Sunday, 30 January 2011

Shh, It's a secret.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day off on Friday. As I hoped, I got a few little things finished off and knitted some more of Freya's latest creation. I also scooted out to the yarn shop and bought some red and green. Nothing spectacular, just man made fibers at £0.50 a ball. See I'd spotted something in my knitting magazine and had a plan. It only took a couple of hours to whip up an apple cosy!
Tony always takes a lunch box to work, with a sandwich and some fruit. His Valentines day lunch box always contains an extra little surprise, a chocolate heart or something similar. This year I'll dress up his apple. LOL Shh, for now it's all hidden away in my drawer. ;-)
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For those in the know, this is day 596. There is quite a list forming here, lots of little slips of paper to be made.
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I have ham and leek soup bubbling away on the stove, yummmmmm. I'm off to stir that then do a little boring household sewing before I head off to work.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Sock Frustrations.

A while ago, before Christmas I purchased some DPNs and some sock yarn, all those beautiful yarns cried out to me and I was so determined to knit some socks. Well I tried and tried and huffed at failure, how do they do it? I watched videos on Youtube and read countless tutorials and still made a birds nest! Somewhere amid all the frustration I came across socks knitted on looms, I recalled happily hooking away on my old dolly bobbin (One of my grans old wooden cotton reels, I still have it.) and I thought to myself, well that's easy, I can do that, I can knit socks after all. I went shopping and this book called out to me. I found it on Amazon with a look inside this book application, so I looked inside this book.
All those socks, all that advice all those pretty yarns, my clicky finger got busy and the book was on it's way to me. :-)
When it got here I flickered through it quickly before running out the door to work. Oh! I love those, Ooo, I must do these, yum look at that yarn, where can I buy that? That was all I had time to do for a few days, but each time I flicked, I drooled. So, the other day I was exhausted when I got in from work, I really couldn't be bothered doing anything, not even Freya's knitting, so I curled up with my new book and started to read. The author explains everything, from start to finish, working toe up or working down. There are patterns for all manner of sizes, ribbed and lacy socks. I could see me having hours of fun with this book. So aside from all these yummy yarns, what else do I need? An extra fine gauge sock loom. Did you ever try to find one of those in Britain? I wondered if anyone one else had been having similar frustrations, so I went back to Amazon to have a look at the reviews. Yep!! There is a lesson here. Next time I buy a crafty book from Amazon I'll be reading reviews before getting clicky! I'll have to wait quite a while for my extra fine gauge wondersock loom to come directly from the manufacturer. There WILL be loom knitted socks in my future.
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As you know my Hunney Tony has finally finished his degree. In April we'll be off to Harrogate for his capping ceremony. We decided to make a little break out of it and will be staying for a whole week. Anybody live nearby? Want to meet? Tell me where to shop and what to see. We'll do the Museum, he wants to go to the baths and we've agreed to take a train ride day trip to Whitby, all good stuff, but I'm not going all that way without visiting a crafty shop or two, maybe I'll find some sock yarn! ROTF
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Thanks for all the comments on yesterdays post. I think I'll take your advice and just keep on blethering about what ever comes to mind on the day. If you missed yesterdays post, look here for news about a couple of give aways for my regulars. Oh yes, this is post 595. :-)
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Today I have a whole day off! I have a few things I want to finish up and then I'll curl up somewhere with David Attenborough (You know what I mean!) and work a little on Freya's latest.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

