Friday, 21 December 2012

Some recent projects and...

Hi there dear reader,
I hope you are well and happy and not suffering too much from the cold weather that we're having right here in the Northern hemisphere.  Where I am it is damp, damp and more damp. And grey. I'm really missing the South African warmth and vibrant colours. But I suppose that's life.

To cheer myself up, I've been very actively Finishing Things Off. Or trying to. Here's the results:

First of all, a lovely little sausage-dog for a friend's baby. I used Debbie Bliss Eco Baby yarn and a 3 mm hook. The pattern is not one of my own this time - I used this pattern from Premier Yarns. The pattern was straightforward but if I'd have one criticism it would be the sewing together! The pattern has nine pieces that need to be sewn together which may be all right if you like sewing, but I don't... Sewing the head to the body was particularly difficult as it is means sewing two rounded shapes together, and even after all possible efforts the head was still a bit wobbly.  But the parents liked it and I think the baby did too.

Secondly, this rather short scarf for a friend. It's such a pity that the photo doesn't really reflect how light and soft this yarn is. It's Faerytale by Du Store Alpakka - a beautifully lightweight and incredily soft brushed Alpaca wool. I only had one 50g ball, but still decided to make this little wrap. I used a free pattern I found on  Ravelry called Airy Shells Scarf. It's an easy pattern and perfect for this kind of yarn.

And today's last project is...

A little fox brooch!  This little guy was easy but a bit fiddly to make out of felt. You need really sharp scissors to cut out the tiny pieces. I'll draw out the pattern pieces and post this up on the blog soon, if you'd like it.

Oh and I've made a promise on my facebook page that there will be a giveaway soon. I'm just waiting to get to 200 followers on the blog (there are already well over 100 likers on facebook) and I'm putting together a little selection of bits and bobs to cheer up a happy winner. More about that very soon!


Thursday, 6 December 2012

South African safari

Hi there. When I look at my last post and this one, I'd forgive you for thinking that I'm forever travelling. But it really is an exception. Our trip to Paris was a gift for my son that he and I had been waiting for for quite a while. And my most recent trip was really special too. As part of my job I had to go to Durban, South Africa, for a ten-day conference together with several of my colleagues. This time I decided with two of my friends that we would stay behind and enjoy ourselves for a couple of days after the stress of ten days non-stop working. Unfortunately one of our friends couldn't make it so just two of us went to discover the North coast of South Africa, including the St Lucia Estuary and wetlands, and the Hluhluwe game reserve.

We really had a great time. At 6am on Saturday morning we were picked up at the hotel in Durban by our guide Sthembiso, and we had a three-hour drive up the North coast. The country is very green and beautiful. On the road we bought little peeled pineapples for 50p that we ate in the car. They were very sweet and juicy, delicious!  We went to the Emdoneni cat rehabilitation centre which houses felines that can no longer live in the wild. They have caracals, servals, African wildcats and cheetahs. Some of them are tame and we went into several of the enclosures, but the best by far was the cheetah enclosure. The two cheetahs are brothers, but one is friendlier than the other, and you can lie down and cuddle him.  It felt quite weird being just next to a wild animal, an unforgettable experience.

We then went to St. Lucia, a very small town on the St. Lucia Estuary in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, where we had lunch, then in the afternoon we went on a two-hour boat trip to see hippos and crocodiles. We also saw some lovely birds including a fishing eagle. We were told that hippos are one of the most dangerous African animals (more about that later).

That evening my friend and I had lunch at a local restaurant and went back to our guest house early because we were gong to be picked up at 6am again, this time for the safari. We were told to take a particular route to avoid meeting any hippos after dark.

Sure enough, the following morning at 6am a different driver was waiting for us in a safari vehicle. We had been advised to wear warm clothes, and soon discovered why. The canvas top of the vehicle did nothiing at all to stop the wind, and at 6am and driivng at normal speed it was pretty draughty up there. After about an hour we got to the game reserve. It is huge, 96,000 hectares. We very soon saw a couple of elephants, and as the day went on we were very lucky and saw a large variety of animals, including one rather stroppy young male elephant, who we were a bit afraid might come and knock over the car. Luckily for us he didn't. We saw four of the 'big five' : elephants, buffaloes giraffes and lions.  The lions were a long way off but I saw them using my daughter's old birdwatching binoculars. We saw loads of impalas, warthogs, zebras, nyalas, and more.

