Thursday, 30 April 2015

Mental Health ...


A few months ago I was sat looking through all the lovely instagram photos, I must confess I was feeling rather sorry for myself due to my broken toe which decided it wouldn't heal for a long, long time.  Then up popped an image of the wonderful Do You Mind if I Knit and my heart sank further.  Reading Bobo Buns words that went with the image it transpired that Vanessa (from Do You Mind if I Knit), who was a super talented artist had died, she had suffered from depression for some time and she must have reached an all time low :-(


I couldn't even imagine how low she must have felt , I thought of her poor family who had had her taken from them in such a sad way.  It took me back to a family incident a few years ago which made me realise the wider effect these things have on a family.  I like so many others have had dark moments in life, sometimes for no reason at all, you know, like a black cloud just comes down and you can't see the light until it finally lifts.  Thankfully it has always lifted, thankfully the cloud hasn't stayed for too long.


It is when it lifts that you realise just how precious life is, how important family is and how to embrace those tiny things that make you smile deep in your heart.

Creativity is one of those things that has helped me through those cloudy days so when Lisa (from Bobo Bun) decided to create a community crochet blanket in memory of Vanessa I jumped at the chance to join in.  What a wonderful idea that lovely creative souls from around the country join together to create something to remember a fellow creative soul.  The colours were chosen from a selection that Vanessa herself used a lot so the blanket really would have her personality shining through it, bright, vibrant, fun.  It was then decided to raffle off the finished blanket to raise money for charity that meant a lot to Vanessa's family , the Mental Health Foundation.  


Needing help with the admin side of things Lisa asked if anyone could help out with the Just Giving page.  Thinking this is something I could help out with and wanting to get further involved with this fab event I popped my hand up .  The Just Giving page is all ready and waiting to take donations and I am busily beavering away in the background with the admin side of it (excel is my best friend at the moment lol).

So if you fancy having a chance of winning this wonderful creation (which will be completed very soon), created by so many kind hearted souls then why not pop to:

 https://www.justgiving.com/Do-You-Mind-if-I-Knit-Blanket

Each £2 gives you a chance to win and it can be posted worldwide.  It has only been live for a couple of days and has already raised over £200 ..... lets hope this goes towards helping others to find their way out of that dark place and enjoy all the little, wonderful things in life again. x

Monday, 9 March 2015

Friends


As you may have read in my previous posts I have been having a bit of a bumpy ride health wise for the last few months.  To tell you the truth is has got me quite down on quite a few occassions.    Being stuck in gives you far too much time to think and worry so when some friends came forward to help it really did make me feel a little better about everything.


Silly little things , like doing the school run, turned into big things.  I remember one morning sitting and sobbing in the car as it was an icy day , little Sweetpea and I had already attempted to 'walk' from the car with my crutches but it was just too dangerous with the black ice.  We had to abort that idea and wait until everyone had left so I could drive her right outside the school and take her in that way.


A few precious friends have been so so helpful in taking my little one into school if they have seen me struggling , they have helped with school pick ups so I haven't had to worry about children running into me and knocking me over (which did happen one day).  It is these simple acts by true friends that make all the difference.

Although I had said thank you I really wanted to create them a little thank you gift, just to show how much their help had meant to me.   When I came across this wonderful flower pattern by Pink Milk I thought it would be perfect for such a gift.  I am glad to say they loved it.  They were so taken back by their gift I am really not sure they know what angels they have been.  In fact one friend said she should be thanking me as she had so enjoyed picking little Sweetpea up and having her cute little hand held tightly in hers .... heart melting.

Everyone needs friends like that :-)

I hope you are all well out there in bloggy land, see you again soon x

PS the scarf was created with a wonderful pattern by Little Doolally 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Crochet Clothes / Coat Hanger - Tutorial


I love crochet and I love giving old objects a new lease of life so this project is perfect for me, it makes my soul happy.  I was given some old fabric covered coat hangers years ago, my great Auntie had covered them in fabric but the padding was started to break down so I decided to pimp them up.   

The wooden coat hangers hidden underneath are lovely but the clothes just keep sliding off them, this project stops that issue whilst looking oh so pretty.  I thought I would type up a little tutorial for you all , so here we go.


Take one wooden coat hanger, some yarn of your choice, a crochet hook (I used my favourite 4 mm Tulip hook) and a yarn needle.  Now chain enough stitches to go around the hanger.   Not too few as you don't want loads of gaps showing if you have to pull it to go round and not many as you don't want a saggy coat hanger, no one wants to look at a saggy coat hanger lol.  I chained 12 stitches here.


Now add one turning chain and then single crochet all the way back to the beginning.


Keep added new rows of single crochet ....... now is the time you can mix it up a bit, why not add some new colours for fun?


