February – Monthly Challenge…. and Socks, a Learning Curve.

Well… I just made it!! All three items complete. There were several times this month when I thought I wouldn’t.  Not that it really matters and it has been a rather manic month, but I don’t like to give in! (Not good when you have chronic illnesses but hey, sometimes I wouldn’t get out of bed if I wasn’t so obstinate!)  Joining with Jennifer in her challenge (hers is called Martha and Me) and blogging progress on here has also really helped motivate me.

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My ‘Me’ make this month was the shawl I made to wear for the wedding (here).

For the Childrens stockings I decided to make some socks.  It was rather a learning curve but worth it.

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I was initially inspired by Wool Pickle and her Toasty Feet Post.  I had seen posts where people had knitted socks but they always seem a bit scary, I mean the heel bit!!!  Mmm, well that was the bit that did prove a bit iffy actually.  Also I am really not a knitting fan!!

So I had a hunt for a crochet pattern and I used this pattern from Crochet spot for Abi’s socks and this one for Josh’s sock.  They are basically the same pattern but each using a different stitch. The pattern fits any size from baby to adult and says you can use any yarn.  I wanted thick warm socks so I opted for chunky yarn.  Not sure that that was the right decision, I think I would like to attempt another pair in thinner yarn.

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I did learn a few things along the way

Firstly …

*  Don’t use two different makes of chunky yarn for the same project. I did this for Josh’s – yes he wanted odd socks, it is the current boy trend at school – ie they can’t be bothered to find a pair – actually, to be fair, that can be a bit difficult in our house, does anyone else have wandering socks??  I mean, we have wash bags in each bedroom but socks just never make it there, together, as a pair for some unknown reason.  I am hoping to make something for ‘Me’ next month to help with this problem so look out for next month’s one a month challenge post!!

Anyhow, back to the wool, they were both Hayfield yarn but one was chunky acrylic and the other was acrylic with 20% wool. So the blue sock is slightly smaller than the red even though I tried to work looser with the blue.  Ooops :~<

Secondly…

*  What to do when your 50g ball of yarn has no less than 5 knotted joins!  I did NOT want socks with uncomfortable knots ready to create blistered feet.  So it was a case of asking good old You Tube for help again.  I soon found various methods and tutorials and I decided to use the Russian joining method.  This worked well.  It did create a bit more bulk but with the chunky yarn this did not really notice.

and thirdly…

*  This I really enjoyed.  The sock patterns both used linked crochet stitches, something I had never done before.  Basically you pick up a thread from the previous stitch before you put you yarn round the hook, pull it through and then carry on as normal.  This means that all your trebles or double trebles are joined (doubles or trebles – US) . It created a lovely thick cosy sock with no gaps between stitches.  I have been thinking it would also make a very warm blanket.

Anyhow, the finished socks are cosy, the heels??!!!….. not so sure, especially Abi’s heels.  The heels are joined as you go and they ended up with pointy corners!!  I tried it three times but it still looked rather peculiar, they were absolutely fine on but quite amusing when not so they needed a bit of adjusting afterwards.  So for Josh’s socks I stitched the heel afterwards and they were a lot better.

Now I just need to get thinking of stocking ideas for next month, boy and girl …any ideas?

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

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Some Photos at Last!!

Here they are…

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Abi modeling my shawl for me.

I am so, so pleased with it.  The schachenmayr, dawn mix, cotton yarn I used is so soft and drapes beautifully.  It was really lovely to work with too.

If any of you are interested, I used this pattern from Ravelry.  It was really easy and fairly quick to crochet.  The bulk of it was extended trebles (doubles US) in the hole of the previous round and  I used a larger hook size for a more open pattern.  I would definitely recommend using stitch markers though to mark the V stitches!!

It was just like wearing a beautiful soft hug all day when I wore it to the wedding!!

Bye for now.

Happy Crafting!! xx

A Week of Being Spoiled… and a lot of Spots!!

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Some of you may remember that I had an early Birthday treat last week.  Abi made the dinners for me!!

Monday Abi took a recipe for Potato wedges with a dip and created her own.  This really has to be one of the best dinners we have had in a long time!!  I am really annoyed with myself because I forgot to take any photos 😦

She baked the wedges in the top of a hot oven for about 3/4 hour, She put chopped chicken breasts coated with Fajita seasoning mix and covered with foil in the bottom of the oven.

