Sunday, 19 July 2015

Take some time out....

Life just seems to spin along at such a fast rate of knots and we try to go with it...responding to texts, emails, facebook, instagram and even the odd human here and there! Writing blogs, diaries, shopping lists, bucket is endless.

The place I sit to write and think
The nice part about crafting is that it gives us an escape from all of this. We sit using our hands to form something beautiful, usually in a meditative state where just you and the yarn, fabric, clay, wood, ink or paint...exist. It is truly therapeutic, which is I think why many of us do our crafts. 
My habby purchase- Ric Rac translates to Ric Rac!!
The Haberdashery shop in Nerja

As you know yarn is my dominant crafting choice and is the craft which goes almost everywhere with me, even on holiday! 

Lanas Encarni wool shop in Nerja
So it is no surprise that  when I was away in Spain the beach hut bunting was created, I also sought out the local wool shop and the haberdashery shop too. I love entering these shops just to see what delights lie within. I can honestly say that I have never been disappointed. I am never surprised when I see groups gathering in these places sharing their craft and I was not disappointed in Nerja where a knitting group was gathered sharing knowledge and enjoying each others company. I could not understand the language sadly but I knew it would all be kind words and creative tips being shared. I strongly recommend seeking out wool shops whilst you are away, it really is enjoyable.

Oh no I came out  with a bag!
Only two balls of this I was restrained!

Helen and I met at our knitting group and we both still attend, some lovely friendships have formed over the clicking of needles and the twisting of crochet hooks over the years. We both also run community groups and agree that it is so good to see the pleasure these bring to the people who attend, the joy on someone's face when they have completed their first garment is fabulous and is great reward for the work that goes into teaching a craft too. We both highly recommend meeting with other knitters/crocheters because you gain so much, not just knowledge but friendship too.

My knitting group celebrated it's birthday earlier in the year
Finally I must tell you about my escape for a day on a barge with my husbands family. We hired the barge from Karen's day boat hire in Boothstown, Worsley Manchester and it was the most relaxing and enjoyable day, perfect for knitting with no TV to distract you, just the gentle putt putt of the engine and the chatter of family around you. We took our dog, Rocky the Jack Russell, so knitting was somewhat interrupted by him needing a cuddle. It is a great way to see your local area from a very different perspective.
The traffic isn't this quiet on the roads

Rocky looking a little unsure, trying to find his sea legs
So... I recommend taking your knitting/crochet along on a barge or just on a bench by the side of the canal and just sit, knit/crochet and watch the world go gently by with the clicking of the needles or the twist of the hook being the only things to think about. You could really go for it and turn off your phone too! drink of the day!!
Enjoy some you time...... We ALL deserve it.

Add a little knitting.........Perfect!!
Ta ta for now I am off to knit! Sarah x

Sunday, 12 July 2015

All in one weekend !!

Well what a week I have had, backwards and forwards to Yorkshire with a bit of knitting in between. Helping out at an event in our local park and going on Sale arts trail.

This morning me and the kids went to a workshop run by John Hamilton, an amazing illustrator and artist. He talked us through how he got the ideas to write and illustrate his children's books. My kids loved it.

Then we had a walk around studios and houses in Sale to view lots of different crafts and artists works, oh my goodness, you should go, if only to look with envy at some of the studios and gardens that they work from. Next year everybody should do this, I will remind you all.
my kids relaxing in a garden, how amazing is this space.
One ladies work I want to show you is Juliette Hamilton, willow and wire sculptures.

She does many workshops around Manchester and the one I want to go on is a stags head for Christmas, how amazing would that be on your wall? Check out her website for more details

So, myself and Sarah hope you  liked our summer, bunting both knitted and crochet. It would be lovely to see some of  your creations if you would like to share them with us. My friend Ann asked  me if I would write the knitted pattern with a door in it so just in case anyone else would like it, here it is.

Please remember to twist your yarns together when changing colour

With 3mm needles cast on 7sts in colour A, cast on 8 sts in colour B and cast on 7sts in colour A. 22sts

Row 1: (k1, p1) 3 times, k1 in colour A, (p1, k1) 4 times in colour B, (p1, k1) 3 times, p1 in colour  A
Row 2: (p1, k1) 3 times, p1 in colour A, (k1, p1) 4 times in colour B, (k1, p1) 3 times, k1 in colour A 
Rep last 2 rows 22 more times
work 4 rows in moss stitch in colour A
Next row: join in colour C and knit 4 sts, in colour A moss st 14sts, in colour C knit 4 sts
Next row: in colour C purl 4 sts, in colour A moss st 14sts, in colour C purl 4sts.
Work the last 2 rows once more
Next row: k3, sl 1, k1, psso in colour C, moss st 12 sts in colour A, in colour C k2tog, k3
Next row: p4 in colour C, moss st 12sts in colour A , p4 in colour C
Next rowk3, sl 1, k1, psso in colour C, moss st 10 sts in colour A, in colour C k2tog, k3
Next row:  p4 in colour C, moss st 10sts in colour A , p4 in colour C
Cont as set dec 1st at each side until 8sts
work 1 row in colour C
Next row: (RS) k2, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k2. 6sts
Next row: purl
Next row: k2, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k1
Next row: p1, p2tog tbl, p1
Next row: sl 1, k2tog, psso
fasten off

sew in all loose ends.

