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

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. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Finding encouragement online





Who are your cheerleaders? 

I so often fall prey to blogger envy, FOMO, guilt and comparison when I'm scrolling through social media or catching up on blogs. And I'm pretty certain I'm not the only one (I've written about this kinda thing before). 


Yes, bloggers want to celebrate success and show the best bits, and the intention is never to make readers feel inferior with anything that might seem a bit fancy or exclusive. While I know this is the case, those irrational feelings still surface from time to time. 
Surely the idea ought to be 'I made/ visited/ achieved this and you totally can too!'. Like the power of testimony - we create possibility for others with our achievements, however small. 

There are a couple of fantastic encouragers out there online who, while producing beautiful content of their own, help redress the balance by keeping it real (soooo street - you gotta say it with attitude) and embodying the 'you can too' approach. These are a few of my favourites - the kinda folks who give you the warm fuzzies and seem to be cheering you on.

Blogs
Pip Lincoln Meet Me At Mikes
It's no secret that author, crafter and all round super sunshiney lady Pip is one of my faves. She always seems to write with humour, integrity and a whole lotta sense. Oh, and she loves Gilmore Girls. Can we just be BFFs already? Pip's blog posts are chocka with positivity and practical hints for embracing your creativity and shutting out doubt. 

Instagram
@northknits
When I'm mid-scroll, stumbling on some scripture helps me recognise that there's a bigger love and purpose out there than the amount of tiny hearts next to a picture. I love the bold and totally natural way Jewell shares her faith.

@onesheepishgirl
Meredith is another blogging lady who knows how much a bit of honesty can impact a reader. She's got style AND substance. 

Instagram Stories/ Snapchat
@ohjoy / ohjoystudio
Delightful design maven Joy Cho shares pretty honestly on her feed. Yes, it's beautiful Oh Joy stuff, but the behind-the-scenes realness is great. And sometimes you've just gotta do an OOTD dance and take your kids to school, you know.

I've loved getting more acquainted with the sweet lady behind Tigerlilly Quinn. Nope, I can't relate to the mum stuff, but Fritha's candid way of sharing and openness about the not-so-good bits is refreshing. Oh, and check out her #dresscolourfully hashtag for rainbow fashion gorgeousness (but you already knew that). 

Twitter 
You NEED his Party Tips in your life. Nosebleeds aside, this rock-star-turned-motivational-speaker always seems to know the right thing to say. (Props to Miss Page for this one, who is a legit rock chick).

The Hashtag

#crochetgirlgang
So this is one for the yarny folks amongst you, but I do adore this fantastically girl power hashtag. Sharing with it or searching it often feels like high fiving (or fist bumping) a whole load of like-minded creative lovelies. Go and check it out.



Be an encourager
The online world is full of inspiration, yes, but how often are you encouraged by it? It can feel as if we're blogging into the void sometimes. With the decline in blog comments and that Instagram algorithm going all squiggly (technical term, ahem), are we working harder on our content just to see less of a return in connection and interaction? We can combat this by becoming a community of encouragers ourselves. It's a simple idea. If you like something, say so. Double tap. Share the link. Tweet the creator. And as well as showing our love for our own circle and magical stuff we stumble upon, let's not be afraid to reach out to those who have ostensibly 'made it' as well. We all need a little encouragement sometimes, right?


I'd love to know where you find encouragement online.
Tell me about your favourites! Who have I missed? 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

hometown tourist: Upfest 2016



 My eyeballs are still reeling from the weekend, in the best possible way. 
Upfest, a live street art festival (apparently Europe's biggest), was right on my doorstep in Bristol so I took a wide-eyed wander round. 


Saturday afternoon, the sun was blazing, ice cream vans were out and so many artists were busy creating. There's something pretty magical about seeing beautiful things progressing right in front of you. I love gawping at people's WIPs (hello, Instagram) any day of the week, but one dedicated weekend where it all happens live? That's pretty cool. Count me in.



I'm a real sucker for illustration, so I enjoyed seeing this mind-boggling Russian doll by Liz Clayton materializing. Note: she wasn't the only one whose outfit coordinated with their work! 




Add of course I tracked down some yarn. Can I say life goals? This embroidery in the wild by Danielle Clough is the best thing ever. I'm so pleased I came across her work. She stitches seriously beautiful stuff. Makes a girl wanna pack up her own suitcase full of yarn, right?

Some of the other enchanting things I spotted included pugs, children spray painting a car, Skeletor riding a banana (a painting) and an IRL glitter beard. I mean, am I the only one who thought they just didn't exist outside of Pinterest? Sadly no pictorial evidence of said be-sparkled facial hair was obtained - we chickened out of asking for a pic!



So much colour, vibrancy and inspiration. I basically know nothing about street art, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but I will say that I'll be back next year for more colour-fuelled gawpings. With bells on. Nice one, Bristol. 

Have you encountered anything awesome in your hometown lately?


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