Thursday, 26 February 2015

Hats Off

Hello again. This is just a very quick post to let you see some of the little things I've been making. Of course making little things means that the big things take even longer to make. That's because I can only crochet or knit one thing at a time. Unfortunately!

This is a lap blanket that I knit while travelling as a passenger in the car. The strips are knit separately; 25 stitches and 300 rows of garter stitch. When all the strips were finished I crocheted them together and then crocheted a bit of a border round the outside.

I made another one the same except that it had an eighth stripe that was striped in the other direction with each of the seven colours. I didn't get a picture of it before I gave them both away. The two lap blankets went to keep residents of my local nursing home nice and warm. They were really pleased to receive them.

As a lot of you already know, Taci is planning to take hats to Brazil in July. So I thought I'd make some for her to take along.

Here they are. These are very small size.

These are probably big enough for a toddler. Very girly!

And these would suit a boy.

One of the girls in my crochet class also made some hats that I'll send along with mine.

I treated myself to some roses at the weekend. Aren't they lovely?

Thank you for your comments on the socks. Quite a few of you have put your name in one of the three hats to win a pair of socks. If you still haven't done so, then maybe you'd like to go back to my giveaway post and see what you think.

Bye for now. Next post will be to announce the socks winners.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Simply Crochet-ed Socks Giveaway

Hello again. How are you all keeping? I hope you are all well. Thank you for your great comments that I have really enjoyed reading. I'd also like to welcome a few more followers.

Remember I crocheted the socks from Simply Crochet issue 26? I loved making them and I have loved wearing them. I made a pair for my sister too but that still hadn't got the sock making bug out of my system. Who could I crochet socks for? Who else would want a pair? Ah! I could crochet some socks for a giveaway. And that is what I did. I had some yarn left over from my own socks but I needed more. Not a problem as I just needed to visit my lovely local yarn shop. The problem was resisting buying lots of other yarn too!

Anyway, I set to crocheting three pairs of socks, one in each of the sizes given in the pattern.They are all done using the same colours but in different combinations. I tried to work out a way of knowing the size by the colour of the heels and toes. This is what I came up with:

  • Strawberry red - small
  • Mid brown - medium
  • Lime green - large
Do you see what I did? S for strawberry and S for small. M for mid and M for medium (I know - not great but couldn't think of anything else!). L for lime and L for large. The yarn is roughly 50% wool and 50% acrylic. Most of the colours are Jarol Heritage and the rest are Stylecarft Luxury.

Would you like to see all the socks? Well here you are.




And here they are all together. A triumvirate of Simply Crochet-ed pairs of socks.

Now I mentioned a giveaway, didn't I? If you would like to win a pair of the socks then please leave a comment stating the size you'd like to win. Make sure you also leave a way for me to contact you should you be a winner. The names will be put in a hat and a winner drawn. Actually there will be three hats; a small socks hat, a medium socks hat and a large socks hat. So that means there will be three winners.

Here they are again in all their colourfulness.

By the way, here are the approximate measurements in case you aren't sure what size you would need. This is the length of the foot from heel to toe though they are quite stretchy.

  • Small              8.5" or 21cm
  • Medium          9"    or 22.5cm
  • Large             9.5" or 24cm

The draw will be on Saturday the 28th of February 2015 so get commenting.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

An Update and Liebster Award

Oh dear; I've had a bit of a blogging blip and not posted anything for what seems like a very long time. There's no particular reason for it so I'll just carry on as if nothing has happened. Which is precisely what did happen; on my blog that is; nothing.

I recently had a third Liebster award bestowed on me by Jo. Now Jo writes two blogs called Through the Keyhole and The Good Life both of which are well worth a visit. Since I've already done two previous Liebster posts (here and here), I've decided to make this a very mini one and only answer a few of Jo's questions and then pass the award to a few other blogs.

First I will give you three random facts about myself.