Also this week I have been busy making some crochet flowers for my friend Elizabeth.
 She is a yoga instructor and has started an etsy shop selling yoga bags and relaxing eye bags. Check out Lemon Tree yoga on etsy and facebook as she also does retreats, I was lucky enough to go on one last year and wow! I came back soooo relaxed it was heavenly. She wanted to make the yoga bags her own so asked me to crochet flowers to sew on them so I thought I would share the flowers with you.

Well that's all from me this week. But I must say after having a creative weekend it has got me thinking about experimenting with my work, even getting my sketch book out again. I may even share with you some of my work that I produced a few years back that I still love from embroideries to ink drawings so watch this space. 
Helen xx

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Crocheted Bunting

Well, my holiday is over and I am back home and back to work tomorrow, time just seems to fly by! How lovely to come back to this beautiful sunny weather, although I must admit that we had a grey and cloudy descent into Manchester and it was raining when we ran for our taxi, but it is always good to be back.

My knitting unpacked,I am ready for the beach

 Myself and my hubby went to the very beautiful coastal town of Nerja which lies about an hours drive from Malaga airport in Spain, this is our third visit in the last six years and as a rule we do not return to foreign destinations once we have seen them, so it must be good!

The beautiful town of Nerja retains its beauty year after year

'So, what was in the knitting bag??' I hear you cry!! Well, sticking to the theme, I had the same yarn as Helen spoke about last week, Rowan Summerlite 4 ply, in the same colours. This is a beautiful yarn to work with and was perfect to give a real summer feel to our Beach hut bunting. My bunting is done using crochet.

Of course I take my crochet to the beach doesn't everyone?

My ever patient hubby sits in the sun whilst I crochet!

Before too long the hut was taking shape, I think the sunshine helped. Now all I have got to do is make more of the same and then write the pattern down to share with you!

Two huts!

Three huts!!
To the pattern!! Now please allow me a little bit of a rambling moment, which those who know me well would call 'a butterfly moment' where my brain flies off in a completely different direction! Stay with me, here goes! 

I have crafted for many years and always use the pattern provided and as pointed out by my very best friend Julie recently, when I receive a compliment on a garment I always say 'thank you but it is the designer who should take all the credit because I just followed the pattern'. Well!!! Let me tell you that writing a pattern down is not that easy! I can put hook in hand and create beautiful and simple items but actually putting it down in pattern form is not as simple as you may think. However I must thank my blogging buddy Helen for helping me out and checking the pattern and offering me advice on technique and wording. Helen and I make a great creative team as they say two heads are better than one! 

Back in the room! Here is the crochet bunting pattern.

I love a bit of ric-rac!! It looks like waves!

Crochet Beach Hut Bunting
Using a 3mm hook

4 ply yarn in a number of colours to suit.(I used Rowan Summerlite)

double crochet (dc) throughout

NB - 1ch does not count as a stitch

make 2ch

Row 1: 2dc into 2nd ch from hook, turn. 2sts

Row 2: 1ch , 1dc into frist dc, 2dc into last dc, turn. 3sts

Row 3: 1ch, 1dc into first dc, 1dc into next dc, 2 dc into last dc, turn. 4 sts

Row 4: 1ch, 1dc into first dc, 1dc into each of next 2dc, 2 dc into last dc, turn. 5sts

Row 5: 1ch, 1dc into first dc, 1dc into each of next 3dc, 2dc into last dc. 6sts

Cont as set, increasing into last stitch on each row until 19sts, turn.

Break yarn

Join in another colour, miss first 2dc, into next st work 1 dc, 1dc into each of next 14dc, turn and work on these 15sts

next row: 1ch, 1dc into each of next 15dc, turn

rep last row 2 times more

change colour , work 4 rows of dc

cont in 4 row stripe until you have 6 rows of stripes, 24 rows in total.
fasten off

String and fairy lights, simple and effective

You can attach your bunting to ribbon or string or even crochet a lovely chain. I have used craft pegs to attach mine to different things, this makes it both easy to wash and you can change your mind about your display without having lots of undoing to do. I love the fairy lights too, we all need a little sparkle in our lives!!!

As Helen said last week you can embellish your huts with buttons etc. or just keep them plain and simple. Lovely!

Simply string
Well that is it for this week but please look at our FB page and our instagram Hank_Skein where I will share details of the lovely wool shop in Nerja and show my holiday crafting purchases. 

So, hasta la vista! Sarah x