29 January 2015

A real treasure

Have you ever had this experience?

You're standing in a yarn shop and you see something wonderful and gorgeous.  You love it, of course you do, but you can't think of any use for it whatsoever.  You haven't got a project in mind, you can't think of one whilst standing there desperately wracking your brains.  You don't even really know how far the yardage will go or how much of it you'll need to make the something you haven't even thought of yet.  Sound familiar, or is it just me?

This is probably the point at which I should put the yarn down and walk away.  I should do that, and sometimes I do manage to do that.  But more often, I don't.  I quite often take it home with me because it's just so pretty and it needs to be mine.  I hope you're still with me.

I think that's ok though because, at some point along the way, I will find the right project for that yarn and it will, eventually, get used.  Well, that's my excuse.  And it's what happened with this absolute stunner of a yarn here.  Feast your eyes on this...

 Look at that!  Doesn't it just make you want to squeal a little bit?

I got this just over a year ago on a trip to Loop in London.  I went for a bit of a birthday splurge and I just couldn't leave that bundle of joy there in the shop when I could have it at home to love and admire.  I had absolutely no idea what to do with it of course, but for that moment, the 'love and admire' part was enough to be going along with.

I've had it out a few times over the past year, while rummaging in stash looking for other things and occasionally I'd have a little look through the Ravelry patterns to see what would jump out.  Eventually, over Christmas I settled on a cowl pattern.  The yardage seemed to mean a hat or cowl was a favourite option and as almost every hat I try looks daft on me, a cowl seemed the wiser choice.

I went for the Chickadee Cowl by Kirsten Kapur (Rav link), it seems a popular choice for this yarn as you can just knit and knit until you've used all the yards up.  It was nice and simple and of course, as the yarn was so chunky, super quick too.

I do love knitting with these multi coloured yarns and seeing all the different shades come over the needles.  It's so inspiring, when you are working so close to them, to see colours falling in different combinations.  I always find a few new colour palettes to try when working projects like this.

The downside though, for me at least, is that the colours nearly always seem to look better in their hank, skein or in this case, bundle, than they do knitted up.  This one actually pooled slightly and I'd really rather it hadn't.  I much prefer the top third where the colours are more mixed, than the bottom two thirds where the bands of colour are quite clearly defined.  I guess it's the control freak in me, but I want the colour to do what I want it to!

 Still, even if the first heady days of passion don't burn quite so brightly now that the yarn has become a proper knitted thing, I can't say I don't still love it.  It's hard not to love something so jolly and it's one of those where the bumpy inside is as good as the smooth woven look of the outside.  I think I could wear it either way round to ring the changes.

And, it's a ringing endorsement of my 'buy it if you love it' policy because I know if I do love it I will use it... eventually.

: :  TREASURE COWL   : :

Pattern: Chickadee Cowl by Kirsten Kapur

Yarn: Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky in Treasure (CP51)

My Ravelry Project Page

S x



27 January 2015

Valentine Hottie

It's a good day today because I have something fun to share with you.

I had the opportunity to go and visit the wonderful Black Sheep Wools recently, you might remember that I spoke about it in this post, and at the same time I got to meet some of the really lovely ladies who work there.  I came away with some of this rather lovely, Rico Creative Twist Super Chunky yarn to work with and the opportunity to dream up a new free pattern.  Pretty exciting.

It was a lovely, smooshy yarn to work with, so soft and fluffy.  Just perfect for the hot water bottle cover that we had in mind.  I don't know about you but I absolutely love to snuggle up in bed with all my warm blankets and a nice toasty hottie in there with me!

I had fun coming up with this one because the chunky yarn works up quite nice and quickly and so once I had the right shape all sorted I could concentrate on those pretty little finishing touches that are the fun part.  I added a bottom flap so that you can get nice easy access to the bottle if you need to with cute buttons and a lacy trim.  It also has a matching trim at the top opening to tie it together, and I added bow around the neck because I thought it needed just that little something else.

But my favourite part are the hearts that I stitched on afterwards.  I do love a heart at the best of times, but with February just around the corner, it seemed to be the perfect addition.  I also love the look of cross stitch on crochet, so that pleased me too.  It's very easy to do and I've added instructions and pictures into the pattern to help you if you've never done it before.


Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
Rico Creative Twist Super Chunky

For all other details, please see the pattern.

I hope you enjoy snuggling up with your hottie!

S x



24 January 2015

Eye candy

I just wanted to pop back quickly this week to say a huge thank you for all your support and your fantastic encouragement about my first ever podcast which I posted earlier this week.

