Sunday, 24 March 2013

A Woolly Hibernation

Yes, forget the last post entitled 'Sunshine!' as I haven't seen any since! In fact, it's reverted back to the depths of winter again. Luckily, we have missed another round of the white stuff where we are on the coast, but it still has been bitter. Just realised I'm talking about the weather already... but I am English after all! The sun must have peeped out one little bit in the last 3 weeks, as I managed to get in the garden with the Little Lady and play around with my camera. I absolutely love Spring flowers, and was excited to see the first of the bulbs in full bloom. I took the opportunity whilst the sun made an appearance to admire the beautiful crocuses, and snapped a couple of pictures. After getting the focus just right, I was amazed to see the level of detail in those tiny flowers - they are so lovely! Little P was suitably impressed with them too, before kicking a football on them and trampling them a bit!

It's been a funny few weeks, with not much time for sitting down and doing, well... this, writing. Little P has been full of beans and keeping me busy - she is really coming out of her shell now and is quite the entertainer it seems. I have also been squeezing in the crochet when she has gone to bed in the evenings.
My main 'make' lately has been a kind of changing mat pouch thing to take around in my bag with me. I am now fed up of taking the old changing bag everywhere with me, as I hardly ever need to use anything inside it. But I couldn't possibly risk being without a spare nappy and wipes! I wanted to make a crochet-covered changing mat which I could roll up with all the necessary bits inside. It was also a good excuse to dip into Lily Sugar 'n' Cream stash I bought from the US a while back and never had the chance to use!
I wanted to make the cover a stripy, colourful affair, but using a nicer stitch than just rows of double crochet. I researched a bit, and found a pattern in one of my books (Basic Crochet Stitches, 250 to Crochet by Erika Knight). Then I just picked out the colours and got started. The rectangle made up in no time at all, and I really love the colours of this yarn and how they work together.
I then dismantled a travel changing mat, and stitched it on to the rectangle. I then made a couple of button loops, stitched on the buttons, and voila! My changing mat was complete!
All rolled up...

Laid out in full...

Little Lady likes it...

And a close up of the stitching and colours...

And full of nappies and wipes!

There also seems to be a baby boom at the moment, so I've been spending a lot of time making baby related goods, toys and rattles and blankets! And as they are all surprise presents I can't show any! I'm now going to go and carry on with a monkey I'm making, and stay nicely hibernated on the sofa with my crocheted blankets. Until next time...

Sunday, 3 March 2013


Yes! March is here (that's officially a Spring month right?) and the sun is shining. Obviously it is still cold, but to see the world in a bright light again just makes everything feel absolutely awesome! And I even saw the first colour in the garden coming through, in the form of a purple crocus. I love this time of year - those of you who know me will know I love the sun and being outside, so I can't wait for Spring to get into full swing.
It was my Birthday last weekend, so I was busy eating cake and letting the little monster open my cards and presents (not that I had any choice!) I was spoilt by my family and had a lovely day with them all. My Little P was super lovely and could sense that something was going on which made that day a bit different from the run-of-the-mill day. She even went to the shops with her Nana and picked me a lovely balloon with butterflies on (which was really for her enjoyment!)
Aside from that, it's been a relatively normal week - playing with the little Lady, entertaining her, trying to have eyes in the back of my head to avoid catastrophe, oh, and a little bit of crochet when she goes to bed!
I have mainly been ploughing on with the Granny Square Play Picnic Blanket for the little Miss. I have found it a really nice, relaxing project, perfect for evening crochet when you don't have to concentrate too much. And, by joining the squares as I went along, no silly sewing together at the end! Each square is 6 rounds in size, and there are 36 of them. I used loads of colours - not many are repeated. I then spent an age trying to work out what to do with the edge. I liked Attic24's patchwork blanket (which inspired me) and the way Lucy used calm colours around the edge to reign in the haphazardness of the blanket itself. I went with a similar approach in the end - blues and purples for a few rows to edge it and calm it down a bit. Then, after my friend kindly let me borrow her book (Edie Eckman's Around the Corner Crochet) I sifted through edge after edge to find one I wanted to try and wouldn't take an absolute age (it is only a play blanket after all!) I settled on edge #37 but adapted in to use double crochet rather than treble, as I didn't need it quite so long. I can't recommend that book enough - I'll never struggle for edging ideas ever again now I've downloaded myself a copy!
I really like this little blanket - I think it had come together really well and the Little P has been putting it to good use already with her tea parties and tents. So, here it is, Little P's Play Blanket - bright and cheerful and perfectly sized for the Little Lady!

And a close up of those squares...

And a final glimpse at that edging... ruffled goodness!

In other exciting news, I mentioned previously that my trusty friend had treated me (us) to a needle felting course for my Birthday. Yesterday was the day in question, so I'm all clued up on the basics of needle felting. I went with the idea that I'd enjoy it, and that it would be useful - maybe even use it alongside my crochet, but it surpassed my expectations completely - it opens a whole new line of crafting up for me!
It was a nice small class, just the 6 of us plus the teacher, and as she started explaining what the bits were on the table in front of us, I couldn't help but notice a pack of antiseptic wipes and plasters! I knew the needles were lethal, but that sight made me fearful! We started easy, just felting some yarn onto a piece of material. Then we moved up to using the roving itself, and turning that into a neat square of felt. The whole thing was very addictive and therapeutic - the notion of repeatedly stabbing a piece of fluffy wool was very soothing somehow! Then we were able to make a flat shape and choose from a variety of biscuit cutters to use as a template. I chose a duck, as I had promised the Little Lady I would make her something. It was all going quite smoothly, no stabs, no broken needles. Then it was the big test - the ball. Now the roving had to be rolled around and fingers became perilously close to the needle. I did manage to jab my finger, but luckily no blood! Others then followed suit, but no major incidents! Here are my wares from my first ever needle felting experience!

I really loved it, way more than I thought I would. I can't wait to get started again, I have a flower garland in mind. I had a starter kit for my Birthday, but I also bought a bag of mixed colour roving after the course to give me more scope. Hopefully, I'll get started on a flower in a bit....

This morning I also tackled another craft - lino printing. I had been planning in my mind what I wanted to do for the last week, so I sat down and sketched the idea out. I then traced it and transferred it onto the lino block and began carving away at it until I could carve no more. Another craft I thoroughly enjoy - where am I going to get the time and storage to keep up with all these ideas in my mind?! The idea I had was to have a heart shape as the main focus, with the outline of a dandelion spreading it's seed in the wind. Then for the background, a curly sort of pattern. For my first attempt, I think it came out quite well. I can see areas it needs to be tweaked but it's ok. Maybe I should have tried something a bit less fiddly and intricate for my first piece (that's how I roll though!)

On that note, I'm going to go and start stabbing at some felt for a little while - here's hoping no fingers! Until next time...