Well, it’s been a while since I updated this.. Thought I should let you know what’s been happening – I’ve been on maternity leave! My new baby has inspired me to branch off in a new direction – we use cloth nappies, and I was finding that shop-bought clothes were just a little snug for that big bum, so I started making clothes that *would* fit, and now I want to add them to the range of things I make – expect them soon in my Etsy shop.
I’ve recently finished this hoodie, requested by my friend, Ivor, of Tudor House.
He had given me a few ideas of the sort of thing he wanted, so we looked through some patterns that I thought would work, and he picked the lovely ‘Hooded Jacket (for men) by Patons.
I used the pattern as a base, but made quite a few alterations, to suit the way I prefer to work, such as knitting it in the round as opposed to doing the back and fronts separately (it made working the pockets slightly confusing, not least because I had about 5 circulars holding various bits and bobs at times). I also chose to knit both sleeves at the same time, on one circ, as I thought I might get ‘second sleeve syndrome’ and not want to start the second when I’d finally completed the first!
The original pattern called for a zip, but Ivor wanted buttons (and it finished in time for a holiday, with no way of me getting a zip in time!) so I set about knitting button bands, which saw lots of me crouched over it with a tape measure and lots of markers, scratching my head and puzzling my way through knitting maths – I was so proud/pleased that it all worked out so well!
It is the largest thing I’ve ever knitted, that wasn’t a blanket (Ivor is about 6’4″), it didn’t take too long, maybe a little less than a month, but I did work on it A LOT in that time. I’m really happy with how it worked out, and I think you can see that Ivor is too!
You can see more pics of it on my Ravelry page.
For this years Remembrance Day I had been toying with the idea of yarn bombing poppies around the town, or creating some form of art installation, so I started carrying my red yarn with me wherever I went, and crocheting lots and lots of poppies.
I photographed a few of them together, and put the photo up on both my personal, and my Meg&Millie pages on Facebook. A friend, Clarrie – of Blue Earthworm – asked if I was selling them, so I said I could add a brooch back to one for her, and would ask for a donation which would be given to the British Legion.
I began to get more people asking if they could buy them, so I decided that for this year I would leave the arty ideas alone and instead I would see how much I could raise with them. I asked people to share my photos, and before long I had orders for way more poppies than I had made, I had to order more brooch backs as I’d used every last one, my fingers ached, and I probably could have made them in my sleep, but I was so pleased that when I’d sold the final one, I had raised £161 for the RBL, all out of a couple of balls of yarn from my stash, and buttons from my rather vast collection!
I’ve seen lots of snuggly, knitted blankets in the shops recently, but of course why buy when you can make, right?!
I found a pattern I liked – Lovers Knot by Lionbrand – but I did make a couple of changes to it, the main one being to alter one of the cable patterns that I wasn’t keen on.
It took a lot of knitting time, and being cables it meant that it required concentration at all times, so not a mindless knit in front of the telly, but here it is, finished, and I love it!
It lives on the back of the settee, and is pulled down on a regular basis, it’s soft and warm, and great for sitting under to watch a film with the little one (and more often than not, Wilf too)!
More details on my Ravelry page.
Wilf came into my life totally unexpectedly, I hadn’t been looking for another dog, but I met Wilf out of the blue and fell in love.
He’s adorable – a cheeky, loving, little bundle of mischief. He has chewed up my favourite shoes, nibbled through the lead on my mouse (took me a while to work out why my computer wasn’t working!) he has a fondness for yarn, and has claimed my soft, snuggly dressing gown as his favourite place to sleep. He follows me round and likes to be close at all times. For all his puppy mischief, he’s a fabulous dog (but I’m looking forward to the teething stage to be over)!
As whippets have very little fur, they can get chilly in the colder months. As he’s growing rapidly, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a variety of coats to see him through to his full size, so I decided to make him a little fleecy one to keep him going for now – he may not look especially happy in the photo, but he doesn’t mind wearing it at all, he certainly prefers it over shivering when the wind gets a bit nippy!
