A very long awaited finish!

I have finally finished the two Little Cotton Rabbits animals for my friend’s grandchildren. I think I have been knitting these since December and life has just taken over so I am very glad that they are finally done.

This is the first time that I have made the little trainers and they are so cute and very easy to knit. I can’t wait to try some of the other shoe options as well.

I have named these Bertie Bear and Billy Bunny and this is also the first time doing a bear. The head is really easy and the shaping of the muzzle is done with a very clever strand of yarn sewn through the purl bumps at the back and tightened after stuffing.

They have cute backpacks with snacks in as well, I have made doughnuts and carrots before but left the beads off the doughnut this time as these are for very young children.

I have the dog pattern, and Ellen has been asking for a fox for ages, so I am really looking forward to starting my next set of animals. In a few weeks I will be off camping and am planning to take these with me as my travelling project as they are lovely to do by train.

At the moment I am altering some Steampunk outfits as we have an event this Saturday, at the Blist’s Hill Victorian Town which we are all very excited about, you know how much we love an open air museum! I am shortening the sleeves of the ‘Glories of Bombay’ outfit and need to re- do the hat. I also need a wet weather option just in case as it has been very wet this week, the satin will not cope with that at all!

I also really need to get a move on with the other outfits for Whitby Steampunk which is only a week and a half away. I am spending so much time de-cluttering (aka getting rid of 98% of my possessions) that very little else has been done. It is however as very exciting time and I am looking forward to sharing all of my future adventures with you 🙂

I will be back as soon as possible with more Steampunk loveliness and hopefully pictures of the lovely time in the sun!

Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Lovely Luna times ahead

Well dear readers as I write this there is less than a week until I retire! I will have a few things to finish off after Friday 25th June, as it the nature of a teacher’s life I can’t just cut and run, but after that date I am officially on holiday for the rest of my life. Very exciting times ahead.

I have had a very lovely day today sewing with Kerry, much progress has been made on the new hat for the cream outfit, Kerry actually sewed up the body of the hat this afternoon while I sorted some of the decoration. I am also making very good progress with the jacket and we have come up with an adaptation that will mean less work, and avoids making buttonholes as well. I will learn to do buttonholes properly one day, but today is not that day.

Last weekend Ellen came up and we had a very fabulous trip to Fabworks in Dewsbury and Bombay Stores in Bradford, thank heaven that restrictions have been lifted so that we can buy fabric again 😉 We got some lovely velvet and tweed for future Luna outfits and some more supplies for Steampunk.

I have not had chance to share the outfits that I have made for Luna, I have another couple of works in progress and this, and the Steampunk clothes, are going to be my main focus for the months ahead.

I have completed three outfits, all very cute. The first is a Liberty print and the other two are Rose and Hubble and I have loved adding all of the lace and bows and other pretty things to these. The buttons on the first outfit have poppers underneath, so no buttonholes needed!

Ellen has been making some beautiful things, there was a competition a while ago on the Luna Lapin Facebook page and one of the weekly themes was historical costume, so she made this amazing dress for Anne Bunelyn.

It is so beautifully stitched with such attention to detail, all her own design. I love the head dress and matching necklace. She is now going to match a matching Henry, as a fox which will be fabulous. She also made a beautiful party dress with a tulle skirt.

I am almost finished with the bear and bunny, I have made a bit more progress since this picture was taken, I do love the way the bear’s head has turned out and the cute little trainers. Another few hours and they should all be ready to go off to their new homes.

We are going to be away next weekend, celebrating both the end of work for me and my birthday, catching up re-enactment friends at an event, and then going to Oxford for a short break inspired by watching Discovery of Witches recently. There are some wonderful Tudor costumes in that show which we loved, including this amazing wedding dress.

We are going to be visiting museums, and having a look round all of the beautiful buildings, I used to visit regularly when I was younger as it was only 40 miles from where I grew up but have not been for years.

I hope that you are all having a nice time and enjoying good weather, it has been lovely here for days now and I have been loving sitting outside reading in the evening, making the most of my last few weeks staring at the moors.

Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Reduce, reuse, recycle…well 2 out of 3 isn’t bad

I have enjoyed watching the Great British Sewing Bee and am looking forward to next week’s episode which is all about using recycled fabrics. As you know that is something that I really enjoy doing, from my tablecloth jacket to my pouches made from old jeans.

On our recent visit to Northumberland we had a really good time in all the charity shops in Alnwick, buying clothes that we can use for Luna outfits. Buying large men’s shirts works out really well for getting fabric, Ellen and I have split these between us and there is enough materials for at least 4 outfits out of each shirt, not bad for an average of £4 a shirt.

I also bought these two very cute blue tops that I am planning to make Luna dresses from and a cute sun top with gorgeous pin tucks that will make some beautiful aprons.

We did also buy some new stuff as well, I am not very good at reducing the amount that I buy but I have two very good excuses for that, honestly!

One is that I really want to support small businesses, such as the haberdashers in the market that we found in central Durham. I love these types of stalls anyway and it is even more important now that they have had to close for so much of the last year. So we did have a little bit of a spend there but I am not going to feel guilty about it as they had some beautiful lace, bargain fabrics, and lots of buttons and bows.

I now have a dedicated Luna/Barbie button box with all of the tiny buttons and embellishments. We had a lovely time choosing these at the stall. I also had previously bought some very tiny coloured ones from Etsy suppliers here.

The other excuse that it is quite difficult to buy nice fabric and wool in Spain, my nearest fabric shops will be 40 minutes drive away and so I am planning to have lots of stash taken over there with my other possessions this summer. I have found a company that will take 40 boxes for a good price so at least 25 of them are going to be fabric, wool and books (of which we may also have bought a few from the charity shops in Alnwick and the amazing Barter Books.)

We also found a lovely wool shop in Alnwick and again had to buy lots of things to support this small business as well. I was just about to say to Ellen after we came out of our second charity shop that all I need now to make this a wonderful trip was a wool shop, and we spotted one, so that made me very happy.

I bought some very cute variegated yarn for rabbit dresses and these little balls of cotton thread. They are only £1 each and are designed for crochet but will be very good for striped jumpers and little bags.

I have recently taken delivery of this lovely lot of cotton yarn as well from Rito Yarns. What can I say except they were having a sale! And it is so soft and gorgeous, it will be so nice to knit with.

We also bought some things for us to wear, I got some jeans and two tops for Spain. In one of the last shops we came across this very stylish (!) furry handbag that we thought would make great squirrel tails for the Rowan pattern in the Luna and friends book. It was a bit of a labour of love to deconstruct it but we got a tail each from it.

Ellen has already made a lovely shirtdress from the red and blue checked shirt fabric, I am still at cutting out stage with most of my things as I am still knitting Little Cotton Rabbits, just about to make a carrot or two to put in a bunny’s rucksack and then it is lots and lots of sewing up!

There has been a lot of excitement in the Little Cotton Rabbits community as Julie is working on her newest pattern and it is dogs. Just check the link above to see all the cuteness, she has already knitted 57 different heads! This pattern is going to be amazing. I am so happy to be retiring, only 42 more days to go and my life can be one long stitch and knit fest 🙂

Ellen is coming to stay this weekend as she is going out for a drink with friends and so I will have company Saturday night, and I am going for a walk with a friend on Sunday. Fingers crossed from next week we can eat and drink inside cafes and pubs so hopefully we can do a little more live socialising over the next few months.

I will also be working on a new hat for Steampunk as we actually have an event next weekend. It is an outdoor picnic at Kelham, where we went last August. I am so looking forward to it, especially as I will get to see Kerry again 🙂

I hope that you all have a lovely weekend ahead and enjoy whatever you have planned. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Looking forward to a little linen and Liberty time!

Before I begin a new project I usually like to look at other people’s creations for inspiration, usually courtesy of Pinterest. Ellen is coming up for Sunday and Monday and as we have no decorating to do 🙂 the time is all ours!

