Wednesday, 30 December 2015
Let's face it 2015 has been a rubbish year for my family. I'm not going to focus on that though. Instead I am looking back at my crafts of 2015. This is after all a craft blog. I gathered all my photo's of my crafts over the last year and put them into their own folder. Unsurprisingly there weren't that many of them. I am sure it would beat 2014 though as I was trying to finish my degree back then.
What surprised me this year was how many pairs of socks I did manage to get finished. There were 8 of them. A whole 8. I was sure there would be far fewer. I give myself a pat on the back for that one. Especially since only 2 of those pairs was done in the basic sock pattern. Only 3 out of the 8 were not made with Lisa's yarn. I'm not sure I can pick a favourite. The last pair in the collage was the last pair I made for my mum so they have a soft spot. It's also one of my favourite patterns which I have used over and over again. You can see the socks more clearly here. The ones that really pop is the yellow and green which was a pair that I did for my gran. Sadly it doesn't looked like I blogged about those socks and I have no idea what pattern I used. I didn't document it anywhere (this is where those organisational posts will come in handy).
As for crochet, I think this has mainly been a year for it. I managed to crochet two blankets. One for a baby shower and another for my mum (funnily enough it's the red one). I also crocheted a couple of squares which contributed to a blanket being given to someone as a leaving gift. There are another three blankets in that montage all of which are unfinished. The first image shows a blanket I started for myself. It's for when I buy my new home (next year people). It's almost finished but I haven't touched it in a long time. As you know the brown and beige squares were originally going to become a blanket for my gran. I am now donating it to someone else who is in the same situation my gran would have been in had she still been with us. The last, is of course the blanket club. I have loved taking part in that. Since my mum worked on some of those squares too it feels like it's a project we have done together, which was why we originally joined up. The other good thing about this blanket is that I have learned a lot of crochet skills from it and so felt comfortable enough to sign up for the Acer crochet along. I thoroughly enjoyed that and hope to take part in others.
The end of the year has been when I have been at my most productive. I got quite a few things finished and as a result both my sister and I ended up with a set of winter woollies. I quite enjoyed working on this. I plan on doing a set for my sister each year. I want to use different patterns so will have to get searching for next year. The hat will have to have a pom pom though as my sister will insist on it.
Sadly, I have done very little in the way of sewing. I embroidered a bag for Lisa's little boy which was a gift from my mum and I. I stitched a few magazine freebies. I started a clock. And I started a hexie cushion. That's it. I have dozens of other unfinished sewing projects from previous years. I don't think I should start any more until at least one or two are finished.
It doesn't seem like I have had a particularly productive year. I spent most of my focus during the spring and summer on my mum's garden. Most of the work was hers though and I can't take the credit for it. I very much enjoyed photographing the results though.
I was busy with the blog itself. It's had the most traffic this year than any other and I have been trying to evolve the blog into something that people can use as a tool whether it's to try a new idea or to get some inspiration from others. My favourite post is probably the most boring which is the one with tips on blogging. I hope that other people will find it useful and I hope that it will also encourage some of you talented lot to get writing. I've added pages to the top of my blog which I hope that people will find useful and that I hope to continue to add to.
So that's pretty much my 2015. Looking forward to 2016. Please look out for my post at the end of the week. I hope to post about my plans for next year. Oh, and remember, if you would like to be a guest blogger next year let me know.
Monday, 28 December 2015
Apologies for the less than exciting imagery for this. Adding text to images is not one of my strong points. Just couldn't get the letters to stand out hence the boring black and duller font.
It gets the point across though. January's theme is going to be all about getting organised. Mainly because I could be using it myself. Through out January I am going to be working on my WIP, I plan on a few post with tips on organising tools and I have a few other ideas simmering away. One thing I would like to include is a few guest posts by people who have their own craft space. As someone who doesn't have that I always look on enviously at the images others post. I think that others might enjoy seeing how people organise their space. It could be about your craft space in general or the different ways that you use your space to keep organised.
If you are interested please leave a message here or PM me on my facebook page.
I have a few other things planned for 2016 and hope to post more on that soon.
Wednesday, 23 December 2015
So all my Christmas socks are finished and they will be handed out on Christmas Eve along with new pyjama's which I also got everyone (much to my dad's disgust as he likes his old ones). I didn't think I would get my socks done but when you fall in love with a pattern you can't help but knit away. In the end these only took a few days to knit up.
