July 20, 2013

Hello, I’m back – from an unplanned blog-break. It would seem silly to wish you all a Happy New Year in July but this is my first post of 2013, so, Happy New Year!

I haven’t been away for any particular reason; I’ve largely been keeping up with the blogs I follow and I’ve still been knitting and crocheting, I just haven’t really had the time to put together any posts of my own.

Life remains very much the same – I work four days a week, I play flute and piccolo in a community concert band one night a week and with regular concerts throughout the summer. My little boy is now two (two and a quarter!) and (on the whole) is an absolute joy. They say that the twos are supposed to be terrible – and well, he has his days – but on the whole I think we are very lucky so far and have a mostly happy and lovely little boy. I am much more comfortable with being Mummy to a toddler than I was to a baby. Life is good.

I have a huge backlog of finished objects to show off so to get the ball rolling, here’s a crocheted snake that I made as a Christmas present for my little boy’s cousin.

The pattern was from a book I bought on eBay – Baby Crochet : 20 hand crochet designs for babies 0-24 months by Lois Daykin – but the inspiration came from Lucy at Attic24 who posted about her own version of the snake a couple of years ago along with her pattern for crocheted eyes, which I used.

The yarn was a mix of acrylic yarns and I used a 4mm hook.

You can see my snake on Ravelry here.


Toy making

November 25, 2012

In the run-up to Christmas there are always a lot of gifts to make. This year it’s not the usual round of hand-warmers and socks for friends and relies; this year I am assuming my role as Santa’s helper — I’m busy making toys.

Pictured above is Gort. I actually started knitting Gort way back in June, immediately after finishing Baldwin. He was sitting on my shelf for ages, knitted and stuffed, but for some reason I couldn’t quite get around to embroidering a face onto him. The motivation to get him finished was that little D’s nursery were asking for contributions for the raffle and tombola at their Christmas fayre and I figured that he would be a suitable gift. Of course, once I had put a face onto him he took on a whole new character and I must say I was a little bit sad to part with him. I do hope he will find a good home and make somebody happy!

Pattern: Gort the Gym Bag Monster by Rebecca Danger (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Wonder Knit dk acrylic from Poundstretcher
Needles: 2.75 mm DPNs and circular

Next up is sssomething to go in sssomeone’s Chrissstmas ssssstocking. Sssssssh, it’s a sssssecret! All the reviews that I read about this pattern seem to say that it’s a quick knit but it actually took me what seemed like forever. I’m not the world’s speediest knitter and my knitting time is very limited these days — and I chose to knit it in lighter yarn and smaller needles that the pattern suggested (for no other reason than to use up stashed yarn) which may have been a mistake, from a time-management perspective anywyay. It’s actually a very clever pattern, using a circular needle and two balls of yarn, yet knitted flat — carrying each over a row so there are no ends to weave in and no seaming. I love the end result and I can’t wait to see what little D will think of him.

Pattern: Striped Stockinette Snake (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Lara Lamb from Poundstretcher
Needle: 3.75 mm circular

And last but not least, an amigurumi platypus! I’ve never bought one of those knitting/crochet-kit magazines before — you know the ones that come with “free” yarn and needles/hooks with which to make the projects inside — and I’m not really sure what possessed me to start now, but there was something that caught my eye about this one. It’s never particularly easy to get to the yarn shop as a working mum and I suppose I liked the idea that I could pick this up in the supermarket and have everything at my fingertips that I’d need to make some quick, fun projects — no hours of scouring the Internet for interesting patterns, no rummaging through boxes of yarn looking for suitable scraps whilst trying to stop the boy unravelling balls of favourite/saved cashmerino, no wondering where on earth I left my 3.5mm hook. Easy. And I must say I wasn’t disappointed. It wasn’t the nicest yarn to work with but to be fair it was perfect for the job in hand and I suspect I shall make a few more of the little creatures from this mag – they make perfect stocking-fillers.

Pattern: Platypus by Irene Strange – from Let’s Get Crafting (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Parfait DK acrylic (which came with the magazine)
Hook: 3.5mm

I’m now working on a particularly colourful crochet toy project — something I’ve been wanting to make for over a year — which will be a gift for little D’s cousin. Looking forward to sharing it with you!


Little crochet rocket shirt

October 27, 2012

On the whole we had a pretty wet and dreary summer. I guess “pretty wet” is a bit of an understatement in fact, since according to some reports it was the wettest summer in England and Wales for 100 years. It didn’t stop us having some fun though, we got outside as much as we possibly could, and it soon became clear that the little man really loves slides. I spent a few weeks hunting one down on eBay and was chuffed to bits when I finally won an auction — until then they had kept selling for more than double than I was prepared to pay.

I was also chuffed to bits at how this t-shirt turned out.

