Close to You

I’ve got something very exciting to show you!  My husband bought me this amazing skein of yarn for Christmas and it is just yarn perfection to me.  My most favouritist colours are rainbow (obviously) and blue tones making this everything I look for in a colour combination.  It’s a soft and squishy merino nylon blend and was hand dyed by my lovely and extremely talented friend Sarah at Arwen Makes.

The yarn colour is called Whatever the Weather and it came with a set of weather themed stitch markers.  Seeing this little rainbow in between the rainbow of stitches on the needles makes me smile.

The yarn sat on my desk (pictured here in Weekly Photo – Happy) brightening my world while I spent a lot of time working on my Spice of Life blanket but with that all wrapped up it was time to knit it.  I chose to make a shawl with the yarn and picked the free pattern Close to You by Justyna Lorkowska. I really enjoyed working this pattern.  Lots of knit stitches and minimal counting made it perfect for sitting in front of the TV or watching my children play and the zig zag eyelet border adds a bit of interest.  I will probably knit it again.

I love the way it turned out.  This yarn suits this pattern perfectly with the rainbows spreading from the edges and I’m really looking forward to the cooler days of autumn so that I can wear it all the time.

Spice of Life

Last summer I sat by the river in Cambridge with my lovely friend and in that casual manner that non-crafters have she asked me if I would make her a bedspread.  Of course I said yes and I refused her money, saying instead that I would have it ready for a birthday present for her this year.

There have been many times in the last few months where I have looked at the sheer scale of the blanket in progress and wondered how I was going to get it finished in time but finished it is!  And with over a month to spare.

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen updates on the progress of this blanket, this post is just for the finished article in all her glory.

I chose 9 shades of Stylecraft Special DK to make this blanket

  • Silver
  • Graphite
  • Grey
  • Gold
  • Mustard
  • Camel
  • Parchment
  • Duck Egg
  • Stone

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I picked the colours as I went along rather than choosing an order beforehand and while I did not keep count of the amount of each ball used the finished blanket weighs in at 1.6kg which equates to around 16 balls of yarn.  At 322 yards per ball that’s just under 3 miles of yarn!

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I used the pattern from the Spice of Life Crochet Along by Sandra Paul at Cherry Heart. The Crochet Along was almost 2 years ago now but the pattern remains free to access on the website linked above.

Looking at the dimensions of Sandra’s blanket I worked out that by doubling the width and working with a stitch count of 313 stitches I would be at the right width for a double bed. I repeated the pattern 3 times to get the length I needed and my finished blanket measured at almost square, 75 inches across and 74 inches long, just right to sit on a bed.

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I wasn’t keen on the border in the original pattern so I went with very basic stripes of my own.  Just one round of UK double crochet, followed by 3 rounds of UK trebles.

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And one final photo just because everything always looks better photographed outdoors 🙂

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Weekly Photo – Favourite

One of the things I would like to work on in 2017 is my photography. I am joining in with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil’s weekly photo challenge.

This week’s one word prompt is Favourite.

An easy one for me this week and my first time posting more than one image for this weekly photo challenge.

As I have talked about before, we moved to this house with the most amazing garden in October 2016 and I have been head over heels in love with our outdoor space since.  On moving in  week I took this photo.

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The majestic horse chestnut tree, the autumn colours, the variety of trees in the border *happy sigh*.  This is absolutely my favourite view.

I decided to take weekly photos of this corner of the garden and at the end of the year stitch them all together to show the changing seasons.   I have photos in all weathers and light conditions, photos where I can barely make out the tree through the dense fog, and as I hoped, the seasons changing.  I’m not going to share them all here!  Just my favourites from each season.

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With a hard frost.  We didn’t get any snow this winter and so this was the most wintery I managed.  This photograph was taken just after Christmas and added to the landscape is a metal peacock sculpture my lovely husband bought for me as a gift.

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Early spring means daffodils!  This was so exciting for me to watch the daffs come up and then bloom.  Teeny little buds on the chestnut tree.

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Late spring and the daffodils are finished but the tree is suddenly covered in leaves and blossom candles.

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Finally a photograph taken this weekend, early summer.  All of the trees are in full leaf and the rhododendrons are in full bloom.

So much lovely happiness in my favourite photographs.

