Unravelling….

It is a yearly outing in October that mum and I head to the Knitting and Stitching Show held at Alexandra Palace. I have mentioned many times on this blog and looking back it is almost like Groundhog Day.

2010 Visit

2011 Visit

2012 Visit

I won’t bore you with the same old details – but rest assured there were some very familiar noises on the coach. The two ladies adjacent to us, commented on every bit of driving, direction of travel, journey, the M25 and gave the poor coach driver earache no doubt. These coach drivers at the particular company we use have the patience of saints. They did come unstuck at one point when they were asking him personal questions and he said he did not see his children anymore…..silent did ensure….but no for long. Their main complaint was that there was not enough cross stitching.

Well to be fair to them, they were correct. However, everything has fads and is cyclical I am sure and therefore if you know that is the case then don’t bother coming if only to save my ears! In the years that I have been going I have seen it decline, and it is definitely knitting and other wool related crafts which are coming back in fashion. One particular stall used to be huge, as they sold so much cross stitch material, both aida and evenweave. Now though you could have walked past them and not noticed, it was that small and also they had branched out into selling other things. The lesson is if you want to stay in business then you have to go with the changes and what the market wants. The market wants at the moment, wool and material.

I will say there was a plethora of sewing machine stalls, nicely complemented by where you could by plenty of material and some wonderful material at that. I blame the Great British Sewing Bee and in fact one contestant (male) was there from that programme. I am sure this has something to do with the current economic climate and in trying to make do and mend, or create something which is unique.

Creatures of habit we did exactly the same thing we do every year, go round the outside then up and down the stalls in the middle and then split up buy what we want and then meet back together and get a second opinion on some of the things we have seen.

I know all you want to see is what I have bought, so here is the obligatory photo

photo (9)

So what do we have -

To the left of the picture there are some weaving boards. You wind the wool round the jagged edges then you weave with something contrasting. I have made an attempt but I want to get it right first, as one of them is going to be a Christmas present. There is also some lovely Oliver Twist threads there too.

Then following across the picture is a pin cushion from Sue Hawkins who has been a favourite of mine (and mum) for many years. It is thanks to here I have made oodles of the bookmarkers she does that have been sold and also given out as presents for many years. I have got many of her items over the years, and this is another one to add to the collection, which was bought for an early birthday present.

Then it is a plethora of felt. Two bundles of different felt sizes in different colours. Felt Fantastic is a book I have had my eye on for a while as it comes from the lovely people at Blooming Felt. There is also some felt bird shapes, a bag of felt balls and a felt iPad cover.Not sure if you can see the little black dog at the bottom right of the picture – he is a Scottie dog. He could look good on my  cover although not to be mistaken for a Radley I am sure. I need to get on the website and buy some more stuff with the 15% voucher I got at the show too! I need to buy some more red circles to make poppies with. I like the felt things, although I am not interested in needle felting or sticking my knitting in the wash to felt that up.

Not bad considering, but what I have come away with is oodles of ideas and an itch to want to try them all. Always the way, but in the meantime I will keep plodding along. I have some items that need finishing and I must crack on with the Christmas presents for this year to.

I did make a list of things to look up at home, one particular stall there sells all the wonderful Lizzie Kate, Waxing Moon Designs, Twisted Thread, Pine Mountain designs as well as many other American designers. Trouble is they are priced quite expensively and the two ladies that run the stall are very snooty – they always look down their noses at you and it puts me right off! They are a bit pushy in their sales technique. It is funny what puts you off buying from different places.

I wonder if the show in 2014 will be exactly the same? Of course it will.

Another A to Z….

A is for Antiques Roadshow. It is coming to The Royal Marines Museum in a couple of weeks and I am off with some mugs/cups that my late Nan had, which I chose to keep. I don’t think they are worth much, but I can always live in hope. Plus might see Fiona Bruce too. Though I won’t tell Elaine at Random Jottings, who is not overly keen on her tv presence!

B is for Bank Holidays – we have two in May. I do love a four-day week!

