Yes, Yes, Yes, I’ve done it!!

Isn’t it just such an amazing feeling when you achieve a goal. If you haven’t already guessed, I am now the proud owner of a pair of hand knitted sock, socks knitted by me and this time I loved every minute of this knitting journey!  I feel as though I am understanding knitting quite a bit more than I did when I began the budgies!
You may remember that I fast forwarded myself to this goal by challenging   Jane at Rainbow Junkie to crochet a pair of socks and I would knit a pair. Hers were finished some time ago but she has kindly waited for me to finish mine before posting about it. I shall share a link asap.
So how did the journey go? Well with all your tips in mind and the beginners guide to knitting socks book by  Chloe Thompson, I decided on a plain sock but using self patterning yarn to make them more interesting. I chose drop fabel colour 522, turquoise/blue print which gives a fair isle effect (no, I’m not clever enough to be doing fair isle! Colour work is my knitting goal for 2016 all being well. )

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I knitted them on three 3.25 needles with a fourth for working with. The only frustration with the yarn was that the first ball had several knots so I cut these out and joined it using the Russian join as I didn’t fancy having knots rubbing my feet. The second ball was okay so I think the first must have been a bit of a one off.
I actually knitted a gauge swatch, I avoid these where possible as it seems such a waste to knit something you are just going to rip out but I reckoned I really did need to be good here! I followed the example pattern in the book which takes you through step by step with lots of pictures. The book explains the whole process so well from choosing your yarn to darning them and really took the fear out of sock knitting for me.

I took the advice in the book and knitted the first two stitches on each needle tighter to avoid any ladders which worked!  I think there was one mistake in the pattern, some of knitters may know, it said knit to last two stitches, kks, k1. But I needed three stitches to do that so instead I knit to the last three stitches then kks, k1.
The only mistakes I made were when a couple of times I gained a stitch and I was naughty, I didn’t have the confidence in my knitting to find out where I had gone wrong so I just knit two together! Also on the first sock I picked up the heel flap on a pearl row so the join shows on the outside but I didn’t realise where I had gone wrong for some time so I left it. Here is the first sock which I did wrong,

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and the second which looked a lot better

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And then there was the toe, I decided to be brave and give kitchener stitch a try, for the first sock I followed this video but for the second one I decided to try using the written instructions in the book but got in a right old mess and had to try to unpick it so it was back to the video.  I was really happy with the result.

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So after months of looking at all the gorgeous socks so many of you knit I finally have a pair of my own!

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I had intended to get them matching and found what I thought was the right place to start the second sock but as I got going I realised that there were two similar pattern orders and I had started at the wrong green bit so they just had to be mis-matched!

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Will I be knitting another pair?  Yes, the bug has bitten, I already have the yarn, this time a pair for Josh, I just have to decide whether to be brave and try a different stitch this time!  Abi has decided to try knitting her own and I think she is ever madder braver than me as she has only ever knit a bit of a scarf and a toy dog and hasn’t learnt any stitches other than knit!
So finally I just want to thank all of you for your encouragement and inspiration!

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Homemade, Stitched with Heartstrings.

I’m joining Jenny’s Homemade, stitched with heartstrings in the run up to Christmas.  It’s a great way of sharing ideas and what we make over the next two months.

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I didn’t think I would be about here much these hols but with Hubby down with what Josh had last week, he has asked me to keep him company while Josh is out playing with his friends in the gorgeous sunshine we are having today.  Hubby is feeling too poorly for talking but just wanted me to sit near him. He has a fever and extremely sore throat the same as Josh did but if he moves about much he is also sick so he is really suffering today.

anyhow, back to the gifts, you can read my ‘winter wips post here‘ where I list what I plan to make but here are a few pictures of some of the finished gifts. Click on any picture or title to view full post.

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Five ‘Turbie’ towels 

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A beaded necklace made from rose petals.