It was a bit of a nerve wracking affair to appear 'in person' so to speak, after hiding away behind this blog for so long but you've all been so positive about it that you've made me feel really good about making the leap to do it, so thank you!

I thoughts I'd just share a few shots of the Painted Roses cushion and also of the Red Zipper Pouch that I showed you in the podcast.  Because it's so much easier to get a decent shot of things with my lovely camera that it is on the laptop video cam, which I used for the video.

So, if you wanted a closer look at anything, here's your chance.  First up is the Painted Roses Cushion...

A few of you asked how the cushion was constructed, as the back is fabric and the front is crocheted.  The answer is that I made a simple cushion cover myself, as I didn't have one the right size and just used a plain fabric for the front.  Then I just stitched the crochet front right over the top of the plain fabric front by just using little stitches all around the edge.  Making sure I left all those lovely bobble to hang free of course.

And then moving on to the zipper pouch.  I love the fabrics in this one and it's proving to be the perfect little pouch for my lacey projects.  I'm also including a close up of that tricky side panel that gave me so much trouble.  If anyone knows an easier way of getting a lower side panel like that without faffing around like I did, I'd love to find out!

Thanks so much for letting me come and chat with you.  You've definitely convinced me to come and visit you again.

Oh, and don't forget the #CHPainted Roses tag if you're posting any pictures, I'd love to see all your squares and projects too.

S x



22 January 2015

Colour Collaborative: January


There are times when the Colour Collaborative themes are decided upon, when I want to find the less obvious approach.  There are other times when the first thought that pops into my head is absolutely the way I want to go.  This is one of those times.

Imagine the scene with me...  You are outside in January, it's getting pretty dark now, the cold wind is howling around you, making your nose red and your shoulders scrunch from the chill.  It's probably raining, and no doubt you're carrying several bags and possibly even dragging a child in tow.  As you walk along the dusky, wet streets you can see houses with a bright orange, warming, cozy glow coming from their windows.  They look so inviting, the best place to be.
That's Home in January for me.

Of course, this won't work if you are on the other side of the world, I know.  Maybe you won't get this experience until a different time of year, or maybe not at all.  But a lot of you will know it I'm sure.  That cozy orange glow is a very happy thought for me in January.  I like to look forward to being back in it when I'm outside and I like to imagine what the other people are doing in their homes when I see the glow from other houses.  Best of all, I like it when I'm sitting at home, all snuggled up and warm, basking in the knowledge that I am in the orange glow now and my windows are shining a cozy light out into the dark horrible weather that is very firmly, out there!

So in January, I like to make my home a very cozy, warm and comfortable place to be.  And you all can imagine how I do that, can't you?  The beautiful warmth and glow of candles by the fire certainly, but mostly I'm talking about the yarny goods...

First of all, we are never short of a blanket around here.  In fact I didn't realise quite how 'blanket-rich' I was until I started gathering for this photo.  Would you believe that this is just a selection too?  I can think of at least 6 others that I could have called upon to appear and I have just started making another.  That's not even to mention the shop bought ones that came on the scene before my crafty days really took off.  Yikes!  

Suffice to say, there is always something to snuggle under or wrap around you about the place.

Then there's my other obsession, mitts in all shapes, sizes and colours.  I wear these pretty much constantly throughout winter and this year has been so mild that this month is the first time I've been seriously delving into that draw.  (Yep, I have an entire drawer dedicated to mitts... and I'm running out of space.... and you thought my blanket problem was bad!)

These are all handmade in some shape or form, there are a few recycled numbers in there, some shorter hand mitts, some gloves, some cuffs, something for almost every occasion.  Well, very nearly, I always seem to find another colour to need or a slightly different style to try.  But they do help keep you warm though.

And my other great winter love of recent years is the warm and wooly sock.  Hand made is nice, but I don't make socks too often and I do get a ridiculous amount of pleasure out of buying a new pair of thick wool socks these days.  I have several in various colours and patterns and it's strange to think now that I once used to find buying socks such a dull and utilitarian purchase.

Which brings us back round to the nice warm fire again.  Socks on toes, a blanket beside me, fluffy cuffs completing the outfit today and the candles giving off their cheerful glow.
I do like being home in January.

: :

Don't forget to check out the other great 'Colour Collaborative' blogs
for more of today's great posts...

Annie at Annie Cholewa
Jennifer at Thistlebear
Claire at Above the River

and this month's guest poster...

What is The Colour Collaborative? 
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff.
Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together?
Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too.
We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination 
our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.

S x



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