Pattern: Rocket applique from Little Crochet by Linda Permann (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Anchor Embroidery Floss
Hook: 2.5mm


Photo Friday : Echinacea Mistral

August 31, 2012

For a year where we had a hosepipe ban for much of the summer, we’ve had a lot of rain. Some of my veggies really suffered; the courgettes have been a complete failure this year and the peas and french beans were stunted. The runner beans are doing really well though and the tomatoes, while still mostly green, are looking as though they will be good — if we have any left after Baby D has got at them. He knows he shouldn’t pick them; he goes up to them, looks at me and says “no no no!” and then picks them anyway with a big grin.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the rain, the garden is actually looking quite smashing this year. We’ve had enough sweet peas from a few plants mixed in with the beans to have a vase on the table for the last six weeks or so, and these Echinacea are my new favourite things. The bees love them too.


Little crochet

August 8, 2012

I realised, after flicking through this blog, that I haven’t picked up a crochet hook all year. I’ve done a fair bit of knitting what with one thing or another, but no crochet. Actually the last few weeks have been a complete break from yarn crafts. I’ve been very busy at work, very busy at home with a boy who is now running around, climbing things and being the cheekiest monkey you can possibly imagine — and in my few spare minutes I’ve been quite happy to sit and read or snatch a few minutes of the Olympics on telly.

I’ve been missing crochet though, and am utterly excited to have just treated myself to not only a new book of crochet patterns but some new yarn and hooks. Little yarn and little hooks — both in lovely colours — to go with my new book, Little Crochet by Linda Permann.

I’ve followed Linda’s blog for some time and have made at least one of her many lovely crochet patterns in the past. Little Crochet caught my attention because it seems to contain a few patterns which are suitable for boys — something which the crochet world definitely seems to be lacking. No telling just yet what I’m planning to make, though if you know the book I’m sure you’ll already be able to guess which pattern I’m looking at!

By the way — hello to anyone new who has dropped by Fantasy Landscape today. I have no idea why, but today has been my blog’s busiest day ever! Hope you will all come back again!


Getting my pencils out

June 13, 2012

I mentioned in a recent post that I had been thinking a lot about drawing and painting lately. I wouldn’t say I ever had much talent for drawing — I was gently advised to give up art at school — but I have always enjoyed it and would love to have more time to play around with arty things. I drool over the art supplies group on Flickr and have a growing stash of pristine notebooks and sketch pads that I haven’t dared to make that first mark in.

A few years ago I did a short, basic, drawing course at my local arts centre, and joined a brilliant group called Everyday Matters. I bought the associated book by Danny Gregory and set out in earnest, but after less than a week I found myself unable to keep up with the daily challenges.

I hadn’t picked up a pencil or paintbrush since, but recently, I have found myself dreaming about drawing again. I would love to start an art journal or something of that ilk — something full of colours. And then, with a four-day weekend ahead of me, I found myself presented with a drawing competition — the chance to win an amazing set of my fine art pencils by my favourite pencil makers, Derwent. As well as the main, placed prizes there will be 100 randomly-selected runners-up prizes and so I figured it would be fun to take part. It was that little nudge I needed to pick up my pencils, and you have to be in it to win it, right?

The theme was “Best of British” and my entry is above. I used Derwent Inktense pencils, which I love, and drew three of my favourite made-in-Britain products from our kitchen — Marmite, Colman’s mustard and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce.

There are all kinds of amazing entries but if you would consider giving me your support I would really appreciate it! Click the photo of my drawing, above, and you’ll find yourself on the voting page. Everyone gets 20 votes so you can vote for me and 19 more of the brilliant entries. Hope you will give me your vote — I would so appreciate the encouragement! xx


What’s that coming over the hill?

June 12, 2012

It’s a monster!

After making three caterpillars from Rebecca Danger’s great pattern, I was delighted to receive a copy of her book, The Big Book of Knitted Monsters for my birthday earlier this year. I absolutely love this book — there were lots of new techniques needed here for me but the book is brilliant and explains everything in detail. Backward-loop cast-on? I had never heard of it before! Knitting on a circular needle using the magic loop method? Nope, I’d never done that before either. How did I never know how to do that? Let me tell you, if you’ve never magic looped before you’re missing out. It’s a revelation. Three-needle bind off was new to me too.

The somewhat revolting yarn I used had been in my stash for many, many years — since before I understood that just because the colours are gorgeous, it doesn’t mean it’ll knit up looking nice! What better way to use some of it up than on my first knitted monster?

I’m looking forward to making monsters with safety eyes, but until the boy is a little older I’m sticking with the embroidered facial features. I’m very pleased to report that Baby D does seem to like his first monster — I’m sure it will be the first of many.

Pattern: Baldwin the Bathroom Monster by Rebecca Danger (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Hayfield Bonus Flash DK
Needles: 2.75 mm DPNs and circular