Wednesday, 23 December 2009


We don't have a huge amount of decorations up at Christmas, but I am prepared to make some effort - it's either that or risk being labelled a killjoy, or as my daughters would say, a "fun sponge"! So we always have a real tree, and that tree has as much squeezed onto it as possible.

The food preparation is one of the things I enjoy most about Christmas. Everyone has their own preferred way with mince pies, don't they? Cranberries are my secret ingredient. They add a lovely sweet sharpness and an extra kick of flavour to ready-made mincemeat.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Short and Sweet Knitting

I'm back with two more things, this time knitted.
I've been waiting for days to take these pictures. I just needed some. . . what's that thing that used to be around, but never seems to be there nowadays? Oh yes, LIGHT. In the end I just took the photos anyway.

I used 4 ply for the bunny and the smallest needles I had, for a smaller scale than stated on the pattern, and she is 7" tall including her ears. Working a tight fabric on fine needles can be quite hard on your hands though, so I wouldn't recommend doing it for too long at a time.
The uber-cute ducky is in dk weight on 3mm needles. The button "wheels" are what sold this pattern to me!

Why am I making stuffed animals? What does a grown woman want with knitted toys? There are no young children to give them to in the family, my daughters are grown up, but I love making these small pretty things, and I enjoy the creative challenge. Plus, they look nice on the sewing room shelf.
Patterns by Debi Birkin.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Christmas Birds

Hello, busy in the run-up to Christmas but just popping in to show you some recent projects.
More birds, this time from Sew Pretty Christmas Homestyle. I intended to make some of these last year but didn't get round to it. They are fiddly to make but well worth it, and just the right size for hanging on the Christmas tree.

The lace is vintage and the ribbon flowers were bought from the annual Harrogate K&S Show, not the one just gone, but from a couple of years ago now.
I particularly liked the idea of sewing a metal ring to the top of the ornament to thread the hanging cord through. I think this gives quite a professional look, and and from a practical point of view it enables you to easily hang your bird with the best side facing outwards! I got an inexpensive packet of jump rings with lots in from Hobbycraft.

Hope you have some time for needlework in amongst all the Christmas preparations. We're getting our Christmas tree tomorrow! Back soon with some knitted projects.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Birds have featured in a few of my projects over the years. Some of them are perhaps looking a bit dated now!

These two are from my folk art phase.

This one is several years old, but I recently gave it a makeover with a scrap of lace and a tiny glass button, and I like it better now.

An applique bird. . .

. . . birds in cross stitch. . .

Once I even tried my hand at a painted bird.

My latest bird is a knitted one in lovely Baby Cashmerino.
(Pattern by Sandra Polley.)

Friday, 2 October 2009

A Few Minutes. . .

. . .was all it took to turn a china ornament from a charity shop. . .

. . . into a pincushion.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

I've Seen the Future and It's Knitted

Well, back after a summer of not much blogging, but quite a lot of knitting. Have I any readers left?

I think I've mentioned before that I used to be a keen knitter when I was younger. At that time though, I knitted purely to obtain the finished garment. I would sit and knit all evening after work just to achieve the finished item so I could wear it. (Should have got out more!)

But all that has completely changed with this second wave of knitting. Now, the reward is all in the process. It's so pleasant to sit in a tranquil state accompanied by the gentle rhythm of needles and yarn, or "wool" as it's still generally called in the UK, regardless of the fibre content!

I've even made a couple of cardigans - once I had come to terms with the fact that I can't now knit the same size I knitted 25 years ago!

Do you think I'll have enough scarves this winter?

The grey scarf pattern was from a recent issue of Yarn Forward magazine and is by the exceptionally talented Ysolda Teague. The other two patterns I found through Ravelry.
If you want to find them in Ravelry, the green triangular one is called Aestlight and the purple ruffled one is Cinnamon Grace.

All these scarves were quick, interesting and fun to knit, and I learned a lot from the very clever techniques used in all of them.
If only it would get cold enough to wear a scarf.

The hedgehog pattern is by Little Cotton Rabbits. Such fun to knit and so sweet. I love the small scale and his tiny feet.

It's been quite a busy summer, with our younger daughter's graduation and of course lots of garden work. If we ever move I don't think I want quite such a high maintenance garden next time.

Some late summer colour from the garden. The sunflowers are a small variety called Valentine, which are long lasting and perfect for cutting.
I'll try not to leave it two months before I post again!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Pansy Bunting

It was my daughter's 22nd birthday last week. How many daughters has she got, you're thinking, they seem to have birthdays all the time! There are two of them, both grown up now and making me feel old. I think I must have had children very young. . . yes, I'm sure that's it!
Their birthdays do always seem to get mentioned on my blog, but that's because I usually make something decorative for the birthday girl. This time it was pansy bunting, or a pansy garland if you prefer.

This pansy is a classic design, slight variations of which appear in many different printed patterns. Mine is the pansy from this doily.
The only modification I did was in the edging stitches of the two large petals (I worked 1 chain between the stitches instead of 3).

I used Patons 100% Cotton 4 ply and made 7 pansies in 2 colour variations, and added some leaves. The "string" is a length of chain in 2 alternate colours, and I used a double strand of each colour for strength and scale.

So far this summer has been a bit too warm for me. The sunshine is very nice and the garden seems to like it, but I'm hoping for some cooler weather.
Enjoy your week!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Summer Poppies

The idea of knitted flowers with longer stems which would actually support them has been floating around in my head for a while now. I thought I would try it with the poppy pattern (see previous post), and I made 5 in different poppy colours.

I wasn't aiming for botanically accurate imitation flowers. What I had in mind was something that looked obviously knitted, just something whimsical to show off the texture and colour of the knitting.

For the stems I made some knitted i-cords and reinforced them with green paper-covered wire. I've seen a similar thing done using plastic drinking straws, but I wasn't keen on the idea of straws, and I thought pipe cleaners might be too bendy. The ends of the wire are bent over and hidden under the flower centres, so there's nothing sharp to catch on anything. Each poppy is about 2.25 inches across. Not too big and not too small.
The yarn is Baby Cashmerino by Debbie Bliss. I think this is my new favourite yarn. It's a bit finer than standard dk weight and comes in a wide range of beautifully flat colours. This is a peek from my stash and shows just some of the colours.

I used 2.75 mm needles, or old UK size 12's.
They were fun and interesting to make, and they make me smile every time I look at them.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Knit Bits

This blog seems to be all about knitting and crochet at the moment, doesn't it? Quilting has taken a back seat for now, although I still intend to sew from time to time!
I'm very much enjoying working with the lovely yarns that are available now. I learned to do basic knitting when I was four years old, so in a way it feels like things have come full circle and I've returned to my knitting "roots", but with a new perspective. I don't mean that as introspectively as it sounds. I've always been interested in many different crafts, and have concentrated on different ones at different times.

Everything in the photo is from this book.
I was very pleased with the leaves, I think they turned out beautifully.

One of my favourite patterns in the whole book is the garter stitch poppy. I like garter stitch anyway, and I think it's a very effective design.
I haven't finished with the poppy pattern, and I'll show you what I'm doing with it in another post.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


I have succumbed to the cupcake craze, at least where knitted ones are concerned. Not that I've any objection to real ones. My daughter asked if I would make her a knitted cupcake, so I made her three.
I spent some time looking at cupcake patterns and found some nice ones on Etsy. The two bigger cupcakes are from the pattern by Little Cotton Rabbits. I made one in cotton and the other in wool. The pink crocheted rosebud decoration is one I had already. I knew it had to come in useful one day.

The pink cake isn't strictly speaking a cupcake, but a tart. This is another pattern from Etsy, from a seller called Cakes Cakes Cakes who has several yummy looking cake patterns.

Both these patterns are sold as downloads, which I think is a very convenient way to buy patterns.
I think either of these designs would make a very good pincushion for a knitter. They're fun aren't they, and they would be just right as somewhere for putting yarn needles. You can make endless variations with different colours, beads, etc.

The blue crocheted cake I'm keeping for myself and is from this pattern (thank you BitterSweet). It was very quick to make and turned out really well. I used a lightweight (4 ply) cotton because I wanted it to be a tiny size. It's less than 2" tall, including the wooden bead cherry.

Much less fattening than the real thing.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Friday, 8 May 2009