new crafting books

I’ve added a few new crafting books to my shelves recently . . . and am feeling very motivated to start a few new projects (just as soon as I’ve finished my WIPs).

I bought two copies of this one (both secondhand) on @m@zon.  One for me and one for Mrs Tattoo so we’ll have plenty of knitting ideas for baby.  Sizing only goes up to 12 months though, so we’re limited in time.   I’ve already knitted up one of the patterns inside. This one, that I showed you already.

A second knitting book, also bought secondhand, is this one.

I also bought a second hand copy in French for Mrs Tattoo.  There are loads of patterns out there to knit or crochet soft toys. I myself already have dozens of crochet books with lots of cute designs. However, I saw this one and thought Claire Garland’s bears look so different, and a great way to use up the yarn stash.  From what I’ve read so far, there are 2 basic patterns for the bears, which are knit in DK and then clothes are either knit or crocheted, often in 4ply.  Bears body parts are knit flat, so there will be sewing up to do.

Anyway, having been able to find second-hand copies of this book, I am thrilled to add it to my shelf of crafting books and will definitely give at least one of the bears a try!

The most recent buy is a crochet book, that calls for aran yarn.

You can have a look inside of this if you search for it on @m@zon.  Instructions are given (both written and in chart form) for the basic slipper in 6 different sizes (3 kids’ sizes and 3 adult sizes).  And can be made in 3 different styles: slip on, shoe or boot.  Those instructions make up the first chapter of the book, then there are 20 different animal variations.  It also gives left-handed instructions in places (which as a leftie, I greatly appreciate).

a knitty happy dance

I’m having a little happy dance after knitting up a small blanket – made because I received some yarn for xmas.  Which means you get to see what other presents I received too.

Lots of books this year: the Scythe trilogy from the Viking family (I asked for it in French so I can then lend to non-English speaking family members afterwards); first 3 in The Wheel of Time series, from Mrs & Mr Lindashee; and “Le livre sans nom” (the book with no name) from Mr & Mrs Tattoo.

More haul was: two sets of acryllic paint markers from the husband (you’ll find out why I asked for these later in the year).  “Under the Dome” DVD mini series from Mrs & Mr Lindashee; “Ralph 2.0” DVD and two packets of googly eyes from Mr & Mrs Tattoo; and two yarn cakes of Lion Brand yarn & a sweater from SIL & family.

And . . . there was even more . . .

SIL has taken up machine embroidery recently and surprised the husband and myself with a gorgeous set of 3 cushions.  Made completely from scratch, including invisible zips and a very cheerful yellow cotton.

A zoom in on my favourite one.

Anyway . . . title of this post is a knitty happy dance because, I decided to cast on with the Lion brand yarn straight away, rather than letting yarn simply become more stash.

And knitted a blanket.  I only had 2 balls so, in order to make the most of yarn and make the blanket as big as possible, I started with a 5 stitch cast on, and increased by 1 stitch every row (with a yarn over) until reaching the end of the first yarn cake.  Then joined yarn (but working second cake from the centre out) and decreased by 1 stitch every row.   I haven’t weaved in my yarn ends yet, but I have a pretty, albeit small, blanket – it finished up at 30″ square so more of a lap warmer but at least it’s a finished item and not just more stash.

what we’re up to in January

We’re already a week into the New Year and haven’t really seen the days fly by because Tali is keeping us on toes.

She’s not yet 3 months old, only just turned 12 weeks, and weighs in at 6.7kg, so quite a feather-weight.  She’s at that awful age where she wants to put everything in her mouth and those milk teeth are razor sharp.  “Ouch” is the word she hears most often at the moment as she tries to bite fingers, ankles, trouser bottoms, shoes . . . whatever she can sink her teeth into.  The husband and I know it’s a passing phase and we’re being as patient (and firm) as possible. Concentrating on the positive aspects:  house-training is going well; walking on the leash is a work in progress; “sit” gets a 90% success rate and Tali does come when she’s called (although not always immediately).

We’re making the most of puppy naptime to each do some crafting.  I’m still having fun with my knitting needles.

This is a new project cast on this year.  I’m knitting with an aran weight silver grey by Allison & Mae (bought for only 1.09€/100g in a local shop and am knitting another sweater for myself.  I’m using two patterns for inspiration, which I’ll tell you about another time (if this works).   So far, I have a back and the front is underway.

