Tuesday 27 March 2012

Ruffly Shawl Ta Dahhhhhhh!

This Ta dah is going to be very brief as I have a six year old who is yoyoing in and out of bed and I am on a roll with some Poppy Treffry style pictures for the Seaside House. I'm itching to get going with a set of three for the kitchen. I'm thinking a bunting clad fish and chip shop, an ice cream parlour and ummmm not sure about the third. It'll come to me. I just have to stop thinking about it and let inspiration creep in. I'd like to go blog surfing tonight too but I fear I'll run out out time so I'll save them all up for another day.

So with out further a do here is my Rrrrrrruffly Shawl (one must roll one's 'R's when saying Ruffly Shawl!). I started it sometime last Autumn, it was supposed to be this pattern but I made quite a few alterations on the way to make it longer and wider and to make the ruffle more gentle. I frogged this darned thing several times, I'd get a quarter of the way through and think "No. It's not how I imagined" and then I'd start over. I wish life was like that sometimes. Something goes wrong, you say the wrong thing, you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, you're late....Not to worry, just frog the episode away and start over, make it better, make it right.

I digress! Here's the shawl which can be worn in a few different ways.
Here it is flung over my shoulders and then wrapped around itself with the thin bits hanging over my shoulders and down my back.

Here it is worn in the traditional shawl style, I love it like this and I have crocheted a large simple flower and stuck a kilt pin through which I pin the shawl in place with. But I have forgotten to photograph it.

I will also wear it like this, flung over my shoulders from front to back and then the ends tied in the front and left to dangle down.

I learnt a lot from this shawl. I learnt the importance of using the specified yarn and if you choose to use a yarn of your own choice (like I did) then a tension square is vital. I could have knitted three of these shawls if I had taken the time at the beginning to do a square and get my ruler out! I learnt that keeping this large item in a small bag was a sure fire way of making it bobbly and worn before it was actually worn. I learnt how to pick up stitches along and edge and I learnt a different way to to increases. But mostly I learnt patience and perseverance. I love this shawl and I'm glad I kept on trying even though I wanted to set fire to it sometimes.

It is knitted in Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk which I got online from Black Sheep Yarns some time ago when they had a fantastic offer on. If you click on the link you may see that they have another stonking offer on. The colour I chose was Buff, a perfect peachy pink. I used about eight balls. 

Mr C took these photo's on Mothers Day a few weeks ago now. Look at how blue Little Cuckoo's eyes are. He has my eyes, I used to have very blue eyes as a child. There's a photo of me when I was about seven in the bedroom we nick named 'Portland Bill' because of the wall paper and cabin bed. I'm wearing my Dad's flying helmet thingy (the big camouflage green ones they wear in the back of Royal Navy Sea King helicopters) and my eyes are the same colour blue in that pic. They went green around the time I hit puberty. They were a pale green but now I notice they have darkened up somewhat. It's weird. I thought eyes stayed the same colour but mine haven't at all. Even odder is that I hadn't noticed till recently that they have changed again! I hope Little keeps his spooky blue eyes, I think he has a touch of the Daniel Craig's about him!


ps Pinterest has changed it's T&C's!!!!!! Hurrah!!!!!!!!!! Phew!

Monday 19 March 2012

Mothers Day 2012

It was Mothers Day here in the UK yesterday. The sun shone and I had a really lovely day. I had a, lets say, disappointing Mothers Day last year. But this year was brilliant. Big up Mr C who came up trumps and helped the boys make it a lovely day. After last year I made sure Mr C knew what small things I was hoping for, a couple of handmade cards, breakfast in bed and a lay in. I rather hoped to have a bit of time to play in his old study which I have hijacked to make a hobby room out of. I didn't fancy cooking the Sunday roast and I really wanted to have lots of cups of tea made for me. 

The day started at 8.30am (so I did get a bit of a lay in) with Little Cuckoo frisbying his card at me. Followed swiftly by Big Cuckoo and Mr C carrying a breakfast tray. Mr C then went and fetched the baby and once everyone was together on the bed I was given my cards and gifts.

