a monster happy dance

Back in January (on 9th to be precise) I showed you this photo of a crochet WIP.

monster WIP

Pattern is “Little Ella in her monster suit” by Litlle Aqua Girl, and published in the Monster Amigurumi book. 

I actually started crocheting this a few days before Christmas, just as a small crochet project to keep my hands busy . . . and then it got put on hold (because I suddenly got carried away with knitting).  This month saw me hooking a few hours here and there . . . and after much fiddly sewing together, I am very pleased to share with you my monster happy dance.

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Here is “Little Ella in her monster suit”, posing beside a 1 litre bottle of milk, to give you an idea of scale.  I crocheted using a 4ply (I think) and with a 2mm hook, to keep her as small as possible.  That made for a lovely finished size, but didn’t help when it came to crocheting all the fiddly bits.  In fact, my little Ella isn’t quite the same as the pattern photo.  Monster horns didn’t work out identical sizes to start with (no idea how that happened) and I didn’t bother adding stripes to either horns or arms.  I also omitted a few pink spots, because by the time I got to those, all I wanted to do was get this project finished lol. 

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I think little Ella is rather cute, and definitely learned a few more crochet techniques along the way.  I love how she stands nicely, with the tail helping her to keep balance . . . and the fact her monster suit has a working hood. 

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just loving knitting!

I’m rather a late bloomer in the field of knitting!  As I’ve told you before, I learned the basics as a child, having a mum and a gran who were both prolific knitters.  It wasn’t something I took to though, as I always felt a bit cack-handed trying to coordinate two needles and got discouraged when my knitting slid off the needle, not having a clue how to go about picking up stitches.  Anyway, after teaching myself to crochet, I decided if I could learn crochet from scratch, then I could certainly re-learn how to knit and follow a pattern.

You’ve seen my first attempts which have all been an interesting learning curve.  And I come to show you 2 more recent knitted projects, of which I am quite proud, because I think I’m slowly getting the hang of it!

I showed you a sneak peek the other day of something very bright for Baby Viking.  Today I can reveal all . . . not that Baby Viking has received grandma’s knitting gifts yet, but Mummy Viking has seen photos, so I feel it’s safe to share.  This is the “Cheri” pattern, designed by Martin Storey for Rowan, and is a free download.  This is the cover photo on pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And my version, knitted, without the crocheted cherries, in a variagated Marriner DK and “Citron” Stylecraft Special DK.

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I’m calling this the “Candy Crush” cardigan, because of the bright colours, and because of the perfect buttons I bought to finish it off.

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Speaking of buttons . . . I ordered in quite a few, in lovely bright colours, and don’t they look like sweeties?

buttons

After the bright rainbow and yellow version, I cast on to make a second “Cheri” cardie for Baby Viking . . . this time in “Aspen” Stylecraft Special DK for the stocking stitch and another variagated Marriner for the garter stitch bands.

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I’m not quite so happy with the way this one turned out.  It doesn’t have quite as much pizzazz as the “Candy Crush” version.

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So note to self:  it’s not just about learning to knit and follow a pattern.  It’s also about choosing colours.

2019 – 1964 = 55

55 is the number of candles there would have been on my cake this month, if I had had a birthday cake.  Instead, the husband concocted a lovely birthday dinner including such delicacies as foie gras (which he prepares himself);  lobster with a spoonful of caviar; followed by scallops with oranges on a bed of rice.  And very yummy it all was. 

As befits any birthday gal, I was suitably spoiled on my special day, receiving cards, e-cards, text messages, phone calls, skype messages and . . .  presents.

Want to see what I got?  Of course you do!  silly question really. 

Well first . . . a little treat from myself lol

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Some James C Brett “Marble” chunky (4 x 200g) to knit this gorgeous baggy cardigan/jacket.  And, since I was paying p&p, I thought it only sensible to order in a few more patterns . . .

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So, two other patterns.  A King Cole, with two different patterns – it’s the blue version that caught my eye, not so keen on the turtle neck version.  And a Sirdar Hayfield, more classic cardie with raglan sleeves.

I received more lovely yarn from Avis

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Avis knows I love Stylecraft Special DK for my amigurumi crocheting, and is helping me build up the complete stash of colours.  She sent me 5 x 100g (Citron, Graphite, Mocha, Bottle Green & Bluebell).  Avis also sent me a packet of wooden buttons in the shape of sewing machines and “What Comes Next” by John Katzenbach.  This looks right up my street, but I’ve got a couple of library books to read first before I settle down to enjoy this one.

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From my daughter (aka Lindashee) and her partner:  a cross stitch kit.  “My Day Off” adapted from art work by Ronald West.  I really love Ronald West’s artwork, and think this design will be lots of fun to stitch.

And, last, but not least,

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French blogging friend, Sandrine, had been busy at work.  She made me the most gorgeous sewing machine tidy and matching bag.  The “tidy” is a quilted mat, which sits under the sewing machine, and the flap, which hangs over the side of the table, has lots of little pockets to keep things like scissors, tape measure, screwdriver, thread, bobbins etc. 

So, there you have it!  Lots of fabulous surprises to keep me busy doing what I love to do: knitting, crocheting, reading, cross stitching and sewing! 

another “Cheri” cardie–sneak peek only!

