Blog Archive

A Quiet Week

Hello and thank you for stopping by to visit!

I am officially having a Quiet Week.  We had such a busy, but happy weekend at my friend's wedding in Hampshire, and an unfortunate reaction to a wasp sting at the beginning of the week, that I've raised the drawbridge for a couple of days and spent time on the sofa with Daisy Dog, and DH, (between his work jobs), and I am pleased to say I am feeling much better.

The wedding was fantastic!  Such a beautiful ceremony and the love on the couple's faces was evident.  I wore my dress and jacket and felt very comfortable and happy with it.

After a delicious afternoon tea near the church, we moved to the venue for the evening reception - Bombay Sapphire Gin  Distillery!  It was magical!  We had to sample a gin cocktail (or two) as it would have been rude not to... ;)

We made our way home the following day, stopping at The Vyne, a Tudor National Trust property in Hampshire.  It was so beautiful and had recently undergone extensive restoration.  It was looking very smart!

 The staircase was fabulous!

 As was the summerhouse.  I could imagine sitting here of an afternoon, knitting and 'taking tea'.

The grounds were just stunning and it was a glorious autumn day to enjoy them.

The water in the lake was so clear you could see leaves at the bottom as well as floating on the top.

Then, on Tuesday, I was stung on my finger by a wasp.  It was in the bathroom and I just didn't see it until it was too late.  I react quite badly to bites and stings but initially thought I had got away with it, having taken antihistamines immediately.  DH and I went for a trip on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway that morning, which was great fun, and I went to Cooper's Creative in the afternoon, and it was lovely to spend time with good friends, chatting, laughing, and working on our creative projects.

However, that evening I felt quite unwell and that lasted almost 48 hours.  I spent a lot of time sleeping, knitting (re-knitting!) knee high sock number three, and crocheting more lanterns for my Mystical Lanterns blanket, but today I wanted to play around with something new!  

I bought this cuddly white rabbit for my lovely Mother-in-Law, who is in her late 90s, and lives in a nursing home.  She loves tactile things to hold and this little rabbit is as soft as a kitten.  I am going to make some clothes for it, with pleasing textures, as her eyesight is failing her but she loves things that feel soft. 

I started this afternoon with a little scarf in a really soft cotton and wool yarn. It's a garter stitch and double moss stitch pattern, on eleven stitches, so it's working up quite fast.  I am going to make a little skirt for the rabbit next.  I have a small piece of Liberty Tana lawn in yellow, which should work well.

48 hours of cossetting have done me the world of good and I feel so much better.  Oh, and I also had an unexpected visit from a very dear friend this afternoon, which was just what I needed!  Life is good.

Donna x 

A mini tutorial for a simple fabric flower corsage


I'm off to a wedding this weekend, and have made myself a dress and jacket. The dress is in Rose and Hubble cotton and the jacket is in a very lightweight wool, lined with the R&H, and interlined with sew-in interfacing to give it a little more body.  Both patterns are favourites, and if you look on the right hand sidebar of my blog you will see the exact same outfit, in lilac and plum.  You can't beat an old favourite!

The dress is a New Look pattern, 6824, and the jacket is New Look 6390.  

As well as dressmaking, I do like to play with fabric accessories, as that's half the fun of making your own clothes.  To add some interest to the jacket, and tie the whole outfit together, I made a little fabric flower corsage.  These are great fun to make, very quick and easy too!

To make one all you need are some scraps of fabric, a tiny circle of felt, a button with a shank, and a brooch back. You will also need some extra strong thread - 'button thread' - and a hand sewing needle.  The extra strong thread doesn't need to be a matching colour, so use whatever you have to hand.  Mine just happened to match!

1) Using a glass, or something similar, draw five circles onto your fabric and cut them out.  Mine are just under 3" in diameter, but you can vary this for whatever size flower you would like.

2) Thread  your needle with a long length of the strong thread.

3) Fold a circle into quarters, with the right side outside, and sew along the curved edge, stitching through all four layers.   You don't need to do teeny tiny stitches, as you will be pulling them up in a minute to gather each 'petal'.

4)  Continue folding and sewing until all five 'petals' are attached, as in the photo below:

5)  Pull firmly on the thread until the first and last petals meet and you have a flower shape.  (This is why you need to use extra strong thread, but if you don't have any, you could try normal thread doubled.)  Make sure your gap in the middle isn't too large, as you will need to cover this with the button.  Use a couple of stitches to join the first and last petal together.  Don't cut the thread yet.

6)  Centre the button over the centre and sew firmly to the flower.  Still don't cut the thread!

7)  Cut a small circle of felt.  I happened to have red felt for my red flower, but it doesn't matter if yours doesn't match as you really won't see it.  I used my small thread spool to draw around, but you could freehand cut it.  Just make sure it fits neatly behind your flower without showing between the petals.  

8)  Using an overcast stitch, sew the felt circle to the back of your flower.  Nope, don't cut that thread yet!