594

You'd better grab a cuppa, it seems I have lots to say today. My kettle just boiled, I'll meet you back here! LOL
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594? I'll get back to that later. Look, I finished yet another neutral cardigan for baby Freya.
It's the last one, now I get to play with some colour. Look at the buttons I found though, don't they look like toffee or fudge or something equally sweet and tasty.
They've been in my button tin for years, I really don't remember where I acquired them, but they do look a treat on this little cardigan. It's knitted using a Merino blend, what else?
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This one unfortunately is not a merino blend. It's not a very good picture either, no matter what I do, this one just doesn't want to come out right. This is an Aran weight yarn and is a blend of natural and synthetic fibres. I'm just about to start decreasing for the arm holes on the back. The cable is supposed to have bobbles in the flat area, but I don't put them onto the backs of baby garments, I will add them to the fronts and sleeves though.
Here's a better look at the yarn colour, isn't it pretty?
I'm still enjoying the relatively quick finishes achieved with baby knits, but I'm sure I'll get fed up at some point and have been planning quilts and returns to UFOs. A baby girl is all it took to get me thinking about my Butterfly Fling Jelly Roll UFO. (I have blogged about it somewhere if you want to go hunting) I dug out the box the other day, maybe I'll do some work on it sometime soon. LOL
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594? We're getting very close to 600 blog posts. That sounds like a good place to have a give away. My opportunity to send a gift to one of my regular readers. In fact I'll send one gift each to two regular readers I've had quite a few suggestions of names for this quilt, some of which I really like, LOL. I keep changing my mind. I think what I'll do is put all of your names into a hat and bribe one of my boys in to drawing a name out. So that's one gift taken care of, what about the second one? Every comment from a regular reader between now and post 600 will have a place in a second draw. (Only one comment per person per post please! Don't want you getting accused of spamming. Oh and you don't have to 'follow' me or advertise all over your own blogs either.) So if you comment on each post...594, 595, 596, 597, 598 and 599 you could have six tickets in the draw. Wow! In post 600 I'll announce the winners for both draws. No time limits, I'll just post when I post, but I will help with a countdown or reminders or something.
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Still with me? I said you'd need a cuppa.
I've been thinking about how to get a little more structure to my blog. I've seen 'Design wall Mondays' and 'Wordless Wednesdays'. But I don't have a design wall and I'm a chatterbox! I can't really post every day because some days I really have nothing to show or talk about. Would you like to see more random stuff, walks or home pictures or should I stick to my crafts? Because of confidentiality issues I really can't say or show much about my work. Today's entry into the draw could be a comment about what it is you like or would like to see/read on my blog.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Burns Night

Last night my Sunday dinner was a wee bit different. You may know that it's Burns Night tomorrow. (Tuesday) There is more than a little Scots blood running in my veins, so a celebration was in order. Due to work and life's commitments, we decided to celebrate Burns night a little early with our own Burns Supper.


For those who need to know, here's what goes in to a traditional Haggis.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

It's a Girl.

Our pregnant friends have finally popped. Freya Lily came into the world on Tuesday at 9.15 am after a 20 hour labour. Phew!
So now Aunty Loulee gets to knit in PINK.
After she finishes the current project that is. This little cardigan with a moss stitch panel won't take long.
Of course there are several other neutral coloured garments already waiting to go to their new owner.
As well as a quilt and a blanket. I did make another blanket, but it has a lot of blue in it, I'm undecided about giving that one to a girl.
I found this beautiful yellow fleece blanket a couple of weeks ago and added it to the pile.
It was just too soft a pretty to leave behind.
And as Freya's parents keep sheep, a pair of sheep shoes had to be found. My hunney found these on EBay. :-)
I did consider knitting my own, but these were just too cute.
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I had a day out with Mum yesterday, we went hunting for pink wool. What else? As you see I found only one which met my specifications, all the other pink yarns I found had very high manmade fibre content. I think I'll be shopping online for something else girly.
I start work at 3 today, so after a whizz around with the vacuum I'll be putting on one of my wildlife DVDs and knitting the day away.
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Did you go here yet? To help me find a name for my latest quilt.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Productivity and a yummy package.

As I hoped, I spent practically the whole day up in my sewing room yesterday. I got a little more tidying up done then got stuck into some more of mums projects. First up I quilted this little cushion sized panel. Then made it into a simple envelope style cover. There is just a tiny bit of hand stitching left to do.
Next up I made two Cheetah panels into a bolster cover.
I didn't quilt them, just left them flat. I also had to make a pad to go inside it. This too just requires a few hand sewn stitches.
Hopefully I'll have time to get another of the larger projects completed before Mums birthday on 1st of Feb.
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When I got home from work today a Fat Quarter Shop sized parcel was sat upon my stair waiting for me. Look!! I was so excited. A whole fat quarter bundle of Buttercup, by Fig Tree Quilts, well who else would it be? You know I'm a sucker for that stuff.
There will be a new collection available soon too. Strawberry Fields.
I'm off to play with and stroke my new fabrics for a while.
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Don't forget to look here, you might be able to help me name my latest quilt. Something else I did yesterday was to make a start on a little something to says thanks for helping out with that.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Yumminess.

Remember when I had a tidy up and a sort out? I made that big pile of magazines for getting rid of? Well I had three takers. Thank you ladies. :-)
One was a colleague and two of my blog readers offered swaps in return for a few copies. Anne offered one of her 'whatevers' in return for her share of the booty and it just arrived today. So pretty. :-)
Thank you Anne. I know just the place for it.
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Don't forget to have a look at this post so that you can suggest a name for the 'shirt quilt'. It really does deserve a better name than that! If I chose your suggestion for a name, I'll be sending one of my little 'whatevers' to you.
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It's my day off today and I'm playing in my sewing room.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The quilt with no name.

