Monday, 6 December 2010

Oh Baby Its Cold Outside

I just love that song by Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews.  So, in my little part of the world the snow has now melted away just leaving small patches of ice.

We awoke this morning to freezing fog and now that the fog has lifted it has left some beautiful things around the garden!

This is my Hebe covered in pretty ice crystals

How about a bit of spider web on some trellis

or even spider web around my washing line

I can't believe how thick the spider webs look, almost like funky fur yarn.

Here is one of my items which are a little like the ice crystals and spiders webs that are around this morning.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Folksy Friday 28th October - Hair

I am having my hair cut today for the first time in about 5 months!  I thought that being a knitter and crocheter that I would say thank you to all those sheep that have their "hair" cut so that knitters around the world are able to create wonderful items.

Here is just one of my items that are made with 100% Merino Wool

Here are some supplies which are 100% wool and are from various breeds of sheep.  All are hand-dyed by those that are selling them and are ready for spinning or felting.  I am in awe of anyone who can spin their own yarns, I would be terrified of messing it all up and getting in a big tangle.  One day I will find the courage and the time to learn, but probably not whilst the kids are still young.

KnitCave WharfdaleWoolworks
GeminiHandspunMy Heart Exposed Yarns

Powdered Confetti - Merino Wool Top Roving by WowWoolly
Forest Trail - British Shetland Tops by KnitCave
Cinnamon Spice - Shetland Spinning Fibre by Wharfdale Woolworks
Minty Choc Chip - Handpainted Merino by Gemini Handspun
En Vogue - English Shetland Spinning Fibre

Sunday, 3 October 2010

In Memory of Mom

My late parents at their joint 65th birthday party in 2007

A while ago, my husband Garry, decided that he wanted to do something to honour my late mom's memory.  My parents shared the same birthday, same year, which is very unusual.  My mom passed away just 4 days after her 65th birthday (36 hours after this photo was taken) from heart failure and so it seemed fitting to raise money for The British Heart Foundation who's vision is a world where people do not die prematurely of heart disease and they will achieve this with pioneering research, prevention activity and quality care and support for those living with heart disease.

Garry chose to take part in a 30 mile cycle ride from a list of BHF events and created a fundraising page whereby anyone with internet access can sponsor him and this has been run alongside the more traditional pen and paper sponsorship forms for those who do not have internet.  The online fundraising page will remain open until 3rd January 2011.

The cycle ride was today, Sunday 3rd October, and we had to be at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire early this morning, ready for the 9am start.  The weather has been attrocious and during our journey to the venue we were wondering whether it would still go ahead due to the wet weather.  It did go ahead, and Garry completed the route in 2 hours and 10 minutes.

08:45 The weather is wet and horrible

11:40 Back home and pleased with self

 Garry has already said that he wants to do another cycle ride early next year in memory of my late dad, who passed away from Cancer 21 months ago.  This will be raising money for Cancer Research UK and I will be blogging about that nearer the time.

Fundraising Giveaway

We have had a lot of trouble getting people to part with their cash and sponsor Garry on his cycle ride.  To encourage people to sponsor him I decided to run a prize giveaway for anyone who sponsored him online, with each person receiving one entry for every £1 donated.  The more you donated, the more slips of paper with your name on got put into the "hat".  The prize fund was staggered, depending on what target we hit by the day of the cycle ride.
 If we reached £100 online donations I would donate 1 prize of £10 off any item

If we reached £200 online donations I would donate 1 prize of £10 off any item and 1 prize of £5 off any item

If we reached £300 online donations I would donate 1 prize of £15 off any item and 2 prizes of £5 off any item

If we reached £400 online donations I would donate 1 prize of £20 off any item and, 1 prize of £10 off any item and 2 prizes of £5 off any item

I also made a sponsorship which pushed the online total to £200, but obviously I did not enter my own draw.  I have done the prize draw and the winning names were chosen by my two daughters by putting their hand in a tall narrow bag and pulling out one slip of paper in turn.

First prize of £10 off any item was won by, Ray Froggatt

Second prize of £5 off any item was won by Linda of Uniquely Yours (of Folksy).

A big thank you for all of you who have sponsored the cycle event, we couldn't have done it without you.  Congratulations to the winners, I am sure you will find something to your liking in my shop.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Fundraising Cycle Ride for The British Heart Foundation

I am sure that we all know someone who either has heart disease or has died from heart disease and the effect that it has on those who are suffering or those who are left behind.  Quite often heart disease goes undiagnosed with many people losing their life prematurely to an unexpected heart attack and I myself have lost friends and work colleagues who were just a few years older than myself.