The pattern is called Jaywalker and is by Grumperina Designs (how brilliant is that name). It's a free pattern which you can find on Ravelry here. I honestly don't know how it first came to my attention. It's been on my iPad for a long time. So long that I forgot it was there. I just happened to be looking through my patterns that I had on there when I came across this and decided I was going to use it for my Christmas socks. It's a really good pattern. The instructions are detailed and very easy to follow. Unlike a lot of sock patterns on ravelry it also gives instructions for different sizes. I used the smallest size on a slightly bigger needle and it worked out perfect. The designer states that this is the perfect pattern for a beginner who wants to try something new. I have to say I heartily agree. The pattern works over two rounds and the first round is just knit. The heel and toe is no different from the basic sock. So the zig zag aspect is the only part that you will have to get used to. And you will very quickly.
For this I used the yarn that I had originally ordered from Lisa for my dad. I will still go on about it but I am glad he did. This was the softest, loveliest yarn to work on. Silky smooth, that's exactly how it felt. It's a merino tencel blend and if you ever get the chance to knit with it then jump at it. I can't recommend it enough. I also can't wait to put them on my feet. As for the colours. I personally love it and think that the striping of the yarn worked very well with the pattern.
You can see the full effect here. Although I also love the heel. I always love how Lisa's yarns look at the heel. This time I just haven't photographed it. In my last post about my dad's socks the original Sock Lady commented that she tends to only knit the basic sock now in order to let the yarn shine through. I have to say that I agree with that but I am still a sucker for a pattern. I find one and I want to knit over and over again. Like here and here. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those patterns. I'm already thinking of what sock yarn to use for a pair of these for my sister.
So that's all my Christmas socks done. You will notice that my socks are the only ones with a pattern. That wasn't deliberate. With my sister's socks I felt the yarn was too buys and I wanted to see hoe the striping of the yarn worked out on it's own. With my dad's, well, didn't want to make them too feminine (his words not that I am hanging on to that or anything).
This is my last post before Christmas. I have a few posts planned out for before the New Year and I hope to share with you some plans for next year. In the meantime I hope you all have an amazing Christmas.
Monday, 21 December 2015
My dad's Christmas socks are finished. I am actually organised for once. I thought for sure that I wouldn't get them done. It helps though when you decide to just use a basic pattern. After my dad's insistence that they not be feminine I decided against a pattern. He wasn't deserving (I don't hold grudges). Actually, I quite like the way they turned out even though it's a solid yarn colour done in the basic pattern.
I am truly gutted that I didn't take a photo of the yarn on it's own before I started knitting with it. I obviously thought I had and the yarn was definitely deserving of a solo selfie. It's one of the yarns I picked up from Knit Picks. It has a merino mix base. Now anyone who has knitted with merino yarn will tell you how lovely it is to knit with. It's super soft and knits up beautifully. Doesn't matter that it's for big foot as you don't mind that the knitting seems to go on forever. You want it to go on forever.
Plus look at the colours! Different shades of purples and blue. A lovely yarn and I would happily knit with it again. I'm a little jealous that this is for my dad. Not to worry I have my own Christmas socks which I also managed to get finished and you'll see them in my next post.
Friday, 18 December 2015
I love to bake. Every year I have found that I bake something. Although it's usually something like my banana bread. A few years in a row I have made cheesecake for dessert for Christmas dinner. I miss baking although it's maybe just as well as I wouldn't be allowed to eat it (thank you slimming world). Still, my last Christmas countdown post had to be dedicated to baking. If you have a free day (unlikely I know) set it aside to get some baking in. Everything I have picked for this post I chose because they could also be bagged up and gifted to someone. Obviously more prettily than I made it sound.
Of late I have been admiring The BBC Good Foods webpage. I follow them on facebook and they are always updating with yummy foods ideas that I can't eat. They have a whole section for Christmas and I thought I should link something from there. I narrowed it down to these gingerbread Christmas trees for two reasons. First of all I love all things gingerbread. Secondly they can be used as cookies on their own or packaged into gifts or to decorate your Christmas cake. So versatile. They look quite simple to make too. If you want more ideas definitely head over to the BBC website.
