Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer hols

We just returned from our summer hols - visiting family and friends back in the UK.  It was so good to be back.  And Naomi, well, she had the best time ever:  "I love England, Mama".

My family live in a coastal town in the north of England, not too far from the Lake district.  It was nice to be back by the sea, and also spend time in the beautiful countryside.  The highlight of this trip was a hike to where my Dad's ashes were scattered.  My Mum, sister and I all took the walk up there.  It was beautiful, with a funny story thrown in - my mum had lent me some hiking shoes that she'd had stored in her closet.  We'd barely started the hike when both soles fell off the walking boots!  :))  Well, did we laugh!  Thankfully my sister had a spare pair of sneakers with her, otherwise I would have been making the hike in my ballet flats!  I know Dad would have rolled his eyes and had a good laugh at that one.  

Nicky Nook

Sheep at Nicky Nook

Blackpool Prom - wet start

Victorian merry go round

We also took a trip down to London to visit friends there.  My little trooper did amazingly well walking her little feet off, and navigating the underground with me.  We got to visit some of the major sites including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster... before spending a fun afternoon in St James park with friends.

Westminster

Big Ben

Buckingham Palace

I also visited Liberty London. Oh my!  I could have spent the entire day here.  Naomi of course had other ideas.  But the store is oh so lovely and well worth the visit.   (I made it up to Naomi with a trip to Hamleys which was just down the street - so we both got to visit magical stores filled to the brim with things we love :)

Liberty London

Liberty London

No trip is complete without some crafting.  On this trip I was working on some 'tiger feet' socks, and a Halloween cross stitch from the gals at the frosted pumpkin.

Tiger Feet

Halloween

I hope you have had the chance to do something fun this summer, and spend time with loved ones.
Sam x

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Quilt Retreat

I recently attended a quilt retreat with the lovely ladies from the Denver Modern Quilt Guild.  It was a fabulous weekend that gave me the opportunity to work on the Stained quilt.

My station
This quilt started as a quilt swap with the ladies from the quilt guild. We used the Stained quilt as the inspiration for the blocks, and the fabric I provided came from the Sarah Jane at Play range. I've since added fabrics from the same designer's Wee Wander line.
Layout

In progress
I'd received a good number of squares from the swap but still needed a good bunch more to make it large enough for Naomi's new big girl bed. Over the retreat I was able to remedy that and the quilt top is almost complete now... just needs a border to bring it to the desired size.
I am really excited to have this one near completion and looking forward to sharing a finished project soon.

Stained glass quilt top
I hope you have had a lovely weekend,
Sam x

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Stitchy stuff

The other weekend I had the good fortune to spend time up in the mountains with some knitty friends.  It's an annual get together and always a lot of fun.  I feel thoroughly spoiled by the end of the weekend - time with good friends, picturesque surroundings, fabulous food, and dedicated craft time.

This year I worked on a pair of felted slippers and my Once Upon a Time cross stitch.

OUAT: 3 little pigs
Isn't this pattern just darling! I wish there were more hours in a day to work on it. I think its going to be beautiful when complete (and a nice addition to Naomi's room).
Speaking of cross stitch, I'm also making slow-but-steady progress on the frosty forest pattern, with the snowman recently completed:

Frosty forest snowman
The felted slippers I worked on over the knitty weekend were for Joe.  His current pair are worn out - big old holes in the bottom of them as a result of much love and wear.  I found some camo yarn in my stash which I thought would be perfect.  Turns out it was anything but... after putting the completed slippers through the wash a few times, the darn things wouldn't felt down to the right size.  It was only at that point that I checked the yarn label to find out that it was not 100% wool.  Doh!  (It wouldn't be so bad, except this is the 2nd time I have done this, this year!  shaking my head... I should know better)  So I went back to the old faithful Brown Sheep lambswool (this is by far my favourite yarn for the felted slippers) and whipped up a second, feltable pair, out of leftovers.  The end results are a little goofy looking, but Joe is pleased with them.  Job done!