The husband, in the meantime, had fun with one of his xmas presents.  Following an article by Kate, I went browsing on @m@zon and bought a “book nook” kit for the husband.  Here’s what it looks like once assembled.

It was a bit fiddly in places, and required a fair amount of patience, but the husband really enjoyed making it and the result is ever so pretty.  In fact, when we were in the local shop where I bought my grey yarn, we saw some other miniature kits (for only 9.95€) and the husband decided to try one of those.  Not a “book nook”, but the same kind of activity. requiring glue, a steady hand & patience.





my last finish of the year

There were two projects I was hoping to get finished before the end of the year: a crocheted pterodactyl and the most recent knitting project, started earlier this month.  Sadly, I only managed to finish one, but it’s lovely to be having a knitting happy dance on this last day of the year!

I showed you a sneak peek of the project which looked like this.

Some people thought it was a new sweater, when in fact, it’s something completely different.

This is the pattern I was following, only not in grey.

It’s what, in French, we call a “nid d’ange” (an angel’s nest) and is basically a baby sleeping bag.

It was a perfect project to use some of the remaining King Cole Comfort aran I had in my stash (used 300g) which is so soft,  and a good excuse to do some more cabling.

You’ve seen me knitting baby patterns in the past, for my dolls, however this project will be for a real live baby.  Big news I’ve been keeping quiet about: Mr & Mrs Tattoo are expecting a Baby Inkling for the Spring.

another knitty finish

2022 seems to have been a knitting year for me.  Knitting is something I came to rather late in life, and am forever learning new techniques, having fun and making unique garments along the way.  The latest project cast on my needles, is already finished.  It was a stash-busting project, using a free Rowan pattern I downloaded years ago, and a lovely King Cole Comfort Aran in the colour “Jade”, gifted to me for xmas 2018 (and chosen specifically because of this pattern).

However, when I began, I had to do some maths because this Rowan pattern calls for a light worsted yarn, and I had aran which I really wanted to use.  After a few tension swatches, I decided to knit on 5mm, cast on for the M size, and hope it turned out an L size.  Pattern is broken rib for sleeves and lower part of body, then changes to off-set rib for the yoke of body.  It has a turtle neck, but I decided against that, and just did a simple 2×2 rib.

I also shortened the body part because I already have several bum-warmer sweaters and fancied making something a bit shorter.  Am really happy with how it turned out.

It’s quite chunky, due to the rib stitch, but it’s ever so comfortable and the KC yarn is extremely soft & snuggly.  I used a total of 600g for this project, which means I have 400g left over.  A flick through my stash of knitting patterns/books, and I’ve already cast on a new project.

A second cable project . . . but I won’t tell you what I’m making just yet.

While taking photos of knitting . . . I realised I never had photos taken of me modelling the sleeveless top I made this summer.

This one, that I finished in July.   There you go!  Another project not worked with the recommended yarn, although I did choose a very similar colour.


catching up

Oops already 3rd December and I realise I missed my monthly round-up of “hen happenings” . . .

not that there was much to report.  Gals are all fine but on something of a go-slow.  A total of 51 eggs for November (with 3 hens) – I think that’s an all-time low.

Non-hen related chat

concerning Ziva.  Here she is sporting a lycra body-suit because I took her in to be neutered on 1st December.  She’s not quite 7 months old and weighed in at 2.8kg but I wanted to get her spayed as early as possible.  Tis done.  She’s getting used to the body suit which is a much better option than the one the vet staff made.  And with colder weather on the way, she seems quite happy to stay indoors.

And, last but not least . . .

I’ve cast on a new knitting project.  This is a free pattern I stumbled across years ago, and for which I have had the yarn in my stash since xmas 2018.

The pattern, being a Rowan, actually calls for “worsted” weight and I asked Mr Tattoo for a lovely King Cole Comfort Aran back in 2018.  Tension obviously won’t work, and that’s why this yarn and pattern have been sitting in the drawer all these years.  However, I did some maths, and am going to make the pattern work with my aran yarn (I hope).  It’s very easy knitting, just knits & purls, and growing very fast.


ta da!