Once it was all cooked she mixed the chicken in with the potatoes, poured over a jar of salsa dip, followed by a cheese and garlic dip she had made.  (The children are lacto intolerant so she had to make her own.)  For the dip she used 1/2 tub of lactofree cream cheese, 2 heaped Tbsp Mayonnaise, 2-3 Tbsp Lactofree cream and some garlic and Italian herb seasoning.  She topped all this with grated cheese and put under a hot grill for a few minutes to brown.

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Tuesday was Pancake day so she made savoury ham, leek and cheese pancakes followed by sweet pancakes for desert. (I had to have my usual lemon and sugar!!)

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Ready…..

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Flip….

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Run ……

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GOT IT !!!!!

And to end with………….

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……………a very Close Call   !!!!

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Wednesday was Homemade Pizzas.  Again using lactofree cheese, bacon, pepperami, sweetcorn and tomato.  These were scrummy too.

Thursday we were at the wedding so she got a day off!

And Friday we had Peppered steak with salad and new potatoes No photo again I’m afraid! I really need to get into the habit of taking more pictures.

Now on to the spots……!!!

Josh has had a cold, cough and sore throat, usual winter bugs, or so we thought!!  Yesterday he was off his food and he had a rash and this morning it was worse, so we have been to the doctors and he has Measles!!  He has had the vaccines but presumably he didn’t  build up an immunity!  So he will be off for a few days yet, yes…my little man has an extended half-term holiday which he is rather pleased about.

I really am not sure now if I shall meet my one a month challenge target but Josh is more important at the moment so we shall see.

I really do hope I can get back soon with the shawl images. I would like Abi to model it for me but she is rather bogged down with homework at the minute!  She was such a sweetheart last week, she was working solidly on college coursework for the whole of her holidays except for the wedding and Sunday (we keep Sunday as a day for worship and family).  Her only other downtime was when she was cooking the dinners.  Thanks Abz x.

I must go now..

Happy Crafting!! xx

Busy and Creative Hols!

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A rather varied week.   A wedding,  cousins round to play, homework, dentist, hospital appointment and buying super cars for £80 million!!

As you can see above all our cereal boxes get recycled by Josh. This week it was a Super car garage.  We bought extremely expensive cars and then had challenges to see which was the best.  Josh kindly let me pick first but I am obviously not very good at choosing the best as he won all except one challenge!

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There’s been a lot of homework too.  Long days of coursework for Abi and a small start on a project about the history of our town by Josh.  He is a great ideas boy and a poster or power point presentation as suggested by his teacher is just too boring so this time it is monopoly with facts on the cards. (He still has most of that to do tomorrow, I’m expecting that quite a lot of encouragement will be needed!!)

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Abi has taken over the dining table and conservatory floor for the week with her textiles coursework.  She is studying birds and together we managed to adapt Lucy at Attic 24‘s crochet fern leaf to a feather.

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I finished my shawl the afternoon before the wedding!!!!!  I absolutely LOVE it.  It is so swishy and feels amazing to wear. I haven’t had a chance to take any photos yet, it has rained all day long here! so hopefully I shall be back with some soon.

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My Cellini bracelet is also finished.  I had it all done once but then realised that the last quarter had some different beads mixed in.  I had been doing it in the evening and accidentally used a very similar but slightly darker bead ;(  so I had to undo that section.  I just got it finished Wednesday evening ready for Thursday!!  I really don’t like things being that close to the deadline but that has just been how this month has gone.  I am very pleased with it and it was easier to do than I thought it would be so I am thinking of doing some more.  I used this tutorial.

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I hung my first load of washing outside for this year, Yay!!! I love getting my washing outside. We don’t have a tumble drier and I really do NOT like having it all hanging around inside.

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On Tuesday we had Pancakes and Pancakes and Pancakes, and they were all delicious.

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We had cousins round, My niece has just learnt to walk, aren’t her shoes just adorable.  Josh has also spent quite a bit of time round theirs too,  coming home in need of a bath every time!!  Either from playing football at my brother’s or at my sister from helping the builders in the garden mixing and barrowing cement!  He has just come home again with a bag of extremely muddy clothes!!  (I have learnt to send him with at least one change of clothes and shoes!!)

