Thursday, July 24, 2014

Return to Blighty

Just back from two weeks in Florida.  We had a wonderful time. Can't tell you the difference it has made. Before the holiday it was getting difficult to get myself motivated to anything. I found myself spending far too much time cooking and reading endless books . I am happy to report I have got my mojo back , might have something to do with the mojitos in my Jacuzzi , I had one every evening. I felt like a film star.
 I have always wanted to visit Joann a great craft store. It is like Hobbycraft on steroids. I had an wonderful time in there. There are aisles after aisles of crafty goodness .It was such a pleasure to be surrounded with by crafts old and new.

                                           Obviously, I hot footed it to the crochet section. They have a tremendous range .Hooks I have heard about but never seen , Susan bates, Deborah Norville, Knitters pride ,Lion brand,  crochet amour ,  ChiaoGoo, wooden, metal , plastic you name the hook they have it. Gosh , I was in crochet heaven.
                                                           This is some of my haul
These hooks are Called Crochet lite. As the name suggests they light up allowing you to crochet in the dark. They have a switch so they can be used without the light. You might think this is a silly idea but if you  enjoy watching movies in the dark as I do, they are an absolute must. I also like to use them as the evening draws in and you aren't ready to  draw the curtains, it just allows you to do a few more rows before the light must go on. They are battery operated, they didn't have any replacement batteries but I managed to get hold on some from this seller when I got home.
I have heard such good things about the crochet amour .My most used hook size is 4mm so this fella came home with me.
                                    My new Tunisian crochet hooks by knitters pride they are wooden and such a beautiful range of colours I simply had to have them.
I love pompons and I have a few of these pompom makers except this size it makes tiny ones so cute and a perfect way to use my odd and ends of yarn.
                                                      the ever useful stitch markers
Oh and this little gadget I simply had to have, it calculates the amount of yarn you have used on a project. This will be  invaluable for me and all my design work. You place the yarn in the slit. the counter has a  suction thing that you stick to a surface and crochet away.The counter  does the rest.
As you can see I had a great day. Whilst walking down an aisle a lady came up to me and asked me where I got my crochet lites from and we started chatting. She told me she loved to crochet and she loved the uk magazine Inside crochet she then showed me patterns she had made from the mag and what do you know she had made two of my designs. It is such a great feeling to have someone make stuff you have designed its great to see their yarn choice and interpretation. She then very kindly gave me a voucher for 20% off . What a wonderful random act of kindness. I am very embarrased to say I cant remember her name but she knows who I am and if you are reading this thank you very much and could you please leave me a contact

I had such a great day and just writing this post has put a smile on my face. I have not unpacked but as soon as I do you all know how I will have  hours of fun. It is great to be back and I can't wait to catch up on your news.

Monday, June 09, 2014


For some reason I have felt the need to design some socks.
 Regia  sock yarn is one of my favourites. I do realise I probably say this a lot about yarn, but Regia is up there in my top ten of reliable yarns. I had no trouble with splitting and it had a nice elasticity that was easy on my hands. I also loved the fact that the varigation used by Regia does not  cause weird pooling  as is so common with many hand painted or other variegated yarns. If you have not tried it I urge you too. Incidentally, Hobbycraft stocks Regia and it  has a 3 for 2 at the moment so even more reason to try.

I bought some anti slip glue , called sock stop. You put dots on the underside of the sock and when it dries, it puffs and act as an slip guard. I have wooden floors in my kitchen and living area so this is a must. They come in a delightful palette. I didn't take a photo but I placed the dots so it looks like little paw prints

Excuse the  grainy quality of these pictures I took them with my camera phone

I am really rather pleased, these little sockettes are perfect for relaxing around the house. They are so quick to make, a perfect project whilst watching the telly. Hope you are all well and enjoying the wonderful weather.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Not much making taking place this week, it has been my daughter's 20th birthday and she has just finished her exams at university .Year one done and dusted. Time certainly does fly by .I'm feeling incredibly old. My life's work  have grown up into  fine young women but I cant help wishing they were little again. My eldest is 26 and she has  flown the nest . My youngest lives at home but she is out a lot. My nest feels a little empty. I think I'm filling the house with yarn and fabric and books to fill in the space.
So with that in mind , what else could I do but fill in the space with some more yarn. I took this flower shot last year in Florida I loved the colour and really wanted a yarn in those shades .
I think I was a eureka moment when I spotted this skein of Malabrigo. 
Ohhh the  wonderful Noro .These yarns have extraordinary colours and wonderful grip and texture .It always makes me feel like I am as talented as Kaffe Fassett and his delightful colour alchemy when I use Noro yarns .I love watching the colours emerge.
Two balls of Rowan's silkystones ,a melange of toussah silk & linen, and each shade is a soft subtle blend of shades. Very soft to the touch. I don't have any plans as yet I just like playing with new yarns,I imagine it will be very cool to wear but I'm not sure what it will look like after washing as linens do tend to fade and can sometimes feel a little coarse I am hoping the tussah silk keeps it soft.