  • I was going to be called Ruth but then my parents changed their minds and called me Gillian. No other names apart from my surname.
  • I'm afraid of heights. Even seeing someone on a height on TV or in a photo makes me really anxious. I suppose it's not really the height that is the problem but being near an unprotected edge when I'm up high. It's getting worse; sometimes I feel like I can hardly breathe so try to avoid the situation if at all possible.
  • I love coffee creams.
Now to answer just three of Jo's questions.

What is your dream holiday destination?
In May last year we had the opportunity to have what could only be described as a dream holiday. You can read about it here, here, here, and here. I also love visiting Skye for a holiday and must have been there ten times in the past eight years. You can read about our latest holiday there, last September, in this post, this, this and this. To be honest, it isn't so much the destination that makes a dream holiday but who you are with. Getting away to somewhere relaxing with good places to visit is my dream holiday. It doesn't even matter about the weather.

St. Petersburg
What is your earliest childhood memory?
The earliest memories I have would be from Peru. I remember seeing a snake climbing over the fence into our garden. I'm not sure what happened to it after that! It was a small snake. Another time I saw two men carrying an enormous snake which they had presumably been responsible for killing. They seemed pretty pleased with themselves. That's two memories but they're both about snakes so that's alright.

What is your favourite season and why?
This is very hard to answer for I like all the seasons. Winter is good because I love Christmas and being able to snuggle up in warm clothes and blankets. Summer is good for getting out in the garden. Spring and Autumn are beautiful when things are just coming back to life or beginning to die away; both make spectacular displays.

I'm going to pass on the Liebster award to the following blogs:

Valentina at Weaving Olden Patterns

Amalia at handmade by amalia

and Marco at Marco Alpha Fotografie

This is what you need to do, please:

  •  tell us three random facts about yourself
  • answer the three questions below
  • nominate three bloggers for the award and let them know that they've been nominated
These are the three questions:
  • do you prefer to cook for yourself or to eat out?
  • would you like to be famous?
  • is it better to have enough money to live comfortably or would you rather be rich?
Thanks again to Jo for nominating me for the award this time.

The title of the post said this was also an update. Just a quick update on the garden. Look what the husband made with the willow grown in the garden.

It's a frame for growing sweet pea. Some have already been planted at the base and I can't wait for them to flower in the summer.

We also bought some Norway Spruce and Scots pine. They are still very small. They are in our 'nursery' bed until they get a bit bigger.

The Norway spruce came from the market in Banbridge where we buy a lot of our plants. I thought I'd show you a few photos of it.

Of course, at this time of year, no post would be complete without some photos of our snowdrops.

All the best for now. Sorry it's been so long and I hope I'll be back again very soon. Must go and make some pancakes!

Friday, 6 February 2015

The Wild Atlantic Way

Thank you all for the very lovely, encouraging comments you have been leaving. I'm really pleased that so many of you like the way my coat is looking so far. I can't wait to get it finished but it is definitely a project that requires my full attention and therefore doesn't get worked on as often as I would like. A big welcome to some more new followers too. I hope you will continue to enjoy this little blog.

Are you wondering about the title of this post? Well, the husband and I recently headed off for a two night (good deal) break in a hotel near Sligo. And Sligo is on the coast of Ireland known as The Wild Atlantic Way.

This was what greeted us on the morning we were to leave. We were worried that we wouldn't be able to go at all but were determined to give it a go. The husband was driving so that made it a lot easier for me! I worked away at my blanket to try and take my mind off the awful conditions. Thankfully, once we had reached the main roads, driving wasn't too bad. The closer we got to Sligo the less snow there was to contend with.

The hotel we were staying in is between Sligo and Rosses Point so, before checking in, we drove out towards Rosses Point to see what it is like. Wild Atlantic could not be a more apt description. The wind was howling, making the waves crash against the shore. We parked in a car park overlooking the beach (well, that's what it said on the sign!) and watched, mesmerised by the force of the wind; it was making the car rock so I didn't even get out to take any photos; they're all taken from inside the car.

There's something I don't understand. The waves look very feeble in these photos! Maybe I just missed the worst of them.

There wasn't much snow apart from the little there was on the higher ground.

We retraced our journey back to the hotel and checked in. This was our room.

