Friday, 31 December 2010

Christmas Projects photos

I promised that I would show the finished presents that I made for Christmas. As I have very little else to show you today I thought that now was the time to show and tell.

The first is a crochet jacket that I made for my friend Sylvia. I started off by using a pattern that I had but decided that the stitch was too loose. Sylvia likes to wear long jackets in place of a coat when the weather gets a bit warmer so I improvised this jacket for her. I used 5 x 200 gram balls of James C Brett Marble chunky which is a favourite of mine as although it is chunky it doesn't work up to heavy in a finished jacket. Sylvia has christened this her Jacob's Coat of Many Colours.

The next is a crochet sweater sweater for my Sister in Law. I used a pattern called Sophie from the Patons Crochet Inspirations Book 3 that I bought from Purplelinda. I also bought the 8 x 100 grams of Patons cotton DK in Navy from there also. The camera flash makes it look lighter than it actually is. I haven't got a photo of it in wear but I am assured that the cowl collar fits lovely. It looked a bit big to me when I was making it. I got her a tight navy long sleeved T shirt in navy to wear underneath it.

The beige is the Everyday Cardi by Robyn Chachula from the Sept-Oct 2010 Crochet Today magazine. It was a very fast cardi to make up and I used 4 x 100 gram balls of King Cole Bamboo DK cotton in a camelly beige. I either got the cotton from Texere or Purplelinda. I hadn't realized that the 'raglan' pattern stitch continued down the fronts and back. It is made top down so grew very quickly.I made this for Renee, my younger niece's mother in law. She is the lady who made me the lovely picture of the miniature scarf on tiny knitting needles that I showed you on one of my earlier post.

The black cardigan is for my younger niece. She wears a lot of black as she has to appear in court a lot. On the right side of the bench I must hastily explain so needs subdued colours for that. This pattern comes from a Rowan book that I borrowed from my elder niece. I can't remember it's title except that the cardigan is called Thea and is on the Ravelry data base. I used 10 x 50 grams of Patons Diploma DK from Purplelinda. The pattern stated Kid Soft which is I think an aran thickness but as my niece does not like anything fluffy I used DK. I had to knit a larger size than required and use a smaller needle. It was a bit like using the stitches of one pattern size but the length of the size I was supposed to be making. I only wished that I had written down what I did as my niece liked it and I have a feeling that she would like the same or something similar. I have ordered some charcoal grey in the same wool to make her something in the near future.

Today Buster appears a bit better although he was a bit poorly again last night. Another quick dash outside. The pup is a lot better but now Skye has started with it. I am keeping Buster for another couple of days in case the dogs keep passing the bug around between themselves. Buster is getting a bit sick of me now as he is used to long walks every day and I can only take him for a short one in my scooter. We can't get into the woodland because of the styles and also the hilly muddy terrain. Even though I can walk short distances I don't fancy slipping and sliding my way in all the mud down there.

I am sending Good Wishes to all for 2011. Quite a few bloggers and partners and some of my personal friends have had health problems this year. Some quite serious, some inconvenient mobility wise. I won't name you but you know who you are and so I am praying that 2011 is a better year health wise for you and your loved ones.

I won't be out celebrating the New Year. I haven't done that since I was much younger. I prefer to watch it on the TV and raise a glass to the New Year and then put my fingers in my ears for all the noisy cannon type fireworks that my neighbour likes to let off until the wee small hours. I don't want to be a party pooper and I think that it is lovely to have fireworks but surely after a half hour of booms we have all got the message that the New Year is here. Gosh I am a proper Grumpy Old Lady ;-)

This New Year will no doubt be let in by Buster as he will be the first to come over my threshold although technically it should be the front door. In years past we always used to put the black cat Nelson out of the door and then let him in again as black cats are supposed to be lucky. He was never very imoressed by that although it must have been lucky for him as he lived to be 19 yrs old. My son could be the first person in at the front door (apart from myself) in the New Year when he comes to pick up Buster.

As for New Year resolutions. Hmm I will have to think about that. More crochet perhaps? Now that would be an easy one to keep!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Crochet Today Has Arrived

The postman brought my Jan-Feb 2011 Crochet Today. I think that it should be renamed the Red Heart edition as so many of the projects are in Red Heart.

