Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas is Coming - Giveaway

I found a new, unopened copy of Mirabilia's 'Archangel' chart in a local charity shop (thrift store) this week and I thought it might make a nice giveaway prize for Christmas!

So, if you would like to be entered in the draw for this chart, please comment below. I will draw the winner on New Year's Day.

Good luck and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Advent Calendar

I made this advent calendar six years ago for The Hermit, before I realised the extent of his allergy to Christmas. I already have an advent calendar (with huge pockets!) so this has been languishing in a drawer for some time.

This year, I decided that it deserved a good home, so I stuffed the pockets with chocolate and gave it to my dad :o)

Design details: An Avon kit, probably 8-10 years old

Stitch Markers

For the knitting retreat, I made up little gift bags for everyone, which contained some hand treatment and a set of stitch markers.

These were very simple to make from split rings and mother of pearl discs. If you knit socks, or lace, stitch markers come in very useful!

Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

As the office is going to be closed from Christmas Eve to 5 January, I will have Twelve Days to (hopefully) do not very much apart from stitch, read and get a head start on next semester's work.

So, I've decided that my focus will be to get as many Christmas UFOs and making up as possible done, so that I can enjoy them this season!

To make up:

Be Merry - Lizzie*Kate - to add beads and make into an ornament
Ho Ho Ho - Lizzie*Kate - to finish into a wallhanging
Noel - Lizzie*Kate - to add beads and make into an ornament
Peace Joy Love - Lizzie*kate - to finish into a cushion cover
Sheep - Lizzie*Kate - to add beads and make into an ornament
Snowman - Lizzie*Kate - to add beads and make into an ornament
A Merry Tree for Thee - to finish as a pinkeep
Winter - Trail Creek Farm - to finish as a scissor fob
Winter ABCs - Lizzie*Kate - to frame


Christmas Felt Wallhanging - Bucilla
Hearts of Joy No. 2 - Charland Designs
Holly Berries - DMC
Metallic Christmas Decoration - DMC
O Christmas Tree - Prairie Schooler
Sequinned Ornaments x 6 - Bucilla

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Well, it looks like all my Christmas crafting will be finished on time :o) I have only the last little bits of ornament making to do, and hopefully I can get everything finished this weekend. Of course, I need to photograph everything and wrap it yet, but I'm confident about completing before The Big Day.

Of course, I still need to get groceries for the Christmas meal, but as there will only be the two of us, it will hardly be troublesome. I'm going to buy a few nice treats but won't be going overboard - we're both already carrying too much excess weight!

I've been thinking about my goals for next year, and what I would like to achieve - and what would be feasible for me to achieve! Since starting my blog - and having that element of accountability - I have been better at finishing projects I start, but I still have a number of UFOs languishing. And of course, I have a LOT of stash sitting idle. So, each month I hope to:

Finish one UFO
Make up or frame one finished item
Finish one sampler quilt block
Knit one pair of socks

I will also be working on stitching exchanges each month. However, my resolution will be to knit gifts for family and friends, as that is quicker, and to do more stitching for myself.

And finally - my very local LNS (as in 2 minutes walk away) closes its doors for good today. I will miss it, and I hope that Barbara, Maureen and Maureen - all of whom have worked there for more than 20 years - will find new employment soon. Thanks for all your help ladies!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Toddler Socks

Design: Basic Recipe Socks from the Regia Leaflet
Yarn: Regia Sock Yarn (75% wool, 25% polyamide)

Colour: Ringels Clown 5048
Needles: 2.5mm

I decided to make my niece a pair of socks for her sweet little chubby legs for Christmas.

These were a lot of fun to make, because the colours are so jolly. I had to measure The Tot's feet - and she was smaller than the smallest size on the pattern, so I had to make some adaptions.

Her comment? "These are nice and warm" - not bad for a 2.5 year old!

Hourglass Dishcloth

Design: Hourglass Dishcloth
Yarn: Dishcloth Cotton

Another design from the Dishcloth KAL group on Yahoo.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

One Degree of Separation

I usually try to post cheerful stuff in this journal, and to keep it light - it's supposed to be about crafting, after all, and usually the most serious rant that goes on is about a visit from the frog. But sometimes, there are more important things in life.

