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No 1 Knit Top Down, More NaKniCromo and Calorie Free Doughnuts too!

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Busy few days. Inspired by https://shirleycyeung.wordpress.com/  amongst others I have started by first top down knitted item and I LOVE IT ! Having tried once before and failed badly, I choose small, a new baby project from Ravelry.com –  All-In-One Sleeveless Baby Top (6 months) & (9 – 12 months) by marianna mel    With a little help from a YouTube video on understanding construction I totally get it now.

Here’s a little bit of my progress.  topdown2It’s small but more projects going on at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

I have also finished another baby top – bottom up construction – needs a little steaming and a button, not as pleased with the button band as I should be, hopefully that will steam out a little.

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NaKniCromo on Ravelry.com – it’s take a lot of thinking about my dream project (Day 16) – not sure I have just one, just an image of several.  I guess premium yarns, dreams to knit without hiccups, perhaps at least one repeat of an item knit a few years ago. Oh, and of course, the price of the wool would be irrelevant or it would have been free!

Day 17 – Dream Tools – I favour Knit Pro Symfonie needles, rainbows even when knitting with boring yarn!  Day 18 – Technique I would like to master – I would like to be more adventurous with cables, though at the moment I have so much I want to knit that I choose more simple patterns that seem a lot quicker than the fantastic complicated cables I drawl over. Day 19 – More Yarn or Less yarn – More yarn, always more yarn of course. I am working on reducing my stash, whether knitting it or selling some to buy more.

Day 20 – Today – Favourite Tip or Trick – It’s ok to rip something back, don’t consider it wasted time, consider it a learning curve.  Also, mattress stitch, once learned I have never gone back to running stitch or oversewing seams.

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And a little sewing – remember the last post – beige and pink circles with sewing pins. They turned into these doughnuts! And now they are available to purchase at a little lovely cafe, The Teashop at Downe, Kent.  I hope customers popping by for a tea and cake will fancy taking a Calorie Free/Sugar Free cake home for later!

So as you see, a busy few days here.

 

 

A Little Crafting Therapy

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Towards the end of a very difficult week there is crafting light at the end of the tunnel.

A little rest and family time yesterday helped.  As did some kind comments from a couple of dear friends and also blogging friends here too.

Today, after dropping off No 1 son (and only son!) at the train station ready for him to head airport bound on his hols, I sat and sewed.  Son had been home for less than 24 hours, he is a whirlwind like his father!  Husband has been away from home 2 nights this week for work.  At times they are like peas in a pod!

So today’s progress:

A few hexies sewn as part of a long ongoing project.  The burgundy is a lot darker than it seems in the pic.  Enjoy the rest of your day wherever you are.

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Three felt doughnuts to go for sale in a local tea shop.

Time to reflect, after a series of crises

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I often feel my life swings from one crisis to another.  When did it all start? (Crises that is, not life!)

Childhood was happy and simple.  I would love to be able to thank my parents properly but sadly they both passed a few years ago. I was kind of able to say thanks when I spent some time with my mother in her final days but it was not enough and time was short.  I hope she had the same happiness with parenting that I had with childhood.

Perhaps for most people childhood is rosy!  I hope I have been able to give mainly happy memories to my own son.  At the moment I believe my husband and I are deemed as slightly demented, crazy people who were ‘never young’, dare I say the usual thoughts of a young adult these days about anyone over 35!

Perhaps the appreciation of your own parents only comes into it’s own as you age yourself. I think the first time I truly reflected on parenting was on my wedding day.  I had already left home and was living with my fiance but it still felt like leaving the fold of my first family to join my second.

Recently there has been another very sad passing of a dear family member. The final illness was quite lengthy which was dreadful for the sufferer.  However, the weeks gave each of us time to say our goodbyes and remember good times.  I am still deciding in my own head whether this long drawn out end of life was cruel or kind.  It should not be a shock, but it still feels like it.

This passing came a little time after a career crisis for me, followed by a new job offer, accepted under pressure.  During the same period a family member’s plans to return home gave way and a move for that person to go abroad for a year came to the fore.  A new baby in the family was born safely and on time, after several weeks of anticipation of an early and problematic birth.  Husband has a very pressurised job, which recently meant more time away from home, more long working hours, distractions from the business when at home too.  We had a major job done on the house, with builders here for a few weeks and a major job done at our holiday home so lots of decision making done remotely, which is stressful in itself. Our usual holidays at Easter and May Day were deferred due to the happenings about us.  Finally we had three nights and four days away last weekend and that’s when this latest sad crisis occurred.

Of course, now is the time to be there for each other, look after each other, a funeral to get through and the weeks after.

We will survive, but feeling a little battered and bruised.

Still crafting occasionally,  a little ‘therapy’ and me time.  Projects on the table: a patchwork and applique runner for a craft fair (see post a couple of weeks ago for Countryside ideas), ongoing English paper piecing hexagons patchwork throw (see post a few weeks ago!), newly cast on cotton summer top (knitting), almost finished knitted summer vest (just fixing errors on the neck pick up which originally was a disaster), more felt doughnuts to sell …. loads more projects but they are in hiding right now.  No photos to share at the mo but there will be.

