For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb
Psalm 139:13

Thursday, 23 October 2014

gone knittin'

A change of scenery can do wonders for a girl, don't you think?
Of course, it does help if that change of scenery just so happens to be somewhere sunny and paradise-like. Me and Mr P escaped to Greece earlier this month (our first proper holiday - a whole seven days!). It was pretty awesome. A get-on-a-plane, eat-lots, be-exposed-to-direct-sunlight, activity-type holiday is not at all our usual thing, but outdoor yoga with a view, swimming in the bluest sea and poolside knitting while Mr P reads and dozes beside me? Blissful. I think being somewhere else and/or doing something completely different can help re-set your brain a little. We came home feeling like we'd been away forever, ready to get back to it. Winter, you did not see this coming. 

I don't know if or when we'll have a fancy kinda holiday again, but I'll be taking a different route home, trying things that scare me and getting a bus somewhere new, because it's just like clicking refresh. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

off the hook: autumn crochet shawl

Yup, I've finished (and have been swanning about in) my first ever crochet shawl and I LOVE it! I managed to get it stitched and blocked in time to wear it to a rather special family wedding. It's the biggest thing I've ever made and I loved the whole process of matching up a yarn I'm crazy about with the perfect pattern, spending time making it, having it grow a little as it blocks and then actually wearing it! 

The yarn is Louisa Harding's Grace Silk and Wool Hand-dyed (the colourway is Oriental) and the pattern is Lucy Croft's Lime Pickle from Simply Crochet issue 20. 

Grace is a lustrous, single ply DK. I scored two yummy skeins of it from a Black Sheep Wools bargain bin at a fair earlier this year and was waiting to come across the right sort of pattern - something pretty and lacy to go round the neck, but not too complicated. This pattern was it! Transportable, easy to memorise and fun to hook. The delicate picots around the edge totally make it. 

The pattern uses two skeins of a different DK yarn. I ended up using four of mine (thankfully Laughing Hens still had a couple left - it's discontinued).  Really, I went a bit rogue. Once I'd memorised the stitch pattern, I just kept on going until I'd used all the yarn. The finished shawl didn't look like much until I'd blocked it. In fact, I wasn't sure about the colours at all and thought it would be too small. Ah, the wonders of blocking. My wobbly little shawl straightened itself out and grew and grew. As soon as I wrapped it around my shoulders, I was smitten. 

And once I'd fallen in love with it, I wanted to wear it ALL OF THE TIME. As it turns out, it was the perfect partner for a particularly wafty and wonderful frock I'd bought. Me, the shawl, the frock and Mr P got dressed in our best for the aforementioned beautiful family wedding a couple of weeks ago. I received a lot of kind comments about my dear shawl on the day (um, actually yes, I did make it myself *beams*), and had a good old chinwag with one of my lovely in-laws (outlaws?!) about how she'd crocheted a similar shawl way back when. Cleverly, I managed to not get any pics of me at the wedding wearing it (sometimes a blogger's just gotta live life and not be all bloggy, ya know?) but I did get up extra early one morning to snap these so you could see it.  All in all: love the shawl, definitely recommend the pattern. Much yarn, many treble. 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

and the winner is...

Hey ladies,
Thanks so much to everyone that entered the giveaway during the Faux Taxidermy Knits blog hop, and thanks to Stitch Craft Create for organising it. It's now closed. I grabbed a teacup (of course) and picked the old fashioned way. And the winner is... *drum roll* *moment of suspense*

Hilda from Every Stitch! Congratulations Hilda, I have emailed you.

Remember, you can keep an eye on Louise's knitty goings-on on her blog. Hope you're all having a good week. I'll be sharing an exciting crochet FO at the weekend. 

Friday, 26 September 2014

taking stock: September

Mr and Mrs P celebrate a new Mr and Mrs P!

Hello folks. I'm joining in with Pip's Taking Stock thingamajig. It's a lovely way to pause, be thankful and catch up with yourself a little bit. Wanna take stock, too? Visit Pip's blog and copy her original list from there. Leave a comment below if you do one, I'd love to be nosy and have a read!

(Psst! There's still time to enter the GIVEAWAY and win a copy of Faux Taxidermy Knits).   

Making: Christmas presents. It's started already, people!

Cooking: veggie curry with far too much rice.

