24 November 2014

granny's closet

Had a quick spin down to Whitehead this morning to visit its newest shop - Granny's Closet, which is situated in the Bank House along with Lighthouse Yarns. It's the place to be with a crochet class on going when I went down.
Meta stocks the sweetest of dolls, teddies and crocheted baby toys in her "Closet". What little girl wouldn't love one of these cuties.....


She also stocks sleepwear, coats, sleep suits, blankets, cushions and towels. 
The ballerina range is just adoreabubble....


I loved these - your little dude and his teddy bear can go to bed wearing matching pjs.......


If you are in the proximity of Whitehead this Saturday 29th November, between 1pm and 8pm, this years Victorian Street Fair is taking place. Lots of events including music and street entertainment, Christmas and craft stalls, Santa's grotto. There is even a competition for the best Victorian costumes. For more details click here. Of course Granny's Closet will be open, along with the Bank House, Lighthouse Yarns and Victoriana Vintage Floral Boutique.
Till next time, Ali

14 November 2014

christmas decoration blog hop


I'm afraid I havent had much time for blogging these last few weeks. I have been busy Christmas knitting, as I am determined not to leave things to the last minute this year. However I was invited by Stitch Craft Create to be part of a Christmas Decoration blog hop. I usually make a few things every year anyway, so was very happy to take part. They have a great selection of e-books and downloads, to have a look click here. The e-book I chose was the Stitch Craft Create Christmas one, which can be downloaded for free, click here. It has eighteen different ideas for things to make, including, papercraft, sewing, knitting and a few tasty treats. At the start of each project there is a wee section telling how long it takes to finish and also the skill level.



One of my favourites in the book is the mini gingerbread house, which perches on the edge of a glass or cup......



I also liked the cute felt hand stitched gingerbread man.....


I decided to make one of the knitted projects. There are three knitted ones in the book, designed by Claire Garland. I knitted up some of the Hanging Bobble Hats. It was nice to have a pattern like this written for dpns. As usual I find it impossible to follow a pattern without making a few changes. For my pattern notes see my Ravelry page, click here.


Good fun to knit and quick too. Her other knitted patterns are Christmas puds and a fairy for the Christmas tree.
If you like Christmas crafting you might be interested in SCC's Handmade Christmas page, click here.

Details of the blog hop can be found here.
Have a look and see what everyone else has made and maybe discover a few more crafty blogs.

Stitch Craft Create are running a great competition at the moment....all you have to do is upload a photo of one of your own handmade Christmas decorations either on their share board or use the hashtag #SCCXmas on Twitter or Instagram. Prize is £100 to spend on their website......very nice!

Till next time, Ali


24 October 2014

freeforming

Recently, my friend Ali (writer of the blog, Random Wooliness) a brilliant crocheter, introduced me to the art of freeform crocheting and knitting. I had never come across it before, but freeforming is basically a project which doesn't follow a pattern, it has no rules or restrictions and you just make it up as you go along. It is a random collection of different stitches, with changing colours and textures. Another way of describing it, is doodling with yarn. The resulting piece is known as a scrumble. I like the whole idea, it's so easy to get up uptight when making something, but this way is much more relaxing.

Ali came up with the idea that we joined together in a freeforming project. We both would make a scrumble, she would crochet one and I would knit one. Then we would send our scrumbles to each other and add on a freeforming knit/crochet piece to the original scrumble.

My scrumble was a cast on row, a row increasing and lots of yarn overs, then cast off. I then stitched the long strip together and added a few beads.


I was so excited as Ali is very creative with her use of colours and mixing different types of yarns, I couldnt wait for her scrumble to arrive.

And here it is a beautiful mix of blues and greens.........


 
We are intending to pass the pieces back and forward, adding on a wee bit each time. I cant wait to see where this freeforming adventure takes us.
Many thanks Ali (the other Ali) for such an exciting project.
Til next time, Ali.

