Wednesday, 28 December 2011

fish and chip baby jacket and books to read

 The small jacket from the first 'fish and chip baby' jumper pattern is finished. Ive shown both sides here because it fascinates me how some wools you buy now, are sort of self fair aisle like!
This is King Coles 'splash' double knitting in case anyone wants to know. I must check back, am sure I was asked what wool type Id used, sorry if I havent replied yet!
Its shade 811, sold in 100g balls and I believe I paid either £3.40 or £2.75. I bought two balls for the jumpers and am sure one was a little cheaper but cant recall which was which now.
Its 100% acrylic/ 320 yards/290 metres.
Ive just finished the Kathryn Stockett book 'The Help' which has been made into a film I understand and it is well worth reading.
Set in the racial times of Mississippi's past ( I hope..) its centred on what life was like for both the white families who had coloured help in their homes and for those men and women of colour who were the hired help.
Its shameful to look back on those times and yet full of love and a great deal of humour. It was hard reading in places but I've really enjoyed it and felt I understood alot that Id known so little about.
Ive started on The Tin Ticket now and am transfixed already by its historical, family history centred approach.
Its about the lives of real women who were banished to Van Demans Land as criminals in an age when stealing food to eat, meant you could be sent to far flung places to start up a new colony for the bloody commercially centred british empire of old.
Little changes you realise really as you read it.
(I cant recall who mentioned it on their blog and set me off looking for it, but thankyou whoever it was! )
Ive gotten nowhere sorting out the Giveaway package Id mentioned in a  previous post but I havent forgotten lol
It will be in the new year now though, at this rate!

This year its hit me harder than ever how silly all this commercial christmas excess really is.
I reckon its hardest of all on the kids too and its unfair of us laying it all on them.
I mean my son and his ex girlfriend had my scrumptious grandson.
So he had 2 'real' nannies, and one set of a 'real' great grandma and granddad.
So gifts, hugs and visits to those direct relatives already right?
This year, hes had his mums and dads new partners, parents as additional grandparents.............and had visits to them, to unwrap all manner of gifts from them too.
Yes thats kind of them and nice for the child youd think.
But one set of 'new grandparents' spent shed loads, making a huge effort to get my grandson to accept them too as grandparents. Thankfully he did seem to show them warmth and am sure it thrilled them. I was kindly invited along for a meal on xmas day and that was lovely of them, so I too would see my grandson on xmas day, at theirs. Where theyd been the year before too mind you.

I guess Im being a bit silly but he has two nannies right?
My 3 year old grandson was beside himself on Boxing day when he got trailed to mine to open gifts left at mine, because hed have so much at his stepmoms parents house on xmas day anyway.
I dont object that folks want to buy him gifts.
I dont really see it as them muscling in on the 'real' nannies places either lol
But the poor guy was completely overwhelmed by Boxing day. More gifts and too little time at anyones home since xmas eve, to really play with what hed been given you know?
What kind of message that is to him, is what worries me really.
Its as if we are all buying him off with gifts and at the point where Id got him happily sat on my lap, reading a book with and to me, counting away, how many mice, butterflies etc........they whisked him up and took him ( back) to stepmoms parents house again.
And he didnt want to go, wanted to stay with this nannie.

I remember feeling obliged to trail my kids here and there up a motorway at xmas and in the end had my own parents come stay with us for xmas for afew days.
Then when hubby took off, the kids would go stay at his girlfriends parents home too on alternate xmasses.
When he died, those alternate xmasses stopped cos girlfriend didnt want them and they didnt want to see her anyway.
None of his family stepped in asking to have them either which I would have allowed, so they had a link to their dad.

Guess I didnt have the extended family/grandparent thing to contend with, so its new for me, seeing this sharing the poor chap round all and sundry. Id forgotten that Id made up a dye bath of the mushrooms that had grown out back............but using Deanna's pics on her blog, I had a go with tin cans, like she had done. Thanks Deanna!
Of course had I taken note of which was soya milk, salt, vinegar or alum dipped - the pics hereafter might have been more use to you! Sorry... but a couple were in a cranberry bath too and Im blowed if I can tell the blummin difference tween any of them now!

this one had been folded over and round rusty metal an d was vinegar dipped, I do remember that one...

 The one above was a double layer of white fabric wrapped round a tin, wasnt sure it would work but it does give 2 circles...fancy that!

