crafting · Knitting · knitting group

Chickyducks for charity

This is it! My final contribution to the chick/duck charity knitting project.  I think I like the stripey one best.  If you are in my area (Fleet in Hampshire) you have ONE day left to make one and bring it to More Than Coffee in the Hart Centre on the high street.

We have the March Sunday afternoon get-together there tomorrow, and Roxanne will be collecting up the last of them and will share a picture of them all together on our Fleet Crafters Facebook page.

I think I explained in a previous post but these are going to an 11 year old local girl whose family support Great Ormond Street Hospital.  She is going to sell them outside one of the supermarkets in Fleet, with each one stuffed with a creme egg donated by the shopkeepers of Fleet.  She had intended to make them all herself but the shops were so generous with the chocolate eggs she ended up needing to make more than 200!

The Fleet Crafters  were only too happy to help out, I’m looking forward to buying my stripey one back!

Fleet Crafters have changed our name from Fleet Knit, Stitch and Crochet – it was a bit of a mouthful.  Our next charity project is Project Linus – so blankets for babies, children and teens that are sewn, knitted or crocheted. Can’t wait to get started once I’ve finished a few Etsy orders.

crafting · Knitting · knitting group

Today I’m Making…a duck a day 

I’m on track so far! One duck a day completed. Tomorrow’s duck will be in a new yarn and will be very very bright. 

For this batch the three ducks closest to the camera are made with yarn I’ve had for 30 years. 

crafting · Knitting · knitting group

Today I’m Making… a duck a day

Last year me and another local woman took over the admin of a Facebook page for local knitter and crocheters when the owner decided she wanted to step down.  We changed it to include all crafts and if you’re interested and close to Fleet in Hampshire you’ll find us here.

It has been fantastic, we have set up meet ups on Sunday afternoons, Friday evenings and now one of the members has started one on Wednesday afternoons too. We’ve just over 100 members and we also have impromptu meet-ups and excursions.As well as an excuse to eat cake and craft in public we support charities as a group.  We’ve just finished making hats for Innocent Smoothies’ The Big Knit (119 hats between us) and our official charity for this year is Project Linus.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t jump in when help is needed!  A local young girl has done something fantastic, she decided to make 200+ ducklings that hold a Creme Egg and sell them for a charity that is close to her family’s hearts – Great Ormand Street Hospital.  Anyway if that wasn’t enough she contacted all the local supermarkets and they’ve all offered her creme eggs as a donation.  How great is that? She’s 11.

So one of the supermarkets has promised her the whole 200 eggs so now she’s got the potential to sell an awful lot of them, but its a lot of knitting for her to do on her own so our group is going to pitch in and make some for her.  This is my first one.  I really liked knitting it, it was such an easy and cute knit so I’m going to aim for making one duck a day until the deadline in mid February.  I’m so impressed with her, what a great girl to take on something like this and and to do it so well too.

When she has confirmation of the date she’s selling them I’ll let you know, and if you’re nearby please drop by and buy one. They’ll need good homes.


crafting · Knitting · knitting group · Workshops

Today I’m Making… Brioche scarf

Ta dah! I finished it. I love soft squishyness and the contrast of the riot of colour peeping through the calm natural cream.  I love brioche.img_0757

I’ve fancied having a go at brioche knitting for ages but as you might have picked up from other posts I have a ton of outstanding projects (1 pair of beaded gloves, I pair of mittens, 1 jumper, 4 pairs of socks, 1 scarf, slippers, 2 blankets, a cowl, various snoods – these are just off the top of my head) so I sort of put it off because I really should finish some of what I’ve already started…

Course then when I went on that Knitaway break to the excellent Westcliffe Knitting Hotel Paula treated us to a trip out to the incredible Beckside Yarns in Clapham, Yorkshire and they had the most incredibly luxurious feeling kimono style brioche jacket and it’s been on my mind ever since.

Most Wednesdays you’ll find me very happily at the I Knit London  knit night, the owner was knitting the most gorgeous Le Moelleux – he’s really good with colour so his one is really yummy.  Then, he only sent out a newsletter advertising a beginner’s brioche workshop. imageWell. You can imagine how fast I signed up for that. He has more lined up so if London is accessible to you I highly recommend doing the class.

Turns out the basic brioche stitch is pretty easy once you get the hang of it and really enjoyable.  OK so I did cock up my increases and decreases a bit at first but I go the hang in the end and its all part of the learning process so I don’t tend to unpick unless I really have to.

