Dance accessories

A couple of years ago, I made Alice a pair of legwarmers and a pair of wrist warmers for here to wear on her way to dance classes. She’s never been very good at remembering to wear them, but she did a couple of weeks ago and it would appear everyone wants some now! I think the little cold snap we’ve had has seen some chilly legs both in and out of dance class.

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I haven’t done any knitting for a while so it’s been nice to get out my needles again and start scaling up patterns to the right size. Fortunately, Alice is quite a good guide for her dance pals size. It’s also been fun sorting through my immense yarn stash. Trying to get perfect matches for dance uniforms isn’t easy, but I’ve not done too badly with a deep raspberry pink soft baby yarn and a bright turquoise for the younger children. Some of the older ones have a real love of sparkle, so along with the relevant Mums, we settled on some bright pink with a sparkle running through it for 3 of the girls, a navy blue with a blue sparkle in for another two and a black with silver thread for another.

It’s been touch and go getting these all finished for the big day (and before dancing finishes for the Christmas break), but they are all now complete. I hope they all like them when they open them under the Christmas tree. I can’t wait to see them all being worn in the new year!

Happy Christmas crafting
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School Fair

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It was lovely to see so many parents and family members at school.  The fair itself was as manic as always. being straight after school it’s always very well attended.  This was the first year they’ve really invited parents to have their own stalls and it was great to see the variety of items available.  I was next to a lovely lady from Artysan Gifts who makes bespoke framed gifts. It was her first ever stall and she did really well. I wasn’t surprised as her frames are beautiful. I wonder if I can find a reason to order one for someone?!

There were two Asian food stalls and another card maker too. Fortunately we weren’t quite next to each other and our cards were very different in style, so we appealed to different tastes.

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I decided to go with a ‘name the cat’ competition in the end. It drew in quite a few of the children (and staff). He ended up with the name ‘Garfield’ and was won by a little girl from year one. I sold quite a few cards as well and some knitted and crochet items. So all in all it was a successful fair for me, as well as for the school.

I hope they invite us all back for the next fair at Christmas!

Happy crafting
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New partnership

While I was at the Ramsbottom pre-Christmas craft fair the other week, I met a lovely lady, Emma, who has her own business, Empathy Holistics. She offers baby massage, pregnancy massage and workshops and was doing relaxing hand and shoulder massages at the fair. As well as the massage she makes up blends of relaxing massage oils, balms and creams.

Knitted Sacks

Knitted Sacks

We got talking and she fancied having something different to package her bottles of creams and oils in, particularly for Christmas. So we came up with the idea of my little knitted Santa sacks which I’ve used for sweets in the past. I’ve supplied 11 sacks in a variety of colours, to see how they go. Here’s a couple of the postings for the gifts showing my knitted sack.

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They seem to be attracting some nice comments, so fingers crossed for them being a good seller. We might try some larger stockings if they go well.  The gifts are fantastic for Mums-to-be and new Mums, both for Mum and baby, so pop over to the shop and have a browse.

Happy crafting
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Working on my PHD

Yes you did read that correctly, I am working on my PHD – Projects Half Done that is!

I was looking in my living room at the steadily growing pile of patterns, yarn and project bits and thought enough is enough, I need to finish some of these before I start anything new.

So first up is my little crochet unicorn. I had already completed the head, body and horn, so it’s time to make the legs and mane.

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This is a pattern from LGC Knitting and Crochet magazine that I started several months ago. My daughter is mad about horses, ponies and unicorns, so it seemed like a great gift for her. With her real love of Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony, the colours were almost perfect too. We had an afternoon watching ‘The Cat Returns’ and I made all the legs, but the mane took ages! Who would have thought that cutting 80 20cm lengths of yarn and then tassling them into a 21ch length would take almost 2 hours!!! Maybe it’s just me being really slow….

Anyway I now have all the pieces ready to stuff and sew together.

Next up is a crochet snowman I started last year.

