Saturday, 30 June 2012

Granny Bobble Spiral

Hi all,

My attempt at a spiral bobble pattern posted here - has been a hit with all you pinners out there, and so I have refined the pattern... 

Granny Bobble Spiral -


And there you have it.  It's a bit fiddly at first with lots of ends and loops, but once you get past the 2nd row and the pattern is set the only problem is keeping the 4 balls of wool untangled!

Anywho, I hope you like it...

Happy crocheting,


Saturday, 23 June 2012

London calling...

Hi everyone; just back from a wonderful few days in London.  The visit was predominantly for me to view my youngest daughter, Emma's, photographic exhibition in Brick Lane.  Emma graduates next month from Roehampton University in London.  She took photography and art history and I'm incredibly proud of her.  I hadn't seen her since Christmas (I don't count skype!) and so I have been looking forward to this visit for months!

Emma met me from the train at Euston station and we went to a local pub for lunch.  On showing her my camera she insisted on taking a flattering picture of me...

I didn't even know my camera could take these effects...  (I'm not one to show pictures of myself, but I had to show the picture at the beginning of this post to prove that my nose is not really that big!!!!!).  Of course I insisted on repaying the compliment -

Bless her... 

So, lunch done we made our way over to Brick Lane to view her exhibition.  On the way music was gradually getting louder and louder and we rounded a corner to see this -

OMG.....  loads and loads of people were tangoing (should that have a 'e' in it???).  It was AMAZING!!!!  The music was traditional tango music and all the couples had obviously tangoed before.  They were all dancing cheek to cheek  and wafting their legs about... Look how strongly and purposefully the men are holding their women...  ohhhhhh.....  I drooled for a while, until Emma offered to round up bribe a man for me to dance with; I did seriously consider this for a minute or so, until sensibly coming to the conclusion that despite me dancing the tango expertly and elegently, just like these people, in my head, in reality no-one would appreciate my blundering 'one together, two together' or god forbid involuntary leg jerks...

It seems that the impromptu tango spectacle was due to summer festival celibrations at Spitalfields.  It's times like these that I wish I lived nearer to a city...

So we carried on to Brick Lane and Emma's exhibition.

For Emma's final project she visited Askham Grange Women's open prison in York and photographed some of the women prisoners and the facilities there.  She did very well to get permission to do this (her tutors didn't think the authorities would allow her), but with persistance she managed it and took some amazing and interesting photographs.

It was fabulous, as were many of the other's on her course who also were exhibiting.  Well done Ems xxx.

The following day we took a bus out to Hampton Court Palace.  This was King Henry VIII's favourite palace, and I last visited when I was about 9 years old on a school visit; I've been keen to return for ages.  After watching the Tudor's box set recently Emma was also very interested, and we weren't disappointed.

Before the entrance is a wonderful walled rose garden, full of old fashioned tea and climbing roses, all in flower; they were stunning...

Then on to the main event; the palace is spectacular and the experience is enhanced by a very good audio guide system (included within the entrance ticket price) that gives loads of extra information as you visit each room.

We started at Henry's kitchens -

You can't really see the scale of the fire above, but if you look closely you can see a couple of spits (for roasting meat) in front of the fire - the top one was about 4 foot off the ground.  The whole thing was massive.

On to the Great Hall; I couldn't get a very good overall picture in here - it came out too dark, but I did get the beautiful tapestries at the side of the Hall -

Engrossed, I turned to find King Henry VIII walking towards me...?

"Good Day to you my Lady" he said to me as he passed...!  Now given that I was gawking at him from the middle of the path that he was (quite briskly) walking down, and he practically had to hurdle me, I can only surmise that this meant "shift woman" in the 16th Century...  Frankly he should have been thankful that I didn't poke him as he walked past me to see if he was solid!

Outside the architecture is amazing.

They were getting ready to stage a concert in one of the inner courtyards -

Quite an impressive concert venue!!  I hope they took umbrellas.

Anne Boleyn was also wandering around...

Mercifully with her head still attached.  After 3 years at University Emma now wants to jack photography in and waltz around in costume all day at Hampton Court!  I have to say they added enormously to the experience.

I searched and found a secure, lockable room -

And locked Emma in there until she gave up on the career change ideas...

The gardens are equally as impressive -

There are some amazing trees -

All in all it was a grand day out...  and we finished it off with Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre in the West End.  My third time of watching and still brilliant.

They were very strict that no pictures were to be taken when the performance started, so just one snap of the covered chandelier just before it all kicked off.

We exited out onto Leicester Square.

They had been staging the premier of Spiderman at the Odeon Cinema and the clear up was in full swing.


I can feel your boredom now, so I won't inflict you to much more, but I have to share that I visited a yarn shop...

