Sunday, 1 February 2015

The North Wind Doth Blow

Hello Lovelies,
THANK YOU  ♥ ♥ ♥ for all your kind comments on my Springtime blanket. I feel very blessed to have this space to share my crochet creations with like minded folk. Your encouragement along the creative journey and your appreciation of the finished project adds SO MUCH to my enjoyment of this gentle hobby.


On Thursday we were, once again, treated to a few flurries of the white stuff. My poor garden is so messy, but it still managed to look pretty with added snowflakes...........

This winter is turning out to be properly wintry right now. It's quiet a contrast to the unusually mild "non winter" we had last year. I'm happy to have defined seasons and a little snow is what winter is all about.

But, oh the poor birds...it's no fun for them.

This picture of a Blackbird makes me smile......it looks like this bird is saying to the jolly Buddha  " I don't know you're so happy about"...........


As it snowed heavily I looked out on the garden.....and the hungry birds........

There are two in this photo.

Soon the shower had passed and I ventured outside to put some sunflower seeds on our garden bench.  A sweet little Dunnock caught my eye as it rested in the Buddlia bush...........


And soon another bird had discovered the newly scattered seeds........Was it a Dunnock too?......


I couldn't see clearly, but looking at my zoomed in photos afterwards I was surprised to see this cutie had a red spot on his head..........


Time to get out my Bird Identification books...........



I was delighted to discover my sighting was a new bird to me....a little Lesser Redpoll

Feeding the birds is one of my favourite things about winter.

 Mum bought me this Derbyshire calendar and how I've loved looking at this stunning snowy photo of Owler Tor throughout January..........

And all  month I've been recording my miles walked on this calendar.

How happy it makes me to see that my total distance for January is 80 miles.

 As I mentioned before I'm attempting to walk 1000 miles this year...which means I need to walk 83 miles a month. So this month I'm just a little short on miles...but I hope to catch up in the spring.
 I'm including all outdoor walking of 1/2 a mile and over.
Parking half a mile from work means I clock up a mile on work days ( I actually do a lot of walking about indoors at work but I'm not including that) and I'm happy to see there are only two blank days on my calendar, despite the lurgy visiting youngest and myself.

There's always something new to see on a walk, and this family of wellies  made me smile yesterday...........


But gosh it is chilly....I need to walk fast, then come home to a hot drink and some cosy craft :0)


I'm loving these Ripples....and setting into the rhythm.
Indoor colour, especially in winter, is such a happy thing.

I'm feeling totally inspired by THIS lady's wonderfully colourful paintings at the moment

Enjoy your Sunday lovelies.
Jacquie x

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Springtime Blanket Ta-Dah

Hello Lovelies,
I'm rather excited. It's such a special post today....a blanket "Ta-Dah" even....and it's a LONG time since I've had one of those. The last one was back in April 2014.

See the pretty hyacinth on my coffee table.......with it's sweet scent, glossy green leaves and amazing blue and purple flowers. It's sign to me  that spring is coming


And the March edition of Country Living that plopped through my letter box this week has such a happy springtime cover........


They helped me finally give this project a name. May I introduce my Springtime blanket...........


I remember the very day that I chose the colours. 
It was THIS day.....a perfect day in early May. I went for a woodland walk and came home with my head full of the spring colours I had seen. I rummaged through my Stylecraft stash and gathered together the  colours that looked to my eyes as close as possible to those I had found so inspiring.

For a while the yarn stayed in my project bag while I decided what type of blanket to make. Then, in early June, I decided to make a join-as-you-go circle blanket. In a way it was like my FIRST circle blanket, but I had tweaked the pattern to make a more solid design


I so enjoyed making these circles in pretty spring colours.........


They are so portable and all through the Summer I added to my growing circle collection. I made them on beaches in Norfolk, Wales and Dorset.

 East and West and South we travelled..........


Then in September we went  Oop North, to Yarndale :0)



Oh yes I loved my circles.............


I had a little plan....to border each circle with different colours. Then in October I had a bit of a wobble. Maybe a  white or cream border might look better?

I experimented and decided if I left a few of the brighter colours out my blanket could look jolly, but not too busy..........



In November I finally got around to the time consuming job of writing a TUTORIAL for you lovelies.....


And I called my design my Little Sunburst Square

Joining gathered pace, then slowed again. This has been a long term project..........


In December I replenished my dwindling Stylecraft stash and joining progressed some more........


Then, finally, last week I reached  the border............


It's just a simple affair,  five rounds of granny clusters, followed by a round of single crochet.......


I used THIS method I always use to avoid the dreaded wavy border.

Actually this border did end up a little curly and tight...so I used the method of steam blocking that Lucy shared in THIS post to flatten it out and relax the yarn.


So would you like to see the finished blanket?


Ta-Dah........



Ohhh, I love it. Though this photo makes it look rather washed out....I'm not sure why.

