13. Pumpkins, Poppies and Progress

It’s been the half-term holidays this week in the UK, so Faye has been home from school. I’ve still been working from home but it’s been nice to have some company in the house, and another pair of eyes to watch Cosmo!

Faye loves Halloween, so we always decorate the house. She really enjoys painting our faces on Halloween too and although we won’t be trick or treating this year, we still plan to paint faces anyway.

On Thursday evening, we played with some polymer clay and made some Halloween inspired mini ornaments for the twiggy tree. It was a lovely craft session with non-stop chattering and lots of giggling at the things we were making ๐Ÿ˜†

I should have out something in so you could see the scale. They are all around thumbnail size.

This week, I baked a coffee and walnut traybake using a recipe from Mary Berry’s ‘Baking Bible’. It was delicious!

Weโ€™re planning to bake some cupcakes over the weekend and decorate them for Halloween.

I’ve been meaning to make some fabric pumpkins for a few years now, so I’m thrilled that I finally made the time to do it. I bought some fat quarters and cut them in half (so I only used half of each fabric), sewed the short sides with the material right-side together on my sewing machine. Then I did a running stitch around the bottom and pulled it tight and secured it, stuffed the pumpkin with toy filling, then did another running stitch around the top. I sewed down through the centre of the pumpkin and back up a few times and pulled the thread tight to create an indent in the pumpkin. On two of them, I ran some lengths of embroidery thread through the centre as a finishing touch. For the stalks, I just rolled up some felt and used a glue gun to secure them in place.

I crocheted this cute little pumpkin mouse using a pattern by Kate Eastwood using cotton dk yarn from my stash. He’s been on my making wishlist for a while now too, so it felt good to finally make him.

The local community craft group put a call out for handmade poppies that they need to create a display. I managed to complete 50 with the yarn I had.

Sock progress has been a little slow this week. I have only picked up my Leaky Cauldron socks but Iโ€™ve just done the heel turn and thatโ€™s it. All that sock knitting last week and barely any at all this week!

My main project this week has been crocheting my Cath Kidston-inspired Granny Square Blanket. I was hopeful that I could get this finished before the end of the month but I always forget how long it takes to complete a round when the blanket gets to this size. I’m really close to finishing but sadly have run out of three colours and need to order some more. This will leave me with leftover yarn but I can add the green and blue to Cosmo’s blanket. Speaking of the little monkey, he’s been ‘helping’ me…

I did have grand plans to complete the Disney Cross Stitch this month too, but it was just a stretch too far, and it was a project I just didn’t feel like picking up all that much. Saying that, I have made significant progress on it and I have ordered a hoop big enough to display the finished piece.

Sometimes setting goals really spurs me on and at other times, it puts me off working on things, perhaps because it feels unachievable or having the deadline takes away the fun of it. At this time of year, with the nights drawing in, I always feel so lethargic. Like my body is going into hibernation mode! I think it’s best to just take things one day at a time and enjoy working on whatever project I feel like without imposing deadlines on myself. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I finish or when! It’s a hobby!

I was so happy that Knitvent 2020 started this week. This is a 6-project KAL by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. Having taken part the last two years and really enjoying it, I took the opportunity to buy the early bird pattern collection. The first pattern was released this week and I couldn’t wait to cast on, particularly after I had organised my mini skeins!

Happy crafting! xx

12. Feeling Autumnal

Hello! I’m making an effort to get back in to weekly blogging but I seem to have lost the ability to type sentences. I think the best thing to do is just dive right in from where I am now and what I’ve been doing this week. I’ve had an amazing crafty week! That’s why I enjoy writing this blog because sometimes, I don’t feel like I’ve done much through the week and then I put it all together and think: Wow! I accomplished quite a bit!

This week it’s all been about the socks with my knitting. I now have not one, not two, but THREE pairs on the needles! This is the first time I have ever had multiple pairs on the go but weirdly it seems to be making me more productive as I can pick up the ones I feel like working on.

