Sunday, December 14, 2014

A strange shaped parcel..

Hugo wants to tell everyone about the very strange shaped parcel that arrived in the Model household earlier this week
Hugo says, I really didn't know what to make of it, it looked a bit like a chair, but not a very comfy one, so I gave it a wide berth even if it was a little close to 'my corner' and I had to have lunch with one eye on the 'thing' . 

Fortunately mum came home and let the 'thing' out of it's wrappings, I still wasn't sure, but it was a lot less scary, and mum seemed absolutely delighted - she may even have slightly overcooked dinner (judging by the burning smell) as she was so busy checking it out. She says it needs a bit of TLC but nothing she can't handle with the help of the Internet and those kind people on the forums she frequents - oh and she says with lots of smelly beeswax polish, well smelly to a cat anyway, it's going to be beautiful (bit like me really) but I'm not allowed to play with it, and it's definitely not for sharpening my claws on. 


Can't wait to se what she makes with it - after all she only said I couldn't play with the wheel, no mention of fluff or yarn :0) 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Poppies, poppies and more poppies

I haven't been here for a while, far too busy wielding a crochet hook you see, making multitudes of poppies. 
For the last three years AXA Purls (the knitting/crochet group I co-run at work) has raised funds for the British Legion by making and selling poppies. The first year we raised about £400, last year I openly declared that I couldn't see how we could possibly match that, let alone beat it .... We raised £1007! So this year I kept quiet! 


We had a lovely selection of different kinds of poppy items for sale in our 'Poppy Shop' - key rings, hair bands, bags and poppies of all shapes and sizes, knitted, crocheted and made from felt, all created by the talented ladies of AXA Purls and unbelievably we were able to present a cheque to the British Legion for .................. £1819.08! 
(and subsequently gathered in a little more making the grand total £1850.19 - the odd 19 pence does amuse me since everything was priced in round pounds). 

An incredible amount thanks to the amazing support from AXA Purls, our colleagues and the company.

Trouble is, the pressure is now on to beat that again next year - I'm already trying to think of new things to make.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Stretchy Charity Hat in the round

I've recently had a lot of interest in my adaptation of the Samaritans Purse Stretchy Hat over on Ravelry, now whether that is because their pattern is now only available on Pintrest (and I can't be the only one who doesn't find it the easiest site in the world to negotiate) or whether it's because I adapted it it knit in the round, I don't know, but I thought I would share it with the wider world in the hope that it would encourage others to knit this simple but versatile hat for charity. 

 Stretchy Charity Hat
This hat is great for using up oddments of assorted weights of yarn and fits a variety of sizes due to its stretchy nature. I take no credit for the initial design, just for the adaptation to knit in the round.

Materials: DK weight yarn - 2 strands held together
                7mm circs 40cm long (or whatever size you need to get a pleasing fabric ) 
                 (See below for variations) 

Cast on 56 sts using a long tail cast on (or your favourite stretchy alternative) 

Join to knit in the round being careful not to twist and place a marker to indicate the start of the round.

Work 6 rounds K1,P1 rib

Work 18 rounds pattern 
Rnd 1: K2,P1 (K3,P1) x 13, K1 
Rnd 2: (K1,P3) x 14

Rnd 1: K2,P1 (K3tog,P1,K3,P1) rep to last 5 sts, K3tog, P1,K1
Rnd 2: (K1,P2) to end 
Rnd 3: K2, (P1,K5) to last 4 sts P1,K3 
Rnd 4: as 2nd row 
Rnd 5: K2tog, (P1,K1,P1, K3tog) rep to last 4sts, P1,K1,P2tog 
Rnd 6: (K1,P1) to end 
Rnd 7: (K1,P1) to end 
Rnd 8: (K1,P1) to end 
Rnd 9: K2tog to end = 14sts

Cut yarn and thread through remaining sts, pull up tight and weave in ends.

If you want to use a thinner yarn, just choose the appropriate needle size and cast on more sts and knit more rounds until it looks right.

Though the main body pattern works in multiples of 4, for the decreases you need multiples of 8 (or you'll end up having to fudge it to get it to work properly) so ideally cast on 56, 64, 72 or even 80. 

I have also combined more strands of a thinner yarn to get something that feels chunky, and that has worked well too. 

As with all my patterns you are welcome to use them as you wish (apart from reproducing and claiming them as your own) but if you could make a hat and donate it to charity that would be great. 

If you'd like to see some of the variations I've made, including a scrappy hat from a magic ball made with oddments from another charity project, then pop over to Ravelry and have a look at my projects.

Sunday, September 07, 2014


Each September the Tonbridge Lacemakers have a challenge, those wishing to join in make something  to be entered into a competition and voting is done by the members using coins and the proceeds go to our charity of the year.

