Sunday, 30 April 2017

BUSY, BUSY.........


Well hello there. I seem to have been absent without leave for the last couple of weeks. Easter passed  by in a happy blur of Easter egg hunts, basket making, windy beach walking and little people! Knitting didn't really get a look in, so it was a good thing that this gorgeous little cardigan had it's last end sewn in just the very evening before everybody began arriving home.

I had bought the lovely Rowan merino silk yarn last summer in the JL sale, with the plan in mind to make Evie a cardi. Time passed and I realised that if I didn't hurry up and get going on it there wouldn't be sufficient yarn to knit the size she would need. So, just in time and all yarn used, job done!


The pattern is one I've used several times before from Rowan's 'Just Baby' book. I'm a great fan of simple designs and the little rolled collar and edges on this just make my heart sing.


Needless to say, little Evie looked super cute wearing it and loved the colour. It looked great with her blue jeans. 


Last weekend I spent time with the younger Miss Snoops at her flat in London. Amidst all that has gone on over the last couple of months, she has still managed to keep her running going and proudly took up her place on the start line for the 2017 London Marathon. Although she has run several half marathons along with some 5Ks and 10Ks, this was her first full marathon. She finished on top form in a very respectable time of 4hrs 27mins. Of course, being the younger Miss Snoops she now realises she could have made even better time (although she wouldn't have had such a fun time stopping to greet friends, FaceTime her Mama and soak up the wonderful atmosphere etc.) and has already put her entry in for the next one; 'encouraged' by her Runner Bean brother! So, so proud of her!



Oscar enjoyed his walks in Telegraph Hill park and his Mamma enjoyed the stunning views of the City of London.


So, this week has required some '..... and relax' time in the evenings! 


This yummy bundle of Stylecraft Special DK arrived to begin making a blanket for Evie's little brother Isaac. In the wink of an eye he has gone from being a tiny newborn to an almost walking almost one year old and he STILL doesn't own one of Grandma's special blankets! The colour choices were his mum's and now they've arrived neither she nor I are 100% happy with the mix. I can't decide quite what needs to be taken out or added. I've already removed the bright green second along on the top row. I may just get started and see how the colours blend once the ripples start taking shape. However, I must finish his blue hoodie before I allow myself some 'ripple' time


Oscar's been enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend with some lake dipping and tennis ball hunting at our local waterpark. I think it must be his favourite place (apart from an empty beach) as his tail doesn't stop wagging, or his nose sniffing, or his legs running! It makes me so happy!



Bank Holiday weekend also means some new reads for ME! The top two books I have been eagerly awaiting and the bottom one seems to keep popping in booky places as being a great read. Now to decide which to start with.  I LOVE a little pile of newly acquired books!!! Right, a cup of coffee and make my choice!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

LOVING THE PATCHWORK.....


This last week has been a week of batik, little squares and another new sewing and quilting experience, alongside some fabulous weekend weather and special walks with my beautiful Oscar boy! 

I am a new quilter and am learning with the help of my dear pal Helen (Josiekitten), who is always willing to share her workshop experiences with me. I love sewing almost as much as knitting, but do less of it as there is always the upheaval of getting everything out and packing it all away again. I know,  I  really do need a crafting room! To be honest, what is there not to like when you have a charm pack of beautiful batiks to work with. 


Having stitched nine charm squares into a three by three larger square six times over,  each large square is then quartered to give twenty four smaller squares as seen above. I usually agonise over the best layout, trying to balance patterns and colours but this little beauty just seemed to organise itself.


After lining, backing and making then sewing the edging............. ta da!!!! Here it is! What do you think? I'm pretty pleased with myself.


I'm loving the colour and pattern mix and so pleased I eventually decided to go with the blue backing and edging. It finishes the quilt off perfectly.


There is still the little matter of actually quilting the finished piece, which I plan to do this coming week. The rows of stitches that you can see are merely securing the wadding to the patchwork top. 


Oscar supervised the entire process, right down to helping to hang it on the linen line in the garden for a photo. By the look on his face, he is so so wishing the quilt will be for him! He's not really a big fan of the pinks though.