The cover Blazing Cowl by Linda Permann is in wool from Stitch Nation as is the long red Hot To Trot cardigan by Elena Malo. The Ranchers Daughter dress by Marie Lynn Patrick is Red Heart as is the Equestrian sweater by Robin Chachula.

The granny squares Snuggle Afghan by Katherine Eng and the circular motif Pebble Afghan by Kim Kotary and Shari White are also in Red Heart.

The hexagonal Wish Upon A Star baby blanket by Marty Miller is Red Heart Baby Clouds and the Cozy Baby Sweater by Ellen Gormley is another sweater in Red Heart.

I have included the back page of the magazine so that you can see the rest of the projects that are in this magazine.

Buster is still with me as he has a bit of an upset tummy. When I rang my son Poppy has also got a similar thing so we are not sure if it something that they both ate or some kind of a bug. Either way my son has enough mopping up to do with one sick dog without adding Buster into the household as well. Skye seems fine and she ate the same things that the other two did.

The snow has melted so I managed to get to Tesco for a bit of shopping. I have bought some chicken to boil with some rice for Buster's dinner to see if that will settle his tummy. I think he is a bit better today with not so many trips to the lawn as yesterday and the day before. He is a bit miserable though and doesn't want to play ball or anything although we did manage a very short walk today.Well he walked and I scooted! I thought that I was having a bad knee day and then I realized that I hadn't taken any of my tablets this morning or at lunch time. Duh!

Not much crochet done again as a sick Buster is a clingy Buster and it's hard to crochet when a big dog wants to sit on my knee.

Monday, 27 December 2010

My Fur Grandchildren

I thought that today I would introduce you to my fur grandchildren. The first one needs no introduction as he has been the family dog for almost 10 yrs. He is 10yrs old but m y son didn't get him until he was about 10 months old and had 3 owners before my son rescued him. One of the problems with the previous owners could have been that he isn't at his best around children. He had a lot of problems at first as he had been starved and beaten so had digestion problems and fear of sticks and brushes. Now Buster is the old man of the troupe and is with me for a few days to have a rest from the other 2 dogs and the non fur grandchildren. As you can see he thinks that my new chair is a perfect fit for him to sleep and do his sentry duty from. He can spring up at the slightest sound and alert me of any dangerous cats or squirrels that might be set to attack me! I can see a battle of will later on when I want to use it but once I close the curtains his tour of duty is over and he will flop on the sofa or play a game of ball with me. I can't even take him for a short walk today and the pavements are still very icy because we had a bit of rain which has now frozen.

The next fur grandchild is Skye. She has a wonderful disposition for a rottweiler but unfortunately is big, heavy and very clumsy. She has a size issue in that she sees herself as a small puppy that can bound up to you and jump on your lap but at the weight she is she is more likely to crush you with kindness. Her only fault is jealousy. She cannot abide any of the other dogs getting attention. She is the Prima Donna of the bunch despite her gentle nature. My son calls her the bull in the china shop and when she is out for a walk on the lead he feels all of her 92 lbs when she wants to go the opposite way to him!

The photo of Skye and the pup Poppy shows that although Poppy is only 6 months old she is the height of Skye but is a lot slighter in build. She is another rescue dog of uncertain parentage as is Buster. She has the rottweiler markings but is supposed to be a German Shepherd mix but she acts and stalks more like a collie does. She is another dog with a loving disposition but at 6 months old she is a bit too playful for poor old Buster. She wants to lick his face and his ears and if he is not in a good mood it starts a bit of an argument. All in all though the dogs get on really well together and seem to have found their place in the pecking order.

I didn't get much crochet done last night or today. I think that I have slowed down to take a bit of a breather. Thanks for all of your comments. It's nice to know that like me you think that family is important at Christmas.

