Last week on the Isle of Wight we chanced upon a crafting haven in Ventnor called Rainbows. It has wool, buttons, ribbon, notions and fabric in an almost overwhelming supply. I didn't know where to look! Located on Pier Street there are two rooms and plenty of supplies to treat yourself to.
There's also a good selection of handcrafted children's clothes, sewn and knitted. I picked this sweet dress up for Ruby for just £10.50! Anyone who has sewn anything knows just how much effort goes into making these garments making this dress an absolute steal. Ruby absolutely loves it.
I also picked up this Katia Paper Yarn. It feels like strong paper but pliable and is washable, all very intriguing. I'm looking forward to having a mess about with it when I've finished my other projects. For now I will just add it to one of many enormous plastic tubs of yarn that I have stacked up in my bedroom taking up all the space.
I thoroughly recommend popping in if you are a crafter and find yourself on the Isle of Wight!
Time to get cracking on my amirugumi.
I blocked my squares earlier in the week. Where did this week go?! Two nights of the week I'm out at the moment and I am continuing the perpetual rhythm of the housework alongside my pastimes and I just let the blog slip!
Anyway blocking (and how to block).
I washed the squares really gently by hand in warm water, there's no need to rub or lift them - just let them sit. I added a little fabric conditioner to this tub. Then, I left for 6 hours to really let the water soak into the fibres. After that I drained the water out of the tub and rinse the squares in a few changes of warm water again by putting the bowl under the tap and then pouring it out once full, taking care not to let the squares drop out.
After that I carefully lift each square out - I get as much excess water out by pressing the square between my palms but being careful not to pull. Then I place the square in a towel and roll the square in the towel to get rid of the rest of the excess.
I used these great t-pins from Fred Aldous to pin the work to towels on the floor - this is not ideal - a blocking board would be better because I could have it leaning against a wall vertically and then it would take up less space. This time though there were way too many squares for my board (which I made by stapling wadding and gingham material to a piece of board) so towels it had to be.
The t-pins give enough resistance so you can stretch the corners out. I love them and read about them in the Linda Permann book Crochet Adorned which I thoroughly recommend.
After a few days sitting on the floor in the spare room and with a little help from the heating they are finally dry and all a uniform flat shape so it's time to sew 'em all up. Not long until I think about the border!
Hope everyone had a great weekend.
It has been so difficult to get photos of these blocks in natural light! And so hard to find somewhere to lay them out. The living room's got wooden floorboards that don't lend themselves to be photographed, the kitchen floor's shiny white tiles are equally awful for crafty pictures, the light in my bedroom is too dark.... so these are in the back bedroom and although not especially great pictures at least the colours are true to life! Any tips for me?
Actually on reflection the above photo doesn't replicate the vibrancy of the colour at all. But at least it shows how I'm laying them out. Again, I came to this blanket thinking I'd just crochet any old colours together but it would have really paid off to prepare a bit more and get a pattern together beforehand. I wasted alot of time rearranging squares and wondering how I could pull it all together.
I'm really looking forward to stitching it altogether and then my favourite part, planning the border! Looks like there may be another completed project on the horizon. YES!
Hope everyone's having a good start to the week X
It's that time of the week again. I'm really starting to make progress on this blanket despite the busy week last week. I've decided to make it 5 squares by 5 squares and then add the border which means I have 4 and a half to go! The pattern has eventually sunk in so I don't have to refer to the book at all now. I really can't wait to put it all together. I hope to have the last few squares crocheted and start blocking by next Wednesday.
Then it'll be time to play serious catch up on the granny a day 2012 project I started at the beginning of the year. I'm really annoyed with myself I've fallen behind, but I have done plenty of squares already. I really need to take a look at the colours I've done so far and do a bit more planning to make them more evenly spaced out. I was very much of the opinion I'd be super relaxed about this but doing the above blanket with just 25 squares has made me realise if the border colours and centre colours aren't evenly spaced then the piece looks unbalanced.