Back at the guesthouse we had a little nap and then went out for an early dinner, as we would be leaving the following morning. That day there was an electricity black-out, but we ate at a restaurant that had a generator. The way home was really dark, though. We had a torch but it was so dark and because it was cloudy there was no moonlight or stars either. We were nearly back when my frined suddenly stopped in her tracks and said "Oh my god, hippos!" and just ahead of us three hippos were trotting along. They had passed in front of the guest house and if we had been a minute earlier we would have met them face to face, in the pitch black. Fortunately, they just ignored us and carried on. We were a bit shaken, though.

On our last morning we had a short trip to the beach to contemplate the Indian ocean before leaving for the airport and a 10-hour overnight flight home. A very memorable holiday. I have uploaded more photos to flickr, if you would like to see them.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

My trip to Paris

Yesterday I came back from a short but intense trip to Paris. The last time I'd been was a long, long time ago. I went with my husband when we were still just the two of us.  This time I went with the youngest of our children, my 15-year-old son. But Paris hardly changes. We had a great time. Would you like to see some pictures?

No trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. I love it. And it was only a 10-minute walk from our flat, so we went to see it several times. I'll never tire of looking at this Iron Lady. So elegant, like all the Parisiennes!

Here's another famous Parisian tower, the Tour Montparnasse. This one is over 200 metres high, and the lift to the 56th floor takes only 38 seconds!  The view from the top is, I find, the best view of Paris. We were there at dusk, and this is what we could see:

Isn't that view something?

This is the courtyard of the Louvre. We didn't actually visit the museum because the queues were so long, and I'd read that you really need to plan to spend a whole day there. So we'll have to go back again, won't we? In the meantime, I just wanted to have an idea of the size of the place. It is huge (210 000 m2), beautiful and very impressive.

This is, for me, the symbol of French luxury. This huge Swarovski xmas tree is in the famous store Galeries Lafayette, famous for its luxurious French goods. Most of the items for sale are too pricey for me, but looking doesn't cost anything! And quite honestly, the architecture is so gorgeous, all the fancy goods just pale into insignificance. The different galleries are built around the central part, and just look up above - each arch is beautifully sculpted and decorated. Above the sculpture there are stained glass windows, and to top it all the most beautiful glass dome.  Here's the dome in all its glory:


And yes! I did find a yarn store! And not just any old yarn store.  La Droguerie is hidden behind the church in the Halles area of Paris. It is an absolute jewel of a shop, all wooden drawers and jars of buttons and beads.  The yarn is sold by weight, so you can have 50 g or 100g or, if you prefer, 32g or 456g...  All the yarn is exclusive and only sold by La Droguerie.  I picked up some gorgeous dusty pink 4-ply wool to make a shawl for my lovely Mum. It's the one just two skeins away from this lady's hand. I could have bought the whole shop! I met two fellow Ravellers in the shop and we chatted while we were waiting to be served. Each customer's order is dealt with individually so yes, you do have to wait, but it's worth it. A highlight of my holiday.

Before I go here's another photo of my Parisian friend. This time she's wearing her glittery robe. Gorgeous.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Crocheting for charity

Hi there! Look what I've been making :) Squares, squares and squares (and a hat, but I've not got a photo of  that here).
This all started a while ago when a friend of mine sent me a link to a Norwegian charity that sends knitted blankets and baby clothes to Tanzania. Hmm, I thought, I like the sound of crocheting for charity, I wonder what I can do to help? I'll be going to South Africa for work at the end of this month and it seemed a good idea to look for a charity there, with the idea that I'll be able to bring anything I make along with me and post it from within the country, saving both time and postage costs.
So to cut a long story short, a quick look around t'Internet brought me to
Knit a square collects crocheted and knitted squares (20 cm - 8 inches square) to make into blankets for orphans in South Africa. Most of the children are AIDS orphans and they need the warmth and comfort that a hand-made blanket can bring. Knit a square also needs hats, rain capes and warm vests for the children. They also need cash donations to help with collection, delivery and other costs. 
Please consider making a donation or sending some squares or other crochet/knit items to South Africa. Knit a square also has a facebook page and an active group on Ravelry. Join in the giving!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Teddy rattle free pattern

Thank you so much for your interest in my little teddy rattle. Here, at last, is the pattern.