C is for Canasta. One particular friend has got the rest of us into playing this rather long but thoroughly enjoyable card game – it has become addictive. And nights and afternoon’s out are based around us playing a few hands. 

is for Diet.  The last time I did one of these posts, D was for diet then – it still is. So perhaps the next letter down should be glossed over?

E is for eating out. I have been once to The Fish Factory at Littlehampton with friends, last year. Recently I went with my parents, and it was just as good. They liked it to and the choice of fish is wonderful, the chips delicious, the cheesecake for pudding divine and the portions ENORMOUS!

F is for future things to look forward to. London trip to include Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Masons. Another Spa break, weekend away with the girls on the Isle of Wight. Readers Day at Winchester. Portsmouth Bookfest.

G is for Rosie Goodwin. I have never read any of her books before and was sent her latest Home Front Girls to read. I loved it, and it reminded me very much of the novels and sagas of  Maureen Lee.

H is for habits. It takes three weeks to break one apparently. I need to break the going down the biscuit aisle and buying biscuits and eating them all habit. It might help with the diet Jo! It worked this week – only 2 weeks to go then.

I is for Inferno – Dan Brown’s Inferno to be precise. It seems to have rather a mixed bag of reviews, page turning but not going to set fire to the literary world! As I still have The Lost Symbol to read, I think I might refrain from buying this one!

J is for Maggie Joel I have been sent The Second-Last Woman in England to read and review and she will be featuring on my blog towards the end of June.

K is for knitting. I have done a few characters lately, and have pictures on my iPad which I have now put into a post. Look out for them coming soon.

L is for Lego. I am a huge fan and if I had the room, it would all be out and built as it was when I was a kid. Then we had the space and I had a whole town set out, complete with train track that went round the perimeter. But in the interim I do have a wonderful shop that I was bought a couple of years ago for Christmas. When I opened this huge box, the sheer pleasure on my face apparently upset my dad, he could see the child in me still! It is still made, it took  me a couple of days and despite the dust I love looking at it. I am coveting one of the new exclusives ‘Palace Cinema’ but in the interim, I spotted this book Brick City – a Lego lovers dream – I bought it because it was half price in WHSmiths but if I had the money, the space and the Lego bricks…..

To celebrate the Royal nuptials of Prince William and his bride, Kate Middleton, four Adult Fans of LEGO built a giant scale replica model of a wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey

M is for Money back from the gas man. I overpaid the last 6 months and did not use as much gas. It has been cold, for a lot longer than normal. But I love cosying up on the sofa or under the duvet with an extra blanket or two – and knitting invariably keeps you warm and saves money it turns out too.

N is for Nexus the new computer system at work. Don’t you just love a new computer system with a wire that goes into the wall but is nowhere near the computer and trails right across the office and is fixed down with black masking tape! To resolve it I was allowed to buy a longer cable – I went for pink. So what – I work in an office full of men.

is for Offer.  Work this one out if you will – 1 x  500g tub of Cottage Cheese is £1.90. 1 x 250g tub of Cottage Cheese is £1.45. That in itself is rather a rip off – then add in the buy 2 of the 250g tubs for £2.50 So that is £2.50 for 500g or £1.90 for 500g. Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

P is for Pointless. The tea time programme on BBC1 is entertaining and informative. Both Richard Osman and Alexander Armstrong make me laugh – and people really do not know stuff!

Q is for Quentin. Caroline Quentin and her National Parks TV programme. She has been in Scotland, Wales and in her final programme into the New Forest. Her delivery and enthusiasm for all she does is rather good and the humour underlying is subtle as well. I have only caught the odd one or two of her Cornwall shows but I hope she does more discovering Britain programmes soon. It is what makes our country so unique.

R is for Running. I have been sneaking in a few little and short runs. But I really think running is not for me. Shin splints, despite proper footwear leave me aching too much. I am not getting the adrenalin kick that I do from this as I do from  swimming, Body Pump, Zumba and even walking. I am a walker not a runner.