9)  Lastly, sew a brooch back to the centre of the felt.  You can now fasten off and cut the thread!!

10)  Turn your flower over and fluff out the petals to make a pleasing shape. 

There you have it!  A fabulously easy and fun way to add a little bit of colour and decoration to whatever you're wearing.

If you don't have a suitable button for the centre, you could cover a button with a scrap of contrasting fabric.  This is quite simple to do bu cutting a circle of fabric a bit larger than the diameter of the button, running a row of running stitches around the outside of the circle, placing the button in the middle and then drawing up the running stitches firmly until the fabric is taut and the button is covered smoothly, with no wrinkles on the front.  Then continue in the same way.  

This is what I did on the flower below, using a scrap of the jacket fabric for the centre of the flower.

I'd love to see your fabric flowers, and hear about your own favourite ways to make them.  They are such a great way to brighten up a jacket, coat, dress or top, in a completely unique and personal way.

Thanks for visiting; I appreciate your company.

Donna x 

'Mystical Lanterns' blanket using leftovers!


There are times, in any knitting, crochet or sewing adventure when you just want to PLAY!  I am in one of those moments now.

Just before we went on holiday last week, I took out the pattern I had bought at Yarndale for Janie Crow's beautiful Mystical Lanterns blanket.  I had been sooo tempted to purchase the kit, but I knew I had a lot of 'odd balls' of yarn, left over from years' worth of projects, that I really should use up, so I just bought the pattern.  It would also help clear some space in my sewing room, so a double win!

I pulled out everything that was wool or wool blend, DK and in reasonably toning colours.  There was quite a bit of it!  

The motifs are called 'ogee' in shape (don't you just love that word??) and are very easy to memorise for relaxed crochet hours.

I am making the motifs fairly randomly, but not putting too many dark colours next to each other, or the red next to the purple (oh, no, no no, as that looked awful!)  

Here's what I have made so far!

I am doing the motifs in a production line way, by making a whole pile of centres, followed by a batch of second rounds, then the third round.  Once I have six motifs completed I darn the ends in. My friend, Lucy, Attic24, will be very proud of me for keeping up with darning the ends in as I go!

As I'm using leftovers from my stash, I am going to work the final round of each motif in cream, to help tie the colours all together better, and use Janie's 'join as you go' method in her pattern.  Again, because it's all oddments so far, I don't have equal amounts of each yarn, and seem to have used up a large proportion of the brighter and pastel colours already, leaving the colours below, which do seem a bit, well, brown.  Despite trying to make the blanket without purchasing any wool other than that for the edging, I am going to buy three or four balls in more cheerful colours to keep some colourful variety going!

I am absolutely loving this project, pulling out a new colour, the soothing rhythm of every round, and the joy of finishing each motif, and then deciding which is my 'new favourite'. Plus, it's a brilliant 'pick up' project for odd moments of time.  Thank you to Janie Crow for such a great pattern!

Now, is there time to do a couple of centres before I make dinner???  Hmmmm...  

Donna x 

Cod Beck Reservoir, Osmotherley.

Hello!  Well, here we are on honeymoon number 2.  Not too far away from home this time, in beautiful North Yorkshire.  We are staying at a fabulous little holiday cottage and are so comfortable and peaceful here.  My son joined us for a few days before returning to work, and DH and I stayed on for the rest of the week.

The weather has been glorious!  Perfect autumn days, and very warm too. We've been out and about with Daisy Dog, making the most of the sunshine.  

Today we went to Cod Beck Reservoir, near the pretty village of Osmotherley, on the edge of the North Yorkshire.  What a fabulous place for a picnic, a walk and to take in the views, along with lungfuls of fresh air.

We started with our picnic, sitting on (dry!) dog towels, as I had left the picnic blanket at home.  Just look at this view...

Full of cheese and cucumber sandwiches (us) and gravy bones (Daisy) we set off around the reservoir...

Dotted along the far side of the reservoir are some very attractive, modern bench seats, each with an engraved plaque to a loved one lost.  We sat for a while on the bench dedicated to Hope Elizabeth Farrow.  The dedication reads 'Our Songbird. For you the sun will be shining.'  This is the song I walked down the aisle to at our recent wedding.  I don't know who Hope is, but we sat awhile on her bench and thought of her, and how much someone must have loved her to have arranged such a poignant memorial in such a peaceful spot, full of natural beauty.  

We left Hope's bench in a reflective mood and continued our walk together...

We arrived back at the little car park and said to each other what a wonderful spot we had found to walk Daisy.  We chatted with a local lady and her friendly dog for a while and then headed back to our cottage for a cup each of Betty's hot chocolate.  A perfect day on our lovely 'second honeymoon'.

Donna x 

Knee High Socks part 2!

Hello and welcome to a short post on part 2 of my creative, experimental adventure into knee high socks!

Well, I have finished pair number 2, and here they are!

Rather an odd photo, but I am currently home alone on this overcast day, with not much natural light, so I had to try and photograph them with my feet on the windowsill.  Not easy, I can tell you!

