Thursday, 30 June 2011

Crochet update - June

Mmmmmmmm.......elderflower cakes with whipped mascarpone icing...........delicious and really, really slimming.  (Okay, so one of those facts isn't strictly true...)
So apart from stuffing my face with fat-busting cakes, I've also been quite active on the crochet-front over the past month:
Oh, gosh, that looks like a finished springtime throw...
Then in a frenzy of activity since finishing my throw, I've made these:
Not 'leprosy chic', as Mr N rather unkindly called them (something to do with Ben Hur, apparently.  Don't know what he's talking about, I just ignored him, with a rather superior air to my being), but actually wrist warmers, craftily made from scraps of yarn from my stash:
Just need to wait about four months til I can actually wear them.
And, keeping up with the Bunting Appreciation Society theme, I've made this:
I used up the left over yarn from my little flower squares cushion for this; the pattern for the larger heart I found on Ravelry, and the smaller heart comes from the lovely Julia's blog.
While I was taking this photo, my crochet assistant was on hand as usual, making sure all was okay with my toe nails:
I've been teaching her how to open nail varnish bottles so that next time she can make herself really useful. x
Oooh, and how could I have forgotten my hellebores?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Finally...springtime throw ta-dah!

Finally: five months, 1200g of yarn and 300 squares later...the springtime throw is complete!  Hooray!!!
And I am so pleased!  I feel such a huge sense of achievement at having completed this and I almost can't believe I actually saw it through all the way to the end.  For my entire crocheting life, this project has been lurking in the background, sometimes ignored, but always there waiting for when I was at a bit of a loose end, crochet-wise.  I love the idea of having something big like this to pootle away at when I feel like it, when there's no instant gratification project on the go; and I've already decided what my next blanket is going to be like (well, almost, I just need to find The Square to work it in.  I'm not sure what The Square will look like, but I'll know it when I see it.  I had thought I'd make it with the square in this month's Mollie Makes, but I think it might be a bit of a yarn-eater.  Hmmmm...maybe circles within a square?  I'd love to know if anyone has any suggestions.)  Edit: I completely forgot to say before I published this post: if you are thinking about making this blanket, I would recommend two things: 1) when laying the squares out before you join them together, make sure you look at how the edge colours and the middle colours are lain out, to ensure you don't end up with two squares with the same colours in next to each other (not that I forgot to check the middle colours, or anything...)  2) If you want to add a granny stripe edging like I did, I really recommend reading Jacquie's tutorial for how to make a flat border for granny square blankets.  I didn't see this before I started my edge and I have to say, it is a bit wavy.  You live and learn, eh?...
Middle has already claimed it as his own:
This blanket lives in the sitting room, and every time I come into the room, I find it lying on the beanbag, which is Middle's 'spot'.  Today I came in to find it lain over ALL the cushions from both sofas, which were spread ALL over the floor (something to do with pirates, apparently).
And it did a really good job on Saturday at Fantastic Mr Fox.  Check me out with the healthy-looking picnic:
I say 'healthy-looking', because what we were all really after was this:
Carrot sticks?  Pah! x

Friday, 24 June 2011

In the pipeline

The edge of the edge...
I have to sew the ends of the edge in and then....I have finished!!!!  And how serendipitous - we're going to see Fantastic Mr Fox at an outdoor theatre tomorrow - I will wear my blanket with pride and will be scanning the people around me to make sure they're fully appreciating it too.  (If you're a burglar reading this, we don't feed the Rottweiler on the nights we go out...)
So now I've just about finished this baby, my mind's racing on to what to do next.  I've given up on my Fimo-related project - I couldn't for the life of me get the second 'bump' on the 3D hearts the same size as the first one and it just became too annoying for me to cope with.  (Life's too short to stress about heart bumps, you know.)  So I'm planning to make a short length of heart bunting from my left over cushion yarn, using a lovely pattern I found on Ravelry.  I'm hoping this will be a really nice quick thing to make for a bit of instant gratification after the mammoth beastie that is my springtime throw.
I've also been sucked in by the John Lewis sale and have two new sets of yarn for nothing in particular:
I'm thinking that I might make a cushion for our bedroom with this - it's Rowan milk cotton and I've got a sneaking suspicion it might be a bit of a splitter, but it feels amazing.  Baby N (aka my crochet assistant) is just thinking that she'd quite like to give it a bit of a chew:
She may only be fifteen months old, but she has the speed of a ninja when she's pinching things she shouldn't be.
And sticking with the Rowan theme:
I love, love, love this yarn, which I used to make my hexy placemat thing that I gave to Bookworm; so when I saw this at half price I was powerless to resist.  I've got two balls of the bluey colour and one of the purpley colour.  I think I'm going to make myself a pair of wristwarmers with this as it's just so beautiful and soft (I know...wristwarmers...June...)  Blimey, the ninja strikes again:
Life's been a bit crazy lately and I've now added 'neglecting my blogging life' to my list of things to feel guilty about - so: I'm sorry if I've been a bit lax with the visits and comments lately, and 'hello' and 'thank you' to my lovely new followers.
Thank you and good night x

