Monday, 28 January 2013
Benjy is a mischievous little monster made from scraps of yarn left over from Jake's stripy blanket.
I chose the Vinny V pattern, knitted in the Hayfield Bonus dk I had leftover, about 3/4 of each ball. As it turns out, I still have leftovers - Vinny doesn't use much yarn. I named him Benjy the Blanket Buddy because I intended him to be used for snuggling when Jake is all wrapped up in his blanket. I'm sure one day little J will rename him though.
Benjy literally flew off the needles - he is such an easy knit, and knitting all the pieces in the round meant there was next to no making up to do. Even then, I put it off for a few days - sewing up is never as fun as the knitting.
I am absolutely over the moon with how Benjy turned out - he looks like he has a real personality, and Jake has played with, or should I say chewed, him lots. Hopefully he will be tough enough to last - at least he is made from washable yarn and stuffing, something I can see being quite useful in the future!
Sunday, 27 January 2013
So first up, one thing I love about this issue. As always, The Knitter provides more than just patterns, and there was an interesting interview in this issue with the historian Sandy Black looking at the amazing archives of the V&A museum, which much to my shame I have never visited though I have always intended to go. As a history teacher I obviously find this fascinating and just wish they had gone into a bit more depth about some of the items, such as the stranded knitting fragment from 12th century Egypt. It makes you realise just how long established this craft really is.
Martin Storey delivers as always with Tipsy, a man's cardigan. Ed doesn't really wear cardigans so I can't see this getting made, but I think it would look great on any man who does.
There are various other patterns in the magazine including some for children which is always handy, a bag by Barb Brown and a lovely shawl by Anniken Allis. Overall, it's a fairly strong issue, though there are probably only two items I might add to my queue at this point. In the preview for next issue though I have already spotted some gorgeous items that are right up my street design wise, so I'm looking forward to that!
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Unfortunately, I didn't discover this until I left the house last Thursday intending to visit friends. I was so frustrated that I had got me and little J out of the house promptly after his nap, only to find that we couldn't get to my friend's house after all. I won't lie, I shed a few disappointed tears while standing on the pavement deciding what to do.
Fortunately for me, there is a yarn store in my local parade of shops. Although the ground was pretty snowy, I decided to brave it with the pushchair rather than heading back inside to sulk for the afternoon. Despite my meagre statutory maternity pay, I knew I wanted to treat myself to something, and spent a good half hour browsing the shelves. My yarn store doesn't do a lot of the high end brands like Rowan or Louisa Harding unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately!), but it does do my favourite Sublime, Sirdar, King Cole, and some always useful Stylecraft.
I hit upon a ball of King Cole Supa Dupa Chunky in a gorgeous olive green and decided to knit myself a cowl to keep me toasty in this extremely cold snap we are currently enjoying. Spontaneous purchase achieved, I headed off home to feed J and search for any likely patterns.
My Kind of Town Cowl, although in reality the only thing it really shares with it is the provisional cast on and graft, as I used thicker yarn, bigger needles, cast on fewer stitches and knitted fewer rows. In the end I even regretted the graft as I messed it up the first time whilst trying to simultaneously have a conversation with my mother in law! I ended up knitting the whole thing again. Being super chunky at least it knit up quickly.
Thursday, 17 January 2013
I started my blanket for two reasons - firstly, my friend Rach gave little J a gorgeous pram blanket when he was born, and it got so many compliments from my friends that I knew I wanted to make a bigger one for J when the little blanket became too small. Then one of my new mum friends asked if I could show her how to make one for her little boy. Of course, I agreed. I have a basic knowledge of crochet and knew I would be able to teach my friend who was a complete beginner, but I needed to make sure I understood how the blanket was constructed myself first. So, the perfect excuse to start my own!
I followed the instructions for the Granny Stripe blanket on the Attic24 blog - this is an extremely popular pattern for a reason, once you get going, it is so simple and very 'moreish' if that is an appropriate term for a yarn project? You know what I mean anyway!
Thursday, 10 January 2013
The format very much follows its sister title, Simply Knitting, with various shops, yarns and books highlighted in the first section of the magazine. I quite like this section, as it draws my attention to some independent sellers and designers that I am often not aware of, and even if I couldn't afford to purchase some of the products showcased, it at least provides some inspiration.
I also unfortunately wasn't keen on either of the full garments in the magazine. The adult cardigan looked a little bedjackety for me, and the little girl's cardigan a bit boxy. I think it's really hard to design truly wearable crocheted garments, though one designer who manages it admirably is Marie Wallin, and I hope the magazine will feature some of her Rowan designs in the future in the same way as Simply Knitting does.
All in all, I was impressed with this first issue and will definitely buy it again to see how it progresses. I hope they do improve the garment offerings and keep the designs contemporary and fashionable, as I think crocheted items can be really stunning to wear if the design is right - I still own (and, until the onset of breast feeding and massive boobs, wore!) a crocheted waistcoat which my mum bought in the seventies, which proves the longevity of a classic design.
All the images above come from a sneak peek available on the Simply Crochet website, so if you think this magazine might be for you, go and take a look.
In other crochet news, I have just finished a granny stripe blanket for the little man that I am very pleased with - I will endeavour to photograph and blog it over the weekend so watch this space!
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Back in February, my hubby became a godfather to his friend's little girl. Although neither of us is religious, I think he was secretly quite proud to be asked and I managed to snap this photo of him after the service (whilst suffering from horrible morning sickness and desperately trying to get through the christening without having to run out the bathroom!).
This was made with a Cocoa Daisy kit but I can't remember which one now. All of my stash has been stored away for the moment as my old craft room has become little Jake's bedroom, so I can't check at the moment. I love the little gem sprinkles, they give some lovely texture to your pages.
I'm desperate to make a few pages again, I have some lovely photos to scrap with stories that need to be told but it's so difficult when you have a small house and very littke time. Hopefully I can fish a few supplies out and have a go again soon.
In other news, little man has just started on solids, so we are having an exciting time steaming and blending veg for him to try - in fact, he is eating better than we are at the moment! We have tried carrot, potato, swede, parsnip, sweet potato, pear, banana and mango. So far carrot is definitely the biggest hit. It's so funny watching the little grimace on his face everytime he tries something new, but he soon gets his head around the new flavour and is really enjoying it. If anyone has any good ideas for flavour combinations for a 6 month old, please let me know!