This weekend brought glorious sunshine to our days and the younger Miss Snoops home for a visit. She loves walking Oscar and we enjoyed some super sunny, long walks. He sustained a very deep cut in his right front paw three weeks ago and needed stitches. Even though the bandaging was off a week ago, he still had to be kept on a lead for yet another week. For a ball and swimming obsessed boy like Oscar, he's been pretty restricted. So, imagine his joy to find himself 'off lead' again and free to race down into the river or lake for a cool down or sniff a special smell for just as long as he wanted. Heaven!



This place is just a five minute drive from our city centre home and is always a beautiful and peaceful  oasis to spend an hour or two.


I couldn't not include this last photo as these little beauties never fail to brighten my day. Such simple beauty!


This week, the family arrive for the Easter weekend, which I'm really looking forward to. There might an Easter egg or two, perhaps an egg hunt and even some Easter nest cooking for the little ones. We'll have to see. It's just good to be together!


Sunday, 2 April 2017

LONG TIME NO SEE.....


Hello there! I know it's been a while, but that's because here at chez Snoopydog we have been having to get used to getting on with life without our dear, beloved 'leader of the pack' Mr Snoops; dearly loved husband and soulmate, Dad, Grandpa and Gramps! He passed away very suddenly in the early hours of  February 28th from acute bacterial meningitis, after nothing more than feeling a little under the weather for the previous two days.  He was only 62! Needless to say it came as a massive shock for something so sudden and unexpected to have happened. We are missing him very, very much, but in true family Snoops fashion we have surrounded ourselves with family love and supported each other through the last almost five weeks. My pal Josiekitten (Helen) has been a huge support at what is still a very sad time for her also. 

Gradually, each of my elder two children and their families have resumed their jobs and family life and today, the younger Miss Snoops has returned to her flat and job in London. We are a close family and are usually in  daily contact, even though we live in different parts of the country, so it still feels as though everyone is nearby!



Very little woolliness happened for two or three weeks, but little by little my beautiful Advent Calendar cushion has slowly been completed. It is bright and cheery and makes me smile. I love it so, so much! 

Everyone is coming home again for the Easter weekend and I have some sewing planned with Josiekitten and a couple of theatre visits during the Easter holidays, so life is gradually picking up on it's new pathway. 

Normal Sunday postings have hopefully just been resumed!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

GRANNY CUSHION.......


Oh my word! How I do so love these colourful little granny squares; even the brown and blacks have their place in the overall collection. I made two extra little squares, so that there would be fifty, which should make a cute eighteen by eighteen inch cushion cover once all crocheted together. The photo above is the front and the photo below is the back, or vice versa! I don't really care which way is which as I love them all; the little darlings!


I love how the colours splurge and splash across the square; never paying too much attention to their ramblings, just wheresoever the mood takes them.

I have never been a fully fledged crochet addict, as knitting is and probably will always be, my first love. However, I've really enjoyed the three blankets that I've made over the years (all Attic 24) and have REALLY  loved the easy pick up and go of these little squares.

 Having only ever attempted stripe or ripple blankets before, I have had to find out how to join my lovelies. It seems they can be sewn or crocheted together, from the front or from the back. I have to say, crocheting just has to be the right way for me and so having read up and found different tutorials online, I plumped for Lucy's really clear and picture heavy instructions over at Attic 24. Perfect! It works and I'm well on my way. I love that the stitches match one for one exactly, so there is no need for adjusting or tweaking. It just works and, I have to say, it's another pretty addictive little activity.


Here we go! Looking sweet, aren't they! Above you can the top view with the squares neatly nestling together and below is the underside, with a slip-stitch ridge forming. 


I'm not totally sure that I shouldn't go with the ridge side being on show. Having checked the squares joined so far, I could just as easily use the ridged side, as there are no sewn in ends showing and the crocheting looks identical from both sides. Hmm, another decision to be made!


Think I'll go the overkill now of gorgeous, colourful photographic yumminess. Here you go!




