Sunday, 19 February 2017

February - get knitting!

Well, hello :)  No posts for a month - I've just been crafting a bit intensively I think!  Spending a lot of time making items and photographing them for my Etsy shop - it's left me little time to take any photos for my poor wee blog!

Last month I seemed to have been bitten by the crochet bug.  February seems to be the month for getting knitting - hurray!  I've been struggling at times to get knitted items in my shop.  Time constraints as knitting is more time consuming than crochet or sewing I find anyway, the cost of buying yarn of course, and finding patterns which knitwear designers give permission for the finished items to be sold - so nice to have found some of these!

This week was the week of the bobble hat - these were such fun to make . . . .


Pattern design by RusticWillowCreation



Pattern design by Knifty Knittings

In between I've been making a few tweedie collage items which I've loved . . .



One of three collage brooches I've made for the shop.


This collage purse was inspired by a little textile art collage piece I'd made last month :)

Last weekend I popped into my local yarn shop to see if I could get some wool to finish off one of the bobble hats.  The wool wasn't there but I know the lovely lady who owns the shop and couldn't leave empty handed so purchased some very reasonably priced sock yarn.  I was thinking a lace shawl maybe but ended up starting to knit some lace socks from one of my Shetland Lace Knitting books (The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting by Elizabeth Lovick).

It doesn't look like much but I think it'll look very pretty once complete . . .


The lace pattern is a Shetland traditional one called candle light - it's really pretty once you see a few repeats of it.  This could be a long project though as I'm just taking my time and enjoying being a little medatative with something very intricate - you can't rush lace knitting!

We've just had half term holidays last weekend so back into the swing of things in general.  Looking forward to Easter holidays already though as we've had lovely mild weather here - it feels like Spring already!

Speak soon
Alison x

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

First Post of the Year :)

Well, we're into the third week of the New Year and January has just flow in - not sure where it's gone but . . . . :)

I'm a little late to be saying Happy New Year, but well I've said it anyway!

We had a lovely relaxing holiday - some time spent batting down the hatches due to bad weather, which was a really good excuse not to go anywhere, hehe :)  It was just really good to have time to do a bit of cooking, baking, generally chilling out.  No schedules to follow - bliss!

With a little Christmas cash I invested in some balls of acrylic yarn to practice the granny squares in one of my crochet books.  The blocks are all 6 inch square and use aran/worsted weight yarn.  I've made some of the squares before in a mix of wool and acrylic with good results, perfect squares and no need to block (which I've never had to do before with my crochet squares).  

However, with my new acrylic yarn the squares seem to end a little 'curly' so some blocking is obviously required . . . 


I've made a make-shift blocking board with a piece of board (I think it's an old blackboard my kids had!), covered with a couple of layers of foam packaging, then wrapped in an old towel.  I used some string to wrap the towel around the board - yes, very rustic!

This is my second attempt to block the acrylic squares - my first ones did block OK but the yarn went very flat and lost its softness and fluffiness - flat acrylic squares - not good :(

Here's two I think I've blocked . . . 


I'm pleased with the squares but disappointed at how the blocking affected the yarn.  Maybe I was too impatient, I did finish off the blocking with a hairdryer - ooooops!

It's really nice having the correct weight of yarn to practice all the squares in the book though (100 Bright and Colourful Granny Squares by Leonie Morgan) and some lovely colours too.  Just the job for passing the time in January - maybe that's where the time went!

I think one of my New Year resolutions will be to try and purchase more of my craft supplies locally - we have a lovely hobby and craft shop in Stornoway that also sells yarn.  It's near my place of work and the owner who I happen to know anyway is really lovely - great to see everything in front of you and be able to buy direct from a local shop :)  Also quite dangerous, haha :) :)

Another resolution which I think I'm following already is just be as creative as possible with my Etsy shop and follow my gut instinct to make things I enjoy and am inspired to make - it's been fun so far anyway!  I'm enjoying making more collage and mixed media pieces - here's a detail of one . . . 


. . . embroidery, buttons, fabric, tweed - very enjoyable!

Over the holidays and throughout the Winter, the hens have carried on laying bountiful eggs - really great, especially over the Christmas break.  Here's one enjoying her porridge on a wintry morning . . .


We had lovely snow last week . . . 


All gone now though - but can't complain it's so mild today it could be Spring!

