iKnit Fandango

Last weekend was iKnit Fandango here in London – unfortunately I couldn’t attend on both days – but did pop along on Friday afternoon to help Ling out on the Whimzy Yarn stand. It was nice to have a smaller knitting show back in London – Ally Pally is just too large for me.

Ling did a beautiful job setting up her stand and I was very proud to see a few of my sample knitting on display – my Afternoon Tea shawl (which I knitted in the Haymitch colourway) and my completed Citron in her new gradient yarn.

I have been out of the knitting circles for a while, a lot of the stands were run by companies I had not heard of – but that also meant I had new products to look at. There were also old favourites there (Knitwitches and Wollmeise).

However, the best thing about knitting shows is the chance to catch up with friends and even re-connect with friends you haven’t seen in a long time.

Real Life: Casting On

Whenever, I read other people’s knitting blogs about when they cast on a new project I have this vision of what they do, wander into their craft room, fondle some hanks of yarn deciding which one is right for their project and then sit down in a comfy chair bathed in natural light and cast on.

My reality of casting on a project is a lot different. Take this week, I had an afternoon off, so thought I would cast on a new project, I knew which yarn I wanted to use, and I had a mission to go and get it.

My yarn is stored in Ikea boxes in the cupboard in the hallway – along with spare bedding, Christmas decorations and old books – so whilst trying to get yarn, I got attacked by roll of wrapping paper and then had our summer duvet fall on my head!

Pretty Yarn Cake

I don’t have a craft room so the dining room table doubles as my desk and workbench. First I set up the my swift and ball winder, start winding the yarn – as soon as I got a momentum going my phone pinged, so I left the ball winder and read the text message and reply. When I returned to the ball winder, I will ended up in a mess – normally because I am left handed and end up winding the other way. After about 45 minutes I had my pretty yarn cake.

By this stage, I thought I’d earned a drink and paused to make a coffee ready to sit down and finally cast on the new project. Upon reading the pattern,  I saw it calls for a German twisted cast-on, so I found a tutorial on Youtube – after watching the video twice, I got sidetracked by the new trailer The Avengers 2. Whilst I had my iPad in hand I thought I’d play a few levels of Candy Crush Saga.

Casting On

By this stage my coffee had gone cold so I had to make another cup and head back to my spot on the sofa –  I had also forgotten everything I heard in the tutorial so had to watch it again, before even getting going on knitting the rib. Finally, after several hours, I had two rows of knitting completed on one sock!

I kept knitting for a while and suddenly realize I didn’t  take any photos of the project or entered the details into Ravelry. I pick up my phone and try to set up the perfect photo – only then did I see that there is no natural light, so looked at the time and see it’s gone 6pm, my husband is due home anytime soon the dining room table still has a swift attached and I had to cook dinner!


UK Coffee Week

Where knitting is concerned at the moment I seem to need a lot of inspiration. I get bored quickly so a larger item (sweater or cardigan) are out of the question, socks whilst quicker seem to have lost their appeal, as I have several pairs and have ruined a lot more (am I the only one who wears though sock). So I need to find smaller projects to keep me going. Lately, I have been doing some sample knitting, the Shawl for Ling and another project for Ruth at Rock + Purl (more of that later). Which is good for me as I can use the deadline for motivation.

Coffee Sleeves

I also thought it might be a good idea for me to do some knitting for charities – it also seemed like a great way to put a dent in my stash. I found a great list of campaign that are looking for knitters on the UK Hand Knitting Association’s website. The first campaign that caught my eye was the knitted cup sleeves for The Allegra Foundation, they aim to bring safe drinking water to coffee producers in the Third World. Working with WaterAid they will be selling Coffee Sleeves in coffee shops over UK Coffee Week in May.

