Archive for the ‘Textiles’ Category

Is this little scarf I made for a friend’s birthday. I needed a quick knit and found this pattern, which was apparently ‘mindless knitting’. Not mindless enough for me, it seems – I still ended up making a mistake and needing to rip a load out!


But it was finished and delivered and the recipient was happy, so that counts as a win!

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Well, that ‘coming back to the blog’ went well, didn’t it?

I’m still swimming along, and there’s plenty I want to blog about but I can’t seem to convince myself that I have time. It seems a bit of an indulgence when there’s work to do (frequently) or the house is a tip (constantly). But my work is done for the day, and the family are out so the house (disgusting) isn’t going to get any worse, so here’s a belated post from this year’s visit to the Festival of Quilts.

It was great fun – I took my mum with me this year and we had a lovely time. It was bigger this year, a whole new hall, lots more sitting down space. Lots more shopping, too. I was restrained and bought a fat quarter of some ladybird fabric I’ve had my eye on for a while, and a transfer pencil and stabilising paper for the embroidery I really want to get round to doing.

Anyway, the quilts.

This one was lovely:

This was interesting, as it had layers of beads sewn in:

I liked the combination of modern style with traditional elements here:

This was beautifully done:

This was another ‘trad with a twist’ – it was called ‘Hexagon Revolution’

I loved the colours in this – it reminded me of Kaffe Fassett fabric:

I liked this one of moths:

Here’s a detail:

This was probably one of my favourites – it’s Lichens.

Here are some close ups:

I didn’t get many pictures of the traditional quilts – which are usually my favourites. I took some but they were either blurred, had people wandering in front of them, badly lit (the NEC lighting is dire in some parts of the halls) or were wholecloth quilts which were breathtaking in the flesh but unimpressive when photographed. But trust me when I say they were all lovely!

All in all, a lovely, lovely day!

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This weekend is Wonderwool, so Littlest S&S and I tootled off together yesterday to see what we could see. (Littlest S&S slept pretty much all the way through in her sling, oblivious to all the admiration she garnered. By the end of the day I felt like having ‘My baby is 9 weeks old’ written on my forehead, but that’s what happens when you take a cute baby out, I suppose!) I had plans to meet friends at lunchtime, so once I got the knitting needles I knew I needed, I spent the first hour and a half moseying around, browsing aimlessly and taking photos of all the lovely yarn and fibre. So many pretty colours and lovely textures. Want to see? Of course you do.

Pretty coloured fibre:

Purple yarns aplenty at Fyberspates:

Jubilee yarn at EasyKnits:

Lovely subtle colours at Natural Dye Studio:

Gorgeous threads at Oliver Twist:

Gorgeous natural colours at Jillybean:

Recycled sari yarn:

Silk and sequins:

And some lovely natural fibres:

Then came lunch – a Scotch egg from the marvellous Scotch egg man (he makes lots of different types including a gluten-free version, God bless him) and a chat with some friends, and then more ambling and purchasing until it was time to go home. I tried my very best to be restrained as I absolutely don’t need any more yarn, and was moderately successful. If anything I was even more inspired to use up my stash, as I want to go back next year and be able to stock up on new projects. I saw some utterly beautiful needlefelting:

and the most gorgeous crocheted throw:

and some gorgeous yarns which I long to be able to justify buying.

So, are you wondering what came home with me? Well, a relatively modest haul, for once.

The needles and cable I knew I needed:

Some lovely stitch markers I knew I didn’t, but couldn’t resist:

And um, about that not buying yarn… and especially not laceweight because I have far too much. Well. I bought this:

The photo doesn’t do it justice – it’s called ‘Treacle Toffee’, but I think it’s the colour of new pennies and I’d not seen anything quite like it before. It’s silk and merino laceweight and I tried very hard to be strong, but I kept thinking about it and then I figured that if I was actually taking people to the stand to show them the yarn, I had better buy it. I’m already pretty sure I know what I’m going to make with it. Mr S&S is very rude about it and keeps making remarks about the Bristol Stool Scale, but knickers to him; I think it’s lovely and unusual.

I also picked up this magazine in return for a donation to the Air Ambulance:

I like this pattern for a girl’s coat:

And this shawl:

I also bought some shell buttons and a pattern for a very pretty tie-front cardigan. All in all a good day and apart from the yarn, no real extravagances, which is nice.

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Hardly a little-known blog, but one I love. It’s been years since I did any embroidery, but I am hoping to get back into it this year – probably once Baby S&S is less dependent as it is a two hand task. But in the meantime, there’s Feeling Stitchy , a repository of all manner of embroidered goodness – the traditional, the cutesy, the quirky, the abstract, the funny… there’s so much stitching talent out there and so much inventiveness. Embroidery is very much a living craft, and I think all crafters, not just embroiderers, would enjoy the blog. I can’t wait to be able to pick up my needle and sort through my threads…

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Remember how I wasn’t going to buy any yarn unless it was on a ‘two out, one in’ basis? Well, I’ve been doing very well. Until now. I’ve been using mainly stash yarn (with a few little balls here and there to finish off stash projects) and starting to feel quite virtuous. And then it all went a bit wrong.

