Friday, 24 July 2015

Fashion Aran Cardigan

I have to level with you, I am not living in a parallel time zone where there are endless knitting minutes. I did actually finish this cardigan two weeks ago but my Minerva post is scheduled for today in case you wondered how I managed two knitting posts back to back!

So it is July the peek of summer but us knitters know this is the time to finish off those winter WIP's in time to wear next season. This yarn is from Minerva Crafts. It is called King Cole fashion Aran which I made into my favourite top down pattern Sunkist by Kirsten Kapur. It comes in those huge 400g balls. This colourway is 440 Mull with a little green and ochre flecks in it. I used one and then needed to go into the next one for the borders.

Are you a blocker? Do you 'always' block your knitting? 
Come on now tell the truth...

I was disappointed with the finish on the border, maybe I should have cast off on a larger pair of needles but a wash and block sorted it out in no time.

I am also pleased that it goes with my tartan summer dress and my Amy Butler patch skirt so this one won't be a useless wardrobe item.

I am going to save this one and put it in our local horticultural and crafts show in September - if the weather doesn't turn on me and I end up wearing it first! We are away next week and I will refrain from packing it for a seaside holiday.

Thanks Minerva. Jo xx

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A nice quick knit

I have finished this rather useful mid season tank top. The pattern is Sirdar 9306 and is supposed to be in Sirdar Connemara chunky which is a colourful stranded yarn in bright colours but I resisted and made it in a wardrobe friendly colour.

I actually made size 10 which I would never normally go down to but I didn't want it to swamp me, just keep me warm with arms free for washing up and practical activities.

You could make a long or short version and I went for the short version to keep me neat and tidy. I am too short for a long jumper!

I used James C Brett Chunky with merino and it is so soft and light with the bonus of being machine washable. I will hold judgement on whether the wool is good or not as I have raved about Sirdar super soft aran on my first Sunkist cardigan and it looked like a dishcloth after the first wash with terrible pilling on the forearms and bust area..and my bust isn't big enough to move around that much!

Anyway a neat, practical and diverse top. 
Happy Knitting Friends

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Weekend Smorgasboard

Today's post is a weekend smogasboard of colour and activity.

Brightly coloured allotment fayre for us to tuck into over the next week.

A little light crafting:friendship bracelets and beading.

We went to a local folk/arts festival at the Edge in Much Wenlock.

I was dancing there with the Severn Sisters Tribal belly dance group with my friends...I did smile for some bits of it, a skill I need to work on. My concentrating face always takes over.

We danced alongside the raucous Ironmen Morris team. Can you spot my neighbour there wearing his jacket I repaired for him? He made me my yarn bowl.

and the Severn gilders women's team. We all dance in the same spot as their musicians play live music for us at outdoor events.

There were also great activities for the children too: circus skills, storytelling, crafts, a clog dancing workshop and general running around in the sunshine.

Oh how we laughed as we watched bloke having a go on a unicycle. Thank heavens our baby making years are over, that's all I'm going to say!

So the children are yet to find out that tomorrow the mundaneness of Monday will soon be upon them when we all have to go food shopping and do an entire week of washing together. It can't all be fun!

I hope you had a colourful weekend in the sunshine.
Jo xxxxxxx

Thursday, 16 July 2015

In the navy

I am really in the navy zone at the moment. During Me-Made-May I realised I needed solid colour items to keep my wardrobe wearable and navy seemed to fit the bill. Most of my handmade tops went with navy blue.

I found some 100% cotton from Patons in my stash from about 5 years ago but the pattern in a Prima magazine I had been coveting seems to have gone walkies at the moment. So I will check in with that later...or put out a plea to you crafty folks.

I bought some yarn on holiday in Whitby during May so navy must have been on my mind then. I am thinking about a scarf here...

Over the last two weeks I have been teaching a classic tailored skirt to my group. I don't normally go for this length but I really like it.

The fabric was a remnant for £5. It is a winter weight skirt really (the fabric on top of the pile) but it feels really comfortable worn with my Gertie blouse.

I have quite a stash of navy at the moment in my lovely craft cupboard.  Some ribbed jersey, leftovers from Big Sis' sweatshirt, leftovers from my Minerva shift dress and the creme de la creme: 3 metres of navy crepe for a show stopper project later this year - think 'black tie' and let your imagination run wild. 

If you see this book for £3.99 like I did in the The Works do get it. I bought it in Strattford on a bloggy meet up. It has brilliant clear instructions on a whole host of sewing techniques and a brilliant classic wardrobe in the back. The only downside is you have to tape PDF patterns together but for that money you have to put the donkey work in.

This skirt starts on the previous page as an A line, then this classic skirt with darts, then this one as a lined skirt, then a button front skirt with a placket, then a pleated skirt with belt loops and a yoke. You see how it grows as you grow. I love it.

