Saturday 30 December 2017

Winter Rainbow Knitting Ta Dah!

Thank you for reading my year end round up. I am still thinking about 2018 but in the meantime, holiday hours at home have helped me produce this gossamer beauty.

This yarn is called Winter Rainbow. I have been stroking it and admiring it since August. It is a 'single' meaning the dyer only made one which enables it to be sold more cheaply rather than a yarn dyed in multiples that can be bought to make bigger items. I think £16 is an awesome price for such loveliness...and I chose it!

I broke my stash diet embargo at the Shrewsbury Folk festival to buy it from a lovely lady at felt fusion. The hunt was on to find a one skein wonder pattern and I chose to knit One and Done from Casapinka on Ravelry. It will showcase the beautiful fusion of rainbow colours but will probably be more of a Spring item than a cosy winter wrap.

I cast on and looked forward to some restorative knitting. All in all it took me about two weeks of evening knitting. The rows got so long eventually that I could only do about three a night but I tried to 'knit in the moment' and enjoy the process. 

From the bunched up knitting on my needles, I came to the end of the border row. The pattern called for 400m and my skein was 366m so I did a few less rows of the rib section. In the end, there was plenty left over but with the cast off row taking me a full two hours I did not want to play chicken. Andy came into the room after I had blocked it and said 'Wow! it gone from a lumpy caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly' 

The pattern is well worth the purchase. The only muddy area was the picot cast off which I did but my bobbles appeared a little small so maybe I didn't do that quite right but at least it was a good stretchy bind off.

The ends have a beautiful drape with a cobweb quality. Wet blocking is essential to gain this effect.

The drop stitch section is immensely satisfying. You drop a stitch and then run it all the way back to the knit edge. This means the knitting unfurls and creates the fan shape before your very eyes. It was like magic. A fluffy yarn would have been a nuisance but this merino silk mix was just perfect.

I am going to wear it in the summer with my white linen top. 

This is how I like to wear my shawls but the image below shows the yarn off with aplomb.

I LOVE this shawl. It is called One & Done but seriously, I could knit ten of them. 

I will no longer be frightened of buying that special skein of yarn in an independent wool shop now that I know I will always have the perfect pattern to enjoy knitting them with. Thank you for encouraging me to treat myself and use my best merino. 

Jo xxx

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Resolution Success

If you are follower of this blog, for which I thank you, you will know I make crafting New Year resolutions because they are more fun than promising to eat less cake or run 5K. 2017 has been the year of the stash diet. 

I made three resolutions. The first one was to find a knicker pattern. This has been a bit of a mission with lots of experimenting and learning. I can report success all round and can now whip out MY own knicker pattern and make batches of new knickers without even leaving the house.

The second one was to make another quilt. Again, lots of learning and new skills. I made Megan a sampler quilt trying out new techniques and blocks which I shared with my sewing group. It tied in well with the stash diet because I used up lots of scraps.

And finally the mammoth number three. Limit buying new craft materials. I must say that it was very liberating. I have used up many pieces of donated fabric and wool along with sewing notions without actually making any less items this year. My favourite free yarn project being my hat, cowl and glove set.

And my most worn free dressmaking project is my Cleo dungaree skirt from donated cord.

Of course I did buy new materials and I listed them throughout the year to keep myself in check:

4 balls of patons smoothie in red for a school jumper (need)
2 balls of alpaca wool for a baby knit (caved in)
1 10m roll of bias binding to finish the quilt (need)
1 skein of rainbow Merino (too darn pretty)
1 sockwunder circular needle (to try)
1 stitch ripper (lost mine)
1 roll of dressmakers tracing paper (ran out)
3 balls of stylecraft white DK (to finish a baby blanket)
1 bale of quilt wadding (need)

*Adrifil yarn for my big girl to crochet so not for me!

There was a double edged reason to do this task. Financially, we used the money I would have spent on frivolous craft stash to fix or replace things which we have been living with that are broken or no longer working. Our ten-year-child-rearing dip without doing any house maintenance finally caught up with us. I listed these each month too:

JAN - replaced broken yarn winder, paid for our holiday to France

FEB - new frying pan, jug, microwave and stick blender

MAR - New shower head and serviced my overlocker blades. Paint for three rooms in the house.

APR - Bought drawers for our recycling, windows 10 software, bobble buster for saving knits, replaced 3 cracked drawers in the freezer

MAY - a new cooker and a new cutlery basket for the dishwasher, a new hose that reaches the part of the garden we need to water.

JUN - A new grill pan handle, drawer knobs for all the ones that have fell off on our bedroom furniture.

JULY - Had the carpets cleaned - all of them!

AUG - An adult mattress for our 10 year old girl instead of a toddler one, a sisal rug to cover the worn bit of carpet in the front room that the cleaning couldn't save.

SEPT - A new hoover that actually works

OCT - Garden shrubs to replace the ones the dog has eaten. New garden fence from a neighbourly driving accident!

NOV - New shower taps which were dripping, painted the kitchen.

DEC - Repair the spin on the washing machine and Christmas!

I know it doesn't make for riveting reading but I wonder how many of us put up with broken things and finally decide we have had enough, we made it our 2017 mission. 

So I have to make some new ones don't I? Well I will have to have a little think about that. 

