Thursday, 26 March 2015

Sow and Sew

Things have been so busy here but I did manage to see the solar eclipse last week. Sometimes the view was obscured by clouds; most of the time I was able to see it perfectly. It was a bit eerie when the sun was partially hidden!

Spring is the time for planting. We have sowed potatoes, beans, peas, carrots, parsnips, parsley, celery and onions. This year's garlic is growing well as it was planted at the end of last year. That's just for starters; there will be more planted as time goes on.

It's a sad thing to admit but I'm rather sew-averse. I'd much rather knit or crochet though I do love sewing by hand. Tapestry, cross-stitch and embroidery are fine - even hand quilting - but I don't really like sewing using a machine. In an attempt to motivate myself in the sewing department, I joined a patchwork quilt class. It was fun and I managed to make quite a few things, including two quilts. Unfortunately the class has now been closed and I find that the sewing apathy has returned. Before the end of the class I had started some quilted table mats. Last weekend I finally finished them! There are six of them, not all with the binding finished in this picture.

The arrangement of the blocks is different on each of the table mats and they each have a different variation of heart shaped quilting. You can just about see the hearts on this table mat.

The backing is the same on them all; a denim and cream gingham.

There is enough fabric left to make a bag but I'm not sure if I'll ever get round to it. I'm just so happy to have got these finished!

I hope you are all enjoying the Spring or Autumn, depending on where you are. All the best for now and thanks for all your lovely comments.

Thursday, 19 March 2015


When I see the beautiful days we're having (though we still don't have beautiful days every day) it makes me feel hopeful. About all sorts of things; not just the weather.

I'm looking forward to seeing the partial eclipse of the sun tomorrow morning. If tomorrow is as sunny day as it has been today, then it will be worth seeing.

Just the other day I was wondering when the farmer would bring out the sheep and lambs this year. They arrived at the weekend and I tried to get some pictures today. I'm afraid the pictures aren't very good but here they are anyway. This is what I can see from my front door. The sheep and lambs are happy grazing in the fields opposite.

On my way out of the gate to try and get some closer pictures, I noticed this ladybird sitting on the fence.

The field is a lot higher than the road so it was still hard to get anything decent. These were taken through a gap in the hedge.

Most of the lambs were lying about sunning themselves!

This sunny weather has brought out more flowers in the garden.

These daffodils were all tightly closed and then we had a lovely sunny day and they all opened up.

These are miniature daffodils. Not giant crocus!

The great thing is that the daffodils don't all bloom at the same time. Some are still just partially opened.

Some still have a long way to go before they bloom.

I love the miniature daffodils. They aren't as badly affected by rain or wind as the tall varieties.

There are more and more clumps of the natural primroses flowering all the over the garden. They do really well where it is a bit shaded. 

Sorry about not having anything crafty to show you this time. Hopefully next time. All the best for now and thank you for all the lovely comments you have left.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Almost Spring

Welcome back everyone and an especial welcome to my new followers. I'm so pleased that you all liked my crocheted Granny stripe blanket. Your comments were so kind.

Although we are having some really horrible weather these days, it is undeniable that it is almost Spring. In between the howling wind and lashing rain (like today!) we get some beautiful sunshine and calm lulls.

The garden is also proof that Spring has just about sprung. I took a walk round the garden the other day to take some photos.

Can you see the honey bee in this crocus? This is a close up of some of the flowers in the bed above. The whole bed seemed to be humming because there were so many bees in the crocuses. Honey bees love crocuses; especially the purples ones, it seems.

There's another bee among the yellow crocuses.

Ha!! A bee coming into land! Can you see it?

This hellebore is the latest addition to our garden. We bought it recently in the market in Banbridge. I love the colour of it.

Lots more daffodils still to bloom. I can't wait for them all to come into full flower.

So many of the Spring flowers are yellow, aren't they?

Well I hope you enjoyed that quick look round the garden. No doubt I'll be back some time with lots more flower pictures.

My Aran coat is coming on well. I'm surprised at how well, given the number of times I've left it to the side to work on something else! The back, a front and both sleeves are finished. That just leaves the other front and the collar to do. And the putting together, of course. I was worried about having enough yarn so, after finishing the first sleeve, I did a calculation. No worries. There will be plenty to finish my coat. All you knitters and crocheters know that what I really mean is that there will be plenty left over to use for something else! I have some other colours in this same type of yarn and quite a lot in a very similar yarn. Maybe another blanket?