Drinking: a cup of tea someone else has made for you is one of life's sweetest blessings. 
Reading: Accordion Crimes by Annie Proux. Recommend!
Wanting: to book our holiday before we actually go on it. 
Looking: out for signs of Autumn. Bring it, crunchy leaves. 
Playing: the ukulele badly. Sorry neighbours. 
Deciding: whether or not to take the plunge and leave our flat sooner. 
Wishing: it was simpler to move house.
Enjoying: a spruced up, waistcoat clad Mr P relishing his new, non-pizza-related job. 
Waiting: for the big office move. 
Liking: listening to Joanna Newsom again and feeling about 17 and like anything is possible. 
Wondering: where the summer went. 
Loving: weddings and knit nights.
Pondering: the likelihood of falling in love with running.
Considering: a trip to the library for some holiday reading. Any recommendations?
Watching: Community, Pushing Daisies and Great British Bake Off. 
Hoping: I can take my knitting needles on the plane. 
Marvelling: at the fact that we've almost been married a whole flipping year already. What?!
Needing: to give more time to prayer.
Smelling: tomato soup. 
Wearing: fingerless mitts - the time has come.
Following: Jordan Burt on Vine. Pretty sure Debbie is my spirit animal. 
Noticing: what a blessing a fluffy pair of slippers can be at the end of a long day. 
Knowing: it is not sensible to eat nectarines at your desk. Juice on chin, juice in keyboard, ugh.
Thinking: about precious friends who should be closer. 
Admiring: skilled ladies that can do maiden braids - mine come out lumpy!
Sorting: superhero socks and yarn. 
Buying: groceries and second-hand books.
Getting: nowhere near enough sleep.
Bookmarking: more wonderful, creative blogs than I have time to read.
Disliking: 6am starts. Boo.
Opening: wedding invitations and save-the-dates. When did we grow up?
Giggling: at least once a day. 
Feeling: like I need to try harder and be better.
Snacking: on cashews - my desk snack of the moment.
Coveting: new earphones. And a hula hoop, please. 
Wishing: I could play the harp. 
Helping: myself to a second slice of everything. 
Hearing: when it's stress o'clock. 

Friday, 12 September 2014

off the hook: little crochet panda

This is Pandora (I did warn you I'd caught the amigurumi bug). 

I hooked Pandora over the summer for a brave and adventurous friend who moved away (she and Pandora are in Japan now). She's a fan of pandas. I mean, who isn't? This was my second amigurumi attempt and while she's not perfect, she is a cutie. I used the Miku the Panda pattern from Little Things Blogged. I made the ears a little differently and missed out the muzzle but it worked out okay. For the cheeks I used a pink colouring pencil (don't do what I did and use a water soluble one, then forget and add water to smudge - this panda has a serious blush going on). 

I liked the pattern a lot, but think I have some way to go in sewing on super-cute amigurumi faces. Any stitchers got some tips? 

Ooh, and don't forget, you can win a copy of Louise Walker's fab new book Faux Taxidermy Knits! Check out last week's blog hop post to enter before October! 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

blog hop: Faux Taxidermy Knits (& giveaway!)

Remember when I knitted Mr Owl
I totally adored him and he was a pattern by the fabulous Louise Walker. You're probably familiar with her awesome knitted critters (and wigs. Let's not forget the wigs, people). Well, needless to say I was pretty excited when I found she had her own book of quirky knitted creatures coming out.
Blog hop it is, then.

Yup, feast your eyes on that knitted goodness, my friends. I've had a sneak peek at a copy and I can tell you Faux Taxidermy Knits is one nifty pattern book. Inside is a collection of 15 playful, taxidermy-inspired designs. Think glamorous vintage fur meets silly yarny fun. There's stuff to wear and stuff to feather your nest with, including stylish stoles, guilt-free trophy heads and a rather stunning tiger rug. The patterns are easy to follow and have clear diagrams with them, plus the styling and photography throughout is a bit gorgeous. Gah, what's not to like?

These clever designs are some of my favourites, but there's also an adorable owl tea cosy that I'm itching to get my needles into and a fuzzy raccoon hat that's the perfect balance of Moonrise Kingdom and Jebediah Springfield.  

I've got a copy of Faux Taxidermy Knits by Louise Walker to giveaway to one of you guys! So exciting. All you need to do to be in with a chance is leave a comment below with your email address. I'll pick a winner on October 1st 2014. 

Otherwise, you can grab a copy of the book here, and find similarly glorious knitting and crochet books here

And the blog hop continues into September! Be sure to check out the iMake post from yesterday and Thimbleanna's post on Friday. You can see the whole blog hop schedule here. There will be all kinds of  knitty goodness plus more chances to win a copy. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Unwind Brighton in Simply Crochet

My pasty pins see the light of day. Sorry not sorry. 

I have a wee bit of exciting news. Last month Faye and I whizzed off to the seaside for Unwind Brighton (were you there? Wasn't it ace?) and this month some of my scribbles about it are in Simply Crochet issue 22.

I didn't blog about Unwind right away as I wanted to save all my creative wordy juices (?!) for the mag. I know it's old news now, but I must say it was a pretty cool event. Glorious venue, big name vendors and enough stunning hand-dyed yarn to boggle the mind. Loved it. I won't ramble on, but instead suggest you pick up a copy and see what you think.

They made me put my face in it and everything

And more importantly, what did I come away with? I was kind of in work mode and was very restrained, but I did arrive home with a bit of sunburn, some Brighton rock (rude not to) and a beautiful handful of Namolio's linen 5ply thread in navy. It's going to be part of a crochet ring pillow for a very special future Mr and Mrs.

It wasn't until I got home and properly read through the programme that I saw the gorgeous Pebble Beach Shawlette. Oh my. I instantly regretted not snaffling some yummy 4ply in Brighton to start it right away. Consider it queued.

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