More gingerbread. This time gingerbread fudge. I've never had gingerbread fudge before but I have no doubt in my mind that it's my new favourite. Just need someone to make it for me and then tell me it's syn free. This recipe comes from Cravings of a Lunatic (loving the blog name). I should warn you that it is American. However, with the internet it's easy to interpret ingredient quantities. That and you can buy American measurement tools. So you have no excuse not to make this for me. These cute little gingerbread shaped pieces are the result of a mold. Don't let that stop you. I am sure they will be just as tasty cube shaped.
Even if you aren't a baker the blog is worth checking out as there are lots of recipes on there. If you decide to give them a go I would love to hear about it.
I promise that this will be the last gingerbread themed item. I saw something very similar to this a few years ago and had it listed in my head as something I would never be able to do. Remember my rubbish decorating skills people. It looked so elegant and pretty and sadly there was no tutorial even if I wanted to attempt it. Well I came across this version by Modcloth. It has the recipe (again American) but also the pdf template to cut out the little shapes. I've seen it on Bake Off. It looks well easy (so long as it's not me doing it).
Modcloth seems to be more of a fashion/lifestyle blog but it has lots of interesting pieces including some festive ideas. Might not be for everyone but definitely worth it just for these little gingerbread houses.
I must be the only person in Scotland who doesn't like shortbread. But there it is. My confession is out there. I have never liked it. I always found it too rich, think and sickly. The gist of it is I don't like butter which makes up a large proportion of shortbread ingredients. I would be remiss though if I didn't have shortbread on here somewhere. It would feel like I was letting the side down. So here are some shortbread stars. The recipe is posted on a publishers page - bloomsbury. What I love about this recipe is that it has one for glittery salted caramel at the start (now that's more me). I'm kidding, kind of. What is good about this is that you can do lots of different shapes and the rest of Scotland loves it. Make mine gingerbread though.
Jammy biscuits on the other hand? LOVE them. Who doesn't love a jammy dodger? Better yet, a homemade version? The Pretty Blog has posted this recipe and I think even I could follow it. Not a novice at baking but I haven't made that many biscuits in my life. If you don't think hearts are particularly festive then get some star shaped cutters. Plus they look so fab in these jars I think most people would enjoy receiving them.
The Pretty Blog is more like a lifestyle blog too with lots of different contributors. There are food and home sections in there with lots of DIY ideas.
When I said earlier that there was no more gingerbread within this post I lied. And I'm not sorry in the slightest. Mainly because this is a brilliant idea. This is a little bit of a cheat in that you are not really making anything. Well, you are but there is some DIY involved for the recipient. But if someone you are gifting to loves baking then this is perfect. This is a jar filled with all the dry ingredients to make gingerbread biscuits. I found this on the BBC Good Foods page but have seen other versions around pinterest. Brilliant idea. Plus you can decorate the jar. Just don't forget to write out the instructions on the label. I say that because that's something I would most definitely do.
And that folks is my Christmas countdown. I want to remind people that the only work I did with these is put the lists together. The owners of the images and the tutorials did all the hard work. You can find every tutorial listed under Christmas Tutorials on my Craft tutorials page. It's quite a long list now and I hope that the owners of these pages don't mind and that you all get something out of it. If the owners had blogs (providing they are still going) they have all been linked on my Craft blogs page. Not under Christmas though, they are under whichever heading I felt that better represented the blog.
Thank you for taking the time to read these. While it hasn't really made me feel better about this year it has taken my mind off things and I like to think that my mum would have enjoyed them. After all, this is her season. It has even given me some ideas. There were things that I wanted to have on these lists that just weren't available as a free tutorial. Something for me to work towards for next year. I think it will encourage me to be more creative.
Anyway, here is my entire countdown linked below.
Gifts for Crafters
Christmas Gift Tags
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
I have actually finished my sister's fingerless gloves. They area little neat on me but my sister has tiny hands so I'm not worried. I picked a pattern which had a cable in it. That way it matched the hat and socks I have already knitted up. The cable is a little less central than I wanted but in the end I actually quite like the effect.
The pattern is by Cecilia Brooke. I think I got it from ravelry via pinterest but I'm having trouble finding it again. The title of the pattern is simply, Fingerless Gloves, in case you are interested in finding it yourself. What I liked about it was that it had a decrease and increase for the wrist and the hand. It looks a little odd when sitting on the table but makes sense once they are on.
I have to say that the pattern itself wasn't the best. There were quite a few mistakes in it (including row numbering). However, if you are a fairly experienced knitter you will be able to ignore the mistakes. Other than that it's a fairly easy pattern to follow.