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A shrug, crocheted with the yarn I spun

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A ‘lego head’ jar

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a beanie hat

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A clay Owl Trinket dish

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Cuff Links with watch movements

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and a teapot sewing caddy

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a snail and an owl crocheted coaster.

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a needle felted tiger

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crocheted socks

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and finally Three Knitted Budgies

I still have lots to do but I did finish the mice and rabbit pyjama cases yesterday so I hope to post about them soon, I also have something else to show which I am rather excited about 🙂

Hopefully back soon, Happy crafting!!

Sharon xx

Turbie’s, Playdough and Josh on a plate!

It’s been a strange week so far, Josh is poorly so we have been stuck indoors. At first he was completely flaked out with a high temperature so I have spent a lot of time reading to him during the day, those mystery books can get quite interesting! 🙂 The first couple of nights he was delirious quite a lot so he swapped places with Hubby so Hubby could get a good nights sleep and I could look after Josh. Thankfully he is picking up although his temperature is still up a bit.
Anyway, sorry if I am boring you but what I was really getting to is that Josh suddenly announced that he wanted to play with playdough. We haven’t had any playdough for a few years but I was able to find the recipe I was given when Abi was a baby and was pleased to find all the ingredients in the cupboard. We made different colours,

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all nice and bright and he had a happy afternoon playing with it.

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I remember that when I was unwell, I often used to play with things I had ‘grown out of’. I thought some of you might be interested in the recipe so I have included it at the bottom of this post.
Josh also got creative with a cardboard box!!

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So with all this going on how are my wips progressing? Slow but steady is probably the best description! I have got à bit further with the socks, a few more rows and I will be ready to do the toe 🙂 I have also started the next shawl. A little bit of needle felting has been happening too while I have been keeping Josh company.

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This is the very first stage of an animal!!

I also have a little ta-da for you. Last week, before Josh was ill I finished sewing the ‘turbie’ towels.  They are for some of my older nieces. The ones you buy in the shop are not long enough for really long hair as you can see. (I tried blurring out the messy background, I think I need a bit more practice!!)

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So I bought some towelling fabric and using my existing one for a pattern I lengthened it by about six inches. Just right now for long hair.

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You just twist wet hair in the towel and bring it up over your head tucking the end into the elastic loop on top.

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As you can see, to finish them off I added some fabric binding to the edges using stash fabrics.

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I machine one side of binding but I prefer to hand stitch the other. I always find a bit of hand sewing relaxing. I just need to get some more fabric now to make a couple for myself 🙂

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Before I go I just want to thank you for all your kind enquiries about my neck. It’s still rather delicate but I am able to do crochet again a few minutes at a time. I just have to resist the temptation to push through and ignore the warnings now!
I’m not sure if I shall be about next week much as it will be half-term holiday here.
I hope you’re all having a good week and happy crafting!!
Sharon xx

PLAYDOUGH RECIPE

Ingredients

This makes a fist sized lump of dough

2 egg cups Plain Flour

1 egg cup Salt

2 egg cups Water

2 teaspoons cooking oil

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Food colouring of choice.  I used pasted, if you are using liquid colours use this as part of your water.

Method

Put all ingredients in a heavy based pan and heat on medium heat, stirring all the time until the dough comes together and leaves the sides of the pan.  This only takes a couple of minutes.  Knead well and store in a freezer bag in an airtight container when not in use.  This keeps for months.

For a larger quantity use normal cup sizes for the flour, salt and water.  2 tablespoons of oil and 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar.

ENJOY!!

This and That!

Do you remember my last Wips post?  Well, after I wrote that, my body took fright and mounted a protest.  My neck made the most fuss and decided that it would force me into a crochet break!  Thankfully I had just finished the beret for Abi

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and the first of the shawls on my Christmas makes list.   The shawl is the same colour as the one I made myself and I am still enjoying crocheting the same pattern which is surprising for me as I easily get bored of repeating the same thing over and over, I wonder if the enthusiasm will last to shawl number five?