Signing out for now.

 

 

 

Countryside themed items – ideas welcomed

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I meant to add this to my last post.  Looking for inspiration please!

I love to hear of crafting challenges. I have not entered into joint challenges online, like those I see on other blogs, though I did join a knitting challenge earlier in the year on Ravelry (not a joint challenge exactly, but a joint show and tell!)

I am often setting myself goals, some of which I achieve, though some become epic fails and I log both on here sometimes … ooops!  Am currently looking for inspiriration with a ‘countryside’ theme – a group of friends hope to have a table sale at a local ‘Countryside Day’ event here in the UK. Thinking of small, reasonably priced gifts for browsers to purchase which are quick to make and don’t cost a packet! All ideas welcomed. I sew and knit, time is limited!

So far, I have come up with squirrels and hedgehogs made of felt – I have 2 patterns but have not started anything!  Outside my house there is an abundance of pine cones – constantly dropping off next doors trees, perhaps there’s something there?  Friends have already made cards and cross stitch mini pics too.  I don’t have much time and am shouting out to others here ! Thanks for any replies!

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My squirrels won’t look as cute as the real thing! 

A wander somewhere special, with a ‘tea and biscuit’ break …

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Somewhere very special to me is Rye in East Sussex (UK).  I used to live a short drive away from here and sometimes go back for a wander.  I was there again recently.  It’s a historical town, it was even mentioned in The Doomsday Book.   I used to visit with my grandparents. Thursday was market day, if memory serves me right, and there was livestock for sale, sheep I think, possibly chickens, as well as fruit and vegetables.  We used to have treat at Simon the Piemans in Lion Street if we were lucky, a little cafe that sold the most delicious fudge – it’s still there – more than 30 years later.  My sister used to drool whilst looking in the window! Unfortunately my camera failed me on my latest visit – so no photo of yummy fudge(!), however …

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Mermaid Street, with all it’s cobbles, and look at that blue sky

Also one of the quirky houses in Mermaid Street

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The House with Two Doors …. don’t know the history, but is sure is quirky – giess once upon a time it was two houses and now it’s one! 

We did stop for a treat whilst in Rye.  I never miss a tea and biscuit break (well, in my case coffee as I don’t drink tea!).  The Old Apothecary was our cake stop http://www.apothecaryrye.co.uk/ check out their website to see how it’s housed in an old chemist shop! The ‘treat’ inspired me a little, though I had homemade cake and not actual biscuits!

Crafting time: These are to add to my items for sale in a local cafe.  For those who regularly follow my blog you may remember doughnuts a while ago.  Same cafe, those doughnuts went down a treat!  Let’s hope a few ‘traditional style’ biscuits go the same way.

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One shop bought, one ‘homemade’ 
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One from a packet, one from the crafting table !

And that’s a little crafting only, still managing to get a little done, rather than a lot, but a little can go a long way!

Bye for now. Happy Friday !

biscuits

 

 

 

What’s your inspiration? It’s the beach for me! What makes your craft juices flow?

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A strange week or so.  Still hospital visiting, still a sad time within my family.  However, when we get a chance we take a break and try and do something good for the soul, which means to me a visit somewhere special or a little crafting time.

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Beach hut at Tankerton Slopes, next to Whitstable 

Recently there’s been a trip to Whitstable, one of my favorite places to visit.  I have mentioned this lovely coastal town on my blog before.  It is somewhere I gravitate towards and it’s just over an hour’s drive from where I live.  We usually park at Tankerton Slopes and walk along the prom towards Whitstable itself.  A stroll admiring the beach huts is wonderful.  If it’s breezy then troubles seem to be blown away, if it’s sunny then the warmth eases all the stresses within your bones.  Either way I love it there!

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More huts on The Slopes.  The same day, different skies! 

There’s always been something special about beach huts for me. Someone has been very clever in a Whitstable pub garden.  The Smack Inn reveals the delights of beach huts as a seating area, with a BBQ area and there was a list of gigs coming up too.  We snatched a quick beer before we had to head back but it won’t be the last time we visit.

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Huts at The Smack

I have added to my beach themed fabric recently too, which I guess is inspired by this visit and I feel a bag coming on.   No photo to share – but there will be!

It’s a friend’s birthday very soon too.  She has been admiring this fabric in a local shop.

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At first we both thought of ‘a swingy 50’s skirt’! But it’s a fairly thick linen/upholstery weight and neither she or I are wearers of those anyway!  With a limit on crafting time and knowing she loves stationary … Ta – da – I made a book sleeve and I hope she’ll love it!  My fabulous sis in law gave me a Kaffe Fassett fabric book sleeve as a gift a while ago, it makes my notebook feel special, not just a book stuffed in my bag to be dragged out for notes and queries!  I am hoping my friend has the same delights when she uses it.

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Not much else to show for the last few days.  I have a lot in my head (cotton wool my husband says sometimes!) , lots of craft projects amongst it, but life is getting in the way right now.  I have knitted a few rows here and there, sewn a little too, messed up a couple of ongoing projects, ripped back and unpicked.  There will be more to show off soon.

Signing off for now.