I have just finished reading this fabulous book. A 17-year-old high school student who has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of his classmates. Even his best friend, Josie Cormier has succumbed to peer pressure and is now part of the gang that instigates the abuse. One final act of bullying sends him over the edge and he commits an act of violence that will forever change the lives of the town's residents.
The overriding theme of the novel is the question that do we ever really know the people closest to us?  what does it mean to be different? Is it ever OK for a victim to strike back? And who really has the right to judge someone else
Check out Ginny's blog  for lots more books and and yarny goodness

Thursday, May 22, 2014


 I have been bitten by the Sewing bee bug. I have cleaned my old sewing machine. I have not used it for over 25 years. I'm not even sure I can remember how to thread the old girl but  I am desperate to sew something
I went to a knitting and stitching show this year in March and had a wonderful time getting all the supplies I need, well actually I don't need it at all much more a question of "wantie" (that's what my daughter used to say when she was little).

 I grew up in a household that repurposed  all old clothes .We had rag rugs and  patchwork blankets .Everything was re used .When we grow out of cotton vests I remember my mum would use them as dusters/cloths to clean, they where boiled on the stove for hours. Did your mum boil your socks for hours or was that just my mum. Can you tell she was not a knitter.

Anyway , as I was saying I really don't need any fabric but my goodness a new world has opened up to me. Jelly rolls, charm packs,fat quarters, rotary cutters , self healing cutting mats, rulers. It all mounts up .
I bought these beautiful fabric from a wonderful stall called the Japan crafts .Gorgeous kimono girls, bunnies and beautiful baubles make this fabric such a delight to look at .I chose with no colour scheme in mind. I want a truly patchwork effect.  
                                     Off to another stall for spots and fabric with macaroons.
                                                 Some plains, a few charm packs
I took out my pretty flower pot pincushion , sat on the floor with my new large self healing mat. I like sitting on the floor
I used my new rulers and rotary cutters and I cut out some squares. I struggled at first using a rotary cutter. The right amount of pressure is needed but I got there in the end. Have you spotted my new clover mini iron. I know it is just an iron, something the Mr felt he ought to point out , but it is so handy. It has its own stand and I love it and it will be invaluable when I have to iron the seams for my patchwork passion.


I bought some thread in colours I wouldn't normally consider using but I want some contrasting bolder stitching on my patchwork. I'm still cutting as we speak as I am a novice this process is slow but I am enjoying it thoroughly. Ooh, a word of advise do not have a glass of wine when cutting fabric, ha ha  .


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Books yarn and cake

 Sometimes you can just be walking along and in amongst the ordinary is an extraordinary explosion of colour. This beautiful house reminds me of the vibrant houses in Mexico. What a beautiful uplighting colour.

                                                        Extra ordinary display of azaleas
 This is issue one of prima makes special, I have to say I really enjoyed reading this I bed the other night
                I adore this laptop cover I am going to make this it seems like an easy make
 Oh and these lavender hearts are so delightful they would look so gorgeous whilst scenting my yarn

I made these cherry bakewell cupcakes from the recipe within. I love it when icing spills over the sides of cakes. I am happy to report they were exceedingly good.

Im playing around with these gorgeous balls of yarn I have been trying to crochet  with my ergonomic hook .I am still struggling with holding it but I am getting there.

I am reading this brilliant book. I'm not going to give anything away as I really want you to enjoy the twists and turns within the story. The lead characters world starts to unravel when her daughter is injured but it's the confusion as to the what, why and how that starts us on an intriguing and increasingly tense journey. It is wonderful read.
Check out Ginny's blog  and Tami' for lots more books and and yarny goodness.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Inside Crochet Issue 53, Coral Brooches

I am proudly presenting quite possibly one of my most favourite patterns I have designed . Inspired by my love of the coral reef. I love the diversity of colours and shapes. I am always mesmerized by  coral reef.

