Sticking a toe in the scary sock world

September 12th, 2014

Heylo to the lot of yers! Ireland is having a gorgeous Indian Summer. As the emperor Caligula said to his sister-wife Drusilla ‘They’ll be no rain’… Oops – sorry, he said ‘There’ll be no PAIN’…. but that’s a different story altogether. Like when he cured his cousin Germellus’ cough by having his head cut off… Not a warm fuzzy feeling kind of guy – unlike my socks. They make me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy! Now, there’s a segue for you! The murderous and quite barking mad Caligula to knitted socks in a mere moment! Joined neatly together like a perfect seam. Lol.

I got my needles out and clicked and clacked away daring myself to heel-toe and fashion a proper pair of socks. I did it. Hand knitted socks all lovely, rustic and ready for autumn. The wool is rough and scratchy but with a pair of cotton softies underneath will make for toasty toes when the cold starts to nip in the evening. Perfect for scrunching through the autumn leaves on an evening’s ramble.

I followed a basic pattern with lots of pictures and step-by-step instructions; follow the link if you want to make a pair yourself. I don’t know whether to keep them (I want them) or put them to one side as a Christmas present.. (I want them)…

SOCK PATTERN

But, back to the socks; can I part with them? As Hannibal Lecter once said: ‘We begin by coveting what we see every day.  And don’t your eyes seek out the things you want? ‘.  Very true. And that said by a man who couldn’t even bite his fingernails let alone drink a mug of milky Ovaltine. Unless through a straw. But still couldn’t dunk his Hob-Nobs though, eh?! The acid test is, would I eat your liver if you tried to take them from me? Probably. I want them.

Now on to a felted woolen phone case.

This is made from a fabulous woolen cardi that I hot washed and felted. It had a broad fold-over ribbed collar which lent itself beautifully to the job. Two pieces cut big enough to hold the phone. A stitch around three sides (I hand stitched with darning wool and darning needle) and the basic case was made.  I decorated mine with crocheted noodles stitched onto the cuff and bottom.

Noodles are fabulous – mine are stretched taut but they look just fab like pasta spirals ready for hot saucy. The drawstring is a simple length of chained crochet passed through the cuff with a long running stitch. The button was on the original cardi – ceramic so this cosy will have to be as protected as the phone. And hand-washed only, of course.

 

Crocheted Noodles

These are simple to do. Chain a length of crochet – as a gauge, the spiral you get at the end  will be roughly half the length of the chain you make. Starting with the second chain from the hook, make 4 dc into each stitch then cast off. You will have a lovely curly noodle.

You can experiment by using taller stitches like trebles then doubles then singles to taper them or give them  fat bellies by making taller stitches in the middle. Make them as long or short as you like and use them to decorate hats, scarves or anything that would look good with pasta noodles or wooly dreadlocks!

 

Back to the phone case

Now, the curly patterned heart. Another crochet cutie. I have developed a crush on these little sweeties. They bring the socks to life and transform them from army drill boot things,  to curl-up-on-the-sofa-with-Ovaltine-and-Jammy-Dodger-dunkers type of things. Mmmm, while watching an episode of Boston Legal. Please let it be the one with the little man and the skillet…

 

I used it on the socks and I used a few more on the back of my new phone case… am just loving them.

The curly heart pattern is to be written up and have stage photos taken… or maybe, just maybe, I’ll make a video and post it on You Tube… never done that before and would be a lot simpler. Yes. This weekend, I’ll give it a go.

I’ve also been making some other crochet hearts and beaded felted balls. I haven’t decided what to do with them yet but they’re small, delicate (used crochet cotton and a 2.5 hook) and will look pretty on something. The felted balls aren’t machine-wash friendly but the hearts alone would look really nice on the front of a shirt or jumper with some beads. So pretty. Needles to say (pun deliberate) am loving these, too.

Well, those harem pants won’t finish themselves so must get on. Bought a single quilt cover from Ikea last weekend and have used the cotton fabric to make a couple of pairs.  People will recognise their bedding as I waft past eating Turkish Delight and belly dancing through the Dublin throngs – and I will think ‘Made you look – Ha!’.  This bit isn’t true. I rarely eat Turkish Delight (when I do it’s Fry’s and not Cadbury’s). I never belly dance in public (I did go to classes years ago though – tones up those pelvic muscles, ladies, good as Kegels for preventing stress incontinence and other things). And I won’t think anything cos I won’t give a wet slap with a cold fish or a flying fairy cake if anybody notices. They’re comfy, cotton and super-caliph-expidalidocious.

Byyeee – have a good day.

Harem Pants

September 3rd, 2014

This weekend I made a couple of pairs of harem pants. There are dozens of templates and tutorials on You Tube. I finally settled for making a pattern from a pair I already owned.

 

 

Easy to make and very comfy. Perfect for an Indian summer (wishy wishy).