As usual, please do not sell this pattern. Do not post this pattern to any website, but link directly to my blog. No file sharing of this pattern. Please respect my rights as the designer of this pattern, so that I can keep on sharing my patterns for free.

(A word on lining: I line the head with cotton fabric so as to be sure that none of the polyfill will come out. I consider this is especially important when making toys for babies. If you want to do the same, when you get to row 18 of the head, draw around it on a piece of paper and use this as a pattern to cut out two pieces of soft cotton fabric. stitch close to the edge, leaving a gap for stuffing that is also big enough for the rattle insert. Now turn inside out and place it inside the head. Now stuff it and add the rattle insert, sewing it closed by hand.)

For this photo, I stuffed the cotton "bag" before putting it in the head. It's easier to place the empty "bag" in the head before adding the rattle and stuffing it, and then sew the gap closed.

Another solution would be to user a smaller hook, so that your stitches are really very tight. I prefer to line.

For now, though, let's get on with the actual pattern.

(Please note that the pattern has not been properly tested, so there might be some mistakes. If you find any, or if any of it is difficult to understand, please tell me in the comments section and I will update/respond to the best of my ability.)

You will need:

A small amount of sportsweight yarn in two colours (I used Debbie Bliss eco baby)
Contrasting yarn or embroidery thread for the face
A 3 mm crochet hook
A rattle insert

Start with the ears (make 2)

Using colour A make a magic ring

rnd 1 - 6 sc into magic ring
rnd 2 - 2 sc in each st around (12 sts)
rnd 3-4 - sc around (12 sts)
rnd 5 - [sc2tog, 1 sc], rep to end (8 sts)
rnd 6 - working through both thicknesses, 4 sc.

Fasten off, leaving a long tail to sew the ears to the head.

Now make the little arms (make 2)

Using colour B make a magic ring

rnd 1 - 6 sc into magic ring
rnd 2 - [1 sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st] twice (8 sts)
rnd 3 - sc around (8 sts)
Change to colour A
rnd 4-10 sc around (8 sts)

Fasten off.


Using colour A make a magic ring

rnd 1 - 6 sc into magic ring
rnd 2 - 2 sc in each st around (12 sts)
rnd 3 - [2 sc in next st, 1 sc] rep around (18 sts)
rnd 4 - [2 sc in next st, 2 sc] rep around (24 sts)
rnd 5 - [2 sc in next st, 3 sc] rep around (30 sts)
rnd 6 - [2 sc in next st, 4 sc] rep around (36 sts)
rnd 7-9 - sc around (36 sts)
rnd 10 - [2 sc in next st] three times, sc in next 15 sts, [2 sc in next st] 3 times, sc in next 15 sts (42 sts)
rnd 11-13 - sc around (42 sts)
Carry on sc to just below the middle inc stitch of row 10. (If you look carefully, you'll notice that the increases of rnd 10 are visible as three larger stitches on each side of the head. Use those stitches as a guide of where the sides of the head are) Change to colour B.  (see photo)

Can you see the larger stitches?

rnd 14-16 - sc around (42 sts)

rnd 17 - [1sc in next 5 sts, sc2tog] rep around (36 sts)
rnd 18 - sc around (36 sts)

Now is a good time to sew on the ears and embroider the eyes, nose and mouth with contrasting yarn or embroidery thread. To place them, flatten the face, making sure that the increases of rnd 9 are on the edge of the head, giving it the right shape.  Sew the ears on between rows 4 and 7. Embroider the nose in the middle of the face, on rnd 12. Space the eyes evenly in relation to the nose, then add the cheeky smile. Now stuff the head. (See notes above re lining the head before stuffing)

rnd 19 - [1sc in next 4 sts, sc2tog] rep around (30 sts)
rnd 20 - sc around (30 sts)

rnd 21 - [1sc in next 3 sts, sc2tog] rep around (24 sts)
Change to colour A
rnd 22 - sc around (24 sts)

Join in one of the arms by crocheting through both thicknesses together with the rest of rnd 23.