Sometimes I join in and make something, sometimes I just vote if the subject doesn't float my boat, but this year I seem to have got a little carried away

We decided it would be nice to have some bunting that would be displayed when we go to events showing a variety of types of lace. One of our lovely members had the unenviable job of cutting out numerous triangles of blue fabric and will also be responsible for stitching all the pennants on to a tape, and the rest of made small pieces and attached them to the fabric.  Mine are fairly simple tape lace pieces but others have chosen complex pieces, intricate pieces, different types of lace (Honiton, Bucks, Bedforshire, Bruge) and any many of lace pieces from allied crafts such as tatting, needlelace, crochet and even knitting lace. 

The finished result (hopefully somewhere in the region of 80 pennants if all goes according to plan) will be on display at the Lace and Threads fair at Tonbridge School on October 19th 2014 (more details can be found HERE )

Saturday, July 19, 2014

With a little help from my friend

Well it’s one of the hottest days of the year here in South East England and last night we had one of the longest and loudest storms I’ve known which went on for absolutely hours, consequently I’m not feeling very energetic today but I can always find some woolly things to do. 

Hugo and I have found the coolest place in the house, the lounge floor, and he is helping me.

I’m attaching ends to the squares the elderly ladies of our knitting group make and butterflying them so I can soon pack up another lot to send to Knit-a-square.

I don’t mind that they haven’t got the hang of leaving 20” yarn attached, and just leave a very long loose piece with each square, because they are so pleased to be helping. It’s nice to think these 80 and 90 year olds are still busy crocheting for others. 

It takes a while to sort them out and attach them all but I then make magic balls with the leftover pieces and use them to make things for charity too - waste not, want not!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Finishing the Wainright's

Today is a momentus day. DH has finished the Wainright's! 
He has now completed the ascents of all 214 summits in the Lake District listed by Alfred Wainright in his guide books. 
It may have taken 25 years but considering we live over 350 miles away we have had to fit them in during holidays. I started out walking them with him in 1989 but over the years I have fallen by the wayside mainly due to having our DD which meant that I stayed down in the valley with her while he walked, took her to the attractions (Beatrix Potter etc) or he made quick short trips up here while DD and I stayed home. In later years my knees are not so keen on the tops, so I've often gone most of the way but 'looked after the rucksacks' while he nips to the tops,


 so whilst I've walked a great deal my personal tally of actual tops is considerably lower than his. 

Anyway, since I did the first with him it was only fitting that I also did the last so today we made our way down to Eskdale and bagged Green Crag and finally Harter Fell - it was tough with poorly defined paths, squidgy and wet underfoot on the way up but this was where we were heading 

And I think DH was pleased and relieved when he finally reached the last top (Harter Fell his 214th fell)

The path down was even less defined and we ended up wading through undergrowth, never sure where the next step would be and how far down our foot would go, but the views of the Scafells made it all worth it

 And then of course there are always the other type of reward in the tea room after. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Woolfest at last

I've always wanted to go to Woolfest, right from when it started 10 years ago, but living in the South East made it an unrealistic proposition even though we know and love The Lakes so well, however ........ This year our holiday (which has to fit around DH's work schedule) was due to start on Saturday  28th June, we were going to The Lakes so that DH can finish walking the Wainwrights (only 11 of the 214 left) and, bless him, he suggested we travel up a day early so that I could go to Woolfest at last. 

So on Saturday, after driving for an hour down the smallest, steepest country roads and across the Honister pass to drop him off so he could walk,  I carried on and finally arrived at Mitchell's Livestock Centre in Cockermouth....... Woolfest

The sights, sounds and smells were all that I had hoped, the sheep were baa-ing, and smelling of, well, sheep. The swallows swooped around the roof of the barn and everywhere people were oohing and ahing about the animals, the yarn, the equipment and the demonstrations.

I didn't buy a lot, but just being there was wonderful.  
Some reduced Araucania Ranco called to me - 

I didn't mind that at wasn't a neat skein, after all it wouldn't take long to become a ball ready to be Song of the Sea that seemed to made for the yarn

And then watching so many stall holders drop spindling it suddenly occurred to me, two weeks in an apartment without Hugo Pussycat to attack the fluff would be an ideal opportunity to practice spindling and hopefully master Ply on the Fly (which I have been intending to do for ages) so a quick visit to Wingham Wool Works stand provided the solution and though I wouldn't say I've mastered it, I do have some plied yarn already 

Not what you'd call consistent but it is plied, and practice can only make perfect, I hope.  The only thing is the wooden floor in the apartment does rather give the game away when I prove why the craft is called 'drop' spindling!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lucky me

I've been a very lucky girl lately and craft related too.