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The yarn is a delight to work even though it is lace weight, it is just so soft. (I’ts made from baby alpaca and mulberry silk.)

So, what did I do with myself? Well, the usual housework and mothering continued, all be it at a slower pace.

I gently wound some of the yarn for the other shawls despite a little neck protest,

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I added a strip of scrap card to the ball band so that I could put it around the yarn cakes

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I love the pattern the yarn winder makes!

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I also made a few more balls of tarn

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and as things improved I turned the heel on my second sock (Yay!!)

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Don’t look too closely, I’m only learning!!  😉

Then there have been evening stories and cake outside by the fires Josh has made in an old barbeque.

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Being a boy there is a lot of  poking about in the fire and lighting sticks.

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This fire burnt so hot that some of the flames were green but I couldn’t catch it on the camera.

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As the wood burned it looked fascinating, almost like a fiery landscape.

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Josh has decided he would like a bonfire party for his birthday this year.

There has been lots of list making, trying to get my head around all that I need to do and buy to get all my gifts made.

The scrabble letters have been back out,

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sorted and measured.

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I am short of a letter H but when that is rectified I can get on with these presents.

I have signed up to Sheila’s Blog Secret Santa, which I am really looking forward to.

Oooh yes, also, before I had to stop the crochet, I made a quick scarf for a niece for her 11th birthday. In honour of the effort to be more creative I made up my own pattern.

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I used some yarn that I found in a charity shop, it has short bobbly sections and longer fine sections in the yarn.

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I was really pleased with it and will share the pattern with you sometime.

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I left the tassles long so that she could choose to cut to her own length.

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I have also embroidered the faces on my mice and rabbit pyjama cases.

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Just a little more embellishing and they will be finished.

Oh yes, the ‘turbie’ towels are finished too.

So hopefully a few finished objects to show you soon.

I hope you all have a very happy weekend.

Happy Crafting

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Where Do I Start?!!

I feel a bit overwhelmed right now.  Two, yes two, of you lovely bloggy peeps have nominated me for blog awards. The Encouraging Thunder award.

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and the blogger recognition award

For the encouraging Thunder award I was nominated by the lovely lady at Midnight Knitter.  She is such an amazing and inspiring person.  She is one of the people who has inspired me so much to tackle my dread of knitting and her gorgeous socks have inspired me to work towards knitting my own (in progress!). Like me, she has health issues including systemic sclerosis but she is always bright and cheerful and her attitude to her health is so positive. You will sometimes see her gorgeous cats in her too, they are very good at ‘helping’ with yarny projects 🙂

For the Blogger recognition award I was nominated by another lovely lady at Postcard from Gibraltar.  She has more recently started blogging and her blog is a really interesting mix of expat life in Gibraltar, being a mum and creativity.  She shares beautiful photos of where she lives along with great explanations and having never traveled far myself I love to learn more about Gibraltar in these posts.

I feel so amazed and surprised at the same time.  What is so special about these nominations to me is to find out that this little tiny space I occupy in the blogging world is reaching out and actually inspiring and encouraging others.

So, a little more now about the awards and my nominations.

Firstly the Encouraging Thunder Award.  This award is meant to recognize blogs that are inspiring and encouraging to their readers.  WOW!!!  This means so much to me as it was the reason I started blogging in the first place.  As I started more and more to use the internet as a source of inspiration and patterns I felt that I was taking so much but I wasn’t giving anything back.  My health issues mean that there are so many times when I am longing to help someone practically during hard times – such as do the housework if they are ill -but my physical limitations stop me and I find that I seem to be accepting help when I am struggling but not able to give it back.  I know people don’t expect anything in return but it isn’t always easy being on the receiving end when you would rather be giving! Anyhow, I’ve sidetracked and waffled.  So, I realised that here, with a blog of my own, I just might be able to give a little back.  To share ideas, share what I make, patterns I love, encourage and just try to, somehow, give a little back.  So you can see just what it means to me to know that this little blog has been inspiring and encouraging to someone.

