Tuesday 29 March 2016

A Mohair Bear called Cyril

 A couple of weeks ago I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show.  It was a fab day out and I saw many things to inspire me, one of which was a bear making kit from Amazing Craft.  I love bears, as you'll know if you've seen any of my knitted bears, so the chance to make an old style mohair bear was too much to miss out on and I bought the kit.

A wet windy Easter weekend was the perfect time to put him together.  The kit comes with everything you'll need to make a bear, including a body part sheet which I had already photocopied onto card and cut out, and a really detailed instruction booklet, which went through everything including how to cut mohair.

Then it was just a case of carefully stitching all the bits together by hand, before putting together and stuffing.

I now have stiff, sore fingers, full of holes where I stabbed myself while stitching, and a new appreciation of the doctor who stitched my head back together after a car accident a couple of years ago - sewing round long hair is really hard!

But I am also the owner of a new little bear, called Cyril, who looks too good to have been made by me!  I love him, he has come out so well and he is totally worth the sore fingers, although I might now go back to the safer knitting and crochet for a bit to let them recover.

I'm not sure I can really explain how pleased I am with how Cyril came out.  I've dabbled with (hand) sewing since I was a little girl when I accidentally sewed things to my skirt (and bed covers)!  But I've never been really good, just good enough to sew on buttons etc.  So to manage to put together a whole bear that looks this good is pretty amazing.  Don't ask me to do it again, I'm not sure I can!

Sunday 20 March 2016

A new necklace

I love the simplicity of a beady necklace and had one I loved, but the elastic went and I hadn't found the time to replace it until now.
The hardest part is finding beads you like.  I found these gorgeous African glass beads in The Bead Chest on Etsy.  Then all I had to do was string them up.  Exactly what I was looking for.

Sunday 13 March 2016

Garter Stitch Hooded Wrap

I don't know if you are like me, but I am always the coldest person in the office!  And of course all the hot people are sooooo hot, they are dying, so the air con must be put on or the windows opened (sometimes even both!) and I sit there shivering with my coat on (because it's impossible to find nice but warm office clothing).

Finally last Christmas I had had enough, and I happened to stumble across a really nice looking cardy at The Design Studio.  Not only did it look nice but it looked pretty simple to make too.
I found some wool online that I liked the look of and bought myself 13 balls - Sirdar Supersoft Aran, Scrummy Plum.  It didn't hurt that it was reduced too.

On 1 Jan 2016 I started knitting and from then on I spent most of my spare time adding to it.  Two and a half months later and I have a finished cardy.  It's been crazy to watch it grow.  It's my biggest project so far, and when I joined the front pieces and back together to make the hood, I did start to wonder what I was creating.

The idea is to leave this in the office to be used any time I need it, without needing to carry this heavy monster around with me.  I am so pleased with how it turned out.  I might have made it a bit longer, but actually it's perfect for sitting on an office chair.  My next challenge is to make something more fitted.  But for now a little break from knitting I think...

NOTE: I just spent all day wearing this and I loved it!  And I got some lovely feedback from the guys I work with.  My only problem now is what to do with my cold feet!

Sunday 6 March 2016

The Knitting and Stitching Show

All the wool!
On Friday I took the day off work to visit the Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was hopeful of seeing some nice things.  I was not disappointed!
One of Edward's Menagerie from TOFT
It was great to see so many different suppliers, many of which I already knew from the web.  Companies like Tilly and the Buttons, TOFT, and Black Sheep Wools, while meeting some great new companies too.

Animal heads from Sincerely Louise
Frida's Flowers Blanket by Janie Crow
A Crochet scarf kit by Janie Crow
The only problem was there was so much to see and buy!  I could easily have picked up supplies and patterns for enough projects to keep me busy for the next 5 years!  (never mind the list of projects I currently have.)

Floss & Mischief's vending machine
 In the end I had to make a choice between a lovely crochet scarf kit from Janie Crow or a bear making kit from Amazing Craft.  Cyril the mohair bear won.  I love bears and he is so cute, while I'm not sure my crocheting skills are ready for the scarf kit yet, maybe next year.

Cyril the mohair bear from Amazing Craft
Latvian mittens by Hobbywool
City map needlepoint kits by Hannah Bass
Crochet necklace of mice from Pretty Sisters
But while there was lots of things to buy and to make, there were also classes where you could learn how to make all sorts of things, and galleries of art works including quilts by The Quilter's Guild and these amazing knitted Nikes.
I had a grand day and think I'll be going back next year, but this time I will have a very long list of things I want!

Knitted Nike's by Jessica Dance

Wednesday 2 March 2016

A gluten free evening at River Cottage

Last year we visited River Cottage HQ to learn how to cook gluten free.  It was a great day, I had so much fun and learnt so much!  So when we heard that Naomi Devlin, who ran the course, was hosting a gluten free evening at our local River Cottage Canteen, we booked our seats.  We were not disappointed.

Sea salt crackers & roast carrot dip
We started by sharing sea salt crackers and roast carrot dip.  Nice but the crackers were a little hard.  Loved the roast carrot dip.

Buckwheat blinis with smoked beetroot & pickled ewes cheese 
Then the blinis with smoked beetroot and pickled ewes cheese.  This was so nice.  I am definitely going to try making blinis for 'im outdoors, they would make a great alternative to toast in the morning.

Persian spiced lamb with green tabbouleh, winter slaw & yoghurt
Then the spiced lamb and tabbouleh.  This was some of the best lamb I've had!  As you can see I nearly forgot to take a photo, diving straight in. The combination of flavours was perfect.

Honey poached pear, rose ice cream & wafer
And lastly the poached pear.  As 'im outdoors said he could have eaten a box of the wafers, they were so good.  The pear and rose ice cream was good, but I had to steal a fork from an empty table to stop the pear escaping!
It was a great evening, with really good food, but the best bit was not having to worry about if it was safe to eat or not.