Despite looking very long, they don't quite come up to my knees, which is probably a combination of a different yarn, and the fact these are narrower (a final working number of 56 stitches) so don't have as much 'give' in them.  For pair number 3 (the ones I am experimenting with the knitting in elastic) I am going to do extra leg rounds, as the yarn is the same King Cole Zig Zag.  The pair above have 145 leg rounds so I am going to up it to 160.  As a lovely lady said to me at Yarndale, at Winwick Mum's stand: "That's an awful lot of round and round".  Oh yes!  It certainly is!  I really do like knee high socks though, and the 'round and round' is good television/car/train journey knitting and goes quite quickly.  I wore pair number 1 all weekend at Yarndale and they kept my feet lovely and toasty!

I only just got this pair out of one ball of yarn, with just a tiny amount left over, so if I add even more rounds I am going to need 2 balls, one sock per ball, but the leftover from each ball will make a pair of 'normal' socks for DD.  She will be pleased!

Here are some stats for the above pair: (NOTE: Please see edit beneath stats!)

Original pattern:  Adapted from Winwick Mum's excellent Sockalong pattern 

Yarn:  King Cole Zig Zag - 'Summer'

Cast on: 64 stitches

Rib: 40 rounds

Decreasing:  Decrease one stitch each side of leg on rounds 50, 60, 70, 80 (including the rib) ending up with 56 stitches

Heel flap:  33 rows

Foot:  54 rounds (I have UK size 7.5 feet)

I have run shirring elastic loosely around the cuff as explained here, but I have high hopes of the knitting in elastic I am currently experimenting with, so will let you know how that works when I have finished pair number 3!

As I said above, I am going to increase the leg rounds to a total of 160, (including the rib), and I'm also going to add 2 more rounds to the foot, so a total of 56 rounds.  Again, I think the narrower leg and foot, giving a more snug fit, has less 'wiggle room'.  The upside is I can wear these ones with my favourite brogues as they aren't nearly as bulky.

EDIT:  I wore my new socks all weekend and I am going to make some more modifications!  The foot was really good and fitted well in my brogue shoes.  I am going to add 2 rows to the heel flap though as it is felt a little too snug over my high instep (I have difficulty finding comfortable boots due to my high instep). This is what Christine Winwick Mum, recommends here

HOWEVER, the main change I am going to make is to the top of the leg as it is feeling a bit too snug after several hours wear.  To do this I am going to go back to 68 stitches for the cast on, rib and top of the main leg part (as I did for pair number one) and then continue to decrease in the same way, i.e., every 10 rounds, to end up with 56 stitches.  That means I will decrease on rounds (including the rib) 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100.  

I am going to frog pair number three that I am part way through, (taking a deep breath and whipping out the circular needle!) and start again, still with the knitting in elastic.  I'm determined to get this right!

As always, I will keep you updated!

This was meant to be a short post!!!!

Donna x 

Yarndale 2018

Hello!  Happy Monday to you all.

Well, what a great Yarndale weekend we had!  I was volunteering both days and had time as well to wander around, and make a few purchases :)

As ever, the atmosphere was fun and friendly.  I met so many lovely people, and there were over 200 wonderful exhibitors giving so much inspiration!

Waiting for the doors to open!
Lucy (Attic24) in the knit and natter lounge with her fab blankets!

Centenary Poppies

Miles of bunting!

Lucy's mandalas waving in the sunshine
Winwick Mum's famous 'Sock Line'.  Donated hugs for feet

Leeds Liverpool canal - in yarn!

This year's wonderful charity project - butterflies!
There were sheep of all description

I bought a skein of Eden Cottage Yarns' 'Titus 4ply', in colourway Crocosmia'. This fabulous yarn is 75% cashmere, 25% silk.  I bought some last year and made the softest, silkiest shawl/scarf, and this is destined for another! I also bought Winwick Mum's beautiful new book 'More Super Socks', which I am so excited about as I am determined to have a go at colourwork socks, following her excellent instructions.

I visited The Crochet Project to show them the shawl I made from their 'Fronds' pattern, which I had purchased last year.  I made it in Rowan 'Lima', and it's such a warm and cosy shawl, and I get such a lot of use from it.  They were kind enough to give me a free Crochet Project tape measure,  as a thank you for taking a finished item to show them.  This will be just perfect for keeping in my bag.

I have had my eye on Janie Crowfoot's 'Mystical Lanterns' blanket pattern for a long time, as I really fancied making a blanket from motifs next time, and these are such an interesting shape.  I was sooooo tempted by the beautiful kit, but I was very good and just bought the pattern as I have so many 'odd balls' of DK wool/wool blend yarn that I should really use up and make space in my sewing room.  I can't wait to get started!

It was a fabulous weekend!  If I had to pick my highlights they would be (as a volunteer) putting an entrance wristband on a child's stuffed toy elephant, and seeing someone 'pay forward' a ticket for a stranger.  There are some wonderful people out there, particularly, it would seem, in the creative world.

Donna x