I love the way it looks, with the bright mix of colours peeping through the cool calm neutral. The yarn is I Knit or Dye DK and is the most soft and snuggly thing you’ve ever felt. I’m almost looking forward to cold weather so I can wear it all the time.


Thanks to Gerard at I Knit London I feel confident enough to take on Le Moelleux myself.

craft fair · crafting · knitting group

Today I’m Making… more Gin Poodles

I have made a bit of progress with the Gin Poodles for my Etsy shop and for the craft fair I’m doing this summer. I’ve got four of the cheeky little fellers all ready and waiting to find new homes.


Here they are! I love them, they’re so cheerful, I’ve got room for five on this shelf so  there is an empty spot for my next one, which will be  bright pink and purple, then the next five will be dotted around my living room. You can actually see them from the street, I do wonder what people think when they walk past. I hope they cause a bit of amusement anyway.

That orange feller (Jazzer) is very bright isn’t he? If anything I’d say he is actually a bit brighter than that in real life.

I’m hoping to secure a stall at the excellent Fleet Carnival Makers Market this summer, I’ve sent off my application now so fingers crossed I’ll be accepted and allocated a stall.  Its held just down the road from me so I don’t even have to worry about getting up at the crack of dawn to set up.  I reckon I will need 10 Gin Poodles in hand to fill up a decent section of my stall so I’m only knitting Gin Poodles for the time being.

imageimageimage So here are the three others a bit closer up that I have finished so far, let me tell you the pom-poms take an age to make, there are 10 of them for each poodle and they use a ton of yarn. They are very good value for the amount of work and materials that go into making them. I do love making them and of course I like selling them even more but I do miss them when they are sold.




These are the next two Gin Poodles in production.  The pink one just needs another seven pom-poms (just!) but I ran out of the cerise yarn after making three so this one will have either two tones of pom-pom or will have a full set of purple ones, I’ll see what it looks like when I put them together.  After the pink one  – which I think I’m going to call Justin – will come a green one (Tom).  I do sometimes have two on the go at once because I like to have a project for the train and I can’t really make pom-poms on the train because they cause a bit of a fluff cloud which isn’t fair on fellow commuters really, so the green one is in the knitting stage which means I can carry it about with me.  Can’t tell you enough times how much I love those Brittany needles.

See the book? I’ve had to give up on it, it is interesting but a bit too intellectual for me and by 162 pages I couldn’t take another battle scene.  I want to read Sue Grafton’s D is for Deadbeat next but can I find a copy anywhere? No I blooming well can’t. They don’t even have it in the library. I’m going to have to buy a copy online I suppose but I really wanted to start reading it this weekend.  Could have sworn I had a copy somewhere….


crafting · Knitting · knitting group

Today I’m Making – Wapiti Shawl by Cabinfour

I bought this gorgeous yarn from I Knit London about a month ago, Its the Shangri La hand dyed merinimageo in Pool Party which is a soft white with teal and turquoise. Its very much like a Greek holiday with the little white houses, the blue of the sea and sky and that gorgeous blue they use for window frames and doors. I love it and want to make something special with it.

And that is where my trouble started.  First of all I intended to make a Hitchhiker scarf but I’ve made one of those before and for no reason other than that I went off the idea. Well, if I’m honest there is another reason, I know someone else who made one a few years ago and hers was really baggy and she wears saggy old 80’s dippy hippy clothes and she put me off.

I’d seen a lovely shawl pattern called Knit Night that has lovely beaded picot edges and is designed to show off hand dyed yarn so I started making that.  A couple of false starts later and I was away.  I’ve started going to the Thursday knitting group at I Knit London so I took it along.  Beaded knitting gripping a small tube of beads between your knees drinking Swedish fruit cider made me realise I might not have thought this through properly and the beads were all the wrong colour and made the picots look scruffy.  Shawl #1 frogged.

Then I decided I’d still make the Knit Night shawl, just without the beads.  Marvellous.  Not very far in I got bored with garter stitch and thought my picots were too close together.  Shawl #2 frogged.

Started again with a an off the cuff variation of Knit Night, I spaced the picots out a bit more and imagethrew in some random stocking stitch to show off the yarn more.  This was really good and I was really happy with it, took it along to the Knit Night and another bottle of cider later realised it was getting enormously long and not at all deep because I was using smaller needles than the original Knit Night pattern and my extended spacing between the picots was short-changing the depth. I was into the second hank of yarn and over 500 stitches per row by now so to give up would be a big decision and a bit of a trauma with all the rewinding and so on…. Shawl #3 frogged.

