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

Thursday, 5 March 2015

off the hook: filet crochet baby cardi

Well, it's been a journey. 

I started this little madam of a project just after Christmas (I'm still pretty sure that was only yesterday) and it was a faithful friend through my commute, a holiday with the in-laws and a few knit club sessions. It's my first ever crochet garment and wasn't without its struggles. I had to fudge a lot of the stitch counts and came to the conclusion that even if the sleeves weren't right, if they at least matched it would all be okay. And it was, until it came to joining the sleeves into the yoke (gulp). The pattern became rather vague at this point. I read it over and over, decided that what I thought it could most logically mean, then I just had to go for it. 
*Major props to my lovely knit club pals who scrutinised the pattern with me and helped me demystify it!* 

Anytime I've been stuck with a pattern in the past, I've found the only way is to just dive in, give it a go and see if it turns out right. Generally it does, or it helps you get your head around the design and you can figure out how to fix it. Confession time: I'm firmly in the 'soldier on' camp when it comes to knitting and crochet – if I make a mistake I can get away with, I'd rather get the item finished than start all over again. Obviously there are limits to this, but this tiny pink cardi was most definitely a 'soldier on' project. 

So this first mini crochet garment was a challenge, but I definitely learnt a lot about construction. I used Lang's Golf cotton DK again, which is a bit splitty for my liking, but has a glorious sheen. While I wouldn't use this DMC pattern again (once is enough!), I am really happy with the finished cardigan/bolero. I love love LOVE the scalloped edging and the powerful pink. And of course, it would be nothing without those wooden apple buttons (from The Makery). Ah. All done at long last. It's been blocked and will be posted off to a special little lady this week. 

All project deets on Ravelry

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Pass it on

It's amazing what a difference a small thing can make to your day. I'm a big believer in the power of small gestures and love in action, so obviously Meredith's #sheepishheartbomb is right up my street (read about it here). Did you spread some handmade love about this Valentine's? This is the third year I've joined in with the heart bomb. I made three crochet hearts and hung them on a park gate near our home. Voila! 

In a similar vein, I recently had a sweet tweet from Cydney from A Lush Life to let me know she'd nominated me for a Liebster blog award. Thank you Cydney! And while I don't usually do posts like this, it really brightened my day so I thought why not pay it forward and honour some blogs that I love? 

The great thing about the Liebster award is that it celebrates blogs with a small readership. I'm all about that life. Here are the rules:

Thank the person who nominated you
Answer the questions from your nominator
Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers
Create 11 new questions
Notify your nominees through social media/their blogs

These are the questions Cydney set for me:

Why did you start blogging?
I was really enjoying reading other people's blogs and thought I could give it a go. 

Do you prefer sweet or savoury food?
Both! Sweet, if I had to choose. 

What's your favourite smell?
Ooh, there are a few. Old books, freesias, new-mown lawns, the ocean, suncream, coconut, roses. 

Do you have any other hobbies besides blogging?
Umm, knitting, crochet, reading.

What's your dream job?
I love my job, but I'd love to make pretty things for weddings, too. 

What's your favourite movie?
Amelie, Stranger Than Fiction, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Ferris Bueller's Day Off 

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Baths or Showers?
Baths all the way. 

Where do you see yourself in 1 year(s time)?
I don't like to look that far ahead, but I know I'll be in Bristol. 

What would you do first if you won the lottery?
What my mum always suggests: spend a third, save a third and give a third away. 

I hereby nominate the following fabulous bloggers
Jenny from Pretty Column
Cory from Indie Knits
Ellen from A Pile of Sheep
Hannah from Granny Square Flair
Chiaki of Chiaki Creates
Caitlin of Caketin Does
Sarah of Not Found

And my new questions are:

1. If you could live anywhere in the world for one year, where would you live?

2. Three handbag/project bag essentials?

3. What's your favourite word?

4. What sound does your alarm clock make? 

5. What book do you always recommend to people? 

6. Monocle or eyepatch?

7. What's in your coat pocket?

8. Strangest place you've ever slept?

9. What's the oldest item in your wardrobe?

10. What's that one song that always makes you feel better?

11. Best/worst guilty pleasure song on your ipod?

Saturday, 31 January 2015

taking stock: January

Making: that there pink blanket. Finally joining it. Experiencing joining joy!
Cooking: kale - it's the fave veg in our household at the mo.
Drinking: more water. At long last. *Achievement unlocked*
Reading: the Bible in a year with the #365daysoftruth plan from She Reads TruthCaptain Corelli's Mandolin (again) and I Am Malala
Wanting: better posture.
Looking: through my shiny new glasses.
Playing: 'what shall we do for dinner?' on the train home, Monday to Friday.
Deciding: that a Friday morning hot drink purchase should totally be a thing.
Wishing: everyone one I love lived in one place. 
Enjoying: evenings with Mr P.
Waiting: for the next season of Game of Thrones. Anyone else?
Liking: that hot cross buns are available all year round.
Wondering: what to give up for Lent.
Loving: how much I learn at knit club.
Pondering: joining a dance class.
Considering: getting my long hair chopped off! 
Watching: Breaking Bad and New Girl.
Hoping: for snow.
Marvelling: at answered prayers and steadfast promises.
Needing: to do some Pilates.
Smelling: pasties and coffee at the train station every morning.
Wearing: blankets indoors.
Following: Taylor Swift on Instagram and not regretting it one bit. 
Noticing: that I could take or leave meat.
Knowing: I should be a bit more up on the news.
Thinking: maybe the weekly run needs to be twice weekly.
Admiring: crisp, frosty mornings.
Sorting: the recycling.
Buying: yogurt.
Getting: a bit more familiar with a new city.
Bookmarking: new blogs.
Disliking: vague crochet patterns.
Opening: the latest Good Food and wondering what to make.
Giggling: at silly overshares with the bestie.
Feeling: sleepy.
Snacking: on almonds, peanuts and Marmite rice cakes.
Coveting: great nails.
Hearing: Band of Horses again and loving it.

