Saturday, 23 March 2013

Happy Birthday Baby!

As hard as it is for me to believe, my tiny baby girl turned ONE last week.  Obviously I am delighted we've made it this far and that she is as bright and happy and wonderful as I ever could have hoped, but I am a little sad that it went so fast.  We decided to just throw her a little family party this year, with lots of food and balloons, presents and of course, cake.  A good time was had by all and despite all my worries the cake was a great success!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Handspun madness

When I had a look back at the last year and all of my projects I noticed that despite thinking I’d had very little time for making things I appear to have spun rather a lot.
Sparkly BFL from tops from FeltStudioUK
 Now I actually think about it’s clear to see how it happened.  Back when Cassie was a tiny tiny baby I didn’t knit much because I often had to attend to her at a moments notice, meaning that I kept losing my place and had no idea where I’d got to.  Spinning isn’t like that though and I found that even by spinning for a few minutes here and there I was achieving quite a lot. 
Self striping singles from batts from Nunoco
 Before too long Miss Cassie was perfectly happy to lie on the floor and amuse herself for short periods of time and she absolutely loved to watch the spinning wheel go round and round.  During that period I got loads done, but before long she was on the move, first rolling, then crawling and cruising and now walking and I had to move my wheel into the dining room where production slowed.  It was then I discovered spinning thick and thin singles and found I could spin 100g in an hour or two – hooray!
Thick and thin singles from batts from Yummy Yarns
 I don’t really want to spin all of my yarns this way, but it really can’t be beat for a bit of instant gratification.  At the moment my wheel is still tucked away out of Cassie’s reach, but the dining room is right next to the kitchen, so I can usually find a few minutes to spin while I cooking dinner or at the weekend while she has a bit of Daddy time.
 At the moment I am working on my biggest spinning project to date.  I won 300g of alpaca fleece on eBay and I’m now working my through it in 25g batches.  I’m hand carding it together with 10g mohair and a hint of sparkle and then spinning the resulting rolags longdraw (my first longdraw project).  At the moment I just have one bobbin full , but when I have 3 I’ll ply them together and then start again until it’s all gone.  So far I’m really enjoying it, I wonder how long it will take me to finish though.
Lovely rolags

Thursday, 21 March 2013


Last time I talked about my sewing was back in September when I had just cut out about a million little pieces to make a dress for Cassie.  A few days later my mum took Cassie for the day and I was able to sew those bits together into something resembling a dress.  Actually I was really proud of the job I had done, the only problem was that it was HUGE!  It was really only 5 months later that she finally grew into it and I love her in it.  I’ve had a few comments about how nice it is and I always feel really proud to say I made it myself.
 Another favourite is this one, made from New Look pattern 6016.  The pattern is sized up until age 4 so I think Cassie will be wearing versions of this dress for many years to come.  It’s really easy, super cute and very wearable.  I’ve already made her another one in denim which I embroidered the bottom of, but it is far too long so I’m trying to decide whether to cut the bottom off and maybe applique the embroidery on, cut a section out from the middle and reattach the bottom or just wait until she grows a bit and hope the rest of the dress still fits. Choices, choices.
 My proudest achievement, however has to be this quilt that I made for Cassie for Christmas.  Given that quilting is a pretty new thing for me, perhaps attempting a cathedral window quilt was overreaching a just little.  It’s a little rough and ready looking. But overall I’m pleased with it.  After trying out the technique to make a pincushion (tutorial here) I decided to go crazy and make a whole quilt but upscaled the blocks to around double the size to make the whole project a little more manageable.  It was at this point that I failed to ask the most important question, will these blocks fit nicely on my ironing board in order to easily complete all of the ironing and origami needed to make the 24 uniform pieces for this quilt?  Inevitably the answer was no.  I only realised this after cutting out all of the bits and attempting to make the first block.  I made do with what I had and did a bit of a botch job, ending up with a bit of a wiggly looking quilt.  However, when I look at it I still think it looks pretty impressive and I hope that Cassie keeps hold of it for many years to come.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

More, more, more hats!