Scrappy slippers

These slippers will never win any beauty contests.  But I tell you this... once you've tried a pair there's no turning back.  And be careful who you gift them to - they'll be return customers for life :)))

Speaking of which, my brother had requested a pair with the cross of Saint George (erm, yes, maybe the oddest looking cross of Saint George you've ever seen... but 10 out of 10 for effort though, right?).  And my Sis has requested a pair for her fella.  Finishing those up now.

St George slippers
Ok, back to the weekend at hand.
Have a good one, Sam x

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Quilty gifts

One of the really cool birthday gifts that I received this year was a mini quilt from Terrie:

S for Sam - fabby gift from Terrie

Isn't it pretty! This is going to take pride of place in my craft room.

I was really touched that Terrie had made this for me.  Her work is impeccable and fabric selection couldn't be more perfect. I am one very lucky girl.

Terrie shared this with me at last month's quilt guild meeting and there was much oohing and aahing from the quilt guild members, and the decision was made that we should have a swap of similar mini quilts using the initial of the first name of our swap partner. My swap partner is Wendy, and she shared that her favourite colour is green.  Here is W for Wendy. Front:

W for Wendy

Back (being smoothed out by my helper):

Helper smoothing out the back of the W

My little helper also likes to take some of her own pictures:

Mummy's lil helper

Photographer in the making

My lil helper

The W fabric is from a line called sewing box, of which I had a layer cake. The design on this one is tape measures. I quilted along the tape measure lines to give them a little definition. The W template is from a Moda blog hop, called Spell it with Fabric, where each blogger is assigned a letter of the alphabet. The end result is pretty cool, and the templates are available for download in pdf format. Imagine the possibilities with this one - a child's name on a quilt, or a fun crafty statement on a mini quilt... Since I already have my initial letter, my swap partner will be making a letter for Naomi. I think Naomi is going to be so happy to have one of her very own as she is big into letters right now, especially those letters that form her name. I'll post a piccy next month, after the swap.

Since I'm rambling about quilty gifts, here's one that I made for another friend's birthday.  A reversible fabric bucket:

Reversible storage basket

Storage basket

Reversible storage basket

Isn't that cat fabric adorable!  It is catnap from Lizzie House.  The pattern is on the Birch Fabrics site: fabric buckets.  I made the large size, with a couple of modifications: instead of interfacing I used batting, and I added a pocket for storage of nik naks - scissors, dpns, you name it...

I need to make some of these for myself - so cute and extremely handy. I know that someone's toy cupboard might also benefit from better organization too :)

Hope you are having a lovely weekend,
Sam xxx

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Zauberball Man Socks

Between road trips and work trips I've been able to whip out another pair of socks. This time for Joe (although the pic below is modeled on my feet):
Man socks
Quite the dazzlers aren't they :)))
The yarn is Zauberball and is dyed to gradually progress through the colours.
Zauberball
While this is a really nice effect, I thought I'd make them stripey by knitting one row from one end of the skein and the following row from the other end of the skein. Typically I make my stripes thicker. But this has a fun effect with the single rows of each colour. For the cuff, heels and toes, I stick with working from one end of the skein so that they appear as a solid(ish) colour, instead of continuing the stripes.
Man sock

I like that the socks don't match exactly... but clearly belong together.
Another pair to tuck away in the Winter Woollies box.

Oh yes, I didn't follow a published pattern for these. Just winging it using my basic sock approach and a size 2 needle. I like the simplicity of the basic sock for travel projects - my hands can stay busy, while I can zone out and relax.

Have you been taking any fun trips?
What are your projects of choice when you are travelling?

Wishing you a lovely summer,
Sam x

Monday, June 09, 2014

Road Trips!

