Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and your lovely comments.

I'd like to announce that the winner is...


...if you could contact me via my email with your details and I'll have your prize in the post asap.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Batik Yarn and Giveaway

In my last blog post I spoke about my visit to Stylecraft Mill in West Yorkshire where I met with a lovely group of knitting/crochet designers and bloggers, collectively known as the Stylecraft Blogstars.

A new yarn range had just been launched called Batik and I received this as a gift sample pack in all the 16 colours.  It is a double knitting weight yarn, 20% wool, 80% premium acrylic, 50g ball, recommended needle size 4mm, UK8, US6.

While at Stylecraft Mill I met the designer Sue Pinner who has created some amazing crochet patterns for this yarn. Sue arrived carrying two lovely crochet bags (unfortunately I didn't manage to photograph them). I generally knit but occasionally crochet. Inspired by Sue's shoulder bag creations and the look of the Batik yarn, I decided on a crochet rather than a knit project.

After sampling a few of the colours in basic granny square motifs, I settled on four colours: pistachio, coral, cream and sage for a crochet bag.

Then I made 9 granny squares mixing the colours making 3 of each combination.

For the back of the bag I made one large granny square.

The strap was made with a foundation of a single chain measuring 30 inches. Followed by single crochet stitches into each chain stitch. Repeating the single crochet rows until the strap width measured about an inch.

This yarn has been a pleasure to work with and I'm very pleased with the finished result. I still have several colours left in my basket and plan to knit with this on another project...

If you would like to try this yarn for yourself I'm hosting a Stylecraft giveaway of £25.00 worth of vouchers (redeemable at UK bricks and mortar yarn stores) and some other goodies.

To enter the giveaway please leave a comment in the comments section below.

The giveaway will end at noon GMT on Monday 26th September 2016 and a winner will be chosen. 


Update 26th Sept 2016: Thank you all for the lovely comments. Comments are now closed and a winner will be announced on the blog.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Visit to Stylecraft Mill

While down in Yorkshire I made a trip to the small town of Slaithwaite near Huddersfield. I'd been invited by Stylecraft Yarns to meet up with a number of blog writers and yarn enthusiasts for the first, of hopefully many, Blogstar Meet Up's.

We were made very welcome by Annabelle, Juliet and Sophie. First and most important on the agenda was tea and biscuits with a helping of yarn to admire.
Then came an "ice breaking" session where we had the opportunity to meet the other bloggers. I had been following a number of people's blogs for sometime but never met any of them in person. It was so good to meet such an enthusiastic and talented group of yarn loving people.

They were:
Heather Leal  - The Patchwork Heart
Sandra Paul  - Cherry Heart 
Kathryn Senior - Crafternoon Treats
Helen Kurtz - Josie Kitten
Sarah Shripton - Anna Boos House
Sue Pinner -  Shropshire Scrapper Suz
Phil Saul - The Twisted Yarn
Lucy - Attic 24

After meeting everyone, Annabelle and Juliet gave a presentation introducing the Stylecraft Autumn Winter 2016 collection, along with insights about how the yarns and patterns had been inspired and developed.

Even though it was the beginning of July, plans had already been made for Christmas jumpers!

I was surprised to see this furry fellow modelling the Christmas Jumpers. My first thought was, it's "Bertie" from the Highlands of Scotland. Bertie having already been a star in the Visit Scotland Ambassordog Competition perhaps had moved on to a successful modelling career for Stylecraft.

Bertie has previously been seen showing off his Fair Isle jumper, knitted by his owner/my lovely neighbour Gail, made with yarn from my Shetland sheep.


However, it was not Bertie modelling the Christmas jumpers, but a look alike, apparently the photographer's dog had been the star in the jumpers on this occasion.

Moving on, after the presentation there was a chance to look at the latest yarns and new colour additions to the ranges...

The morning flew by looking at all the yarn, then we were treated to a delicious lunch and the opportunity to chat some more. Lucy from Attic 24 gave some interesting insights about Yarndale and how this year's event organisation is progressing.