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Again it’s a pattern from Knitting and Crochet magazine and it uses up some of my larger left over yarn balls. I’ve made the head and body using baby yarn, so it was time to make the nose, scarf and earmuffs. This called for a watch of ‘Frozen’, something we haven’t actually sat down to watch for a few months. This was a bit fiddly as it meant using a 2.5mm hook, which is very delicate. Fingers crossed I have enough yarn to finish the headband, or I might be making it in a co-ordinating colour! Watch this space..

My next projects to finish are to start off my Christmas collection. I know I didn’t start in June, but I need to get cracking on some of the little stockings as they are always in demand for stocking fillers, teacher gifts, table presents and tree decorations. I have 6 rainbow stockings ready to sew up now, and I have finished my first two winter coloured ones, complete with fluffy tops!

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Finally I have the knitted and crochet blanket I started for Bury Show that I didn’t get chance to finish in time. I love the sampler feel of this and all the bright colours. I now need to finish off the connecting of the squares and decide how to edge it. Any suggestions are gratefully received.

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This will really clear up my living room and give me a chance to make something new for Christmas. I am newly enthused for these projects now and can’t wait to see them finished.

Happy crafting
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Learning to Knit?

‘But you can already knit’ I hear you cry.

Yes I know I can already knit, but I’m always open to learning more. I found a lovely lady with a stall at Bury Show last weekend and she has set up her own little business teaching people to knit. I was drawn in by the lovely balls of yarn on her table and picked up a leaflet and business card for a bit more information.

We had a lovely chat about knitting and it turns out that she doesn’t think her classes would be of any benefit to me. She teaches mainly adults, however, she is considering teaching children to knit, probably from the age seven. So I might well be taking her up on that option for my daughter in the next year or so. (That is if she wants to learn) It was great to chat with someone else so passionate about her craft.

So if you want to learn to knit or are ready to take on cables and/or knitting in the round and are in the Bury area, why not check out learn to knit bury

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Happy crafting
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Recovery

Well, this week I am recovering from my surgery.  So I’m working day-to-day depending on how I feel.

Typically in the times when I’ve been feeling rough I’ve been thinking about everything I’ve been making and having second thoughts about all my designs and ideas!  In particular I’m rethinking my makes for Bury Show at weekend.  I like my card design but I’m not sure it’s adventurous enough, so I might have to make something else.  The one causing me the most worry at the moment though is my knitted make.  It’s very different for me but I’m now sure it would class as a knit for a baby or toddler.  I don’t really have enough time to make something else though, so I shall stick to it and try to get it finished in time.

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I’ve also been thinking a lot about what I need to be making at the moment, mainly about thank you cards and gifts for the teachers at school.  Well it’s only four weeks to the end of term for my little one, so as I feel a little better today I have decided to make some apple cards for my daughter to send.  This year I’m going to add a little tag with the teacher’s name on.

Thank You Card

I can’t believe how fast this school year has gone. With all the health scares I feel like I’ve been out of it for quite a while. But now I’m recovering I can hopefully, put all the pain and discomfort behind me and we can have a fun packed sunny Summer – as long as the British weather decides to play nicely!

Well I had better get back to my apples, leaves and tags before school pick up.

Happy crafting
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Christmas in June! Not me.

Many crafters are thinking about Christmas already.  I’m afraid to say I’ve only got as far as thinking about it.  It’s just too hard to think about making Christmas cards, when we’ve finally got some warm weather!  I have made a decision to make some owl cards this Christmas, not sure how they will look in Christmas papers, but there’s only one way to find out!

So while I’m supposed to be busy making all my Christmas cards, I’ve actually been making my entries for the 72nd Bury Agricultural Show.  I think I’m only going to be entering two classes this year.  As I was awarded first prize in the card class last year, I have a tough act to follow.  I’ve made one card already, and have an idea for another, both quite different for me, so fingers crossed!

