Rising to the Challenge

I decided that I would take up Maryanne of WoolHogs’  suggestion that I should make something for the “Made It” monthly challenge with the yarn and knitting needles my daughter bought me for my birthday; the only question was what?

I couldn’t find any patterns I liked on the internet but I decided it was about the right amount for a hat and scarf. (Though I later realised I might have been better to just aim at making a scarf but I do like the hat so much :-)).

I have never ever knitted with yarn of this weight before so I asked a couple of people what sort of patterns would work well with this sort of yarn. They both suggested some sort of cable pattern but I have never done cable and (as you will realise, if you have read my previous posts about knitting scarves) I have a preference for scarves that are reversible so I decided to look for something else.

Then I remembered this book:-

I wasn’t especially inspired by the couple of patterns that they declared to be reversible but I found a chart I had put together for a hexagon textured pattern.

Some time ago when I saw this pattern in the book I realised that it ought to be possible to create a textured design of hexagons even though they didn’t include one. (Because of course I am crazy about hexagons).

So not wishing to experiment too much with the yarn itself. I knitted a couple of samples in some DK yarn I had using the number of stitches I thought might be appropriate and came up with these

The one on the left seemed to show off the hexagons to better effect so it became first choice.

But what about a hat?

I decided to take my favourite hat (one I think suits me as I am not really a ‘hat person’) and a tape measure and the stated tension on the yarn band and work up a pattern for a hat that would go with my hexagon scarf

and came up with this –

I am now into making the hat and scarf but everything has not been plain sailing and in fact I decided to make another couple of scarf samples as I realised that with the earlier ones I would run out of yarn or have a very short scarf!

However I think it will come right in the end and when they are finished I will do a follow up post and submit them for the “Made It” challenge.

Watch this space!

Oh! and the jigsaw is definitely of a duck because I have got this far.

A Pig, a Pattern and a Party

I decided last Wednesday that as I would be seeing my granddaughter on my birthday, I ought to take a little gift and decided to crochet her a small animal and a pig looked easiest.

I had a couple of patterns but I was afraid they would be too big and so after getting a couple of pointers from them about shaping the snout, I sat down with some yarn and a hook to work up my own pattern.

And Lo! a Pocket Pig

The pattern is HERE

I wasn’t sure how she felt about pigs but luckily she loved him.

Saturday was my birthday. I hadn’t intended to show you my presents but they were so typical of each giver that I thought I would

My younger daughter, who wasn’t able to be part of the Party because her husband is still unwell, gave me a cotton bag with a picture of a duck – she verges on being a vegetarian and loves animals and knowing the meal was to be duck I think this was her comment on the matter. She doesn’t like jigsaws, but her husband does and she knows I love them, so I also got a jigsaw – no picture – so I won’t know what it is till I finish it! Since I took the photo I have however put the white pieces together and I think it might be a duck too with it’s head under the water.

My son likes techie presents so he got me a black Wii wheel as he felt that with a black remote a white wheel looked wrong. He went to all the trouble of ordering it from the States as you can’t buy them in the UK at present. He also got me a nun-chuck, as I have two remotes but only one nun-chuck. He made the card himself, the picture having been originally created on his Nintendo 3DS.

My older daughter bought me some unusual chocolate and special herb tea but mainly two pairs of rosewood knitting needles and five balls of Sirdar big softie super chunky yarn as with my blog she thought I ought to have something knitting related.

For the curious this enlarges so you can get a closer look

I have never knitted with yarn this thick so I will need to find a pattern.

Now to the Party

My older daughter has lived in Aylesbury for about the last ten years and of course every time I tell someone that she lives in Aylesbury they always reply “Where the ducks come from!” (UK joke). The ducks for sale in the supermarket however are not Aylesbury ducks  but a Chinese breed, I believe, so I rather hankered after one day tasting a real Aylesbury duck as they were reputed to be rather fine.

Having watched a TV programme that reported on a current breeder of Aylesbury ducks and the fact that there were several restaurants that served them. I suggested to my daughter that we should get together a family party and have some Aylesbury duck in Aylesbury on my forthcoming birthday.

In the end we decided to go to the King’s Head Hotel in Ivinghoe a few miles from Aylesbury as they had a very good reputation.

We had a wonderful meal and I had a wonderful day.

I just took a few photos when I thought of it, in between enjoying myself, but I think they are good enough to share.

When we first arrived at the King’s Head we had a few drinks and nibbles.