Here is a picture of my current progress. I have my October socks using Biffsugar yarns ‘Leaky Cauldron’; Christmas socks using West Yorkshire Spinners ‘Candy Cane’ and ‘Cayenne Pepper’ for the contrast. Both of these are using the Basic Sock pattern by Winwick Mum. Then on Saturday, I cast on the Lola Socks (pattern by Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet) as this is the official Strictly Sockalong pattern. The Strictly Sockalong in organised by Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful and this is the first year I’m taking part. And Strictly has started! I’m so happy. I love it so much. To make it extra fun, my mum and I watch it together (her in Cornwall and me in Staffordshire) and we text each other all the way through. This does make the knitting part more tricky! But if I’m honest, I only knit through the talking bits anyway as I can’t knit and look at the screen at the same time!

I’ve enjoyed a bit of impromptu crochet this week too. I blame Instagram! I saw that Kate Eastwood of Just Pootling had shared her mini pumpkin bunting pattern and I couldn’t resist. I made it in an evening and I love it. It’s so cute!

Making the bunting reminded me that I had the lovely book by Kate Eastman for my birthday, so I made a few crochet pumpkins to add to my autumn display. I decided to finish them with some twigs for the stalks instead of crocheting them.

We had a request through the community craft group for poppies for a planned display, so I downloaded a free crochet pattern by Catherine Adamson from Ravelry and got 20 finished this week. They need to be in by the end of the month, so I’m hoping to get more done (as many as I have yarn for!).

I managed to get some time on my sewing machine last weekend and finished my patchwork cushion covers for our bed. I made these up as I went along using stash fabric and leftovers from the curtains I made at the beginning of the month. They are far from perfect but I’m still pleased with how they turned out. Each finished project gives me a little bit more sewing machine confidence.

I have baked two new recipes this week. Both recipes were from the autumn supplement from this month’s BBC Good Food magazine. I don’t always buy it – usually around autumn, Christmas and Easter – but I always enjoy reading it. I put post-its in and mean to have a go at them and then never seem to get around to it. So, this month, I promised myself I would make something and I’m so glad I did. These recipes have turned out beautifully and I would definitely make them again.

The first was a Dorset apple cake. Perfect for a hot pudding with custard.

The second recipe was for chocolate fudge crinkle biscuits. These are a family favourite. Everyone LOVED them!

I’ve pretty much finished up in the garden for the winter months now, except I still need to empty a few pots and plant out the tulip bulbs. However, my dahlias are still going strong and I was amazed to find one of my roses is still flowering!

Cosmo, our border collie pup, is 4 months old now! We’ve been enjoying some lovely autumnal walks (and some soggy, wet ones too!)

Having a puppy is full on. It’s lovely and fun, and I do feel like we’ve been very lucky. He was house trained within two weeks really. He always sits by the back door and gives me ‘the look’ when he needs to go. If he’s really desperate and I’m not paying attention, he does a little jumpy dance accompanied by whining. Now, he’s realised that if he sits there, I will let him out, so sometimes he’s a tinker and just does it so he can escape across the garden at great speed and wants me to chase him!

His fur is thickening up so much now and he has lost 3 baby teeth this week. He loves playing and is so good at tricks, but he will not bring the toy back yet. Trying to teach him fetch is challenging!

I can’t remember what our life was like before he came along now. It means I rarely get a lie in and have to do more washing, mopping and hoovering. But it also means I have an amazing reason to get out for walks every single day. It means I have a little cosy body snuggling up to me on my chair each evening. It means we laugh every day at the daft things he gets up to and we all just love him so much. And I think he loves us too.

Happy crafting! xxx

September 2020 Making Review

It’s a bit of a late round up of last month and I hope to get back into blogging a bit more now. Life is starting to settle into more of a routine with our new puppy, Cosmo, and Faye going back to school. I’m still working from home and I love it. There are parts of working in the office that I miss but I must admit, I prefer being at home.

Life just feels so much more relaxed in lots of ways. I realise that is not the case for everyone and I feel very lucky to feel this way. But for me, home is my happy place and I get to be in it every day. I’m getting to spend all this time with Cosmo that in normal life, just wouldn’t have been the case. It’s so peaceful sitting in my kitchen and getting on with my work, then I can just shut down my laptop, pack it all in a bag and start the dinner! I can also go to my craft room on my lunch break or pop out into the garden or take Cosmo for a walk. An office lunch break is sat at your desk or walking around the town and is definitely not as nice as this.