To do this pull in the new colour just before you finish the last stitch on your previous row as shown above.  You can then either cut the old colour leaving a few inches tail to thread into the hanger cover at the end or leave it and pick it back up later in the pattern if you are using the colour again.


As you go along keep checking if you have made it long enough, it is easy to get carried away on the creative wave.  You need it to be a couple of rows longer than the hanger each end.  When you have finished pull your yarn through to lock the stiches off.  Then sew in any loose ends.


Fold your creation over so the top touches the bottom length ways.


Then fold it again so the start touches the finish.  This will show you where the centre of your creation is, I have marked it above with my wool needle.  


Feed your creation over your clothes hook so that the hook is where you marked the centre. 

 

Now you need to cut a long length of yarn that matches you creation best.  Make sure it is at least twice the length of your coat hanger.  Thread your yarn onto a yarn needle and then run a running stitch along the end of your clothes hanger cover, pull the yarn all the way through leaving enough tail to knot off when you have finished.


I then run a satin stitch (I think that is the name of it) along the length of the hanger to close the cover over the hanger.  Make sure you pull the yarn all the way through as you go along.  When you get to the end knot off both ends and feed the tails into the inside of of the hanger cover.


You can add some pretty flowers, pom poms or what ever your heart desires to your creation to finish it off.


Now run off, find a lovely old vintage dress and hang it on your new hanger ........ it will make your heart skip a little beat in joy.


PS Before you run off pop over to www.lemonadeyarns.co.uk where the owner is offering 25% off all her cotton yarn until mid March 2015.  Cotton yarn is perfect for this project !

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Creative Therapy


I have a lot to thank for finding my creativity again a few years ago.  I am not sure what it is about creating things, whether it is the rhythm whilst creating a crochet blanket, the satisfaction of having something to show for your time or the beautiful distraction that wonderful coloured wool is but crochet, sewing, knitting etc is certainly a wonderful thing indeed.


This last few months has seen me being pulled towards my creative side even more than ever.  Crochet has been my main go to craft but sewing and cross-stitch have had their moments too.


On 1 December whilst waiting in for a delivery that was late a big glass jar full of sewing threads fell onto my big toe.  I nearly leapt through the roof due to the pain that followed but was pottering (well hobbling around a week later).  Fast forward a doctors appointment that I had to wait a week for and an xray that was a further 2 days wait and I am sat in a minor injuries unit feeling rather shell shocked after being told that I had, in fact, managed to break my big toe all the way through and crush it a bit too for good measure.


The following days saw me using crutches as if I had had a few swigs of vodka before I set off (the joys of having ligaments that don't work properly).  I must confess I had to laugh at what I must have looked like on the school run that first day ...... I was literally bouncing off peoples garden fences trying to get to grips with how to use these things.


I got rather good on them in the end thank goodness and did contemplate doing some break dancing moves whilst using them ...... I didn't feel it wise to follow this idea through in the end.


Christmas and New Year passed by in a bit of a blur of guilt, pain and a lot of feeling fed up.  The poor kids were stuck in with me as I couldn't drive (hence the feeling of guilt).  We snuggled up in front of the fire most days watching films whilst I crocheted the time away.


On a brighter note the time at home did mean I found some hidden treasure, just look at this lovely wool stash I found hidden away !


This of course had to be turned into a scarf from me and I also created some sparkly, jingle jangly (they have some cute little bells on them) wrist warmers for my little one.


The days turned into weeks and another xray showed that my toe had done nothing, zilch, nada mending ...... maybe a teensy bit of mending but nothing that really showed up on the xray.


I was then told to come off the crutches and walk on my foot. This meant me having to try and erase the image I had seen on the xray, putting my trust in the consultant and as he told me.  I have another xray lined up in a few weeks time ...... I am hoping above all hopes that this will show that my toe has been behaving and doing some mending.  I am missing pottering around, I am missing work and my work mates, I am also concerned with my sanity, I have crocheted scarfs, wrist warmers, beards, red noses ........... what on earth will be created next if it isn't mending !?!

Now I am wondering, do they give yarn out on prescription???


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Crochet Rose Pattern / Tutorial


I learnt to crochet a few years back now and still adore this form of craft.  One of the main reasons I wanted to learn to crochet was to create crochet flowers ..... it took me a year or so to get the confidence to give them a go but I got there in the end.

I thought I would share with you my version of the crochet rose, there are lots of patterns out there but I have adapted a few of them to create my own version , I hope you like it.

Please bare with me, this is the first time I have shared a crochet pattern on the world wide web so it may not be perfect and I may not know all the stitch terms ..... but hey, it still works for me.


So lets kick off shall we.  You will need a 4mm hook (but other sizes would work I am sure) and some lovely yarn.  I used cotton yarn here as I just to love way the stitch definition shows up and how it holds the form of the rose well.

Now chain 35 ...... waahooo we have started!


