Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Pins I Love - Shawl Obsession!

I love a shawl and just now I have a small obsession with images on pinterest. There are a few shawl boards that I follow and as a result my 'All things knitty' board is filling up with shawls (also stripes but that's a different story). I have made a couple of shawls in my time. One was a gift to my gran which is lying in her cupboard somewhere (anything she believes to be too nice to use gets put in her cupboard - I should be flattered but would rather she used it). I also made another for a friend and a granny triangle shawl which for myself which is really more of a scarf. The truth is I don't think I suit shawls. I would look like an idiot and I can't imagine me wearing one unless it's snuggled up at home. I do have a friend though who suits them and could get away with wearing them anywhere. Perhaps because, unlike me, she is tall and graceful.

Regardless I am still obsessed and our summer is starting to cool off a little which seems like the perfect time to make one. This first shawl I love simply because it is so stripey (knew I would get those stripes in somewhere). I also love it for the use of garter stitch. I also like it because it doesn't use lace and you could combine any colours that you wanted. While all of the shawls on this weeks post are available on ravelry none of them are free. I would definitely pay for this pattern though. It's by designer Danielle Chalson who seems to have a few designs available on ravelry.

 This particular shawl was knitted by Boo Knits who again has a fair few designs worth checking out. There is also a blog but I haven't linked it as it didn't seem to last long. The pattern says to use worsted weight yarn which is slightly chunkier than DK but not as heavy as Aran. However, this particular image looks to me like it was done in 4ply. I think that's what makes this pattern so versatile is that you could change the yarn and needle size if you wished. It would make for a slightly different shawl. I also like it because it looks like it would drape well and has some length to it. Although I haven't seen the pattern I imaging that you could add additional repeats of the pattern to make it longer if you wished. Also, I do like a pattern that has a wave to it.

 This pattern is called Nangou and was designed by Melanie Berg. This image is by a ravelry user called Florentine and she used her own spun yarn to knit this. I have to say that it was the colour and the yarn that caught my attention in this one. I also love the use of a white stripe to accentuate the pattern. That aspect of it is part of the original pattern mind you. If you look to the pattern itself you will see that it is one of those shawls that you could use as a scarf too. This one though is just my colour.

 This one is designed by Ambah and the shawl is called the Oyster shawl. It drew my eye not just because of the contrast between the colours but also because of the combination of complicated lace and simple lace. It really is very effective and I love the edging. If you go the pattern page though (as always just click on the image) you will see some of the lovely colour combinations other knitters have used. Some of which are very striking.

This shawl is by far my favourite and I think I may even purchase the pattern. It has everything I love, stripes, teal and a grey yarn to highlight the colour. I love the delicate edging and I love the contrast between a simple knit and a more complex border. I think if (when) I knit this I will be using the same colours. However, again the possibilities are endless but I am in love with this one. This was designed by Sarah Jordan who seems to have a few other lovely designs on there. She also has a blog worth checking out called knit/wit.

I just realised that these are all knits. However, there are some lovely crochet shawls out there and maybe they will get their own pinterest post.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Baking and it's not Banana Bread!

Yep, that's right. I attempted a recipe I hadn't tried before because I had actual time to pay attention to what I was doing. Banana bread I can now do in my sleep. It's an easy option that takes 10 minutes to have one in the oven and another waiting. When you have made dozens of them it gets a little boring. I was desperate to try something new. I have a few recipes on my iPad and the cherry cake seemed like the simplest. That is it took fewer ingredients.

The folks were away and I was entertaining my sister so it seemed like the perfect time. Plus, I love cherry cake and my sister is partial to it too.

While the recipe may not use many ingredients it certainly used up almost every dish in the house. At one point I had three different mixtures in three different bowls which had to be stirred together a bit at a time. Who in the world has time for that? I am not going to lie. I was very tempted to cheat and just shove it all together. However, when a recipe tells you to have eggs in one bowl, flour in another and sugar and butter in yet another there is a reason for it. It made it all light and fluffy. I am sure disaster would have struck had I went with my initial "lets just shove it all together and see what happens".  I am sure a cake I have made in the past used a similar method and I remember being impressed with the results then. Can't for the life of me remember what it was mind you.

You then place the rest of the cherries on top of the cake. Sounds bizarre, I know, but the mix rises and envelops those cherries. So also worth doing. The end result was might tasty. Not just my words but also the words of my sister. In fact she wants me to give up my nursing career to open a bakery (not going to happen). I got the recipe from Waterstones as an ecard. If you are looking for it though you will find it in "The Baker's Daughter" by Louise Johncox. Very easy to follow and I might have to add this book to my wish list.