S is for Sunday Roasts. Whether it be Chicken, Beef, Pork or Gammon. (I don’t like lamb) you can’t beat a roast with all the trimmings, surprisingly even though I rarely cook one. I decamp to my parents every Sunday where one is probably 99% guaranteed. And amazingly all cooked the slimming way too – and you could not tell. Well perhaps the lack of crispy potatoes but apart from that.

T is for Transworld. One of the lovely publishing houses that send me books galore and the chance to read books I would have avoided in a bookshop.

U is for Uniform. New company (currently same job!) but now I have to wear a fetching black and white spotty scarf! Along with the white shirt and black skirt that I have been wearing for aeons!

V is for Vesta Churchill. A character in Brighton Belle by Sara Sheridan (review coming soon). A young black female in Fifties Britain. An interesting idea which the author I am sure will develop as the series goes along.

W is for Winter it is still with us.

X is for X back swimming costumes – the stringy variety – I hate you! Give me a proper back if you will and something that does not get tangled up and tries to garrote me half way through a swim. I have now disposed of all said garments. Mind you what can you do with swimming costumes when the lyrca has gone on them other than throw them in the bin?

Y is for Yes there are some things repeated on this list, compared to my last one back in March! Not intentional, but I have just gone back and looked – funny how certain stuff stays in your conscience.

Z is for Zips. If you watched the Great British Sewing Bee then you will know putting in a zip is a difficult yet clever thing. When you spot a knitting pattern that has one in, I tink it is best to avoid it!

Thanks for persevering to the end. It felt like lately that I had not really been here on the blog, despite the book reviews and so I wanted to rectify that. I am here and in the coming days, weeks, months; there will be some knitting posts, there will be some book reviews and I also have a couple of books to giveaway – so there will be that too. Do pop by whenever you can, I really do appreciate it.

Knitting and Stitching Show 2012

If you have been following my blog for a while or even dare I say the beginning, you may know that I have a craft creativity streak within me and I do share some stitching, knitting and other crafts on here. I get lots of ideas from magazines and websites but also from my annual visit to Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching Show. This is where there are not just stalls full of wonderful goodies to buy,  but lots of ideas and displays of what you can do with very little or a lot from, thread, materials, wool, beads, paper, wood the list is endless.

Ironically enough reading back from the last two posts about this in 2010 and then again in 2011 there are some striking similarities and 2012 is no different! So in summary, knitting is still very much the ‘in’ thing. Stitching is currently on the wane. The stalls with wool were mobbed, those without were very quiet. Ideal for me who is in the main a stitcher!

Yes, the waste of stall posts were there – the wonder mop and the magic iron! Leather handbags and chocolate! It sells the space and when you have a business head on, you realise that makes sense and it is better than empty stands but still…..

So what did I buy, not that much to be honest. Money was spent at The Blooming Felt stall which is so bright and colourful that I wanted to spend a fortune. But I got some more felt circles to make poppies this year for Remembrance and some felt purses which will end up as Christmas presents I am sure. Some buttons and flowers for decoration and I am good to go.

Decopatch is relatively new craft to have hit the stands, but there are so many things that you can glue patterned paper on to, that you could go mad with it! I didn’t, just bought a Christmas sign to decorate, and some Christmas coloured paper to decorate it with as well as more paper for the Christmas tree that I have been building from the cardboard tubes that you get from tin foil. It is a work in progress because I need a lot of tubes and don’t go through that much tinfoil!

When there is progress in some of these things, then I will update you with the odd picture or two! When the weather changes and the nights draw in, it is lovely to settle down with some crafts. And I really need to settle down with what I bought last year! It has not been touched since I got it, apart from me moving it in and out of my way in the living room.

But I could have this to keep moving round the living room:

 

This is a joint piece of work from many knitters round the country to form a Knitted Village. What can you spot from this small selection of pictures?

Craft is a wonderful thing that brings lots of ideas and people together. My mum and I included.