This afternoon I found time to bury the quilting threads and attach the binding to the shirt quilt. (I really don't know what to call it!) Because I completed the binding using my sewing machine rather than by hand, I didn't get to give it the first snuggle test. Someone else did. LOL

This quilt has proved difficult to photograph. I've tried all different lights, from room lights, to the daylight lamp, from natural sunshine, to dull cloudy days like today and I still didn't get a true representation of the colours. Suffice to say it's quite pale and will probably require frequent visits to the laundry basket.
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As I mentioned before I really haven't come up with a suitable name for this one, but I don't really want to call it the shirt quilt forever. I need your help to name it please. If I use one of your suggestions I'm sure I'll be able to reward whoever came up with the winning name.
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I'm off to veg out for an hour before starting dinner.

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Edit........

I forgot to say, this quilt is directly inspired by Bonnie Hunters quilt 'Smokey Mountain Stars'. Thanks for the elbow in the ribs Leeann. :-)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

I washed the kitchen floor.......

And you know what that means.....
Yep, I get to crawl around on the floor for a while. :-(
But then I get to quilt and bind and label and .........
But first I'm going to have a cuppa.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Wildlife.

We've been getting some regular visitors where I work recently.
One of the service users has been feeding the birds. It's not just black birds and finches who are coming to visit though. We also have some more exotic varieties calling in for a feed. Today I counted 3 male pheasants and a juvenile male. There were about a dozen female pheasants, a few Quail. There were also the usual black birds and seemingly hundreds of finches, including Bull finches, green finch chaffinch blue tits, a flight of collared doves took off before I could get their picture.
I took these photos today with my cell phone, so not the greatest images.
There are two big male pheasants up in the willow tree. They are kind of hard to see, but they are there I assure you. LOL
The person who feeds them scatters seed by the fence and the birds like to shelter in the hedge line.
It's quite a nice garden, but the moment you try to get outside to take a picture....

Poof! They're gone. The pictures should be clicky so you can get a closer look.
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No sewing, just work, work, work and a few rows of knitting. I finished that scarf I was working on and cast on for a hat. In my shuffling around of furniture, I've hopefully got myself set up to do some cross stitching this year. I did do a little last year, and hope to do more this year.
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Curried left overs for tea, quick and easy. :-)

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Elephants.

On Christmas day my Mum went to my brothers place for her dinner. So on Christmas Eve, she was here with us, we had a house full. I cooked a special dinner for everyone. Mini Beef Wellingtons, my first time, and they were beautiful, I'll definitely be doing those again. So who was here, well, mum of course, Jonny and Joe, Jonnys GF Beth, our friends Mike and Anne and our neighbour John. Full house. Because we wouldn't see Mum and Beth on the big day we did gifts, including the Elephant Quilt.
This is as close as you get to a picture of the finished quilt! It's actually a duvet cover, I quilted it as normal, then added a second lose back with the binding. Mum, as you can see is happy with it. I've told her I will need it back though as I didn't get time to add a label. I'd better get on and finish another of the many pieces she has queued up first.
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My flights are booked already to go to the Quilt Festival in Birmingham. Mum and I will be there on Thursday August 11th. Yes mum enjoyed herself and wants to go back again, but I've told her she is not allowed to do any shopping! LOL
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Speaking of shopping, supermarket here I come, then the rest of the day is mine.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Housekeeping.

The Christmas decorations are all down and packed away in their boxes. The furniture has been reshuffled, some back to it's original spot, some to a new spot. Even the quilts got a shufty about. Once the advent came down off the staircase, this took it's place.
The butterflies which usually hang on the stair are in the sitting room, where this beauty was hanging last year. So far, no one has noticed.....
The house got a good clean up and I even managed to dig out my sewing room. I have a floor in there and I can get at my desk and the sewing machine. Now I need to find something to sew. In a room full of fabric and works in progress I'm spoiled for choice. I really should get on with some more of mums projects, maybe I could get something finished for her birthday. February 1st?
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While I was up there I had a dig through my huge pile of magazines. I was ruthless and only kept a few. They have projects which for me are 'MUST DO's'. I've been very good and put all the 'would like to do's' and 'maybe one days' into this pile here.
Is anybody missing an issue of Australian Homespun or patchwork and quilting? I'm happy to mail one or two, to where ever, even back to Aus if you like! LOL.
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Not content with sorting the house, I got stuck into the laptop too. I've had a tidy up of my documents and emails. I've been through my favorites and updated my blog list. And all of that without a day off work! Speaking of work, I've been looking at the new rota, this new team leader of ours is pretty good. I seem to have a share of late shifts, something the old team leader never managed was to share out the late shifts. Yes, I'll continue to look for another job. It's disheartening to keep coming second best. Every interview I have I've been told I'm the runner up. The last gentleman who had to tell me that was very sympathetic and said that he couldn't give me any negative feedback, I was simply pipped at the post by someone who had more experience. This is my year, I will find another job.