Oh yes and have you seen Mister Finches blog.......the guy that makes the old textiles butterflies and insects...........well he makes ace foxes and Zorrow masked rabbits and the most lovely 'sleeping' birds....... just amazing!
do go take a look...........!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Only a week to go....and knitting for preterm and 'fish and chip babies'

Christmas creeps up on you doesnt it. You start early enough, you think ~ but then its a week to go already and not half of what you intended is done!
Maybe though thats just me and thank goodness I dont have to plan a big sit down meal for lots of family...just a smorgasbord like brunch and a buffet.
 I have so little to do youd think Id be on top of it....but er no...
(I've got lots of liquer-ed gin and vodka to drink though..sloe and blackberry remember lol)

I have written and posted off all but one xmas card...must make up this last one today though.
I have all but packed gifts but still have one to post.
Bad news  that, since it may not get there in time now....and all my own fault.
Its a huge spool of aran wool Im sending to an ex work colleague who is in a secure health unit after much illness. I havent used it and shes allowed to knit as therapy, so I know she can make use of it...........but what a perishing unwealdy thing to wrap up!
Its taken a week and almost 2 rolls of grey 'gaffa tape' lol she will be lucky if she gets it unwrapped by next year!

My xmas tree snowy owls have been pinched by my 3 yr old grandson. He would count them at each visit and take them in and out of the 'for sale' bag, then on and off the tree, then finally today, after staying overnight and sleeping with them....too funny that .....his mum came for him and he began taking them off the tree and stuffing them in his bag.
'jack's owls mummy' says he lolol
So I gifted them to him for his tree at home and will now and sit and make afew more to replace those lol
I may as well make up to 20, so we can get further with his
counting, theyve worked a treat for that!
its a compliment really isnt it, his taking them, not a sign he's going to be a thief right????? lol

At last club meet we were asked to knit small jumpers for what they called 'fish and chip' babies in Ethiopia.
So called because the medical teams who go out to remote villages to help mums....have only old newsprint to wrap the newborns in, before handing them to their mums, who then might have to trudge to who knows where ever they live .

Please nip over and look at Kates blog who is a midwife working with maternity worldwide over in Ethiopia. It makes hard reading yes, but your heart goes out to these women, about 7 out of 10 of whom, do not survive childbirth.
I have nothing but respect for folk like Kate.....just a pity Im now too old to be of any use as a volunteer in a third world environ. All I can do is pledge a little cash and knit a bit, and maybe spread the word too.

 - and in case any of you might like to use the pattern to help them out here it is.
maybe contact kate though for a secure postal address?

Knitting pattern for the fish and chip babies

Please use 100grm ball double knit. You could possibly get 2 tops from 1 ball.

Use only double knitting wool.  No baby pastel colours as they may never be washed

Bright and mixed colours or stripes are best.

 This pattern knitted all in one piece.

 Size 7 (4.5mm) needles (loose knitters)

Size 6 (5mm) needles (tight knitters)

Cast on 44 stitches

Work 18 rows K2 p2 rib

Work 30 rows stocking stitch (K1 row P1 row)

Cast on 12 stitches at start of next 2 rows

K2 P2 rib for 22 rows

Next Row: Rib 21 stitches, cast off 26t stitches rib to end

Next row: rib 21 stitches, cast on 26 stitches, rib to end

Rib 22 rows

Cast off 12 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows

Work 30 rows stocking stitch

Work 18 rows K2 P2 rib

Cast off. Fold in half and stitch up sides ands under arms.

Theres no pic with it, but it is straight forward with a ribbed shoulder area.

Below is one I've started, in probably not dark enough colours and the sleeves do seem short, but this is the pattern they have sent round so it must be right!
 Now I also read about the most beautiful little preterm 'pods' needed in an Australian hospital too...
so please shoot over to Kaite's ( smashing blog ) and read her lovely post and see the priceless little wrap 'pods' as she calls them, for wrapping 'sleeping' preterm babies in.
Id never heard of these being asked for before, but what a thoughtful gift to pass onto a grieving parent, a little knitted hug for their dearest.
Kaite has devised the pattern herself and its the most delightful snuggle wrap for a 'little angel', as she calls them. Do take a look.
Kaite does warn you the post may be upsetting  for some, but photos show only a tiny doll wrapped, fear not.

 And since I know how blessed I am with my own two children and one's the boy getting into the swing of throwing fake snow about, at a local Christmas Wonderland I took him to.
Would he hell as like sit on Santas lap though.....
But I dont blame him, I wouldnt have done either.........his nose was quite dark blue and it wasnt from the cold!
(And trust me, in former years, Ive sat on a variety of laps worldwide ... so have worked out which are worthy...)
This boy is proving to be very astute already lol

and these below were his interpretation of ducks........he got fed up making faces with the felt pieces, saw a duck 'shape', then went off on a tangent making ducks................but interestingly he placed eyes and wings on both sides of the ducks before he lay them down.
So he was playing with a 2D activity but obviously viewing them as 3D I found that fascinating and proof of his sharp perception for his age....naturally!