Well I got a wiggle on and my poncho (begun this summer) is ready to wear for this winter – yay!

apologies for the following photos of a very unphotogenic me, and taken by the “point & click” husband.  One day, I’ll actually look presentable for photos, but you just have to put up with what I looked like on the day (including my trainers with scrappy laces).

I followed this pattern

(also marketed by Sirdar) and used this yarn.

I’m a  UK size 14 and measure 1.74m so I could have saved yarn (and time) by knitting a smaller size, but I cast on for the size XXXL as I wanted it to be as big and baggy as possible.  I changed the cable pattern, and it took approx 650g of yarn.

If I decided to knit it again, I would go down a couple of sizes (to make quicker work of it) because the neck turned out rather wide but I love it nonetheless.

need to get a wiggle on!

Goodness me! we’re almost at the end of November which means I need to get a wiggle on with my knitting!  I began this project


way back in August!  And hopes were that it would be finished by the end of November. Hmmm . . . now I’m just hoping it’ll be finished before xmas!  I’ve been allowing myself to become distracted with diamond painting because that’s something easy to do, and doesn’t attract cats on my lap. As soon as I try to sit down with knitting, there are always one or two felines who suddenly appear out of nowhere, and I quickly put my knitting away.

Saying that, the front, with the band of cable (I’m doing a different cable to one suggested in pattern) has grown from this

to this

so things are moving in the right direction. However, I still have quite a few rows to do, and then I need to sew together at shoulder and pick up for the colloar. So, not close to a finish yet.  Colours are much prettier in real life (but the camera flash makes stitch definition look strange). This is a better one of true colours.

Gorgeous purples & reds, gold & browns.   For info, the yarn I’m using is

a colour called “Sunset”.

first cabling

I’ve been having fun with my colourful yarn, and making progress with my poncho.  Knitting this pattern.

However . . . I’ve had to change the choice of cable pattern due to my self-striping yarn.  A bit difficult to see from the above photo, but this cable pattern had me slipping stitches in 2 consecutive rows, then cabling the slipped stitch which was effectively from 2 rows previous (since it had been slipped twice, never knitted) . . . and I didn’t like the result. It gave me sudden jumps in colour, with something 2 rows below suddenly appearing on the cable section and just looked messy.

I was determined to have a cable band down the front though, so I rifled through my books, and searched on the internet, until I found something I thought would work.

And this one does work – yay!

I’m having to thread a life-line in at the beginning of each 8 row pattern repeat sequence, because I had several accidents when I began and don’t want any more.  It’s adding a nice bit of texture to the front of my knitting, and a little bit of excitement that requires concentration when I get to the centre of each row.  And colours look better in real life . . . more like below.

except that the photo with flash, while it shows true colours, make stitch definition look wierd.  Looks much better in real life!

Anyway . . . I’ve still got a long way to go, but I should have my first cabled project ready & finished by the time colder weather arrives!

another un-birthday (and more)

It’s just as well we don’t grow another year older each time we celebrate an un-birthday, because I had a second unbirthday celebration in September.  Thanks to Angèle, the second time with more lovely gifts.

Angèle sent me a denim tote bag, that she embroidered with cherry blossom, two pieces of fabric, 2 skeins of embroidery thread (the white DMC one is a “glow in the dark”), a pretty card, and a pins badge.

So a big “merci” to Angèle for all those lovely goodies!

I feel very spoilt, and I’m not the only one!  Ziva has got more toys than she knows what to do with now after I had a quick sewing session.

Using a couple of fluffy dusters, some ribbons & rick rack, toy stuffing and “cat grass”, I made some very simple toys for her to chase around and practice her hunting skills on.  I didn’t even try to make them look like mice, or anything, just sewed pouches & stuffed.   We’ve got cat toys galore in the house already but Ziva tends to lose them under the furniture.  Hopefully these new ones should be bright enough to spot easily.  She enjoys playing with them already, throwing them up in the air, carrying them around in her mouth.

And when not sewing cat toys, I managed to sit down and finish the back of my poncho.  Which has gone from this

to this

Now to cast on and knit the front which will be more interesting, since this will be my first ever cable project. Just a band of cable up the front centre, like this.

I’m not using the recommended yarn because (as I tend to do) I shopped around on-line looking for alternatives, and am knitting with this. Midway between DK and Aran, but I’m making it work to Aran tension for the purpose of this project.