Well, best dash - probably lots more to say but enough already :)

Speak soon
Alison x

Monday, 19 December 2016

Seasons Greetings! Still here :) :)

Yes, still here although I haven't been here very regularly of late! I really must get Instagram for when I can't get time to blog - it really is a must and top of my 'to do' list for the New Year hopefully :)

Here's our cuddly festive Robin which comes out every year without fail - he always gets placed somewhere around the home at this time of year . . .


He used to tweet when you squeezed his tummy but I think he lost his tweet some time ago - never mind, he still looks cute!

I've been a little busy for the last month or so since I got back online after the laptop crash - ooops!  After putting my Etsy shop back online I made a few unexpected sales which was lovely!  I thought I should build on that and made a few more items to replace the stock I sold.  One of the items came from a little doodle of a Robin redbreast . . .


I then developed it into an applique tweedie purse which I had fun making . . .


All very festive, hehe :)

I'm enjoying going with the creative flow and just making things I enjoy!

On the personal front I came across THE  'go to'  scarf pattern for men (and women!). I always find it difficult to find a 'manly' scarf pattern but I think this one is just perfect and so simple!  You have to try it!

I made this one for my son - the cat tried to get in on the act by 'helping' . . .


how long??? . . .


It's a lovely stretchy scarf which would look great in a muted colour for men, but I just used an oddment of multi coloured chunky yarn for my son at Uni - I think he might wear it for fun if nothing else!  I'm knitting a bright pink one for myself now :)

Well, we are not having festive weather here in the Outer Hebrides - it's more like Spring!  Here's how it looks today from the back window . . .


Well, I hope everyone has a lovely festive season - a time to eat, drink and be merry!  I plan to do all three :) :)

Merry Christmas from the Outer Hebrides!
See you in 2017,
Alison xxx

Friday, 25 November 2016

Grumpy Bunny!

I've been AWOL for sometime now due to a disastrous laptop crash which really was an accident waiting to happen - it was slowing down to a ridiculous pace and shutting down on a regular basis.  Well, the inevitable happened and one morning last month it decided it had had enough and refused to come on at all.  A self imposed break from all online pursuits ensued - not a great time of year I admit to cease my crafty trading on Etsy but necessary until I figured out what to do (apart from borrowing my children's computers of course!).

Anyway I'm back with a nifty little budget notebook (popular with impoverished students I believe, haha!) which I finally decided to go for.  Just as well I'm getting spectacles for close up work - I'll need them on this little screen! 

In my imposed break I spent some time leafing through some of my fave craft books and finishing off the crochet cushion covers I'd started earlier. I had a go at making this little fellow from 'Homemade Gifts Vintage Style' . . .


He looks pretty disgruntled - poor thing! (maybe this is what I looked like without my laptop, hehe!)

But the one on the book cover did too . . .


Here he is on the settee surrounded by the finished crochet covers which I really enjoyed completing (at last!) . . .


I actually cheated with attaching the crochet covers - the square one was stitched onto a very old tweed patchwork one which had seen better days but the zip was intact and it was just asking to get reused . . .


The other two were simply stitched on to backing fabric without any opening - when they get grubby they'll just have to be unstitched!

Grumpy Bunny was made from an old fleecy hoodie so is quite soft and cuddly . . .


He was just an experiment - I might give him to a passing toddler!  I really love how this book reuses old and unloved fabrics and objects - very inspiring!

We've had some lovely frosty mornings this week, the chooks have been enjoying pecking about without being battered by rain and gales.  They didn't seem to mind the frost too much . . .


I love seeing them pecking about amongst the trees and shrubs :)

We've enjoyed a bounty of eggs from them since we got them - really lovely to be able to collect the fresh eggs and use them ourselves and pass some on to friends and relatives.  Last weekend I decided to treat myself and made 'Eggs Benedict' which was something I've seen on countless cookery programmes but never tried eating or making it.  It was very yummy :) and so much nicer with our own eggs . . .


You can get some recipes here.  Excuse the rather scruffy plate but it's just the right size for some things!

Hope I'll be back a little more regularly now - my Etsy shop is back open again so I should really get off and make some items for it!