In the fine weather this week I have painted the garden fence, the shed, and the windowsills, cleaned and replanted all of the pots, front and back, and emptied, cleaned and sorted the shed, phew! After all that hard work it will be lovely to be able to just chill. We are hoping for a little trip out on Sunday for a walk but Monday is forecast to be 5 degrees and snowing so we will be having a Luna Lapin creating session.

My copy of the book arrived this week so I am going to get a headstart on cutting out the fabric today and tomorrow so that it is all ready. I will be using linen for my rabbit body as I have lots in stash, rather than wool felt, and some lovely Liberty for the ears and clothing.

I have found so many lovely creations so I thought I would share these with you, I have also found some more knitting patterns for shawls as well. I am hoping that the Little Cotton Rabbits clothes might fit the animals as well. I am nearly at the end of my three animals for friends’ grandchildren so will be able to move on to other knitting projects as well.

This, and two other shawl patterns, can be found at Cool Crafting, who have a whole section of the website devoted to Luna (photo from website). It is a while since I have done any lace knitting but have always really enjoyed doing it. They also have the most gorgeous little jumpers for the rams.

I found a large selection of beautiful outfits on Bit of Tea and Honey, including some very cute felt shoes and this beautiful embroidered cape. I think these were done with machine embroidery, which I do have on my sewing machine, but could also be hand embroidered. Photos from her blog.

I also come across this adorable rabbit in a Liberty dress on one of my favourite blogs, Thimbleanna’s . I am in awe of the very neat topstitching here. Photos from her blog.

This beautiful coat and dress combination is also from Pinterest, made by Knitonestitchone.

We were doing some household shopping last week in a shop called The Range, which has a very nice crating section. We treated ourselves to some cute lace edging so I am going to definitely add that to one of the dresses as Tracy Daniels has done in this outfit here. I love the combination of colours and the cute crochet rucksack. Finally learning to crochet is also a retirement project.

I am so looking forward to a new project and the time to do it. All of my spare time for the last few months has been taken up decorating, which I do actually enjoy, even if it is just repainting things the same colour and nothing more creative. I do find it quite therapeutic, although I won’t be doing any more any time soon 🙂 Time now for some adventures (hopefully) and lots and lots of lovely crafting time.

I hope that you have a good Easter weekend if you are celebrating. I will hopefully be back next week with a completed rabbit to show you. Take care, stay safe, have fun and thanks for visiting.

The value of reflection

As a teacher, and a teacher trainer for 15 years, I use and teach about reflection and its value, and have always enjoyed learning from my experiences. Like many other people, I have been thinking a lot about the last year as we come up to the first anniversary of the UK lockdown.

One of the reasons why I love having a blog is that it allows me to look back on my past makes, trips and life in general. One of the practical advantages is that I can always find where I sourced things from, but also it serves as a reminder of all of happy times. Unlike a diary, this blog is not about everything that happens, but the public facing positive things in my life

I have been reminded of the value of reflecting this week twice, once by my very good friend Sarah, whose blog I read this morning. She has written about her year here, and many of the things that she says I can very much relate to. She writes about her appreciation of living here in Marsden, with the beautiful countryside on our doorstep, and the advantages of not having to commute to work.

I am eagerly awaiting lambing time so I can go and see the little cuties like this one last year. Hopefully the weather will be beautiful again so we can go for lots more walks as well.

Like me Sarah’s life has changed a lot. She works at a university, in addition to being a GP, so she too has been working from home a lot. We have shared the frustrations of not being able to talk to colleagues easily, and missing the things we took for granted a year ago, like going to conferences and just spending time with people.

She has also completed far less projects than she thought she would this past year, and I can share that feeling as well, where did all that extra time go? I think for me, a lot of it went into thinking, and into connecting with others. I have certainly spent for more time talking to relatives and friends this year, on the phone and video calls, just reassuring each other that it would be ok in the end.