Where did I see the Wapiti shawl by Cabinfour?  Its on Ravelry here:Wapiti Shawl. It has a lot of garter stitch in it aimagend nothing fancy to distract you from the yarn. Nearly everyone else has done theirs in two solid colours. I’m hoping that the mixture of garter and stocking stitch shows through enough against the colour changes.

Look, if it doesn’t work out, I can always go back to the Hitchhiker.  You can’t go wrong with Hitchhiker.  .

Beading · craft fair · crochet · Knitting · knitting group · Workshops

The Make It Show, Farnborough 2015

I have had a great day at the Make It Show at Farnborough Airport (yes, there is an airport at Farnborough and its quite busy, though lord knows who feels the need to fly in to Farnborough).  This is turning into my favourite mixed craft show of the year, I swear it gets better every year.  Its on tomorrow too if you fancy it – £9.50 entry and there are quite a few stalls doing free or super-cheap informal workshops so well worth the ticket price.  

Personally I bought a 3 day ticket for £15 in advance but that option of course isn’t open to you but I’m giving you the opportunity to marvel at my thriftiness for free.

The first thing I did was walk the whole show just to scope it out.  As usual there is a huge seating area with the usual catering (I’m not a fan, its particularly rubbish for veggies or anyone who fancies something healthy but that’s pretty much the deal at all of them) but they’re quite happy for you to bring your own.  They have staff patrolling collecting rubbish so its always tidy enough.  TONS of seating.  Very unusual for a craft fair and I hope they continue to stick with this policy in coming years.  The loos up at the catering end get busy but they’re fine.  At the other end of the hall behind the workshop area there are chemical loos.  I won’t go into details but expect festival conditions.  This is several shades beyond my idea of acceptable.

The variety of stalls gets better every year. There is quite a lot of card making but also knitting, crochet, UK yarns, kits, beading, art, lighting, storage, food, artisan brewery (See the GIN!!), patchwork, embroidery, cross stitch, stamping, oh blimey so much I’m sure I’ve missed out a ton of stuff.

My first purchase was from Made by Ewe. She has knitting and crochet kits, hand dyed yarn and knitting supplies like knitting and crochet needles. She also had a lovely kit to make a little fox wearing a pirate jumper that she designed because she keeps chickens.


To be honest I wasn’t intending to buy anything on my first walk round I was just scoping but then I saw a really nice shawl/scarf and noticed it was made from that ladder yarn I hate.  Well, my local knitting club has a yearly competition and this year the theme is to make something with ladder yarn.  I wasn’t going to play because I hate novelty yarns and I’m still annoyed that I didn’t win last year after I made a gorgeous cuff with knitted in beads (the theme was Knitting with Beads) and didn’t even get placed.  The woman that won entered a completely repulsive felted bag that she’d tied some beads on to, and the same with the 2nd and 3rd place. Horrible work and the beads were not knitted in.  I’m still put out.  I mean I don’t want to bang on about it but I was robbed. ROBBED I TELL YOU.  So Mrs Made by Ewe had this lovely kit for less than a tenner, you get the yarn, pattern and a big chunky crochet hook with a ceramic bead on the end and I definitely didn’t already own one of those.


I made a bit of a start on it, to be fair it looks like sort of chain mail g-string at the moment but I’m sure it will be divine when its finished.  I’m going to add some skull beads to stop it being too twee.  You’ll see more of those later.  I’m taking home the prize this year or that local knitting group is going to have recounts until I do.


In the background you will see the back of the bag for life I also bought on this stand.  Very fine thing it is too, I now have enough bags for life to turn Buddhist.


Next up I went to Anita’s Beads. Where is Anita? Has anyone ever met Anita or is the nice bloke who runs it Anita?  The woman ahead of me in the queue to pay had bought literally tons of stuff, she’s bought so much that I lost all shopping guilt and added some crystals to my skull beads.

wpid-20150228_173450.jpg wpid-20150228_173509.jpg

I bought a couple of rings from him too, I really like polished semi-precious gemstone rings, they’re so cheap at only a pound each. What I’m going to do is use these to weigh the shawlly wrap thing I’m making with the ladder yarn rather than tassels.


The second picture looks like I have sausage fingers, let me assure you my fingers are mere chipolatas, not bangers.

