Sunday, 25 September 2016

LES CHAUSSETTES DE PROVENCE!


Woohoo!!! A finished pair of socks! It's been a little while since there has been a finished project, mainly due to the interruption caused by summer sunshine! :-). So, here are the little beauties in all their glory; a lovely reminder of lavender fields and long happy days of sunshine.

I cast on the day before setting off for Aix-en-Provence, in August and as I fully expected, the only little bit of knitting to take place was up in the air. So, since their has begun to be an autumnal nip in the air, I have got on nicely with them. 


I have to say, this yarn by 'The Knitting Swede' has to be one of the loveliest sock yarns ever. Of course the beautiful colour way and the gorgeous stripes are obvious, but the yarn also has a fabulously soft feel and offers great stitch definition. I love it! I also love that I managed to match up the stripes perfectly, right down to the tip of those pretty little toes!


That little nip in the air these last few evenings has encouraged me to bring my beautiful 'Cosy' blanket out of hibernation. It's almost two thirds complete, so I'm going to get a hook-on with this one before the colder weather arrives.


This was this afternoon's 'couple of hours in the garden' project. I managed to finish off the second sleeve and then complete the neckband, so it's now already to put together. I love it when there are several projects all nearing completion, as  it means I can think about what to cast on next!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

QUILTING INITIATION...........

Well, I finally took the plunge and made my first attempt at quilting yesterday, under the watchful eye of my great friend Josiekitten. I've hankered after having a go at this craft for a long, long time now, but whilst still teaching, free time is pretty precious and I didn't want to take on yet another hobby. However.......... I have just loved seeing the beautiful cushions that she has made and the wonderful projects completed by other quilters AND I received a beautiful put together kit from Josiekitten for my birthday in July. The rest will soon be history as, with my first project successfully completed, I shall now consider myself a quilter!!! Since when have I been one to say no to the plaintive cries of a pretty skein of yarn or (so it now seems) some pretty fabric.


 I'm never one to say no to a yummy piece of Millionaire's Shortbread or Lemon Cake either, as of course, we needed a coffee and cake catch up before we got down to the business of the day!


Pretty much the hardest part of the process was choosing the best order for the beautiful coloured squares. It took me a while, but I was pretty happy with the finished arrangement.


I had the chance to use Josiekitten's fabulous Juki sewing machine for the purposes of cushion production. What a pleasure it is to use!




 The idea and instructions for this beautiful cushion came from this blog. There are so many beautiful things to make, I just need many more hours in each day.


Here we are with the front all ready for quilting.  Josiekitten showed me how to layer the muslin and then the wadding and keep it all in place with pins and then I was ready to get going with the quilting! 


Always a fan of spotty fabrics, this reverse side fabric is just perfect. I love the simple envelope opening too!


In fact I am pretty much in love with every last stitch of it all!!!


Thanks so much Josiekitten for setting me off on the colourful road of quilting discovery!!!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

PROVENCE SOCKS......



These gorgeous ones were named 'Provence Socks' as they were the pair I took on holiday with me, expecting to fill spare moments with knitting time; only there were very few spare moments and consequently very little knitting time, which was fine by me because I was having great fun! 

I'm glad to say I am now on sock number two, so progress has been slow but steady since I have been home. A few rounds here and a few rounds there, in between schoolwork and other jobs. 


So, the pattern is 'Dave' by Rachel Coopey. It's my 'go to' pattern for plain socks and with gorgeous stripes like these I want nothing to detract from their beauty! The yarn is a skein I carefully selected at Fibre East this year, by the Knitting Swede. It's Stride - self-striping in colour way Urban Flowers. I just love, love, love these pretty pink and purple stripes against the grey background. Dyeing perfection for me! 


They are in indeed a lucky and pretty well travelled pair of socks, having already spent a week in the sunny south of France, this elder twin had the added luxury of a trip to the coast last weekend. It was a little cooler but still very beautiful and the sun shone. 


 Thankfully, we've capitalised on the slow, stripey French beginnings. This was my week's worth of knitting! I know, way too much talking, people watching, sight seeing and daydreaming! Just fabulous and, do you know, the sock didn't mind one little bit that progress was so slow. He was enjoying the trip!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

BEAUTIFUL PROVENCE.....


Hello! The traveller has returned. It;s been a really busy but very lovely summer this year, topped off by a fantastic week in Provence with my youngest daughter. The sun shone brightly, showering us with it's glorious warmth. Some days the temperature reached over 40 degrees and was never less than 33 for the largest part of the day. We didn't see a single cloud or even have to think about glancing at the weather forecast, before deciding on the day's activities. The food and wine was excellent and the company was just perfect! We had the best time!