Speak soon,
Alison x

P.S.  'Homemade Gifts Vintage Style' is written by Sarah Moore.  I might be using it this Christmas given my very tight budget LOL!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Playing Hooky :)

I picked up an old crochet project at the weekend . . . . and decided to finish it off, yay!  On thing led to another and I'm now trying to incorporate it into a little ensemble of cushions on my couch . . .


The cushion on the left is the one I finished at the weekend . . .


The block patterns were taken from Leonie Morgan's lovely book: 100 Bright and Colourful Granny Squares.  I had sewn the four blocks together and they had sat there for a good few months - on Sunday I added another round of double crochet to 'tie' them altogether and then three rounds of treble crochet all round.

The middle oblong cushion is a few years old I think from when I started to learn to crochet!  It's been lying dormant ever since - oooops!

The cushion on the right is my current work in progress . . .


The pattern is from Susan Pinner's fab book - Granny Squares - a lovely inspiring book of crochet projects for the home.

It's nice to get back to some crochet - so easy to pick up and drop whenever - just a wee bit addictive though :)  I'll be back to getting some 'tweedie' work this afternoon.

My latest addition to the ship is a personalised Harris Tweed cosmetics purse - quite fun and funky I think :)  Very pastel, sorbet colours - with a fresh gingham lining . . .


Better get the sewing machine out now for some tweedieness athough it would be good to get some crochet and knitted  items in there soon too!

Bye for now :)
Alison x

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Oooooops, well that was Summer then!

Seemingly it's bad form for apologising for not blogging for a long time so I won't!

Summer came and went, with family home on holiday and a big birthday for me (with a '0' in it!), not fantastic weather but hey, it was fine :)  Our 3 lovely hens laying lovely eggs all the way through pretty much - which was very nice!  It all seemed to go by very quickly :)

I am a bit late restarting my blog as of course University term time is much later than school and it put things back a bit or me for restarting crafty/bloggy things.  Eldest is safely back in Uni and in study mode as youngest and I are now looking forward to October break - whoop!

I've been busy adding items to my Etsy shop, mostly zipper purses . . .

Some inspired by the local landscape . . .




One inspired by the chooks! . . .


And some just for fun - well, why not :) :) ...


We're all loved up here on the croft, hee hee ;-)

Well, I hope to be a round a bit more now - maybe some more relaxed personal crafting, or maybe not, who knows!  There'll be crafting anyway :)  Hope everyone enjoyed a long lazy summer!

Bye for now :)
Alison x

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Socks for my Sons Pal . . . and other stuff.

My eldest son came home from a weekend with friends a couple of weeks ago.  He happened to be wearing a pair of my handknitted socks which I'd foisted on him prior to a camping trip earlier in the Summer - "it get's VERY cold at night in a tent you know" I told him as I stuffed his rucksack with a couple of my knitted boot socks.  Now he loves wearing them inside his Doc Martin boots - perfect student attire!

Anyway, one of his pals spotted his colourful knitted socks and hinted that he'd like a pair like them - any chance of getting some??  He's quite a fun, quirky boy so I rose to the challenge of knitting him some socks with glee!  I decided to make a chunky pair though that would be quick to knit up and went for my '4 stitches to the inch' pattern in Ann Budd's sock knitting book . . . 


They turned out quite fun and funky - the kind of socks you might wear for warmth at night during a camping trip or for slouching about - I think they might be too thick for wearing inside boots but he hasn't received them yet so I'm not sure.  Now my son wants a pair like these so I'll have to go and get some more yarn - what a shame LOL :) :)

A little lace knitting started a couple of weeks ago . . .


It was going great until I was stupid enough to try and carry on with the pattern in the living room with the TV on and my Other Half started ranting about the European election/result - well, you can guess what happened!  The European referendum results have a lot to answer for and not just for messing up my lace knitting - but let's not go there!!!! NOT a happy bunny here though :( :(

Well, we're in the full swing of the Summer school and uni holidays so everything goes a bit belly up as far as crafting, housework, routine, etc. but it's also great just to be a bit out of routine and take a slower pace.  The chooks are laying eggs full out and seem really settled in their new home - I'm delighted!  We're having great fun with them and looking forward to a few antics over the holidays :)


Here's one eating oatmeal out of my youngest son's hand - they love this treat!

Hope to be popping by through the Summer holidays - but maybe a bit sporadically!  Who knows - holidays usually mean a bit of chaos, so we'll see how it all goes!

Bye for now
Alison x