Lets go outside and hang it on the washing line.

There...that's better!


The colours glow in the sunshine and I love to see it flapping gently in the breeze........


Here it is on a single bed, so you can get an idea of size...........


It measures  72 x50 inches   and it's made using 17 colours of Stylecraft special double knitting acrylic yarn.

I made 220 circles and used 216 of them in the finished blanket. They are joined-as-you-go into a blanket that's 12 motifs across and 18 motifs long.

The colours are.......

Raspberry, Pale Rose, Cloud Blue, Meadow, Khaki,  Saffron, Lemon, Parchment, Silver, Camel, Lavender, Bluebell, Aster, Spring Green,  White, Fondant and Violet............


I'm so happy with how this blanket has turned out. Really Happy Happy Happy :0)

It was a lot of work due to the huuuuge number of colour changes. I don't even want to think about all those ends that had to be securely sewn in ....but in the end it was all worth the time and effort.



It's a solid design with real weight and a really cosy feel. It's just the right size to keep on the back of a chair or the sofa. ready for some serious Winter snuggling ....



  while we dream of Springtime 
Jacquie x

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Around Here

Hello Lovelies, just popping by to share a few moments from the past few days. 

Youngest has been quiet poorly with a high temperature and cough so we had a  quiet weekend, staying close to home and doing very little. 
On Sunday afternoon I borrowed eldest's tablet ( a treat he bought with his Christmas money) and took part in the RSPB big  garden birdwatch.


 I've never joined in before but it was so easy and such a pleasant way to spend an hour, sitting by the window, watching the activity in the garden.

The slow time this weekend also gave me chance to think about my next crochet project.

This rug, which has featured in the background of so many blog photos, sits in the middle of our lounge. It was a wedding present and I've always loved it's colours and patterns........


Back in the autumn, when I bought three of the new Stylecraft colours I realised that they were shades that featured in my rug....and maybe I could gather together other Stylecraft colours and make a blanket based on those colours......


And so at the weekend I carefully counted as I chained 213 and began the fiddly foundation row of my first ever full sized ripple blanket..........

 Following Lucy's wonderfully clear INSTRUCTIONS

I still find it easy to go wrong with a ripple....I wish I knew why. I'm ever hopeful that I will find them as easy and relaxing to make as granny squares one day.

 Any why am I starting a new blanket?

Well because my circle blanket is finished!....and youngest is snuggling under it right now........


He's a lot brighter, but still coughing a lot....so I'm keeping him home a little longer.

I'm writing up a proper ta-dah for my latest finished crochet project at the moment.....I do hope you will pop back tomorrow to see it's story.

Jacquie x

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Saturday Sunshine

Hell Lovelies,
walking to the shops yesterday I noticed something in the field when I got to the gap in the hedge........


I zoomed in a bit .....ummmmmmm....is it a hare or a lump of mud?


It's hard to see what your camera is taking on it's small screen. I lady who passed asked if I was taking a photo of a hare......"I think so" was all I could reply.........whatever it was was very still........

Back home I can see it is a hare, sleeping it the sunshine.


My errands completed the gorgeous weather tempted me to take the footpaths way home........


I stop to say hello to the donkey who is always here........


Good morning Jacob..........


and wander down the rough track towards the sunshine..........



Here a Robin was perched on a gate post, his red breast glowed in the bright rays........


And the landscape he surveyed looked particularly lovely..........


It may look warm but I was very glad to be wrapped up. I don't think I've shown you my new hat ....time for a selife while nobody is around......it was my BEST Christmas present from a friend at work.  She is pregnant and I gave her my Elmer blanket.

She got a relative to crochet me a hat.........

 It's made of black yarn that has a sparkle and it's a sort of beret style. I love it's pretty flower and it fits perfectly.

It's a strange picture of me...my hair is sadly, not so red...but happily I do have eyes.


At my feet I noticed the ice patterns in the frozen puddles..........


I walked along this deserted track, happy in my own company. I do love some time on my own each day............


Just a few sheep to say hello to.............


And the happy sight of emerging Daffodils to make me smile...........


back home it was time to do some house work. Middle sons bedroom is tiny, so there's not much to do in there. I dusted and made his bed........this winter he has been glad of his crochet blanket on the bed....and it makes me very happy to see it there..........


Tidying our bedroom I came across my much loved  Edwardian Lady books, opened up the pages to January and smiled at Edith's BEAUTIFUL hares...........


So much better than my blurry photo...........


These timeless illustrations always make me happy.

I've been doing a little more drawing myself. Inspired by this photo from last weeks group walk........


I loved the way this gorgeous old property sat in the pretty landscape......but the grey weather was not the best.

So I decided to TRY and draw a snowy version........


It was tricky..........


But I still enjoyed the process....drawing by lamplight on a cold winters evening.............


Enjoy the rest of your Sunday lovelies.
Jacquie x