I used a heap of yarn making the crochet blocks I posted about a while back, and then decided what I was going to make with them, which meant that just needed some black yarn to complete the project. Off I tootled to my bargain yarn source of choice and sure enough, they had what I needed at a good price. And if it’s to finish a stash project, it doesn’t count, right? But while I was there, I thought, ‘Well, once that’s done, none of my planned stash projects are really mindless/put downable enough for me at the moment, what with the baby’. So I, um, bought yarn to make a Granny Stripe blanket. I’ve been longing to make one of these for ages and I couldn’t resist this lovely bamboo yarn. It comes in the most gorgeous colours, which all have plant names, so I spent half an hour agonising and chose these:

Top row: Cyclamen, Delphinium, Catkin, Primrose. Bottom row: Lavender, Fennel, Hydrangea. It was really hard to choose – there were at least four other shades I loved, but I wanted a balance of colours and a ‘spring’ palette. I wasn’t 100% sure about the yellow, but I thought it needed something to ‘lift’ it, and I think it works quite well, although I’m going to have to use it with care.

And then, while I was there, I also bought six balls of merino 4ply in the most delicious colours. I broke one of my golden rules here, as I have absolutely no idea what I’ll do with it – the state of my stash is largely due to me buying yarn without having a clue what to do with it, but it was a bargain and I need projects I can work on. It was a bit naughty, but as I said to a friend and fellow knitter, yarn is cheaper than therapy. And look, aren’t these lovely?

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Weekword: Panoply

An interesting word from Jenna this week. A panoply is a fantastic array, and so I’m taking this opportunity to shoehorn in a post about my latest crochet project. As I mentioned, I can’t knit while doing the interminable feeds Littlest S&S requires, but I can crochet. I don’t have the powers of intellect or concentration for anything complicated or requiring a pattern, but I didn’t want to do granny squares. So I found a pattern for some lovely flowery hexagons – the African Flower. They are very simple, and very satisfying as they only take a short while to complete, so even on busy days I get the satisfaction of completing something. They are destined to be either a blanket or some cushion covers, depending on how many I get out of the yarn.

I’m using up leftover yarn, so the colours are somewhat… vibrant, but I love the way the pattern lends itself to a panoply of variations:

And that each three colour combination (I’m using the same yarn for all the centres) yields six different hexagons, which somehow manage to look really different while containing the same colours.

I’m enjoying the bright yarn but as I crochet, I’m envisaging lots of other possible uses and colour combinations for this motif – pastels, shades of only one colour, using a consistent ‘border’ colour… a veritable panoply, if you will, of possible projects.

Pop by and see Jenna to see the other panoply posts.

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I made this bag while I was pregnant – it’s very simple. The bottom is knitted flat, then you pick up the stitches and knit in the round until it’s finished, and then make I-Cord for the handles. Very straightforward and very easy and a great accompaniment to the late-pregnancy West Wing marathon. And then it spent a few weeks hanging around looking floppy and shapeless, waiting for me to get around to felting it. Eventually I found a load of old jeans and slung it in for a few 30 minute washes and a couple of rinses and spins, before filling it with cookbooks to hold its shape while it dried.

It’s turned out very well, I think, and I’m really pleased with it.

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Broomstick Crochet

I had a bit of a yarncraft splurge while I was waiting for Littlest S&S to put in her appearance. This is a scarf I made for my godmother’s birthday. It’s broomstick crochet – so called because presumably you can use a broomstick to make the loops rather than a huge 20mm knitting needle – and it was very satisfying to make, if a little fiddly at first.

The yarn is Colinette Cadenza, a DK weight yarn I picked up at the millroom years ago. I think this pattern shows it off really well.

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Here’s the monochrome crochet project. It’s a one-colour version of the rainbow star blanket I made last year. I used a load of cream yarn I bought in a charity shop years ago and which had been gathering dust ever since. I think the plain cream works quite well:

I actually finished this back in January, but I didn’t want to post about it until the intended recipient had seen it. And here she is:


Littlest S&S was due on February 11th, but kept us waiting so she could make a dramatic entrance, twelve days late. She was born very quickly, less than three hours before I was due to be induced. Those twelve days were absolutely killing, which is why the blog went quiet, but we’re settled in now, and she’s doing very well, and I’m planning to get back into things again. Things like blogging, walking for purposes other than the strictly necessary, putting my own socks on, that kind of thing. 


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Flu … and yarn therapy

Another long hiatus, but you’ll understand why when I tell you that over the last few weeks, the main features of my life can be summarised in this photograph:

We’ve all had the flu. The children got off lightly – a bit of snot and a few days of tummy upset – but Mr S&S and I weren’t so lucky. Mr S&S is pretty much on the mend but I still have the snot and a hacking cough that makes our house sound like the miners’ home at Blackpool. It’s quite impressive.

Still, there have been compensations. I’m not working at the moment and of course I’ve been *ill* so I’ve had time to get a fair bit of yarn used up and no guilt to stop me sitting down with my projects. Here’s an in-progress shot of the monochrome crochet:

And I also made some lacy fingerless mitts for a friend’s birthday:

The pattern is available, free, here and I used a lovely Rowan merino wool to make them. The yarn is sadly discontinued, which is a shame, because it is beautiful and the stitch definition is lovely. I didn’t have quite enough to do the thumbs, but fortunately I knitted both mitts before I did the thumbs, so I was able to improvise with what I had. The combination of the crosshatch lace and the dark green means that they are quite reminiscent of alligators – at least to me – so I’ve christened them the Alligator mittens.

I’m also making a huge blanket – rather huger than I first intended due to a reckless miscalculation. I haven’t got any progress photos, but it’s very enjoyable and I’m really looking forward to finishing it – whenever that happens! Given its epic size, it could take some time…

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