22 September 2016

Craft Room Shuffle, The Reveal!

Today I thought it was time to show you what I've been cooking up in my new crafty space.  I showed you the work in progress stage earlier this month and now the time has come for The Big Reveal!

I'll grab the key and then why don't you follow me and we'll take a little walk up the garden and I'll give you a tour of my new space, starting with a tantalising peek through the door....

What do you think?  Should we go in and see a little more?

I think so too.

Step through and look to the right and this is what you'll see...

The chair setup is fairly unchanged from my old craft room but it now it has the added bonus of being in a great spot to catch some lovely early rays of sun in Spring (I hope) and I can look out over the garden while I hook or knit away, which is nice in theory.  I just need to work out how to spend more time sitting there.

On the other side of the chair is a pretty Ikea cabinet that I inherited with the room.  When we originally intended this room to be used as a lovely little summer sitting place, I choose this cabinet as somewhere to store some unspecified pretty nick knacks but it ended up being a tv stand and general dumping ground.  It's quite nice to reclaim it from that fate and fill it with lots of crafty goodies instead.

I'm slightly worried about leaving the fabrics open to 'sun fade' behind those glass doors, so some mini  curtains may be in order but I can't quite bring myself to obscure them just yet and anyway I'm sewing my way through a list of requests from the rest of the family at the moment!

Let's turn around now and have a quick look at the other end of this crafty cabin of mine.  This is pretty much the rest of the view that you'd have available if you sat in my little seat by the door, once you'd finished looking out the window of course...

The shelves will look familiar, little has changed about those from the old craft room and deliberately so.  (See previous post!)  I don't know quite why but having something exactly the same in this new room seemed to be essential and comforting to me.

The sewing desk is actually brand new, although as it's identical to the one I left behind there's not much to shout about there.  As the Hubs has commandeered my old room as his office, he needed a desk anyway and constructing the new one in here saved the effort of lugging the old one about.

But, a whole 18 months after getting the original desk, I have finally managed to get something approaching order in the draws.  Thanks to my Hubs, who managed to get his office set up in military fashion. I took a tip from his book and got a similar organizational, compartmentalising do-dad for my draws too.  Well the top one at least.  It actually works quite well.

What is new is the itty bitty computer desk in the corner.
It's another Ikea one.  Do you know, I think this whole place is kitted out in Ikea wears now that I come to think about it, down the the little cart, the silver lamps and even those curtains.  Huh, I didn't realise that before!  

Anyway, having this little little extra space dedicated to all things computer is fantastic.  In my old room I just using my sewing desk, which was absolutely fine but it did mean a fair amount of clearance work before any sewing could commence.  Having this little extra space just for tapping away is a pure luxury and quite frankly an attractive bribe which helped convince me to abandon my previous cozy crafty home.

Well, I think that's everything.

What do you think?  Will I be happy out here?

It's very strange at the moment, it all feels rather odd and I'm not used to it yet.  I keep leaving things in the house that I need up here and vice versa.  I'm enjoying being able to leave the doors open while I work when it's nice but dashing up my garden carrying a laptop in the rain is less fun.

It's a bit of an adjustment, let's just say that but I'm sure it's a positive one all things considered and I know I'm very lucky to have such a place to call my own.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed visiting me here and having a look around!

S x

Scarf Update...

Thank you for all the lovely enquires about the 'Going to Wales' scarf, I'm just scribbing out a few notes on the pattern so any of you that wanted to can make your own version.
Coming soon!



20 September 2016

Head over Heels on the way to Wales

One of the very best things about being able to crochet, is the way you can make any long passenger journey speed by in a breeze.

Gone are the miles and miles of monotony,  no more watching the hours tick by and the 'are we there yets' have vanished.  Because all that tedious amount of time confined to a one seat on some mode of transport  has now been transformed into lots of lovely crafting time.  Time that you quite legitimately can spend sitting on your derriere with nothing else to do but hook, hook, hook.  Bliss.

Many like to opt for knitting or even sewing in the car but for me crochet is by far the easiest to do on the go as it requires less looking down on my part.  That being the case, a great deal of the holiday preparation time is spent mulling over the perfect car/train/plane project to take along.  Nothing too fiddly, nothing with a hundred colours and ends to deal with.  Potential pattern ideas can be tricky as they usually require too much thought, or note taking.  You see, it's not that easy to find just the right  mindless, but interesting, easily portable project....

This year I didn't have anything that fitted the bill, so I started something new.  Just for the purpose of filling the long car hours.  I whipped up a few rows the night before, to get the thing straight in my head before the off and then I was all set.  It was the absolute perfect thing, just one ball of yarn needed, a simple pattern to remember and not too large, so nice and easy to maneuver in the limited space.

I made this project in Stylecraft's brand new sock yarn, called Head over Heels.  It's only just been released this month and what with lucky old me being a Stylecraft Blogstar, I got my hands on a couple of balls a little before the rush.  Yippee!

This new yarn is, as you'll have gathered, a yarn intended for making socks.  So it's generous 100g (437 yards) of 75% superwash wool with a sturdy 25% nylon.  Perfect for socks.  But, rather cleverly, Stylecraft have thought about the fact that a lot of us also like to make other things using our sock yarn, like hats and shawls for example.  So they have used a softer and finer wool than the average sock yarn does to ensure that it'll feel as good up by your face as it does by your feet.  Hence the name, Head over Heels... niffy eh?

I must admit being a little nervous of this theory when Stylecraft mentioned it.  I have a pretty low tolerance to that 'itchy' quality that pure wool has and so I was sceptical as to how well it would work when I wore it around my ultra sensitive neck area.