Continue sc until you are at the centre front of the head, then skip 12 sts and sc in the next st. From now on, you will be working only in the remaining 12 sts. Work several rows in colour A, and then add colour B and work in a spiral, changing colour every 12 sts (leaving the yarn to one side every time you change colour - don't cut the yarn!) If you prefer, you can also make the handle in a single colour.

Here you can see how the handle is constructed.

Continue the tube, stuffing as you go. As this part is too narrow to line, I use a very old woollen felted blanket, cut into little shreds, to stuff the handle. Continue until the handle measures approx 19 cm (7 1/2 inches), finishing with colour A, and work the same number of rounds in colour as you did at the beginning of the handle. Join in the second arm, on the same side as the first one (see photo). Finish off the rnd on the opposite side to the arm and finish off, leaving a long thread for sewing.

Now make sure you have stuffed the handle enough, then very carefully sew the open part of the handle to the remaining 12 sts of the head.

Don't hesitate pulling on it to make sure your stitches are strong enough. Safety is an issue here! When you're satisfied that the handle is securely sewn, fasten off and hide the ends inside the head.

And there you have a cute little teddy rattle!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Toys for sale!

Hello there!

Well the organic market has been and gone, and unfortunately I did not obtain the right to sell my items due to the complicated French bureaucracy. The market is not considered as a craft fair, it is for professional sellers, of which I am not, so for insurance reasons I couldn't sell anything there. So my goods are still for sale! Some friends have already expressed their interest (for example the little duck rattle in my previous post has already been snatched up!). But if you're interested in any of my goods, do let me know. You can see the whole lot on the Is it a toy crochet facebook page. And to keep your appetite up, here's a small selection of what's available.

For more, nip over to our facebook page now! And if you don't have access to facebook, send me a message and I'll give you all the information you might need. I look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Busy as a bee!

And here's just one of the things I've been doing. I'm very pleased with these new rattle toys but as I commented on the previous post, I'm just too busy to write up the pattern.

What am I doing? Well, lots of things. This week I have to finish off the items for a swap I'm doing on Ravelry. Next week we have the huge yearly car boot sale in our little town. I won't be selling anything this year, but it's something to look forward to. The following week, I may be holding my first official stall on our local organic market! I'm just wondering when I'll find out... I sent in my application but haven't heard anything back yet and it's in two weeks' time! In any case, I have to crochet, crochet, crochet so that I'll have enough stock, and I suppose that if I don't get a place, I'll just have to sell my items elsewhere or wait until the Spring sale in May. I've ordered some more organic yarn from the UK, including some Alpaca wool  that I'm trying out for the first time. I thought it would be nice for cosy winter hats. It's already getting a bit chilly around here.

On with my list... early November I'm organising a short trip to Paris with my son. Last time I went to Paris was almost thirty years ago! We're really looking forward to it. We've booked an apartment near to the Eiffel tower, and we'll probably visit the usual tourist places. I'd also like to go to the Cité des Sciences, and to visit the new Islamic art section in the Louvre. Then there's Montmartre, le Marais, the Arc de Triomphe, and my son wants to go and see Jim Morrison's grave at the Père Lachaise cemetry. If you know any other spots in Paris we absolutely have to visit, please let me know in the comments :)

Then towards the end of November I'm off to South Africa! It's a trip for work, where we'll be holding a conference. Once it's over, I'm going on safari with two of my friends. We all agreed that it was a pity to go so far without seeing some of the country. So we've organised a short trip to the beautiful countryside, with a trip both to a land safari and a day in the nearby wetlands. I can't wait!

