Sunday, 20 November 2011

And now for some Crochet

Well I thought I would share some crochet WIPs that I have on the go. I guess crochet is the reason that I started this blog but so far I haven't had anything significant to show and therefore post about. I've been working on a granny square blanket as my first ever crochet blanket and it is slow going. I started it at the very end of August while on holiday with my husband, baby R, doggies and friends (and friend's babies and doggies!), but it's still a WIP. I guess I did have a little break to work on baby R's quilt and I also made some bunting for his nursery (I should really share a pic of that with you). Maybe I should have started with something a little smaller and more manageable because, although I am absolutely loving crochet, I'm afraid I have fallen out of love with my blanket. Maybe if I share a wee photo that will reinvigorate me and I'll get it finished. 
A sneak preview: 5 round granny squares, 14 squares/row, 10 rows, joining as I go 
I had always set myself the target of finishing it for Christmas and that is still on the cards. I think it will be a nice Christmas present to myself (I'm imaging snuggling under it on Christmas Eve and then snuggling under it on Christmas morning with Baby R and his Dada, oh and maybe Luca & Monty too!). I think another reason for my stalling with this project is that I'm not entirely convinced of my colour choices. I love the dark pink and the dark blue (the photo doesn't do them justice - difficult light conditions on these autumnal days) but I'm really not convinced about the bottle green colour, I only chose it because the other green the shop had (which I really liked) was discontinued. Also the yarn is Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo (80% bamboo and 20% wool) which, while it does feel nice, is expensive and therefore I wish I had gone the whole hog and used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino as so many lovely bloggers seem to use. The fact that the blanket is also costing me a fortune is putting me off it as well, the purse strings while on maternity leave are being pulled a bit tighter and there I go spending a fortune on yarn! Oh well... now that I have blogged about it I'll have to finish it. I'm on the 8th row out of 10, just need to keep 'er lit and not get distracted by other projects. Speaking of which...

/\/\/\/\ ripple-ripple-ripple /\/\/\/\

Well after reading so much about Lucy and her lovely ripple blankets, I decided I just had to have a go. I sought yarn advice from the lovely Lucy (as much as I'd love to use Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino as mentioned above I think I better save up or maybe wait for Father Christmas for this!) and decided to use Stylecraft Special DK. As I intended to order the yarn from the internet I thought it might be wise to order a yarn shade card to see what the colours were actually like as opposed to on a laptop screen (purchasing from the internet is sooo handy but difficult where colours are concerned). I decided to make a baby size blanket as I thought I would get this finished in a reasonable amount of time, so baby R gets another blanket (this was another reason for going for Stylecraft, being acrylic it will withstand lots of washing and wear&tear from baby R). Although I'm making a blanket for a boy I didn't really want to fall into the gender stereotype trap (blue only y'know) and I wanted to make something bright and fun, so in the end I went for (clockwise from left): Sunshine, Plum, Meadow, Aster, Cloud Blue, Lipstick and Turquoise.
Stylecraft Special DK
However once I started the blanket I sort of felt it was going in the territory of 70s rainbow hippie-ness, not that I have a problem with this as such it's just not the look I was going for, for a baby blanket! I guess I was a bit worried about the yellow and it being too ultra bright. Anyway this is how it looks so far...
From bottom: Cloud Blue, Aster, Plum, Lipstick, Turquoise & Meadow... 
143 chains and 12 ripply rows so far....

I guess I'm a little afraid of the yellow yarn and not too sure where to bring it in but I am happy with how it looks so far. Overall the colours kind of go against the grain for me as I prefer much more muted tones however I have to remember that this is for baby R and it really needs to be happy and sunshiny. I really wanted something that felt like Attic24 as this was the inspiration for the ripples in the first place so I just need to be brave and go for it. I must admit the ripple pattern is quite therapeutic and addictive so I just hope it doesn't distract me from the granny square blanket for too long!!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

♥ Baby Quilt ♥

Well hooray, I finished the quilt for Baby R! I never thought I would as I purchased the fabric ages ago but was so occupied with my lovely R that I couldn't seem to find the time to get started. Plus I am a total scaredy cat when it comes to cutting fabric, I put it off as long as I can because I hate the cutting stage as you can never go back but I've since learned a helpful phrase "check twice, cut once" so this is my new mantra with fabric. No longer will I be so afraid of fabric, no longer will it look at me, sticking out it's tongue out at me and goading me. I am not afraid of cutting you anymore, fabric beware, I've got a rotary cutter and I'm not afraid to use it!  Ok sorry about that.. 

As I said I purchased the fabric what feels like a longtime ago from the lovely people at Seamstar (who were soooo kind and helpful, they even helped me pick my binding fabric). 
This is how the fabric arrives from Seamstar. Attention to detail. Scrummy!
My lovely fabric bundle arrived and I oooohed and aaaahed over it for a while and then I put it away in my craft cupboard in the hope that someday I might get the time to start (and I still had issues about cutting fabric then!). So the quilt began life as this lovely fabric bundle by Monaluna, called Anika. It's really fun and super soft, 100% organic cotton.

All wrapped up in a neat little bow

Mmm fabric goodness
The planning stage of the quilt I did in the evenings when Baby R was sleeping, dreaming of dachshunds with long tails licking his toes and tickling his nose. The planning of a quilt is very important and I drew lots of sketches and deliberated and cogitated long and hard about the size and layout of the quilt, size of the squares etc, until finally I was ready to begin. Then a few weekends ago my husband (who is very supportive of my crafty endeavours) took Baby R to visit his Granny which gave me the chance to get started. I must add though that I am not a quilter, I really don't have much experience but I am of the opinion that you can learn as you go and this is what I did with help from tutorials on YouTube along the way. 