First I won some amazing sock yarn in the May challenge over in the SockswithSarah group on Ravelry.  We had to try something different in our sock making, so instead of toe up I decided to do top down and rather than plain vanilla, I added a little texture - ok so it's only a garter stitch panel, but that's alright, it's different for me, I will show pictures of them soon but in the meanwhile here is the gorgeous sock yarn that I won

It's so lovely that I am thinking of using it for a shawl rather than hiding it in shoes.

Then my lace friends and I went to the Oyster Lace Day at Faversham (boy was it warm in that hall) and even though I only bought one raffle ticket (I know, cheapskate, but they were £1 each) I was very lucky and won a prize. The way of finding out which prize was rather novel as you then draw another ticket and have the prize it matches - like a tombola. 
When I collected it I picked up the little package on the right which would have been great on it's own, but much to my surprise I found the rest was included too! 

There's a lace bobbin case at the bag, a multi pocketed bag front left and the package contains a lace pillow cover cloth, a mouse pin cushion and a matching pillow tidy bag (a little draw string bag about 6" square. )

Life seems to be getting in the way of knitting and crochet lately, but I did manage to finish the Tiramisu  blanket that I started on holiday.

It's such a nice easy pattern and came out beautifully in the Patons cotton pearl DK that I got via p/hop a while ago.  This yarn had definite ideas about what it wanted to be - Tiramisu was the third pattern I'd started with it, and even the it took three attempts to find the hook that gave the nicest texture, but it's finished now and will be off to a charity shortly when we do our next 'sort and send' for AXA Purls knitting group. 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Put on a rucksack...

They're a funny lot round where I live, if you walk down the lanes dressed normally no one gives you the time of day, at best they ignore you, otherwise they throw suspicious glances but put a rucksack on your back and walking boots on your feet and everyone smiles and says hello! 

Although DH was busy today, with a walking holiday approaching,  I wanted to get some miles in and with a sunny Sunday morning to spare I popped on my boots and rucksack and set off on our usual route on my own.  We are so lucky that within just 2 minutes we are in the country, and at this time of year it truly is The garden of England.  Our route is around 6 miles and takes in
Leafy lanes

Country roads

Goes over streams in woods dappled with sunlight

And looks across rolling countryside
And of course it would be rude not to stop and take advantage of the bench in the lovely little village we pass through, now wouldn't it?


Monday, May 26, 2014


I've been back from holiday for over a fortnight now and only just got round to posting (and what a shock to see it's nearly 2 months since the last post- shame on me!)

The holiday crept up on me, not helped by the fact that DD (aged 21) had her tonsils removed 10 days before DH & I were due to go, and as anyone with experience will know this is not a fun operation for an adult. We had a little scare with a small bleed early on so I didn't allow myself to look forward to the holiday 'just in case' and suddenly found all was well and I was going tomorrow!

So we set off, forgetting quite a few things - thank goodness we were staying overnight in Southampton and could easily (and relatively cheaply compared to ship prices) pick up the bits we'd forgotten ie toothbrush, belt and comb (DH) and scarf, socks for the gym and hair ties (for me).

After a day at sea on the Azura we arrived in the Fjords

              (actually this is the second port - Flam) 
The weather was mixed but on the whole, much better than when we went 4 years ago and this time we actually saw a lot more of the Fjords, and beautiful they are too.

I kept busy on the ship as always despite the fact that there were no lectures and nothing laid on entertainment wise appealed, but when you have needles, hooks, yarn, thread and fabric who needs organised entertainment?

So I finally finished the embroidery on the Peace on Earth panel (which I started on an earlier cruise in December 2010!) I knitted 3 hats (charity yet to be decided), crochet half a Tiramisu blanket, added a few stitches to the Titanic cross stitch which I has been like this for years (and remembered I don't really enjoy cross stitch! ) and of course I worked on my SockswithSarah socks every day.

Our cabin steward was pretty creative too. One evening we came back to find this little chap waiting patiently for us 
Those are chocolates for the eyes in case you wondered.

And talking of animals, DH challenged me to knit the wool from these two who were just standing there in the street in Stavanger
But strangely enough I didn't think I'd take him up on that one. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dad's handiwork

My dad, now 77, cannot stand to be idle.
  Whilst not academic in any way he can turn his hand to many a practical task. Instructions may confuse him but give him a picture or example to study and he's off. 

