Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Elf travel - meet Gaston

All has been quiet on the blogging front, because I was away at my father's house in The Hague. It is a lovely place to visit, and blissfully quiet because he has no internet connection! I spend a lot of time online for work (and play!) so it is nice to get away from time to time. We used to live in Holland, so it is great to go back for a visit from time to time.

While there, I visited the gorgeous little local yarn shop Woool. Emma was in a bit of a mood following a sleepless night, and didn't want to go in at all. She stood in the corner with her nose against the wall having a sulk while I looked around. Not fun! After a while she crept up to me and said in a very little voice, "Mummy... will you make me something?" Ahhh I love those words! She is obsessed with Little Kingdom - Ben the elf and Holly the fairy have all kinds of fun adventures together. Much of it revolves around the fact that Holly is a fairy who can fly and do magic, and Ben is an elf who can't do those things but is good at making stuff. He has a pet ladybird called Gaston who flies him around. Emma has little toy Ben and Holly dolls that go everywhere with her. "Mummy... Ben can't fly. But Holly can. It isn't fair on Ben and he is sad. Pleeeeeease will you make a Gaston so he can fly too?" What could I say? I asked her to look for some red wool, and she came back with some rather scary looking fluffy yarn with sequins, proclaiming that Ben would be sparkling!

Once I got home, I found some black Baby Cashmerino which had been liberated from a project-gone-wrong. I held it double, used size 5.5mm needles, and made a hexigon. I repeated this for the top, adding in some colour and features. I made legs, sewed together and stuffed, and he is all done. Easy peasy! I really should make toys more often. :-)

He's by no means perfect, but Emma loves him, and sleeps with him every night. We have had long complicated discussions about whether he needs to have antennae, but they will get in the way if she takes him to bed. Apparently, Ben can hold onto the fluffy bits when flying so it is ok! Lucy seems to have fallen for him too, and keeps running off with him when she is tired. So she gets the honor of today's picture!

We had a lovely time over in Holland, but all too short. Now we are into the last week before Emma starts school. On the one hand I'm really excited about it for her, but feeling a little melancholy too. I'll miss having my little fairy around me all day. But I am excited to see what the next term will bring for her.

Monday, 15 August 2011

From Fibre to Finished Cardigan... ta-dah!

I finally finished knitting my hand spun cardigan at the end of last week, so it is time for a "ta-dah!!!" post.

The fibre was 200g extra fine merino, dyed by the extremely talented Helen, Angelica and Imogen Jacobs-Grant at My Heart Exposed fibres. Their fibres are dyed with all natural dyes- dried flower heads, crushed fresh herbs, various roots and other unusual ingredients, which yields beautiful colours and subtle hues that you just can't create with chemicals. One braid was a semi solid pink (Rosetta) dyed with cochineal, and the other was pink, yellow and orange (Cosmos). I spun them to a 2 ply fingering weight yarn on my Ashford Traveller.

Originally I planned to make a pretty summer shawl, but anyone who knows me knows that I have shawls-a-plenty so I decided to make a light cardigan instead. The pattern is Kaleidoscope and it is certainly one that I will use again. It is knit as one piece, so no horrible seaming to worry about. :-) I started it in late May, but took a long break in the middle to work on other projects. So all in all I think it was about 3 weeks of knitting.

I wished I could have eeked out 3/4 length sleeves, but I only had 6 inches of yarn left so I am happy enough simply to have them even! I'm really pleased with the end result though. It has a lovely wide neckline which shows off summery tanned shoulders in a vest top very nicely!

The buttons are from Textile Garden. I was very impressed with them - their prices are extremely reasonable, and they delivered in a flash. Less than 24 hours from ordering!

Thanks for letting me share!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Simple Sun Dresses

Last week the weather got really hot. But both of my girls are growing like weeds at the moment and I was really struggling for clothes cool enough for them to wear. So I dusted down the long neglected sewing machine, rifled through my fabric box, and sewed up a couple of lovely simple sun dresses.

There are lots of tutorials out there about how to make these, but I rather like this one. I had enough fabric left over to make nice bias binding for the arms - I really love the kitchness of matchy matchy bias binding! :-)

Young Lucy was very happy in her new frock! She is very much a climber at the moment, and she found this loose enough to not cause any difficulties.

They both wore their new dresses to go and visit my mother. It was a beautiful day, so Emma helped with some tomato picking...

...while young Lucy explored and hunted for ladybirds.

Lovely dresses, gorgeous sunshine, and a beautiful day in my favourite garden!