Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Pretty little cardi

My friend at work is having a baby and that just happened to create the perfect excuse to try and crochet something fitting for a baby girl [the blanking mending went on a two day hiatus]. I stumbled across this pattern, the Princess Cardi on Lion Brand and being a "novice" at crocheting clothes I thought why not. After having a few technical difficulties with the tension  [it stated it required a 4mm hook but my version wasn't getting anywhere near the stated size, being over an inch and a half short so a move to a 5mm hook was perfect] it ended up being a gorgeous little coat in this pomegranate pink. 

It was a very simple pattern made up of half trebles throughout [UK term] so I messed around and created a half treble come treble curving edging around the collar and bottom. Just finished off with a cutey little pink button thifted from the HUGE button tin we keep. It took less then a day to make [it was just stop start due to work].With the pattern being free and the two 100g double knitting wool only costing £2.90 just made me realise how much more cheaper it is to make baby clothes into comparison to buying an equivalent. Plus I have 3/4 of a ball of wool left [more for squares!].

But the result has made me rather broody and wanting babies ... oops.Or maybe it is utterly rubbish? Who knows!
Still a work in progress ... I like my long ends
The finished front
My thrifted button which was lucky enough to be the perfect colour match
The fancy shaped edging I added at the bottom of the cardi just to jazz it up a little.

And if you have any ideas for the York trip [see yesterdays blog] please share them! We need ideas!!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

How cute?!

How cute is this crocheted Noah's Ark blankie?!
I found it while searching around on the Raverly website [it's under Noah's art blanket]. Its so cute, it makes me want to have babies just to make it. I love how neat the above blanket is, very professional!

It's cute to see all the other peoples versions of it too. It's what I love about Raverly, not only for its community but to be able to share your projects and see different versions of the same thing. I just end up queuing a load of projects every time I log on!

Just another project to add to the future to do someday, one day list!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The next BIG project

I learnt to crochet way before I was properly interested in being crafty. I'm not really sure why I wanted to learn, or even how it came about. I tried learning to knit countless times but I couldn't and still can't get my head around it. Maybe crocheting seemed the better alternative at the time. 

I can't remember how old I was either when I started learning but i'm thinking I was somewhere between 12 and 15. My minds rubbish enough that I can't really remember making my first crocheted "thing" - a blanket made up of granny squares, all I remember is running out of my first lot of background colour and having to get the next nearest shade. The final result, this blanket [right] is how I learnt to crochet. I finished the blanket and at the same time I finished crocheting until I inherited the hooks and books from my gran last autumn. 

What I made was this huge 345, 4 inch piece granny squared blanket to fit a just over the size of the average single bed in 15 X 23 length rows. To be honest it's a bit too big and it weights a tonne but it keeps me warm on the coldest of Yorkshire nights and was one of the things I loved looking forward to getting into bed and snuggling when I was coming home for visits when I was away at university for four years. 
However there are some problems with it these days. I made this blanket without the proper understanding that you only get with time and experience for the need to fasten off and leave a decent [yet sewn in] end to your yarn. Night time pulling and being kicked around as seen just a far few of the yarns parting company in a number of ways. 

A far few of the squares have lost their insides, their edges just flapping open. One had its trail of wool still dangling, another had totally parted from the corner with only one edge still intact.

So as of last Sunday while watching The Open I began unpicking the poor thing. So far 20 odd squares have been regulated [no worries the wool will be reused]. Luckily most of the injured squares lie weirdly on the last two lines around the blankie. Bar about three so very close to the centre [gutted]. Patches will be hopefully reused with a new strip added around the edge in a gorgeous variegated pink yarn.  But do I keep the squares granny in design for the new strip? Or favour one of my favourite square pattern that i've used in my recent Americana cushion cover - I've heard the pattern being termed under numerous definitions from the Afghan to cluster square [but its the one in the picture at the bottom].

Its going to be the pretty little BIG project to jump back and forth between my work days, one thing I hate about not being a lady of leisure is missing out on all the days I could be busy crocheting and making things! And hopefully one day it'll still be lasting the test of time for perhaps my own children to curl up underneath.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Step into a secret garden

One of the things I enjoyed the most about Dumfries and Galloway is that it really is a hidden gem. Not being overly touristy and therefore not heavy advertised places along the "tourist" trail are relativity quiet and compared to the rest of the UK overly cheap [think £4 entry in to a garden and castle here - Castle Kennedy, compared to perhaps double that back in Yorkshire].

