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


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.
 

25 May 2014

order out of chaos

 
 
I'm a great fan of Professor Brian Cox .......well who isn't really! and I watch all his TV programmes. In the Wonders of the Universe, he talks about a phenomenon called entropy, a law of physics that tells us any system tends towards disorder. That's certainly true about my large stash of craft materials. But I have I have disproved this law. Here is my messy tangled collection of embroidery floss in their old biscuit tin........

 
 
 
However I untangled them and wound them onto separate cards......

 
and put them in their new box, all colour co-ordinated. Just waiting for a new sewing project. Problem is how long will they stay in this orderly neat fashion, as I am such a messy worker.
 

Till next time, Ali.

18 May 2014

another scarf

Some people love shoes, but I love scarves, whether it be woolly winter ones or cotton/linen summer ones. My latest addition is one I knit up from a pattern by Sharon Squire - Good Neighbour's Scarf, for more details of the pattern click here. I used a beautiful Louisa Harding yarn, Noema.


The pattern required adding beads. My beads had a very tiny hole so I couldn't use a crochet hook to pull the yarn through the bead. Instead, I used a piece of jewellery wire.

First, I folded the wire in half and then slotted the wire through the stitch.
(The stitch in the photo was the last in the row).

 
I then threaded the two ends of the wire through the hole in the bead.....


and then pushed the bead over the stitch.


After removing the wire, the stitch with the bead attached was returned to the left hand needle ready for knitting......

 

When I was blocking the scarf, I blocked it in away to add a scalloped edge to one side of the scarf.

 
 I noticed when I was blocking I had left out a repeat of the pattern, but I suppose that's what makes a project unique and the mistake is only noticeable on close examination....I think I can live with this particular mistake.


And the finished summer scarf is now all already to be worn......

  
Till next time, Ali.

10 May 2014

finished objects

After the lengthy wingspan project, I needed to do some quick knits. I started with some dish cloths using a diagonal pattern - Grandmothers Favourite by Traditional Design click here. I found some nice coloured (Lion Brand) kitchen cotton, on sale at Deramores. There were fourteen shades to choose from.
 
 
I have probably a years supply of dish cloths knitted up now.

A wee while ago I visited the Textile Studio, Ballyhackamore and stocked up with Drops Eskimo, as it was on sale. First off the needles came a pair of felted slippers. The pattern was a Drops pattern, for more details click here.The pattern for the flower I made up as I went along. The yarn felted beautifully.


The next project was a set of nesting bowls and I used Alice Thelma's pattern click here. I didn't make mine as deep as the ones in the pattern. I now have somewhere to keep all my bits and pieces together, for future sewing projects.

  
All three patterns are free and available online.
At the moment I'm kitting up a summer scarf, but the photos of that will be on a future blog post.
 
Just one more thing I was lucky enough to win a giveaway. So thanks to Jacqui who writes the blog, Living with Ethel. I won a beautiful needlework book, dating back to the '40s. Also included was embroidery floss and a beautiful card. Thanks again, Jacqui.
 
  
Till next time, Ali.