Buster has come off the chair to see what I am doing so if I am quick then I might just get to the chair before he does ;-) He has now given me his squeaky ball for a game of catch. He had a bit of an upset tummy after finishing off the veg from the Christmas dinner and has been very quiet and a bit listless since he arrived. He has just had yet another trip to the back garden and I think that he is feeling a bit better now. He managed to terrify Oscar the cat yesterday and I had to get his owners to come and entice him out from under the bed where he had fled to when Buster chased him. I had totally forgotten that Oscar had come in as usual in the morning until Buster spotted him. I don't think I will see Oscar for a few days as the poor thing was completely traumatised.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Happy Christmas

I hope that you all had a Happy Christmas. I had a great day spent with my Brother and his family and extended family. It's probably the one day of the year when the family are all in the same place at the same time and to me that is what Christmas is all about. It's lovely to give presents and to receive them but I would trade all of that for a family day any time. I was invited to my son's house but as they have all of the children and grandchildren there plus all the animals they already had a full house. My eldest step grand daughter's central heating boiler burst all over her kitchen floor just before Christmas so she and my great grand daughters have been living at my son and daughter in laws house until the boiler and the laminate floor gets fixed after Christmas.

I did see my son on Christmas Day and he brought me a most welcome present of the exercise pedals. My physio had recommended that I got some to try to improve the mobility in my knees. I have then set up in the front room so that I can crochet, pedal and watch the TV at the same time. I like multitasking. I can't bear to sit still and watch TV.

My family know me well and I got a wonderful array of knit and crochet books, a DVD and a couple of Cd's along with a new red hooded jacket. I also got an assortment of toiletries. My niece knows that I have inexpensive tastes and would rather have a box full of everyday toiletries than an expensive gift box of perfumed bath bottles that I can't use because of my eczema. The slightest hint of perfume and my legs flare up and are very sore.

I just love the present that my niece's husband's mother made for me. I love anything handmade and it's rare that I get anything as everyone knows that I knit and crochet. It is a picture with a tiny knitted scarf and tiny knitting needles made from cocktail sticks with a bead on the end to simulate knobs. The verse says 'If I should knit while I'm asleep, I pray the Lord my gauge to keep, And if I die before I wake, I pray I may my knitting take' It must have taken Renee ages to make it for me and I think that it's lovely.

I am going to plant my Hyacinth bulbs today. My Mother always had a Hyacinth growing in the window every Christmas so it brings back lovely memories of my childhood. I love the scent of the flowers. The Narcissus that my Sister in Law bought me for my birthday is just starting to flower. I have three white flowers so far but lots of buds. I keep them on my kitchen windowsill. It may seem a strange place to put them but I get pleasure from seeing them every time I wash the dishes, make my dinner or even a cup of coffee. My lounge is a little bit too warm for flowers and bulbs. They grow and fade too fast in there.

I think that all of my presents were well received and I can now start to put some photos of my finished garment presents on the blog and update my Flickr and Ravelry. I was afraid of spoiling the surprise by putting them on before Christmas.

Today I am just going to relax, listen to my new CD's and work some more on the crochet jackets for my great grand daughters that I didn't have time to finish off before Christmas. Now the mad rush is over I can relax with my knitting and crochet now. I was crocheting until 2am on Christmas Eve and even on Christmas Day I was crocheting a band and sewing on a button. I cut it very close this year. I still have a couple of things that I would have liked to make for people but they will have to be 'after Christmas' presents now.

I may be having Buster, the family dog, for a few days. As I mentioned before my son's house is a bit crowded at the moment so one less dog will be a help to them Buster is 10 yrs old now and somewhat lacking in patience with the small ones. I would have him back with me permanently as before but I am always sad for him when he can't get walked as he should be. Apart from that he is lovely company for me and I love him to bits.

Oscar the cat has made his usual appearance this morning. I didn't see him yesterday. I think that he was staying at home close by their turkey. He won't like it when Buster comes to stay as the two of them don't see eye to eye so I can't let Oscar in the house.

I know it's a bit late but Happy Christmas to everyone and I hope that you have a relaxing Boxing Day after the Christmas rush.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Eek It's Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve and I still have loads to do. I could do with time standing still for a day to give me time to finish off everything. I have crocheted all of the pieces of my Sister in Law's sweater but still got to stitch everything together. I have started a short sleeved cardigan for my Niece's Mother in Law and praying that I can finish that in time. The buttons are now stitched on my niece's cardigan so that is one thing finished.

My great grand daughters knitted jackets will not even get started nor will I have time to finish off their crochet jackets. They are not their Christmas presents so I am not too bothered if they get them in a couple of weeks. They will be the next on the hook and needles after Christmas.