Thank you for following along this year. I have loved having you here to cheer me on in my crafty shenanigans. Jo xxxx

Sunday 24 December 2017 Christmas

Making - lovely things with lovely yarn, like you all said I should

Cooking - from a new cookbook, Jaime Oliver Super foods

Drinking - Ginger Wine, I LOVE it

Wanting - the dog to stop trampling down the garden

Deciding - where to plant two new rose bushes given as wedding gifts in light of the aforementioned

Considering - My new years craft resolutions

Wearing - My Aftur sweater almost daily

Returning - to milder weather

Enjoying - That both girls still believe in Father Christmas

Wondering - why people buy so much food and then throw it away

Watching - Any comedy as an antidote to everything else in the world

Disliking - How women, not men, get frazzled at Christmas

Thinking - about my dad a lot

Buying - a weekend break in Bath which we thoroughly enjoyed

Loving - Time off work

Getting - better at Yoga

Eating - sensibly

Feeling - grateful

Sending - You all the very best of Christmas Wishes!

Love from all of us xxxxx

Friday 22 December 2017

Vintage Pledge Lined Jacket

My final big challenge of the year ready for my final day of work yesterday. After the success of my vintage coat last year I wanted to immerse myself in another challenging sewing project. This year I wanted to make a jacket and pledged my wish on the 2017 Vintage pledge. This project has been on the go since the end of September. I bought this pattern in a charity shop and fell in love with the collar. It is from 1969. 

The fabric is a light wool suiting which is lined in cream paisley jacquard lining from Minerva. The cutting out was easy because there was not any pattern matching to contend with. 

The button loops were supposed to be bias binding rouleau loops but I saw this natty idea embedded in the Tilly and the Buttons tutorial. No words just look and the pictures and it tells the whole story.


Brilliant eh? As an aside to how easy it is to sew on hair bands and then cut them off, it is great when wearing the jacket because there is some ease across the bust; great for driving. This style front has a Beatles-Sergeant-Pepper-album-cover look about it. I find it hard to believe that a 50 year old pattern can still have such appeal today.

I took 1.5cm out of the body length on the shorten line to help it sit right on my hips but other than that it is sewn as instructed. It has spent many an hour on my mannequin Clara, waiting for the lining to be made - five weeks in fact.


I eventually finished it and wore it to work at the education centre where I work on my last day. This fabric would make any (lined) smart skirt or jacket. It wasn't hard to make, I just read each instruction and followed it through to the next one. Essentially, I did as I was told.

Make no mistake this jacket is olive green. I have a skirt cut out to make it a full suit which I will sew up soon. 

Thanks Minerva. This is a beautiful understated winter fabric.


This make also fulfills my personal Vintage Pledge this year to make a lined jacket from a Vintage pattern...just in time.

Thanks for looking
Jo xx

Monday 18 December 2017

All Done #16 Cascade Luna

I have not done an 'All Done' post for a while. They are posts which show everything made from one lot of stash until it has all gone. This yarn made a jumper in January which has since been re worked in various ways: the neck, sleeve length, body length but in the end it went to my smaller friend - I think you get the idea!

This crochet hat was a quick hit. It really has taken me a few hours. Literally, I started it at 9 O'clock one evening, took it to work the next day for some lunch hour crochet, added a few more rounds in the car waiting for the girls to come out of dance club, then I added the flower at home while the casserole dumplings browned.

My big girl does not like wool on her forehead. She does not have a fringe and finds it itchy so this left over Cascade Luna was perfectly soft made from 100% cotton. It is expensive so I wanted to use it all up. I happened to get the original stash for an amazing price but it still felt precious so needed using wisely.

I added a flower and a button which I tied on with a bow. The pattern is the slouch hat from Boho Crochet. I made it with this 10 ply thinner yarn on a 4mm hook and it came up a great size for my 10 year old. It is a combination of popcorn stitch and trebles with a double crochet border and then the last round is crab stitch.

One happy girl. You need it round here at the moment, it is a bit nippy.

If you are wrapping hand knits at the moment as gifts here is a link to an awesome free printable for hand knits. I have found it really useful; makes my brothers socks look very well wrapped. I have previously posted a link to a crochet one here.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Jo xxx

Thursday 14 December 2017

Groovy Hat

This was wrapped last week. I have been saving some gorgeous cord scraps because they are just too lovely to throw away but they have outstayed their welcome now in the craft cupboard.

The pattern is from the Make it Today website which is free to download and the pattern is on three sheets of A4 so not too arduous to printout.

I cut out eight crown pieces in cord, eight in lining, one peck in cord and one in co-ordinating cord along with a crown band. I saved a piece off the scraps pile to cover a button before tossing the little pile on the left into the bin with a satisfactory goodbye.

I added the tie twist instead of a bow. It is not for me, it is for someone much younger, 27 years younger in fact! It is for a teenager who can carry off this Austin Powers groovy vibe.

Anyway it was fun to make and wear for a moment. I have a tweed one cut out from my waistcoat sewing scraps so I will keep the next one for myself.

Thanks for looking. Jo xxxx

Monday 11 December 2017

Blue Skies & Crochet

Snow has well and truly hit Shropshire this weekend. School and my workplace are closed today but I must confess to enjoying the snow just a little bit.

It gave us a chance to go sledging but we cracked our sledge. It turns out this one is not built for 10 stone women! 

We went early to the meadow by us before anyone else and the sunlight was magical. The girls can see the meadow from their three storey high bedroom window so they were itching to go from the moment they drew the curtains.

I think the garden is going to take a bashing once it all melts. The weight of the snow is probably crushing our plants as we speak.

In other blue news, this weekend has given me lots of time to make my last Christmas present; the Meg shawl which has been lounging in my Ravelry Library unmade for quite a while.

It has been fun but boy those ends were tiresome. Each circle and flower and ring and joining string - Te-di-ous!

I used a rather nice free printable to wrap it up from here

Finally, another snow landscape because they are beautiful aren't they? We live on the top of the hill, we are so lucky to have this as our view.

Thanks for looking. Jo xxxxx