Early on in the lockdown I started taking part in a research project, I can’t actually remember how I found about this, maybe through an Instagram or blog post? It was run by Naomi Clarke, someone who I previously had come across as a crafter as she is an avid paper piecer. The project was called Crafting During Coronavirus and the involvement was to keep a diary for a number of weeks, recording what I was doing and how I was feeling. This is part of her PhD work on why people sew.

I really enjoyed being involved in this, I have kept diaries many times before, and being a diary, and only for Naomi to read it was good to be able to write about some of my frustrations of that time. I re-read them recently and we were all trying to get to grips with online teaching over the summer and feeling totally out of our depths. I have become quite adept at it all now, not that I want it to continue but feel very proud that I managed to get my head round all that complex stuff that was introduced last summer.

Naomi contacted me again this week, with another part of the project, which is to create a postcard to my past self. It is to be a crafted postcard so I think I should definitely make it using Liberty. One of my little lockdown treats has been spending what would have been travel to work money on more beautiful fabric like these from Duck Egg Threads.

I think it will have to be hexagons as well as you know how I love them. Not that I have done much paper piecing this year at all, that is one of the things that has not been achieved, overtaken by Barbie couture and Little Cotton Rabbits knitting! These are some of my favourite hexagon creations, made some years ago for Yarndale, so I think the postcard will have to be linen and Liberty.

She has asked us to think about what we would say to our past selves, from our current selves, knowing what we know now. Being a huge fan of any time travel time type stories I have been thinking a lot about what to write. Almost a year ago on the 21st March I wrote a blog post about the start of lockdown. I titled it ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’

I think that what I wrote then still is very true today, but even more so. I consider myself so lucky to have all of my wonderful friends and family, who have been so supportive over the past year. There have been some lovely times, like going to Whitby and Northumberland with Ellen, and Aysgarth with her and Jacky. I will put that in the postcard, along with the power of positive thought and prayer.

My focus in that post, then as now, was on crafting. The immense comfort that I have had from knitting, sewing and embroidering over the past year cannot be underestimated. I know others feel the same, judging by the amount of knitted animals that have been created in the last year on the Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook page. This Egbert, who I finished last July, wearing the first set of striped jumper and dungarees. I am now on my third jumper so have really got to grips with top down knitting.

My stressful meetings, complex concerns about the job and the students, and worrying about my family, don’t completely go away when I craft but it makes it all so much easier to bear. The blog also serves as a useful reminder that I have failed so far to use any of the fabric that I bought on that trip that I posted about last March for Barbie dresses. I have made lots, as you know, including these two made at the very start of lockdown, but just not with that fabric. Oh well, at least it doesn’t go off, does it!

My plans for this weekend are to finish another striped jumper for a little animal and to create the fabric postcard. I also have lots of little DIY tasks to do, Ellen will be up again next week the last weekend of decorating, then it will only be a couple of weeks of finishing touches before the house goes on the market. Exciting times 🙂 What is even more exciting is the Easter holidays, I am not promising much in the way of crafting, due to the house prep, but you never know.

I hope that you are having a nice weekend and that things continue to be positive in the weeks ahead as well. It is strange to think that we may be on the way to a more normal life. I was sat in a friend’s garden this week, in the sun, having a cup of tea. Over a year ago that would be commonplace but I was so grateful just to be able to be there and have a chat with her. It is, as always, the little things that make a difference.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Back to life, back to reality…

I have been lucky enough to have the first of my vaccines, so far no ill effects at all. Here in the UK the vaccine rollout is going well and we are all hoping that it really can be a case of getting back to normal life really soon. Our plans for Easter still look like they will go ahead and we are starting to see more confirmation of other possible events later in the year.

I am also very near the end of my teaching, only two more sessions and that will be it, nearly 35 years of teaching over. In a way that will mean I can go back to having a more realistic life as well, I have really not enjoyed sitting in front of a computer all day, spending a lot of time in virtual sessions with no interaction. Teaching has always been a very social job and I have loved the human side of getting to know my students. I am looking forward to having a life where I am not staring at a screen all of the time and spending more time with actual humans!