Then we went in to the dining room and a beautifully laid table.

And this balloon, which is now floating in my bedroom (hence photo), floating behind my chair.

I had the fish soup for my first course and it was the most delicious soup I have ever tasted.

They then brought us an apple and calvados sorbet

and after that they brought the ducks and carved them at the table

And here is my plate with accompaniments. The vegetables were on a separate plate.

We each chose something from the dessert trolley to finish the meal.

Lots of choice. Between us we had raspberry pavlova, sherry trifle, huge brandy snap filled with cream, caramel soufflé, lemon tart. I also remember seeing strawberries and a chocolate mousse on the trolley.

None of us had cheese but they had a whole trolley full of different cheeses.

We then went into the garden for coffee.

Here is a family group photo. The zany one is my son. Can you see the pig?

After this we went back to Aylesbury and later had tea and a special cake. The candles are meant to be like that and give away my age if you can read the code.

In my son-in law’s family birthday cakes are always Battenburgs and so that is what he made me.

And just to end up: a little girl with her birthday present from her grandma.

One Lovely Blog award

DaniellaJoe at  http://daniellajoe.wordpress.com/ nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award.

So thank you very much DaniellaJoe; I feel so honoured to be nominated and am very grateful for this vote of confidence in what I am trying to do.

She has a lovely blog herself so go and look.

What I am less happy about is the demand of being awarded since I am having difficulty in finding another fifteen blogs to pass it onto, certainly if I keep to the criteria I set myself previously see HERE.

So many blogs are too well established and/or have the awards already or are too new to know how they will turn out.

But I have managed to find six blogs to give this award to so rather than delay I will nominated these six people for the award now.

I am also supposed to reveal 7 things about myself.

(I can see I can’t count as I only listed five things for the Versatile Blogger award recently. Well they are both odd numbers! – so I’ve numbered them this time.)

  1. One of my favourite foods is duck (sorry to any vegetarians or fluffy duck lovers) and I am going to have a special duck meal this weekend.
  2. My favourite colour is blue and I especially like wearing blue and pink.
  3. Even though I am now retired I never find enough time to do everything I would like to do.
  4. I enjoy using Wii Fit to keep in shape.
  5. I even play games like Mario Kart on the Wii.
  6. I also enjoy computer adventure games. The first ones I played were text adventure games – a bit like a radio play rather than television.
  7. I also like jigsaws both with real pieces and on the computer – well you can’t lose the pieces that way!

The Rules are:-

The Rules for accepting this Award is as follows:

1. Add the award to your blog.
2. Thank the blogger(s) who gave it to you.
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4. List the rules.
5. Award to 15 bloggers.
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.

So I nominate:-

Crochet Again – http://crochetagain.wordpress.com/  especially bright colourful crochet.

Clothmonkey – http://clothmonkey.wordpress.com/  lovely variety lots of crafty things.

A Conversation with MOO – http://aconversationwithmoo.wordpress.com/ relatively new but crochet and sewing looks beautiful and creative.

divinedebrisjewelry – http://divinedebrisjewelry.wordpress.com/ I was going to award her the versatile blogger award but someone has already done that and her jewellery is so beautiful and she is amazingly prolific.

Home, Heart and Hook – http://homeheartandhook.wordpress.com/ mainly bright colourful crochet but cooking and photos too.

morganhausen –  http://morganhausen.wordpress.com/ because she does such lovely knitting and crochet.

And now I must go and tell them…………………….

Great Giveaway

I meant to include this in my post yesterday but maybe it justifies a separate post.

Chipper Nelly is having a giveaway to celebrate getting to 200 folowers.

What’s on offer are three different possibilities: some really lovely blocks in a box or three blocks and an old key with a home made tag or nine handmade luggage labels. They are all based on the illustration to Lewis Caroll’s Alice books.

So click on the picture to pop over and have a look. I am sure you will love them too.

SORRY link is working now.

It wasn’t working because I changed the picture and forgot to reinstate the link.

WIP, a Problem and a question

I have finished the first of the white socks. I don’t know whether it is adequate to the purpose and I have discovered that these long white socks with turnovers are available on the web. You just have to search for ‘kilt hose’ instead of ‘knee length socks’ or indeed any sort of ‘socks’.

I discussed it with the person for whom I am making the socks and he did say it would be nice for all of the band to have the same socks. So I don’t know. Anyway I have shown him the sock to see if it even fits properly.