 

The Birdie Bag and the Birdie Book

August 4th, 2014

Hello! You on holiday today? It’s a bank holiday in Ireland and the sun is shining. The world is lit with bright lights and colours! My garden is a riot of colour. I have huge hydrangeas covered in hot pink pom poms – three in the front garden and four in the back. All around are tall orange lily things, vibrant and juicy and all around them are fuschias, lavenders, marigolds, daisies, honesty, rosemary, honeysuckle and more … It’s glorious.

Got two loads of washing on the line this morning and dry by three o’ clock – smelling fabulous. Gorgous new Comfort (or Lenor?) fabric conditioner – am loving it.

But what have I made lately? A pretty tote made from a cute dickie bird design (lined, of course).

And a sticky-back vinyl bird on a bike cut out with the Cougar. It’s a design I created about a year ago but with my name welded onto it.

Can you see the cabinets the bag and book are resting against? They’re going to be our new bedside cabinets. Bought two at auction for €24 the pair. They’re wood, not MDF with a gorgeous relief carving on the front. There is also a drawer above with some corner decoration and an ornate handle but they’re out of the shot.

I’m prepping them for a chalk paint make over. So far, have sugar soaped and sanded. I’m not going to paint the carved areas; just paint the large flat areas and have a light paint, dark wood alternate thing going on.

The paint is an off-white, creamy colour so the contrast will work nicely (I hope). Probably won’t get done  for a couple of weeks but they’re ready to paint. When they’re done, they’ll replace the horrid cabinets we have by our bed. Nasty, featureless, MDF things.

Now to make tea, mow the front lawn and get some ironing done. Life in the fast lane, eh?!

 

Make a notice board – so easy!

July 20th, 2014

These noticeboards are in all the craft shops, haberdashers, garden centres, hobby shops, etc. Here, in ROI, they sell for around the €15 mark for an average sized one. You can make one for at least half of that.

My neighbour recently decorated her kitchen and made some new curtains to go with the new decor.  Then while out shopping, I saw a cupcake-shaped notice board with all the colours that went with her colour scheme and bought it as a present for her.

Looking at it, I realised how easy they are to make! All you need is a piece of MDF or board, some wadding or batting to cover it and material to cover that. To finish off, you’ll need about 4m of ribbon, some upholstery tacks, a stapler and/or hot glue, a couple of net curtain eyes and wire or ribbon to hang it up.

It’s almost a no-brainer to make.Mine cost no more than a fiver as I had most of the stuff lying around.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Hot glue or staple the wadding over the front of the board with an inch or so around all four sides to fold over the back.

2. Hot glue and/or staple some fabric over that with an inch or so to fold around all four sides.

3. Lay some lengths of ribbon in a criss-cross pattern (you can measure the distances if you want or do it by eye). Again, staple or hot glue in place, keeping the ribbon pulled fairly taut. Pop some upholstery studs or  pretty drawing pins at the ribbon intersections, you get the idea!

4. Finally, insert  some picture holders or curtain-net eyes (the ones that screw into the ends of curtain wire)  into one side of your  notice board so you can thread some ribbon or twine or wire to hang it up with.

Mine is in the sewing room and waiting for me to use it but it looks very pretty and better than a lot of the ones in the shops. Toot-toot.

I’m also getting hooked (pun) on crochet again. Crochet is easier than knitting and makes up much quicker. For an impatient soul like me, that is a big positive. I started back with making up lots and lots of flowers and now have a bag full. I embellished a plain wooly hat with a few  and it looks kind of sweet. Goes very well with my green pashmina.

 

I am in the middle of crocheting a crochet heart garland. The pattern is simple – I don’t have any real flair for crochet so it has to be – and each heart takes me just under 10 minutes. I’ve made them in lots of colours and sizes and the next project is to embellish some knitted socks I have. They’re a lovely rusty, terracotta, grainy coarse wool (real wool – no acrylic or other man-made fibres) and just asking for some wee hearts to decorate them

 

This will get done if my wools survive the atomic kitten. I swear she is nuclear-fuelled. This little ball of energy runs up trees, gambols around the garden chasing balls and can jump higher than any one of Abi Lee’s dance troupe. When she’s stuck in with bad weather she goes looking to see where I’ve hidden them and if she finds them, she pulls and tangles them into total chaos. Butter wouldn’t melt to see her afterwards – and to see her sleeping like she hasn’t a care in the world you’d find it hard to believe that she could wreak so much havoc! Isn’t she the sweetest?!

 

Lady Jess is much more sedate than Gracie. She takes her time having a wander round the garden. She likes to sniff every flower and never rushes it. She is relaxing day by day and the hissing has largely stopped. The lashing out is pretty much gone but still have to be wary. She can get spooked too quickly and default to old behaviours. Still, I love to see her rolling about on her back when she’s in a playful mood – looks like a little pudding.

She’s also having a good long nap on her throne here.

Our girls, awwww.

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