Books and Magazines · Christmas · Crochet · Knitting

Happy New Year!

The last two months have been manic. I could tell you about every handmade decoration and gift that I churned out during the madness that is the festive period – but let’s face it, it’s January and the moment has passed. Santa was extremely generous though and I received some lovely new crafty goodies to inspire me in 2019.

Top of my wish list was a set of circular needles. I’d borrowed some to have a go at knitting Rudolph’s Stocking, featured in the latest copy of Scheepjes Yarn and designed by Louise Crossley. A bit of a challenge as I’d never done colourwork before but it was great fun to do. I made plenty of mistakes and tweaked the design a little along the way, learning such a lot in the process. Shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve, just in the nick of time, it was ready to hang.

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Santa was obviously watching and realised I needed all the help I could get. I was over the moon to open my set of shiny Chiaogoo Interchangeables.

They are made of stainless steel and a dream to knit with, gliding through the yarn with their pointy tips. The cable has a steel core so doesn’t twist out of shape. With them I’m knitting stocking number two to put away for next year, consolidating what I learned. So far, it is looking so much better than my first attempt.

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Before Christmas, another bookcase collapsed. I happily read novels on my Kindle, but for reference it has to be a physical copy for me. Craft and cookery books are irresistible to me but boy, they are weighty! This morning the new heavy-duty solid shelves we ordered in the sales were delivered and my books are back in order. So far, they’re holding firm and there’s a few new additions to my treasured collection.

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Mr Mitts surprised me with this read. I was very impressed as he chose it all by himself! One of our girls will be starting English Lit A-level soon so I’ll be expecting requests for some of the characters in here. My personal favourite is Anne Shirley (gosh, I did love that book!).

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The quote above the pattern made me chuckle (if you’ve read it, you’ll understand).

“But am I crocheting too much? People are always telling me I do. Would you rather I didn’t crochet? If you say so I’ll stop. I can STOP when I make up my mind to it, although it’s difficult”

When it comes to presents, Mum and Dad like to be be provided with a list of what we might like. I’d mentioned some books I was interested in. They thoroughly spoiled me with all three!

A few years back I had met Tilly Rose when she did a workshop at the Crafting Live show and enjoyed her friendly laid back style. Increasingly I’m incorporating vintage cloth into my hand stitched pieces so I’m really looking forward to reading Stitched Memories.

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In contrast these two books showcase a much cleaner, simpler style. Zakka Embroidery  by Yumiko Higuchi has the most exquisitely stitched little botanical and animal designs using just one or two colours. I’d got sidetracked flicking through this beautiful book when I was looking for Modern Folk Embroidery. Nancy Nicholson’s book cover has lovely embossed text and motifs and I love the vibrant colours and the uncluttered layout of the projects within.

Finally, this delightful book by Arne & Carlos was a gift from my knit and natter friend.

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Coincidentally I’d just been watching the two talented Scandinavian designers on TV judging the Christmas jumpers on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas (binge watching the series whilst knocking up ten metres of festive bunting on the sewing machine!).

At knit and natter it’s tradition that we each bring a handmade decoration to swap at our festive celbrations. Someone had made this adorable little bird that is one of the patterns from the same book.

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So I need to learn to knit using dpns this year. Tomorrow, it’s our first Embroiderer’s Guild meeting of the year. Everyone brings a little prize to contribute to the themed raffle. This month the theme happens to be birds. I wasn’t convinced I could master a knitted bird so quick but I remembered the little crochet bird pattern by Lucy on her Attic 24 blog.

The photo tutorial for the bower bird is really clear and easy to follow. Only very small amounts of yarn are needed so 10g Catona cutie balls that come in loads of colours are perfect. As the birds are stuffed, I used a smaller than usual 2.75mm hook so the filling wouldn’t show.

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After a relaxing couple of hours on New Year’s Day it was good to have my first completed make of 2019.

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