This finish can only mean one thing. I have completed my sister's winter woollies set. In fact my sister has not only seen them but worn them. Not sure which was her favourite. She ooed over all of it. Possibly the pom pom. When I knitted my own version of the hat she said I should knit her one with a pom pom. Over and over again! So often that I came close to telling her it was always on the cards. Thankfully she also suited it the colour with her purple hair. I did tell her I was worried that it was too dark a colour for her (she wears black but accessorises bright) but she liked it.
Now I will have to think up a winter woollies set for next year.
Sunday, 13 December 2015
Even though I had this post planned out on Thursday and the majority of the work done I am still late. Blame a surprise visit from my sister before my fourth nightshift. It was actually good that my sister visited as she could then get her winter woollies (more on that next week). Blame blogger for making it even later as it didn't save any of my work.
So this week I decided to pick something small. Something that won't take up too much time. Most people will be getting ready to wrap their Christmas presents (unless you are super organised). I love a personalised gift tag and I thought that would be perfect for this week. It makes your parcels stand out. I have even managed it one year. Both friends and family got these cross stitched gift tags and I loved them. Always meant to do it again.
This first tag involves something I love. Buttons! I have seen tags with button baubles and snow men. I picked this one for the countdown as it also included some felt leaves. A simple but effective thing to do. This one is by One Dog Woof and she talks you through it briefly. It's easy to do though, you really don't need much more instruction than that. She also gives some examples of other tags she has made and maybe you can get inspiration from those too.
Her blog is definitely worth a visit as she has tutorials, crochet and recipes. Lots to see there.
Any decoration that involves mini Christmas baubles I love. This one is by Sally J Shim. The tutorial is very simple but the tag itself is also very simple. All you really need is some mini baubles and stickers. You can match up the colours to your wrapping paper or pick out the recipients favourite colour.
Sally J Shim is primarily a designer. However, her blog is filled with great tutorials. She has even published her own book.
A few years ago I went through a phase of using felt for everything. I even made felt Christmas decorations. So I will always have a soft spot for it and I would probably use it again. I think that's why I love this felt Gingerbread man by A Homemade Living. The tutorial is short and sweet and involves using a cookie cutter as your template. With that in mind you could use all sorts of Christmas shapes and create very pretty decorations for your gifts. Plus, at the end you are giving someone a tree decoration too. Two in one.
Perler beads and crafting have been all the rage for the last few years. Although, I think that has died down a little now. I have to be honest and say that I was never a huge fan of it. At least, I was never enticed enough to want to try it. Until now that is. Craft and Creativity has created a tutorial for these fab gift decorations. I think they look quite effective. Especially the Christmas baubles. Sadly the blogger hasn't posted in a few years but I think she has other tutorials on there worth checking out.
Paper cutting is another favourite craft that has been going around the last few years. I have to admit that I have admired anyone who can do this. I think I might be a little too clumsy for it. However, these tags look lovely. The tutorial is by Lia Griffith is a little basic but there is a PDF with the pattern. I'm sure most people would manage it. Lia Griffith is also primarily a designer but she has a great blog that I think would interest most crafters.
Well, thanks to me managing to save all these links to my pages rewriting this didn't take too long. I hope it was worth the wait for everyone. Next week will be my last Christmas countdown and that one will involve edibles!
Tuesday, 8 December 2015
A four day week and a training day included has meant that I am behind in all the things I have planned. That includes blog posts. It turns out you can't do it all (especially after a Christmas night out on top of that). Next week I have a whole week off but I plan on spending it with my family. It's my sister's birthday and I want to make sure she is thoroughly spoiled. So for that reason I am moving back to two posts a week. For the next couple of weeks anyway.
So November has been and with it everyone in the blanket club received their final square. I am 100% in love with this colour. I love blue, any shade of blue but this one is a firm favourite. I'm glad that it was saved for last. I also love the buttons that Lisa made to go with the box. She posted these buttons on her facebook page a while back and I greatly admired them. So happy to be a proud owner of two. Will have to think of something special for them.
As for the square. I love it. Although, I'm not sure if I am doing it right and I have a feeling that I might have to be frugal with the yarn to get all 26. I like it though and it measures up to the same size of the other squares so I'm not going to worry too much if it's right. Sadly I have only got two squares done. Just not enough time in the world at the moment.