As you saw from my last post the baby shower has been and gone. In fact mum to be is no longer mum to be. She had a beautiful little girl yesterday. The baby shower itself was a huge success. My crazy (but lovely) friend decorated the room and brought along some Indian foods. Soon to be grandmother had also cooked for the occasion. Both mother and daughter were dressed in traditional Indian clothing which my friends mum had made herself. Confused yet? It was a lovely event and you should head over to my knitting groups blog to see my friend (she was beautiful) and all the goodies our group made for her. 

In other news, my last piece of course work has been handed in. This means that I can relax a little. You would think I would have got my craft on as a result. The truth is I have been mostly sleeping or watching DVDs. I am struggling to settle on anything. Perhaps I don't feel right not having work to do. Anyway, this little tag is the only crafting I have done this past week and it took me far longer to do than it should have. Next week I will get back on operation baby shower 2.

Do you remember the charity event my friends little boy was having to raise money? His mum ran an auction event. Between that and his other fundraising activities he managed to raise over £850. It took him just two weeks to do. Now that's impressive and not surprisingly my friend is very proud of her wee boy. I did win some hand-dyed sock yarn on that auction. I love those colours and I plan to knit myself some socks with it. Whenever I get the chance to do that.

Meanwhile I thought I would leave you with some more images from my mum's garden. I've been looking after it this week so I think I deserve some of the credit (because watering it a couple of times is the same).

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Guest Blogger - Norma from Wee Crafty House!

Introducing my lovely friend Norma who agreed to do a guest blog for me because of my lack of crafting progress. Plus she is one very talented lady (she made the tea cup candles).

Well hello, my name is Norma Anderson and I've been kindly asked by my lovely friend Karen to do a guest blog. Now please bear with me because this is my first ever attempt at blogging! Eeeek! I hope I don't chase you all away. Anyway I'm a nurse, mother, wife, sister, fidget, a do'er, impatient, enthusiastic and a crazy crafter. I see a craft and want to try it.

   I've always crafted from a little girl I enjoyed making things and I've never lost this passion. It really got a grip of me when I had my children and worked part time. I knitted for the kids and myself. My friends and I had a knitting Bee that met once a week. We knitted, ate cake and drank wine! Hmmm maybe not the best combination but provided a bit of light hearted me time for a bunch of mothers.

Card making took a hold of me around 10 years ago. In fact there's not much I haven't tried! I still make the odd card but have moved onto other things now. For anyone who makes cards you will understand that those little squares of paper from the sticky pads drove you mad by getting everywhere. Even turning up in Greece one year from my case. Lol. Over the years I have turned my hands to many things. I have baked but this hobby is very stressful unless you are baking for just family and friends.

Since joining the fabulously talented ladies at Glasgow Fort Stitch n Bitch my creativity has increased ten fold. These bunch of women are so talented and there's always someone willing to share new ideas and even teach new skills that your appetite for trying new things is always heightened. Indeed it was there I learned to crochet around a year ago. Since then I have crocheted many things and I think I actually prefer to crochet than knit now. It's so much quicker and results are instant. Also if you are going out or travelling you can just take it along with you!

Last year I was unfortunate enough to turn 50! My husband wanted to get me a gift that I would truly appreciate and use so he built me a summerhouse in the garden. The Wee Crafty House was born! This is now my little haven and of course a place for my crafty stash!  Most of my crafts are now done in here and it's the place where I am most industrious. I am so lucky to have this special little space.

I have began dabbling in craft fairs. What I realise about these is that some you win, some you lose. It can be difficult depending on where you are and what the shoppers are looking for that day. However I do enjoy them. I love to meet people and chat and it's fabulous to go out there and see what other people are crafting too. I hope you have enjoyed a wee insight into my world.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Baby Shower 1.

I can now reveal one of my secret projects. The first baby shower has been and gone and this is now in the hands of the mum to be. I decided on a baby blanket. Hardly original for me. If it's not hats and socks then it's baby blankets. This time though I decided to try for something different. First of all I put my crochet skills to the test. I wanted to try a new pattern. Remember the hearts crochet I mentioned on my bucket list post? Well I hunted down the pattern and it turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. It's made up mainly of trebles, chains and a few single crochet in there.

To be honest I don't actually think it looks much like hearts. It's still pretty though and I am happy with the way it turned out. Even if my sister did call it my fried egg blanket (was not amused by that one which just made it all the more hilarious for my sister). If you are interested you can find the patter here. It is in dutch but I just used the chart at the bottom of the page.

I used the same cotton I had used for my mood blanket. Rico essentials cotton. It was a bit splitty but I had the same problem with it before so I was aware that it was going to happen. I had a little leftover so I tidied the edges with some double crochet. I thought the fan edging I usually give to anything I crochet would be too much. I am pleased to say that mum to be liked it. Just two more secret projects to go!

Oh, and can I count this off my bucket list as something different with crochet? It was the image I used when listing it. However, it might be cheating as I already did the crochet frames under that listing.