Isn't this a lovely looking breakfast tray. I would have had boiled eggs but the chickens (Yicks)
hadn't laid and I hadn't bought any eggs

The boys had made me cards, Big's on the Left, Little's is the rabbit one and Mr C had sorted Mini out with one.

Mr C had bought me my favourite chocolates (just dashed off to get them to eat while I blog) and had taken the boys to Fanny Adams Vintage on Saturday to get the necklace I had seen weeks ago when I took Little there for a glass of milk and a cookie. We didn't go there so I could stroke all the lovely things, chat to Jane or for me to have a chili mocha. No, it was His treat you understand, Not mine. While we were there he was fiddling with the jewellery display, I spotted a gorgeous necklace and said to him (half jokingly) "This is a lovely necklace, a nice gift for Mummy on Mothers Day"

Then last week while Big was at Disabled Riding and we were watching him, we were talking about plans for the weekend. Little said he wanted to go swimming and get dirty and ride his tractor. I pointed out that Sunday was Mothers Day and that I hoped to have breakfast in bed etc... Little then cupped my face and looked into my soul with his piercing blue eyes and said "And don't...forget...your....lovely ....necklace!" I'd forgotten entirely and asked him what he meant. He then made the shape of a heart with his fingers and said "The green heart from your favourite shop!" I could not believe he had remembered or that I had forgotten! 

Now you may remember (I think I blogged a short sentence a while back) that I have long dreamt about having a little room of my own as a hobby room. I was angling for a shed. Mr C then, out of the blue, said I could have his study as he hardly ever used it. I didn't think when it came to it he would be able to hand it over. This weekend his study became my hobby room! I am in my seventh heaven and cannot believe how fortunate I am. 

On Sunday I spent a fair bit of the day in there. I nick named it the Bird Box and the boys have already adopted the new title for it. They love being in there with me. Even Mr C has spent more time in there with me than he has in the entire last six months. The nasty damp smell has dissipated already. Who knows if I'll find the time to use it the way I imagine, maybe not for the next couple of years, but one day I hope to sort of 'work' in there. I haven't decided exactly what I'll be doing yet. I'd like it to be something arty crafty but something a little different to what is out there already. That's my stumbling block, I have no imagination. Can't come up with anything new and unique, I can only copy.

I had a lovely time chopping up Primark tea towels and stitching bias binding down the sides to make rolling Aga rail towels. I like to change my tea towels, hand towels and dish cloths everyday since I had hideous food poisoning in 2004 and was hospitalised for a week. I am a bit anal about these things now even though I caught the bugs from a restaurant in the Alps.

Piles of washing on the worktop in the back ground waiting for me...they are still waiting!

While I was having enormous fun in The Bird Box fannying about with scissors and having frequent cups of tea and letting the boys scribble over old bank statements from the days when I had a job (I was employed??!) Mr C cooked a truly delicious roast.

It was such a great day and I have the lovely Mr C to thank for it. What a dear husband he is. 
I am hoping that by waxing lyrical about his marvellousness I'll have a repeat Mothers Day next year! ;o)

After yesterday I feel a bit flat today, a bit teary, I forgot to take my meds last night so I doubt that has helped matters. The boys are back in school, Mr C is back at work, Mini and I miss them. At least the sun is out and the sky is so blue. Also there are chocolates to be eaten so I wont dwell on the things that are playing on my mind and I'll move on to Other News.

Thank you for the comments on my last post. I'm pretty sure I have got back to everyone who wasn't a No reply Blogger or left a comment anonymously (Annie, you have no profile or email attached to your comments. Are you Knitsofacto Annie? Fee says you are but I'm double checking so I don't go chatting to Knitso' and have her thinking "eh?").  I love how you all encourage me and spur me on. There's a part of me that feels uncomfortable when I do any Ta dahhhhs because it feels a like I'm bragging my (homemade knitted!) socks off. But, much like I show my Mum what I have been up to, I also want to document it on my blog. I hope I never come across as a big headed "look at how marvellous I am" sort of gal. I swear I'm not boastful in real life, but I do get over excited! Also please don't be under the impression that I just knitted all that stuff in my last two posts in a matter of moments. It's really not that much for ten whole months of dabbling. Ten months is a really long time. A whole human being can be made in that time, I just made a couple of woolly things.  I'm just saying this now as my next couple of posts should be Ta Dah's as Mr C took pictures of me looking gorkey in some knitted items yesterday between cooking the roast and making tea.  