12 October 2014

sea of poppies

Recently I saw online that The National Museum of the Royal Navy were looking for knitters/crocheters to make some poppies, for an art installation which is to commemorate the losses during WW1.  The website gives details of local free workshops and an address were poppies can be posted. They have to arrive before 1st November. For more details click here.
I thought I would take the opportunity to blow the dust off the crochet hooks and make a few poppies. To be honest crocheting does not come easy to me as I much prefer knitting. I think the poppies got gradually better as I went along. I used the free Crochet Remembrance Poppy by the McAree brothers , click here
and here are some of the poppies.......


Have a great week everyone,
 Ali.

5 October 2014

free acorn pattern




ACORN


THIS PATTERN IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED 
 ONLY FOR PERSONAL OR CHARITABLE USE
ITEMS KNITTED FROM THIS PATTERN CANNOT BE SOLD FOR PROFIT 
 DO NOT REPRODUCE OR USE FOR ANY COMMERCIAL USE 

ABBREVIATIONS 
rd(s): round(s) 
st(s): stitch(es)
k: knit
p: purl
kfb: increase, knit front and back into same stitch
pfb: increase, purl front and back into same stitch
tog: together
rpt: repeat
pwt: pull wool through (thread yarn onto tapestry needle and then through sts on needle) 

MATERIALS 
four dpns size 2.75mm/US 2
two colours of dk/8ply
polyester toy filling
tapestry and darning needle
Cast on 2 sts with brown wool.
Leave a long yarn tail if acorn is to be hung.
i-cord for 4 rows.
Slide sts to end of needle and continue knitting flat.
ROW 5: pfb, pfb (4 sts)    (right side). 
ROW 6: (kfb) rpt to end of row  (8 sts).
Slip sts onto three dpns (3, 2, 3) and join in the rd, make sure that purl (right) side is facing outwards. 
Rd 7: (pfb) rpt to end of rd  (16 sts) this round is a bit fiddly! (to make the increase easier, stretch the stitch which is to be used for the increase with the working needle, before purling into the front and back). 
Rds 8-10: p.
Change yarn to green or beige. 
Rds 11-14: k.
At this point pop acorn inside out and weave end yarns away on the reverse side. 
Rd 15: (k3, k2tog) rpt to last st, k1  (13 sts). 
Rds 16 and 17: k. 
Rd 18: (k2, k2tog) rpt to last st, k1  (10 sts). 
Rd 19: k. 
Rd 20: (k1, k2tog) rpt to last st, k1  (7 sts).
pwt  (break yarn, thread unto needle and thread through 7 sts, do not pull tight).
Poke stuffing inside acorn, do not overstuff.
Pull yarn tight, thread needle through sts again, make a few sts to secure and loose yarn inside acorn.                                               

Oak leaves in the picture below are fom a pattern by Frankie Brown, Woodland Wreath Oak, for more details click here




  copyright Alison Hogg 2014

29 September 2014

tea cosy competition

Yesterday was St Georges Annual Tea Cosy Competition. It has been on going for three years now. 
This years charity was N.I. Children's Hospice and after the judging the cosies are auctioned off.
Here's a photo showing about half of the cosies, some real amazing ones.



One of my favourites was this felted one, I think it was needlefelted and was a work of art.



Loved this one, maybe as it reminded me of myself sitting on the knitting chair.


Suppose you are wondering who won, well my cosy did, thanks to "the peoples choice", so thanks to all the folk who voted for it.
This year I did an Autumn theme....



I didn't have time to futter about designing, so I used some other people's patterns. .....
The tea cosy was a variation of Pamela Henderson's Broken Rib Tea Cosy, available free, click here.
The oak leaves were a great pattern by Frankie Brown, also free, click here.
The hedgehog was a lovely wee pattern by Little Cotton Rabbits, click here.
The squirrel was a dotpebbles pattern.
The flat leaves at the base of the cosy is one of my patterns, available on this blog click here.
The acorns is another of my patterns, which I'll be posting on the blog sometime soon.
Bye for now, Ali.

