Gosh, I’ve been so busy with mostly unplanned interruptions this half term that I had hardly any time to spend in my beloved studio. I’m not complaining, because it was rather fun, but I unexpectedly ended up decorating a study room for my dad as he has been a bit poorly recently and I hoped it would cheer him up. (It did!). Hubby helped too as he had a few days off but the timing of it meant that we weren’t able to indulge in our Champagne breakfast on Valentine’s day after all because we were elbow deep in DIY. Still, anything can be romantic with the right person, even painting walls, and the Champagne tasted just as good when we got home that evening!Of course a quick room makeover is never just that and an awful lot of the week went by before it was finished. We did take Wednesday off for a quick trip to Cardiff to pay a visit to my oldest son who’s at Uni there – studying computer animation and motion graphics (or something along those lines, I always forget the exact course title!).
Oh the relief to exchange a paint brush and a tub of emulsion for a hook and some yarn. I certainly made the most of all the quiet and peace that a car ride has to offer. Diggory and Dave (my new dancing circus dogs) have a book deadline coming up soon so I spent the outward journey double checking their pattern, which, for me, means making everything from scratch again.A boiled egg breakfast gave me all the energy I needed to keep my hook hooking nineteen to the dozen.That’s Diggory above, and below you’ll find the beginnings of Dave…The glove compartment is so handy for keeping all my crochet essentials and the odd project or two in. My strange hubby seems to think that it’s meant for the log book, sat nav and tool kit, so I do have to keep turfing out all those annoying ‘man things’ that just get in the way. Surely crochet is far more useful if we break down. At least I’ll be happily occupied however long it takes the mechanic to find us!
One quiet evening at the beginning of last week I crocheted myself a handy little roll up case. I didn’t use a pattern, just free wheeled it, but I love how it turned out, and it was so quick to make. As improvised as it was I did force myself to jot down some rudimentary notes as I went along so I should be able to reproduce it if I feel I need another or want to make one for a friend. I’m thinking they’d make perfect birthday presents for fellow knit and crocheters, especially when filled with all these eternally useful crafty treasures.I’ve managed to squeeze in two sets of double pointed sock/glove knitting pins, a cable needle, crochet hooks, stitch markers, a pin cushion and a pair of scissors. The important stuff literally all rolled into one. That’s pretty much everything I need so I won’t get caught short without recourse to a satisfying project or two as long as I have this with me. Just add yarn!
Did you notice my toadstool markers looped onto the end of the stitch holder? Aren’t they gorgeous?! I bought them recently from Tinkaboo Crafts for You on Etsy. The set included every colour of the rainbow, so I kind of just had to have them. Toadstools and rainbows, count me in!After stashing a couple away in my roll up case, some of the others have gone to live with the magical mushroom pincushion that grows out of the top of my lug-around super sized project basket.I mainly use this basket for carrying things up and down to the end of the garden when it’s sunny and I want to work outdoors as it has space for everything I could need including a flask of tea and a packet of custard creams or a bottle of prosecco and a jar of olives, depending on the time of day. Here’s a snap taken last summer of my carry-all basket to remind us all of more clement times to come.You see there’s even room to take along the odd cat too.Anyway, I digress from tales of Half Term week… We arrived in Cardiff with Dave the dog nearly ready to sew together. A few hours were whiled away hanging around the city centre – mainly perusing the local Tiger store where I bought a bit more storage and stationery for my ongoing studio revamp. I particularly liked their wire shower baskets and treated myself to three of them. They now have pride of place hanging under the window next to my chair and are proving useful for storing all sorts of bits and pieces in, including a whole load of polyester toy stuffing. Now I have my own cloud in a basket, though Mojo prefers to look out of the window at the real thing.They’re also good for storing cat’s tails in. I love how the alpaca and the chihuahua seem to be in agreement to look the other way and pretend it’s not there. It appears that the sun may actually be shining out of Tigger’s behind but these two are far too polite to look!And here’s a glimpse of what was under the window before my shopping spree. How sweet that the cats form an orderly queue for the sunny window spot! I may often lack human company working from home all on my own but I’m never lonely. It’s often difficult to twitch an elbow when I’m at my desk for fear of jabbing a cat!After our trip to Tiger we stopped for some light refreshment at Wahaca. Fantastic food as always, and the Margaritas are pretty damn good too. That must be at least 100% of today’s vitamin C requirement sorted out, and what a way to do it!If you do find yourself paying a visit be sure to check out my son’s artwork too, he has a part time job there and, among other duties, gets to draw on the chalk boards in the upstairs bar area. Here’s his latest masterpiece…Eventually it was time to say goodbye to my lovely boy and get back in the car for the trip home to Worcester. Of course that means a little more time for getting creative and so I started my very first pair ever of crocheted mitts.I’m really comfortable with the whole amigurumi thing by now but this is taking crochet to a whole new level for me. So far, so good as I’m still working the cuff but I’ll let you know how I get on when things get a little more complicated. It will be interesting to see whether I end up with a pair of mitts to be proud of or a misshapen rag of a washcloth made from expensive bamboo yarn. I have to say that looking at the chart for the shell pattern has given me palpitations. I guess I’m just not a charty type of person. All those symbols are prone to swim about before my eyes in a highly nonsensical manner. There is a written version of the shell pattern though so I’ll be sticking to that and hoping that if I just tackle the mitts round by round something as beautiful as the photo in the book will result. If not I’ll be reverting to knitting something similar. I’ve certainly had plenty of practice at that in recent months.
