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?