To see more knitting and crochet works in progress (or to add your own to the list!) click the link below:
Rather amazingly my lovely baby blanket - my one and only lone item in my understocked, underloved etsy shop has been found amongst all the many millions of etsy products and curated in this treasury.
I think my etsy shop is trying to get my attention. Like a loyal lovely friend it nudges me with happy emails letting me know about things like the treasury listing. I had my first order for something I crocheted from someone I didn't know last month as well. I really can't begin to tell you just how happy this made me. It caught me on a particularly crappy day and lifted it immeasurably.
Very slow start this week. My legs were aching!
I couldn't face taking Ruby to pre-school on Monday - the hill I live on was too much to contemplate and driving felt beyond me (AND very lazy as its only a matter of minutes away)
Lots of sitting on the sofa and not doing very much for a couple of days.
:: Marbulous ::
But when a new set of marbulous arrived to supplement the existing, I made this.
Unsupervised about 20 minutes later George had karate chopped it into bits.
We've been to Nana's - that's my nana's, their grand nana's - where the children spend all their time eating biscuits! Within seconds of walking through the door you are guaranteed to hear Ruby say, 'nana, I think I'm a bit hungry' - woe betide if nana ever runs short on biscuits. Do nanas ever run short on biscuits?!
When we got back, George had fallen asleep in the car, Gwyn carried him into the lounge, took off his shoes, put them in the cupboard under the stairs and came back to this.
I couldn't bear to wake him so he slept while we had dinner and instead we all had a very late night!
Today there was no preschool and we made cornflour goo (2 parts cornflour to 1 part water) I'd forgotten just how satisfying this stuff is! Ruby was entertained for about an hour. When you apply pressure to it, it's solid, when you hold it up and let gravity do it's job it's liquid. The science bit is here.
If you were feeling particularly reckless you could always add food colouring. Today, I wanted to keep it simple as we had just been potato printing already and there was paint everywhere.
:: Perfect potatoes ::
Up until last week it had never occurred to me to use cookie cutters to get the perfect potato print shape. I must be daft. Only because there was a text request for a cookie cutter from one of my friends that helps organise the toddler group did the possibility even come to light. I've always muddled through with a knife, trying and failing to make shapes, all very unsatisfactory. But a cookie cutter in the potato and then the knife? Perfect potatoes. Doh!
:: Raw chocolate brownies ::
And where did all my energy come from today? I'll place good money on my green smoothie, some raw pasta and these, raw chocolate brownies, the recipe for which can be found here.
Over the last year or so I've been amassing a random collection of 'new to my kitchen' ingredients and equipment, new recipe books and I've added some new 'raw' blogs to my feed. It slowly starts to creep in as you realise eating more fresh inventive food is not only really exciting but gives you loads more energy and makes you feel better.
In a happy coincidence (serendipity?) there was a lone bag of detox your world cacao powder at my local health shop and I remembered a recipe on Polly's blog that I've been wanting to try out. I am guilty of a bit of an addiction to Galaxy chocolate. Hands up, every night I have a bar. Or a big bar. Easily. But I'm thinking more and more along the lines of curbing this, particularly as it's starting to feel like I'm having it for the sake of it and I'm starting to notice the taste is beginning to feel artificial (I know!!!! Worrying!!!) Cacao is an amazing superfood because there are over 25,200 anti-oxidants per spoonful (Anti-oxidants are molecules capable of interacting with free radicals which can damage vital molecules in our cells. They slow the aging process and strengthen the immune system.) You would be hard pressed to find anything with as many anti-oxidants per spoon. There is more information here.
George and I couldn't get enough of this dark, rich, dense chocolatey concoction. Actually, that's a bit of a lie, it is so rich I had to stop. George could have happily munched a ton of the stuff so convinced he was that it was chocolate (he is completely addicted to the stuff and frequently asks for it on waking)
This, however was Ruby's reaction:
She hated it, in the same way that George hated the cornflour goo. So hard to please them both at the same time!!
