a bit of this & that

I’ve been busy of late cross stitching on something I can’t show you just yet . . . and also putting up with lots of crashing & banging in the house, accompanied by loads of dirt & dust: the result of which I hope to reveal very soon.

What I can share with you today are the following photos . . .

knitting front and back

Progress on my sweater – yay!  This got stuffed in the bag way back in July because weather was too hot for knitting.  However, over the last few days I’ve finished the front, and begun work on sleeve n°1. 

A little crocheting happened too, but only this

flashy floater

Another floating toy for Gibbs in a very flashy neon pink (left over from a MyBoshi beanie) because . . .

flashy floater 2

. . . the first toys are still functional and floating BUT they’re looking rather sorry & grubby. Not to mention that they’re very difficult to see on dry land, when they fall in a pile of autumn leaves.  I didn’t have enough pink to cover the entire bottle, which explains why it’s a mish-mash of colours & yarns, but it’s bright pink enough to spot from quite a distance and Gibbs believes a dog can never have too many toys.

And last photo, with a big thank you to Ghislaine, one of my ex students

from Ghislaine

Ghislaine sent me a whole pile of bookmarks, including a couple to colour in, and

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an oil pen !  This is a rather nifty device which contains sewing machine oil – how very clever! 

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finish one a month #2 – September

Early in August I boasted that I was going to tackle finishing off my “finished” projects, and attempt to do one a month.  Well September almost came and went without me keeping that resolution . . . almost, but not quite!

I am very pleased to say that I finished not one, but THREE cross stitch projects!  Yep – three in one afternoon.  Not that any of the following took much time to do, it was more a question of just getting down to work.  First of all . . . some framing.  I bought two identical 50cm x 70cm frames a while back for my two Ink Circles cross stitch projects, but had to wait a few weeks for the cardboard mounts to arrive.  I’m not too sure about the colour of my mounts, but there wasn’t a great deal of choice in the shop I went to.  I’ll probably get used to them, the more I see them.

Ink circkes finish 01

So, a drum roll please for a framed “Cirque des Cercles” and matching “Cirque des Triangles”.

ink circles finish 02

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I do have a picture hook on the wall opposite, for “Cirque des Triangles” but wanted to show both together.

And third finished finish . . . a very quick sewing project . . . just adding a zip and using some beige denim from a pair of jeans I cut up which no longer fit.

yarn cats finish 02

yarn cats finish

To make myself a little pouch for my crochet hooks.  I know some people make needle rolls, but I just wanted to whizz up something really quickly to keep all my hooks together in one place.  Not the world’s most creative (or brilliant) sewing, but it’ll do the job.

some monkey business and horsing around

Sorry, couldn’t resist the title to accompany a couple of update crochet photos of amigurumi.  More specifically, of zoomigurumi, since both projects are from the first Zoomigurumi book.

monkey progress

Johnny the monkey, who is now a pile of body parts, waiting to be assembled.  I think I over-stuffed the body and head somewhat as stuffing is visible through the dark brown yarn, despite having used a 3mm hook (which is a couple of sizes smaller than recommended for this yarn).  However, I’m hoping to wangle things so that this lower body part is less noticeable when assembled.  Anyway in photo there is 1 head, 1 body, 2 arms, 2 legs, 1 tail, 1 face piece and 2 ears.

I’ve also been working on Leila the pony

pony progress

So far she looks a little freaky.  I have made and stuffed the body, head and white eye pieces.  And head is already attached to the body.  I still need to crochet up four legs which will have grey hooves.  She also needs ears and a facial expression.   Those 2 bright yarns in the box are two 50g balls of scheepjes “piccolo”  that I snapped up in our local Noz the other week.  One or the other will be used for Leila’s mane and tail.  Haven’t decided which one yet but I’m leaning slightly towards the purple.  Problem is . . . I’m planning on giving Leila to a certain 7 year old neighbour, and we all know what her favourite colour is lol.  Maybe I’ll give Leila pink & purple streaks?

