A lovely surprise gift!

I’m a member of a group on Ravelry called the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup. The purpose of the group is to inspire all the members to knit, crochet, weave etc at least one thing each month. Each project you submit gets you points for your ‘house’. I’ve been a member for nearly three years now, and the people there are so friendly. They’re really supportive in good times and bad. As a fabulous example, look what I got a couple of weeks ago;

The blanket is made up ( as you can see) of nine squares, made by five other members of the group and then pieced together and sent to me by one of them as well. What a lovely gift to get! These people have never met me, and in all likelihood never will other than on the internet and yet they took the time and trouble to make this for my new baby. She’s a very lucky little girl! It’s been in use every day, and I can see that it’ll be useful for a long time to come, either as a playmat or to keep her warm whilst she’s sleeping. One of my friends suggested that it might become her snuggle blanket which would comfort her when she’s off colour. However it’s used, I’m sure it will be well used and well loved!


No knitting today (but it was a good day despite that!)

I had a lovely day today, spending time in Cardiff with my friend Ellie, visiting bead and button shops and drinking huge amounts of hot chocolate! We went to the museum but unfortunately some of the exhibits were off limits, so we’re hoping to make a return visit at Easter when everything should be open to the public.

Unfortunately there were no pancakes in my Shrove Tuesday. Instead there was birthday cake – it was my sister in law’s birthday today, and I’m pleased to report that she loved her presents. From Handsome she had jelly babies and chocolate toffee eclairs, and from Cheeky she received this;

A bracelet and earrings set that he designed himself and partially made – I just helped with bending the pins into loops at the ends, but other than that it was all his work! Well done Cheeky!

Starting everything, finishing nothing!

I’ve been in a bit of a ‘starting fever’ recently, beginning several knitting projects without finishing any. I’m half way up one fairisle mitten. I’ve picked up a jumper for Handsome which I started months ago, and have done all but for the collar and the finishing off. I began a wrap with the yarn that Machelle gave me at Christmas. I looked at another wrap that I started, and a pair of fingerless gloves I wanted to make (but got no further with either of those!) and I started, and promptly frogged, a knitted toy for a friend.

I’m going to have a go at finishing Handsome’s jumper now, and then maybe I’ll do a bit more on the wrap. And maybe, if you’re very lucky, I’ll get round to taking some pictures of the WIPs tomorrow!

I hope you all have a lovely and relaxing weekend, doing whatever it is that you enjoy doing the most.

A prize winning shawl!

My friend, Maria, is unfailingly generous with my children and myself, and so I always try to find something nice to give her at Christmas and for her birthday. Of course, for her birthday I made her the Juliana shawl (which I’m fairly sure she liked as she’s worn it quite a lot). I wanted to find something even more special if possible to give her for Christmas. When I saw the Aeolian shawl that Machelle had made, I thought that would be perfect for Maria. She’s a very elegant, feminine person (I know, I don’t know why she’s friends with me either!) and so I knew that, if I managed to make it well, and in a colour that she liked, she’d really like it. And I know that she appreciates the time I put into making things. It seemed perfect, as she wouldn’t be able to buy something exactly like it in the shops, and noone else would have the exact same thing unless they went out and bought the same yarn and used the same pattern.

I took the opportunity of my visit to the Ally Pally show in October to look for the perfect yarn. I know that so much lovely yarn is available online, but nothing compares to being able to actually handle the yarn before buying it. I found lots of yarn producers that I’d not heard of before (but will definitely look for in the future!) and ended up buying a skein of Yarn D’amour Ariadne silk/cashmere blend. It is the most gorgeous yarn I’ve ever owned. The photos don’t do the colour justice at all. The cashmere remains the same colour throughout, but the silk changes slightly from pink through to purple in an almost shimmery way. I’m glad that it was to be made up as a gift, as I’m not sure I would have let myself spend this much on a yarn for myself! Anyway, it took about a month to knit, which I don’t think is bad as it was my first knitted lacework project, and the first time for me to follow a chart.

And here it is in full, photographed while it was blocking on my bed;

Plus, I used the Ravelry group I mentioned before, the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, to encourage me to finish it. One of their challenges in November was to finish something which could potentially gather dust. I had reached a tricky and discouraging part of the project so this challenge was perfect. And then I won another prize! So Maria is my lucky charm. I shall have to make more things for her and see whether those items win me prizes too!

Of course, after all that work I couldn’t just wrap the shawl in plain old wrapping paper, so I made a gift box in a complimentary colour, using leftover yarn to tie it up;

And she loved the shawl! She wore it that very night, to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and I think she’s been wearing it every time I’ve seen her since! Definitely a hit. But how am I to top that for her birthday?? Now THAT will be a challenge!

My first socks!

Before Christmas, GG said that he’d like me to make him some new slipper socks as his were getting a bit worn. I’d never made socks before, so there was a new skill to learn (with the turning the heel) and also I was in the sort of mood where I couldn’t be bothered to find a pattern, so I was making it up as I went along. So (with lots of help on that first heel from my friend J in Stitch and Bitch) I managed to finish his socks on New Year’s Day. Not to be left out, Cheeky asked for some as well. I finished those and applied the linings and non-slip sole stuff yesterday, so half of our family now has nice warm feet! The way the temperatures are going, I think I’ll be stealing GG’s socks before many more days are out!

Big slipper socks...

...and small slipper socks!

The very amateur doctoring of the second picture is supposed to represent the frosty weather outside – just so you know!

First completed project of 2010!

I actually finished this on Saturday evening, but I was too lazy to photograph it at the time and so it’s only coming on the blog today!

Here is (only ten days late!) my Mum’s Christmas present. She had new furniture in her living room recently, and so I though a nice lap blanket to go with the new sofa and armchairs would be ideal.

It’s about a metre square (or a square yard if you still work in imperial), and backed with fleece fabric to maximise the cosiness quota! She has already seen it in it’s nearly finished state, but I will be taking it to her tomorrow to use through this cold snap we’re experiencing at the moment.

I’ve finished two of my other projects, but I’m waiting for a vital bit to dry before I take photos. Hopefully I’ll be able to post about them tomorrow.

A quiet (yet productive) day!

So, now that I’ve wated an entire morning on the internet, reading and commenting on blogs, updating my Amazon Wishlist and looking at various bits of the Ravelry website, it’s time for me to do something properly productive.

Yesterday was a good day. I visited Maria in the afternoon (who is suffering with a bad back at the moment, so lots of healing thoughts would be most appreciated for her) and took my Mum‘s Christmas present to work on (she knows what it is, as I took it to her on Christmas Day in it’s nearly finished state!). Mum, you’ll be glad to hear that I’m much nearer to finishing it, and it should be with you (finally!) in the next couple of days. I also finished the knitting on GG’s second slipper sock, although I need to do the lining and the non-slip sole before it can be officially called finished. I’m half way through Cheeky’s first slipper sock. I couldn’t finish that as I’d forgotten to measure the length of his foot before he went to bed, and I thought that he probably wouldn’t take too kindly to being woken up by my drawing a template of his foot at 10pm! It was very quick to knit though (I’m using aran weight yarn and he still has cute dinky little feet!) so I’m hoping to finish the second one today, then line and non-slip both those and GG’s second one tomorrow morning.

Tonight, though, I’m off to the theatre to have my Christmas present from Maria, so I’m very hopeful that I’ll have a good review to write tomorrow. I’m just praying that her back is feeling sufficiently better that she can sit comfortably in the theatre, otherwise it could be a bit of a miserable experience for her.