So I thought I'd apply the acid test, I'd make a scarf and see if I could wear it...

... and you know what?  I can!

You can feel the softness in the yarn when it's sitting in it's skein and a quick test of the 'itchy factor' (holding it up to my neck and wrists) seemed promising.  Working it up it feels nice and light and the colour changes help keep things interesting too.  Another good point for the in-car crochet project.

Now it's all done and blocked and I'm wearing it.  Right this second I'm wearing it and it's comfortable.

It's definitely pure wool, it's got that slightly more hairy quality to it that a pure wool has and so it isn't as soft and luxurious as a merino say, but then it's not supposed to be.  It needs to be hardy enough for socks too after all.  But I'm pleasantly surprised at how successful it is at being the best of both worlds.

The colour I've used for my scarf is the Olympus colourway and it's interesting to see how the stripping comes out in crochet.  I think it's fair to say that the stripping of the colours is more intended for socks.  Certainly you get a really lovely pattern of stripes when you work up socks anyway.  I'm not sure how well they work on my scarf, a little too random for my taste really but I am intrigued to see other crochet projects and knitting scarves/shawls to see how the colours work there.

I'm very interested to see how Sarah's crochet project on Annaboo's House works out in this yarn for example, it looks very promising I think and you can see the stripes in action really well on the pretty new sock pattern that Helen of Josie Kitten has dreamt up too.

So, although I don't suppose I'll be giving up on my wonderful indy dyed sock yarns any time soon isn't it refreshing to have a commercially available sock yarn, in inviting colours that doesn't cost the earth and is a soft and fluffy treat for the feet and the neck?

Yep, for that alone, I think it's a winner...

S x



16 September 2016

A bit of a Liberty

At last I'm here with something a little more creative to show you, a sewing make, hurrah!

I made this before the holidays actually, after being inspired by two favourite bloggers, Little Bobbins and Sew Sweet Violet.  Joules (from SSV) is a hug Liberty fan and seeing her podcast and all the lovely things in her shop reminded me just how lovely a little Liberty Lawn can be.  Then there was Dani and her Mum (from LB) chatting away about their embroidery course and showing what they'd made since which was completely inspiring too.

All of which gave me the urge to put both those elements together in a project somehow.  I decided to make another little project bag, mostly for sock knitting.  I have plenty already but I rotate them regularly so that they all get used and I can find space for another.

Sewing is always a bit of a mental workout for me.  I either fret over the actual construction, or the fabric placement or the all important little extras.  The pretty frippery that I love to add, which make the whole thing worth while and yet, I sometimes really struggle over.

Happily the decorative part of this flowery number came together a little more easily than most.  Largely due to the inspiring works that got me started in the first place.  The strip of Liberty for the drawstring section at the top was a sort of half hearted experiment, but as is often the way, worked out much better than many of my well thought intentions.  Once I'd marked out the pleasing swagging type effect to embroider around the top the thing fell into place quite nicely.

I sort of threw everything at this one in a way I suppose.  The Liberty and the linen, the embroidery and the buttons, ribbons, lace and the cap it off, two fabrics for the lining!  I do like the luxury of a pretty touch on the inside to catch a peek of as I reach in, or even to put on show when I fold the top down to knit...

It's one of those very satisfying makes that came out as well as I had hoped it would and maybe even a tiny little bit better.  That doesn't happen all that often so it's to be savoured I reckon!

S x



14 September 2016

Some Summer Things

For some reason, since I've been 'back' I seem to have lost my bloggy voice.  Though I think it's more overwhelmed into silence than lost in fact.

There seems so much that I need to do and so much I was planning to tell you I don't know where to begin.  But I'm going to take a leaf out of Alice's book and begin at the beginning.

I was going to just fill you in on a couple of other little summer happenings and then move on to catch you up on what I've actually been making in the last few months.  Because the crafting doesn't stop, at least, not for much!

We're having a bit of a mini reprise of summer here at the moment, so I guess it doesn't seem so strange to hark back to the paddling pool and the lovely evening dog walks we've been enjoying this year.  The unexpected pleasure of taking Bertie on his daily constitutional have really come into their own during the long summer days.  It's meant we can wait until dinner is done and the sun has lost some heat and with luck, Daddy will be back so we can all go together.  It's nice.

Summer is also a time for a major birthday event in our house, although we played it mostly a little more low key this time.  She is eleven this year and so very evidently on the cusp of leaving sweet innocent girlhood behind and veering into the pre-teen zone.  She's not there yet, but there are signs that it won't be long.  There have been some precious days this summer I think.

She wanted to make her own cake.  (Thank you GBBO!)  It had to be angel cake, it had to have drizzled icing and in two colours, she is nothing if not definite.  We also took her for 'Breakfast at Hogwarts' which is a fancy way of describing early entry and a light breakfast buffet at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden.  We have visited before but platform 9 and 3/4 has since opened up and she loves to see it all so it seemed appropriate.

Top present this year was the remote control car, followed by anything related to ponies, real or of the 'My Little' kind.  She's slightly obsessed and has loved the chance to have some stable days this holiday.

It's fast becoming a tradition to have paddling pool water fight at some time during the summer and luckily I've managed to dodge this charming pastime by hiding behind the camera.  This year she had a visiting cousin to help her make the fight perhaps a little one sided...

I finally gave in and let Little Miss give Bertie his first bath too.  Being a short haired little hound he really doesn't need much keeping clean but when he decided to sit next to a freshly painted wall it couldn't really be avoided.  He took it quite well and only needed minimal restraint to stay and endure the process.  He redressed thing immediately he was released though by rubbing himself all over with dead lawn.

Next time there will be something crafty, I promise!

S x



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