 He spent his younger days working the land, before degenerative spine disease forced him to give up the farming he loved. He's a determined old B, there's no doubt about it, when I was a child he was told by the doctors that he'd be in a wheelchair soon, but he wasn't having any of that and now over 40 years later he still isn't. He rides his bike, though admittedly you sometimes need to watch carefully to check he's actually moving (beats me how he stays upright at his snails speed) and he still works two plots at the allotments!  But come the winter evenings he wants to sit but he wants to do something too. My parents don't have a TV so that's not an option, he reads a lot but felt like a change.  He's made rugs in the past but they are now so expensive and no one wants the finished article, and he can't be bothered with all the counting for cross stitch. Though he can knit (it was actually him who taught me) he doesn't really enjoy it (yes, I know) and then one day he was talking about how is mum was always making things including English pieced patchwork and he thought he might give it a try 

Not bad eh? It's 'bagged' rather than quilted and mum is going to tie it but I'm quite impressed.
I spent quite a while reminiscing, spotting bits of my skirts, Nan's blouse, the dress Auntie Lynda made and cut out two left fronts and so on. 
Now that the lighter evening are approaching he won't be doing much more for a bit but he's already planning some cushion covers for next winter. And it all goes to show that you are never too old to start a new craft. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The perfect spot

Last autumn it was my 50th and my parents wanted to give me a present that 'would keep'.  So did they choose jewellery? Or an ornament? A picture perhaps? 

Nope - a garden bench! 
But do you now what? We put it just outside the front door (don't worry, we live down a drive and the front of the house is very private and can't be seen from the road) in a south facing corner, the house and the brick drive absorb and hold the heat from the sun, so even this time of year when the sun is shining it can be quite warm out there - and the perfect spot for morning coffee, a quick cuppa in the afternoon or maybe

A little bit of crochet.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Time flies

I really can't believe it's 2 months since I posted, perhaps the time got washed away in all the awful floods.  Thankfully we've been fine, had a few interesting drives to work, and some impromptu garden ponds but nothing worse.

I've been busy crafting and visited Unravel in February where it was lovely to meet some of my online friends from the CTnY forum.
 DD has turned 21! And changed her job from Manager of Blacks (the outdoor store) to Nanny to a 4 yr old and an 18 month old and I haven't seen her as happy in ages. The way they treated her at Blacks, expecting the impossible and more, which to be fair she often delivered but at the expense of her health and happiness, means that they have lost a jolly good worker and two little people have gained a wonderful carer instead. 

Anyway, bless her, on her birthday she gave me a beautiful bunch of lilies to say thank you for being her mum, as if that wasn't reward enough in itself 

Just lately I've had a rather unpleasant middle ear infection, resulting in me being signed off work. I knew there must be something wrong with me as I didn't feel like starting anything new, and in fact got out some old things to work on! Including my Babette crochet blanket and the mitred square knit blanket. 
I finally finished my crochet Squares Bag
All in DK cotton and making use of the squares from an abandoned project, and no, I can't remember what pattern they were from. Thank you to ToadRockStreet for the inspiration to use the squares in this way,  I can't claim any credit for coming up with the idea, she was way ahead of me with a lovely bag she made for a mutual friend. 
Talking of bags, I put the final stitches in my Japanese Knot Bag
Which now houses yarn and my lovely new Karbonz dpns ready to cast on the Rye socks from Tincanknits once I've finished the current SIPs (socks in progress) which I'm making as part of Socks With Sarah, (where we work a little on our socks every day for a year - more info is on her blog) 
Oh and I may just have another pair of socks otn because being so adept at dropping dpns I really didn't want to take the Karbonz, or these lovely KnitPro needles on public transport, so in the Ramona Rose sock sack I also made a few weeks back, I have TAAT two up socks on two circs which are perfect travel knitting
Well I think that's enough to be going on with, besides there's some embroidery calling me upstairs.  It will be the centre panel of a quilt one day, I started it on the day DD got her A level results, so it's about time I finished it - I will show it off when I get there. 


Sunday, January 05, 2014

Bats and Butterflies

I've often thought about trying illusion knitting, it seems almost magical, so when I needed a dishcloth for October as part of my year of dishcloths and my search came up with Black Bats illusion cloth that had to be it.  I really like to see bats flying round my garden, there's something special about them and I can watch for ages in the twilight. The family have got used to me suddenly saying "Bat!" quite loudly when I spot one.
Anyway, by the magic of illusion knitting this is the cloth viewed normally but
Is what you can see at an angle. Clever eh? And all just done with knits and Purls.

The other critters I have been making are butterflies as I am encouraging our knitting group at work to make some blankets for SIBOL (a small charity who distribute handmade lap blankets to the elderly to 'bring a little sunshine into their lives') and who like to have a small butterfly attached as their 'symbol'- now I know what's going to happen, people will either want a pattern that's tried and tested, have problems and want me to 'teach' them or not want to make the butterfly at all so I've been playing with Grace Butterfly 
Oh, wait that looks like a doily, well with a little fold you get.....
A 3D butterfly - another clever, eh? moment