As you can see my vintage patterns arrived from The Vintage Knitting Lady. The grey knitted Patons patterns are replacements for ones that I had and lent out. This time I won't be lending them out as I have lost so many patterns this way. I made a lot of them for my relatives and my son so they must be at least 42 yrs old. Some of the other patterns are a bit newer than that but are out of print now. The doll patterns are again mostly replacements for ones that I had previously. The ones in the bottom photo I made long before I married and the Lavenda pattern is one that I made for my own doll when I was just a child. So many memories are tied up in these patterns.

I must get on today as I could also do with running the vacuum cleaner around the house and flicking a duster about. Steady Jan you will be accused of turning house proud once again. I decided long ago that life is too short to waste it on housework so I only do the essentials and am certainly not Mrs Neat freak. My ex will probably call tomorrow and hold his hands up in despair whilst his partner wrinkles up her nose. I have told them not to call as with the bad weather I haven't been able to get them any presents this year but they will probably call just the same.

Can I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas. I hope that you spend it with your loved ones and have a great family Christmas. I don't bother about the presents given to me although I do get a lot of pleasure from giving gifts especially hand made ones. To me it shows that I care enough about my family and friends to give them my time and effort. I hope that they see it this way. I think that they do as they always ask me to make them something instead of buying a present.

Thanks to everyone for your welcome support over this last year. I do appreciate each and every one of you and I will catch up with your blogs once Christmas is over.

I am off to stitch up a sweater now so Happy Christmas one and all. xxxxx

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Postman Called Really Early

I got up around 8am to find a card behind the door about a parcel delivery. Usually that means I have to go up to the Post Office to collect it if I wasn't around to accept it. Fortunately the postmen know me well and the note said that they had left it in my porch. Yippee. Santa came early. 2 parcels to open before breakfast!

OK so Santa didn't leave them. It was stuff that I had ordered but I still love the opening of parcels. I think that I am turning into a Yarnoholic. Just recently I have ordered enough new wool to keep me going all year not mentioning the stash that I already have. I will have to go 'cold turkey' with wool buying in the New Year for a while until I have paid off my credit card bill. I have one here to pay but luckily the date of last payment is after Christmas. I am not slipping on the ice just to go and pay the bill at the Bank. I don't have online banking so I can't just press a button and pay. I am old fashioned. I don't like the thoughts of my details being on the PC waiting to be hacked.I know that millions of people safely use online banking but it is one of my fears. I don't have much money but what I have I would like to keep.

The first two photos are of baby wool supplies that I ordered from Purplelinda. Some of that is destined for Phil, the barman from the Kings Arms, and his partner who are expecting a baby girl in February. The rest is because I have run out of white double knit for babies not yet arrived.I bought two chunky toddler patterns and also a DK long cardigan pattern. I already have some wool in stash that will suit it perfectly. I think that the longer length will be flattering to wear.

The last two photos are of wool from E Kemp Wools as I cannot resist their bargains. The Wendy Moiselle chunky because I love the wool and the colours and also because it was reduced to 89p a ball. The lilac Hayfield aran as it was such a bargain at £3.99 for 400 grams. The Wendy baby wool is a mix of pinks and blues and very delicately coloured. I thought that might make summer cardigans or boleros for the girls and as that was 79p a ball I could not pass that by. The pattern is once again meant for some chunky wool that I have in stash. I like the shape of the long jacket and the short sleeves. I am not a lover of sleeveless waistcoats but I do like something with a short sleeve for wearing around the house. I usually wear something like that over a fine sweater or long sleeved T shirt. There is only one set of sleeves to push up when I am doing housework.

I am on the collar of my Sister in Law's crochet sweater but then have to stitch it all up. A job which I hate. Then I have to try and make a short sleeved crochet top for my niece's Mother in Law who is also coming for Christmas dinner at my Brother's house. I do hope that I can finish everything in time. I had hoped to finish off the crochet cardigans for my great grand daughters but as technically they are not part of their Christmas presents then it doesn't matter if they get them a bit late. I also plan to knit two chunky long jackets for them to wear in the Spring.