I also pyrographed him a collar, it’s still a bit big for him, but it’s ready for when he’s full-grown, which may feel like a lifetime away at the moment, but I know his puppiness will be gone in a flash.
This month saw the Centenary of the start of WWI, and I became involved with a commemoration project created by two local men; Paul Young, an illustrator, and member of Prestatyn Living History Society – and Jerry Bone, local WWI historian and collector, who I met when I started researching for Flintshire War Memorials.
A group of us spent twelve days transforming an empty shop – building a trench and dugout area, then setting up the rest of the shop as a museum, filled with some of the vast collection of WWI memorabilia that Jerry has amassed over the last twenty five years.
Over the course of three days, more than one thousand people came to view the exhibition, and we raised £1105.89 for the local War Memorial Restoration Fund. There was great feedback from everyone who came, and it was a brilliant weekend – we got to hear lots of wonderful stories that people shared with us, of family members who went to war, and I helped with research for people who didn’t have a lot of information.
We ended the weekend with Lights Out. Everyone who had been involved with the project sat in the dugout with just one flickering candle, it was a sombre moment of reflection, and a sense of pride and satisfaction at what had been achieved.
I would like to thank the people and organisations that provided educational resources for us to use and distribute to people that visited the exhibition:
- Thomas Walker at Historic Newspapers sent some wonderful booklets, packed with interesting and informative newspaper articles from the time of WWI – he also has many great resources available for download on his website.
- SGM Lifewords sent one hundred of their replica WWI bibles – these are copies of the bibles that every soldier was given when being sent to the front line. They are beautiful and poignant little things and my son enjoyed handing these out and explaining all about them.
- We also received leaflets from CWGC and the War Memorials Trust.
A couple of weeks later, we took part in the BBC WWI At Home event, held in Rhyl Events Arena. It was a really busy day, with lots of interesting things to see and do, and topped off with a great airshow display.
I’ve been playing about with pyrography on different types of leather – here are a couple of recent test pieces.
Working on leather is a lot different to working on wood. It feels slightly more nerve-wracking – leather marks instantly, whereas with wood you can build up your line work a little slower, if you wish. Shading on leather is quite basic, you can’t gradually work a subtle shade on it, like you can with wood.
I think the main difference for me though, is the smell – not that leather has an unpleasant smell, but wood can give off such beautiful smells when you work with it, and of course each different wood has a different smell.
I enjoy working with both, it’s nice to have a wider range of material to work on, but I think wood wins for me.
These are a couple of new rolls in my Etsy shop.
I love the nature fabric – particularly the beetles on it!
Whilst out wandering today, we picked this lovely lilac, which smells gorgeous. Lilac reminds me of summer as a child, wearing my favourite dress (coincidentally, lilac coloured), climbing the large lilac tree we had in our front garden. It reminds me that summer is well and truly on the way, it makes me very happy indeed!
I’ve had some lovely finds lately – lots of pretty vintage gloves (for all the posh afternoon teas I may one day attend, of course!) and a lovely (vintage, but reprinted) book full of tips and tuition for the domestic goddess (I can always use a bit of extra knowledge in this department!) – I love the ‘Dressmaking at Home’ section, and look at that date – 1895!
My favourite find by far is a box full of love letters – over a hundred – written in the 1950’s, by a young man in the RAF, to his sweetheart. They begin from when they met as friends, and over the course of a year their story plays out through these letters. I’m sure there must have been another box, as the box is absolutely packed with them, but the story hadn’t ended – I wish I could read the rest!
Alongside the letters were some photographs, and also a medal from WWI. A bit of research showed me that the medal had belonged to the grandfather of the man who wrote the letters. What a lovely box of family history. Not my family, granted, but I love it nonetheless, and it always surprises me (and saddens me a little) when things like this turn up at car boot sales.