Weekly Photo – Stationary

One of the things I would like to work on in 2017 is my photography. I am joining in with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil’s weekly photo challenge.

This week’s one word prompt is Stationary.

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I struggled with this week’s prompt.  As I went about my day to day life I looked around me for things that were not moving, things that remained still, and there were very few within the glorious Yorkshire springtime landscape.

Then my eye chanced upon the power stations.  The terrain where we live is so flat that on a clear day I can see 3 power stations, those at Eggborough, Drax and Ferrybridge, enormous, iconic buildings.

As a child growing up in Yorkshire I remember the huge towers grazing the sky serving as a landmark to tell us that home wasn’t far away and so to me they are most definitely stationary, rooted into the ground and unchanging for decades.

Although the times, they are a changing. One by one the mines have closed and the power stations are taking steps towards no longer burning coal.  The station in the photograph, Eggborough, is marked for demolition and if plans proceed as made a new gas fired station will sit on the site within 5 years.  It will take some getting used to such a change in the look of our area.

Outlandish

I have a huge Outlander fan in my family and so for my mother’s birthday this year my sister and I pulled together an Outlander themed goody bag for her to take with her to this year’s Outlandish Gathering UK.

These are my contributions.

A little thistle to hang from her bag.

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The pattern is from the book 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield and it is of course made with my preferred yarn for fiddly bits Stylecraft Special DK in Sage and

A pair of wrist warmers similar to a style that Claire wears in the television show

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These were a lovely free pattern called Easy Victorian Shell Mitts by Bron Green and is available here.  I made these with Stylecraft Special Aran in Khaki.

And last but by no means least a bingo sheet of things she might encounter on her trip to the Highlands amongst Outlander fans!

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Click here for a downloadable pdf  should you also be heading to The Gathering! outlandish Bingo

I am pretty pleased with my creations and hope that everyone heading to an Outlandish Gathering, whether here in the UK or further afield, has a wonderful time.

Weekly Photo – Cycle

One of the things I would like to work on in 2017 is my photography. I am joining in with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil’s weekly photo challenge.

This week’s one word prompt is Cycle.

In the summer of 2014, Le Tour de France came to Yorkshire.  It was a big deal with much excitement generated for the event.  From my family’s perspective the highlight was the lengths people went to to decorate their towns, villages and roads.  Yellow bicycles popped up everywhere along with spotted jerseys and more bunting than I have ever seen before.

The enthusiasm for cycling in Yorkshire led to the creation of Le Tour de Yorkshire in 2015 and the 3 day race has continued into 2016 and a just a few weeks ago for this year’s fixture.  Four years of cycle races later and the county is peppered with Le Tour decorations with posters and bicycles that have been left in situ long after the cyclists have moved on.

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Last year Le Tour came through our village, although we hadn’t yet moved here, and this yellow bike has been at the edge of this field, by the roadside ever since.  I love the way the countryside is claiming it for its own and suspect that unless it is moved by next summer it will have been fully consumed by greenery.

Weekly Photo – Bird

One of the things I would like to work on in 2017 is my photography. I am joining in with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil’s weekly photo challenge.

This week’s one word prompt is Bird.

I was excited to see bird coming up as a prompt.  As I have sat here waiting for the photo to upload over our painfully slow internet connection the bird feeder just in my line of sight has been covered in great tits, blue tits and long tailed tits while the ever faithful resident robin has pottered about on the ground below.  This week every time my husband sits at this desk a jay with a vibrant flash of blue on it’s wing appears at the window, it disappears whenever I get my camera! From the kitchen window I have seen pied wagtails, chaffinches and a goldcrest.  There are pheasants and french partridge in and out of the woods and running all over the drive when I go anywhere in the car, the swallows have returned from their winter holidays and when heading out at dusk last week I saw a beautiful barn owl gliding over the field.

There is no shortage of birds and I love to watch them.  But I forgot wildlife photography is not my forte!  I like to take my time framing my shot and picking my angle and of course wherever I am the 3 bundles of noise, joy and sudden movements that are my offspring are never far away and so I have many a photograph of blurred wings and rapid exits and not so many lovely bird images.

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I chose a less mobile subject!  You may remember this little owl from my Mini Autumn Wreath.  Just for today it left its yarny home for a new roosting spot in the garden, I think it looks quite happy in a tree.