And finally (you still there?) last time I was here I was expressing concerns about Pinterest. It was great to hear what others thought and to be directed to different articles. I have had a read up and have decided that I'll carry on pinning but checking the pin does link back to the source and also I intend to email Pinterest my concerns. If enough people do this then they may listen.  The T&C's for Pinterest are not dissimilar to those of Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, WeHeartIt etc... and I'm perfectly comfortable using those sites. 11 million people use Pinterest, a popular pin can be pinned over a million times. That's a lot of people. The Washington Post article on Pinterest Copyright issues was interesting and reassuring. I can't get the link to work but it pops up if you google it.

I also read up on copyright law for the internet and came upon this site which if you pop in Copyright Law and then click on the "12 do's and Don'ts" and read that article you may be reassured about your blogs content being misused. I couldn't get a link to work there either. Think Blogger is being tricksy.

There are numerous articles and information out there saying similar too, about copyright and Pinterest not about tricksy blogger.

That's all folks,


ps (there is always a ps it seems!) Little Cuckoo is pleased you all liked his Grommit, I do need to point out that he had a substantial amount of help, I maybe didn't stress that. However, all credit to him, when it fell of the shelf and fell to pieces he did a super job of sticking the pieces back on seamlessly. He even refashioned the tail as Mini had chewed it up.

pps all these photographs are from Instagram if you are on it I am Cuckoob. 

ppps Out takes any one? Keep scrolling to see the photo's I took when I was trying to get snaps of the chickens. I didn't realise the phone had switched direction as it was too sunny to see the screen. So minging! I've had to keep these pictures small for the sake of my vanity. They are funny though, at least I think they are, so I'm sharing them with you. It ain't pretty, I had no makeup on. You've been warned........

Big nose!

worried or in pain?

What's my hair doing?!

Go Go Sausage is who I was trying to get a snap of.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Lace Knitting + Me = Very Bad Language

I really want to be doing a Ta Dah for my shawl but I didn't manage to pin Mr C down to help me take photo's and today it is really too gloomy. I've got completed socks to blog about too. It will all have to wait and in the mean time I will show you what I have been getting my knickers in a twist with.

See those egg cosies on the Mollie Makes magazine?
They are by Suzie who runs the Knit Club I go to.
She has a book coming out in the Autumn.

Gawd talk about over stretching myself! Why did I think it would be a good idea to try to do lace knitting? Why did I then think "I must make wrist warmers out of Kid Silk Haze in a lace pattern to wear to a wedding in May"?

There's a big mistake up the top near the needle. I did a purl row when I shouldn't.

Oh my, what a lot of swearing I have been doing. 

"Gah! I've bloody gone wrong again. Stupid bleeding knitting. Don't flipping breathe near me! You're distracting me. Oh for flipping hells damn ar*eing sake. I CAN'T DO IT!!!!!!"

So I count to ten and then I do the only thing I can do at times like this. I try again, optimistic that I'll manage it this time....I'm slowly getting there.

Another reason for not getting any shots of my shawl was because we had Bee and co. to stay for the weekend. It was her birthday ages and ages ago but for one reason or another I didn't get to see her to give her her gift till this weekend. I made her a crochet stash bag (just typed 'crotch stash bag', I am spluttering) for her giant granny square which is looking suuuuuuuuper.

I want to show you this plasticine Grommit that Little Cuckoo made when he went to the Wallace and Grommit studios with his best friend last year. He had some help but he really got involved and now his creation sits proudly on the shelf in the kitchen.

Like my new table cloth? Spot the calpol to the right? Little has had a wicked
virus and has been so poorly for a whole week.