Is everyone like me? Always a few projects ahead of myself, I definitely have eyes and ideas bigger than my hands can manage. I have always been like that but these days I don't start everything like I used to do. When I was young I used to start making another thing when the first thing was only part way done. I have managed to mostly wean myself off that and limit myself to just a couple of WIP at any one time. Usually one in knit and one in crochet so that I can give my wrists and fingers a break. I must admit though that I am so glad to be crocheting again.

Any way time is a wasting and I have things to crochet and pots in the sink. I must set my flying fingers to work as I can hear the sleigh bells approaching in the distance!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Baby Blueprint Crochet

I pre order any crochet and knit books from Amazon. Sometimes the books are months away from publication when I order and I forget all about them as I did with this book. It was a nice surprise when the postman delivered it this morning.

It is Baby Blueprint Crochet by Robyn Chachula. I have not had chance to read the book yet but thought that I would share it's contents with you. One main reason that I like this book is that the crochet is close stitches whereas a lot of crochet is very lacy and openwork. The boy patterns in this book are ones that I would crochet as they are quite 'manly' in their design and stitch.

There is also a crochet diaper cover that I have forgotten to take a photo off.

I think that my favourite has to be the cover jacket.The title of the book is a bit misleading as the sizes go up to a toddler size 26/28" chest and the designs are more for a slightly older baby rather than a newborn.

As there are so many photos I will limit my words today. I have finished the back of my Sister in Law's sweater but still have a lot to crochet before it is finished.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Back To Crocheting Again

Thankfully I think that the presents that I have still to make are all done in crochet. I can get on so much faster with crochet than with knitting. I think that I am safe to put a sample of my Sister in Law's Christmas sweater on here because as far as I know she has no idea that I have a blog. The sample is the back. Thankfully she is a very slim lady so not as much to crochet.

The pattern is Sophie from Patons Crochet Inspirations Book 3. I am using Patons Cotton DK in a dark navy blue. I got the pattern and the cotton from Purplelinda. I have put in another order with Purplelinda even though it may not arrive before Christmas. It doesn't matter as I have ordered baby wool to make a couple of jackets for the Kings Arms barman whose partner is expecting a baby girl in February. I have known Phil to chat to ever since I started going to Knit Club. His lady is into vintage clothes and so I think that she will like some of the vintage patterns that I have ordered from Vintage Lady (the link that I showed you yesterday.) There is something about those old matinee styles that is so timeless. Purplelinda also sells Sirdar Quickerknit that I need for some of the patterns although she only stocks it in white. I used to love the Patons Quickerknit for babies. It was soft and loosely twisted and quick enough to knit but finer than the double knit yet thicker than 4ply. Once again like the vintage patterns this order may not arrive until after Christmas with the postal delays because of the snow.

There hasn't been any more fresh snow today but the pavements have frozen and are like a sheet of ice so I am only going out if I really have to. I still have 2 presents to buy but I think that they will have to wait until the ice thaws on the pavements and roads. It is too late to order online so I will just have to hope that I can find something suitable in the local shops as there is no way I am entering into the melee of Christmas shopping crowds in Bury or Manchester.

If anyone took a look at Beverooni's blog and the Santa hats and beard can you give her your opinion. She wants to know if she should write up the pattern for sale. I think that it is unique and a fun thing and it will definitely be a winner. Perhaps not this year unless people are very quick crocheters and Bev is a quick writer but definitely one for next year.

I am hoping to finish crocheting the back of the sweater tonight although dark navy is almost as bad as black to work with. I still have the girls crochet jackets to finish and to start a crochet waistcoat in beige so I may give my eyes a rest and work on the lighter colours tonight.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Oops Forgot The Photo

I have been busy sewing things together ready for Christmas. I managed to finish off both of the boys jackets and was sewing the buttons on today when my niece called. As the jackets are for her best friend and my 'adopted' niece I gave her the jackets. Lou is spending Christmas in Ireland with her husband and the boys and I was so intent on finishing them in time that I forgot to take any photos of the finished jackets. I will ask for photos with the boys wearing them so that will be far better than my flat photos. They did turn out nice and warm in the James C Brett Marble DK as it is quite a thick double knit.