The bed was huge! That's my Country Living magazines left out for me to read. I managed to finish December's issue. I'm really behind with my reading.

Our main objective for this wee break was to chill out. Relax. Unwind. Do as little as possible. So we made our way to the rather excellent leisure facilities and availed of the pool, sauna and steam room. These were probably the best I've ever used in any hotel.

The stormy weather was getting worse. The wind was blowing the rain horizontally. There was even lightning. We were so glad that our deal included free dinner in the hotel! For starters, the husband had Assiette of Claire Island Salmon and Crayfish Tails ... 

... and I had Spiced Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup. Both were delectable.

Usually when we eat out, the husband and I don't pick the same main course. On this occasion, though, we both chose the Smoked Rack & Shoulder of Ballinasloe Lamb.

We were both very impressed with this dish. Here's how it is described on the menu: Heather and turf smoked rack of lamb paired with polenta and herb crusted pressed lamb shoulder, smoked garlic and potato puree, minted lamb jus and a sheep dip whiskey jelly. The smoked rack of lamb really tasted of heather and turf. Totally amazing. The only bit neither of us liked was the sheep dip whiskey jelly!

The most important part of any meal is the dessert. Well, isn't it? My choice was calorie free* coconut panna cotta served with caramelised pineapple, lime syrup and spiced biscuit crumb. It was exquisite.

The husband had White Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse. As you can see, he couldn't even wait long enough for me to take a picture before tucking in.

We wrapped it all up with a coffee and then went to do a spot more relaxing. The husband loves the pool so he went for another swim. I was happy enough to sit in the viewing area and crochet. Still listening to the wind rattling anything it was possible to rattle. At one point the power went off, leaving us all in darkness for a short time until the generator kicked in. 

The next day wasn't quite as stormy but it was bitterly cold. We spent some time in Sligo town, finishing with coffee in a Costa Coffee shop. Then we went for a bit of a scenic drive round the coast, stopping to take a few photos. The scenery is spectacular.

Rather than driving about all afternoon we went back to the hotel for more relaxing at the hotel spa followed by another lovely meal (not free this time). Of course I brought way too much yarn with me to do some crocheting. I managed to make a pair of fingerless gloves and another pair of the Simply Crochet socks. No pictures to prove it as they've already been given away.

Bye for now. Hopefully I'll have some more crafty progress to show you next time. I must apologise for never seeming to be able to keep up with all your lovely blogs. There never is enough time to read and comment on all your posts. But I'm trying.

* you guessed it - wishful thinking on my part.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

How's it Going?

I hope you are all keeping well and enjoying the fact that we're now into February. I have a few projects to show you, in case you were thinking I haven't been doing anything. Here's the scarf I crocheted for my sister. She liked the hat I made her so much that she asked for a matching scarf.

It is made using James C Brett marble DK and an 8mm hook, working trebles into the back loop only. (UK treble or US double crochet stitches). It turned out lovely and soft and squishy, long enough to wrap round twice.

Do you remember my crocheted chillis? I had a bit of a problem with how to display them. Some of your comments suggested joining them together to make a ristra. I tried that - had tried even before I posted about the chillis. There's only one way to describe what the chillis looked like. A cow's udder. Enough said.

Another solution had to be found for the chillis and I favoured a crocheted bowl. It has taken me all this time to finally get round to it. The yarn has been sitting in my bag all these months just waiting to be made into this useful little bowl. It's made using Stylecraft Special DK in Denim. I used a strand of Claret to work a little running stitch 
round the top of the bowl. I'm extremely pleased with the result!

Another project that I'm working on is my Aran coat, started back here. It keeps being left to one side to get something else done; like my crocheted socks. But, even with all the interruptions, the coat is progressing quite well. One of the fronts is finished.

And the back is now up to the waist. When I get the back finished I want to check that I am going to have enough wool to finish. I'm using wool from New Lanark Mill - well, it's 90% wool and 10% silk.

I'm pleasantly surprised at how quickly the coat is making up. Though I'm sure by the time it's finished it will be too warm to wear it!

Let me know what you think of my makes. I love to read your comments. Bye!