Other bright colours in my life at the moment

new clogs

On my feet . . . I treated myself to a couple of new pairs of plastic “clogs” (which I realise are commonly called crocs these days, but these are not genuine “crocs”.  They’re genuine “hipps” – designed in France). I literally wear these all the time, and find them so comfortable.  I reassure you, I don’t go around with odd clogs, I do have matching feet!  This first one to show you two of the pretty pairs I bought

new clogs 2

And I also bought a pair of plain turquoise too.

Not only are my feet colourful . . . tonight’s dinner started off full of colour too.

bettes

A harvest of chards from the veggie patch where we seem to have several varieties growing.  Sadly the leaves were all full of holes or really dry, so I wasn’t able to use them like I usually do.  And a second sadly, once cooked, for some reason, all the pretty pinks and oranges seem to disappear, so all veggies look the same colour.  Still, they look pretty growing in the veggie patch!

lead us not into temptation (yeah, right!)

The other day I showed you a photo of my growing collection of crochet books.  More specifically, my growing collection of amigurumi pattern books. With promises of a peek inside and eventual drooling.

I’ve already shown you several of the patterns from book number one.

Zoomi 01

Book which I bought before I could even crochet, and which I have already followed several times, making up

amigurumi roary 01

“Roary the tiger” in May.

ami lapin01

“Wasabi the rabbit”.  And book which I am currently using for 2 more projects (no progress made recently) of “Johnny the monkey” and “Leila the pony”.

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Once I finish them, there’s still another pattern in this book which sorely tempts me.  And that’s “Sartù the lemur”, but I’m a bit apprehensive about crocheting his hands and feet.  He has fingers and toes!!!!

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In book 2

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The patterns I am most likely to want to make are “Otto the turtle”, from the cover and “Vladimir the fox”.  Don’t you just love those feet?

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In book 3, the patterns which call to me the loudest are

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“Rusty the red panda”

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and “Nanook the husky”.

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And, finally,  in book 6.  Another red panda “Rudy the red panda”.

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“Oswald the owl”.

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“Bo the panda”.

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And last, but by no means least, “Kimi the kitten”.

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a dog can never have too many toys!

You will remember the success of this

it floats 02

The floatable toy I made for Gibbs, using an empty dairy cream bottle and crocheting in the round with some rather gawdy-coloured yarn.  You’ve already seen photos of the incredible floating toy in action, thus

it floats 03

Well I decided it would be a good idea to make a few more, in case of loss or damage.  For the moment it’s holding up very well.  Okay, it’s now a bit flattened, but Gibbs’ teeth haven’t made holes in the plastic yet, nor has he ripped the crochet cover to pieces.  He’s a good boy – he knows it’s a “fetch” toy, not to be confused with a “chew” toy. 

Still, I crocheted up two more, just so we have a couple of back-up toys in the future.  And here they are, alongside the flattened first toy (on the right).  I’ve kept the idea of long chains which serve two purposes: 1) to knot together and therefore close the cover, which can be removed if the bottle is ever pierced.  2) when holding the toy by the chains, it’s easier to fling it quite far out into the lake. 

jouets flottants x 3

These were made to fit around 340ml drinkable yoghurt bottles, which have something of a waist-line.  They might be a better shape for Gibbs.  The new ones look very bright compared to the first one.  This isn’t because yarn colour has faded, but rather because the colour of the second ball had less yellow than the first one (despite being the same dye number).  Gibbs won’t care.  He sat beside me while I was making them, knowing full well I was making something for him. 

And, still on the subject of crochet . . . a photo to show my growing collection of crochet books.

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There are a total of six in the series.  I started out buying the first (with the monkey) and pre-ordered number 6 which came out in May this year.    Then in June and July, I treated myself to numbers 2 and 3.  Buying one book a month is fairly reasonable, and by this autumn I will have the complete set to drool over. 

I’ll do another post in a few days time to show you a couple of the inside pages, perhaps to make you drool too. 

it floats!

My followers will know that we are the proud parents to Gibbs, a gorgeous Flat-coated Retriever.

Gibbs 14 07

Gibbs is only 10 months old at the moment, and still putting on muscle.  Like all pups, he’s full of beans, and needs lots of exercise and intellectual stimulus to keep him healthy and happy.  And, like most Retrievers, one of his favourite pass times, is to splash around in water.