My other niece's cardigan is finished and blocked but when my niece gave me the buttons to stitch on the shop assistant had given her 4 buttons that were one size and 2 that were larger. As she is going to the Trafford Centre she will get me 6 more. This is another project that you will have to wait to view as my niece might read this blog and so spoil the surprise. She knows that she is getting a black cardigan but not what it looks like.

I now have to start crocheting my sister in law's sweater. Thank goodness that I left the crochet until the last as I can crochet a lot faster than I knit.

I have found a great vintage pattern site and have ordered some of the old Patons patterns that I had in my library but lent out and never got them returned. Sue doesn't have many crochet patterns but loads of vintage knitting patterns if you like that sort of thing. I will put the link into my blog title if you would like to take a look.

My blog land friend Beverooni has made a fantastic crochet Santa hat with a beard. I have tried to add this as a link but nothing happened. You can find her blog One Yarn After Another by following the link on the right hand side of my page. Just scroll down a little way and you will see the hats.

The snow is still with us but no more has fallen. It is still very cold though. I am staying indoors. My anti inflammatory tablets from the GP seem to be working. I am not in as much pain and the swelling in my knee is a bit less. The GP has only given me 2 weeks supply as he does not want me on them long term. I have to report back to him when I have run out of tablets. I just hope that things don't reverse when I stop taking them.

I must apologize for not keeping up with friends blogs. I promise that i will catch up on my reading after Christmas.I daren't get engrossed in reading them as I have so much to do this coming week.

Time for a bit of crochet - well a lot of crochet would be more appropriate as I have so much to start before Christmas.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Oh No - It's Snowing Again

As I am writing the blog today the snow is coming down thick and fast in large flakes. When I took the photo half an hour ago the snow wasn't really sticking on the ground but now it is starting to coat the pavements. I am glad that I stocked up food wise as I won't be going far in this snow although I do have a GP's appointment tomorrow afternoon that I will have to keep. Thankfully I still have my crutches as my scooter doesn't like snowy hills.

My Sister in Law brought me the Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs for my birthday and they are now growing quite well. Hopefully I will have some lovely blooms just after the Christmas period.

I have finished all the pieces of the black jacket but still have to stitch everything together. I have started the second boy's jacket but still have the first one to stitch up. I think that this afternoon will be a stitching up kind of day. The first of the crochet jackets just needs a collar and some bands and that too will be ready for stitching up. I must confess that stitching things together is not my favourite pastime which is why I keep leaving things until there is a few to stitch.

Thank you for all of your complimentary messages about the Kings Arms Knitters Christmas tree. I have passed the messages on to the members. I think that I can say that we are all pleased with the results of our labours. As several pub regulars have expressed wishes to buy the ornaments it might be a good idea to start earlier making ornaments next year and then we can sell them in aid of the Kings Arms knitters chosen charity of Breast Cancer. We do take part in several projects for charity during the year and I believe that Rachael has some plans for the New Year. We try to do our bit for local worthy causes or to raise money for Breast Cancer research.

Oscar the cat came in today very wet and bedraggled from the rain that came before the snow started. He was in a stand off with a magpie when I shouted him in. The magpies are very bold around here and terrorise the local cats rather than the other way around as you would expect.

The sound on my other TV in the dining room keeps fading on and off so that will be something else that I will have to replace after Christmas. It is an old TV as I put the newish one in the lounge. I have had my money's worth out of this TV so I can't grumble. It used to be the TV that my son had. The PC is in the dining room also so I like to have something to watch when I am on the PC. Hopefully there will be some bargains in the January sales and I can get someone to go and get me a new one or take me to where I can buy one myself.

I still have two presents to start and another one to finish knitting. After that I just have two people that I haven't yet bought presents for. All I need now is some wrapping paper and a few cards. I don't send cards as a rule. I just send a couple to people that I don't see because they live far away.

I will get the Interweave Crochet, Beverooni, but as I subscribe my copy always arrives much later than the ones in the US do. I don't think that the UK edition is due until the 30th. I have seen the previews online though.

Whilst I have been typing the snow has stopped so I hope that the flurry that we had will be the only one. I was surprised to see snow, although it was forecast, as I didn't feel that it was cold enough for snow.

Time for a coffee and then it is back to the stitching up whilst it is still daylight. Then it will be blocking time. I can't stitch the buttons on yet as my other niece bought some buttons for it and I won't see her until the weekend.