Monday, 25 October 2010

Colour Bay Blanket - scenes of great progress!

Progress on my Colour Bay blanket has been much speedier than I expected!  These granny squares aren't so bad - three simple rounds in a nice variety of colours of easy-to-use double-knit yarn.  I've been racing through.

What with finishing up the day job and all that palava though I haven't had a change to get any photos until now...

There are ten colours in the blanket and I've done 9 squares of each so far.  Now I need to to decide the layout of my colours and work up more squares in each of the more dominant colours I choose.

I had a little helper on my photoshoot who didn't like things looking quite so neat and tidy...

She had a lot of fun messing them up!  Who would have thought granny squares could be so entertaining?

I'm loving the mix of colours.

It's half term this week so I'm not sure how much time I will have for sitting down and crocheting but I shall be trying to squeeze it in as much as possible.  With the weather turning much colder recently I am looking forward to snuggling up warm under my new blanket very soon :)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Presents from across the pond

I mentioned before how I love buying handmade, so when it comes to preparing ahead for Christmas I'm always going to go for something that little bit unique.

When I saw Gretchen of June at Noon's gorgeous and clever Eye Spy bags I knew my own little girl would love one, and I would love the five minutes of peace it would bring!  So I ordered one to put away for Christmas and this morning it arrived...

Having spent the last few days keeping a close eye on the postie I was almost unprepared for an exciting delivery on a lazy Saturday morning.  But not as unprepared as my hubby who was standing right by the door with his back to it when the postman knocked loudly and nearly sent him through the roof with fright! 

It arrived beautifully packaged, as Gretchen's things always do, and the quality of it is perfect...

If you've spotted that perhaps it looks like there may be more one bag you'd be right, but I can't show the other one as it is a gift for a little girl whose mummy stops by this blog sometimes :)

And the best thing about buying handmade is the purely selfish pleasure of the little extras...

See that stone?  Hang on here it is bigger for you...

It is utterly lovely! It's the one Gretchen mentions here and it somehow she has managed to send me the one that matches my living room colour scheme perfectly!  

So thank-you Gretchen for being very clever indeed, and thank-you for the gorgeous little gifts that cheered up a heavily pregnant, hormonal, fat and uncomfortable lady very much!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Baby Boy

A close family friend had a baby boy a couple of weeks ago.  Remember my first Happy Hooker project?  The "Silja Set"?  Well I made that in blue...

This is now winging its way through the postal system to the new parents in question.  Hope they like it :)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Yummy wool!

Just dashing in as I am too excited not to share this with you...

I have chosen my ten colours for Happy Hooker Backwards project #38!  For my Colour Bay blanket I will be using a mix of greens, browns and creams, with a small hint of blue.  These colours match our beachy bedroom and I can't wait to get started! 

More from me in a day or two, hopefully with pictures of great progress!  Much excitement here in the Snipsnaphappy household!  Well for me anyway, can't seem to get Mr S and the little person that enthused about my pile of yarn, they don't know what they're missing...

Thursday, 14 October 2010

New shelves

In a mad rush to get the house ready for the new arrival Hubby and I have been finally getting around to all those niggly DIY jobs that have been waiting to happen since we moved in three years ago.  Well I say Hubby and I...I take on more of a directorial role you understand :)

We finally have shelves installed in one of our alcoves.  Don't you just love choosing what to put on new shelves?

Not just me is it?  Who likes sorting books in order of height, possibly even colour...choosing the right placement for things..standing back to look...rearranging again...

Now it's time to start on sorting those drawers out...think the nesting is kicking in!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Gloomy side...Bright side...and crochet...

Gloomy side...

Early mornings leaving at just gone 6am whilst my little family still snores.  Long drives stuck in traffic.  Popping pills that do no good.  Limping towards maternity leave slowly.

Steoids and me have a long thorny history but they are the only available option whilst I am pregnant (aside from homeopathy and yoga, which I am already doing).  I am not responsive to them, I have just taken too many over the years - pills, more pills, intravenous...any way they get them into me in large doses, in a constant battle to avoid the surgeon's knife.  They've brought me back from the brink a couple of times though, I have to give them that.

Bright side...

The darned pills might just work, given more time, so there's always that hope.  My last work day is next Friday then I am free of early starts, London traffic, work stress and bother.  Most importantly the pregnancy is going brilliantly well with no issues or complications despite my illness.

Aaaaaand, I am at the beginning of the next big crochet project!  Always a fabulous feeling.  Want to know what the Happy Hooker Backwards Project no.38 is?

The Colour Bay Blanket by Cat Mazza!  A nice big simple blanket, and this one is definitely for us grown-ups!  There are ten colours to choose for this blanket.  I am not using the colours suggested in the book as I want the blanket to match our bedroom, which is more muted browns and greens than rainbow brights.

Lots of fun to be had with this one!  Best get started....

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Happy Hooker Backwards Project 39 - Li'l Monkey

Well after a slight setback whilst I waited for a further supply of grey Wendy Serenity yarn I have finally managed to finish my second Happy Hooker Backwards project!  And I have to say I am delighted.  I love the yarn, I love the colours, I love the look of the whole thing. 

Here it is...

Happy Hooker "Li'l Monkey" blanket and hat

Happy Hooker "Li'l Monkey" blanket and hat

The original pattern called for the traditional sock monkey colours of red, tan and cream - a combination I love - but I wanted a much girlier version.