We have been doing yet more decorating (nearly finished) and are getting down to the final touches before the house goes on the market! Exciting yet slightly scary times! I have no idea what the rest of the year is going to hold, or where I am going to be so it is all a big adventure. I am finally able to start driving lessons in April so that is the first step to freedom and adventure. Hopefully I will get over to Spain at some point as well so I shan’t be completely homeless 😉 Although I am quite looking forward to a bit of a van life adventure of my own, after so many years watching vlogs of other people’s.

There has been a bit of progress on both the Barbie wardrobe and the knitting, this dress below is another for my great-niece and is made to fit my gorgeous curvy Alexa. The skirt is from an charity shop shirt that has been in my stash for some time. Such pretty fabric and as you can see I had fun with embellishment!

I made this one a wrap around back so that I could use velcro to fasten it. This makes it a little off centre but I thought it might be easier for little hands.

I deliberately set aside the whole of the weekend as a sofa and TV watching one, various friends who have had their vaccine have felt very ill so I planned to do nothing at all. I have therefore had a lovely time so far, reading, watching old TV series (Space 1999) and working on another top down jumper from Little Cotton Rabbits.

The first one of these I knitted a while ago totally confused me, I could not see how such a long straight row of knitting could ever become a jumper but it is, as one of the Facebook group described, ‘marvellous engineering’, and once you start on the sleeves it all becomes clear. They are seamed underneath which forms the sides of the body, making it a lot easier to put together. This will go with a lime green pair of dungarees and green and orange trainers for a bunny for a friend’s grandchild.

I want to make a cute cardigan next, I have been inspired by all the gorgeous Easter bunnies that are being knitted on the Facebook group at the moment, look at these by Heather Harrison, adorable!

I really need to get out and do some gardening, Ellen and I bought some lovely plants for the hanging baskets last weekend but it has been dreadful weather all week, hail and sleet, and today is not much better. Oh well. nothing else for it but to stay under the fleece on the sofa and carry on knitting. I discovered a new series on Netflix last night, ‘The One’, which is very gripping so will continue with that and hopefully finish the jumper today.

I hope that you are all having a good weekend wherever you are and have a very good week ahead. Mine will no doubt go very fast, time seems to be whizzing by at the moment. Take care, stay safe, have fun and thanks for visiting.

A very welcome break

I have just finished work for the week, my very last bit of Saturday teaching, being involved in an online open day. From here on (hopefully) my weekends are free to do what I want, starting with this weekend where I must get some serious knitting done.

I also have next week off. I know that term only started four weeks ago but there have been very many long days and I am really looking forward to not having to be on the computer so much. I am having some problems with my eyes, and have new glasses to pick up in while, so it will be lovely to do other things that will give my eyes a bit of a rest.

I have been doing puzzles in the evenings again, rather than anything else, as I have not wanted to strain my eyes further and have just completed this gorgeous one.

I would love to just climb into the picture and be there now. Jackie (my sister) and I would love to go away in her camper van as soon as we can. Meanwhile I am keeping myself amused watching travel vlogs filmed pre-pandemic. I have found a new favourite You Tube channel, Flora and the Novice Explorers.

Not only have they had some fabulous trips through Europe they also have a very useful website with lots of good info and recipes. I first came across them as they were driving down the coast near where my house in Spain is. Just look at the view here, this is one of their wild camping spots just up the coast from me, how beautiful is this! Picture from their blog.

I have just started this one of a quilt shop. I plan to make lots of full-size quilts after retirement and love all the colourful ones in this picture. Again I would just love to climb in and be in that shop, maybe taking a class. If we are allowed I will try and attend some over the summer, the quilt shop Sharon and I visited in September often holds them so that would be a nice birthday treat.