Oh and if you are wondering about the coach journey, as rereading my previous posts I do mention it! We sat in front of two ladies that did not draw breath from the moment they got on to the moment they got off on the way there….. and on the way back. I know everything about their medical conditions, their dislike of their doctor, what books they read (that was fairly interesting I admit), what their families are doing for Christmas, one daughter’s trouble with working shifts, granddaughter’s love of sweets, what food they eat, where they buy it, Buckingham Palace, how late they will be home…..on….and…..on…..and….on. They never once mentioned whether they enjoyed the day!

But the best of the journey has to go to the lady who asked the coach driver about the possible delays around Wembley Stadium (England were playing a home match that evening and it may have effected the journey back ).

Lady “You would think that Wembley would contact you and tell you that there will be heavy traffic on such a day”

Coach driver “they expect us to keep up to date with traffic, not inform us”

Lady “But it would be much easier if they told you”

Coach driver silent.

I am sure Wembley have the time, money and people to ring up every coach company up in the UK (or should that be Europe?) and warn them that their will be a football match and traffic might be bad, on the off-chance that one of their coaches might just happen to be going past Wembley. I am with the coach driver on this one silence.

And so until next year…….

Swimming and Sewing

From the title you could be forgiven that I have gone mad, and that these two activities do not really go together. But there is a way to combine the two.

I am a swimmer, nothing too adventurous and may I say not to the wonderful standard that the lovely Verity swims who I admire. I do it to help with weight loss and keeping fit. It mixes the week up with the other stuff I do like, PT, Body Pump to name a few. It is also something I share with my dad, who taught me and has done some brave lifesaving acts in the past as well as swim on a regular basis pier to pier at Southsea. We both actively support the local volunteer lifesaving team as well.

Normally I average twice a week and was doing so before Christmas for a long while, it is always 40 lengths which is 1Km (25m length swimming pool), on the odd occasion I have pushed 50 lengths but that is a real push. I was going after work which is not an issue because I finish at a reasonable time, sometimes later but the pool got busier with children after 5pm and there are already swimming lessons going on in two of the lanes, which limits space slightly. Time I was getting in from swimming, I was not having time to cook, well I could but I would have been eating at 8 and when you go to bed at 9 that does not leave a lot of time for digestion. I then had no time to do anything for me in the evenings so I reevaluated what I was doing.

So I thought I would give going before work a go rather than after. I am a lark not an owl so getting up in the morning is relatively easily but it requires preparation the night before otherwise it can all go wrong and you start the day playing catch up. I challenged myself this in December and thought getting up when it is still dark, getting to the pool for when it opens at 0630 and being at work by 0730 and it not getting light until gone 0830 was probably the worst time to start this. But I achieved it and I am pleased and continued this into January. Now when I come out to go to work the sun is starting to rise and I am greeted to a lovely pinky blue sky.

So I know I can get up early and do it I needed a new angle on this so challenging myself to swim an extra day than the normal twice I set myself was the order of the day. I did not go mad and just picked a particular week and said this is the week to swim 3 times – and I did. So in January I swam 11km (Last year I swam 98km in 12 months) and so far in February I have swam 3km.

So what is the point of the stitching – well as you may have realised, going swimming in the morning means you have wet costume and towels hanging round all day before you can go home and do something about it. Getting cold in the car and smelly! I am fortunate to work in a place with some lovely accommodation managers, cleaners and valets who kindly (once I had gained permission from my boss) to let me use the dryer to dry them off. Bless the lovely ladies they go one step further and actually wash them and dry them and even fold my swimming costume so precisely. They even call me ‘their little tadpole’ now! I wanted to get them something to say thank you but rather than the normal biscuits or chocolates I thought I would make something for their office and so the result is above and below

I thought the picture rather apt, the blue watery material good and the ric-ric edging matches the colour of the costume and hat! And the cake well that is why I am swimming so much – I have eaten too much cake in the past!

They loved it and why because I had thought about it, and they are more than happy to help this little tadpole out!

The Last Christmas Card

I was not very good this year and made hardly any cards (Christmas), however I did make and send one to the little girl of one of my neighbours. I had made her mum one for her birthday and she was enamoured with it, so thought it would be a nice little gift.