When it was my birthday, I wrote up a list of 50 things I would like to do before my next birthday, a kind of bucket list but with a time limit. Visiting Paris is just one of them, as is holding my first real sale of my crochet goods. It feels good!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Teddy rattle MkII

Remember these teddy rattles? Well, I wasn't entirely satisfied with the result, even though lots of my friends and family told me they were fine, cute and very nice. Hmm, I thought, there's something missing. And I found the shape of their head could be improved.  So, back to the drawing board. This new teddy has a slightly bigger head, and most importantly he has arms! Much better, don't you think? 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Spicynat's mum and baby owls

Spicynat has kindly given me permission to share her gorgeous Mom and Baby owls, aren't they just the cutest things? I love the way she's done the eyes. Spicynat shared her pics on our flickr group. We're looking forward to seeing other owls, doudous, etc that you've made using the patterns from this blog :-)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Purple stripes

Hello there!
I had lots of bits of Debbie Bliss eco aran yarn left over in my stash, so decided to make a stripy owl. Her eyes are a bit small and her beak is a bit big, but I think it gives her character. She even rattles. If you want to make an owl, the pattern is here: Remember to post a photo of your creations on the flickr page too!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Do you believe that at my age I'd never read Rebecca? A couple of people I mentioned it to were surprised, but I reckoned it's never too late to put things right - so I read it. And what a delight! This book is just wonderful. I was worried that it was going to be a bit stuffy and old fashioned, with it having been written in the 1930s. I thought it wouldn't have the 19th century charm of Jane Eyre or Little Women, nor the excitement of more modern literature. But I hadn't expected the way it totally took me into the narrator's thoughts, willing her to do or not to do things, or feeling such pain, or relief, on her behalf.

The story is told in the first person by the narrator, whose name we never learn, a young woman whose parents have both died and has no other family, and is employed as a "companion" to an American woman, Mrs Van Hopper, who is travelling in Europe. The narrator is naive and a bit clumsy, she hates her job. At 21 years old, she can't stand having to entertain Mrs Van Hopper's boring friends.  But the two women meet Max de Winter, an English widower, who happens to be staying at the same hotel in Monte Carlo. When Mrs Van Hopper is taken ill, the narrator has more time on her hands, and accepts Mr. de Winter's offer to go for a drive. Their relationship quickly blossoms, and when it is time for Mrs Van Hopper and the narrator to move back to the States, Max de Winter proposes to the young woman who is half his age, they marry and travel in the Mediterranean before going back to Manderley, his huge English mansion that has so many reminders of his dead wife, Rebecca. The housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, will not let anyone forget what a wonderful woman Rebecca was. But maybe things are not quite what they seem...

Daphne du Maurier tells a gripping story. Her characters are fascinating, and the final twist takes you totally by surprise. A pearl of a book.

This is the first book review on my blog. One of my birthday resolutions was to keep track of the books I read, and this is the first book I've finished since then. By writing them on my blog I'll be able to keep track, and you'll be able to read the reviews, and maybe enjoy reading some of the books too.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Sammy snake finger puppet free pattern

I've made this little finger puppet several times, so decided to (at last!) write up the pattern and share it here.

For this, and all of my patterns, please respect my designer rights and do not claim this pattern as your own. You are free to use the pattern to make, give and sell toys but please credit me as the designer. If you want to share this pattern, please do not reproduce it on your site, but link back to Thank you!

This is the IDEAL last-minute little gift for the small children in your life. It is really quick and easy to make with a tiny amount of yarn, and kids love it! I've offered it to all ages from three to seven, and they all had great fun with their little snake. It works best with worsted/aran yarn, though I've also used DK with success.  The DK yarn makes a smaller snake, but it still fits tiny fingers. The eyes are embroidered, and for the tongue you can either choose the easy option, as I did, just by pulling through the tail of yarn, from the wrong side, or you can use felt, and if you're feeling adventurous, you can crochet a tongue  using embroidery thread. The pattern for the tongue is down below, at the botton of this post. Have fun, ssssssssssss.

You will need:

A small amount of yarn
A crochet hook that corresponds to your yarn (I used a 4mm hook with aran, or a 3.5mm hook with DK)
Embroidery thread for the eyes
(optional) Red or pink felt or embroidery thread for the tongue

The pattern for the crochet tongue can be found below the main pattern.

Row 1 - make a magic circle with 5sc
Row 2 - 2sc in each st (10)
Row 3 - sc around (10)
Row 4 - [1sc in next st, 2sc in next st], continue around (15)
Row 5 - [1sc in next st, 2sctog], continue around (10)
Row 6 - sc around (10)
Row 7- [1sc in next 3 sts, sc2tog] twice (8)
Row 8-10 - turn. sc in same st, sc in next 5sts (6)
Row 10 - turn, sc in 6 sts, 2ch
Now you continute to work in rounds again.