It’s so easy to feel despairing with the way life is currently. There are many things I miss. But I think it’s crucial to also focus on the little gifts this strange time can give us too. One day, we will look back on this and it will be this major historical point that changed so many things. Living through something is so different to reading about a past event. I’m finding it hard to say what I mean here… I suppose if you consider how people just got on with their daily life during the World Wars and didn’t stop to think about how generations later, people would marvel at how they coped and what they went through. They just got on with it. Each week, each day, each hour, each minute… living with that new normality. That’s what we’re doing now. It’s not the same situation, of course, but it’s comparable in that it is something that is affecting the whole world and it’s changed the way we live.

I wonder how Faye will remember this time in her life. How it could affect her future. The uncertainty is the anxiety-inducing thing. But it’s something we will just have to roll with and deal with things as they come up.

How are you feeling about everything? Are you able to take time to focus on the little delights in your new normal life?

Finished Projects

So onto all things crafty after that deep and meaningful start! With a new puppy in the house, crafting time hasn’t been as fruitful. I tried to work on small projects that wouldn’t be tempting for him to chew on and only got my knitting out when he was asleep to begin with! I do have some FOs for you though, so I’m pleased about that!

I started and finished my Apple Gradient socks for August (ahem) this month. I got a bit behind with my one pair of socks per month goal for 2020, but it’s fine. I’m almost back on track now.

I shared this yarn in my last review blog. I purchased it from Sophie at Pixie Yarn. This was the ‘Hey Little Apple Blossom’ mini skein set of 5 x 20g merino nylon sock 4 ply. It’s so soft and beautiful. I really like how they’ve turned out. I sort of wished that I had continued into the foot with the heel colour to make the gradient blend better but I didn’t.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I joined in with a community craft group over lockdown to help out with knitting and crochet and sewing. I made face masks for them back in July and I’ve also knitted a few bears. This month they wanted to create a Community Quilt to display with the them of ‘Lockdown’, so I completed two squares for it. I really enjoyed embroidering as I haven’t done any for ages. I think it may have woken up a sleeping craft desire and I may have more embroideries in my future!

I was sorting in my craft room as I like to do (all the treasure!) and found a box of hexies that I made for Faye’s quilt but when I laid out all the pieces (a long time ago now!), I realised it was too big and I needed to remove some. I knew I would use them for something one day and I just had the urge to whip something up quickly, so I made Hexies Bookmarks for gifts for my Aunties birthdays at the end of the month. They both enjoy reading so I made these to go with the book gifts.

WIPs

I tried so hard to get my Ice cream socks for September finished before the end of the month but I just ran out of steam. Having a new puppy is hard work! So unfortunately, this is still a WIP but very close to being finished. I shall give the yarn details next time when they are finished.

I cast on the Sonder Shawl at the start of the month, but only made it about halfway as the weather warmed up and it was too warm to work with that very chunky yarn. Also, as it got longer, I couldn’t guarantee that the end draping down my legs wouldn’t be too tempting for Cosmo to chew, so it’s been shelved until it’s colder and my puppy training is better. Although, I must admit, he is a clever little sausage and is learning soooo quickly.

I wrote about the Battenberg Blanket in the previous blog post but it’s essentially a free pattern from Sandra at Cherry Heart and is beautiful and mindless. Perfect for puppy watching! I’ve made quite a few squares so far but this will definitely be a very long-term project to pick up and put down whenever I feel in the mood for it

Knit and Natter

I thought I’d add this little section to my monthly blog review so I could have a space to chat about some of the projects I’m thinking about. As I said earlier, I really would like to do some embroidery. I’m thinking some pretty wall art in hoops to start me off.

I’ve also been thinking about trying do some more sewing. Sewing all those face masks in the summer made me more comfortable with my sewing machine. Perhaps I need to do more simple sewing like this before I try more dressmaking. Having said that, I did enjoy making Faye’s dresses in August as they were really simple too. Now I’m working in the kitchen (perfect situ for the inevitable puppy house training), I have my craft room back and can leave projects out on my desk.

I always wish I had more time for making but I doubt there would ever be enough free time to enable me to make all the things I’d like to.

My main goals for October will be to get back on track with my sock knitting and to finish my Disney cross stitch. Here is where I was when I last worked on it:

I still have a long way to go but I think it’s doable. Famous last words!

Until next time, Happy Making! xx