Coffee Sleeves

As a coffee addict, this seemed like a great project to start me off (I wish I had heard about it earlier so I could have knitted more sleeves). Using up some of my leftover sock yarn, and a few basic patterns – ribbed on “pooling” yarn or a simple cable on plainer yarns, this project is quick and easy to knit.


(P)inspirational- Snail Mail

As I mentioned in my last post I have been inspired by the Just a Card campaign to send more snail mail. Not just birthday cards but letters, “just because” notes and mini parcels. If you would like to receive some snail mail from me – I will try to send something that is both fun and creative, then contact me.

This series focuses is almost a beginner’s guide to snail mail – explaining the concept, how to find a pen pal, and of course the dos and don’t of snail mail. She also lists a few crafts on how to make your mail more interesting.

Kelly Rowe has also written an article with tips for writing more snail mail – her article focus more on getting started, a list of supplies and getting organised. I also adore her personalised notepaper (I’m looking to order some for myself).

I am amazed what this woman had managed to post (and yes she did post the bottle of school supplies), a sponge, flip-flops and a bucket & spade! Taking advantage of the US Postal Services under 13oz rule she (and her children) send extremely interesting mail for the price of a first class parcel! Unfortunately, the Royal Mail isn’t as cool with their rules as parcels here as they take into account the dimensions of the parcel as well as the weight.


Just a Card

Cute Airmail Pouch - perfect for letter writing lovers :)
Cute Airmail Pouch – perfect for letter writing lovers :)

I love the Snail Mail revolution – who doesn’t love receiving mail –  nowadays I barely ever get mail – bills are emailed, companies catalogues are online, messages are sent via text or Facebook. Which is all convenient and handy – but there is something lovely about seeing little rectangles on the welcome mat in the morning.

Years ago, I would make cards and send them out, for birthdays, thank you cards for gifts and every November our lounge floor would become a production line as I made over 60 identical Christmas cards to send out to friends and family. I dreamed of making and selling cards for a living but nothing ever can of it.

I still send out dozens of Christmas cards, but now buy them boxed from a department store, occasionally, I buy birthday cards from an online company to get a personalised message, but usually it from a high street chain.

“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”

I few weeks ago on A Playful Day‘s instagram she mentioned the “Just a Card” project – when I read about the project I knew it was something I wanted to be part of. The project is the brainchild of Sarah Hamilton, inspired by this quote she is encouraging consumers to buy “just a card” from their local gallery. To help keep these little store alive.

Just a Card Button

I am the first person to admit I am guilty of pottering in boutiques – just window shopping and never buying anything. So this year, I am going to try and buy my cards from small independent stores, local galleries and directly from the artists themselves (via etsy or folksy). To support all those people who managed to do what I couldn’t!

You can read more about the project on the Just a Card site or Mollie Makes (they are promoting the project), I encourage you to buy a card from a local designers and share your photos with the hashtag #justacard, to support this worthwhile campaign.

(P)inspirational- Galentine’s Day Gifts

Some how Parks and Recreation seemed to pass me by, but last year, it popped up on my recommendations on Amazon Prime (I think it was due to my love of the Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy), so I thought I’d give it ago. I love Leslie Knopes’ enthusiasm and her quirky gift giving. One of her more fun ideas was Galentine’s Day (celebrated on the 13th of February), she’s gather all her girl friends for brunch and they celebrate their friendship. I noticed on Pinterest a rise of Galentine’s gift ideas – here’s hoping it becomes an real celebration.

These Waffle flavoured lip balm from Better World on Etsy, are a cute favour for your guests at your Galentine’s Day brunch. As Leslie says “We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third

Love taking Selfies of you and your girlies, rather than keep them on your phone – why not share them with this Instagram frame. You can even change the hashtag to something cheesier to express your friendship.

What better cliché gift for your gal pal than a chick flick and chocolate! (Or a horror movie if that’s your thing). This tutorial from Allred Design, is great for wrapping a DVD, the gift box will fit a DVD or Blu Ray and has a pocket for a microwave popcorn pouch and large chocolate bar – as well as several printable quotes about friendship.