Cheeky little fist trying to swap Grommit
with a plastic chicken drumstick

Didn't he do well!

And for those of you who would like to make your own there's the step by step guide.

Is anyone out there a lawyer? Has access to a sister, brother, husband who is a lawyer? I know lawyers are crazy busy but I wonder if they'd take a look at the Pinterest Terms and Conditions and reassure me that it's unlikely us pinners will get sued. I read this blog post the other day and I am spooked right out. Could I really get in big trouble? Could YOU really get in big trouble?

Did you hear about the blogger whose image was taken up by Tesco and splashed all over a jumper without her knowledge or permission? Should I have a copywrite note on my blog? Are we all revealing way too much in cyber space? So much to think about.


Monday 5 March 2012

Did you know...

...I can knit. I can! I couldn't but now I can!

There have been snippets of bits of knitting here and there through this blog but I now finally feel ready to say I can actually knit. Now I'm not going to pretend I picked up the needles and started knitting with no problems at all. The reality was that I have, over the past 10 months picked up my needles, knitted a bit, swore a lot (really bad words too) and unravelled/frogged the lot only to take a few deep breathes and start all over again. I mastered the stitches pretty well, I learnt how to read easy patterns and follow simple charts. My difficulty was fixing a mistake. That was why I had to frog stuff right back. But the other day I had my EUREKA moment. I'd made a mistake with Ssk2tog and so the stitches were all going the wrong way. I just dropped the relevant ones off my needle, let them run down the knitting and then I pulled them back up with a crochet hook till they were right. I shocked even myself. Then on Saturday at Knit Club I trod on my shawl and about 15 stitches slid off the needle mid row and all unravelled down about 4 rows. It took me a while but I rescued them. I cannot tell you how proud I was that I did't ask one of the many very quick and experienced knitters to do it for me.

So here are the fruits of my labour. This is what I have produced doing the odd row here and there whenever I got a moment. Sacrificing a read in the bath for half an hours knitting. Going to bed too late...

Debbie Bliss Rialto 018 Rowan Kid Silk Haze Ghost 642
If you look closely you can see I have discovered blemish correct in iPhoto.

Pattern by Suzie Johnson and found here

Here is Mr C's scarf I knitted for his Christmas present (I did get him other stuff. He didn't just get a scarf which I sweated blood and tears over and made with HUGE love!)

Ahh but he loves it though. Look at that happy little face.
I made it a bit too long really. It could do with being unravelled by a good few inches as it pokes out of the bottom of his coat even when it is wrapped around a few times. It is so warm. Warm and soft. A really nice Man Scarf, even though I do say so myself. Well, the feedback has been good at least.

I didn't manage to get a really good photo of it before it was worn and had gone a bit fluffly. My man is often a stubbly dude. Little Cuckoo thinks he has prickle seeds because his prickles keep growing.

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran Colour 300029 on 5mm needles. I did it in simple brioche stitch which I got from Jane Brocket's Gentle Knitting book. She makes the faberge egg cosies out of it. The stitch pattern is worked over multiples of 4 plus 2.

Then I had ago at making these little booties from a pattern Sandi sent me. She sent me the yarn too, lucky girl that I am. I wanted to make these for Mini as he had grown out of the ones Sandi had made him when he was born. Those ones were so sweet and perfect and I missed seeing them on his little feet.

With a furrowed brow and some peace and quiet while we were in New York way back in November I made these booties.

Bloody things didn't fit though. In order to try to increase the size the pattern went up to I used a larger needle and they just don't fit properly anywhere. If anyone ever comes across a pattern for booties/slippers for a 1-2 yr old then could you let me know? All the ones I see only go up to 12 months and I'd like Mini to have some soft slippers. I'll be unravelling these and making Mini something else at some point. Maybe a cool bandana thingy.

One of the first things I knitted and completed was this huge snood. It's made with a fluffy alpaca yarn by Gedifra. The pattern is Suzie's (it's not on her Ravelry or website but it's called The Kendal Mint Cake) and is knitted on comical jumbo needles. I looked like a total buffoon trying to wield them. I enjoyed the fact that it knitted up quickly but I didn't enjoy knitting with achey arms. Seriously it was like working out. Not my thing at all, working out that is. Yuk.