The hair shapes were water he told me, so just after this piccy, I went and cut several wavy strips of blue felt and more yellow duck shapes for him.  He sat for ages engrossed in finding matching bits for eyes and wings lol
These 'duck' shapes above I assume are bits of hair to sit above the ears, Friar Tuck style, either side of where the comb-over would be lol oh for that naive eye in which to look at things.
 Ducks they are, of course they are!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Gosh Ive been busy and lucky!

My dear friend from Australia Mary was over and managed to stay with me, for respite (and vodka lol) twice, slotting trips to east yorkshire in between visits with family here and there.
It was good to catch up, next time she's over is for my daughters wedding next August.
This time I avoided drinking too much or poisoning us with food ....

I have done a few fairs so am feeling weary now, silly really because they were hardly exhausting events and I had everything made ahead of time.
But Im run down I think, with the nasal polyps ( theyve now decided thats what Ive had/got, in my ears, sinuses and on my chin?! bloody Drs!) ...
and a chest infection that is clinging onto me and wont leave.
There are alot saying that they cant rid themselves of the chest infections, so guess they have been nasty strains of lurgies this year.

But now I also seem to have pains in my back lung and central chest, so Im taking bets that its the weight of my blummin breasts, rather than pleuracy or angina! lol
If you dont hear from me again, I may have been wrong ...........

So Ive been lucky having Mary stay twice, but also lucky having entered giveaways!
All be it Im ashamed to have won more than one............

I entered on the spur of the moment and now wonder why I hadnt bought lots of lottery tickets too!
 I follow Riel Nielson's fabulous blog The Q and U of Quilting, its she who makes the most wonderful quilts and hangings, some using only selvedges! What most of us wlojuld throw aside no doubt.

I just love her  unravelling 'selvage mummy' best of all!
Havent we all felt like that from time to time?!
But her 'mutant I Spy' and hexi I spy are also great fun and stunning to look at. Do go see them  at..

But Riel also recently had her first book published and I have won a signed copy!
Which is doubly great because Id already mentioned it to friends over here in Uk, so hope they will be inclined to go buy it themselves once they see it for real!

Now not only is that on its way for my Christmas stocking, which I have to tell you these past years is never usually filled with anything much at all.... guess you get to an age ( if your lucky!) and age related invisibility sets in lolol -Good job I get pleasure out of giving to others!

Not having been able to go to  the Harrogate show this last month, I asked my pal Jean ( ) if she could get me one particular daisy4you book and one specific magazine.
I got the new fabby book, more of that later.....but there was not a single copy of the Quilting Arts Christmas Gifts magazine, to be seen she told me.
Art Van Go no longer sell it because US to UK postage, is too pricey to make it worthwhile for us crafters, buying it ad hoc, theyd said. They would have to pass on the full postage costs with no subsidisation in that cost. Now how sad is that.
So I figured Id have to wait till next year in the hope theyd bring it out as an emag over time.

But again, on that same whim, I'd entered the Giveaway on Susans blog, another creatively stimulating blog I follow,
and it could be said that I was gobsmacked to know Id been lucky there too.
Now being not too quick witted and not feeling too well, I should have give someone else a chance please. But the brain was not working as normal. 

I mean whats the chance of that!  Two wins and me under the
weather anyway!
I did go buy a lottery ticket next and no it didnt much for everything happens in threes thought I.....

But, then................ and here I am ashamed to admit it.............a third email arrived later, for another blog giveaway.............
another fabulously interesting and informative blog I follow
and I have since received a smashing little Tilda Book with yummy, yummy wee folks and long legged ladies within !

Thats when my common sense kicked in at last and I read it thoroughly ( naturally) but carefully through, and then took it and donated it to our December Embroidery Groups meeting raffle along with another item I was taking anyway. Some how it seemed only right that I pass at least one of the goodies on.

The book was the pride of place in the raffle and there were 3 ladies vying to be the first to pick it out! it was the very first selected prize so Lesley a double thank you!

Now as pay back I too will be having a giveaway so keep your eyes open. Yes it will have some transfoil if the winner wants it, but other bits and bobs too, which will be of use Im sure. Eco dyed fabrics for one. I will be gathering a bundle together shortly....I have quite alot!!

