Sunday, 30 August 2015

Sunflower Key Keeper

I have that 'summer here is over' feeling. The last bank holiday of the summer is tomorrow and with the weather forecast telling us it's going to rain all day it's a little depressing :o(
I'm glad I got the lawn cut yesterday. It had been a lovely sunny day but I had been working to 5pm and as the grass was really quite long I needed to go over it as with the wet weather forecast I didn't think I would have another chance for a few days.

 It seems to me the Autumn is approaching fast and we haven't really enjoyed any decent hot days. We certainly haven't had the garden furniture out much, although the paddling pool did make a few appearances. 
Saying that though, September and October can often be really nice and in the past I have enjoyed driving around the Bedfordshire countryside, from wedding venue to wedding venue, marvelling at the gorgeous golds, yellows and ochres of the colour-changing leaves on the trees. 

But to see if we can make summer last just that bit longer I hooked up this sunflower key keeper. The gold and brown colours transition from summer to autumn, leaving the soft pastels of spring and the hot tropical holiday colours behind.

It's free pattern for you which you can find here. And it's been featured, along with my interview at on their blog.

I have gifted this one to my daughters nursery nurse as she was leaving for a new job. Little projects like this are great for presents, it's a quick make and makes finding your keys a lot easier! (I don't know if it's my age but I'm forever rummaging around in my bag for my keys, so a larger keyring attached to them would be very useful!)

The daisy version is cute too - that went to the lovely Dani who is just such a fab knitting inspiration to me. I also plan to make some bright colourful Gerbera Daisy ones as well as I think they could work out nice.

Happy crocheting !

'till next time...

Wednesday, 26 August 2015


I'm very excited to show you my finished Waterlily knitted top, it's been a challenge for me to make this but so worth the effort!

It's worked from the bottom up so once cast on there is lots of nice simple relaxing rows of knitting, round and round, that I enjoy doing whilst watching TV or crafting podcasts.

The pretty wavy line that divides the plain body section from the lacy yoke is a Latvian braid. This was a new technique for me and I adore the effect.

And then onto the lace... ummm I thought this would be the hard bit. I don't have a lot of lace knitting experience so this was the bit that challenged me. And yes I did rip back a fair few times, but so in love with this design that I couldn't give up and was very determined to get it finished.

My determination paid off, and suddenly it clicked and the pattern I was knitting looked like the picture, yay! 

I wouldn't say it was a really difficult pattern, but if you don't follow the instructions word for word then it doesn't come out right.... (note to self: read the pattern properly!)

I reached the shoulders just before we went on holiday and after a soak I left it blocking for the week we were away. It was lovely and dry when I returned and the lace section sits flat in all it's glory!

I am so pleased with this! I have really enjoyed the making process, despite my difficulties, and I also love the fact that I have the finished top - to wear today!

This pattern by Meghan Fernandes is such a beautiful design and can be found in the spring 2014 issue 8 of Pompom. The yarn I used is Wendy merino 4ply in shade 2380. The only adjustment I made was that I lengthen the body section by 5cm.

'till next time...

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Giveaway Winner!

Hi guys,

Just popping by to announce the winner for the family ticket to the Toft Alpaca workshop and farm tours this Friday.

Out of all the commenters only 2 people wanted to be part of the draw, giving them a 50/50 chance of winning!

The number generated was number 1 and so the first commenter - Katie Fisher won!

Congratulations Katie! I have passed your email onto the organisers and I hope you and your children have a fun time!

'till next time...

Friday, 21 August 2015

Dave Scuttle

Meet Dave Scuttle.

He's a mean a greedy seagull who doesn't think twice about stealing ice-creams from children. Or their crisps...

He's made from a pattern by Kerry Lord from her new book 'Edward's Menagerie: Birds'. You may be familiar with Kerry's work as she has also written a book of crochet animals and is part of Toft, a luxury wool and yarn company. I received an email asking if I would like to review the book while we were on holiday, and as seagulls down in St Ives are a real menace (we are advised in the holiday listings to be aware and not leave rubbish out for fear of seagull attack) I thought it would be funny to hook up Dave as a memory of our trip and as a way of reviewing the book at the same time (I love tie-ins like this, don't you?)

I received the book in digital format, it's full of loads of great bird patterns, all based around a handful of standard shapes that can be used for the different species. Can you see Dave there? Third from the right?

I haven't had much success with crochet toys before (remember the mermaid?), I wanted to have another crack at it so this was a perfect opportunity! The book is set out a bit like a cookbook with basics that can be used in the various 'receipes', you have standard forms - wings, legs etc and the pattern for each individual bird refers you back to what you need and then includes the extra pattern instructions needed. There is also a section regarding sewing, stuffing and doing the eyes. This means there is a bit of back and forth to gather all the information you need to make your feathered friend, which as I had it all on my lap-top was a bit of a faff. I think if you have the actual book, which of course is preferable, this wouldn't be such an issue.