Spot the sheet drying on the stairs.

There's a bit of crochet sneaking in now. In August last year Mr C and went to London for the day and I started crocheting this hat.

 It uses a twisted granny stitch which is quite easy to do once you get the hang of it. Can't for the life of me remember how you do it now though. Typical as I'd like to make another one as I have given this set away as a gift.

I think it looks quite nice on. This style of hat doesn't usually suit me. Usually I look like a Pip Head in a beanie hat.

See? Looks ok. Doesn't it? Or not?
No, I still look like a pip head.

These wrist warmers are from the book Wendy sent me when I first started whining that I was struggling with knitting. The pattern doesn't turn out like the photo's suggest but they are nice and I learnt some new skills. I learnt how to do eyelets, how to increase and do stripes. Can someone explain to me when I should use 'learnt' and when to use 'learned', please, I get twoddled up.

I also learnt how to stitch them up using the mattress stitch technique. 

The one on the left was my own method of sewing up. I made a total pigs ear of it. The one on the right was done after much huffing and puffing and squinting at the stitches. So glad I persevered though. Seriously NONE os this has come easily to me.

Anyone else want to learn to knit? Tell me in the comments section below and I'll pass on the book Wendy sent me. You can see it in this post. I'll post it anywhere in the world. The one condition is that when you are done you have to pass it on to a fellow blogger. You'll have to write your blog details in the front page. It's a pass it forward of sorts.

Also last year I made these wrist warmers for my Belle Soeur (sis in law).

She is a photographer in her spare time and she likes a cigerooni so I made these smoking-shooting wrist warmers for her. 

I can even bake knitting!!!!!!

Princess and I made a dozen each for Suzie's 40th birthday. Mine were Mojito flavour and were like rubber. Sarah's were coconut flavour and perfect. Not that I'm bitter or anything ;oD


ps This lot isn't the completed Wip I mentioned at the end of my last post. These are old ones completed a while ago. The wip I finally finished on Sunday is the shawl at the top of this post and I'm going to have to wait for some help with photographing it...unless I stick it on Diana. That's an idea.

pps. I can keep quiet no more. SOCKS!!!!!!! Yeah I have knitted socks. Oooooh scratch my big head. They are really rough and too baggy but I love them. I can't bring myself to wear them as I like to have them on the arm of the sofa near me in the evening. Oh help, I am so puggled in the head. That's just not normal!

ppps. Want to see some photo outtakes? Keep scrolling!

The snood got stuck on my head when I was trying to take it off with one hand while the other held the camera. I look like Princess Leia!

Little Cuckoo asked to take some pictures of me pulling funny faces. 
Oh and one last thing (promise) Minnie is great now. Fully restored though still a bit sore and emotionally fragile. It's amazing how many of you duck in now and again to see how she is doing. You kind hearted lot.

Sunday 4 March 2012

Granny to the rescue!

Here in Cuckoo Land we have had great excitement and drama. 

Some weeks ago it was noticed that there were two acorns stuck in the shower drain. Nothing would get them out. Lots of different tools were enlisted in the desperate attempt to retrieve these errant acorns. 

It is not known how they were to find themselves in the drain. The Cuckoo Boys said "It wasn't me, it wasn't us. It was someone else. We wouldn't do that. No. It must have been Daddy"

The mother of the house has spent many an anxious moment checking on the acorns in the hope that they wouldn't sprout and grow into an oak tree. As romantic as having a tree in ones shower sounds it is not conducive to personal cleanliness.

Happily today at 11.34am Granny came to the rescue with specialist equipment. A skewer and a Fireman Sam head torch. The acorns having spent considerable time in water were soft enough to yield to the pointy stick. Now the panic is over and the Cuckoo's can continue to cause chaos elsewhere.

In other news there has been a Wip completion. Yes you heard right. A finished object after too many months to mention.