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I come to show only a sneak peek photo to you today, but I can tell you, I am having the most joyous happy dance – yay!    After the success of the “Cheri” pattern (by Martin Storey for Rowan) only a few days ago, I cast on to knit up a second version.  I chose a variagated Marriner Mermaid DK in pink and other vibrant colours, plus Stylecraft Special DK in “Citron” for the garter stitched bands.  I knitted in size 1-2 years, so it’s turned out really dinky.   It only used up 55g of the Marriner and 20g of Stylecraft.   And, aside from my colour combo, which I think is sunglasses worthy and rather “candy crush” . . . my sewing of bits together went wonderfully.   Here’s the front of right sleeve and part of the button band.

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And this is back view of right sleeve.  I can now proudly say “By Jove, I’ve got it!”  I totally understand what I did wrong with my first two knit projects (stripey sweater and pink cardie).  And, while I can’t say I loved the sewing together, it wasn’t too gruelling.  Probably because the last 2 projects have been tiny toddler size . . . I’ll no doubt be complaining about sewing together when I tackle an adult sized garment.  However, that won’t be this week!  I’ve already cast on in some more bright colours . . . to make a third “Cheri” cardigan.

Only problem with my new found love of knitting . . . I have a crocheted monster which has been sitting around since Christmas, awaiting spikes, teeth and sewing together.  Have a couple of other crochet projects on my “to do” list . . . and my sewing machine is gathering dust, because all I want to do it knit & purl.

SAL update–Bag Ladies #6

I’ve been rather side-tracked with knitting over the past few weeks, so sadly don’t have as much progress as I would like, to show for the SAL.

Last time, this was my photo

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This is how things look today

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There is progress, but no new “finished” sections to boast about.

This update, we welcome two new members to the group:  Carmela who lives in Italy and Jocelyn in Canada.

Full list of links

Avis Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Connie, Clare, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn

 

And we’ll be back on 24th February!

curling up with a good book #2

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I think it was Cathy who mentioned a Sarah Waters’ novel a few months ago in one of her Yarn A-long posts.  I had never heard of Sarah Waters, so decided to give her writing a try.

The titles that grabbed my interest were the above.  And the one I read first was:

“THE PAYING GUESTS” – Sarah Waters (2014)

(summary from back cover)

It is 1922, and in a hushed south London villa life is about to be transformed, as genteel widow Mrs Wray and her discontented daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.  Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class”, bring with them gramophone music, colour, fun – and dangerous desires.  The most ordinary of lives, it seems, can explode into passion and drama . . . A love story that is also a crime story, this is vintage Sarah Waters.

Now, I really didn’t know what to expect when I turned the first page.   I was therefore  probably expecting something rather prim & proper, what with the story being set in the 1920s and one of the main characters appearing, at a first glance, to be a rather dried up spinster.  All I can say is: first impressions are deceiving lol.  Sarah Waters paints a vivid picture of London, barely recovered from WWI, still grieving the deaths of sons and fathers . . . the “what will the neighbours think?” society where appearances matter . . . subtly introducing a passionate love affair, violent death, and the most rivetting criminal investigation.  I just couldn’t put this book down.  Without giving anything away . . . I was rooting for Frances all the way, biting my finger nails with worry, grateful that police forensics in the 1920s weren’t what they are today and all the while convinced that it could only end in tears.

Definitely a 5 star read.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“THE NIGHT WATCH” – Sarah Waters (2006)

summary from back cover)

Tender and tragic, set against the turbulent backdrop of wartime Britain, “The Night Watch” is the extraordinary story of four Londoners: Kay, who wanders the streets in mannish clothes, restless and searching . . . Helen, who harbours a troubling secret . . . Viv, glamour girl, recklessly loyal to her soldier lover . . . and Duncan, an apparent innocent, struggling with demons of his own.  Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit liaisons and sexual adventure, to end with the beginning in 1941, this is an astonishing novel.

I picked up this Sarah Waters novel because I rather liked the idea of the novel working in reverse chronological order, and the fact it was set during wartime London.  However, I don’t think the idea to begin in 1947 and move back in time to 1941 really worked.   I found it quite a good read.  Could tell that Sarah Waters had done lots of research to get things historically correct, and she again makes use of the historical setting to draw our attention to certain things (eg abortion, suicide and homosexuality) which were illegal at the time.  Characters were all likeable but  not enough to really grab me  Only 3 stars for this.  It was a good bed-time read, but  really wasn’t the same standard as “The Paying Guests”.

best layer of the month # January 2019

eggs jan

First month of the year has simply flown past!  Can’t believe it’s already 31st January (and incidentally, also the 31st birthday of Eldest Son).  Hens have had to put up with very cold temperatures, what with snow, and drinking water freezing over. With the cold plus lack of daylight (although days are growing longer), egg count was more modest than during the warmer months.

It’s Mauricette, our French Blue, who takes the prize once again though, with 26 eggs this month.  Miss Plumpton laid 16 and old Miss Moneypenny 11.  That makes a total of 53 fresh eggs for January, so still enough to distribute amongst the neighbours.