(P)inspirational- Valentine’s Crafts

At the end of last year I became a little obsessed with peyote beaded rings, (I will show off some of my creations once I get around to take some photos), I loved the How Did You Make Thiss tutorials,  as they are both easy to follow and adapt, I would only make one heart bright pink against the white background.

I would hang decorations in the house for every major holiday,  given the chance. A garland over the mantel, bunting in the hallway, scented Yankee Candles, a themed table-cloth and centrepiece. I can’t seem to find the original source or English directions for this felt garland – but the photo tutorial is pretty straight forward.

The other thing I would love to do is display a seasonal wreath on my front door (which always looks so boring after Christmas), I also love that this project uses up scrap yarn (don’t we all love a stash-busting project), I also think this would look good in the autumn in gold and browns with leaves instead of felt roses.


New Gradient Yarn

Breakfast at The Wolseley
Breakfast at The Wolseley

Instead of our normal crafty afternoon, a few weeks ago Ling arranged a brunch at The Wolseley, it was also an excuse to check out the latest yarn in the Whimzy gradient sock yarn collection. I have been a little obsessed with ombré and gradient yarns at the moment, so was extremely excited to see Ling’s version.

Whimzy Yarn - experiments
Whimzy Yarn – Experiments


Whilst waiting for us, Kate mocked up a few colour samples using water colours, and they seemed to match up with Ling’s creations – obviously both ladies are on the same colour wave length. The blue/purple creation on the left is very much my first choice, and although the on the right is not my normal colour palette, I love the boldness of the yellow with the  grey and purples.

You will have to wait to see the full Technicolor version!!!


One skein complete stood out, as soon as I saw it I knew it was destined to become a Citron shawl. The yarn looks and feels like cotton (which I love), but it’s actually a merino/nylon mix – with great stitch definition. If you follow me on instagram, you will have seen some of my WIP photos, but you will have to wait a few days to see the shawl in all it’s glory.

(P)inspirational- Easy Ombré

One of the obvious trends on Pinterest in Ombré, hundreds of tutorials on getting the perfect ombré hair colour or how to paint your chest of drawers or my favourite the easy ombré frosting on a cake!

The truth is I don’t have the time tone my hair or the patience to blend two colours to sponge on to my nails and I can just about ice a cake in one colour let alone five different shades. These are a few “easy” ombre crafts I have found.

If your anything like me every new shade of nail polish I buy is similar to one I already have! Painting each nail a different colour is something I loved doing as a child – for me using the same tone, is the adult version of this.

Using the free sample paint card from the DIY store and a paper punch, this card is so effect and easy. The design is also extremely versatile, but changing the colours or punch you can alter the occasion – shades of green and a Christmas trees punch for Christmas, or pinks and hearts for Valentine’s day.

I adore a statement necklace, and whilst I wish I could create complex beaded necklaces, all I can usually manage is to string a few beads on a thread – that’s why I love this necklace with it’s layers of strings, it has an amazing dramatic effect.

(P)inspirational- Pumpkin Crafts

I’ve noticed a trend on blogs to decorate homes ready for this time of year – a sort of pre-Halloween decoration. I love this idea, slowly I have added some trinkets around our house – mainly mini pumpkins and pumpkin-spiced scented candles. These are a few of my favourite pumpkin crafts.

I actually made these little pumpkins last fall, when I planned on starting my new autumn tradition. The free pattern from The Sitting Tree is a lovely, quick knit so add some autumn love to your home.

Most of us have a jar full of buttons with no idea what we are going to do with them (I’m assuming button stashes grow with yarn stashes), this lovely picture was designed, as a project to do with children – but it is so effective I think it would great added to anyone’s fall decorations.

Finally, show your Pumpkin Spiced Latte love with this embroidered cute PSL mug by Wild Olive (she’s also made a brooch version).