So here I am ready to pay it forward to some of you who have encouraged and inspired me. Please, please don’t feel obliged to join in if you are just too busy, I would just love you to know that I find your blog inspirational!

Ericka Eckles – You make me laugh and cheer up my day.   I love to read about your walks and foraging, I sometimes feel as though I am there which is great when I can’t get out and about much myself 🙂 Your patchwork is inspiring, you bake, crochet, sew and KNIT!! I have learnt a lot from you.

Jenny of Elefantz – I love your stitcheries, they are amazing and inspire me to do more stitching in my work.  Your scripture posts inspire and help me, I look forward to reading them each week.

Summer House by the Sea – You are inspirational, your cheerfulness through your illness is amazing and I love to see what you are making.

Sandra from Cherry Heart – I love your blog and podcasts, your work is beautiful.  You inspire me to dig deep and find the courage to try making my own patterns.

Beth from After Dark Sewing – You sew the most beautiful clothes and right from the start of my blog at the beginning of the year you encouraged me, thanks.

Jodie from Lupey Loops – It has been great to connect with someone else with Lupus, (not that I would wish it on anyone!) and it has been good finding others who have an outlet in their chronic conditions through creativity.  You keep so cheerful and I love seeing what you make.

Marmalade Rose – Your work is amazing and I don’t think I would ever be able to felt pictures like you do, your pictures are so full of life but you inspire me to keep pushing and trying harder with my creativity.

here are the rules:

When you get this award, you can:

  • Post it and the logo on your blog
  • Pay it forward by nominating others

You cannot:

  • Abuse or misuse the logo
  • Claim the logo is your own

If you receive the award you should:

  • Give thanks via comments and likes in the blog of the person nominating you
  • Mention the person who nominated you in your award blog
  • Discuss your purpose in blogging in your award blog

And then the Blogger Recognition Award

I have mentioned above the reason that I started my blog but I have also found this to be a great way to connect with other like minded people.  It has been interesting to find out how many others that suffer from chronic conditions enjoy knitting, crochet etc. I am also supposed to give a bit of advice here to new bloggers!!  Well, I don’t really know what to say here other than just go for, be yourself and talk about what you love. Other bloggers are so kind and encouraging and it is great to be able to share a little of what you love in the hope that you may inspire someone else.

Again, Please don’t feel obliged to join in if you are not able to at the moment, I would just like you to know that I really appreciate and enjoy your blog.

Yarnya, I enjoy the variety of creativity on your blog

Allie-oops- sweet happy life – I love seeing your stitcheries and patchwork

Betsy makes – Your work is beautiful

Jacquie – Bunny Mummy – I love joining you on your country rambles

Daniella Joe – Your blog is upbeat and positive

Cynthia – Handmade, homegrown,beautiful life – I love to read about the goings on in your busy productive life.

Lucy Ann and Luna – I enjoying seeing the lovely things you make and a peep of Luna is always a treat 🙂

Rainbow Junkie – Your work is just that, a rainbow, so bright and cheerful.

St Victor Quilts –  You have put another item on my ‘to learn one day’ list, I love your crazy quilt blocks.

Suzy Sells Sea Shells – I love to see your spinning journeys, your yarn is amazing and inspirational.

Tales from a Happy House and Thistlebear.  I love reading about your homes and families, there is so much happiness in your blog posts.

Wooly Moss Roots.   You are favoured to lead an incredible outdoor life, busy but special.  The things you make are beautiful.

Carole – Whispering Pines Farm – I love reading about your outdoor life and all the wonderful things you make.

The original idea for this award came from the Edge of Night blog you can read about it’s creation here

1. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.

2. Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post. Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).

3. Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created.

4. Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night . That way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing!

Thanks to everyone I follow and to all my followers, your blogs continue to inspire me and your comments encourage me to keep on crafting and growing in my creativity.