That was not my intention when I was finishing the back stitching, as it is meant to say ‘Merry Xmas’ but with a sudden flash of inspiration I changed it to her name. I hope she liked it.

All the Cross Stitching magazines out at this time of year say now is the time to start making the cards for next year, and perhaps I may well do when I feel like stitching something small. But I have got back into my stitching work which is called ‘The Library’. Checking back the last picture I showed you was in July 2011 (shock horror!) but I took it with me to my mum’s over Christmas for something to do on Christmas Eve and it has grown a bit more. I have picked it up since then as well but I am going to have to buy some more thread soon, as I have run out of some colours but want to make my order worthwhile, so going to keep going until I have exhausted the threads I do have left.

The Library - July 2011

And so for a more recent update

The Library - Dec 2011

Seeing the two pictures, makes me want to try and get it finished in 2012 at least! Although I might have to intersperse it with other knitting and the like, so much choice, so little time.

Christmas Cards & Presents

I have good intentions of making lots of Christmas cards but I get quite easily distracted because there is always something new to try, but eventually I do settle down to something. I have somewhat neglected my larger project for many months now, so to get back with the stitching I thought I would try a little free kit of a magazine. One to stitch because it is by Margaret Sherry and I love her designs, and stitched many before and have a lot more stitch as well.

It tested me, as the material I could tell was cheap and the amount of back stitch started to get on my nerves, however it was worth it in the end. Now I have to decide who to give this to.

And while we are on Christmas, thoughts turn to presents so having finished some scarves with some funky wool one or maybe two of these could end up as so.

The black and white scarves, of which there is two in the photo was wool from last year. The purple/blue wool (bought this year) one was a pain to knit and took a couple of goes to get into the rhythm. Not a wool I would choose again to be honest.  Wool from last year which was my mum’s choice has arrived at my needles so more scarves are imminent.

Hopefully this will produce two scarves.

From my sojourn to Alexandra Palace back in October, felting was becoming a growing craft.  I have already experimented with the poppy which I wore with pride leading up to and including Remembrance Sunday. Many people stopped and asked about it, and perhaps if I could have got hold of more of the red circles (they were out of stock) I would have a lot of orders. Next year perhaps with any profit going to The Poppy Appeal.

Keeping with a flower theme, I bought some flower shapes already cut out and beautifully thick felt, not the thin stuff from childhood although that has many uses. I wanted to decorate some bags and this was what I came up with, following no pattern this was the result. (Please excuse the wonky photography) I have since bought some more bags (brightly coloured) and more felt flowers.

So on with the knitting, the flowers and bags, the stitching…..

Alexandra Palace – 2011

For those who have read my blog for a while will know that I am into crafts, and that once a year I go the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace every year. Friday gone saw me doing that for the umpteenth year, in fact I think my mum and I have lost count. I reported about 2010 here and interestingly enough some of those comments still stand!

It was a great day out, as it generally is. Overall, knitting is certainly back in the forefront again, stitching is taking perhaps a back seat for a while. However, having been to many of these, everything comes round so no doubt it will change again. There was very little papercraft there which in some ways is good as I think this has now developed into its own separate shows. A great amount of material if you are into quilting which is one of those things I wish I had the time to do.

There was the stands which sold the chocolate, handbags et al and the wonder mop was there again this year competing with a wonder iron. It is only a wonder to me if it does it without any effort from me? No, did not think so!

So let us get down to the purchases, I was very controlled and restrained due to finances, and my budget that I went with, I cam back with half of it.

In the picture you should be able to spot, a tape measure – having seen an idea whilst there it involved a tape measure, more of that later in the post. Felt flowers, star and circles and balls, again another idea seen but I refused to pay £9 for something that I could make myself for very little in fact all that felt came to just £4. More wool, for more scarves, different sort of wool and I must knit this up before next year, as the wool I bought last year has got as far as this

It has now made it out of the spare room into where I sit with all my other stuff!