Happy Hooker "Li'l Monkey" blanket and hat

This yarn is super soft - it's a mix of wool, alpaca and acrylic, so very washable too.  In fact I am not going to bother with blocking as I suspect this blanket, which is destined for use as a kind of floor blanket for the new addition to roll about on, faces a lot of washing in its future!  Plenty of time for shaping and drying flat and straight then :)

Happy Hooker "Li'l Monkey" blanket and hat

Happy Hooker "Li'l Monkey" blanket and hat

Those monkey faces were quite a challenge though, more on those below.  But first lets sum up Project 39:
  • Cost - about £35.00 - I used about 10 balls in total, more than double what the pattern recommends.  But I did use a different yarn as I couldn't get the required Bernat Softeee Chunkee here in the UK.
  • Yarn - Wendy Serenity Super Chunky in grey, pink and cream.  I used more grey than any other colour and ended up having to track down more having made the classic mistake of not buying enough in the first place!
  • Hook - 9mm and 5mm
  • Difficulty - Easy!  The granny squares are easy to do and the special stitiches are really well explained in the pattern.  The hat was really quick and simple.  The monkey faces were a total pain though!  In fact I totally gave up on the pattern instructions and worked it out myself, I have written my alterations below.
  • Overall happiness with finished object - absolutely delighted! It is soft, it is chunky, it is unusual, fun and girly.  There's not a member of the household who hasn't happily buried their toes into it :)
Happy Hooker "Li'l Monkey" blanket and hat

Now onto those darned monkey faces.  I got pretty stuck on these and looking at Ravelry I see I'm not the only one.  So here's my revisions to the pattern - basically a list of what I did to more or less make it work ok for me.  These are just me notes, I am no pattern writer!  But if they help another frustrated Happy Hooker somewhere in the world then it's worth posting them:

Rounds 1 and 2 - work to pattern

Round 3 - with colour D
Ch1, sc in same st
2 sc in nxt sc
1 sc in nxt 6 sc
2 sc in next 3 sc
1 sc in nxt 8 sc
2 sc in last sc
Sl st in first sc to join

Round 4
Ch1, sc in same st
2 sc in nxt sc
1 sc in nxt 11 sc
2 sc in nxt 3 sc
1 sc in nxt 9 sc
2 sc in last sc
Sl st in first sc to join

Round 5
Ch 1, 2 sc in same st
2 sc in next sc
1 sc in next 10 sc
2 sc in next 2 sc

Then return to pattern for the ears.

Happy Hooker "Li'l Monkey" blanket and hat

Two down, just 38 to go!  Next project is another blanket but this time a big one for us grown ups!  Perfect for the coming winter, more soon!


Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Why I believe in handmade

(I just posted this in my other home and thought my readers here would enjoy a little crafty eye candy too!)

I love to make my own handmade things, and I love to buy things handmade by others.  In fact I feel rather strongly about it. 

Why buy a generic gift set from the high street when you could spend less, or the same, and get something totally original whilst supporting small producers?

Halloween Spiders by Diomo Glass on Folksy

I am sure those that read my blogs need no convincing, I am more than likely preaching to the choir.

Hair flowers by Calexendra on Etsy
This is all rather indulgent really, a blog-post equivilent of a cuppa and slice of cake :) 

The spiders are my most recent purchase - for my Halloween decorations - they are simply too cute for words, I am tempted to keep them out all year round.  The flower hair clips are from one of my most favourite Etsy sellers who happens to also be a fellow Kentish girl! I wear one or two of her flowers every day, it makes it look like I have made an actual effort with my appearance rather than just scraping my hair back in a hurry :) 

I have a very talented best friend who is a fiend with beads and a wire cutter.  She made the above necklace for her shop and I nicked it before it could get listed.  I wear many of her items every day and I always get comments.  It's great to say, "This?  Oh, it's handmade...I got it from Folksy..." in reply to the where did you get it question. 

Blue and Pink Rose Clock by Elibee Gifts on Folksy

The creativity that is out there in the UK, lurking on Folksy and Etsy, is amazing.

The Green Collection Button Ring by Maisie Wilson on Folksy

And so many people don't even know about such sites!  Folksy especially seems to be rather unknown.

Key to Your Heart Earrings by Lonely Hearts on Folksy

The whole process of buying directly from sellers on Etsy and Folksy is wonderful.  When your item arrives it is often wrapped so beautifully you feel you are getting a gift sent by a friend.

Sterling Silver Textured Surface necklace by Esme Dodsworth Design on Folksy

And the best part is that you are getting something totally original as something handmade will never be totally uniform, will never look as though it fell off the production line.

Vintage Image Christmas Decorations by Silent Theatre on Folksy
So you can always be safe in the knowledge that you carry a little bit of originality with you wherever you go.  Like the brooch on my shopping bag which gets used every single day...

Flower brooch by June at Noon on Etsy
So with Christmas season starting more or less now (yay!) don't forget to buy handmade - your friends and family will be delighted and you will get a reputation for being a great gift-giver!  You know it makes sense.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Guilty confession

I have a terrible admission to make.

I don't like making granny squares.

I know I know, a crochet-addict who doesn't like granny squares, like an alchoholic who doesn't like cocktails (mmmm, cocktails...)

I just find them a little tedious, all that going round and round in circles..ok..squares...the same stitches over and over and over again. to create lots of little identical, or very similar, componant parts.


You know what I really like?  Crocheting them all together...

...seeing them come together to create the whole...

Joining the squares of my "Li'l Monkey" blanket

...finally seeing the fruits of my labour...

Joining the squares of my "Li'l Monkey" blanket

And it's always handy to have a little helper on hand to test the softness...

Joining the squares of my "Li'l Monkey" blanket - some help from Lillia!