I felt like I'd had a coffee after mine. A bit buzzy, which is quite a strange sensation for me, I probably have a coffee now about once every six months and I get so clumsy and a little bit disorientated I resolve never to have it again. I managed to smash a bowl and stick the high speed blender on full of water without the lid on today....skills.
:: Flowerbed ::
Anyway, for the first time in quite a few weeks I've had enough motivation and energy to try and sort the garden out a bit. This mysterious grass that smells of spring onions has surfaced in every available bit of soil in my flowerbed and I've been really worried it'll be choking my bulbs. Not worried enough to do anything about it until now, but today was the day.
I don't know what it is (I don't really know anything about gardening!) but the roots are shallow mostly and abundant.
In the end I managed to clear it a little...
In any case now it's dry I intend to spend a little time in the garden everyday clearing and beautifying, it was very calming and satisfying today. And the children loved being out there for the first time in months I think.
:: a granny a day ::
Not much going on here in terms of craft. This space has been pretty quiet the last week after the weekend's festivities. Gwyn was 30 on Thursday and we spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday night celebrating. I have not been out three nights in a row for a very very very long time. Years in fact! I have been so wiped it's been frustrating!
I blogged about the granny a day resolution I have for 2012 here.
After a brilliant if exhausting weekend it's been good to make a little time in the day to make one of these squares. I haven't been able to get around to the jumper sleeves (or indeed been in the right headspace - quite alot of recovery going on!) but at least I feel in some way a little productive.
I'm managing another extra on some days and plan to start blocking and sewing when I have 38 - so in the beginning of February. Then that will be the first two rows of 19 squares sewn together. I love the way the colours are coming up in this. There is no rhyme or reason, just that the first three colours alternate and then they are bordered in the beige. Unfortunately the beige is no longer available in this yarn but I've got 4 skeins of it so that should be enough. The other colours are all stash waiting to be used up.
I'm using Paton's Smoothie and you can buy it here.
For more links to other Works In Progress, click below.
Look! It's me! In print! Do you remember this post a while back? Ages ago back in October @brightonnat from Brighton Visitor Magazine asked me to create something quirky and ornamental that represented Brighton. I crocheted it 'freestyle' (wow - I am cringing at this turn of phrase I sound an idiot getting down wid da kidz) anyone got a better word? so I actually impressed myself with my ability to turn an idea in my head into a 3D crocheted amirugumi. Freestyle.
What do you think?
Yes, is fairly pointless and not especially functional but you know it was fun and it's very happy in it's new home on the bookshelf. Sadly I didn't really capture the sinister, threatening enormous presence of the Brighton seagull. Mine is a bit of a shadow, a cartoon caricature if you like. The real deal are a menace, really loud and noisy, completely fearless scavengers and their 'excrement' sometimes looks like a small dog got on your car and **** all over it. This little guy doesn't look like he's got it in him. Just toy wadding.
I went running today! Does anyone else get that feeling - around 5 minutes into it - you feel a little bit sick, a bit hopeless and fancy going home and calling it off? Is weird because if you persevere and prove the little voice telling you you can't possibly run this evening wrong then you feel pretty fantastic and a real sense of accomplishment. I just wish I didn't seem to have this barrier everytime I head out! I returned home in time to have a bath with the children. I don't do this very often as it's usually me bathing them and I am one of the mums who worries that I could potentially get concussed/have a heart attack etc... whilst in the bath and they would be in the water unsupervised but Gwyn was back early (hence the run) I can't say it was especially relaxing but I did get my favourite moment out of the day by agreeing to it when Ruby instructed me to: 'Take off your clothes, your knickers and your boobs,' now we all know she meant my underwear but I will seriously forever more be remembering to 'take of my boobs' before getting in the bath. Golden moments - cherished forever.