Back to the main picture, at the top is a kit for a Crazy Patchwork Christmas Tree which my mum bought me as an early birthday present (this has become a tradition). I have not had a chance to read up on it, but I think this could be a challenge but it looks really lovely finished. Some more paper mache boxes to do some decopatch on. This was a craft I picked up on last year, and has sustained me throughout the year, with various different projects. Finally, it is all on a cloth bag, which I bought (I wish I had bought now) as I wanted to decorate it, probably with the felt flowers or something of that ilk.

Now for that tape measure (be warned this might be a Christmas Present for many this year!)

I spotted these tape measures by sheer accident, and went back a couple of times to have a look so I could make sure I had the idea the right. This is one I made and not bought. There were animals and Christmas themed ones of course. My mum has found 7 tape measures both square and round, which can be covered and created into something other than a boring plastic tape measure. You get a lot of free tape measures when you subscribe to craft magazines over the years. Oh yes, how does it work….

So that was what I came away from, but there is more in some ways that pictures cannot express. The way all the colours are displayed in the material, the threads, the choices but also those ideas which are around everywhere. Not just on the stands but the people who were there as well. Knitted jumpers, waistcoats, badges, bags, brooches, hair pieces you name it you could probably have seen it there.  Yes, it is mainly full of a women, but there was more men than previous years, and also there is always a huge young presence there, through school and college trips I realise but I hope that these people are the next generation to keep crafts alive.

As for the journey home, I refer you to last years post. It must have been the same ladies! You can always tell a non-driver. The coach driver had a lot of patience.

Now to get on with the creating.

Biscuits and Buttons

What a bizarre combination perhaps? But then when it comes to craft perhaps not?

I am hoping that readers will know exactly what this biscuit is? I was attracted to them because I love them and I have not eaten one in a while. The author/creator Oussi Gresty has made a book of many British Favourites, Custard Creams and Bourbons! I spotted this one though in a Mollie Makes magazine and the designer sells them made for a fair old price on her website.

So whilst I was in a felt mood, my mum had found some felt flowers already precut and gave them to me. Okay so what was I going to do with them, well the plan was to make some sort of remembrance poppy for Remembrance Sunday coming up in November. Red felt flower, with a button of some description  in the middle. Something unique and different, mum having a crochet poppy that she wears. Then I found some buttons which you can cover yourself with any sort of material which meant, even aida and then that could involve cross stitch. A bit of digging around, and below is the couple of attempts I have made. The one on the right, the button is made up of lots of ends of threads, it was just to get a feel for stitching something  that size and how it would look on the button.

And then I had an idea which combined more felt, buttons and the ‘C’ word. I wonder if you perhaps can see where my mind is wondering with the photo below. Sorry no prizes for guessing right.

And now for something that is neither biscuits, buttons or even pudding! Cross Stitch, needed something small and achievable as knitting a blanket when the weather is 22.5c is rather stifling! It will come in handy for a card for many a ocassion and I do like Faye Whittaker designs, something so simple about them.

And what about a sneak preview to see where (some) my stuff sits in my living room.
I had to take the knitting and wool out of the basket so you can see what else was in there. In the background is a pile of felt and some templates for shapes etc waiting to be cut and created. There is some red and green aida which can be spotted in on the pictures above. The white crinkly wool is supposed to be for making another chicken, and the pattern for that from the book is also stood up in there. You can just see my pin cushion and pins in the top right hand corner of the basket, kept in my bag of tricks which contains, pretty much everything I might need (if not then it can be found somewhere else). Then there is my scissor case, which is pretty old and grubby now but is decorated with Harry Potter Cross Stitch which came out around the time of the first film so that will give you an idea of how old it is. I really must make a new one. And finally what looks like a lot of tangled mess – well to be fair one of the little plastic bags is full of threads and handy when you just need something for a few stitches. The other bag has them all punched and secured onto cards and is gathered from the many kits I have made over the years, this was the leftovers. This is where I got the thread for the stitch buttons above from. There is actually quite a lot else in that basket that it is not visible, my current larger stitching project called ‘The Library’ and a smaller one as well, oh and I think there might be a Christmas Card to be made in there…..