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

Winter Projects and Wips (LOTS of…)!!!

Okay, so it’s only just Autumn but as far as projects go autumn and winter merge together.  I was going to do a wips post to update you on all my various projects but then Jennifer from Thistlebear encouraged me to join her ‘Winter Project link Party’.   I love this idea, on the first weekend of each month there will be a chance to post and link to see how everyone else is progressing and encourage each other.

So, what am I working on?  Lol, you may wish you never asked Jennifer, I mean, where do I start?  I guess I should start with the projects that will need the most encouragement in the run up to Christmas and they are Josh’s wave blanket

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and my patchwork crochet blanket, three blocks done, nine to go!

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These will be my slow winter projects, slotting in between gifts and other creative distractions!

Then there is the Christmas list!!

Well, the book cushions crossed seven gifts off

but I still have the seven pj cases to finish, just the noses to embroider and a bit of work on the aprons left to do (hopefully in the next week or so).

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Three wigwams following Sheila’s tutorial here.

A bag, something along the campervan line, possibly crochet or maybe sewn?

A gift for a man made with 1/2 m of caravanning fabric (ideas pleeease!!)

Four family names gifts using scrabble tiles (more about that soon).

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A crocheted Amish puzzle ball.

Five or maybe six lace weight shawls using the ‘Feeling Dottie‘ pattern I used here (I know I’m mad but what do you do when someone asks if you can make one for her and her three girls for Christmas, plus one for Abi and also for another neice IF I get time!  Number one nearly finished, below 🙂

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A felted picture,

Five ‘Turban towels’, these just need the other side of the binding hand sewn on, more time consuming I know but so much neater.

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A set of patchwork placemats to match the Christmas bunting I made my Mother-in-law last year.

Two embroidered cushion covers and a laptop sleeve for my Mum and

Abi and Josh’s stocking gifts for October, November and December’s Monthly Challenge, you can read more about it here!  I have ideas but it will time that is against me here.

I think that is most of my ‘ Christmas gifts to make list’, just a few more little gifts to make if I get the time!!

So for the next couple of months my main focus will be Christmas gifts with hopefully a bit of wips finishing.

There are the socks, yes THE socks, you can read more at the end of this post, just a peep for today

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but yes I am enjoying it and I am on sock number two, yay!!  Of course Abi has fallen in love with them but I have made them to fit my little feet not her size seven canoes so it won’t be the last pair of socks I knit! Then of course, if I make some for Abi did I ought to make some for Josh?  Mmmm, maybe!

I have a beret for Abi half made, the same as the one I made here.

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I have started some needle felting for a special project, again more about this soon.

Other things will have to wait until the New Year.

I have some fabric dyed with some flower petals and I need to make something with that.  More on this at some point.

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There is my tarn

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and scrap yarn, crying out to be used.

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I also have the yarn for a crochet jumper I would like to start in the new year.

Oh, yes, I would like to try fairisle knitting in the next few weeks too!

I have my owl and flower granny square cushions to finish to match the blanket.  I just need to do the backs which is rather boring so they have got tucked away!!

I would like to crochet some slippers for myself, I have some cosy bases to use.

I have my knitted shawl to get on with using the ‘so I gather’ pattern

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And my hexies to continue with.

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There are other projects in the back of my mind for the New Year also but for now I think this list is plenty long enough!!

Looking back this list looks a little daunting!!  I know I have a lot to achieve before Christmas and as I type now apparently there are 77 days, 11 hours and 53 minutes until Christmas 🙂

Writing it all down here has really helped me to get’to do’s’ the clear in my head. I think I shall be returning rather often to this post to checkout my progress!

Have you made a start on your Christmas gifts yet?  I am looking forward to seeing all the lovely things you make.

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Tarn, Scrap Yarn and Bargains!