 

 

A little quilting … bit of a faff this time! Very little crafting indeed this week.

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It’s been a quiet week craftwise,  with much time taken up elsewhere with family illness and a little bit of work.

 

A few weeks ago I began a machine stitched baby playmat.  I kept the urge back to post pics here as I was planning to post when it was finished.  I briefly worked on the playmat two days ago, a little time for me and for my sanity! I still have a little way to go – craftwise that it, sanity well who can tell!

The playmat was supposed to be a quick and easy project.  A few weeks ago, the piecing went well, fabulous fabric donated by a friend.  I pieced the front, THEN I accidently cut the backing too small!  Grrr, I dashed out and purchased an alternative fabric.  I sewed the back and front together like a pillowcase, intending to pop in  the wadding and simply do some formed of ‘tied’ quilting.  That’s where I had left it until this week.

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So what’s a magazine got to do with quilting? There are no sewing patterns in this one ….

Have you ever tried to insert wadding through a small gap in one side of a pillowcase shape and try and make it reach all the edges?  It doesn’t work – wadding is way too flexible.  It clung to the fabric in all the wrong places. I had imagined it would be like putting a duvet in a duvet cover.  It isn’t!  I ended up flipping the ‘pillowcase’ inside out again and attempted to tack the wadding to the wrong side of the front of the playmat. There was one major hurdle – I had to avoid tacking the wadding to both the front and the back as I then wanted to flip it right side out, seam the gap and then tie the quilt as planned.  Some might say ‘why didn’t she just undo the seam around the whole thing and tack the wadding to one part?’  I have no idea why I didn’t do that! So, this wasn’t like a standard quilt where you have three layers and then bind the edges afterwards. I came up with this weird method of inserting a magazine into the gap and moving it beneath each part as I tacked.  I could pin and tack through the wadding and the front without the pins and stitches going right through to the other layer.  Here’s a pic mid process with a hint of what the back will look like.

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A touch of dotty blue makes the back a calm colour . What colours do you think the top will be?

I shall finish this before the recipient arrives in June.  I had just run out of me time this week and was slightly traumatised by the effort this took!

Watch this blog for the finished article.

Total other craftings this week – three hexagon shapes cut and tacked to card for my hand quilted hexi project.  Long way to go on this one.  Twelve rows of knitting, shaping armholes for an ongoing project. Not so much to still do, the bulk is done. I am just at the fiddly parts, not a project to take when hospital visiting. I have a new one for just that next time.

Bye for now.

 

Hexagon heaven – a little quilt in progress, and a knit fail!

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I have been crafting steadily over the last few days but there’s not a lot to photograph and show off!  Here are my latest 19 hexagons handsewn together.hexis.jpg

Excuse the crinkles – it’s a moveable project and it came with me to a craft club last night – obviously not packed so nicely for it’s journey home! Might have been due to exhaustion – second day in new job, followed by an evening at a craft club with just an hour between the two.  I might have overstretched myself too far yesterday, though the stitches are even so at least that wasn’t a consequence!

Recently I posted a pic of this sofa quilt project.  Eventually all my hexagons will be sewn together and what started as a cushion project WILL become a throw for my spare sofa.  I am calling it my organic project.  I started it several years ago, have dipped in and out but am currently working away on it, using fabric from my stash and adding more if I come across something complementary when out and about.  I may purchase a FQ or a half metre or more at a time, not exactly planning what I need at all. I am a ‘wing it’ sort of girl and this is a lot of fun. I am not stressing at all about how long it might take me and if another project becomes a priority it won’t matter at all.  There’s a lot of love being stitched into this.  Hand sewing is very therapeutic, and each stitching session is really enjoyable.  This is not detracting from the two knitting projects next to my sofa, nor the machine stitched quilt almost finished on my work table.

Knitting-wise, I have just picked up stitches twice (yes, twice!) around the neck of my latest cotton top.  Unfortunately the first pick up was very uneven so I undid it.  The second pick up has been better but there are still a couple of places I am not happy with.  It has been relegated to it’s knitting bag for the rest of the day.  Sometimes a project ‘works’ first time, but sometimes it doesn’t.  Often when I go back to it everything clicks and that’s the project for the day but today is a knit-no-more day.  No pics of the wonky pick up  – too embarrassed to show that off – I may have to enhance the neckline to make it wearable.

Loving knitting the cotton DK anyway – it’s Paintbox cotton dk yarn from Loveknitting.com. The shade is called Lipstick Pink but to me it’s not pink at all – it’s a definite coral.  I’ve bought a lot online but sourcing online there is always that risk that the colours you see on your screen don’t match the colour in reality.  In this instance I actually prefer coral to the pink anyway. https://www.loveknitting.com/paintbox-yarns-cotton-dk

Would love to hear which online yarn and fabric suppliers fellow crafters use. To start, one UK fabric online shop I love is ElephantInMyHandbag.com – lots to like on here.

I do actually visit shops too.  My hubby says I can sniff out a yarn or fabric shop from miles away – luckily he can be a patient man whilst I shop, or at least he ‘sniffs out’ a pub nearby and pops there whilst he’s waiting!

Byee for now.