These are some of my newest handmade hand warmers.I’ve been practicing my cabling to spice things up a bit.My latest pair of knitted mitts turned out gorgeous. I used some pretty variegated yarn and embellished the top rib with a simple crocheted flower.I made a handful of these easy flowers with the yarn that was leftover after the mittens were finished. I loved how they kept turning out differently depending on where in the yarn dye repeat each one began. They were the perfect portable and pocket sized project for all the micro journeys I was making over to mum and dad’s to finish off my dad’s fancy new study, both before and after our Cardiff trip.
As well as adding a touch of fun to my mitts, my cache of woolly flowers were perfect for embellishing the top of my roll up case and I also crocheted a chain onto one of them to make a little tapestry needle holder to attach to my snippy scissors.That’s what I call co-ordinated heaven!I’ve got a few mitten gifts in mind that I need to make over the next week. It’s going to be a bit of a rush but at least I won’t be wasting any time searching for the necessary equipment!
It’s lovely to be back in the studio full time again this week. There’s been lots of sunshine pouring in the window over the past few days. Spring feels tangibly close now and all the promise of bright energetic days, light evenings and brand new projects are hanging deliciously in the air.My pot is full of daffodils, my windowsill is full of cats and my head is full of exciting new designs. Half term is pretty darn good but I’m always more than happy to get back to work in earnest!
February 26, 2016 at 5:59 am
Loved reading this, a post full of yummy yarny things.
February 26, 2016 at 7:31 am
So many beautiful things ! Very inspiring 🙂
February 26, 2016 at 10:04 am
I love your little storage roll, very useful and gorgeous when adorned with those lovely flowers. I am inspired to make myself one too x
February 27, 2016 at 9:29 am
It only took me one evening. It’s so good to make a quick fix project sometimes and I’ve certainly found it very handy so far. I’d love to see a pic of yours if you do make one!
February 26, 2016 at 5:56 pm
You always have the most amazing posts to read and such neat pictures……but in the very last picture of a cat with a black cap. How blessing are you to have a medicine hat cat….very good medicine.
February 27, 2016 at 9:16 am
Thanks Roxie. I didn’t know that those markings were called medicine hat but he sure is a good tonic to have around. He’s only got three legs and we got him from a rescue shelter a few years ago. What he’s missing in limbs he makes up for in personality!
February 27, 2016 at 9:48 pm
Well, Janine Holmes of across that big pond….Native American Culture believe that those animals the wear the hat and the shield ( a spot of color on the chest) is a medicine animal. I am blessed to say I have a medicine cat that stops by to visit once in a while. A stray I am trying to befriend. I feed him and miss him when he’s not around. I am Navaho/Apache…a different mix for sure but I love my culture and the different nuances. Black and white are also considered sacred. So my friend way over there…you have many blessing coming to you all around. Thank you for sharing your wonderful life over there.
February 26, 2016 at 7:19 pm
You are so clever and I can see where your son gets his creativity from. Thank you for sharing all these things. It makes me smile.
February 27, 2016 at 9:18 am
My son can draw much better than I can. He’s going to make a great concept artist for sci-fi films or gaming. I’m much better at crochet than he is though 😀
February 26, 2016 at 9:46 pm
One of the first things I ever made when I started to crochet was a storage roll – they really are handy to take everywhere, aren’t they? I’ve also just finished making my daughter some replacement fingerless gloves, with legwarmers to match – she wears them all the time in the cold weather, and was on the phone to me the other day that her last few pairs were wearing out and, horror of horrors, she’d lost one of a favourite pair!
Mum to the rescue, of course! Lol
I really love it when you show your wonderful feline companions, too – my Kushka is always interested when I show her the pictures 🙂
Seeing the pics of your dancing circus dogs makes me even more eager for the pattern book to be published – not long now, I hope? 🙂
February 27, 2016 at 9:27 am
Really loving my crochet roll, such a simple but useful thing and so handy to have around. I love leg warmers too. Reminds me of my ballet days, and watching Fame and Flashdance in the ’80’s! I get really cold hands so always have a pair of fingerless mitts around, that way I can be warm and still crochet. I hope your daughter’s legwarmer turns up… You know it only will if you make her another one! Say hi to Kushka from my cats and give her a tickle under the chin from me 🙂 The circus book will probably be another month or so. The deadline for writing up the patterns and sending off the originals is March 1st so things start to happen quite quickly after that.
February 27, 2016 at 5:19 pm
Yes, I grew up with Fame, too, though I never had the balance, or grace, to do ballet – ‘though I won my gold medal for ballroom dancing! Lol
As for missing items – my Brex knows she’s got a willing Mum on tap to replace whatever gets lost – or just wears out – so she’s happy 🙂
I have to admit, I’ve loved all of your patterns, but this circus thing is close to my heart, as my daughter belonged to a circus group years ago, and now performs with stilts, and fire, as part of her act, so I can’t resist anything circusy 🙂
February 27, 2016 at 11:24 am
Your cats are adorable and what lovely makes too!
February 28, 2016 at 1:55 pm
Your page is always so inspiring. Keep it up! Thanks for your time and dedication. Happy days! Regards from Africa!!