Love these regular posts devised by wonderful Pip at Meet Me at Mikes

Monday, 19 January 2015

Christmas makes (what I've been doing this whole time)

You know when you spend ages making something as a gift, finish it just in time and then don't manage to get any great pictures of it? Well, sorry folks, this post is a whole lot of that. 

I was a busy little bee over Christmas, with both hook and needles getting a fair workout. For the first time ever, I started really early and didn't attempt more projects than I could achieve. Definitely recommend this approach! And here are the fruits of my labour. 

The chunky herringbone snood (AKA The Big Purple One) was made for my mum. Parting with it was a real struggle, I can tell you. So snuggly and I love love love that neat herringbone texture. It was my own invention (the design, not the stitch pattern) and I think I'm going to do a dedicated post to share how I did it. SPOILER ALERT: soooo easy to make. Once you get the hang of the stitch pattern, it's pretty much just a straight line. 

Check out that festive nail gem. *I'm so fancy...*

The lacy crochet mitts were made with a fantastic free pattern by Crejjtion. Again, I really wanted to keep these so that's gotta be a job well done.  I've just had a peek and there's now also a version of this pattern complete with thumbs! I'd definitely make these again. 

Not recommended for oven use. 
And these guys. Knitted flat and with a crochet seam, these mittens were right up my street. I made two pairs for some super ladies and think you could have so much fun playing with colour combinations for them. I love the simplicity of the pattern and the clever construction. Again, it's a free one. Thanks, Martha Stewart. I totally fell in love with Rooster Almerino in the making of the red pair, it's so lovely to knit with. Consider yourself warned. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Hello 2015

2015 has fallen, clean like a fresh covering of snow or a swimming pool before the first dip of the first toe. The start of a new year is a good time to take stock of the last. 2014, you're worth remembering. 

Firsts: anniversary, swing dance class, shawl, mittens, package holiday, supergroup gig, commute, sailing class, migraine, using airplane bathroom, run on the beach, interview, punt, eye test, dry cleaning, moussaka, sleepwalking, liking Taylor Swift, emergency passport.

There were weddings, baptisms, prayers, a funeral, job changes, laughter, sadness, silly dancing, sage cupcakes, train journeys, tears, new adventures, old routines, bad habits, favourite books, no haircuts and an unspeakable amount of peppermint tea. My highlights were celebrating a first anniversary with Mr P, exploring new places with my best girlies and feeding a baby alpaca. 

I've had a look back at what I wrote this time last year and it seems I did in fact meet a couple of my goals for 2014. I did start running again and I did crochet a blanket (it just needs joining. That still totally counts, right?). I'm still working on becoming a morning person. This year I want to pray harder, love deeper, be grateful, be kinder to my body, knit a pair of socks and write something that means something. That's enough to be getting on with, isn't it? 

Do you have goals for 2015? 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Embroidering again!

Hey folks, hope you've had or are still enjoying a blessed and peaceful Christmas period with your loved ones. We've been catching up with family, eating roughly our own weight in cheese and marvelling at the unseasonable sunshine (no snow to be seen in the South West as yet!) 

But just before Christmas I excitedly attended the beautiful wedding of a dear friend. And of course a wedding means Becca gets crafty. Only this time the needle I reached for wasn't a knitting needle, oh no. I stretched some polka dots over a hoop and set about stitching a sweet monogram embroidery hoop for the happy couple. 

Since finishing my textiles degree two years ago (crikey, that long ago already?), I hadn't so much as threaded a needle. I'm definitely more of a yarn gal these days, but making this hoop reminded me how much I love hand embroidery. I like the slow, stitch by stitch pace and how it really is just like drawing. My precious pal Letty is a dab hand at these sort of things and recommended that I draw out my design onto tissue paper, trap it in the hoop over the fabric and stitch through it. Let me tell you, it worked a treat. I was able to place the design exactly where I wanted it and avoided the inaccuracy and pitfalls of trying to draw directly on the fabric (I'm so not ready for that). Plus, I could tear away the tissue paper with a triumphant flourish at the end, like removing a dome from a silver platter. 

The final hoop is a lot simpler than the initial design I had in my head, but a cute heart-shaped button and a scalloped crochet edge (took absolutely ages but was totally worth it) made it pretty enough. I was glad I had made something special for a special day. I think I'll be embroidering again soon. 


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

DIY: peg and ribbon Christmas wreath

Hey champs. I've seen a few similar peg/clothespin wreaths hanging around the magical world of Pinterest, but was so chuffed with how mine turned out I thought I'd share a cheeky tutorial! This wreath is hanging proudly on our door, waaay before we've even given thought to a tree. 
Here's how to make one (spoiler: it's embarrassingly easy).

You'll need: PVA glue (or similar), scissors, ribbon, baker's twine, cardboard (I used a glamorous cereal box), 21 wooden pegs.

Cut out two circles from the cardboard (I drew around a DVD for roundness!). Cut out the centre of each circle leaving a ring of a couple of inches. 

Cut a strip of ribbon for each peg. Glue them on.

Place the two rings together. Once the pegs are dry, peg them on!

Add a bit of baker's twine for hanging, some sort of conveniently matching decoration and you're done! I love what a simple make this is and how you could change it up by using paint or washi tape instead of ribbon. Love love. 

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