Meanwhile there are some more quilt alongs happening. I did one at the start of the first lockdown and made lots of lovely Liberty blocks. That was from Riley Blake and they have a new one happening now. You can find the schedule here and all of the patterns on the Riley Blake website here. I won’t have time to start the blocks now, they look a little more complex than the ones I did last year, but am saving them all for future use. Photo of instructions from link above.

The first one is the Pinwheel Star Block, made by Jedi Craft Girl. I have used her pouch tutorials in the past. Picture from her website. This one doesn’t look too difficult, although with my inaccurate piecing I doubt the corner squares would be as neat!

The second is the Shining Star Block, from Bev at Flamingo Toes. Again I have used her tutorials for the lovely camper van embroidery hangings I have done. I love the outline stitching around the centre star here. Picture from her website and photo of instructions from Riley Blake site as before.

The rest of this weekend’s task is to try and finish the removable trainers for some knitted animals, I am nearly finished with the second one, after having to undo a lot of knitting. They look so cute when finished though, so hopefully mine will look as good. Picture is from the pattern, my first pair are in turquoise shades.

These are from the amazingly talented Julie from Little Cotton Rabbits, who keeps coming up with ever more gorgeous things for us to knit. I can’t wait to have a go at the little shoes with eyelets as well. I have been inspired once again by the people on the Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook group who are all far more productive than I am at the moment!

The sun is shining today, so hopefully it will melt the snow and ice, I did venture out on Wednesday for a walk but had a bad fall on the ice so am a bit bruised. I am therefore not risking it again until all the paths are clear. I was rescued by a very lovely older gentleman who was concerned that I might have broken my hip and came out in his crampons to get me! I do live in a very lovely place.

Take care, have a nice week ahead, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A whole lot of sorting going on

Well I have had a very busy few weeks, very little crafting but a huge amount of sorting and decluttering. It is less than 3 months until I put the house on the market (eeek!) so there has been a lot to do as I wanted to make the best use of what time I had before Christmas. Starting in January I will be finishing the re-painting, doing the final declutter and then calling the estate agents!

I have been helped by a new Facebook page in our lovely village for people to gift and request items that they need, set up just as the newest restrictions started as all of the charity shops were closed, and some smaller items have gone to new homes. It is such a lovely idea and people have been very generous, there have been some really nice children’s toys and all sorts of things that people have donated to others.

My wonderful Ellen came up last weekend and we did an enormous amount, not that much is visible as it was all things in cupboards, and under beds and in long forgotten boxes and drawers. Some of it went to the local tip, some saleable items on Ebay, but I know it is all gone, and there will be much less to get rid of after the house is sold.

I have even decluttered the craft room, I still have to find homes for some of it as there is a lot of scrap fabric that in previous times would have gone to the local school but they are not accepting anything at the moment. I still do have some time to sort that out though.

It seems weird to be on the final countdown, fingers crossed I only have about 8 months left living here and then it will be a life in Spain, and hopefully on the road for part of the year. I have no idea what will happen, the double whammy of the pandemic and Brexit have meant that planning is not easy but fingers crossed I will get there. I count myself very lucky that I have a house there already and am not trying to do that bit as well.

I have finished a couple of things, I have knitted a basket and some carrots for Ellen and I am doing another set of these for the next bunny as well. I love how the basket has turned out with the basket weave stitch, it was very easy to do and I love it. It is very sturdy and has a lovely i-cord handle. The basket is from Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits and the carrots are a free pattern by Wendy from Flutterby Patch.

Wendy also had some really cute little snowmen that you could use as gifts bags for sweets etc. so I have bought this pattern from her Etsy page and have knitted one already, I have just got to do the face now so I will show you that later. I am going to make two as gifts for my great nieces. These pictures are from her Ravelry page.

I am really tempted to get some of her other patterns as well, I love this group of teddies, and the cute little group of kids.

These dolls are beautiful as well and she has patterns for extra outfits for the larger ones. All pictures are from her Ravelry page.