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

New crochet book

Today oi ha' mostly bin makin' flowers...
I think they're lovely and absolutely perfect for a spot of instant gratification (which, as you know, I'm a big fan of).  
I'm also thinking hair clips, brooches and, of course, bunting:
These (which are called hellebores in my new crochet book - don't look that much like hellebores to me, but anyhoooo) are my favourites:
And this one is my favourite of the favourites:
These are made from my new book (soz for the slightly dodgy pictures):
I was very excited about this book arriving (I've had it on back-order for ages; it's only just been published) and just couldn't wait to get started when it finally came.  The first thing I realised, which I stupidly hadn't cottoned on to before, is that it's American.  This in itself isn't a problem, but my crochet head speaks English and so when I've been making these flowers, I've been translating as I go.  This is all well and good when I actually remember that I'm supposed to be translating... (I'll say no more about that other than that there have been a couple of slightly irritable unpicking incidents)  Humph.  And while I'm in a slightly niggly mood: it doesn't tell you when to change colours.  Sometimes it's obvious, but sometimes it's not.  And that's just a bit irritating.
That said, it's got some lovely looking things in it and I know I will return to it again and again when I want to add a little bit of something to a project.  It's laid out in a clear, logical way and has both written and drawn patterns, which is good.  It has taken its rightful place on the bookshelf with all my other inspiration/source books, and I would recommend it, but just make sure you've got your American crochet head on!
I'll finish this post with a 'blossom' (colour combo chosen by my lovely friend Bookworm) isn't it pretty? x

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Crocheting my way to survival

Today has been great.  There's not been much going on, but nevertheless, it's been a good day.  It's rare that we have a day with all of us at home and nothing on the calendar, so it was good just to be able to potter for once.  I managed to get a bit of cleaning done (thank god, it needed doing so badly.  It'd got to the point where you couldn't stay still for too long or you'd stick.  Nice)  I also managed to sneak in a bit of furtive crocheting.  I'm rather exicted about my new crochet book (which I will share with you in the next day or two, promise) and I got a bit carried away making some rather lovely little things from it.
It's been Father's Day here in England and so the day started with a family breakfast; croissants being the breakfast of choice for Mr N:
How spooky that the children should choose this as a present, it will be simply perfect for our forthcoming festival trip...
We had one of those hilarious family conversations at breakfast that makes you realise your children are, despite the odds, turning out to be quite brilliant human beings.  I was telling the boys about Desert Island Discs (as you do), which got us talking about what our luxury item would be if we were stranded on a desert island.  After a bit of a ponder, Mr N and I both said we'd have a dog (rather freaky I think, given the number of possible things we could have said).  Then Mr N had a bit more of a ponder and decided that, on balance, he'd actually prefer to have Bear Grylls as he'd be at least as useful as Ray Mears, but probably more fun to be stuck on an island with (and easier on the eye, I think).  The boys decided they'd have a year's supply of chocolate and an iPod (hmmmm, could be a bit of an issue with re-charging your mp3 there, big nut!)  Then, in a moment of inspiration, middle nut said 'no, no, mummy.  You'd have to have all your crochet things, then you could crochet your way to survival.'  Me: 'Really?  I think that's a great idea, it would certainly keep me sane'.  MN: 'No.  I mean, you could crochet an aeroplane and fly off the island.'  Now that's pure genius. x

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Elderflower cordial recipe and a tent-related make

Just to let you know that I've posted the recipe for elderflower cordial on my 'cake' tab at the top of my blog (here you go, Nelly!)  I hope you like it - let me know how you get on if you do make it!  Good luck getting the citric acid - it can be a bit tricky to get hold of as it's used to make bombs too, apparently.  I got it from my local chemist - I think they made a snap decision based on appearances alone and decided that, on balance, I'm probably wasn't a terrorist.  Phew.  I'm sitting here with a glass of it by my side - it's especially yum with sparkling water. 
I also mentioned a tent-related make in my last post....and.....ta-daaaaaahhhh:
I give you: tent bunting (and a splat of bird poo, which I didn't spot when I took the photo - nice).  What do you think?  
I also made some bunting for my shed while I was at it (is that normal?)
I love that fact that every other flag has upside-down dogs on it; it adds a certain je ne sais quoi, don't you think? x