Month 12 will be a little different and that post will be a little late in coming. Month 12 we get our joining yarn. We have the option of picking the colour for that one. I picked cream as I want the colours of the squares to pop. Cream is always my go to colour for joining. I will need to decide the order of the squares and my joining method. I keep changing my mind on that one. Feel free to send me links to some ideas/tutorials.
Lisa has also announced next years blanket club. It's a graph based pattern. Each month you are sent a graph and the yarn to make a large square. Lisa had pattern testers try the first square and it truly is lovely. Not for me though. Next year I have other projects that I need to concentrate on and so I have to be strong willed when it comes to signing up for things.
She also has a blended ombre club next year which works the same way as the blanket club. Each month you are sent the yarn and at the end you are left with a beautiful stole. Go to her facebook page at For the Love of Yarn if you fancy signing up.
Saturday, 5 December 2015
This week I thought I would look at some handmade Christmas decorations. I love a good handmade decoration and we would get one from my mum every year. It was hard to find decorations which weren't just for the tree. I hope I have found a good selection though.
This first one I thought was cute. I love a simple cross stitch design. It also combines it with something else I like which is hoop frames. Sadly this isn't a tutorial but you can buy the pattern from the designer Sewing Seed on her etsy page. I am all for supporting independent crafters and designers and this one has some lovely patterns in her shop.
This next pattern is one of my favourites. I have seen these crochet baubles around for a while now and I have always meant to try them. The pattern is by Patchwork Heart who also happens to be one of my favourite people to follow on Instagram. She is always making lovely things with her crochet and they are so beautiful to see. She also has a blog which I have followed for a while now.
I have seen a few of these clear baubles around too. It has become a popular thing in craft shops over the last few years. All you need to do is unscrew the top and fill it with whatever you want (ensuring that it isn't too heavy). This one is by Downtime Upcycle and I liked it because the blogger did this as part of a Christmas decoration exchange organised by her grandmother. The blogger hasn't posted in over a year so I have only linked the tutorial to my Craft Tutorial page.
I love this idea. Mainly because it involves bells. This is actually simple to make as shown by Kerri Bradford Studio. The tutorial doesn't go completely in depth but I am sure most people will be able to follow it. I think you could easily play around with this idea to come up with your own creation. I have actually seen a similar version on pinterest which uses mini baubles rather than bells. This lady is primarily a scrapbooker and has a whole host of tutorials and ideas on her blog.
Okay, I am cheating a little bit here. This last one is very similar to last weeks clay garland. However, I really love this idea and there are a few tutorials out there. This one is by Gathering Beauty and she uses air drying clay which I have never used before. Interestingly one of the stamps she uses to emboss the clay was a knitted hat. Which means you don't have to go out and by the stamps to emboss your decorations. You could also play with various shapes and cutters. I'm thinking gingerbread men. As for the author of this one, Gathering Beauty is a blog worth checking out. She has lots of different craft ideas. Particularly for Christmas.
Normally I would leave my list at five. However, I had to have a knitted item on here in honour of my wee mum. Who would knit us something Christmassy every year without fail. So here is a little owl that I am sure I would have managed to talk her into knitting for me. This is a pattern found on ravelry which you can download for free so long as you are a member (worth signing up to). The pattern is by Knit a Zoo who suggest putting him on your tree. I probably would want him more out on display. Like with all of these links you could change the colours to suit yourself. You could even go bright.
Wednesday, 2 December 2015
It looks like my sister will get her winter woollies this year after all. I have finished the hat and I am now half way through the left hand of a pair of fingerless gloves. You will recognise this hat as I have knitted this not just once but twice. Yes, once again I have knitted The Woods by Po Lena. This time using green which kind of fits with the name of the pattern. Also this time, it's not for me. Which explains the one huge difference. This one has a pom pom.
My sister tried to convince me to add a pom pom to mine so it seemed only right that I put one on hers, since she likes them so much. Me, I think it looks better without but then I won't be the one wearing it. I did initially pose with the hat but it didn't look so good on me. Looks better modelled by the banister. With the cables in the pattern it matches the socks I finished last week. Only the cowl will be cableless but I'm sure my sister will cope with that. It's getting to the stage where I know this pattern off by heart. Will be looking out a new pattern for next year.
Oh, and on the plus side of the pom pom, it did allow me to try out a pom pom maker. Which was very easy to use and lots of fun. If you were a pom pom fan then you could make a lot of them very quickly with one of those.