Sunday, 22 July 2012

Little suprises make life sweet !!

Well , I can't believe it's been two weeks since I last blogged .  In fact yesterday was the first time in 4 days I had checked my e-mails . It's been pretty full on around here my eldest child is going to secondary school and there's been lots of extra events to go to relating to that and leaving do's at primary school . As well as working extra to cover for colleges and just general day to day life . But that doesn't matter now as we have broken up for six weeks . Yes , no more work for six weeks so as well as planning to have a fab time with the boy's and hubby when he has his two weeks off , I'm going to seriously sort out getting my stock made so I can open my etsy shop !!!! I woulds so love to be in a position very soon to hand my notice in at work and concentrate on what I really want to do !! The Hare's have been in very slow production but full steam ahead now !!

I think I'm going to have to start out today by saying a big THANK YOU to the lovely  Poppy Cottage @ .Thursday morning before I dashed to work an unexpected package arrived , obviously very excited  I rushed to open it . Oh my goodness me I found a beautiful card depicting a scene of Bridport and a lovely little pink envelope . In side were two delightful crochet hooks , just the right size for producing my sweet little Granny square Hare jumpers !!! ( poppy cottage had enquired a couple of weeks ago to what size hooks I used for the projects I do , but I had thought this a general query .)

Here they are a Clover 2.5 mm Ergonomic , which I absolutely adore and will be purchasing in different sizes . there is none off the slipperiness of my old one !!! As well there was a 2.5mm Bamboo crochet hook which is also delightful , This was purchased from a lady called Julie Norton who has an ebay shop called SewUknit .It is a lovely crochet hook to use but I think I would have to use it with a 3 ply yarn as the hook is a bit small to catch my 4 ply . But I am seriously considering purchasing some bamboo crochet hooks too . Both hooks are much much better than my old one . Once again I am amazed by the generosity of people who make up this blogging community . I've only been blogging 7 months but I love it more and more !! If we could bottle this sort of selfless generosity up and give a spoonful to everyone , what a wonderful world we would live in !!
This is me at tea time in the kitchen in the middle of making tea and waiting for things to cook using my lovely new Clover hook , Thanks again poppy cottage you've made making my Hare jumpers even more of a pleasure to make . ( please excuse the splashes of food on my apron I'm a rather messy cook !! In fact my mum always used to say that I was covered in " canteen medals " , guess I've never grown out of slopping food down myself ).

Another highlight Of the last fortnight I'd like to share with you is our little family trip to Saltaire ( World Heritage Site ) in West Yorkshire last Sunday . It's about 11 miles down valley from where we live . We go every few months to Salts Mill , which has the most amazing Art gallery and Book shop . My eldest son  when we told him where we were going said  " ah ,Salts Mill a place of quite contemplation " this is so true . But this time we only bought arts and craft things for the boys to use over the holidays , no major book purchases for me or hubby . However  when we walked up into saltaire to go browsing around the lovely boutique and vintage shops I was smitten by the most delightfully promising little pair of step ladders . The first shop we went into was Rose & Browns Vintage and antique furniture & homeswares .
 There they were just calling to me with the yellow flaky paint , I um and aah  , got a funny look from husband and left the shop to think about my possible purchase . Needless to say I went back and bought them . ( I do have a policy of if I'm unsure of a purchase that I leave the premises and return later and if the items still there it's meant to be , yes a risky strategy I know but I believe in Fate ! ).
So here are the step ladders , I thought they had the potential to be a great way to display future stock , but not in there present state !!
This is them a couple of hours later , I'm quite pleased the finished result !!
This is where they reside a present , my newly reorganised landing area . So that was a little peek into a couple of little things that have made busy life just that bit sweeter  !! So it's ta ta for now and I will be back much sooner .XX

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Pattern for Knitted Cup Cakes ( or Buns if your from Yorkshire !!)

Well a couple of weeks ago I blogged about these buns I had knitted for a birthday present , I've had a couple of request for the pattern I used , so I've decided to devote todays blog to the pattern .  The pattern was featured in ' Let's Knit ' issue 5 April 2008 and it's designer was Lynne Rowe. So due to the age of the pattern it may be hard to come by , so let me help you out !! I have made a few personal tweeks to the origonal  design and colour  and with a bit of creative flare so can you . The basic pattern is very easy to follow , so lets get you started .

So to get yourself started you will need :
Yarn ( per cake ) 25g of D.K.yarn in main colour (A) for case , 
10g of D.K. yarn for first contrast colour (B) for the cake ,
15g of D.K. yarn for the icing . (Add the last two quantities togeher if your doing the cake and icing area all in one colour )
Then small amounts of waste or stash yarn for decorating the buns .( if your like me you may have a bag of oddments that you can keep to hand ).
Needles: 3.75mm.
Small amount of toy stuffing .
Tapestry needle .
This image from the pattern shows you two different textured icings , I do tend to stick to the smooth ( stocking Stitch ) icing but I will cover both patterns .
Knit one piece per cake using these insructions;
With 3.75mm needles and yarn A , cast on 6 stitches 
Row 1 to 2 ; Knit 
Row 3: increase knitwise into every stitch (12sts)
Row 4 and every alternate row : K
Row 5:( increase knitwise , K1) repeat to end (18sts)
Row 7 : (increase knitwise , K1 )repeat to end (27sts)
Row 9 : (increase knitwise , K2) repeat to end (36sts)
Rows 11 to 19 (K1 , p1) repeat to end
Row 20 : Knit
Change to colour B to work on cake .
Starting with a knit row , work four rows in stocking stitch.
Change to colour C to work on the icing . There are two options which are Garter stitch icing ( textured) or Stocking stitch ( smooth ).