Last year I tried really hard to get to the Beaker Buttons stand to buy a Dorset buttons kit but it was so popular I couldn’t get near it, this year she has a bigger stand and I managed to get in at a quiet moment and have a bit of a chat.  She’s adorable. Really friendly and knowledgeble about the history of Dorset buttons, she also dyes her own yarn and spins. They do workshops and drop in sessions at her shop and I wish she was nearer to me.  You know one of those people that you instantly want to go to the pub with?


At the end I did a workshop with the excellent Riverside Beads. I did a kumihimo workshop with them last year and it was so well done I was happy as larry when I saw they were doing workshops again this year.

I made this!


Tell me that’s not fantastic?  They do loads of workshops, they’re based in Peterborough so well worth a visit if you find yourself nearby.  This only took an hour to do, I swear you could do it faster.  They sell a kit for only £8.  They ask you not to share the pattern but they are happy for you to sell any you make and only ask you to donate some of the money to The British Legion. She said they make loads of them in November and donate them to the Legion.  You could use the same principle to make other flowers but the poppy is really lovely.  So easy to do too.

I’m going back tomorrow to have a go at Zentangling, some embroidery and to have a massive chocolate and Bailey’s cookie.

crafting · Knitting · knitting group

Today I’m Making – one sleeve shawly wrap thing

I can’t claim this was my idea, my local knitting group has guest speakers whenever they can and one month we had a talk from a woman whose name escapes me and she had one of these on, basically she’d knitted a huge rectangle and attached a sleeve to one side, so you put your arm through that, pass the rectangle round your back, across your front and then drape it over your shoulder. It looked incredible so I’m making one. I am hoping it’s going to make me look like a super cool textile artist or Molly Parkin.

The yarn is a lovely rich vintage burgundy bouclé that I bought at a yarn sale at the same knitting group this year too, I’m not sure how much I paid for it, probably about £3 for about 400g, I think its probably a 1-ply, its very fine, almost like knitting with sewing thread.


If I’m honest knitting with such a fine thread on 5.5mm needles is a royal pain in the arse but I want a lacey open look. The first few rows were a nightmare and even 6″ in its way too easy to drop a stitch and its quite hard on your hands to control the tension. Its growing very slowly indeed so it may well be this time next year before I get to wear it.  I’m also a bit worried that I might not have cast on enough stitches but I’ll work something out if it turns out to be a bit skinny. I’m sure I can do another band if my nerves can stand it.

This slow progress is not helped by me having 20-odd projects on the go, this madness has to stop, it means I’m not getting anything finished other than stock for my Etsy shop ( and never anything for me.  Well from now on I’m a changed woman. No new projects until I finish this lot and I mean it.  Right now I really mean it.

crafting · knitting group · make-up reviews

Knitting Group – Bit of a disappointment

Tonight was the Fleet machine knitters group – hand knitters and crocheters also welcome.

I like my knitting group, they’re a lovely bunch and the organisers get some great speakers or think of some very interesting themes. Its only once a month and I always look forward to knit night.  Tonight we had a talk from a knitting pattern designer who shall remain nameless.

The main problem was she designs for large sizes, so without being rude she’s was a large lady herself so standing right in front of the screen meant I could only really see the bottom left section of the screen she was projecting her presentation on.  Though what I did see of the presentation was deadly dull.  Here’s my best tip for those of you giving presentations.  Please don’t do dozens of slides of text that you then basically read out very slowly.  Its torture.

She did have some samples, swatches, leaflets and bits and bobs, but she kept her body turned towards the left side two thirds of the room and would only turn her head in our direction once in a while, so of all the stuff she brought I only clearly saw ONE thing. I left as soon as I could without looking rude.

Oh yes the other thing that irritated me was when she was talking about grading patterns, at one point she talked about selling a pattern to a major magazine and found that the pattern editor graded it down so that the size range was for 8-24 instead of 16-24.  What annoyed me was that she complained that they’d made it available to ‘sticks’ when it was meant for curves.  Well let me tell you lady, being a plus size does not make you more ‘real’ it just makes you a plus size and being a size 8 or 10 does not mean you are a stick. I’ve got curves a-plenty in my size 8-12 body and I won’t be swamping them in your clunky designs.

I did manage to do 10 rows of a nice variegated pink snood and had a lovely chat with Phyllis about Unravel at Farnham last week.  I love Phyllis.

There was a nice bit of Show and Tell at the start so I’m glad I went, that’s the best bit having a squizz at what other people have made.  Someone did the most gorgeous heavily cabled cardigan.