And I have got this far with the flower cloth that plays second fiddle to the socks. Which is about a quarter of the way through the central part.

Now the problem and question

It always seems amazing and wonderful when one is nominated for one of the blogger awards and I have recently been awarded the Versatile Blogger award for what is the fourth time and also the One Lovely Blog award for the first time and I must start to look for people to pass it on to but this gives rise to the problem and question which is:-

“How many blogs can one conveniently follow at once?”

Whenever I find a blog that seems worth recommending to others it is also a blog that I would be happy to follow. I am following all the fifteen blogs I found with the recommendations I fudged a bit for the first two nominations and was beginning to actively follow some of the ones I recommended last time around when I got the last two award nominations and suddenly found myself wondering when I would reach overload on blogs! and whether I would have to start to be super picky.

So I was hoping that some of you nice people out there could tell be how many blogs you manage to follow on a regular basis.

I would be ever so grateful for a little feedback here as I don’t want to follow too many and then have to start un-following blogs.

Two final things

There may have been a BIG notice up about not taking photos of the knitted and sewn ‘High Tea’ when I went to Mottisfont Abbey (mentioned in my last post) but for any one who is interested there are some photos HERE.  Maybe this was before they put up the notice.

And I had my first opportunity to try my Mint Jelly today. [see https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/and-now-for-so…tely-different/ ] It was a little firmer than I had expected but otherwise was very good. (Actually when it was cooling, at one point I was afraid it wouldn’t set at all!)

A Feline and Flowers

Firstly, I have to admit that I allowed myself a naughty two days off from making my flower cloth and socks to make this:-

I found the pattern at The Green Dragonfly’s blog HERE (isn’t her cat delightful!)
and because she has seven different coloured stripes of course I couldn’t resist making it into a RAINBOW cat.

My younger daughter is especially fond of cats so I have made it for her as an un-birthday present and I will take it round later today. (She doesn’t read the blog).

I have also had a lovely day out visiting Mottisfont Abbey. Yes, it was an abbey originally but was made into a family home and is now owned by the National Trust and open to the public.

I caught the train and then walked across the fields.
There was a cow field,
then a wheat field,

then a hayfield

and in spite of all the rain we have had none of the paths were muddy.


There is lots to do at Mottisfont Abbey.

There is the house

that has been kept as it was earlier last century.

There are also displays, including one I wasn’t allowed to photograph: called “High Tea”, that consited of sandwiches, scones and cakes all either knitted or made out of fabric. Great fun!

There are  grounds with statuary

also all sorts of trees and a stream

and sheep in a fenced off field.

You can even go in and get up close if you wish!

I had taken my grandaughter here last summer in August when they had a special fairy themed exploration challenge but the roses were over then, so now above all I went to see their walled rose gardens in all their glory.

There are rose arches

and people enjoying the gardens

and a fountain

(I usually make the pictures just the right size for the blog but all the photos below will enlarge if you click on them so you can get a closer look)

some wilder looking plantings,

But above all


Aren’t they beautiful?

But I think these are my favourites.

And I even mange to get a few photographs of bees.

I hope you enjoyed sharing my day with me.

Dragons – knitted and otherwise

My latest knitted toy present for my granddaughter is this Welsh dragon that I made from a pattern by Debi Birkin.

Her dragon is so adorable but I knew that with our Welsh ancestry my granddaughter would want a ‘Welsh’ dragon.

The pattern was only £2.50 and you can get it HERE.  The dragon is so cute isn’t he /she? The pattern is for a green ‘Daisy Dragon’ but as you can see I have created a red dragon and replaced the daisies with a leek and a daffodil, the two botanical symbols of Wales.

I have always loved dragons and I have a few in my life.

There are six dragons on a brass bowl that is probably older than I am since it came from Singapore, where I was born, and I left when I was 10 weeks old, so it must have been bought before then.

This is a picture of one side and you can see there is a dragon in relief and also if you look closely an inscribed dragon below. This is repeated on the other side and then there are two other dragons on a sort of seal on underside of the base.

And here is another dragon on a red lacquer dish that I bought for myself: another Chinese dragon, pictured with the phoenix, symbols of good fortune in China.

And a baby Welsh dragon breaking out of the egg that I found in a garden shop. He lives on the simulation hearth in my modern house as in the end I was unwilling to subject him to the British weather.

All these dragons live in my sitting room.