26 September 2014

halloween pattern

It has just taken me a whole year to write up this pattern, but here it is at long last, my Witches Brew Tea Cosy. Pattern includes instruction for spider which dangles from the hat.





Many many thanks to curlyfro and knitlvr from Ravelry, for giving up their time and offering their expertise to test the pattern.
The pattern is for sale on my Ravelry shop (click here) and etsy shop (click here) and is half price, at £1.00, until Halloween.
Bye for now, Ali

23 September 2014

giveaway winner


Just a quick post to let you know who won the book by Louise Walker - Faux Taxidermy Knits.
I'm afraid I haven't mastered the technique of computer random number generation, so I've had to rely on the old tried and trusted method....


and the winner is.......
Congratulations Lyndelou and I will contact you by email.

If you weren't successful have a look at Lapdog Creations blog as she is doing a similar giveaway click here.


All the best, Ali.

15 September 2014

book review and giveaway

I was well chuffed to be asked to take part in the blog hop to launch Louise Walker's new book "Faux Taxidermy Knits".


 I have to admit the word "taxidermy" in the title, did put me off slightly, but all the 15 patterns in the book are adorable and so cute. As a child I was always fascinated by my Nannie's fox stole, but even then felt for the most unfortunate fox who gave up its life, for my Nannie to wear round her neck. Now I can wear that fox stole without the cruelty and the fox stole shown above is definitely on my knitting to do list
The book  also appeals to me as I'm not really a jumper making knitter and I am always on the look out for different and out of the ordinary, dare I say novelty patterns. The book does not disappoint ...it has a variety of patterns from "Wearables" such as the Polar Bear Paw Mittens, the Wolf Headdress and the Hedgehog Slippers to things for around the house (Habitat) such as the Owl Tea Cosy, the Badger Head and the Tiger Rug or what about a hanging pheasant? Now being a veggie I wouldn't consider a real one hanging in my kitchen, but maybe a knitted one.......


Patterns in the book range from beginner level to some for the more advanced knitter and some even contain instructions for dpns. There are lots of photos, diagrams and tips to help with projects. There is even a techniques part at the end of the book which explains basic knitting such as casting on, knit and purl and more advanced methods such as double pointed needles and intarsia.

I wanted to knit up at least one pattern  before writing the review so  I choose one of the more simpler patterns the Bear Coasters. Here's Louise's version.



 and here's my version.....


A quick fun knit and the suggested Drops Lima was the perfect yarn for the project.


The layout of the book is very appealing and the photos are just gorgeous, well thought out and include such lovely "props".

Louise's book can be bought here

or if you are feeling lucky please talk part in my give away. The publishers have a free book on offer....all you have to do is leave a comment at the end of this post. The giveaway will close at midnight (GMT) on 21st September 2014. I will announce the winner, the next day on the 22nd. If you dont want to check back, please leave your email address in the comment so I can get in touch if you win.

A variety of other knitting books are available from Stitch Craft Create, to have a look, click here

The blog hop has been going on for a while and to see past and future participants please click here.
I feel I'm in very good company!

Good luck if you're taking part in the giveaway, Ali.

6 September 2014

felt competition

I entered a craft competition as part of the Ulster Folk Museum Craft and Skills Day. The category I entered was a wet felt panel, which had to depict a rural scene. Unfortunately there weren't too many entries in any of the categories, I don't think the museum advertised it very well.
Anyway it was nice to do a bit of wet felting again and my panel is supposed to be a scene showing the Mourne Mountains complete with yellow gorse bush. Some photos of it....

 

I won second place - 

 
Congratulations to the winner (sorry no photo) - there were only two entries in my category, so I guess I really came last! Not to worry it was a nice afternoon at the Folk Museum which incidentally had free entrance today.
Till next time, Ali

26 August 2014

summer 2014

I know it is still officially summer, but for our house, today it ended, as this is the first day of the school term. Back to early mornings and school uniforms. To cheer myself up I have done a wee review of summer 2014.

