Sunday, 20 June 2010

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day, so I've had my parents over today for a braii (barbeque), and general daddy appreciation. My father and I have had our ups and downs over the years, but deep down I'm a daddy's girl and our relationship has grown stronger during my adult years. In short, I dote on him. He's my hero and I love him dearly.

I find it very easy to think of things to make for my mother, but really struggle when it comes to my dad. They both appreciate useful gifts, rather than decorative, and it's hard to come up with ideas for him.

He loves gypsy tart, which takes him right back to his school days, so despite the lack of picture, a gypsy tart was duly baked and given to him today. This is a stupidly easy recipe. Blind bake a pastry case in a flan dish and let it cool. Beat 12oz dark muscavado sugar with a 14oz tin of evaporated milk - for 10 minutes (this bit is important!) and bung in the oven, gas mark 6 for 10 minutes. Chill and eat. My poor food processor does not like being switched on for 10 minutes, and 8 minutes in started to spark. I hope I've not blown the motor, but too afraid to check and confirm right now!

Onto the woolly, yarny, scrummy part of his present. I have some Freedom Spirit yarn in green, that's 100% wool and will felt beautifully. So I started knitting...

I really love this beginning part, with the little square neatly framed with the dpns, but didn't pause for toooo long to admire it before knitting onwards, testing to see if it'll fit around the (pink) grapefruit and lime soap...

Clickety, click more rows added, another twisty cable emerges... Nearly there - this soap is so soft, the needles are beating it up as I'm knitting and it is sticky too...weird soap!

Nearly there - this soap is so soft, the needles are beating it up as I'm knitting and it is sticky too...weird soap!

Weave the yarn end in and add a little label so Dad knows what it is and tada! Pictured next to the card I made him out of various papers I had lying around. I drew the tree onto card and then used images from a wildlife magazine stuck on top for the bark and leaves. Snipped them out and stuck them down onto stripy embossed white card :)

I may have forgotten to add that it's *pink* grapefruit and lime soap...because it doesn't sound manly. He'll never know the soap itself has a definite pink tinge to it too ;)

Here it is all wrapped up in dotty paper and gingham ribbon. Now, I'm rather precious over my gingham ribbons - I love them a lot. Is it very wrong that I knew he'd unwrap it here and give me the ribbon back, so that's why I used it? Shhhhh!

Pattern for the soap sweater is this one. It's a free pattern for a basic plain soap sweater. If you want to know the cable twist I've used, I've put it on my project page.

I did have to explain to him what a soap in a sweater is supposed to be for, and reassure him that it really is a Very Good Idea and not Something I Should Be Committed For. He went home smiling and with a full tummy - I guess I can't ask for more than that :)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Nearly there!

I'm very close to finishing all of the hexagons for my blanket - just this last row to finish! I'm so pleased with the brightness of it, and the soft sheen of the cotton. I think it'll look even better once it's been washed to get rid of that "just stitched" look.

This last row seems to be taking me a long time to work across - I keep putting it down, browsing the web, doing a bit of housework, having a coffee etc. I think it's because once it's done I'll have to address the border. And I dont know what to doooooo. I've thought about a black border, or a white one...but can't decide. I have enough of a different cotton yarn in a bluey turquoise colour that would work, but would emphasise the blues in the hexagons and pull them to the front...hmmm.

Suggestions more than welcome - help me!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Julie asked me to test knit another pattern for her - Squeaker Birds. Really sweet pattern for four different birds, designed for small children with squeakers inside.

I don't have to worry about little ones here, so mine aren't very child friendly, but will look great in the garden nestled amongst the plants and keeping my crocheted birds company.

Pattern knitted up very quickly - I finished all four in a couple of days and most of that was spent procrastinating over flower buttons ;) Each bird has a different beak, wing and legs, so the mix and match possibilities are huuuuge! They only use a small amount of yarn too. Perfect present stuff really.