Garter stitch icing ( textured ) pattern.
Rows 25 to 26 : knit
Row 27: ( K4, K2tog) six times (30sts)
Row 28 and every alternate row : knit 
Row 29: (K3, K2tog) six times (24sts)
Row 31: (K2, K2tog) six times (18sts)
Row 33: (K1, K2tog) six times (12sts)
Row 35: (K2tog) six times (6 sts)
Cut the yarn, leaving a long tail . Thread through remaining six stitches . Pull tightly and Fasten off .

Stocking stitch icing ( smooth )
Row 25: Knit 
Row 26 and evry alternate row : purl
Row: 27 (k4 , k2tog ) six times (30sts)
Row: 29 (k3 , k2tog ) six times (24sts)
Row: 31 (k2 , K2tog) six times (18sts)
Row: 33 (k1 , K2tog) six times (12sts)
Row: 35 (k2tog) six times ( 6sts)
Cut yarn, leaving  long tail . Thread through the reamaining six stitches . Pull tightly and fasten off . 

Making up 
Sew the cake together ; start from the middle of the top of the icing , and work down to the botton of the case. Before sewing along the underside of the case, fasten off all the other yarns securely on the inside and trim ends . Stuff and shape the cake . when the cake is nice and plump, sew along the bottom of the case and tie off ends securely with matchng yarn . Decorate as desired .
( Pattern designed by Lynne Rowe )
As you can see button's work well as embellishments  ( I do avoid this decoration when they are intended for an under 3year old , due to choking hazard ).
I also like to play about with colour combinations to give different effects , as well as using contrasting yarns to give the effect of sprinkles . When doing the sprinkles I always leave a small opening in the base of the cake.
 That way you can work the yarn fom the inside and knot off inside the cake when the desired effect is created . Then finish by stitching up the cake base .
I have also in the past used textured yarns to create  intresting icings , yarns such as ' SIRDARS SNUGGLY , SNOWFLAKE' which gives a nice fluffy icing ( I use garter stitch pattern when using textured yarn ) . Or an eyelash style yarn works well for textured icing too !!
This pattern is fantastic if you have young family members who like to role play at shops , bakers or for that all essential dollies tea party . I have also used this for raising money at charity events , filling vintage cake stands up with lots of these cakes is always a winner !!

The best thing about these cakes is they are calorie free . So you can have as many as you want !
Thanks for popping by and ta ta for now . XX

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Being Indulgent !!

Well , I'm making no apologize for the simple  fact that I've had a totally self indulgent weekend !! After two weekends of illness and last weekend being devoted to voluntering to produce things for other peoples enjoyment ( I did  enjoy it too as well  ) , I had decided by mid week that this weekend was going to be about relaxing and having some crochet time . A weekend of not watching the clock and  things would take as long as they took and things would happen when they happened !!!

So Friday afternoon I started working on my youngests Dinosaur inspired blanket . I had taken it to crochet on Monday night to get their oppinion on an idea I had so I thought I would sit down and give it a go . What I was trying to do was essentially save myself some money by thriftfully  using my small amounts of wool up instead of going out and buying more wool . So we'd come up with the idea of doing small Granny's all the way around the last round .

Oh boy was this a mistake , I knew as soon as I had done six small grannys and attatched them that it just wasn't  working , the rythm of the blanket was broken . So I gave myself a good talking to and told myself to stop being tight and put my hand in my pocket and buy some wool . So Saturday afternoon  I had a little splurge which felt good and bought some more wool . Once home I pulled off the little Grannys and set too !!

I was so happy that I had decided not to compromise the deign of the blanket for saving a few pounds !! Lesson learn't. I am really enjoying the rythmic nature of this Large Granny blanket , the theraputic gentle motion of going around and around and around .I am also loving the colours , I've been looking at my sons Dinosaurs and I need to tr and fit in some purples and yellows and black . So I guess I need to buy more wool , Oh well when neeeds must .

Another little treat I gave myself was a new crochet hook , I'm finding the ones I have get quite slippy particularly when I biuld up a bit of speed !! , so I was persuaded to try this one .
The thin one is my usual sort of hook , so I'm going to givethe toothbrush shaped one  a trial over the coming week and I will give you the verdict , at the moment it feels a bit big but it has a good grip . If  anyone out there would like to let me know about their fravourite brand of hook I would be really intrested to know .

So having been indulgent with both my time and my money I've found I'm quite energized and ready for the week ahead . I have lots of plans for this week and the main one is to get on with producing my next batch of Hares . So after our evening meal I comondiered the dinning table and set everthing up , so when I return from the school run in the mornig I can set too  ( until I have to go to work !!) . I will also get a couple of hours in the afternoon to work on them too . So With some serious time management this week I'm hoping to make  big leaps in the production of the Hares .

So I'm just hoping my creative mojo is back to stay for a while as it's been missing for a few weeks . I'm enjoying feeling this amount of enrgy fizzing inside of me !! I hope you all enjoy the week ahead of you and thanks for popping by and ta ta for now . x