Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Royal Visit

Good Morning.   I was up bright and early this morning - out and about in the soaking rain.

This weekend in Liverpool there's quite a buzz.  We're having a special visit.  Three Queens are coming to the city... and the first one was arriving early this morning.

I had set my alarm for 6.45 am but was woken up at 6.20 am by the sound of a ship's hooter.  I jumped up quickly, threw on some clothes and dashed down to the beach.  And there she was - Queen Mary 2, one of Cunard's luxury liners.

Visibility was very poor, the rain was heavy, it was cold and miserable - but never have so many people been out and about on the beach at 6.30 am on a Sunday morning.

I was so glad I was able to witness the enormous cruise liner arriving in Liverpool.  It was worth getting drenched for.  Here's a picture of what she looks like when the sun is shining!

Picture from Wikipedia
Tomorrow, she will be joined by her sister ships, the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Victoria.  They are here to celebrate the 175th  anniversary of the Cunard Line.  Cunard's first ship, the Britannia, departed for her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Boston on 4 July 1840.  The company had its head office in Liverpool until 1967.

The Cunard Building is the middle one of
The Three Grace's on Liverpool waterfront.
The three ships will be sailing together up and down a short stretch of the Mersey tomorrow.  Hopefully the weather will be better because, at the moment, the arrival of the Three Queens is all anyone is talking about here on Merseyside.

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Handy Dandy Sock Yarn Bags

You will recall that I recently treated myself to a yarn winder, so that I could make lovely 'cakes' of yarn.  The novelty hasn't worn off yet!

I received lots of helpful ideas about using these 'cakes' as centre-pull balls.  With these ideas in mind, I decided to use my Jolly Little Goody Bags to hold the yarn.  These bags were made with DK weight yarn and proved a bit loose so I thought about making some new smaller bags.

Now that I'm making a monthly pair of socks, I find I usually have about 40 g of sock yarn leftover after the socks have been completed.  So putting the two things together, I came up with these Handy Dandy Sock Yarn Bags.

Made from leftover sock yarn, they snugly hold a 50 g ball of sock yarn that can be centre-pulled through the top of the drawstring.

The bags are even stretchy enough to hold a 100g ball of sock yarn.

They are great fun to make, only taking an afternoon or evening.

If you'd like to make a bag or two, the pdf of the pattern can be downloaded for free by clicking HERE.

Alternatively, you can download the pattern into your Ravelry library from the pattern page, HERE.

One bag takes approximately 15 g of sock yarn, that's about 65 metres.  I've tested them out already with the cardigan I'm knitting at the moment (I'm using sock yarn) and the yarn inside the bags stays tangle free to the very end.

So from my 100 g ball of sock yarn, I've made my May socks (the Watermelon socks), three Handy Dandy Sock Yarn Bags and I even had a tiny bit of yarn leftover that I used to make one of my Baby Mice.

Not bad going - no leftovers for me! I hope you enjoy the pattern.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Cool and Stylish? I Can Only Dream.

Firstly, I'd like to say a big hello all the new followers of this blog.  It's lovely to have you join me.  This blog is mostly about me being inspired to be creative and I hope that, in turn, I can inspire others.

I seem to have a lot of projects at the moment just waiting to be finished off, but not enough time to deal with them.  There's never enough time!

I've got a crochet pattern I've been working on that I thought I'd be able to share with you but, as is always the case, the writing up of the pattern, taking the photos and publishing the pattern, takes far longer than the actual making of the item.  Hopefully in the next few days I'll have something to show you.

In the meantime, I'm knitting up another cardigan (yes, yet another cardigan).  The pattern is called Funky Grandpa and it's by La Maison Rililie.  I bought this pattern March as a birthday treat, but have only now found the time to cast on.

It's growing really quickly, but then knitting stripes usually does.  I've finished the body and I've started the sleeves.

For the stripes I'm using a variegated sock yarn which creates a lovely colourful effect.

Here's the pattern picture.

