For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb
Psalm 139:13

Saturday, 18 February 2017

the social heart project yarnbomb

On Valentine's Day I took part in One Social Girl Meredith's annual yarnbomb for the fourth time. It's always such a lovely thing to join in with - spreading a tiny bit of handmade and a message of love where you live. This year, the #sheepishheartbomb became #thesocialheartproject and it was another chance to do something positive in real life and see the results of everyone's efforts online. Here's what I got up to over lunch in Bristol. 

Yes, I felt super self-conscious taking a bunch of crochet hearts out of my pocket and tying them to a gate, you know, just in the park in the middle of the day. But I'm hoping maybe this encouraged somebody. And that makes the small gesture worth it. 

Check out the #thesocialheartproject hashtag on Instagram to see everybody's crafty love notes out in communities around the world. Did you join in? I'll be stitching and sharing again next year!

Friday, 13 January 2017

hello 2017

2016, it's been real. A little too real. I'm so glad it's 2017. 
I hope you managed to have a bit of a break over Christmas and New Year. We had some down time and as usual I'm feeling a little reflective now it's January. 

It wasn't the best year. With all the worldwide negative and dramatic goings-on, as well as some struggles with striving, comparison and not finding contentment myself, it did suck in quite a few ways. But I'm still a silver linings kinda girl. I know there's a plan for me and that I am very blessed. I just need that to sink in properly in 2017. Having a look back over the last year is a good way to bring the positives and milestones back to light.

As always, there were some firsts: visits to Italy and Scotland, gym membership, difficult goodbye, blogging workshop, sponsored post, clay pigeon shooting (don't ask), trip to A&E (unrelated), x-ray, soup run, big festival, serious hangover (never a good idea), falling in love with spreadsheets, 

There were births, deaths and marriages, joyful, rowdy gigs, there was some wobbly mental health, Mr P learnt to drive, I finally visited the wonderful Letty and we went to the Bronte parsonage (literature geek achievement unlocked!), I crocheted my way across Loch Ness with some marvellous colleagues, I had my long hair cut off (finally), we celebrated our third wedding anniversary in Sorrento, went for a windy Christmas Eve walk on the beach and saw in the new year with friends. 

Last year I challenged myself to, among other things, finish two garments. And I totally did! Orange You Glad was my first adult-sized crochet garment and Miette my first knitted one. I'm pretty proud of them both and now have plans for a knitted jumper. I also managed to tick off another crafty goal – designing a blanket. I'll keep you posted on that one! 

I carried on running and yoga-ing, too. With a running buddy, I ran further than ever before (no-one was more surprised about this than me) and am planning a longer run with my sister in 2017. 

By far the biggest stepping-out-of-my-comfort zone moment was launching my To Be Adorned shop in 2016. Here's what I had to say on the matter. It's all been quiet on the western front around these parts lately as most of my free time is now spent dreaming up new designs, crocheting, wrestling with my glue gun and trying to figure out how to run a tiny business armed only with an iPad and a whole load of yarn. I have a feeling 2017's going to be a busy one. 

In the year ahead I'd like to knit a jumper, make the shop a success, pray more, love more and find joy in the everyday. But who knows what adventures are ahead!

Have you set any goals for 2017?

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

yarn along: The Night Circus, Elegance and a baby hat

It feels like it's been a while since we caught up, so what better way to check in than with a natter about reading and knitting? Ginny's yarn along is always a joy, but especially now it's so dark and cold that all I want to do is curl up indoors and ward off the encroaching winter with yarn and books. 

What are you making at the moment? This tiny stripy baby hat is fairly fresh off my needles. It's a Simply Knitting pattern from their Hand Knits for Baby booklet. The pattern is called Hats Off and I made it for a special little lady who hasn't been born yet! It's a pretty straightforward, knitted flat pattern and I figured out my own sassy stripe sequence. The yarn is Bessie May Smile – a squishy merino DK that is SO soft. You can see more on Ravelry here

I've finally finished The Night Circus (sooo good - message me if you've not read it and fancy my copy. I like to pass on good books). The colours black and red have an important presence in the story and there's an amazing bit near the end where a knitter gives one of the characters a beautiful red scarf. Check it out:
"She hands him a red wool scarf, the one she has been knitting on and off. It is longer than Bailey expected from watching her knit, with intricate patterns of knotted cables at each end.
"I can't accept this," he says, part of him deeply honored and the other part wishing people would stop giving him things. 
"Nonsense," Elizabeth says. "I make them all the time, I am at no loss for yarn. I started this one with no particular reveur in mind to wear it, so clearly it is meant for you."
"Thank you," Bailey says, wrapping the scarf around his neck despite the warmth of the train."

It's just brilliant when knitting crops up in a book you've fallen in love with. So what's next? I'm about to start on Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro. I've not read anything else by her, but I friend passed it on to me so I'm giving it a go. I'll keep you posted. 

I'd also like to share something exciting that happened earlier this month - the lovely Sarah of Crafts from the Cwtch featured me in her 'In Conversation With…' series. We had a good old chinwag about Knit Happens and my Simply Crochet day job. You can read it here

What are you knitting and reading at the moment? 