So just a little bit more of an insight (perhaps too much) into what I have been up to lately and where sometimes it all springs from or more correctly spills out of the basket onto the floor!

Two aims really – finish the knitted blanket, especially as some fool  one has predicted cold weather and snow by the end of the month, yes that is October.

Secondly, it is my annual trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London on Friday, so I am going to see what ideas I might come back with, I currently have another one brewing at the moment. If I buy anything wonderful and new or if I buy anything I promise I will share with you.

Now who is for a cup of tea to go with that Jammie Dodger?

Books and Cross Stitch

How do you combine crafts and books? Well one way I suppose is to buy books on the subject. Another way is to stitch pictures that have to do with books.

The Bookshelf by LHN

Please excuse the flash, but because it has already been framed, it is quite difficult to capture it correctly. Plus I can never photograph straight, I seem to be always leaning!

Away from my lack of photography skills. I love this picture because it is full of words and letters, one of my favourite things to stitch, mainly because it stitches up so quickly. Plus these are famous female authors, and the little pictures around the names hopefully reflect the books as well.

LHN stands for Little House Needleworks and the website can be found here. They have another ‘literary’ themed piece out as well. I have had it in my stash for a little while and decided I wanted to stitch it so here it is in progress.

And a close up of a more featured part of the work which is called The Library

There is a lot of ‘blocks’ of colour which can be quite good when watching television, it means I do not have to concentrate on the pattern too much with lots of colour changes. I am really enjoying this stitch and it has grown quite quickly but I still have a long way to go.

So you all know what it looks like I refer you to the original

The Library - By Little House Needleworks

Do the pictures remind you of any books in particular? Anything perhaps I should be reading. I do hope that Diane Williams creates some more book themed pictures in the future. In the meantime there are so many more I love on her site, but I have to finish this one first! Cross Stitch can be a bit like book buying – buying it all but taking ages to get round to stitching it all!

Chicken and Mice

In a spurt of activity I have finished some knitting and some cross stitching. This particular cross stitch piece has been on the go for about 18 months I think. Which is why in the midst of a very dry and warm April and the same it looks like for May I have finished a Christmas piece!

I am pleased with the finish, especially as when it gets to the back stitch I sometimes start to lose a faith and want to start another piece. Which I did, and then found out the material was not going to be big enough, despite me counting it more than once. Good job I had not got very far, but I am currently in the midst of unpicking and I have treble checked the material (after buying another piece) so hopefully this will be coming along quite nicely especially as there is minimal back stitching.

In between the stitching and the reading (as well as the working and sleeping!) there has been some knitting. Spotting this by chance in a knitting magazine and then on Amazon, my mum invested in this book. Knit & Purl Pets by Claire Garland.

This is a book full of funky knitted pets. Including a snake, a tortoise, mice as well as the chicken which is featured on the front cover, the reason I was interested. A colleague of mine has spent many many months going on about getting chickens and so building a coop. He is still talking about it but progress has been made and the chickens should be with him by the end of the week. So in the spirit of acts of kindness and because of the chicken interest, I decided I wanted to knit him a chicken and a egg.

For that interminable question the chicken came first and then the egg. I used ends of wool from varying different balls and the effect was above. I think the yellow for the legs and beak is too light and needs to be brighter, but other than that I am pleased with the effect. Despite really only being a basic knitter, it was a fairly quick knit especially on 5 needles.

If you read the reviews on Amazon for the book, you will see that the most of them complain about the mistakes in the book. I have to confess it is true, in just knitting the chicken I found two mistakes and the instructions are not particularly clear, you do need some knitting experience to be able to do any of the patterns or in my case a mum who knits better.

I just hope the author and the publisher revisit this book and look at the errata’s because it will put off those less experienced knitters who probably would love to knit something different.

I am going to knit another chicken I think, as I have found some wool which will give a different finis. I will not be giving this chicken away though.

Will keep you updated as I can with my craft projects!