I must add that the internet is really a lovely place. I am so grateful to the very talented and clever people who give up their free time to make tutorials to teach people like me the art of quilting, crocheting, hand-stitching and whatever you fancy. You name it, some kind soul has made a tutorial on it. ♥ Thank you all 

So eventually, after a few weekends of baby R and his dada doing the rounds of relatives and friends, I finished the quilt. Yay, Yay and double Yay. 

Would you like to have a look? (Teehee as if you have a choice!)

The front of the quilt
 So I chose to make the quilt using 4" squares with 6 squares across and 7 down, I added a plain white border and as mentioned the lovely Courtney at Seamstar helped me match the fabric for the binding (in addition to cutting fabric stressing me out, all things binding also stress me out, but not anymore I have also overcome my fear of binding! Hip hip hooray).  

The back of the quilt with the super cute swedish forest fabric 
 I had originally thought to use a plain fabric on the back of the quilt but then I decided to go the whole hog and make the quilt reversible so I picked one of the main fabrics from the bundle. The one called Swedish Forest just looked so cute and I thought that Baby R would have fun with the animal characters on it as he grows up. It might have been a bit more cost effective to use a plain fabric on the back but this is something that will stay in our family forever and I really hope Baby R loves it as much as I loved making it for him (oh dear writing that just brought a tear to my eye!).

Now for a few close ups of the fabric as it is just so lovely you really have to see it

Is it bedtime yet? I think I'd like to climb under the covers  
The clever fox
Check out that naughty fox slinking it's way around the hen houses!
Can you see the hens? I tried to protect them from the crafty foxes by placing some dots in between!
All is well in the Swedish Forest

Now this brings me to the small matter of the binding. Well I have never done the binding of a quilt before and I was very nervous about doing it as it has always looked super difficult. So I did extensive research on the subject and watched many YouTube videos and thought about it and dreamt about it. But I did it! I made my own binding and joined it together with mitred seams and joined it to the quilt without the aid of a binding tool (the lovely American woman on one of the youtube videos I watched said "if you can finish your binding without a binding tool more power to ya" so that made me even more chuffed as that's exactly what I did). And the other thing about binding is that I am petrified of hand sewing, I just don't have much experience and I really never thought that I would be able to hand sew the binding to the quilt. I thought long and hard (yes lots of thinking and burning of grey cells has gone into this quilt!) about machine sewing the binding to the quilt and in the end I just couldn't because I wanted to do the job right and I don't think the finish of the machine stitching would have been very good. Also I wanted a part of me to be in the quilt for Baby R so slightly reluctantly I decided to hand sew the binding to the quilt. And I am so pleased with the result, this is my proudest moment of the whole quilt.

NB: When the EXPERTS in the YouTube videos tell you that it is vital to match the colour of the thread to the colour binding fabric you must not say "pfft" and ignore this because it turns out that the ladies (and sometimes gents) in the YouTube videos really do know what they are talking about with their countless years of experience. So after starting with white thread which looked absolutely horrendous with a capital H, as the ladies in the YouTube videos said it would, I went out and purchased lovely green thread to match the binding! 

Binding done
Now you may not think it is up to much but to me it is my finest hour!

Folded and ready to be presented to Baby R

So now that I have finished the quilt I must hand it over to it's rightful owner. And do you know what, I think he likes it. He had a play with it this afternoon and tussled with it and played peeka underneath and it truly made my heart swell with joy and happiness. 

♥ Thank you Mama 

Saturday, 5 November 2011


Ooh just had to take a minute before taking baby R and the doggies for a walk to say check out the lovely giveaway from Sew Sweet Violet to get you in the mood for Christmas 

Aah a wee baby Robin red breast!

Breakfasts with Baby R

What could be lovelier... breakfast with baby R, hot cup of Lady Grey tea in my favourite mug, listening to Camera Obscura... is there a better way to start a Saturday or any day for that matter!

Baby R very graciously permitted me to take this photo while he patiently waited for his weetabix!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Dachshund ♥

I thought I would share an insight into my world, I love dogs and in particular I just love love love dachshunds. Long-haired miniature dachshunds are my absolutely favourite and as it happens I have two of my own. Say hello to Luca and Monty...

Taken in Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal, after much running on the beach tired them out just long enough for us to get this photo! (Monty is the red one on the right and Luca the black and tan on the left)

They are my puppy dogs, even though they are now 6 and 5 respectively they are still my puppies! I'd love to breed dachshunds and have an army of them running around but unfortunately we don't have the space and baby R gets priority at the minute so my dream of a wee miniature dachshund army has to wait, for now!

So kind of them to pose, but why so serious?!

The 2nd and 3rd pics were taken when the dogs were a wee bit younger. Makes me a little sad to see them growing older, they are my family too and I want them to be around for a long time. Would love Baby R to remember them as he grows up as he has grown very fond of them in his short life. Nothing makes him giggle quite so much as Monty fetching the ball or has him so intrigued as Monty frantically biting the squeaky toy and he loves to have his toes tickled by Monty's tongue and a breeze in his face from Monty's tail (Luca is too cool a customer to get up to these sorts of antics I must add). Ahh what could be better, happiness is babies and dogs...