Now . . . there’s a huge dog park, at the kennels where we bought him.  You have to pay to go there, so we’ve taken out a subscription which gives us entry to the park all day and every day.  Living in the countryside, it might seem wierd to have paid out, to exercise the dog, but the park is HUGE . . . has a couple of lakes, and an agility course.  It’s also a great place for Gibbs to meet other dogs and socialise in.  While we enjoy a good natter with other dog-owners.

Anyway . . . Gibbs loves for us to throw a stick into the lake, and jumps in to swim after it and fetch.   However,  one stick looks very much like another, and he sometimes gets confused, when surrounded by several floating bits of wood, as to what it is he’s supposed to be retrieving.  I went on-line, to see if there were any specific floating toys for water-dogs.  There are, but I was loathe to pay out and started wondering how I could make my own.  My friend, Avis, came up with a brilliant idea.  An empty plastic bottle!  Genius, why didn’t I think of that?

A quick rummage in the recycle bin where I fished out an empty bottle of dairy cream.  An hour with my crochet hook and some cheap acylic yarn, and voilà!

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I just crocheted a circle the same size as the base of my bottle then crocheted in the round until I had something that fitted half way up.  With the crocheted base part on the bottle, I started decreasing so it would fit the shape of the neck.  And rather than sew the top closed, I crocheted a couple of chains which I knotted together.  The idea being . . . if Gibbs manages to make a small hole in the plastic with his teeth, I can still open the casing, unscrew the bottle lid and empty any water that seeps in before the bottle become too filled with water to float.  The chained bits, are also very handy to hold the toy by, as you fling it.

So . . . of we headed to the park, to try out the new toy.

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Not only does it float, but it’s very easy to spot in the water, and Gibbs appears to love it.   We don’t even have to say “Fetch!”.  He knows exactly what we expect of him.  Those Retriever genes!    So, a floaty toy (total cost, approx 20 centimes and 1 hour of my time), which is now hanging up to drip dry before we go back to the park tomorrow.  You can bet, I’ll be saving more small plastic bottles and crocheting up a few more floatable toys, so that we have a replacement to hand should Gibbs ever lose (or destroy) this first one.

Ducky update, crochet WIPs and an upcoming patchwork

I am ever so pleased to say that Ducky’s ordeal is now over.  After going to the vets for an op, following a cat bite, and having to wear his bandage suit.  After being shut up in the guest room for endless days and nights . . . stitches are now out and Ducky is free to come and go as he pleases.

stitches out

Okay, he looks a bit strange still, with a huge, rectangular bald patch.  But fur will grow back eventually and this incident will soon be a thing of the past.

My only worry now is that our other 3 cats are all being very hissy towards him.  They don’t seem to recognise him anymore.  We were expecting Le Bleu to get antsy, because he always does.  However, even the usually docile Merlin and Abby have been hissing and trying to whack Ducky, whenever he gets too close.  In order to try and keep the majority happy, Ducky is therefore still having to sleep on his own in the guest room at night, just until the other cats get over their amnesia.

Apart from spending lots of time giving Ducky extra cuddles in the spare room . . . I have done a little bit of crafting recently.  Not as much as I would have liked, but even so, a few photos to share with you.

WIP monkey

I’ve made a start on “Johny the monkey” – a pattern in the first Zoomigurumi book.  This one is labelled as being for “experienced” crocheters, probably because of the shaping on the face part.  It wasn’t difficult though.  I just followed the excellent stitch by stitch instructions and it hooked up with no problem.  So far I’ve made the head, body, face bit and 2 ears.  Next to tackle the other parts.

I also started a second pattern, from the same book, because working in dark brown isn’t always easy.

WIP pony

This one, “Leila the pony”.  My pony is going to be mainly baby pink, and I’m thinking of using a dark grey for the hooves.  With (possibly) a purple mane and tail, but I haven’t decided yet.  So far, one body, waiting to be stuffed.

And more pics of some new fabrics I am eagerly awaiting . . .

baby 01

baby 02

baby 03

baby 04

baby 05

baby 06

One of our neighbours is expecting a baby girl later this year . . . any excuse eh?  I’ll be making a baby sized quilt, with the bird print as my main fabric, and other pretty colours too.  Can’t wait for fabrics to arrive and to make a start!