I’m also working on something for the knitted / crochet class.  This year it’s an item for a baby or toddler.  I haven’t placed in this section before as the standard is always high, usually won by an incredibly intricate item of clothing.  However, this year I’m going to try and show my knitting skills with lots of different stitches.  I might enter one of my crochet baby comforters too, depending on how I feel on the day!

I shall post some pictures when everything is completed and the judging done.  Here’s hoping for some more places this year.

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Happy crafting
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A Look Back in Time

I woke up this morning thinking about all the toys I used to make, wondering where I had put all the photographs of them. Mum and I spent a lot of time making toys for people about twenty years ago. It’s what really got me back into crafting after University. So I spent some time hunting out the old photo boxes today, which was a great opportunity to reminisce about my lost youth. It also gave my daughter a chance to have a laugh at my huge 80’s hair and glasses!

So I’ve scanned some of the pictures to show everyone what I used to make back in the day!

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I must have made about thirty of these octopuses over the years for friends and family members. If you’ve got one out there I’d love to see it now! My daughter has one in her bedroom that I made before she was born. In fact they have become a staple gift for all the new babies in the family!

I also made a lot of pierots and dolls for friends and colleagues. I believe one of these dolls was sent to Australia.

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It’s been fun hunting out these reminders, I may add more in the coming weeks.

Happy crafting
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Knitting!

I haven’t done any knitting for ages and while I was looking through my knitting bag by the settee, I thought why not knit something for a change?! I normally knit in the winter, but it’s been so cold here recently that knitting has been really appealing to me.

I decided to have a real sort out of my craft room and found a pile of knitting patterns that I had forgotten about completely. I fancied making something different, but quick to make, and I came across a pattern for wrist warmers. Ideal for Spring and the current weather, and they don’t take up much yarn. An ideal project for using up some odd balls of yarn.

I started with a pair for me. I have a good stash of yarn, mostly double knit, and found some pure wool that I thought would be lovely to use. It knits up very easily and was so soft on my hands. (I was once told that lanolin occurs naturally in wool and that can soften skin – I tested this theory out in my previous life as an energy efficiency officer where I had a sample of woollen insulation and it was a great alternative to having handcream on my desk). The cold has made my skin quite dry recently so any help I can get to keep them feeling soft is appreciated!

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Anyway, I managed to make up the simple wrist warmers very quickly and decided to make some more for my daughter as an alternative to gloves. I scaled down the pattern by using smaller needles and cotton yarn.

I generally enjoy the knitting but not the sewing up of my projects, so I always have a few projects in the bag waiting to be put together. But this time I set myself a target to learn how to mattress stitch seams together. I’ve always struggled with learning from a picture as I can’t convert the flat 2d picture into what I need to do in real life, so this was going to be a challenge for me. I found a small set of written and pictorial instructions for this stitch, which took me a while to fathom – including unpicking a couple of times – but I mastered it and can’t believe how amazing the seams look. I was so impressed I even took my work up to show my Mum who was equally impressed and has requested a lesson!

So here are the finished cotton wrist warmers I made for my daughter.

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They were just what was needed for going to her dance class and they certainly attracted some interest. My daughter wants some legwarmers now to go with them!

Time to get back to the knitting needles and look for some interesting yarns and colours to put together!

Happy crafting
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Our Handmade Tree

This year I’ve let my daughter have a tree in the hall, and given her a huge box of decorations.  The box was full of handmade decorations, some made by her through the few years of her life in nursery and school.   It’s been a real journey of remembering watching her decorate the tree. She made one of the decorations at playgroup when she was only just 1!  It’s great to see how she’s grown as some of the decorations she’s made at school have her photo on.

Handmade Christmas Tree

Once she had reminisced with me over all her decorations, she got out some of the decorations I’ve made over the last twenty years or so. I love the little snowballs at the bottom of the tree. They were some of the first decorations I made over twenty years ago. So there’s a real mix of little stockings, snowflakes, hearts and some Jean Greenhowe decorations (including the snowballs). We love our little handmade tree and long may we keep adding new decorations to it.

Merry Christmas
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