I got much pleasure from my garden with all its blooms.......


There was a lot of al fresco knitting, while I sat in my favourite spot in the garden, we are lucky to have a very private garden which is nice.


I have also been working on a new knitting pattern, which is being tested at the moment. As well as knitting, there was time to do a bit of felting, for a competition, but more of that in a future post.
Till next time, Ali.

12 August 2014

free macaron pattern


FRENCH MACARONS

THIS PATTERN IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED 
 ONLY FOR PERSONAL OR CHARITABLE USE
ITEMS KNITTED FROM THIS PATTERN CANNOT BE SOLD FOR PROFIT
 DO NOT REPRODUCE OR USE FOR ANY COMMERCIAL USE  
Pattern knitted in the round with dpns. I-cord technique is also used.

ABBREVIATIONS
rd(s): round(s)
st(s): stitch(es)
k: knit
p: purl
tog: together
rpt: repeat
pwt: pull wool through (thread yarn onto needle and then through sts on    needle) 

MATERIALS
four dpns size 3.00mm  (US 2½)
two colours of dk (8ply) for macaron and filling
polyester wadding or ¼ inch foam or polyester toy filling
tapestry and darning needle 

MACARON outside half (make 2)
Cast on 36 sts, leave a long yarn tail.
Divide sts equally between three needles (12, 12, 12).
Join in the rd and place stitch marker.
Rd 1: p.
Rds 2 & 3: k.
Rd 4: (k2, k2tog) rpt to end of rd (27 sts, 9 sts on each needle).
Rd 5: k.
Rd 6: (k1, k2tog) rpt to end of rd (18 sts, 6 sts on each needle).
Rd 7: k.
Rd 8: (k2tog) rpt to end of rd (9 sts, 3 sts on each needle).
pwt.

MACARON inside half (make 2)
Cast on 36 sts, leave a long yarn tail.
Divide sts equally between three needles (12, 12, 12).
Join in the rd and place stitch marker.
Rd 1: k.
Rd 2: (k2, k2tog) rpt to end of rd (27 sts, 9 sts on each needle).
Rd 3: k.
Rd 4: (k1, k2tog) rpt to end of rd (18 sts, 6 sts on each needle).
Rd 5: k.
Rd 6: (k2tog) rpt to end of rd (9 sts, 3 sts on each needle).
pwt.

CREAM FILLING
Cast on 3 sts, leave a long yarn tail.
Continue with i-cord until work measures aprox 36cms/14ins. Check to see if the cream is long enough to fill the inside of the macaron by coiling it round, starting at the centre and coiling outwards.
pwt, leave a long yarn tail. 

To assemble
Right side for outside half is the stockinette facing outwards. Right side for the inside piece is the stockinette facing inwards.
Reinforce the pwt centres by threading yarn throught the stitches again. Pull tight to close up circle tightly, secure with a few stitches and loose yarn on reverse side.

Gently block by pressing on the reverse side with the tip of a cool iron, do not press down hard.


Cut a circle of wadding or foam (diameter 5cms/2ins)
Place pieces with right sides facing outwards and yarn tails at opposite ends. Using yarn tails sew two pieces of the macaron together to make one half. Leave a gap of about 2cms/1inch. Slip wadding, foam or stuffing inside. If using stuffing do not overstuff. Close up gap and loose yarn tail inside.

Coil the i-cord filling round the inside of one of the halves and sew in position.
Attach the other half to the filling to complete the macaron.
copyright Alison Hogg 2014

4 August 2014

staycation

Last week my son and husband went to the Commonwealth Games, to watch the hockey. Left at home, my Plan A was to paint my sons room while it was vacant, or Plan B, which was to have some fun. Needless to say it was Plan B which won! I went on numerous days outs and thought I would like to share some of my photos.
One morning was spent at the seaside town of Whitehead. The houses along Marine Parade are painted the most delicious of colours. Equally yummy is the wool at Lighthouse Yarns at the Bank House, well worth a visit. The yarn in the photo is Signature 4ply - "Sweet Shop" shades.