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Just a little bit mad

Just look at these beauties.  Big nut and I are big fans of elderflower cordial, so I've been slaving over a hot jam pan the past couple of days making as much as I can before the flowers are over.  Well, 'slaving' is a bit of an exaggeration perhaps, cordial is one of the easiest things ever to make - it would be fairer to say that I've been using cordial-making as an excuse to avoid doing the housework.
Anyway, it's been a productive old session and eight bottles are now lined up in my larder in a rather pleasing fashion.  There's something very satisfying about having stores of homemade food squirrelled away, dontcha think?
It probably seems as though things on the making front have gone a bit quiet round here lately, but I have been quite a busy bee really.  I finished my springtime throw.  I draped it decoratively over the back of the sofa.  The boys used it to snuggle under while watching tv at the weekend.  Baby nut dragged it around the house a bit.  I put it back on the sofa.  I looked at it with my head on one side.  I rubbed my chin.  And then I decided it needed an edge.  So I've been making it an edge.  I just hope I'm not making a mistake and over-egging the pudding, I've seen Vanessa's springtime throw looking absolutely stunning in its edgelessness, and I do have to ask myself why I think mine would look better with rows of granny stitch round it, but there you go - it's having an edge and fingers crossed it looks okay! 
One way or another, this baby will be finished by next Saturday, when Mr N and I are taking the boys to see an outdoor theatre company perform Fantastic Mr Fox (crocheted blankets are a must...)  We're all pretty excited about this outing, which is part of Mr N's fortieth bday present:
We're also going to need lots of crocheted blankets in the summer, when we're going to.....(drum roll please).....a festivalWith the children.  I am soooo ridiculously excited about this, but I also think we might be just a little bit mad.  Three children.  In a tent.  For two nights.  Lunacy.
It's called the Just So Festival and it's for families - check out the link and let me know how highly we score on the madness scale.  I showed the boys the website when I got back from work on Saturday and middle nut's head almost exploded with excitement.  They didn't go to sleep until nine o'clock, they were so busy planning their itinerary, which mainly involved joining Robin Hood bootcamp, the midnight feast and the bushcraft skills workshop - I'm more excited about the family yoga sessions and the knitted art installation (everyone can knit a leaf or a flower and they're all joined together to create one enormous piece in the woods - what's not to love about that??)
I'm so looking forward to this that I have already indulged in a bit of pre-emptive, camping-related shopping:
I'm also halfway through a little tent-related make, but I'll show you that another day, my granny stripe edging is calling me x

Friday, 10 June 2011

Feet, a lizard and a 'how to'

In my mosaic-related excitement, I forgot to include these photos in my last post.  Dunno why, but I ended up taking lots of photos of the little nuts' feet while we were away - got to make the most of the boys' feet looking cute while they're little, because they sure as hell aren't going to look cute once they get hairy!
Big nut, who's looking a bit like he needs a bit of a going-over with the nail scissors.
Middle nut, who doesn't need a going-over with the nail scissors because he bites his toe nails.  
(I love him beyond all reason, but even I think that that's completely gross).
And baby nut, who's only just getting to grips with how brilliant feet are for things like running away from your naughty older brothers.
While we were in Wales, big nut, my nature boy, had an amazing encounter with a lizard:
We were all completely amazed as this fearless little chap came slowly up to big nut's hand and actually seemed to be checking it out.  I can't believe it didn't high-tail it off the rock and into a crevice, as there were five enormous humans looming over him stifling squeaks of amazement, but really he just seemed to be curious about the big pink thing that had arrived on his patch.  (Ah, I bet there are people reading this who are really blase about things like close encounters with reptiles, but we were all thrilled by it - suburbanites that we are).
Now, the main purpose of my post to day is to say..........................
check out my crochet tab...I have finally done the treat scarf 'how to'.
I'm sorry this has taken so long and I would like to point out that this isn't a tutorial, sorry.  I just hadn't planned on anyone else being interested in my little stripy creation and so I didn't take any pics as I was going along.  This is more of a 'how I did it'/pattern.  I really hope you find it useful and clear, but please just contact me if you are trying to make at and there's anything that you're not sure about - I'm really happy to help.  Edit:  I've just published the crochet page with the pattern on and now I'm really nervous
Oooh, brilliant, Mr N's just got home from the supermarket with chocolate - happy days x