Here we are again at the change of seasons and as summer turns to autumn we have just got out all the winter clothes, the cosy jumpers, long sleeves, scarves etc.  others of you will be enjoy the first few signs of spring and getting out the summer clothes but what do you do with the clothes you no longer want?

As usual in our house there is the bag of bits for the charity shop, outgrown clothes to pass down to younger cousins but there are also quite a few bits this year heading for upcycling. We had a few t-shirts that were past wearing so these got cut up for tarn (t-shirt yarn)  and I followed the method Sheila from Sewchet blogged some time ago and that I used for my  Owl Basket. Here are a few pictures but for a more detailed post go to Sheilas post here.

First I cut the top of the t-shirt off just below the arms.  I have saved mine to use in other projects.  Also cut the hem off.

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folded it in half so that one side seam is about 1 1/2″ short of the other.

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Cut strips so that I cut through all layers until I got to where the lower side seam is and just cut through this but didn’t cut the other 1 1/2″ left up to the other side seam.

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I then put my arm through the uncut part and cut diagonally from the outer edge to the top of the first slit and then diagonally across all strips to the end leaving me with one continuous length to stretch and wind into balls.

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My photos aren’t very clear but Sheila’s tutorial is brilliant if you are interested in making your own tarn.

Then the next day as I passed a charity shop I saw a large bin of clothing labelled ‘fill a bag for £1’, well, I couldn’t resist that and stuffed a bag full of t-shirts and ended up with all of this lovely tarn, 21 balls of it.

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It will probably have to sit in the craft room until after Christmas and then I shall have fun creating something lovely with it!

There were also 3 jumpers and I have an idea for them and I am rather itching to get on with it but with all I need to get done for Christmas I know I ought to wait but we shall see what wins!!  🙂

I have also sorted out all my tiddly bits of leftover and gifted dk yarn, joining them using the Russian joining method.

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Winding them on my lovely yarn winder

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and I ended up with 5 large cakes of multi coloured yarn!

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Again I am not too sure what these will be used for but they might make a fun granny square blanket, what do you think?

Now to the bargains, I love bargains and I love books and last Monday I got both! Abi had a day off work and we had a girly morning exploring some of the shops on the outskirts of Eastbourne.  On the odd occasion we go there it is with a shopping list and there just isn’t time to explore but this time we went without a list and just mooched!

There was one particular shop, Camilla’s Bookshop, that I wanted to show Abi.  I used to regularly browse here in my teens when I was building up my collection of old books!

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You may remember Josh’s stick people that guard my books!

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The old man is my favourite.

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Well, back to this amazing bookshop. I can hardly begin to describe it, there are a lot of books outside and then you go through the door and there are just books everywhere. literally floor to ceiling. bookshelves crammed in with waist high piles of books in front of them.  The stairs have piles of books and there is an upstairs and downstairs also crammed with books.

There is however order in all this mountain of books and I soon found my favourite section of Victorian novels, classics like Uncle Tom’s cabin and the Wide Wide World and many others I love and have read over and over again. I was pleased to find a few doubles for Abi’s stocking to add to her little collection and a few by favourite authors that I hadn’t already got.

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Also this old wartime recipe book for £2 and the first Jennings book for Josh!

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Abi found this old canvas backed Lake District map.  She hopes to use it to create a memory book from the holiday she went on to the Lakes last month with a group of friends.

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I found a rather interesting craft book

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With some interesting ideas,

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projects for scrap fabric

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and projects for scrap yarn.

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So, with all the tarn, scraps yarn and books I won’t be short of things to do over the coming months!

And if you have a minute pop over to Camilla’s Bookshop site and you will get some idea of what an Aladdin’s cave of books it is!  (If you look at the picture ‘Stuart in action’, you can see in the top right the piles of books on the stairs, keep scrolling and you start to see why I love it so much!!)

So what will you be doing with any clothes you no longer need?  I would love to hear from you so please feel free to comment and I would love to hear any upcycling ideas you have.

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx