Monday, 20 May 2019

A Little Later Than Usual

My annual clothes swap over feels a little later than usual. Maybe I have been too busy or the weather has not quite held up for long enough: who knows. Anyway, I always get a thrill out of sorting my summer clothes which are stored under the spare bed. All those garments which have not been seen for about eight months, suddenly, it feels like I have been on a huge shopping spree. 

Out go the cords, wool, velvet, heavy cotton drill and polo neck layering tops. I always hand wash and defuzz my favourite Aftur jumper too. All of my tights have gone in the under bed drawers along with my long boots. 

Much more colour enters the wardrobe. I have a sizable collection of white blouses which I pick up in charity shops then, when they go grey, I start looking for another one. A few new makes over the last six months have also made the grade.

This new denim shirt dress is a keeper. It is made in chambray denim from NEWLOOK 6449 pattern. I love the red top stitching.

I have made another Stevie dress by Tilly and the Buttons in double gauze. A new colour for me but I tend to make a lot of green and blue stuff so I hopped out of my comfort zone and added some piping.

Finally, one that might get a few outings but not sure if it is the right style for me. It shows my high waist/short body so I feel a little old in it. My nan's waistband was always just under her bust! The neckline is also a bit wide for work. But the fabric is pretty and if it is warm and I want something cool then I may reach for it. It is the Evelyn dress in a floral ditsy cotton. I much prefer a shift style dress.

Time to pack my suitcase because we are off to Italy this week, catch up with you all soon. Jo xxxxx

Friday, 17 May 2019

A Cherry Good Idea

The patchwork blocks that came up a bit small for my quilt have been re-purposed. Christina from A Colourful Life suggested I made a hot cushion using cherry stones. I ordered some straight away.

I simply added some fusible fleece to the back of the patchwork and quilted it. After completion, I wish I had used more cherry stones because it was a bit saggy but I have plenty left for another one. 

The cushion pad goes into the microwave to heat the cherry stones for about 3 mins then I pop it on my feet in the evening when I am knitting. How rock and roll am I?! They give off a lovely smell, much better than the wheat smell you usually get with heat pads.

Short and sweet today. Have a good weekend. Jo xxx

Sunday, 12 May 2019

No News is Good News

I don't actually have any news but in the spirit of living in the moment, I opened my eyes to what is all around me and May is definitely my favourite month of the year. The intense green colour is spectacular.

 One of the best things to see at our smallholding is the Hawthorn blossom. The change of the seasons is always marked for me by this explosion of froth. Annually, I photograph it as if it will be the last time I will ever see it but of course every year the flowers  come and I really look forward to seeing the spectacle. 

The girls strung some together and brought it up to the house where I hung it over the door of our new house.

This tree is not new news, it is the same as it always is every year. This week is the first year of my dad's passing and the rhythms of nature on his farm are a comfort to my memories. He loved this tree.

The girls are still enjoying the pond although it is a little neglected. We did some pond dipping after I had painted the new bathroom and filled endless wheelbarrows of gravel for a drainage ditch. It was good to take some time out and remember what we have on our little patch of planet earth.

The tadpoles have all gone (buffet for birds I expect) but I caught a sizable newt for the girls to see.

The sheep are still grazing on this luscious grass that May always brings. This is the feisty one of the flock. Soon I will have to catch her, and the others, for shearing.

The new house build continues. This is a different view and I hope soon to show you the whole elevation when we take the old grain shed down. But no real news, just working hard and trying to enjoy the process.

This is the house from the rear as I walked back up the field from the pond. The caravan has to be broken down for scrap because it is falling apart from the bottom but I can't face such a task at the moment, maybe in September.

So all in all no news is good news. Today, with no make up and a fringe that needs cutting, I feel more than good enough. 

Jo xxx

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Starting - a rather wonderful crochet top called Water Clover. I have checked I can follow the pattern so that I can enjoy this make as my holiday project at the end of May. Bloke said, "We can all enjoy our holiday if you can crochet that pattern before we get there." I don't know what he means! 

Starting - a big winter knit for myself. It is quite mindless at the moment, knitting a sweater from the bottom up in navy blue, but the yoke is yet to come and it is a worth waiting for!

Introducing - Beano our new puppy. We realised we just couldn't live without the company of a family dog.

Getting - all our stuff chewed all over again.

Making - chakshouka: Peppers, tomatoes and poached eggs to eat with garlic bread.

 Eating - Mexican tomato soup, croutons and nibbles.

Building - A kitchen, one unit at a time.

Buying - Funky bulbs for our new light fittings

Laughing - at this spanner I found as I completely gutted the workshop and re-organised all of the tools so that everyone, can find everything at the farm.