Thanks for reading. Today is my last day of freedom, the girls break up from school today so blog posts may have a slight girlie theme for 7 weeks...7 WEEKS!!!

What colour zone are you in at the moment?

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

A most excellent craft tip

I have to share this, it is brilliant. Have you ever sewn with a small person and lost count how many times you have re threaded the needle for them? I saw this, I showed it to her once and she nearly knocked my mum out with shock when she remembered it two weeks later...

Take a little piece of paper no bigger than the width of your craft needle eye, fold it in half and put the wool inside. Now watch this...

Your five year old can now feed the open paper ends, held together, through the eye of the needle. AmAzInG!!! She did it over and over again and I praised her wildly. My work here is done people...

Jo xxxx

Sunday, 12 July 2015


Thanks for stopping by. Look what I've made...

This weekend I made a Teepee out of an old duvet cover. The joy of this is that you have two ready made pillow cases for the inside. Our bloke cut hazel sticks for the posts from the farm so it was all FREE!

Ideal for inside or outside. I will add some peg loops because our land is on a bit of a slope and it might fall over with a windy day in the garden.

Big Sis was delighted she had a matching outfit on for a photo shoot so was Little M. 'We match the material,' they said.

 The tutorial I used had really clear instructions and was from mypoppet follow the link here if you want to have a go.

We went for a pond dip but it was hard to stand close to the waters edge for all the hopping baby frogs emerging from the water.

Little M caught a dragonfly in her net and was squealing with excitement.

After they had tired of trying to catch hopping frogs I lay down on my tummy in the grass and played 'camera' for a while. It was fun but they were everywhere, I am sure we must have sadly trodden on some.

Also this weekend Bloke made the girls a rope swing and they loved going really high, screeching and laughing with pleasure.

We stayed the night, had porridge for breakfast and headed home on Sunday morning for a wash and scrub up!

So a little glimpse into what we got up to at the weekend. I am off to check out your posts. What have you been doing this weekend?

Jo x

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Vitamin C

We are picking fruit like crazy at the moment. The veggies are looking a bit tired, they never really go going in early summer but the strawberries just keep coming. We have picked 4 kilos Kilos in the last 2 weeks!!

I am trying not to make jam because a)I haven't got time and b)I still have a shelf full of last years jam. We just have to keep eating them - breakfast, snacks, lunchboxes and evening dessert everyday.

I also picked blackcurrants and redcurrants but I froze these ones for winter pavlovas. I cooked up the rhubarb with a drop of rosewater and froze that for crumble too. Yum!

Talking of crumble... here are my top tips:

1. Get children to do it, they make good crumble with their little fingers.

2. Always make twice the recipe. Why dirty a bowl and your hands again another day?

3. Bag up the crumble and freeze it in portions suitable for the dish you normally use. I have cooking notes in my book.

4. Use butter and leave some big chunks to go 'biscuity'

Next up to help with the fruit glut my neighbour lent me her ice cream maker - oh my it was divine.


I used 4 egg yolks so I made meringues with the whites. 

Did I say I didn't have enough time to make jam?? now I have just made all of this!Oh well at least everyone is scoffing strawberries with ease now.

Finally in my food news, my nextdoor neighbour gave us the most amazing gift to say thank you for being so understanding while they have had builders for the last 6 weeks (we share a drive you see) Flowers, wine, cheese, sun dried tomatoes, olives and crackers.

Get crumbling folks. Jo xxx

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Messy fun

I have been doing sewing classes on a Tuesday night as requested by my crocheters. I have been teaching some of them crochet for over 18 months now and it was time for people to wander off in their own crochet direction; blankets, garments, little gifts or home decor.

It is a messier business than crochet but just as much fun. Everyone has different abilities but all are willing to learn something new, even if it is a feature on their sewing machine that they never knew was there. Our first project was ambitious, a sleeveless summer top with facings but everyone was keen to get stuck in.

Same pattern used by three different people from Sew magazine June edition. The orange one has neckline pleats for a smaller bust, mine has a crochet lace trim, and the blue one has a fashionable scoop back hemline. I love the way they are all different.

Next they did some machine patchwork to show how to insert a zip in a make up bag. Fun, chaotic and liberating. You just sew strips together until you get a piece of fabric then we backed it with quilting and lining. Everyone experimented with machine quilting. 

Mine had a little owl iron on motif with swirly machine stitching.

But I loved Carols mix of florals with a wavy machine quilt.

Everyone made a fair dent in my patchwork scraps box which I was delighted about. Now we can all insert a zip with the machine basting method. So skirts next week with darts...

Enjoy your crafting folks. Jo x