Row 11 - 1sc in 6sts, 2sc in 2 ch sp
Row 12-13 - 1 sc around (8)
Row 14 - sc2tog, sc to end (7)
Row 14-15 - sc around (7)
Row 16 - 1sc in 5 sts, sc2tog (6)
Row 17-19 - sc around (6)
Row 20 - sc2tog x 3
Fasten off and pull end to the inside of the snake, trim ends.

Embroider the eyes, then make the tongue by pulling the beginning thread through to the right side and trimming it to tongue size. Or by cutting out a piece of felt, pulling the end through the middle of the magic ring, and sewing securely in place. Otherwise, you can make a tongue from embroidery thread, as follows:

Snake tongue

You will need:

Red or pink embroidery thread (or another colour if you feel like it)
a small crochet hook (I used a 1.75mm hook)

ch 9
1 ss in 2nd ch from hook, 1 ss in next 2 ch
ch 4
1 ss in 2nd ch from hook, ss to end. Fasten off and knot the ends. Pull the end through the middle of the magic ring, and sewing securly in place.

Please let me know if you find any mistakes in the pattern, or if anything is not clear and I will make corrections. If you make any cute snakes, feel free to share them on our flickr group.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Teddy rattles sneak preview

I recently ordered some rattle inserts to add to my toys, and I decided to make some proper baby rattles with a handle for baby to grab and shake. Being a fan of teddies, of course, I've made a teddy rattle, based on the chubby teddy and teddy doudou patterns. I'm still busy testing the pattern, but I wanted to give you a sneak preview of this quick, easy project. I love making them I hope you will too! Keep your eye out for the pattern, hopefully in the next day or two.

I must apologise for being a bit quiet on the blogging side, but don't think I've been here sitting around doing nothing. I've been very busy thinking up new patterns, testing and trying out some new ideas. You might also have noticed that the blog has changed a bit. I've added links to my new facebook page and the flickr group (please join in!). I'm also busy grouping the free patterns and recipes on new pages (not quite finished that yet).  I'm removing some links that weren't really very successful, and have altered the layout of the blog. All of this is work in progress and I would love to get your feedback. If you have any more ideas about how I can improve the blog, please let me know.

Bye for now!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Hello there! So, so sorry I've not been around for... almost two weeks. I'm back at last, and while I was away from my blog, lots of things have happened.

First of all I had a Very Important Birthday. I cannot believe I'm 50 years old. Eeek! How did that happen? Watch out, girls, those years seem to sneak up without us even noticing. Yes I do have a painful knee, the odd wrinkle and my body shape isn't quite what it used to be. But inside, I still feel exactly the same as I did when I was 25. And look what I got for my birthday. A new order of Debbie Bliss yarn from Alba Yarns, and, in the middle of it, what can you see? Yay, a brand new shiny camera! I love it! I've had my old camera since 2004 (yes, that's a pretty old camera). The old one, a Sony DSC-P100 is a great camera. All the photos on my blog (including the photo above) were taken with that old 2004 Sony. But somehow a little piece of lint or thread (or yarn?) managed to get inside the lense, so some of my photos were spoilt with a grey blur. I knew that technology has improved a lot since 2004 so I was ever so pleased to receive this little beauty. It's a Panasonic GF3, part of the Lumix range. Of course I had to try it out, so I went to our local market where there are lots of colours:

Our market is very expensive!

Mmmm, fresh fish

Photogenic radishes

Summer soft fruit

Lovely summer colours
I took the photos early in the morning, and before I left home I also took these two:

The view from our balcony - hay making :)

New strawberry flowers
I'm so pleased that my strawberry plants are in flower again. The first harvest was rather disappointing because they were so waterlogged! We'd had loads and loads of rain and hardly any sunshine. But this time around, the sun has been shining and my strawberry plants are happy.

I've also been putting that new yarn to good use, but more of that next time :)

Bye for now, hoping you are healthy and happy :)

Monday, 30 July 2012

Sammy snake coming back soon!