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The wedding was brilliant.  This brother and sister were so cute.  Just Hubby and I were initially invited but this week Abi got a last minute invite, she was so happy, dancing round the lounge with excitement!!  Josh was more than happy not to be coming.  I was at a lovely venue and the food was very good.  It was great to catch up with a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a while.  With 170 guests there was a lot of people to chat to!.  I am paying for it today with the lupus, I always do after a big day but it was worth it.

Talking of my Lupus and fibro, I saw my local rheumy consultant this week, more of a chat than anything. He said that there is not really anything else that they can do and that it is just a case living with it.  Something I have got used to doing anyway!!  At least if I am a feeling rough but not too ill I have got lots of creative things I can keep my mind busy with!!!

I also went to the dentist and had a large filling this week.  I asked not to have an injection as I have reacted to them before,  I think it went a little close to the nerve as it twinged rather as she drilled deeper but I managed to get through without her realising!!  hopefully there won’t be any more for a while.

I have been thoroughly spoiled this week by Abi, she has cooked all the dinners for me as an early birthday treat.  I will try and post about it soon.

Congratulations if you have stuck it out through reading all my waffle!  I hope I haven’t completely bored you.  Hopefully back soon.

Happy Crafting. xx

A Great Family Valentines Day!!

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We looked after one of Abi’s friends dog (Buddy) for the day.  He is adorable but as we were told afterwards, a bit of an escapologist!!     Within an hour we had found this out for ourselves :0

My cousin had popped round and Hubby was just opening the door when Buddy shot between his legs and out onto the street.  Thankfully we live on a fairly quiet close but he had no intentions of coming back in.

It became to him a great game of catch me if you can… and we couldn’t!!

We couldn’t entice him with food and he was deaf to our calls.  Every time he started to run to the end of the close towards the busier roads we had to try to get in front and head him off.  There were several of us, me hobbling around with my stick, Josh in his socks on soggy pavements, Abz looking rather worried as he was her responsibility, Hubby and my cousin and a couple of the neighbours!

Suddenly I had a brainwave, Abi had said that he loves other dogs so our neighbour kindly got her dog on a lead (in her dressing gown – it was still quite early) and as soon as Buddy saw this gorgeous little girl dog he had to investigate… giving Abz a chance to catch him!!  We were so thankful because we had been starting to despair of catching him.

We bought the dog a dog toy when we were shopping this morning as a little thank you.

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In the photo above Josh is busy making candy floss.  A present from Abi for his birthday.  One of those gifts that are great but take up loads of space.  Like the doughnut maker and the popcorn machine!!  Having said that, I love candy floss, so I can suffer it sitting on top of the kitchen cupboards if I get a bit of floss from time to time!  Plus all three are great when the kids have friends round.  The doughnuts with various toppings go down a treat and usually end up with a bit of face painting with the melted chocolate and icing!!

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My yarn arrived,  yay……. I was starting to get a bit worried, it had gone past the expected arrival date and usually with amazon parcels arrive well before that.  I was so excited when it arrived, sad I know, but I really do want to wear the shawl to the wedding on Thursday. I have now nearly finished the edging.  The dye lot is a bit lighter as you can see in the photo above but as I am using it for the border and it is a more open pattern, so I am hoping it will appear as though the difference is caused by the pattern change rather than the yarn.

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We made an apple crumble for the weekend, I have a waitrose recipe (here) with a lovely crunchy topping we all love.

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Abi and Josh took Buddy for a long walk up on the South Downs to tire him out.  It is lovely now that Abi can drive and they can go off on their own for a bit, it gave Hubby and I a bit of time together too.  They came back happy but filthy!  With no tumble dryer and all this dull weather I was quite thankful that they are not dog walking every day!!  After a quick bath, Buddy was soon fast asleep!!

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I am looking forward to having the children home this week,  especially as Abi has offered to make the dinners!!

I am off now to finish my shawl,  I hope to be back soon with some pics.  I have also made a bracelet for my niece a bit different from what I have made before and I am really pleased with it, so hopefully I’ll have some pics of that too.

Happy Crafting! xx

A Couple of Bargains and WIP’s Progress…

I nearly didn’t go to the local market this morning, it was so dull and damp but I was glad that I did.  The first stall I arrived at was full of spring potted plants.  There was a rack of rather sad looking primulas to clear at only 10 pence each.  Pot bound and a bit shabby but with a bit of trimming they will be a lovely colourful addition to the house and garden on these dull days.