I also have a Welsh dragon on a plaque hanging outside the front door in the porch..

And of course there is the dragon from my favourite T-shirt

But I’ll just leave you with a few more photos of the knitted dragon I started with:-

seen from the left
and the right

a leek – pattern HERE

a daffodil – pattern HERE

and a last look from behind.

Versatile Blogger reprise

Two post on the same day!

Well, today was the only day I felt I had the time to do this post.

I have to thank Crafts by the Sea for nominating me for the Versatile Bloggers Award.  When I see all the amazing blogs out there I feel very humbled and wonder if I am adding anything worthwhile myself.  So it is extremely kind of her to nominate me and I am very grateful because it is great to be noticed.

As I understand it, what is expected of those who are nominated for this award is that you:-

  • Thank the person who gave you the award – done
  • Include a link to their blog – see above
  • Tell seven things about yourself
  • Nominate 15 other blogs for the award
  • Tell them that they have been nominated

This time I decided that I would take my time and try to do it properly and find a full fifteen blogs to nominate myself.

Having come to the conclusion that this award is primarily meant for relatively new bloggers I set myself the following criteria.

  • Relatively new blogger with not too many followers – if possible (this applies more to some than others)
  • Interesting content
  • To include comment on why I chose them
  • Not too big a gap between posts
  • Doesn’t appear to have been nominated for this award before

The last criterion had me having to delete some promising candidates, sometimes because they got nominated after I had put them on my list. 😦  But good for them.

So first seven things about myself.

  • I am an altar server and an MC on Sundays. This also means now that I am retired that I attend a lot of funerals in my capacity as altar server.
  • I love my garden even though I have always said that I have brown crinkly fingers rather than green ones. 😉
  • I try to be as ecological as I can.
  • I am a perfectionist.
  • I am relatively uncoordinated so getting the knitting and crochet even close to the standard I desire can be tricky.

Now my nominated Fifteen Blogs:-

(I have still veered towards crochet and knitting blogs.)

The order is simply the order I discovered them.

I found myself using the words colourful and beautiful in almost every description so I decided to leave out adjectives and just let you know that I think that they all include some beautiful and colourful work in their blogs.

Craftaceous Period – check out her collection of crochet squares

Megs J Shep – look for her baby items

ohmisterknitter – has crochet and knitting to see

My Crafty Therapy – loves rainbows as much as I do

blondiesBEARista – photos, crochet …….

eskimo rose – pictures, chat, crafts

Crochet and Tea – amigurumi and fabrics

Colouring With Yarn – lots of projects

Gossycrafts – I liked her approach; crochet and knitting

lifemultithreaded – interesting variety including crochet

rozaanthony – check out her knitted mitts and socks

knitsnips – lots of things including socks; knitting and crochet

Crochet Thoughts – crochet but also knitting

Domestic Goddess Project – lots of things: food, crochet, gardening….

The Green Dragonfly – crochet including patterns

Now to go and tell them that they are nominated.

Toys for my granddaughter

As I have posted before I have been knitting something special for my granddaughters birthday but before I do a post at the weekend revealing what it is, I would like to share with you all the things I have made her previously because she already has a little family that I have made for her bit by bit.

First it was a reversible Cinderella doll.

I found the pattern for this in the Jean Greenhowe ‘s “Christmas Special” book which has the patterns for the knitted crib I made.

And yes the photos are the right way round. My granddaughter (as well as her mother) is left-handed, so I made Cinderella left-handed too!

Louisa loved her so much that I offered to make her another doll and showed her another Jean Greenhowe book I had of “Mascot Dolls”. She chose the ballerina who once she was made and given became Cinderella’s daughter.

Well I now felt that she needed the daddy prince to complete the family. I couldn’t find a pattern for a prince that I liked so I decided to design my own using the other patterns in the book of “Mascot Dolls”.

I started with the Fireman but using my choice of colours and button placement, added Santa’s boots and the Footballer’s hair then added cuffs and collar, cloak, hat and feather of my own devising.

Later, wishing to make another gift for when I was visiting, I made a ‘rainbow baby’ from a free pattern that you can find HERE, again by Jean Greenhowe. I chose to use purple and green as contrast, though the colour doesn’t come out well in this photograph, because purple is Louisa’a favorite colour.

Thus I added a baby to the family.

My daughter sent me the photos of all but the last one. As you can see they have been well played with.

I hope she likes my new offering but it isn’t exactly a doll this time.