, designing outfits, playing with My Little Ponies and modern ballet

8. What is your favourite beauty treatment?

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm

9. Are you a jeans or leggings person?

Meh! It's a tie between them both

10. What genre of films do you like?

Horror, foreign, anything thought provoking

11. Do you prefer long hair or short?

Long, but not creepy long

12. What would be your ideal job?

Being commissioned to make my own knitwear designs

For the next part of the challenge I  have to dream up 12 questions to ask a further 12 other bloggers. The bloggers I've chosen include: Alice of Crochet with Raymond, Allison of Crafty is Cool, Amy from Nest, Anna of Anna's Creative Corner, Beki of Being Beki, Brie of Roman Sock, Julie of Knitted Bliss, Frances of Spontaneous JoyMemeRose, Anna of Mochimochiland, Momtaz of Cos I Like Making Stuff and Penny of Planet Penny.  My questions to them are as follows:

1. How old were you when you first started knitting/crocheting?

2. What is the best thing you've ever made?

3. Choose: Cats or dogs?

4. What's your dream holiday destination and why?

5. What's your #1 tip for beginner bloggers?

6. In life, who is your biggest inspiration? 

7. Are you going to any music festivals this year, if so which ones?

8. What inspires you most when knitting or crocheting?

9. Choose: City or country?

10. Choose: Shoes or handbags?

11. What's your favourite dessert?

12. What's your best tried and tested recipe?

Monday, 27 February 2012

Sew in... Upcycling Homeware

Bit of an 'aspirational' one from the Post Mistress today! Ahem... what I actually mean is I haven't actually made anything for a few days but as ever, I have lots of ideas brewing. First off, I have a dearly loved blue marble effect cushion I bought back in the 1980s and noticed on Sunday that sadly, the corners are now frayed and the piping is looking worn. These days, I hate throwing quality textiles away so as the cushion pad inside is still in near perfect condition, I have decided to get my beautiful new sewing machine out and re-cover it. I can even re-use the zip on the existing cover as it's still in perfect working order. It goes to show, if you invest in quality items, with a bit of ingenuity, they can last a lifetime.

Old cushion from the '80s with scuffed edges and frayed piping
Another idea I had was to recreate something similar to the vintage style round velvet cushion my grandmother used to have. As I remember, it had a panel that went around the edge which was about 2 inches wide and the front panel gathered in under a central fabric covered button. I'd really like to incorporate some fabric from my old thick cotton Paul's Boutique bag into the new cushion as I love the day-glo paisley flowers, but I will need to buy another complimentary fabric to go with it as there won't quite be enough. Scouring the net, I've managed to find a free pattern on how to sew a flat drum shaped round cushion, so watch this space!

Tatty oversized Paul's Boutique bag in neon with cream background
And finally, a habitual magpie, my husband rescued this footstool when a neighbour was throwing it out and I immediately spotted its potential. IKEA offers a wide selection of fabrics with cheerful modern prints and I will almost certainly breathe new life into this footstool by re-covering it in one of IKEA's colourful materials.

Reclaimed footstool with leatherette cover, ripe for a makeover

The reclaimed footstool with its cover removed

Lilac John Lewis sewing machine, isn't she beautiful!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

What's the Best Camera for Bloggers?

Lights. Camera. Action! As part of my ongoing bid to improve my blog, I've been saving up for a new camera. I've had a Rebel 2000 Canon SLR for many years, which served me well but getting hold of films these days is so difficult I've decided it's time to make the switch to digital. As I already have my SLR for 'proper photography', I basically need an inexpensive and competent point and shoot that's light enough to carry around in my handbag.

Although I take any customer review with a pinch of salt, I do read Amazon reviews a lot and these played a big part in my decision to purchase the Nikon Coolpix S8200 Digital Camera. Check it out!

It looks quite plain but apparently takes good pictures and even has a video function - perfect if I decide to film my own free knitting tutorials or do some vlogging (video blogging). Joy!

I haven't made the purchase yet but pay day is fast approaching so if anyone has tried this camera or knows of another one suitable for bloggers that they'd like to recommend, do leave a comment.  

Thursday, 23 February 2012

How to Knit an iPhone Cover

Hello one and all! I have something in the pipeline to show you; it's a knitted iPhone pouch. I just need to reassemble my sewing machine to put a label on it and it's all complete!

As I've been up since 6am with only four hours sleep, I decided to forego my gym class this evening and have melted into the sofa instead.

I don't know whether I told you but I live in a flat. We are having a few problems with the property management company which is a source of huge frustration. It's got to the point where I'm so irritated by them, I can't even bare to look at them. Oh dear.

I guess I'll just have to knit my way back to serenity. Just a few rows and I'll be at peace again!

London Fashion Week 17-22 February

I couldn't let London Fashion Week pass me by without so much as a mention! Why? Well, because whether we want to admit it or not, what's on the catwalk will filter down to the high street and influence what we wear and make to a greater or lesser extent. Having just excitedly scoured coverage on the collections, I am able to bring you my snapshot of Autumn/Winter 2012 knitwear highlights. Visions in wool, these garments are by established fashion houses and headline grabbing newcomers alike. A guaranteed mood lifter, there was quite a lot of fiery burnt orange around, particularly from Matthew Williamson.

Here's my quick and dirty...