I hope I look this cool and stylish when wearing the finished cardi, but I doubt it.  The designer is a young French woman and I'm a middle-aged scouser!  Anyway, I'd better get a move on and sort out that crochet pattern.  See you soon.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Lovely Moments in Cambridge

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  My Hubby and I spent the latter part of last week down in Cambridge.

It's Eve's final term (exams looming) so we thought it would be a nice idea to pop down and see her for a short while, just to give her some moral support.  Also, we know that once Eve has graduated, we probably won't be visiting Cambridge for quite some time, so it was an opportunity for us to have another good look around.

On the way we stopped off at Kimbolton.  It's a gorgeous picturesque village situated about thirty miles from Cambridge.  In the sixteenth century, Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, lived in Kimbolton Castle up to her death.  Unfortunately it isn't possible to visit the building, as it is now a school, but we did have a look around the old church.

We had a drink in this lovely old atmospheric pub before moving on to Cambridge.

Besides the obligatory walk along the river, we visited some of the colleges.  It's one of our favourite things to do.  We especially like to see the quieter colleges that are away from the tourist trail.  This time we visited Selwyn College, which is stunning, Newnham College and Homerton College.  All have beautiful gardens which we sat in and just enjoyed.

Selwyn College

Selwyn College Chapel

Newham College

Homerton College

We had an afternoon at Fenners Cricket Ground.  Very relaxing.

Our final afternoon was spent at the University Sports Ground watching the Varsity Athletics Competition.  It was lovely and sunny sitting on the grass bank at the side of the track.

Cambridge beat Oxford and Eve's housemate, Billy, won the 800 metres race, so there was plenty to cheer about.

It was wonderful to see Eve and be able to give her lots of hugs.  We had a lovely relaxing time and I had plenty of opportunities to knit and crochet.  This post, however, is already long enough, so I will talk about the knitting and crocheting another time.

In the meantime, if you are ever in Cambridge, I would strongly recommend a trip to The Elm Tree pub for a pint of plum mild - delicious.


Saturday, 16 May 2015

Another Update on Sophie

I'm going to be so upset when the Sophie's Universe CAL comes to an end later this month.  It has been one of the most interesting and enjoyable projects I have done.  And it has certainly brought down the size of my stashed yarn.

Here are the four parts I have completed since I last shared my progress with you.

Part 13.

Part 14.

Part 15.

Part 16.

I have two more parts to complete and then the blanket is basically finished.  The designer of the blanket, Dedri Uys, over the next few weeks will be giving options for making the blanket rectangular (if desired), adding an edging and adding some surface crochet.  I'm looking forward to seeing her suggestions.  I can't bear the thought that Sophie will soon be all done.

Having worked on this project, it's made me think a bit more adventurously about my own crochet.  I've been experimenting with some ideas.  At this time they are very much at the trial stage, but hopefully I'll have something exciting to share with you shortly.

Until then, bye for now, have fun.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

This Month's Squares

The Block-a-month crochet-a-long continues and this month there have been some rather nice patterns.

The main square is called KISS2 and it's by Sadie Cuming.  As with all the squares in the CAL, it's a free pattern.  Here is my version.

This is probably my favourite of all the squares we have made so far.

The filler square was voted for by the members of the CAL.  The winner was a pattern called 4033 Crochet Square.  It basically consisted of lots and lots of puff stitches.  These are my least favourite crochet stitch.  I just couldn't face a large square with this stitch, so I substituted another pattern instead.  The pattern I used  is by Julie King and is called Floral Kaleidoscope Afghan Square.  It was one of the options for this month but sadly didn't get enough votes.  I liked it and so here is my version.

Finally, the little square this month is called Pinwheel Square by Kim Guzman.  Another lovely pattern.  As usual I made four of these squares.

So that a running total of the equivalent of fifteen large squares.  When I lay them all out on the floor they look extremely colourful - brighter than I had envisaged at the start - but there's still a long way to go yet.

Looking forward to making the June squares, that'll be the half way point.  It might give me some ideas on how I'm going to position and join the squares.

Until then, I've got so many more projects on the go to keep me busy.  I'll share another one with you soon.