Some people may know that I lost my mom to this cruel fate 3 years ago on 24th September and that one of my nephews has just undergone a major heart operation at the age of 11 to replace the valves that were operated on when he was just a few months old.

My husband has decided to take part in a 30 mile cycle ride around Coventry which has been organised by The British Heart Foundation to raise funds for this superb charity and in memory of my mom.  The cycle ride takes place on 3rd October, which is just over 2 weeks away and we only have £60 online sponsorship/donations, which is a far cry from the £500 we were hoping to raise.

I have decided to run a giveaway for all those who sponsor my husband online through his Just Giving page.

This is what I have decided to put up as prizes depending on which target we manage to reach by the time the cycle ride takes place.  Anyone who sponsors him before 12.00 noon (GMT) on 3rd October will be included in the draw which will take place later that day and will be for one of these prize amounts:

If we reach £100 or more online donations I will donate 1 prize of £10 off any item

If we reach £200 or more online donations I will donate 1 prize of £10 off any item and 1 prize of £5 off any item

If we reach £300 or more online donations I will donate 1 prize of £15 off any item and 2 prizes of £5 off any item

If we reach £400 or more online donations I will donate 1 prize of £20 off any item and, 1 prize of £10 off any item and 2 prizes of £5 off any item

Each £1 sponsored will receive one entry, so if you make a sponsorship of £5 your name will go into the draw 5 times.  The more you sponsor the higher the chance you have of winning.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Glittery Mohair Shawl - Design F29

I bought some pretty Mohair yarn off Ebay.  It came with no ball bands or anything and other than confirming that it is Mohair, I really have no idea about it.  I decided on a design to knit with this yarn, which means working with charts for the first time ever.  I started work on 17th April and completed one pattern plus one pattern repeat and then I messed up.  It got put to one side for a while until I was ready to sort out where I had gone wrong and tackle it again.

It was about 3 months before I picked this up again.  I sorted out where I had gone wrong and finally figured out how to read the charts.  I decided that I wanted to add some beads to the border edge and selected some lovely turquoise blue beads to match the blue metallic thread in the yarn.  The beads are Size 6 Toho, colour 995 gold lined rainbow aqua and I used 475 of them in total, 25 beads per edge section.

You will see in the photos above that I have taken one with a standard sized stapler to show size and there is also one that shows the back of the unblocked shawl and how the pattern "egg boxes".  I finished making this on 15th August 2010 and soaked and blocked it.  It grew a little bit but that is usual as you are stretching and smoothing the lace out to show off the design.  Really pleased with how this turned out in the end.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Folksy Friday 20th August - For the love of Mohair

 I thought I would blog about Mohair this week as I have just finished knitting a lace shawl in Mohair.
So, what is Mohair and where does it come from?

Mohair is a silk-like yarn made from the hair of the Angora Goat and is one of the oldest textile fibres in use.  Mohair fabric is known to have been in England in the 8th Century.  It is durable, resilient and notable for its high lustre and sheen.  It is warm and has great insulating properties.  It is considered to be a luxury fibre like Cashmere, Angora and Silk and is usually more expensive than wool that comes from sheep.  It is the hair from younger animals that would be used for making yarns suitable for clothing.  Mohair should not be confused with the fur from the Angora Rabbit which is called Angora Wool.

Firstly I am going to show off my own Mohair item before I show you some from fellow Folksters. This took me about 120 hours to make and took a lot of patience and skill.

The yarn I used has 75% Mohair, 13% Wool, 8% Nylon and 4% Metalic Fibres, so a very good quality Mohair indeed!  Many Mohair yarns are made with less than 40% Mohair fibres.

This photo was taken against a window to show off the delicate pattern


Arhhh, the pretty shot showing the gorgeous colouring and the sparkles

Now, that's just showing off!
I added 475 tiny glass beads by Toho to the pretty edging.

And now some Mohair items from fellow folksters

Kath Heywood Designs Helene Jane
Silky Prudence Boolouroo Bears
CandyFlossCreatedTricot Treats by Helen Dey
Mohair Scarf by Kath Heywood Designs
Long Black Mohair Gloves by HeleneJane
Grace Scarf by Silky Prudence
Douglas Dougal, OOAK German Mohair "Wuff" Dog by Boolouroo Bears
"Misty Mint Angel's Whisper" Capelet by CandyFlossCreated
Pale Blue Soft Gauntlets from Tricot Treats by Helen Dey

Friday, 9 July 2010

Folksy Friday

It's "Wedding Season" and so for this's week Folksy Friday I thought I would pick some lovely unusual wedding items.  I can really see the vintage jewellery bouquet with the stunning black silk wedding dress.

