Monday, 15 October 2012

Day trip out

We (my friend Alison and I) had the most amazing trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace last week. This was our third year of visiting and as the stalls are all in roughly the same place every year, it makes it so much easier to find what you are looking for. This meant we could make a bee line for all the things we wanted to look at/needed to buy. And boy, did we have fun shopping.

The beginning of our journey there was a bit of a palaver as our train was cancelled after sitting still and going nowhere for 20 minutes at the station. Alison very kindly (and bravely) offered to drive us there and I quickly rang M to get directions - he told me about a very clever little sat nav app on my new (his old) iphone which took a bit of setting up but it directed us to a little leafy road next door to the Ally Pally which had free parking and was a short hop and skip away from the entrance. We even arrived at about the same time we usually would have. We would normally have driven to the station, got a train, the underground and then the laid on coach to the venue. Needless to say, we will not be getting the train next year as it was so much easier and quicker to go by car, even with the rush hour traffic in the rain on the way home.

I had a shopping list this year, I have not been so organised in previous years and just bought what I considered to be a bargain and gorgeous. Not this year, I had serious plans, lots of stuff written down, crochet patterns chosen for this year's haul. Unfortunately my top of the list yarn to make a blanket for our bed was not available at the show so I am having to order it online. Never mind, at least I didn't have to carry it around with me all day. I did get some supersoft Sublime baby cashmere merino silk dk in a beautiful indigo colour. And I got some ergonomic crochet hooks (4 for £10 bargain) and some pearl headed pins (2 for £1 - I love a bargain!). But the best buy of the day was this most incredible petrol coloured malabrigo yarn.

Having brought it home and admired it, I seem to remember seeing it at the show last year and wanting to buy it then but declined due to the price. This stuff is expensive but is totally worth it in my opinion. My sister gave me some birthday money and I said I would spend it at the show. And I did...and I treated myself. This yarn is so so gorgeous, I can't stop looking at it. I have wound one skein into a ball but can't bring myself to wind the other skein up just yet.

Anyway - details - it's a Kettle dyed pure superwash merino wool, sock yarn weight, 100g per skein. It was just over £14 per skein but at just over £7 per 50g, I don't think that's the most expensive yarn I've ever seen. I am going to crochet some kind of scarf/shawl with it but have not yet chosen a pattern, this being an impulse buy. I think it's going to take a long time to search out the perfect pattern for the perfect yarn and I think it's going to take a very small crochet hook. The label is mentioning a 2.25mm needle size. Yikes.

I also bought some stuff for my sister. She asked for an ergonomic hook, a clover thread cutter (here) to use on the plane and also some string to make more coasters. Sorry, no photos. I'm wishing I had bought the linen yarn that I saw too as it was kind of like very thin softer hessian string and it would have been perfect for coasters. Maybe next year.

Alison treated herself to some super duper Rooster yarn to make a blanket and she chose some fantastic colours. Can't wait to see what style of blanket she decides to make with it. We saw some people at the show from our local crochet/knitting group and just had a thoroughly great time. So exhausted when I got home though. Must be getting old. :O

Just to catch up on recent charity shop finds, here is one of two identical wooden bins that I bought the other week for £5 each.

They are Swedish and in near perfect condition considering their age. I have had to tell the other members of our household to be careful what they place in these bins to prevent any damage. Yes really. They can't put just any old rubbish in my nice new bins!

I also got this lacquered tray when out with my Mum the other week. It's got a nice Japanese style feel to it and I've just noticed that it goes remarkably well with my new table. I bought this table quite a while ago now. I was wanting a table to go with my wicker garden furniture and kept seeing this on ebay but it was way out of my price range. I got it from my favourite charity shop for £7. I have had a move around of furniture to fit it in as it isn't intended for the house but that's where it will stay for the time being. So pleased I found it and it's in great condition. Will try to remember to get another photo of it in all its glory.

Right, back to the real world and the joys of ironing. Speak soon. x

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


This blanket is growing so so quickly as I am loving making it so much. Mindless crochet, can watch tv whilst making it of an evening, no great stress picking out the next colour to join on. It looks so cute folded into the knitting bag that my sister got me. Which reminds me, I am going to the Knitting and Stitching show on Thursday and I have a list of crochet related things to get for my sister. She has made three crochet coasters so far and will no doubt be making several more on the flight over when she visits the UK yet again (twice in a fortnight, yippee!). Can't wait to see her again. Right, must get back to my shopping list for the show - it is growing longer and longer... x

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Jewel crochet blanket

Yes, you've guessed it, I've started another blanket. My major excuse is that I have run out of the grey wool for the blanket I started making in Wales. I need to ring the shop I bought it from and ask very nicely if they can send me some more. In the meantime I needed a new project to keep me sane so I turned to my "still can't believe I haven't used it all yet" stylecraft stash. I am sure I have a neverending supply of this stuff, the basket I keep it in just never seems to look any emptier. Maybe my husband keeps putting more wool in there every so often in an effort to keep me quiet!

I had always wanted to make one of these classic retro blankets with bright jewel like colours against a black edging. It just reminds me of the 1970s, garish and colourful - none of the colours matching but who would care? In fact, these photos don't do the colours justice as they are really bright. I thought I had taken more photos of this blanket but I couldn't find many and they are all a bit lacklustre compared to the blanket in real life. I have obviously been spending more time crocheting the thing than taking fancy photos of it.

I know a few people have been making these one colour per square blankets around the blogging world, inspired by Cherry Heart and I can completely recommend making them - fewer ends to sew in, quick and easy to make, no fretting over colour combinations. I just wanted something a bit different and when I spied the ball of black against all the brightly coloured balls of yarn in the basket, I just had to make a retro blanket. In fact, this blanket was decided upon within about 10 minutes as I needed a project to take with me to the park at the end of the summer holidays. Nothing like making snap decisions. I started off making the squares and then crocheting them together as I went along (a la Attic 24 - joining as you go method) but I have since crocheted 4 squares of each colour until I have a nice big pile and then joined them in one fell swoop. This is extremely satisfying as the blanket seems to double in size overnight.

I have been keeping all the squares I am yet to join in this cute project bag that my sister bought for me. It is quite squidgy but has a wire inserted into the top of the bag so it keeps its shape and means I can find the right coloured square really easily. Love it.

Talking of my sister, we went away this past weekend with my Dad  as a father's day gift - to research the family tree a bit further and visit the area where we originally came from over 160 year ago (Cork, Ireland). We had a fantastic time and my sister asked me to teach her to crochet. Well, she has well and truly got the crochet bug and was even crocheting on the flight back. After making a length of trebles, she had a go at making a granny square, seen below being used as a coaster by Dad. I told her she would have to make a scarf as a first project, to which I got a very quick no as she now lives in Singapore - round the year 30 degrees heat. Not really scarf weather! She will be making lots of coasters, placemats and throws instead. Hope she finds a good yarn shop out there.

So that's what has been happening around these parts lately. My husband is hosting a film club night this evening so it will be nice to have a glass of wine, chat to some old friends and join a few more squares onto this blanket whilst watching the film. Not sure which film has been chosen yet though, may be something I am really not interested in or a subtitled film - I haven't mastered the art of crocheting whilst reading subtitles yet!