I've been absent from the blog. Mainly because Mum was here and we've been spending the precious time hanging out, including taking a couple of fun road trips! Here is a cute pic of Mum and Naomi all ready for the journey:

Road trip
The first road trip was to celebrate my birthday. I consider all birthdays to be special... but this year was a milestone one: The big 40! Which is why Mum had come over to celebrate. Seemed only right that we mark the occasion by doing something fun - and that was our first road trip to Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.
The day started off with a Grandparent's tea party at school. Talk about perfect timing of Mum's trip! I've been room parent this year and so I also attended as a volunteer. I'd joked with Naomi that it was really nice of her school to throw me a birthday party. At which point she went over to the teacher and told them it was my birthday and asked if it would be ok if she could sing happy birthday to me. Little girl has more confidence than me to get up on stage, grab a microphone and sing in front of an audience. To say I was touched would be an understatement. I still feel all warm inside thinking about that sweet gesture. Best birthday gift ever!

My sweet girl singing Happy Birthday to meeee :)
Anyhoo... Santa Fe is a really great place to go visit especially if you love south western art .  What appeals to me is the beauty of the town, the numerous galleries and the laid back European vibe. Needless to say I stopped at a couple of my favourite knit and fabric stores that I had identified from my last visit. :)  In Tutto knitting store I picked up a couple of skeins of yarn that they had custom dyed. A sock yarn and some lace weight. In pretty autumnal earthy tones. If you are in the area I encourage you to go check out this store. The owner is a real darling and he even recognized me from Ravelry (I'd knit a scarf he had designed). How cool is that!
Tutto Santa Fe Tutto Santa Fe
While we were in Santa Fe there was a very interesting street art market with a couple of booths showing handspun or hand dyed yarns. I did pick up a skein of this bulky angora goat yarn that was spun straight from the fleece. It has a rustic quality to it that appealed to me. I'm thinking maybe I'll use it for a small cowl, or a hat... I am open to suggestions if any of you have pattern ideas?

Handspun goat
In Taos I went back to the Uncommon Threads fabric store and purchased some woven fabric to make placemats, and some cool skully fabric to make... erm, no clue yet (but I am sure if my sis spies this she'll think of some way to put it to good use).

Uncommon threads, Taos New placemat fabric Taos fabric
Toward the end of Mum's visit we went to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. It was something that was on Mum's wish list and was thoroughly enjoyable. The drive up from Denver was relaxing and beautiful. The black hills area of South Dakota is spectacular. Mount Rushmore is really impressive and nestled in this stunning location.

Mount Rushmore
While we were in the area we drove through Hill City, where I found a wonderful quilt store - Hill City Mercantile. Aside from the wide array of fabrics, impressive display quilts, unique designs from local artists and super friendly staff, the thing I loved most was the attention to detail in this store. The owners had completely renovated the building and all the fixtures and fittings were in keeping with the style of the renovations. I was really thankful that I had the good fortune to stumble across this store.

Hill City Merchant Quilt Store

Loved how they renovated this building
During the Mount Rushmore trip I started another plain sock - the perfect road trip companion if you are looking to keep busy but want something simple to work on. These beauties are going to be for Joe.

Man sock
That's all from me for now.
Hope you are well and wishing you a great week,
Sam xxx

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Handspun Handknit socks

This is my first time knitting socks with a handspun yarn... and I love the end result!  The color shifts in each sock and the subtle changes in the thickness of the yarn make these interesting to knit, even though the pattern is a straightforward one.

Handknit socks

Now to tuck these away in a winter woollies box...  I think this Colorado weather might have finally turned into summer!

Handknit socks
Lots to share in a future post.  Mum has been here for the last month or so, so we've been out and about...  I have some blogland catching up to do!
Handknit socks
Yarn: Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop in American Pie
Pattern: Simple Handspun Socks by Simone Van Iderstine - toe up pattern on dpns
(I really liked the simplicity of this pattern to let the sock yarn stand out)

Handknit socks
Hope you are well, and have fun plans this Memorial weekend,
Sam xxx