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Shall We Dance?

Let me just say, right away, that I can't dance. I'm totally useless. But this isn't really about dancing as you'll see when you read on.

All you knitters and crocheters will know that it's inevitable that, no matter how hard you try, you eventually amass a bit of a yarn stash. In an attempt to use up some of my stash I decided to crochet a blanket. This was also something that I wanted to be able to work on in the car (as a passenger!) even when the journey was done during the hours of darkness. 

It had to be something simple so I settled on doing a Granny stripe. Since I was just using up scraps of yarn, although for some of the colours I had almost a full 100g ball, I didn't make the stripes any particular number of rows. In fact, some of the rows have a colour change at some point along it.

The crocheting was therapeutic. Row after row of three treble groups. I always counted; one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three ... My mind wandered and I thought how the counting was like the timing for a waltz. Then it wandered further; to one of my favourite musicals; The King and I. It has to be the one with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr, of course. Then I was singing to myself 'Shall we Dance?' and the blanket was henceforth known as the 'Shall we Dance?' blanket. When I started crocheting it, I had no intention of giving it a name!

Right, I'd better stop talking about it and let you see it. This is it spread over the mattress on a double bed. It gives you an idea of the size.

This is slightly better colour though not quite the full size.

The rest of the photos were taken outside to try and get the colours to show up well. First, draped over the sweet pea frame.

Now spread out a bit over the sweet pea frame. I'm sure by this stage the neighbours were  well and truly convinced of my insanity.

Here's a close up of the border.

Spread over the summer seat.

Same again but from a different angle. Well, you know what it's like! You just keep taking photos.

Folded and sitting on the summer seat.

Then flipped over to show the other colours.

For something that was done just to use up left over yarn, and done mostly in the dark, I think it has turned out very well. In fact, I'm delighted with it. Really, really love it. Every time I catch a glimpse of it, it makes me smile.

The facts:

The blanket weighs 1.45 kg. That means it took fourteen and a half 100g balls. I actually had to buy six of those in order to have enough.

The yarn is mainly Stylecraft Special DK with some Robin DK so it is entirely made from acrylic yarn.

And look! This is all I had left. 

Let me hasten to add that this is not all that is left in my stash. It's all that is left of the yarn that was suitable for this blanket.

The blanket will soon be going to my son. That is who I crocheted it for because he wants to make his house more homely. He doesn't know yet that he's getting it; it will be a surprise. I hope he'll be pleased with it. After all, there's nothing more homely than a Granny striped blanket, is there?

Thanks for all the lovely comments you leave. Please let me know what you think of the blanket. Bye for now.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Socks Giveaway Draw

You thought I'd forgotten about the socks, didn't you? We had the three draws on Saturday last but I am only getting round to letting you know about it now.

It goes without saying that we had to be sustained for three draws by coffee and scone. We headed to our favourite coffee shop in Banbridge; the Greenbean.

Just looking at the photo is making me hungry and wishing I was back there!

The first draw was for the small socks with the strawberry red toes and heels.

The names were put in a plastic cup - there weren't many for the small socks - and the husband picked out a piece of paper.

Oh look! Jackie of Button Tree Crafts has won the small socks.

Now for the medium socks with the mid brown heels and toes.

There were more names in this category, as you would expect. You can see the husband is taking this really seriously and hasn't even started his coffee.

And the winner of the medium socks is Suzy of Rustic Vintage Country.

That leaves the large socks; the ones with the lime green heels and toes.

The names were put in the plastic cup and one drawn out.

Amy of Love Made My Home has won the large socks.

Just in case you missed what socks I'm talking about then look here.

Congratulations to the three winners. I'll get contact details from you as soon as I can. I really hope you like your socks and enjoy wearing them.

Here are all the socks and all the names once again.

I have a confession to make. Once the draw had been made I felt so sorry that I couldn't let everyone who had entered have a pair!

All the best for now. I've finished a blanket and as soon as I can get photos I'll let you see it. The weather is so changeable here but we're still making our way into Spring. There are lots of lovely flowers appearing all over the garden and I really must get out there and take some photos.

As always, I've enjoyed all your comments so please keep leaving them.