Wearing - not wearing tights anymore even though it is still cold

Disliking - that I have crocheted Little M a cardigan but she doesn't like it and won't wear it. We passed it on to a friend.

Enjoying - watching my little one gain confidence on the sewing machine. She is making some voile curtains for the bathroom - impressed?

Sewing - a jumpsuit for my big girl who chose this fabric from Minerva.

Fixing - The boiler. Ouch! expensive.

Selling - my dad's old tractor. You will not believe what someone paid for this heap. It would be crude to say...but we have some holiday spends, that's all I'm saying!

Looking - Forward to our holiday in Italy.

Thinking - about what to pack.

Feeling - Brighter, much brighter.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Baby Crochet Sweetness

At Wonderwool I came across a stand called Joe's Toes. It sold slipper kits along with the most cosy wool felt insoles.I bought this tiny pair of pre-punched felt soles for £3. 
I had a gift to make.

They took just under an hour to make using some leftover Colinette Iona yarn which I used to make this neck warmer. The wool is 70% wool, 15% kid mohair and 15% silk - so so soft. 

Firstly, I made a row of chain stitch on the pre-punched holes to anchor my crochet to. Then I made a row of trebles.


Next, I made a second row of trebles. (night time photos)

The final row was: dc5, htr2, tr1, tr2tog, tr1, tr2tog, htr2, dc2. This gets you round to the other side of the slipper. Then chain 11 to make the strap turn and go back along the chain row. dc in the 2nd chain from the hook, dc6 more. You should now be back at the shoe rim. 7dc, ss into first stitch. Repeat for the other side reversing the strap position. Add press studs. 

All ready to be parceled up for my friend's daughter who has waited so long to have a baby. I hope they all like them, they were a joy to make. There is a knitted version on the website too.

Have a great weekend. I am tribal dancing at a folk festival tomorrow, hope it warms up a bit!

Jo xxxxx

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

A Little Bit of Something Does You Good.

While working on the hard dusty graft of house building it is good to keep myself motivated with a little interior decor. I know it is really too soon to be thinking about this kind of thing but sewing for the new house keeps me painting rooms and grouting tiles. If I am honest, although I love sewing, doing all that kind of thing in one massive slog at the end would feel too tedious anyway.

This year, one of my crafting resolutions was to learn to make roman blinds...properly. I have made some bodged up ones in the past which ended up in our weekend cabin because when let down, they didn't actually reach the bottoms of the windows! Roman blinds are not hard to sew but don't be fooled; the maths is critical. These are from the first Great British Sewing Bee book. 

These fit and were very precise. My motivation to continue to learn how to make these blinds did waiver because on a toile I got the fabric the wrong way round. I nearly gave up but when I saw how much they were to be made professionally, I soldiered on.

These are for the office. The only modification I will do after this initial first hang is to put a tiny hand stitch in the centres between the lining and the spot fabric to stop the slight sag - but I am being picky.

I had originally chose this house/cat fabric from Minerva but it had a screen print error running through it so I was unable to make the blinds. They contacted the supplier, however there was a bigger problem than just the piece I had. Luckily, I was able to keep the piece and was sent the spotty fabric instead. I wanted to use the house fabric so I ordered a sewing bin kit from Dannells.

This will go in the window for pens, notebooks etc. They are really easy to cover and very reasonably priced. I also had a waste paper bin kit and a table lampshade which I will cover with the last of the spotty fabric.

The fabrics work well together and stop it looking too much the same.

I have removed the blind and packed the whole lot up in a dust sheet to keep it clean. It will probably be another 18 months before I actually get to put them out in the room. I have had a fantastic time making these interior accessories and now my attention will turn to making for another room. I am pleased I have accomplished one of my 2019 resolutions - two more blinds to go.

Jo xxxx

Saturday, 27 April 2019


After a wonderful Easter holiday break we finished the two weeks off with a visit to Wonderwool, a yarn show at Builth Wells in Wales. The weather was awful today, too windy for us to spend a day on a building site, so we headed off on the train for a day out...

An amazing poppy display.

Friendly sheep.

Teeswater sheep showing off their coats.

Three adorable kid goats.

Inspiring crochet by Janie Crow. I bought a shawl pattern.

Pops of quilting and felt colour...

...on a huge scale.

Toft cuties.

A little skein winding on the one and a half hour train ride home. She is good to me, that one.

Some light purchasing: a large 4ply bundle, sock yarn in 4ply and DK and three macrame kits.

That should see me through the year I reckon. 

We had a fab time! Thanks for dropping in. 
Jo xxx