I Knit London is just off from Waterloo Train station and chock a block full of luxury yarns.  And once again I was seduced by 2 hanks of variegated loveliness...

I know, I know....  after my earlier remarks about variegated yarn I can sense your disdain from here, but look at the colours...  I just need to come up with something that makes the most of it....

Well I commend you if you are still reading...  you have staying power!

Happy crafting!


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Who loves ya Daisy???

Hi everyone,

Two posts in two days!  I think this long bank holiday weekend is bringing some inspirational magic...  To be honest I intended to draft this post and publish it when I had nothing to say, but I just can't wait!!!!!

This daisy square came about because of a free gift in a magazine.  This came with an edition of 'simply Homemade' a few months ago now.

A flower loom isn't something I would probably have bought myself, but in a fit of boredom I decided to give it a try.  I got onto youtube to see how it worked (as the magazine is long gone) and made a couple of flowers.  I thought they were quite nice, but I didn't know what I would do with them.

 Then the 'what ifs' started...  you know the 'I don't like the middle of these flowers... what if I crocheted a middle?' what ifs...  I think all my patterns come from 'what if' moments.  So began my quest to create a flower loom crocheted square which utilised the best bit of the flower made from a loom - the petals - with a crocheted middle and an attached square.  And 'Who loves ya Daisy Square' is the result!

They're a wee bit fiddly to make, but oh so worth it I think.  You don't even need a fancy flower loom to make them; I found a great link to make a homemade flower loom here.   So if you fancy giving them a try here's a tutorial to get you started...

Who loves ya Daisy Square



I'm back at work tomorrow, so you may not hear from me again for some time!

Happy crocheting!


Monday, 4 June 2012

Jubilee Mmmmmmmmnesssss

Hi Everyone,

I'm sure you're aware that here in Britain our wonderful Queen is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.  Union Jacks and bunting are festooned everywhere you look, and we are all enjoying an extra long bank holiday to add to the celebrations.  So, to keep to the jubilee theme, my union jack cake tin is muscling in on all my pics today, so the least I could do is fill it first!

Custard Shortbread mmmmmmmmmmmmmmness; recipe link here.

These shortbreads really do melt in the mouth; they are much more like viennese biscuits than shortbread really with a yummy vanilla custard taste. (but none of that piping nonsense).

So, tin full, time to unearth my sewing machine...

(can you spot tin?  It's turning into where's Wally!!)
I love my machine.  I think that I have mentioned before that I was taught to sew (and bake, knit and  crochet) by my fantastic Nanna.  As my parents worked in the afternoons, my brother and I would always go to Nanna & Grandad's house after school, where there was always scrumptious home baking and wonderful grandparents who had endless patience.  Nanna, although retired had been a trained tailor, and she taught me to sew, initially with an old, very small singer machine that produced chain stitches when you turned the handle (when it wasn't jamming, which I remember was often), and then on her electric singer sewing machine.  Years later I inherited that sewing machine, which sat in it's own table and I had it for quite a lot more years, until I started to make noises about wanting a more modern machine and my husband bought me a new one.  This was a toyota, and a good machine, but a few years later, now separated from said husband, I started to yearn for a machine that I had actually chosen myself, just to suit me.  And so I bought this one...

A brother; I remember we used brother sewing machines at school (where I made a floral blouse, nice, and a pair of navy cord peddle-pushers, I know... I've always been a special trendsetter...  or maybe just special...)

Overall I am still very pleased by my choice (the only downside is there are only two needle positions, on the left and the middle - no right, which you would think wouldn't matter until you want to sew in a zip without bothering with the zipper foot!!  But it does do one-step buttonholes!

And what did I dust my beloved machine off for I hear you ask?  Well, I have been tempted with some fabulous sewing tutorials on pinterest (where else!).  This one here, particularly caught my eye.  Brilliant tutorial and a great blog.  And this was the result -

Not bad eh...  lovely clear instructions; this is slightly smaller than the one in the tutorial, as I made up my patchwork rectangle first and worked from the size the patchwork was rather than the precise measurements from the pattern.  I then added wadding and quilted this first before making the rest of the bag.

Inside is lined with some gorgeous aqua gingham, and I covered the raw seams with some white bias binding.

When I make another one I'll take the time to sew the side tabs instead of lazily using some ribbon (the result of which is a bag that is sticking it's tongue out a both sides and blowing a raspberry...)

On a roll, I also thought I'd quickly try out this pattern.  This also is a lovely blog, with some great free tutorials and also a few patterns to buy.  This was a quick make and produced this-

Very nice, as long as you don't look too closely at the outer seams and corners...  So I'm off to make up some more to redress the coaster defecit in my house.

Happy crafting everyone!