Saturday, 29 October 2016

the shop is open!

Guys, I did a thing. Last week I launched my To Be Adorned Etsy shop!

Yep, this is one of the things I've secretly been working on for ages. It's been one of my goals since about 2010 to create my own collection of bits and bobs and launch an Etsy shop. And I've finally done it!  

Inspired by antique jewellery, vintage fashion and my own love of crochet, I've designed a mini collection of handmade accessories with decadent details. Some of the items are wedding focused and some of them are just for feeling a little bit more fabulous! I'm absolutely bursting with ideas at the moment and getting creative in this new way has brought me so much joy, so I'm thrilled to finally be able to share this with you. 

To Be Adorned is basically a newborn right now and I know I've got a lot to learn and a shed load of hard work ahead of me, but here goes! 

I'd love to know what's inspiring you and bringing you joy at the moment. 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

off the needles: Miette

Ta-da! She is finished!

I started Miette last Christmas as part of Andi's Selfish Sweater KAL 2016 and now the cardigan is FINALLY off the needles and on my back. Okay, so it took me a grand total of nine long months to finish, but what a journey! 

This is my first ever adult-sized knitted garment and I'd definitely recommend this pattern to anyone contemplating such a feat. I'd long admired Andi's Untangling Knots cropped sweater designs and initially I was seduced by the vintage, 1950s vibe of Miette, (and the fact that it's a free Ravelry download – let's be real), but I fell even more in love with the pattern as I stitched. It's easy to follow and the seamless top-down method meant not only could I try it on as I went along (cue jubilant mirror prancing at every stage), but I didn't have to do any sewing up at the end. Hurrah!

The zigzag lace sections look fancy when they're blocked but are simple to do and I don't think I had any points in the project where I got totally stuck. It's just a really wearable, flattering design.

My version of the cardi is knitted in Drops Nepal – an aran-weight alpaca mix yarn. Deliciously soft, really cosy and smooth to stitch with – I'm a fan! It was one of the suggested yarns for the project on Ravelry, and as it's so reasonable and I'm a sucker for alpaca, I knew it was the one. There's a great colour range, too (I shopped at Wool Warehouse). I'll be interested to see how it wears over time. Have you used it before?  

And obviously I've already decided on the garment I want to knit next. It's this sausage dog jumper by Amanda Jones, in mustard yellow of course. What on your needles at the mo? 

Cardigan: Miette; Gingham dress: old H&M (charity shopped); Bag: charity shopped; Boots: Clarks Originals (hand-me-downs)

Friday, 16 September 2016

on the hook: Compostelle shawl

Ooh, it's been a while since I've shared any stitchy stuff here, hasn't it? If we're friends on Instagram, though, you'll have seen me working away on this beauty (see details on Ravelry here).  

Yep, I finally made up my mind about which of these gorgeous shawls to make with La Bien Aimee's glorious Direwolf Graffiti yarn. I let my inner Francophile call the shots and plumped for Eclectic Gipsyland's Compostelle (Pink Champagne in Simply Crochet). The pattern is lacy but with lots of texture. So far, I'm really enjoying the popcorn stitches and seeing the mermaidy curves of the shawl emerge in all different colours!

I'm actually in a bit of a WIP whirl at the moment, with a couple of top secret (very exciting!) projects demanding my attention, as well as my little red Miette cardi that I'm determined to finish by the end of the month. Phew!

I'd love to know what you're making. Anyone else out there juggling WIPs? 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sorrento and switching off

Marina Grande, Sorrento

At the beginning of the month, we finally escaped and headed off on holiday for a couple of days. Sorrento was our destination. Abundant with lemons, impossibly blue waters and pretty painted tiles, it was an utter delight to visit. I enjoyed spending some proper time with Mr P, topping up on vitamin D and swimming in the sea. We'd never been to Italy before, but it did not disappoint. We seemed to meet only warm, friendly and super laidback people, the sunshine was a constant and the food positively dreamy. If you've not been, add it to your bucket list immediately. 

Tiles for days!

I kid you not - the sea around Capri was ACTUALLY this colour

Seeking shade in Pompeii

Shameless souvenir shopping - bought a lemon tea towel

Bagni della Regina Giovanna, Punto del Capo - amazing spot for a swim

Finding greenery in Pompeii

Dinner by the sea - gnocchi like no other

Yep, it was pretty magical. It's just the whole relaxing and unwinding part that alluded me a little bit. I discovered that I'm quite an anxious traveller. That paired with my new-found inability to unwind made an interesting cocktail, but not insurmountable. I would love to know if you have any wisdom on switching off and taking a break. Do you have 'unplugged' time where you swear off social media, or do you like to stay connected? How do you unwind? I think a longer, quiet break closer to home might be a good idea in the future. 

Travel blogging isn't really my thing, but if you'd like any specific recommendations about places to eat in Sorrento or the lovely airbnb we stayed in, tweet me or drop me an email - I'd be happy to have a natter about it!

Oh, and if you're a bit of a heat wuss like me, I'd recommend wearing an enormous hat if you must go in August. It was HOT. Like, really really hot. 
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