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I also found this stack of 3 Christmas tins for 50 pence which make perfect little pot holders for the three plants I hope to keep indoors.  I’m thinking some nice little crochet pot covers would finish them off nicely!

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My WIP’s are coming on nicely now and I am really enjoying it, thanks especially to some encouragement from Jodiebodie at Lupeyloops.!

The last time I posted I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the things I need to make with a deadline within the next week. Then Jodiebodie commented saying  ‘May you enjoy your projects despite your time pressures. Have fun.’  It made so much difference because the fun was  going out of it.  I decided to relax and enjoy each project because they wouldn’t get made any faster for stressing about them.  So thanks very much for that encouragement Jodiebodie and for everyone’s kind messages.

So, the progress I have made…  The shawl I haven’t touched as I am still waiting for the extra yarn to arrive.  The necklace is making progress, a simple beaded spiral which is really relaxing to do, I have enjoyed getting my beads out again, it’s been a while.  I’m also thinking of making a second to go inside the purse!

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The socks are just still a’ longing to get on with them’ in the back of my mind … and the purse …

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has turned into two purses.  The first one I made using Hayfield Bonus Buzz mingle dk yarn but I wasn’t sure about it and Abi and I decided it was a bit young for the niece it was intended for, so that one goes into the pressie box.

For the second one I used another multi coloured dk yarn but this time it was Sirdar Crofters fairisle effect.

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They worked up quicker than I had anticipated, the fiddliest bit being attaching the clasp.  For the first one I crocheted a traditional granny square to just a little bigger than the size of the clasp when opened out and then continued in circles, without increasing, to create the sides.  Then I just attached the clasp by sewing it on.

For the second one I created a flat circular base until just a little bigger than the opened clasp before working up the sides.  I worked trebles into the spaces rather than the stitches of the previous row and also added some bobbles.  I decided to glue the clasp this time before sewing it on.  This made it a lot easier to sew but it did mean a rather sticky needle!!

I must go now and get on with the rest of my WIP’s  and leave you with a lovely, rather fuzzy (I had to zoom right in)  reminder, from our garden, that spring is really on its way!!!

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Happy Crafting!

Sharon xx

WIP’s and Crafting on!

A Shawl with gorgeously soft yarn, a little crochet purse, a blanket, and way too many ideas in my head to list here.  Are any of you the same?  do you have more than one thing on the go or are you more methodical and complete one item before moving on to the next?

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I like to have something easy to pick up when I am tired and also something a bit  more challenging on the go.  Since I have started blogging and pinning I have seen so many fantastic ideas.  My head and notebook are full of ideas and I keep finding more.  I guess this is good in a way because I am trying to make as many gifts as I can this year (and that’s a lot of making!)  but this also means that I am putting my owl and flower granny blanket to one side again and again.  I love this blanket but just don’t seem to be getting it done – as you had probably gathered already!! – It sits in its bag and hardly gets touched from one week to the next, there is always something just a bit more exciting or with a deadline to be done.

After reading Nicoles post about Keep calm and Craft on I decided to join in and share what I have on the go at the moment.  I am hoping that perhaps this will make me get on and get them finished!

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I only started the purse today but that is for a birthday I had overlooked next week..Not sure how it will turn out as I have never used a clasp like this before an I don’t have a pattern.  Maybe rather silly with only a week to go, or maybe just completely mad???  so this will have to be a priority!

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The shawl (click here for pattern) is for a wedding, next week too but I am waiting for more yarn to arrive.  It hasn’t worked up as long as I thought it would, it is one of those patterns where you can decide how long you want to keep going before adding the border.  Anyhow, what I bought initially was discounted and that was all there was in the shop but I have found some the same on ebay and I am just hoping that the dye lot is  not too different.  It will be used for the border so hopefully any difference won’t show too much!

Abi has asked me to make a necklace for one of her friends, also for next week.  She is so, so, busy with coursework, so she hasn’t got the time to do it herself so I shall really enjoy being able to help her.  I’m looking forward to getting my beads out again, I’m just hoping I can get it all done!!

aagh, and I still haven’t started the children’s stocking pressies 😦

So what are your WIP’s and do you have several or like me, one that you keep pushing to the back of the queue?

Happy Crafting All.!! x