There was a chance to take the obligatory group photo...back row Sandra, me, Helen, Sarah, front row, Kathryn, Heather, Phil, Lucy, Sue.

Image courtesy of Sophie at Stylecraft

I returned home with some yarn samples and other knitting and crochet goodies.

All the 16 colours of Batik DK were in a sample pack. Haven't yet decided what I'm going to make with these, but quite tempted to try a crochet project. Sue Pinner has been designing crochet projects to make with this yarn. Head over to Sue's blog if you would like a peek at some of the new designs.

Best of all, I left Slaithwaite inspired by the lovely people I'd met and their enthusiasm for their work and yarn.

Thank you Annabelle, Juliet and Sophie for such a well organised day.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

June already...

Not sure where nearly half the year has gone. Time for an update on the blog with a few knitting and other snippets. 

Back in February I joined in with the Colourwork Knit Along on Ravelry organised by designer Ella Austin. There were prizes to be won. As I don't usually win anything, I was delighted to win a prize to choose one of Ella's knitting kits from her Etsy shop. The Tawny Owl caught my eye and I was thrilled to receive the kit through the post several weeks ago. The kit includes custom hand dyed yarn from Fybrespates and a lovely pattern booklet with clear instructions, charts and photographs.  

I've been deliberating whether to start on the owl knowing I have another project waiting to be finished.

There is a part finished pair of socks. 

Actually, make that two part finished pairs of socks (the second one being discovered at the back of a cupboard whilst looking for something else). Hoping to work on these over the weekend and make at least some progress towards a matching finished pair at least.

Other none knitting news, after much deliberation I've treated myself to a new set of coloured pencils for design and drawing purposes (Staedtler Ergo Soft). Admitedly, I needed a small mortgage to pay for them but they are a pleasure to use and handle. Enjoying the rainbow of shades and colours.

On the theme of rainbows, here's a shot I took back in May. It reminded me that there's sunshine after the rain...

Wishing you a good weekend!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Dovestone Smallholding Knitted Shetland Pony

This knitted character is "Shetland Pony" from Dovestone Smallholding by Ella Austin. The pattern book is available from Ravelry as a digital eBook or as a printed edition from Baa Ram Ewe. The collection features 7 toy patterns and a play mat made with Titus DK Dovestone yarn from Baa Ram Ewe in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

After receiving a copy of the eBook from Ella and browsing the designs I knew I'd have to make at least one of the cute and irresistible characters. As I'm a fan of most things "Shetland" it became obvious  it had to be the "Shetland Pony". The other toys are Lucy Doll, Dabbling Duck, Fancy Hen, Plum Pudding Pig, Wensleydale Lamb, Moggy the cat and the Hedgerow play mat.

Dovestone Smallholding Image copyright Baa Ram Ewe used with permission

Dovestone Smallholding Image copyright Baa Ram Ewe used with permission
Dovestone Smallholding Shetland Pony Image copyright Baa Ram Ewe used with permission

The pony pattern uses two colours. In the book it's grey for the main colour and a contrast of blue for the mane and pattern detail. Checking my stock of yarn I had just enough Debbie Bliss Bluefaced Leicester DK, in Grey and Burnt Orange and decided to put this to good use. The recommended needles are 3mm long dpn's. 

The instructions are very detailed, nicely laid out with lots of close up images of the finished items. I found the knitting relatively easy. There are a few technical skills required for the pony such as working with two colours of yarn, also grafting stitches and the book includes details. A 'cable cast on' was recommended for the pony legs. A new one for me and it has nothing to do with cables. The instructions are not in the book but a quick search online brought up a number of tutorials including a video. It's a very useful technique for creating a cast on edge which is not too tight and stretches. You start with a slip knot and use the working yarn to make the stitches, avoiding the need to measure out yarn in advance to cast on as in the long tail method.

Pony turned out slightly larger than I thought but that was probably more to do with my knitting than anything else. The best part was completing the knitting stage and putting him together. I found some heart shaped wooden buttons for the eyes. Wasn't too sure these would work but once I had them in position he really came to life, so to speak. 

Just for the photos I made a "stable" for him but in reality he'll be sitting inside on the sofa....