Now, yarn over (you are about to create a treble stitch) and pop your hook into the 5th chain as shown above (excuse my bitten nails ... note to self, stop biting my nails!).


Create a treble in this chain (a treble is = yarn over, instert hook into chain, yarn over, pull through 2, yarn over, pull through 2 - easy peasy lemon squeezy) , then chain 1.


We need to miss a chain and treble into the next stitch in the chain, then 1 chain and treble again into the same stitch as shown above.  We need to do this all the way to the end so ....... 1chain, miss 1 chain , 1 treble , 1 chain, 1 treble into the next chain and keep going with that rhythm.


It will start to curl around, don't panic, it is meant to look like that.

You have got to the end and we are ready for row 2 - wooop woop I hear you cry.

ROW 2

1 chain to turn your work.  Turn your work round so you go from right to left now.  Slip stitch into the next 5 chains and then work into the chain space.  *Work 5 trebles into your first chain space , now slip stitch into the next chain space.  Repeat * until you form 6 petals.


Now we get to a stitch that I have no idea of the name of ...... I am sure there is a name for it but lets just call it the sweetpea stitch until I find that out.

So you have just slip stitched now we are going to work some slightly larger petals into the pattern.  Here is the Sweetpea Stitch :-D  Now yarn over, hook into the chain space, yarn over and pull through 1, yarn over and pull through 2, yarn over and pull through 2 .  You need 5 of these in that chain space. So we now * slip stitch into next chain space, work 5 Sweetpea stitches in the the next chain space .  Repeat * until you reach the end .


You have reached the end, pull the yarn up through the last stitch to close the stitch off.  Make sure you leave a long tail before you cut the yarn as you will need that to sew your rose together in a minute.


Now turn your rose round so that you are holding where you did the slip stitches at the beginning of row 2.  Start to roll the petals , I usually do this from the base of the petals so it is easier to stitch together later.



Create a shape you are happy with, you can have an open rose or a closed looking one.


Now grab a yarn needle and pop that tail that you left through it and start sewing it together.  Weave it across the rose at the base so you can't see the sewing on the right side of your rose.


Knot it off and pop some felt and a brooch back on it, add it to a blanket or some cushions .... add it to what ever your heart desires.


I hope you enjoyed this pattern and could follow it ok :-)  

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Crochet Bertie Blanket Ta Dah!


It has become a tradition of mine to take a crochet project on holiday with us each year, you see, I am not very good at sitting still and doing nothing.  I do find relaxing is quite an art.

This year was no different, after accidentally coming across a lovely page on facebook called Little Doolally I knew I had I just HAD to create one of her gorgeously gorgeous blanket patterns.


So off I went to buy the Bertie blanket pattern which I found in her Etsy shop for just over £3, what a bargain! Then came the time to pick the yarn and colours ...... Amy, who runs this fab shop told us on her page that she loved Drops Paris, a lovely cotton yarn.  I love the look of cotton yarn with its stitch definition and after a lot of deliberation (making colour decisions isn't my strong point :-)) I chose:

Light Turquoise
Light Purple
Shocking Pink
Opal Green
Strong Yellow
Medium Pick
White

I have a real thing at the moment about bright colours set off against white so these colours seemed perfect.


The pattern supplied is for a baby blanket but I upped the scale of mine as I wanted to create a lap blanket so I started with around 200 (or 210, sorry can't remember) stitches to kick off.


 As the holiday progressed the blanket grew with lots of happy memories intertwined within it .... those memories include family fun and laughter, the sound of the sea lapping against the shore, drinking champers with Suzi Quatro on the flight home (I didn't realise it was her until we landed and yes I do crochet on flights lol) and my crochet hook being passed back to me on that same flight by Jamie Oliver's Mum who sat behind me along with Jamie and his family (a rather odd Easyjet flight indeed).


I went for a strong white edging to set off the colours even more and LOVE the finished result.  The blanket is quite heavy using the cotton yarn so if I did create one this large again I would possibly use a wool based yarn but I do adore the colours that Drops Paris sell, I am not sure you would get the vivid colours and texture you do with a wool based yarn.


This blanket really does remind me of summer holidays...... for instance the green reminds me of this Mojito


The vivid blue of the sky against the bright pink of the Oleander.


The sandy yellow reminds me of the beach and our summer awning.


And the blue also reminds me of our guard Hippo out in Mallorca :-)

The yarn comes in 50g balls and I bought roughly 2 of each colour and 7 white balls.  The pattern was super easy to follow with lots of info and photos to help you along the way.

PS I haven't been paid to write this blog, I just love sharing good products when I find them :-D

PPS If you love crochet as much as me you may like to join me over at my facebook page as the lovely Amy from Little Doolally is having a giveaway on my page in early December :-)

https://www.facebook.com/ScentedSweetpeas

Take care
Zoe
x