Having never been to this area of France before, I was constantly in awe of it's stunning beauty. It seemed that around every corner turned was yet another pretty village,  beautiful building or area of outstanding natural beauty. I have never seen anywhere so beautiful!

We initially stayed in Aix-en-Provence, from where we explored the hill towns and villages of the Verdon, as well as the wonderful Parc Naturel Regional du Verdon; each one as different as it was pretty. Everywhere was so clean and well kept and everyone so friendly. Wow factor times a hundred!


We moved on to stay in St-Rémy-de-Provence, from where we visited Avignon (yes, we sang the song on the bridge!) and discovered the delights of the Luberon, with more delightful villages along with water wheels, canals, ancient abbeys, Roman ruins and of course fields upon fields of lavender, olive groves, vineyards and orchards. Just stunning!


We wasted no time and made the most of the local menus and wine lists. We had a ball and loved it all! Adieu Provence jusqu'à la prochaine fois!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

SHOPPING.....



Good evening! I'm just popping in to show you my carefully chosen purchases from Fibre East; three very beautiful skeins and a rather lovely spotty crochet hook.


Easyknits has to be one of my 'must go to' vendors at the shows. Jon dyes beautifully and loves a touch of sparkle. Although I'm not a massive lace weight knitter, I couldn't resist this gorgeous skein of Twinkle Lace in colour way 'Into the Blue'. It's a 75% merino, 20% silk and 5% stellia mix and will probably end up becoming another 'Almost Ovals' scarf. My pics are not too good a colour match   as the blues are really much more turquoise.


Next up is a fabulously soft skein of 'Five Moons' 75% merino 20% nylon mix, also with a touch of sparkle! It's due to become ...... socks!


Last up is a really lovely skein of Stride self-striping from 'The Knitting Swede'. It's 75% super wash BFL and 25%nylon. This little beauty is joining me on a trip to Provence tomorrow and will return, hopefully, as a pair of Provence Socks, to remind me of the beautiful lavender fields.

See you in a couple of week! :-)

Monday, 15 August 2016

SHOW DAY......


Well, we've just returned from a really lovely couple of weeks up in North Yorkshire, with lots of family time and fun with the grandchildren. There really wasn't that much knitting time to be had, but I did spend a frantic couple of days finishing off an entry for one of the local country shows. 

We've had a great day out at the Thornton-le-Dale Show for the last two years and I've loved seeing all the entries in the craft tent, so this year it was time to support the cause with Bunny Girl (Knitted Toy),   Little Flower Coat (Knitted Matinee Jacket)  and Rainbow Marley Hat (Any Other Baby Item).


 As you can see from the photo below, the Marley Hat looked just a little out of place amongst the other traditional baby items :-) :-)! Needless to say, it wasn't placed, but baby Isaac has been a very grateful recipient of it.


 My Matinee Jacket was not placed either, although I thought it looked pretty good amongst the entries. It was a fun knit though and will make a useful gift for someone's newborn at some point, although I have to say, I'd not knitted a matinee jacket since my own three were babies. In fact, the pattern I used was the first one I completed when expecting my son ( my first born).




 Then, of course, there was Bunny Girl! I LOVE her! She looked a little lost and alone as I left her sitting on the white tablecloth, beside the many much grander and larger toys.




On our return during the afternoon, I have to admit to being very excited to see that Bunny Girl was proudly sitting on a blue Second Place card! WooHoo! All credit must be given to the winner, which was the lovely large brown bear sitting next but one to her in the photo above.


Yes, I'll take that! Well done Bunny Girl!

I'm off to Provence next weekend, so may or may not see you for a week or two, although I still haven't shown you my small, carefully chosen, purchases from Fibre, so I'll try to pop in again before I go.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

FIBRE EAST 2016


Once again the Fibre East organisers pulled out all the stops to put on a fantastic festival of all things yarny. It's fast becoming a most important date in my diary. The venue is perfect, with plenty of parking, spacious and varied vendor spaces, outdoor sunshine spaces, excellent and well organised catering facilities and YARN!!! Yarn and everything one might ever need, in order to magic the yarn into wonderful and magnificent creations! Add all of this to friendly exhibitors and vendors and catching up with friends and you have the perfect mix for a very successful fibre festival. 


I had a ball and thoroughly enjoyed my Saturday visit; meeting up with my great pal Josiekitten and managing to make a few very carefully selected purchases!


There is always so much colour and vibrancy to feast the eyes upon, so many ideas triggered and so much talent on display.


Thanks to everyone involved, it was another great Fibre East! Looking forward to next year!
You'll have to wait to see my purchases, as we came up to Yorkshire the day after the event and I've yet to photograph them, swatch this space.