Just to let you know that after I posted my Sammy snake finger puppet pattern, I decided to improve it a bit :)  I'm also a bit bothered by conjunctivitis so can't stay looking at the screen long, but hopefully in a few days everything will be back and better.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Flickr group created!

Hello my lovely followers! I've just noticed that there are now 150 of you, what an achievement! You are all so very welcome. I never thought anyone would want to read my ramblings, but there you go, life is full of surprises :D

I have just created a flickr group where you are all more than welcome to share your photos of creations made with the patterns on this blog. It would be great to have a place to see them all together, and we can also have discussions where you can ask questions or just share your ideas.  This is the latest addition, after my facebook page and etsy shop. I'm still not convinced about the etsy shop. Etsy is so huge I feel my three little items are just lost in the mass. But the facebook page is doing well, and I'm sure the flickr group will be lots of fun too! I look forward to seeing you there. Now then, who's going to post the first photo?

Monday, 16 July 2012

Keep on crocheting

Hello there! After I found a lovely little pattern by minazara on Ravelry, I just can't stop making these bunnies. They're so cute! I have altered the original pattern quite a lot, rounding off the top of the head and attaching the arms and legs a bit differently, but the original idea, including the skirt, is all minazara's. She has a few very cute patterns available on Ravelry, why don't you go and have a look?

I designed this little owl rattle, using my free owl amigurumi pattern. Instead of aran/worsted yarn, I made this little guy in sportsweight organic cotton yarn. To make the handle, I picked up twelve stitches and made a long tube, which I stuffed as I crocheted, using scraps of an upcycled felted woollen blanket. As you may know by now, I always line all my crocheted toys because I find that my crocheting, especially when using cotton yarn, is never tight enough to keep all the stuffing inside. I've had a nasty surprise in the past when I washed a toy before giving it away, and all the polyester stuffing had started to seep through the holes. But lining a 12ch tube made of sportsweight yarn is impossible, so I reckoned bits of felted blanket wouldn't be able to go through and would be safe if baby decides to chew the handle. The body of the owl is lined and stuffed as usual, and I added a rattle insert before sewing the whole thing closed. These two items will shortly be available in my Etsy shop. If you're interested and I haven't yet put them up there, please leave me a comment or send an email using the link on my profile. 

Have a great week!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Plagiarism stinks!

Well, well. It is sometimes useful to go and have a gander at your followers' blogs. I found this:

Now, I did remember to write out my own pattern as I went along making these cute little things... and I will share, but if you find a mistake or a easier way..please feel free to make any changes you need to.This worked out great for me and since this is my very first pattern EVER written....I really hope you can follow along with me.
Followed by a copy of my crochet owl pattern!

Now, you all know I provide my patterns for free. I always have and hope to continue doing so. I don't mind people making things from my patterns, I don't mind people selling toys made with my patterns. But I do mind people who say they wrote a pattern that I wrote. That's called LYING and nice people don't lie.

I have asked the author of the above text to correct her post and include the link to my pattern. I hope she will have the integrity to do so. 

Facebook, Etsy, Ravelry and more

Oh my goodness, what a busy week I've had! Especially the weekend that's just gone by. I have so many things to tell you, I don't know where to begin. So I'll just dive straight in. Are you ready?

First of all, I made this.

I added the photo to flickr and I received a nice message from Lynsey at, telling me that the photo above would be featured on their facebook page. She also asked me if I had a facebook page or a shop and doh I didn't. BUT I have been thinking for ages about opening those two things, so that's what I've done.

So please feel free to visit my facebook page, to like it and to tell your friends about it. You are also welcome to visit my Etsy shop. At the moment I only have three things for sale, but there will be more soon. I only sell finished objects, because my patterns have always been and will remain free!

There, that's the main news. Exciting, isn't it?

Other than that, I've taken part in a Ravelry CAL (crochet along) and made these three cuties:

And I've been for some long walks around our home and enjoyed the gorgeous natural surrondings that we are lucky enough to have literally on our doorstep. To finish off this post, here are some photos I took on our walks. And I look forward to seeing you on Facebook soon, if you feel like it :D