Hidden away on the road to Stranear is a hidden little former castle and it's landscaped gardens. When Castle Kennedy was originally built it was constructed upon a natural island, surrounded by loch's. Now the same lochs proved a micro climate influenced by the gulf stream offers the environment a changing a fresh landscape of plants in comparison to the rest of the UK. 

Destroyed by fire in 1716, rumour has it by a maid which failed to put a fire out properly, Castle Kennedy now is the focal point of the estate. One that holds acres of woodland, a walled traditional garden, a monkey puzzle run and a huge, huge water lily pond.
[Bottom left & top right] although I loved the creeping trees and brushes growing up, out and into the tumbling castle, it seemed somewhat more of a Victorian folly, as a focal point for gardening rather then what it formally was. Which I guess is why it never got rebuilt or made more visitor friendly. I guess in a dream like, favour the tourist it would have been somewhat more romantisied if they could have made the castle more open to creep and crawl inside rather then closed off. But in the era of "health and safety" I guess this is a long gone occurrence.

What makes a walled garden traditional is its sense of your basic, floral and gorgeous smelling plants. Approached through a a creaking iron gate reveals its sound of buzzing bees, a gardener seeing to his weeds, and the shade of the nearby woods. Hidden behind a large stone wall, its act like a huge sun trap, sheltering the visitor from the breezy Scottish wind while offering a clay red backdrop for flowers and trees alike. 

If you fancy a castle, some romance, miles of wooded walks and pretty flowers you can't go much wrong.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The highlands of the low lands

They claim, well the tourist information and boards claim that Dumfries and Galloway is the Highlands of the Lowlands, and you can more then see why. Think the Highlands meets the Lake District but with a hell of a lot less tourists mingling around and getting in the way. As a totally undiscovered area it's not the best if your wanting a break filled with museums and inside things to do, it's more of a back to nature, get up into the hills, forests or beaches while being blown and more often then not, drizzled on.

As a landscape it was gorgeous as the pictures show
The view over the Loch towards the site of King Robert's defeat of the British Army in 1307. This is reputed to be the first battle in English history to use guerilla tactics with the Scots throwing stones down the mountain upon the heads of their English rivals. A huge marker stands at the site of the above photograph in the Glentrool Forest Park north of Newton Stuart. [click on the above image for a larger copy]
One of the great things about Scottish Forest Parks, or at least the Galloway version is that they are free to visit. They are a hive of activity for walkers, mountain bikers and tourist alike. Often with a small tourist information place and miles of car drives, view points and footpaths both on and off road.
It is landscapes, environments and wildlife like the above that is influencing my love for photography and getting a "proper" hi-tech camera. Here is for dreaming for the time being.

Monday, 12 July 2010

4th of July squares .... [just 8 days late]

With an American boyfriend I have an increasing affection for American things. Finding the "4th of July" pattern in what's become my Granny Square crochet bible by Jan Eaton I found the perfect excuse to waste some of the spare wool. I've been working on the project on and off for a few weeks, for some reason it's become a bit of a jump and learning curve going from dollies to squares. Anyway without boring you all with the details here is the finished article. 
The adapted 4th of July pattern, changing the top and side middle pieces from the original.
The back with a pastel based design

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Baby meeeeeerkats, simples!

I guess the main highlight mainly because of the sere amount of enjoyment of visiting the Galloway Wildlife Sanctuary just outside Kirtcumbright. Insert small print about the issues people have with zoos; I know there is a spilt when it comes to "zoos" but these animals were often rescued from poor housing conditions and given a new chance or where born there. All the pens where huge, green and were in marked contrast to some of the conditions you'll find in zoos.
Anyway the meerkat babies [both nameless] where born at the start of June and had only recently started to be brought up out of their underground borrows by their mum. They loved rolling, biting and playing with each other in the summer sunshine while their parents take in turns standing guard with a cheeky stare at their visitors. They were totally characters. I know the British have a slight affection for meerkats since the "simples" car insurance advert and they don't fail to entertain.

But there is the important side, while they are cute they aren't pets whatever image the adverts like to depict.