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Just for Gina.

Gina recently posted some images on her blog of a few items made by Pam Kellogg. As some of you know, I love Pam's work and own a few pieces, mostly bags. I also have two Christmas ornaments and thought I'd show them off again.
The blue one is of course hanging on the blue tree and the red one on the red tree!
Not the greatest of pictures, sorry, it's a very overcast day today and no matter what I try.....
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I'm off to find my boxes and tissue paper, it's time to take the trees down and put them away.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

More handmade loveliness

I think I've mentioned before that I have a pen pal in Australia. She's not a blogger, she doesn't even have a puter. We've been writing to each other via snail mail for about 18 years now. Each year we do hand made gifts for each other. I made the Cadburys purple knitted bag for her and sent some of my tree decorations and a couple of purchased items. Here's what Maxine sent to me. A lovely blue work bag. This picture doesn't show how big it is! There is room, plenty of room for two of those big biscuit tins, you know the ones, with two layers of goodies? It has long handles and lots of pockets all around the outside.
Unfortunately it's a wee bit on the floppy side, but I think I have a plastic basket I could sit inside it, I'll have to experiment....for the photo it had two biscuit tins in it. Well how do you think I measured it? LOL
Maxine also made me these lovely red coasters/ mug rugs.
They can each take their turn on the table beside my knitting chair.
Also for use beside my chair, a little scrap baggie and a needle book.
Maxine had fussy cut the sides of the bag.
Cool huh?
Well I'm home from work, got my shoes off and had a cuppa, time now to cook the roast chook.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

SSCS Revealed

My SSCS partner was Vickie. She has a whole section on her blog detailing her likes and dislikes. LOL That made life a little easier I can say. In fact, that is what inspired me to state on one of my own posts at the time, that I love blue. Hmm, perhaps I should add a little more detail to my profile. Anyway, on with the show. I know Chooky has some posts all prepared with images of all the gifts we have sent, but here is what I gifted to Vickie.
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I showed off a few of these little tree ornaments, and sent several as gifts to friends and family.
I had fun playing in the button tin looking for just the right buttons to be the trunk of the tree or a bucket at the bottom. I saved one for my own tree too.
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As Vickie's main gift I made the 'Baseco' bag designed by Dawn Hay. Vickie said that she loves pink, rather than go entirely pink I purchased a fat quarter pack and a little extra green yardage of a range called Grand mothers garden. Isn't it so pretty? I had fun playing about with more buttons and some silk roses.
Rather than pinch the sides together with cotton tape I used a pretty pink ribbon which I rescued and reused off some packaging, it was just too nice to throw away, even if it does have writing on the other side.
I went with the less is more theory of quilting and stuck to some very simple straight line in the ditch quilting.
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Tucked inside the bag were a few little extras which I made from off cuts of the same fabric. This little case holds pink scissors and a tiny needle book, but I forgot to photograph them.
I covered an appointment diary
And made a pear pin cushion. These pears are fast becoming my signature, I've made several now for swaps and giveaways.
I do enjoy making them, they are so versatile and look a little different each time. The fairies are gifts from Christmases past. I especially like the sewing fairy, she was a gift from a service user.
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I do hope every one had a wonderful Christmas. I certainly did. I was spoiled rotten and even managed to get two days off work. Christmas Eve and Christmas day. :-) I was surrounded by family and friends on both days and loved having everyone in my home. Although I wasn't at work on New Years Eve I was on call, so we had a quiet evening at home and watched the London fireworks on the TV. I wish each and every one of you and very prosperous and happy new year, may 2011 bring peace and joy to all.
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We have a new rota at work which begins on Monday, I'm not sure how that is going to affect my sewing time, we'll have to wait and see. LOL I'll have to find my sewing room anyway, it became a bedroom/dumping room over Christmas. I see a major tidy up in my near future.