Another day I drove in the Millisle direction. I had a wee cuppa at the Eden pottery, where tea is served in the mugs which are made at the pottery. I then had a stroll along the beach and stopped at the Ballycopeland Windmill on the way home.

  
As usual I headed to my favourite spot - Whitepark Bay. I enjoyed a lovely picnic and had the beach all to myself.
 
 
 
The boys are back now so it's back to porridge!
I'm still working on my Macaron knitting pattern and hope to post it in the next few weeks,
Bye for now, Ali.

 

28 July 2014

fallen in love

The start of this love affair began with a trip into town and a visit to Patisserie Mimi in High Street, Belfast. I stopped there for breakfast, before a shopping trip. What a great spot - I sat in a window seat and was able to people watch, while munching a delicious almond croissant. 


I noticed some rows of pretty coloured macarons and had to buy some to take home. After much deliberation I decided on pistachio, salted caramel and raspberry with yuzu juice. They came beautifully wrapped.


These little pastries did not disappoint.........they are absolutely delicious with a heavenly flavour and texture and so pretty too, mmmmmmmmmmh!


I have indeed fallen in love with them...........so much so that they have been the inspiration for my latest knitting pattern. Hoping to post the pattern soon on a future blog post, when I get time to write it up.


I love macarons!
Till next time, Ali.

1 July 2014

charity makes

 
Just wanted to spread the word about a very worthwhile project, which I came to know about by reading Ali's Random Wooliness blog. The charity is Knitted Knockers UK, who are committed to providing prostheses to all women who request one. The breasts are knitted from 100% cotton yarn and they are often preferred to the heavier silicone ones, which sometimes cause heat rash. For more information and patterns, visit their website, click here. You will find crochet patterns and knitting patterns (both for flat knitting and dpns).
 
 
I have also been busy sewing and knitting things for a craft stall for a charity coffee morning. The hairband is one of the things I made. Teddy is modelling it for a reason, as one of the charities was Spud Bears Ministry. Part of the charities work is to send out pre-loved bears to Africa and every child who is in a hospital or orphanage run by the charity, is given a bear to keep. 
 
 
All out of projects now to keep me occupied, Ill have to think of a new one.
Still plenty of housework mind you!
Till next time, Ali.

16 June 2014

shawl update

Well I eventually finished the shawl. I used German short rows and Grandmothers Favourite Bind off, again. The same techniques I used for my previous Wingspan project. It was such a lovely day today I took the opportunity to take some photos in the back garden.


I do wish I had someone who could model my knits, but unfortunately you will have to make do with me.

The garden was bathed in sunlight and the geraniums were just lit up in the sun.....beautiful.

 
I spent most of the day in a shady spot doing some hand sewing, my favourite - Suffolk puffs.
 

Supposed to be a nice week, so I'll be spending it outside and forgetting about the massive ironing pile and all those other chores.
Till next time, Ali.

1 June 2014

summer shawl

I usually shy away from largish projects as I get bored very easily, if things are taking too long. However I took a notion to knit a shawl, one which I could wear in the garden on summer evenings rather than pulling on a jumper. I found an easy knit, no hassle pattern By Amanda Richardson - Amanda's Jade Flower Wrap, for more details click here.
With a pattern found, I needed to find a nice yarn and last time I was in the Textile Studio at Ballyhack, I fell in love with skeins of Manos Serena. A lovely soft wool in delicate shades of blue, pink, lilac and lemon.
Here's my work in progress shots...


It has been a really nice relaxing pattern and one that is easily memorized. Yesterday I was able to do a bit of al fresco knitting....

 
It was nice to sit and admire the garden, weeds and all. The Lupins are putting on a great show at the moment....  

 
Unfortunately no outdoor knitting today, due to rain. Hopefully I will get the weather I'm expecting to wear my shawl this summer.
 
Till next time, Ali.