I took these two pictures when I visited Busch Garden's Aquarium in Tampa last year. I think my interpretation has come out quite similar

 They are made in Rowan yarns ethereal Kidsilk Haze yarn. An exquisite yarn .It combines  delicate strands of silk with the very finest mohair fibers .I love this stuff it is so very soft ,the only down side is that as it is a hairy fiber  it is a nightmare to unravel, despite this it is such an exquisite yarn

Each brooch is finished with a sparkly centre. I am a bit of a magpie I collect broken jewellery , one side of an earring, the beads from bracelets .I have then in a tin. I love the idea of making something new from something old.  You can use buttons, a circle of fabric looks great. The beauty of my pattern is that can be adapted to what you have at hand.

                                                        This is the cover of the magazine
"In this month's issue of Inside Crochet we have some truly fabulous projects for you, perfect for sunny days. Amongst the 23 patterns you'll find colourful filet garments, cute characters that little ones will love and sweet accessories such as Deborah Stuart's Neapolitan Beret.
If that wasn't enough, learn a new stitch with Vicki Brown's ripple shawl, join Claire as she explores three ways with lace motifs, or think ahead to picnics and enjoy some vintage fun from Emma Escott, crocheting handmade food covers and a beautiful summer cushion "
Now available monthly from all good newsagents and supermarket chains, and digitally via, in the Apple App Store and on Google Play

I am an avid reader and love Small  things blog.Ginny hosts a yarn along I though one once I would actually add a post. I am reading
This is a lovely, sincere, warm-hearted book, with a story rooted in the early days of AIDS awareness, when misconceptions abounded and most people didn't openly discuss the illness

This is a wonderful story about the close bond between a young girl uncle, the noted artist. He's the only person that June feels she can share her secrets with, and reveal her true self to. When Finn passes away, June finds herself adrift, wondering how her life can possibly go on without Finn being a part of it. Then June meets Finn's partner Toby, who has never been mentioned to June before, and a new friendship is slowly formed which will alter the way she views herself and her late uncle. They are both lonely, struggling to cope with life without Finn, united in the immense loss and grief they share.
                                   Joining in with GINNY and friends for Yarn Along

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ergonomic hooks and ergocise

I bought the Boye egg-shaped, ergonomic crochet hook handle  last year in Florida. Walmart is a massive supermarket and I went because I'd read on ravelry that you can get yarn , hooks and craft stuff whilst buying your weekly shop .How very civilised, don't you agree??. I would love London to have yarn in Sainsbury's , what fun shopping would be. The handle only cost $3.00 at the time .I bought it because I simply have to have all crochet paraphernalia. I never thought about it again until last week.

 Im finding my baby finger is cramping from wrapping around the  hooks, and my wrist gets stiff & sore after a small period, but much worse, I've developed a tightening and inflammation of the tendon in my thumb and index finger, I now have a constant ache in the thumb and heel of my hand, and I can no longer straighten my thumb or apply any real pressure without severe pain. I can't write for longer than a signature, open jars, lift plates, use a needle & thread or use my traditional crochet hook
 The Boye kit includes a hook handle of  rubber or plastic, which can twist off to open, as well as 8 “washers” to fit various sizes of crochet hooks. I have a set of boye crochet hooks. I will see what happens if you use a different brand of hook.

To use you attach plastic washers to each crochet hook.  The washers are a bit tough to get on .  The washers are colour coded so you have to examine the little colour chart to figure out which washer goes onto what size hook. My  recommendation is BE VERY CAREFUL when opening the package and SAVE THE BACK COLOR CODE CHART for the washers (they are not marked on the washers themselves just on the colour code on the back of the package. It means if you get rid of it you have no guide for which washers goes on what hook. I had to cellotape mine back together and put it in an old tin with the washers that aren't being used.

 After the washer is on the hook, you twist the hook handle open, insert the hook, and then twist the handle to close.  It takes some practice to position the washer properly a lot of fiddling.  A downside to this system was that once I put the washers on to my existing hook it is quite hard to remove them.  They were really tough to get off around the point of the hook. I get my crochet elves to help.

The handle has not improved my thumb problem, but I think it might allow me to continue crocheting admittedly it is very slow. It takes some getting used too but for the sake of my sanity and my hand I will persevere and let you know how it works out .I checked with my best friend who is my physiotherapist  she thinks that it might be a good  crochet solution .
My new handle is playing with some delightful yarn .The lavender is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino a buttery soft cashmere with merino wool. Such  joy to work with. The vintage blue and grey is Drops Alpaca, oh my I love this stuff .This yarn rocks it is very cheap and such good quality.I urge you to try it.  The green yarn is from Fyberspates  called Scrumptious 4 Ply ,a beautiful silk and merino wool .
Hope you have a lovely day.