There is someone I've taken courses with at the university, X. We've both volunteered for some extra curricular stuff and so, although we don't take classes together at the moment, I see her from time to time, and it's a real joy. She is the most infectiously cheerful person I know, and has a wicked sense of humour.

X and her 2 sons are refugees. She is from Zimbabwe, and her husband is involved in the MDC, so it wasn't safe for her to remain. She was so hopeful when power sharing was announced ... but we all know how the situation has gone downhill since.

I asked her yesterday how her family were doing, what with the cholera outbreak and all. The good news is that the town her parents live in is small, so has hardly been affected, and Care International have set up a clinic relatively near.

The bad news is that last Friday, her parents ran out of food for them and the 11 HIV/AIDS orphaned grandchildren and nieces/nephews they look after. The vegetables that X's 68 year old father had managed to grow on his small holding had been stolen. They had no food at all for six days, until a friend managed to smuggle some across the South African border. X herself felt unable to eat at this time - her throat closed up every time she tried.

I know that 'six degrees of separation' has become a bit of a cliche and a joke, but we are all interconnected. And I'm one degree of separation from people who are being starved to death by a brutal dictator. And that has made me so angry, and left me feeling so guilty, so helpless and yet so thankful too. If I disagree with the government here, only my blood pressure is at risk. I can turn on a tap and have as much clean water as I want. My food bill inflation is in single digits. My family is well fed, warm and safe.

I asked X what I can do to help. Sending money is useless, given the hyperinflation. Food, seeds and medications are seized if found. But clothes and books get through. X's mum is (or maybe was, given the food situation) about my size, and I have some children's books ( I wish I had kids clothes, but I don't know any families). I also have spare toiletries (and hell, I'm happy to buy more). It's not much, when what I'd really like to do is go to Zimbabwe and put a bullet into Mugabe's brain, but it will have to do. I want to shout about the situation in Zimbabwe from the rooftops - I suppose this is my first effort in that direction.

(x posted to my other journal)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Guinea Pig Friends

The guinea pigs now have a day bed so they can be next to us when we are using the computer. Rowan and Jasper actually like being out together and will snuggle together quite happily.

Rowan has grown very rapidly, and has hit guinea pig puberty. Fortunately, he is being quite a pleasant teenager :o)

Elvish Leaves Dishcloth

Pattern: Elvish Leaves Dishcloth (similar pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: Dishcloth Cotton
Needles: UK10

The first thing I ever knitted was a dishcloth, but it wasn't as spiffy as this one - it had holes in it, but they were unintentional - I was only four!

I've come to the conclusion I'm not a huge fan of knitting with 100% cotton, as it doesn't have a lot of give to it, but it does make patterns stand out nice and crisply.

Mostly Black Socks

Design: Basic Sock Recipe (60 stitches)
Yarn: Lana Grossa Sock Weight Yarn (80% wool)
Needles: KnitPicks 2.50mm

These are a pair of socks I finished on the knitting retreat last month. They will be a Christmas gift for my dearest friend. She doesn't read this blog, so I'm okay posting a picture here.

I know she only wears black socks, but I didn't want to knit a plain black pair. And I don't think I'm going to knit much fine black stuff in the future - I struggled at times to see the stitches, which made counting rows tough!

For a second pair of socks, however, I'm pretty pleased!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Floss Tag Exchange - What I Sent

This is the exchange I made for Ina (no blog) over on the Hooked on Exchanges blog.

The first floss tag is made with motifs from a Brenda Keyes book in my own choice of floss colours. I chose a tulip because Ina lives in Holland :o)

The second tag was also from an alphabet in a Brenda Keyes book, but much more modern in style, and trimmed with buttons.

The goodies included some stitching band, floss bobbins and rings, threads, a homemade card, and some scissors made in Sheffield, my home city. Sheffield is world famous for steel, but these days it is mainly specialist engineering steels that are made here, and very little in the way of cutlery and other blades.

Edited to add: for some reason, Blogger is cutting photos at odd places when I upload them from photobucket. I'm not sure how to fix it!