And it will be just for the fun of it, not for a specific number of page views or to gain followers, simply as a pay it forward to someone, so they too get a goodie package. Though it will arrive probably in the New Year now, so it doesnt go astray in the Christmas post.

I hope to post the Giveaway next week though and most likley will draw it, on or about the 1st of January.
 I have pictures from the embroidery meet talk but Im sitting here frozen and my back/chest is killing me, so best take some pain relief
and get warm and horizontal in bed. Only weds and thursday to work then friday off again thank goodness.
And Ive booked to take 3 yr old grandson to see his first father christmas on friday.
This could be interesting. They are trained in escape and avoidance tactics surely, for dealing with the more contrary kids...right?
Next post I will show you what felty bits we saw at the club meet, tell you about the fab book I bought via Jean and the otnher on e she gvifted me since she already had it!
And then show you the old dressing up costumes I picked up at Sc rapstore for our Topic boxes.
Oh yes, and did I mention just how Very successful the home made sloe and blackberry gin and vodka is? lol

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Almost forgot the fab lampshades!

These were also on display at the Scrapstore craft fair. I meant to post these with the previous post but my brain gave out on me..

You gotta love these even if you never do use them as lampshades!!
(remember those awful 50s bras? pin points at east and west!)
AND many of us do have one breast bigger than the other lol

These are the work of Liz Dorton who also makes simply amazing puppets, see her website for examples, such fun!
Now this is the website Liz gave me but I cant get it to work, very odd. Maybe you will get more success...but if not, see the next link and scroll to the photos at bottom of the page and see the kind of puppets Liz makes.

These above though interested me, not least because, she too uses lampshade 'skeletons'.
I use them for my wall hung fabric trees and here they are used in their skeleton glory with 'skin'....very clever of her and such a nice lady.

Scrapstore and what were they answer...

Okay having been inundated by the one reader ( thanks Peggy lol )  wanting to know what the nobbly little 'brains' are.....
...........these are nasturtion seeds that dropped to the garden floor when I hauled up the last of the rampant plants whilst clearing some raised beds.
Some I dried up indoors for next year and they are just shrivelled up as normal, like sultanas.
But these had been weathered outside and struck me as quite beautiful.
The centres have wafted away so you can squish most of them between your fingers, but they would stitch down I reckon and look different.
Not that exciting your right, but they also look interesting ( to me lol) just sat in a small dish... I know, Im sad..
Okay I have mentioned Scrapstore before so here are some pics to give you an idea.
I had a stall at a xmas craft fair there yesterday and there are some bits off other stalls here too.
So there you are, its in an old victorian school building and its always chilly in there, schooling in the days before the (inefficient here) radiators, must have been bloody cold!
We had stalls in the other half of the building, only about 15 stalls there but this is the first such event they have done, so a prover for spring and the next xmas fair.
I couldnt resist these made by one of the stores freelance artists. Made from pallet wood, time consuming he said and hard on the fingers to make.

I had made some owls for my stall..........and like the white ones so much I am making lots more to sell and for my own tree. 
I tried the scandinavian design in books of late, bottom right below, but dont find them as cute.
So thought I would incorporate some old lace and net edgings on the eyes and wings and use a more rounded shape.
Snowy owls seem more christmassy anyway lol.
Oh and since arctic reindeer are not just brown, I made afew grey and light brown Rudolfs lol
The antlers are the seams from a jumble sale leather gored skirt. Cutting the antlers out around the seams gave them strength and they stay upright, fancy that!
Another scrapstore volunteer paints and her women paintings were bright and vibrant. Must find out her name next visit, sorry!!

And this one below has trapped patches of fabrics laid on the dresses and is heavily decorated with cerne relief 'lead' which gives it a textured and tactile quality to it too.

Friday, 2 December 2011

More animal posting activities for children

I didnt notice the 'teeth' ( pc keys ) when I took the photos!

The dog posting activity completed, with the back box in position.
Shoe boxes are ideal for making these.

And a frightened looking chimpanzee who will 'eat' the nanas you post in his mouth.......
Well if you skwint your eyes, hes abit chimp-ish, maybe his mother was a brown bear though who was frightened by a chimp...I was getting tired by the time I started him!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

UK Freegle site request..

In Hull the Freecycle site is called Freegle, not sure why but there you are...
the below post was on it this evening......
It tickled my sense of humour....

I will be getting married in 2012 and thought it best if I started getting some bits sooner rather than later. So for now I'm after button holes. If anyone has some about that they no longer need I would love to take them off your hands. Can collect