Anna Clifton Jewellery Michelle Samuels Design
Artcadia Wedding Stationery Your Model Your Way
Debbie Carlisle Vintage Jewellery Wedding BouquetsWith Love From Pearl

Butterfly Wings Tiara by Anna Clifton Jewellery
Black raw silk skirt, bodice and shrug jacket by Michelle Samuels Design
Antique Lace Shabby Chic Wedding Invitations by Artcadia Wedding Stationery
Personalised Wedding Cake Topper by Your Model Your Way
Silver Vintage Jewellery Teardrop Bouquet by Debbie Carlisle Vintage Jewellery Wedding Bouquets
Vintage Snowflake Head Band by With Love From Pearl

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Blue-green shawl - Design W388

I had 6 skeins of a Super Bulky yarn called Araucania Chacabuco Multy that I had no idea what to make with until I stumbled across a lovely pattern designed for use with the trendy ribbon yarns.  The picture on the pattern does not show what the actual shape of the shawl is but I decided to go with the flow and get on with it, starting work on 9th April.

The yarn is 100% Pima Cotton and crocheted up lovely using a 6.5mm crochet hook.

I finished making this on 15th April 2010 and it is huge, that is a standard 12" rule in the photo above and it will grow bigger when it is soaked and blocked.  I had to block it on my blocking boards and towels on the lounge floor, moving furniture out of the way to create a space big enough to lay it out.  I noticed that the yellow colour was only in the centre of the shawl, despite all the skeins being the same colour, and it reminded me of the moons reflection on water and the finished shawl is very big, very heavy and very dramatic.  The yarn is no longer manufactured.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Crocheted Lace Triangular Wrap - Design DK11

This design is published by Sirdar Spinning Ltd circa 2006 and recommends the use of Sirdar Duet yarn.  I got in touch with Sirdar about selling items that I make using their patterns and they advised me that as long as I don't mass produce then they have no problem with me selling what I make using their designs whatsoever.

I began crocheting this on 21st March using a 5.5mm crochet hook and Sirdar Duet in shade Chamois, a worsted weight yarn which is 56% Cotton/44% Nylon.  Its a lovely yarn to work with even though the shiny sections are very slippy.

The pattern is easy to get into once you understand how the motifs join together.  I love motif shawls but I hate yarn ends.  So many yarn ends.  I am sewing them in at the end of every row of motifs to avoid a big boring job at the end.  It makes it more bearable by breaking it down into smaller chunks.

The pattern says that 6 balls are required to make this shawl but I found that 5 would have been enough.  Rather than have 1 ball left over I decided to add an additional row of motifs, using up all of the yarn as the yarn is no longer manufactured.  I finished making this shawl on 8th April 2010, soaked and blocked it, which made it so much more smooth and uniform.  I have this yarn in blue, black, dark brown and white too.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Peach lace shawl - Design F307

This shawl has been modified from a very old Peacock's Tail doily design.  The yarn that I used came to me with no labels so I don't know exactly what it is but after doing various tests on it I have ascertained that it is a man-made fibre, most probably acrylic.

I began knitting this shawl on 2nd February, messed it up big time after about 26 rows and ripped it out and started again.  Whilst knitting this shawl I learned how to do a "Russian Join", which is a way of joining the ends of two balls of yarn together to form a seamless, almost undetectable strong join with no ends to sew in as it is hard to hide yarn ends in a lace pattern.

This is the first time that I have knit anything so fine and lacy and I've really struggled with the pattern, making no ends of mistakes that have had to be undone and redone many times over.  When I finished knitting it on 18th February 2010 it looked like a bumpy crumply mess and I was wondering how to block the scalloped edge.  I was looking around the house for ideas, anything that could make shaping easier and then I spied a bunch of long cable ties.  Perfect.  Strong, bendy, waterproof and not being used for anything.  There weren't quite enough of the long black ones so I asked hubby if he had anymore and he found me a few shorter white ones, which were just long enough for the job.  The cable ties are now a permanent part of my blocking tools kit.  Two straight metal blocking rods were used for the front edges of the shawl.

The transformation is amazing.