Once into it the patterns are easy enough to follow and there is some good tips too. I like the advice about using scrap yarn up the rows to indicate the start of the round and there is a table regarding using different weights of yarns and size crochet hooks to achieve various size birds using the same pattern. The birds are very realistic I think, and the fact that Dave Scuttle has turned out well shows what a good design it is.
By the way, to explain his name - the pattern in the book is entitled Dave the Seagull. We called all the seagulls on holiday Scuttle as that is the name of Ariels friend in The Little Mermaid (my little  one's favourite film). And anyway, he looks like a Dave Scuttle, don't you think?

To celebrate Kerry's new book there is workshops and farm tours running at the Toft Alpaca Shop in Warwickshire UK on Friday 28th August and I am able to offer a giveaway prize of a family ticket (2 adults, 3 kids) to the event. If you would like to enter the giveaway just leave a comment below and I will do a random draw on Tuesday next week (25th August 2015). Travel to and from the event is not included and although this give-away is open to everyone, you do need to be available on the date and be able to get there under your own steam.

So good luck, I hope you enjoy

'till next time...

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Snippets of St Ives

Thanks for scrolling my friends! Pictures from our family holiday this year in St Ives Cornwall.

I will confess to the mild anxiety before we left, the long journey with the six of us, plus luggage crammed in our old car. Many miles to cover with a 3 year old to entertain. Children of a wide range of ages (17, 14, 11 and 3) - could we keep everyone happy? Considering there was no wifi in our holiday apartment, and all of us with acute You Tube addiction, would there be bickering and arguments?

I needed not worry. The weather was kind. The apartment spacious and right on the beach as well as being nestled within the sweet little town of St Ives. A busy place with great shops, bars and restaurants.

Each morning we would be greeted by the sea, tide in, tide out. Surfers and walkers from early to late. Greedy seagulls attacking our beach picnic, or landing on our balcony after spying food scraps.
The locals are friendly and welcoming, serving up delicious meals, pasties, ice-creams and of course scones with clotted cream and jam. My waistline is now huge!

We had our holiday jokes, the children's banter pleased me. We had fun, so much fun. As a mother there is nothing better than having your family all together, happy and content, with lots of smiles and laughter. It can't be beat can it?

My holiday project was the South Bay Shawlette, a simple and gorgeous pattern that was a joy to make. Particularly using the Koigu KPM (colour 2361, 2 x 50g skeins) and KPPPM (colour P524C364, 1 x 50g skein - for the contrast edge) yarn. I had bought this in Loop when I visited in February and it was always going to be a shawl. This pattern proved to be the perfect paring for a delightful project that ticked every box. So happy with the result, even if I didn't have enough yarn to do the 'official' edging. But who needs it? For me it's perfect as it is.

Back home I blocked my shawl and have worn it. I'm still battling through the washing pile, but I'm resisting making the adjustment from the holiday routine back to normal for a few more days at least.

Happy days...

'till next time...

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Southwold Snippets...

We only had to wait a few minutes for the gentlemen to relieve themselves! They do it on the hour and the half hour :o)

We had our annual day trip to Southwold this week. I go every year with my lot and were joined this time by my in-laws as well as my husband's sister and her family. There were eleven of us.

We did the same thing as we usually do. There is joy in repetition!

We start on the beach and play and picnic. Then we pack up and go to the arcade although it is a bit noisy in there for the little ones. The Cafe on the Green does nice coffees and ice-creams, so we take time for refreshments before having a mooch around the town, there is always the CD and record fair that my husband likes to go to. The spinning, weaving and yarn dying peeps were in the United Reform Church as usual as well, I did pop my head around the door but didn't stay long as it wasn't fair on the others, who were waiting outside.

We then head to the pier and have our tea in the Boardwalk restaurant, fish and chips of course! A short walk up and down the windy pier to see the clock helps the dinner go down, and then it's time to find the car and head home with tired children. Part of the A14 was closed so we had to detour through Newmarket (which looks very nice) but it didn't make too much difference to the journey time. I think we arrived back at about 9:45pm.

It's a fair way from land-locked Bedford, but worth the mileage. See you next year Southwold!


So I'm off on my weeks hollibobs soon, and I will catch up with you here when I come back. But in the meantime if you would like to join me and see my holiday crochet and knitting projects I will do some live broadcasts on Periscope where you can find me as betsymakes.

'till next time...