I shall just spend my retirement knitting endless amounts of little knitted animals and cute dolls 😉 I am sure I can find good homes for them to go to. Most of my relatives are getting a little too old now but I am sure I can give them away to others for gifts, or to charity. I did really enjoy making the fabric dolls I made a couple of years ago for my cousins and would like to make some more of those as well. Details of the pattern for these are in this post.

I have finished all on campus teaching now, we have moved everything else online for this term so that hopefully we can all meet up with people safely for Christmas. I am just doing tutorials and marking for the next two weeks so hopefully will have lots of time for other things as I am not leaving the house at all. It seems strange that I will not be going back into work until the middle of January now but I am quite happy here at home. It has been cold and wet out recently so I am happy not to have to stand at cold bus stops!.

A little Christmas tree is up (I have given away the big one and most of my ornaments, even my hand made ones), I have the house full of pretty lights, some new fluffy slipper boots and so I am cosy and warm inside. I am very blessed to have such a safe and comfortable warm home and extremely grateful for this in these difficult times. I am going to light the candles, carry on with some knitting and watch the second series of the lovely Virgen River on Netflix.

I hope that you are all safe and warm as well and have a happy week ahead. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Have yourself a merry knitted Christmas ….

This week has gone so fast! I am not sure if that is a good thing or not. In one respect I can’t wait for all of ‘this’ to be over so the faster time goes the better, and the nearer to retirement I get 🙂 However, I do like to feel that I am making good use of time, but it is just whizzing past me.

This week’s crafting has partly been about preparing a new camper van embroidery and a lovely new applique needlebook for me. More on that in a future post as they are just at the stage of being stuck to the background with no stitching yet.

I have been experimenting with knitted ornaments as I decided that I would like to do knitted ones for this year’s collection for family. I was doing a bit of research and came across some wreaths and thought that I could maybe adapt Julie’s free doughnut pattern so I had a little play.

Knitting it on size 3.75 mm needles made a bigger doughnut but it was not big enough, so I eventually cast on 39 stitches rather than the 26 in the pattern. This is such a fast and easy knit, you do not have to concentrate too hard so it is great for doing while watching tv. I have now made 5 doughnuts in total I am getting quite confident with it.

To decorate I am using up my stash of little charms. I have so many varied ones that I have collected over the years and they look very cute on the wreath.

I only have about half a ball of this lovely variegated yarn left so will use that up for possibly another 4 of these. The good thing is that the charms can be varied as I only have one or two left of most of these now and I am trying to be good and not buy any new stash 🙂

The Little Cotton Rabbits crafting community continue to delight with their Christmas themed knitting. These gorgeous creations have all been posted recently. This reindeer is by Christine Collins and I love the background and the accessories, that gingerbread doll is so cute!

This cute rabbit in a Christmas dress is by Lindsay Munro, I really love all the variations that you can make to the basic dress patterns.

I have knitted the free stocking pattern before but never in miniature like the one from Sarah Bellis below. And the bear has a hat, candy cane and Christmas slippers! I think this might be one of my all time favourite makes.

Although these three come a very close second, this little family by Sharon Pagdin have got the most detailed set of Christmas clothes. I really love the green holly themed textured dress.

I will not get time before Christmas but I think I will have to knit a reindeer over the holidays. I have a little red jumper with a snowflake on that I knitted a long time ago and I think that would look brilliant with some green trousers.

I am going to take three weeks leave at Christmas, my employer has given us extra time off to say thank you for all the extra work we have done this term so I have two weeks from them. I am still hoping that restrictions are lifted so I can visit Mum in Spain but we shall see, it is all very complicated so I probably won’t know until last minute. Either way there will be lots of knitting taking place.

I hope that you have had a good week and things are going ok. Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Reasons to be cheerful, Parts 1,2 and 3

I remember Ian Dury and the Blockheads very well, the song, ‘Reasons to be cheerful part 3’, was one of my favourites as a teenager. Given the recent announcement about further restrictions things are looking a little less than cheerful here in the UK. However I have had a good week teaching both online and on campus. I am nice and cosy staring at the foggy day outside, and there are lots of lovely things to be thankful for.