I've had this post written for days but I've only just managed to take photos of all the hats, so without further ado I can pick up where my last post left off...
Thanks to my sis for being an almost willing model!
 Just as I was about to cast of yet another baby hat Stu started complaining that I never knit him anything, so I put all my plans aside and cast on for a hat for him instead.  I had to have a dig around my stash to find something masculine enough for him and came up with a skein of Briggs and Little Regal that my mum brought me back as a gift when she went to Canada.  Frankly I don't know what possessed her, it is totally not up my street at all but I guess it all worked out, especially as it come in a massive skein so I have enough left for a second go!  This is important because this hat did not work out at all.  I used the Armando Hat pattern, it's a good pattern but despite thinking it looked a little small I decided not to keep knitting and now I have a great manly hat that fits me perfectly but is no use for Stu.  I'll knit him another one soon but not just yet, this yarn is far too dull for me.
 Now something like this is far more up my alley!  Lots of colours and some really bright pink.  This is a very simple slouchy hat that I made up as I went along using some of my handspun.  I'd spun the yarn very thick and thin, so ascertaining it weight and a gauge was rather difficult, hence the extreme slouchiness of the final product.  It's kind of knobbly and wobbly, but I love it nonetheless.
And finally my favourite, a Brownie hat for Cassie.  Again I used my own handspun, a lovely merino silk blend 3 ply.  I used nearly every scrap of it, which is why the hat doesn't have earflaps like the pattern, but I don't think it needs them.  I really enjoyed this pattern and the finished product is really smooth and warm, just perfect for a little delicate baby head.  I think she looks pretty stinking cute in it and I've had loads of comments on it while I've been out and about so I guess I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Hats and more hats

I've been going through a bit of a hat phase recently, this is mostly because they are a quick project, partly because it has been pretty cold and slightly because I just love hats.  Between the Christmas period and the end of January I made around 5 hats, with varying degrees of success.
This hat is definitely a winner, made as a practice hat for a baby hat swap I couldn't more pleased with it.  I'd been having trouble finding an ideal yarn for the swap and decided I'd dye some myself.  Before I went ahead with the dyeing I thought I'd better do a swatch with some of the same yarn I had previously dyed.  I didn't quite get gauge so of course I thought the sensible thing to do would be to make an entire practice hat just to see whether it would do.  Well it came out great, but as soon as I finished it I found the perfect yarn online so the whole thing was a bit of a waste of time!
This hat is the actual hat swap hat, shortly after the photo was taken it winged it's way up to a lovely little boy in the North of England.  His mum has posted a few pictures of him on Facebook wearing his hat while they are out and about which makes me really happy.  The pattern I used for both hats is the Regan Aviator Hat pattern and the swap hat was knitted with Manos Del Uruguay Maxima which is just soooo soft.

In return Cassie recieved this awesome hat from Canada.  I absolutely love it.  She doesn't have much hair yet and this hat makes her look like she has little pig tails.
 More hats next time, this post is getting quite long!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Try, try and try again...

So I’m feeling like it might be time to have another go at reviving this blog.  It’s been difficult to find time to do it the last few months, Cassie is very interested in all things electronic and it is a bit of a nightmare trying to use my laptop when she is around.  She is getting a bit better at playing on her own now so I thinks it’s worth giving it a go.  Also I’m back at work now which gives me a bit of time to gather my thoughts and think about what to write.  I’ve actually been really productive recently so I’ll probably do a few themed catch up posts (maybe, hats, handspun, sewing and everything else).  But first, my favourite topic, Cassie!
Believe it or not it is very nearly her birthday and all I can think is eek, how did that happen?  I feel like I daren’t blink sometimes in case I miss something, especially as she seems to be in such a hurry to do everything.  At the grand old age of 8 ½ months she decided that it was high time she stopped standing around and took her first steps.  I was pretty gobsmacked, as up until that moment I hadn’t even seen her stand unaided for longer than a minute. She’s a very determined little lady. 
 My most pressing project at the moment is getting everything together for her first ever birthday party.  I’m determined to make her a really super cake, so watch this space…