Finished it – now its time to start again!

Did you take part in the 2014 Finish It Challenge organised by Stitches and Scraps and Mollie & Claire? [If not, why not – don’t tell me you don’t have an unfinished project or three lurking somewhere in your house!]

Well I did and I’m doubly glad I took the trouble – not only do I now have a great top to wear when the sun shines ….but I also won a skein of SparkLynne 4 ply sock yarn from The Knitting Goddess, provided by Claire, in a beautiful pale blue with a hint of bling.

hand dyed, 4ply, 75% superwash merino Sparklynne by The Knitting Goddess

hand dyed, 4ply, 75% superwash merino Sparklynne by The Knitting Goddess

A huge thank you for providing us with the impetus for completing a project, donating super prizes….and to Claire especially for picking my name out of the hat 😉

Now I know exactly how I’m going to use this yarn…but not exactly what I’m going to do with it……so suggestions please.

My son and his fiancee are getting married next spring and they are basing their colour palette around ‘the sea’. The colour of the yarn would fit perfectly and it feels right that, having received the yarn as a stroke of luck, the luck should be passed on to two people starting their life together.

But what could I use it for (100g, c.400m) – ideally something that can be used both on the day and afterwards? It may be sock yarn but I can’t see either of them tripping down the aisle in pale blue, sparkly socks! I was thinking possibly about a large doily/small tablecloth as a centre piece to the top table, but my creative juices have yet to start flowing so ideas wanted please – knitting or crochet, I enjoy both.

Button heaven

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Just spent a sunny Saturday afternoon wandering through the streets of the lovely and historic Shrewsbury. So many delights from the Tudor buildings to the floral displays, the medieval castle and churches to the street entertainers – which, considering its distance from the sea, strangely included a sand artist?

Found a lovely craft market in the main square run by ‘Made in Shropshire‘, a collaboration of artists, designer- makers and food producers who live or work in Shropshire. Beautiful products on display (not least the meringues the size of my face!!) and what a good idea to unite disparate local artisans under a common (and meaningful) brand in this way.

Of course, as well as drinking in all the history, I did have a weather eye open for a yarn store. Sadly I didn’t find it although apparently there is one – what happened there then? I am now ashamed to hold my head up in the company of other yarn junkies as I should have been able to sniff out a dealer from a mile away!

However, I did find a lovely fabric shop, Watson & Thornton, which also boasted an extensive haberdashery section – including the wonderful wall of buttons you see in the picture. It really was a most wonderful selection of shapes, sizes and colours and looked as much like a work of art as a product display. I was very good and only bought a few that I needed for specific projects (okay, so maybe I haven’t started those projects yet but hey, I could only resist so much temptation) but in the words of Mr Schwarzeneggar….I’ll be back!

Into Intarsia …and happy anniversary to me!

Intarsia montage

Well, apparently it is one year since my first foray into blogging – how fitting that I should get back into it on my first anniversary! Haven’t blogged for ages, which is a shame because I’ve had loads to talk about…and I’ve missed my blogging buddies!

Over the last couple of months I’ve discovered a love of intarsia, which I used to hate because I was pants at it. It all started with my lovely Baltimore Ravens fan friend requesting a cosy for her little tea pot and from there I went on to create a Lambretta-style scooter, an art deco design, a soccer themed Brazilian flag and a British bobby’s helmet. I love the process of making the pattern charts (which is probably what has occupied my blogging time) and the way in which they are used to create order out of a chaos of yarns…..a metaphor for life perhaps? If you have a plan and stick to it, it is possible to bring all the threads of your life together in harmony?

Enough philosophising! Enjoy some of my favourite designs! Do have a go if you haven’t tried it – it is a great way to use yarn oddments because you use a separate ball for each colour. However, it is a good idea to make sure you are sitting comfortably and not expecting too many disturbances. Trust me – leaping up to answer the phone/doorbell not a good idea with a lap full of 10 balls of yarn 😉

Upcycling, stash busting, memory sharing project!

Naked granny square bag

Clearing out a cupboard the other day, I found a box of the boys’ old pin badge collection ranging from ‘1 today’ to Biker Mice, to ‘I visited Hadrian’s Wall’ to ‘reading is cool’. Lots of memories in one little box – for me at least! When I mentioned it to them their reaction was “we create enough junk of our own without you adding to it, mum”.

So what do you do with a load of pin badges, other than stick them back in a box in the cupboard? I could (and may do yet) frame them and stick them on a wall somewhere but that’s a little boring. I did think about (and may do yet) a crocheted wall hanging – if I get really ambitious (and probably a lot more badges) I could make a fly curtain for the back door. What I did do in the end was use some of them to adorn a granny square bag!

It may not be to everyone’s taste, but I love it so that’s all that matters really! As we all know, small granny square projects are great for reducing the stash, I used some recycled fabric for lining and the badges create a talking point….so it really is an upcycling, stash busting, memory sharing project!

granny square bag with badges 1 granny square bag with badges 2

Game of Tea Cosies – number 5

Surprisingly, this wasn’t the hardest one to interpret – House Bolton, symbol a flayed man. In fact I rather enjoyed creating this one, even if it is a bit gruesome (well, I did use to be a biochemist once upon a time).

And of course, if you view it simply as a tea cosy, pretty pink petals on a beaded red background is quite an attractive combination. It’s not meant to resemble strips of skin and blood droplets at all, honest 😉

Tea with the Targaryens – GoT cosy no.4


Despite her time with the Dothrakis, I still think Daenerys would be more of a cinnamon chai than PG Tips sort of girl…and definitely leaf tea rather than bags. So this cosy would be perfect for her to keep the pot hot whilst watching her dragons at play.

When I was thinking about how to represent House Targaryen I immediately thought of dragon scales and, though I wasn’t sure how best to achieve the effect but I felt sure there had to be some sort of stitch that resembles scales. Nothing to be found in my ancient Good Housekeeping stitch bible but a quick Google introduced me to crocodile stitch. I did wonder how come it took me quite so long to complete but when each row comprised best part of 200 stitches, I suppose a week wasn’t too bad – interspersed with several other projects of course!

I’ve only made a ‘Drogon’ (black scales with red tips) but, having enjoyed creating it, I may do Rhaegal (green with bronze markings) and Viserion (cream with gold markings) versions as well.

Game of Tea Cosies – number 3

So here’s the third in my Game of Thrones homage tea cosies – House Greyjoy. They rejoice in the wonderful motto of “We do not sow” – well, mate, neither do I…I knit or crochet (although sometimes I’m forced to sew a few seams if common sense has got the better of me and I’ve started on a sweater).

I’m very fond of my little kraken so thanks to Genuine Mudpie, which is where I found the pattern inspiration. Now did you get the other subtleties – I used a wave pattern for the cosy to give the impression of water but combined strands of grey and green to simulate algae covered rocks. I somehow don’t think the Iron Islands are exactly a tropical paradise 😉