Let me introduce you to my flock:

First is Rodney the Robin. Made from alpaca and wool, he's so soft and yummy.

Next is Penelope the Penguin. She has icy beads and snowflake buttons and the most adorable big feet!

Then there's Clarabel the Crow. She's made from the Wendy Mode that my son bought me for Mother's Day (he's the most wonderful son!) in a gorgeous teal colour. She has a little red gingham bow and the fattest tummy of the flock.

And lastly, Posie the baby bird who is possibly my favourite (but don't tell the others!). She's made from grey vintage yarn and pink Wendy Mode. She's covered in little button flowers and tiny wool felt leaves. I love her frilly little wings and floppy legs - she really is adorable!

As we're having really heavy rainfall here at the moment in my little corner of England, they only popped outside briefly to have their photos taken, and until the weather improves, they'll stay indoors being cared for by Gordon. He takes this job very seriously look...

Monday, 7 June 2010

Needed a little break...

The lovely hexagon blanket is going well, but now I'm in the process of piecing all of them together, it gets rather warm laying it on my lap. So I'm still working on it, just a couple of hexagons at a time to avoid overheating!

Instead I've whipped up 3 more birds to flutter around the garden. I love these so much! They look so cheerful against the drab brown of the fence :) I used Lucy's bird pattern again - so simple and easy! This time I made their beaks and wings out of wool felt, and used Penny Peberdy's teeny tiny flower pattern on the strings. The red/orange one has a half treble circle, and the other two have trebles.

Decorated with buttons, beads and a few stitches :)

Friday, 4 June 2010

Hexagon Love

I am so in love with my hexagon blanket :) Almost as much as I love this tubby lump of kittyness...

I've finished all the round 3 circles - look how pretty they look laid out on the floor! My organised mind demands I do 9 rows of 10 hexagons. There are 5 colour "families" so each row needs 2 from each family. Then it's simply a case of moving them around so the colours look evenly spaced :)

And here they are all in neat little identical piles before I jumbled them all up.

And finally, a shot of the blanket starting to come together. One by one the little circles magically transform into hexagons and more hexagon friends join them :)

The colours of this Muskat yarn are so beautiful - really rich and bright. It's wonderfully soft too and I can imagine this is just going to get even better once its been popped through the washer (don't make me hand wash lots of heavy cotton!) I desperately want to see it all finished, but I also want to savour the making of it - it's so wonderful to work on. I really enjoy just sitting and staring at it. I've wanted to make a blanket like this for years, but always failed at learning crochet so thought it was the impossible dream. Who'd have thunk that just a 2 hour lesson back in late March could lead to this sort of delight?


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Another Test Knit for Julie

Just sharing another test knit for Julie on ravelry - this was good fun as I didn’t have a picture to go on and my knowledge of flying fish fin placement is, well…pants. So mine looks like a blue angel sausage. As I prefer blue angel sausages to fish this is no bad thing. Really.

I particularly enjoyed knitting all of the pieces in my squeaky acrylic yarns, sewing them together in a vaguely fishy way and then reading what I should do next. “Now we can move on to felting”. This part led to much hilarity, the kind of giggles that involve a little bit of snorting, followed by a more sober “oh”. Use wool, peeps - it helps with the felting!

Give this pattern a go - it’s ever so easy, uses up pesky scraps and is so cute (when done properly in grown up wool and not in acrylic which leads to blue angel sausages). And the pattern now has pictures and the felting hint before you start for guaranteed success :)

Mine is stuffed with catnip and thoroughly roadtested by Catalpa. He claims it's good to bat, chew, claw, toss and cuddle. And that's all you could really wish for from a blue angel sausage really.

In other news, it is absolutely freezing here in my corner of England. F-r-e-e-z-i-n-g. The sort of day where you need to snuggle up in your newly finished February Lady Sweater. Unless of course, your mother stole it yesterday and then you have to resort to putting the heating on. In June. Hmph.

Hope everyone reading this is much warmer and in possession of all their knitwear. :)