Holly Fulton

Pringle of Scotland

If you followed the London Fashion Week coverage yourself and spotted something worthy of a mention, leave a comment including a link to the picture and I'll publish it.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

My First Crocheted Granny Square

So here it is, my first crocheted granny square! I've completed the first three rounds and it's a little untidy, but the basic shape is there. Remember to check my previous post for the Crochet Geek free pattern YouTube clip if you would like to learn how to crochet one yourself. Hopefully one day, I'll be able to create something as nice as the finished objects featured on Meme Rose and Planet Penny's blog spots...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Baby Blanket Goes Under Cover

My second ever knitting project, you may have caught sight of this in my finished object coffee cosy post last week. As I created this zigzag baby blanket before I started the blog, I felt it was a shame not to give it a mention. Although due to its size it took me a while to knit, I was pretty pleased with the result at the time, so much so, I couldn't face giving it away. The purple, cream, grey and light blue colourway really works, don't you think?

Missoni Resort 2012 collection, image from
I've also always been a fan of the distinctive zigzag pattern Italian fashion house Missoni so often incorporates into its range. Even as a super novice at the time, I got on ok with this pattern and would definitely knit another one.
Special thanks to Debbie Orr for providing such a lovely free knitting pattern via Ravelry. I used Debbie Bliss double knitting yarns for the blanket, the sea grass chest is from John Lewis and I picked up the cowhide rug many years ago in Sydney, Australia.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentines Day

It's actually my birthday today so I never really do the whole set meal with partner thing as I think it's a bit tacky. Besides, I believe people should celebrate their love every day, not just because they feel obligated to.

My best pal baked me these glam biscuits - shoe shaped with a purple glaze! They taste of gingerbread and remind me of the yummy specialist German ginger biscuits you can buy. She also bought me this fabulous book called Shadowfolds. It basically contains tutorials on how to make eye catching homeware and accessories with origami style folded fabric. There are patterns for lampshades, cushion covers, neck ties and more. I can't wait to have a go!

Monday, 13 February 2012

How to Crochet a Granny Square

Juggling my new job with seeing friends and all the usual stuff, I finally managed to snatch an hour yesterday to attempt some proper crochet. I really wanted to have a go at a gorgeous hexagon three round pattern I found online but couldn't find the exact same pattern as a You Tube tutorial. Instead, I had a stab at a basic crochet granny square. Using the video clip from Crochet Geek (see right), I got through the first round in just a few minutes. It's not quite right yet but I know that after a couple more attempts I will confidently have cracked it. Of course, mastering simple granny squares and crocheted hexagons will mean I can learn how to produce crocheted afghans, blankets and much more. You only have to look at my Meme Rose kaleidoscope blanket post to see just how far you can go with this simple crocheted block.  
Here's my humble first attempt at a crochet granny square

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Essential Amigurumi How to - Making Arms and Legs

From time to time you come across some real gems when travelling through the twittersphere. Yesterday I spotted a tweet from Erich containing a link to their helpful blog post on making amigurumi toys. Joining limbs and other body parts to knitted or crocheted toys can be tricky the first few times; it may sound obvious to seasoned knitters and crocheters, but pinning limbs in place before stitching them on is also essential for getting that rounded shape where the limb meets the body. Rosie here (see below) was my first knitting project. I had trouble putting her legs on evenly; however, I still adore her! I intend to check Erich's blog more regularly as I found the way they pinpointed and addressed a specific crochet technique like this really handy.

At time of posting, the Roman Sock blog which I featured in my top 10 crochet sites list last week  published a useful video tutorial on amigurumi tips. Video clips are so accessible and have helped me with many techniques since I started knitting. Check it out, Brie knows what she's talking about.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

How to Knit a Coffee Cosy...

...and a lesson in knitting pattern design.

I could present you with near perfect pieces every week without giving you an insight into my learning curve, but that just wouldn’t be an honest account of my experience. I’ve also always believed it's ok to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them!

Finally I have completed my cafetière cosy. Et voila!

However, I have mixed feelings about it. Delighted with the bobble texture of the main body, I love the navy Rowan and white Debbie Bliss yarns and pretty crocheted bows with mother of pearl effect buttons. What I'm disappointed with is the fit.

The first proper object I've made without a pattern, this knitted coffee cosy has taught me an important lesson in pattern making. Even though I carefully measured the coffee press, somehow the knitting increased slightly when I pressed it and the finished object is now slightly too deep for the cafetière. It seems a shame to unpick it, so other than finding a larger coffee press, my options are to i) leave it as it is ii) add extra ties at the side to pull in the slack iii) somehow sew down the slack as a pleat. Any suggestions?

My view is that adding an extra tie to the sides would be too much and the item is too bulky to sew horizontally across the middle. I will keep this project at the back of my mind and troubleshoot it. However, even though it didn't turn out exactly as I expected, it's really helped me think about structure and planning. If I was to make another coffee cosy I would reduce it by an inch in depth to allow the yarn to spread when it’s pressed. I would also look again at where the ties go and ensure the cosy sits more neatly under the spout.

Best of the Rest
If you’re a coffee lover and fancy making your
cafetière its own little jacket, check out these highly covetable creations from Frankie Brown.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Miffy's New Home

Do you remember the amigurumi rabbit I crocheted at the end of last year? Well, he's apparently very settled in his new home now. I sent him across London to blogger pal Anna for her son Luke and they are now firm friends! Check out her lovely post here.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Seaside Escape

I've just enjoyed a blissful weekend in Bournemouth, staying at the sumptuous Green House Hotel which I thoroughly recommend. As an eco hotel, many of its furnishings are locally sourced, as well as the food and beverages in the restaurant and bar.
The weather has been 'fresh' to say the least but the bright mornings, delicious hotel breakfasts and  exhilarating walks along the beach have certainly added warmth and colour.

I've hardly had a moment to knit. However, because I wasn't happy with where I'd placed them and because their edges weren't very even, I unpicked the ties on the coffee cosy on Friday. I've since knitted them in white and will finish the cosy off next week and do a 'big reveal' of the finished object.