The first one is that I have just knitted a doughnut! Well I have actually knitted two but this one is the first to be fully finished with all its little beads. This is to go with the little mouse below. These are so quick and easy to make and from a free pattern from Julie’s Ravelry page, which is linked below.

I know I have said this before but I am so happy to be able to create, it soothes me, makes me feel in control when things seem to be going crazy and makes me so happy.

Who could not be happy seeing the completed little mouse here. This is many relaxing hours of work and I love her.

She is going to a friend’s grand daughter so I hope that she will be happy with it too. Her name at the moment is Mia but I am sure that she will get a new name when she arrives in her new home.

The t-shirt dress is a supplement to the top down jumper pattern and this is the second time that I have knitted this top. It is a really easy pattern to follow and makes much neater sleeves so I am now using it as the top of a little animal dress that I am knitting as well.

The rucksack comes from another of Julie’s patterns with lots of bags and I am looking forward to making more of the different versions.

The second reason to be cheerful is community. I am so thankful for all of the different communities that I belong to, both real and virtual. I love being able to stay in contact with people and to be inspired by them and their creations. Every day of the past few months my spirits have been lifted by looking at a blog post, or watching one of my travel vloggers.

One of the communities that I absolutely love, which fills with me with such joy, is the Little Cottons Rabbits one on Facebook. Ironically Julie, the wonderful creator of all the patterns and the group, was one of the very first blogs I ever started reading. She has brought such joy to everyone through her patterns and her new community. There are over 3,000 members now worldwide and it is one of the best bits of my day seeing what others have made.

Julie has recently released a removable shoes pattern and I have bought that and the boy ram this month. Pictures are from Julie’s Ravelry site.

There are some wonderful examples of these shoes on the group and I have been very inspired, especially the little lacy ones. This gorgeous colourway is by Lene Holla, those grey socks are just so cute!

I have also been getting lots of ideas for colour schemes and embellishments. This beautiful elephant with a matching cardi is by Adele Gomes.

I do just happen to have some little roses in my stash as well as some mini bows. I am not sure that I could knit very tiny ones like these on the very beautifully neat creations from Sarah Bellis.

I have also been amazed by the creativity in the community with people adapting the pattern and making the most amazing themed animals. This little cat in traditional costume is by Claudia Sadun. I love the knitted apron with its detailed trellis design.

I have not knitted a deer yet but there are so many beautiful ones being made as Christmas presents and I adore this one, this is by Marie Fowles and she looks so cosy in her fluffy scarf.

The most creative ones I have seen so far are these lovely little mice themed around The Nutcracker. These are from Annette Belway.

The joy that these bring as gifts is fantastic and there are lots of posts about toys going to friends and relatives and the wonderful reactions that they get.

The third reason to be cheerful is hope. At the start of restrictions in March I was concerned about family, when I would see them again, and how they would cope. I have luckily been able to see most of them, and have really appreciated that time. I have especially valued when it has been where we have been able to go away and spend time doing exciting and amazing things.

I have just completed another little camper van embroidery and have another on the go. This is a free pattern from Flamingo Toes and she has lots more hoop art patterns here. Doing these gives me hope that one day they will hang in my little camper van as we go off on our adventures together.

My plans for the rest of today are to do some Christmas ornament making. I have a couple of quieter weeks coming up so want to get most things done by the end of November, rather than in a rush in December as usually happens.

I was able to go and visit my local haberdashers on Wednesday, just before they had to shut again for a while. I needed more wool for the next few projects so while I am still going into work I took advantage of being able to stock up. You never know when plans will have to change these days so a good supply of everything is essential 😉

My lovely sister took me to the supermarket on the way back from our recent trip so I have enough lovely food and wine so just need to ensure that the crafting stocks are in top condition as well.

I hope that you are all coping and finding your own reasons to be cheerful, even though things may be a bit gloomy at the moment, as the saying goes, ‘this too shall pass’. Take care, stay safe and thanks to you all for visiting and being part of my community.