Pop back next time and hopefully you will be able to see the finished thing in all it's loveliness!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

GRANNIES........


It's been a pretty relaxing half-term week here chez Snoops'. There's been time for knitting, time for crocheting and time for sewing. Whoohoo!



I finally managed to complete the Opal Advent calendar project, with the twenty-four mini skeins making six colourful socks and forty-nine small granny squares (one extra using up a few remnants). I've made one more from some other remnant Opal yarn so that fifty squares will make a lovely five by five square cushion front and back. 


I've just loved working with the array of colours and pattern mixes and never tire of wondering what the next little bit will turn out like. I have to say I haven't been disappointed with any of the outcomes. Some of the mini-skeins seemed to work seamlessly into the next with little obvious evidence of colour change, whereas others needed to make a statement as they made their entrance!



Choice of colour for the borders and joining was the next consideration and after trying a blue, red and grey, I finally settled on this Opal neutral solid to best show off the beautiful colour pops. So far, it's looking good. 



This little grannies are so, so pleasing I could go on forever with them. I'm about halfway with the edging, so pressing on over the next few days with a little bit of hooky here and there interspersed with little people fun and play.


 There's also been time for another contact print cushion. To say I'm a teensy weensy bit hooked on these would not be the whole truth. This is a second cushion for my youngest daughter; the first one having been very well received! ;-) I'm liking the introduction of larger spots this time!


 It's also been a week for occasionally photographing my feet!


The pair above were the first ones I made when I began knitting again in 2008, 'encouraged' by Josiekitten, who had already spotted the future potential of some very, very beautiful yarn online and across the pond! I used some Opal sock yarn and......... they're still going strong!


These 'Monkey Socks' by Cookie A were my second pair. I'm guessing the sock bug had already bitten as these were also completed in 2008. The yarn is also by Opal and, as you can see, they are still very much in the prime of their life.


In 2010, these were my first pair of Magic Loop. I'm still not the greatest fan of the technique I have to say and still turn first to my DPN's for sock knitting. 

It's been lovely to relax and not actually have too much planned for the week! Happy, happy!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

SOCK DRAWER


Good evening! Sorry to have missed you last week, but I spent a very lovely weekend in Manchester visiting two of my children and their families. I have to say there has not been an awful lot of knitting going on chez Snoops' over the last week or so. My Advent socks are almost there, with just the last sock to complete. I'm loving the great colour match between yarn and needles! 


I've been dipping into a rather unusual read this week. It's a surprisingly interesting read by Marie Kondo, called 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying'.......... hmmmmmm! So, in true Marie Kondo spirit, I gave my sock drawers a makeover. I'm rather liking the fact that you can see every pair, as you make your selection for the day.


I've also managed to make space for a few more pairs!!!


We woke to a reasonable covering of snow this morning, that had  fallen upon us silently overnight. It has been bitterly cold and rather dull and miserable today, so a very rare stay 'indoors day' materialised.


There was time to get some sewing organised and started. So, a bit of measuring and a little cutting and the pieces were ready for another contact cushion. I really must move on to try other things, but at present I really love making these gorgeous covers.


I played around for a while with the colourful squares, but still change things around as I began the sewing together.


Here we go! This will be a second cushion for my younger daughter's flat.


It doesn't seem at all possible, but this was the photo taken when Oscar first arrived in our lives seven years ago today. He was the sweetest little pup on the planet and I can't begin to tell you how much joy and love he has brought to our family over the last seven years. He is smart, playful, loving and such a beautiful boy! 


This week has also seen me trying to choose a replacement tree for our back garden. Our magnificent Weeping Willow sadly died last Spring, after contracting HoneyFungus. The tree was enormous and very old and succumbed after being pollarded the previous year; essential for such a large tree in a city centre garden. I felt ridiculously sad about it's demise, but cheered at the prospect of another lovely tree gracing it's spot. The new tree has to be of a variety that will be unaffected by any fungus left in the soil and so, I think my choice will be this beauty. It's a Malus (Crab Apple), but just look at that beautiful blossom. Roll on Springtime!