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

Friday, 9 February 2018

taking stock: February

The less said about January the better, right? Moving swiftly on, I thought a cheeky taking stock post would be a good way to catch up on 2018 happenings. Congrats if you make it all the way to the end of the list. Either way, I'd love to know what you're loving and making right now, so let me know!

Making: baby bootees, a new To Be Adorned headdress and something top secret. Oh, and an embroidery hoop that's very almost done. It's WIP central over here, as per. 
Cooking: not cooking exactly, but trying to be dilligent in prepping my overnight oats on school nights. 
Drinking: green tea, please. 
Reading: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (aloud to Mr P) and Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.
Next read: Any recommendations? I've got a stack of unread EM Forster, so I might start on that. 
Wanting: to find jazzy workout leggings. 
Looking: cosy in my latest knit – an easy-peasy beanie stitched with coral-coloured Mrs Moon Plump and some leftover Drops Eskimo, knitted with this free hat pattern by Davina Choy.  
Wishing: my headphones worked – I'm really missing my walk-to-work podcast time. 
Enjoying: seeing the Little Hearts for Grace project coming together. 
Waiting: on the pictures from a couple of exciting To Be Adorned shoots! 
Liking: the latest Paramour songs. Who even am I? 
Loving: the brave, bright spring flowers popping up everywhere. 
Considering: pitching some feature ideas and flexing my writing muscles.
Buying: surprise Valentine's flowers for Mr P from The Blossom Parlour.
Watching: ALL of Friends now it's on Netflix, and also loving Grace and Frankie
Next watch: catching up with the Stitch in Time series on BBC iplayer.
Marvelling: at the fact that my body (and new shoes) carried me through a post-work 5k last night.
Needing: new tights. I think I wear them how other people wear jeans (I mean in frequency, not that I wear them instead of trousers!)
Questioning: the necessity of literally everything I buy being packaged in plastic. Grinds my gears!
Smelling: Lush's Sleepy body lotion and having to resist grabbing a spoon and tucking right in. 
Wearing: all the moisturiser ever. Winter is an ordeal for my skin, apparently. 
Following: @heysweetpea on Twitter for affirming, soul feeding solo biz goodness. 
Worrying: about literally everything. And then worrying about why I'm worrying. Anxiety much?
Noticing: more grey hairs, exclusively in my fringe.
Sorting: my sock drawer this weekend. There, I've said it so now I have to do it. 
Getting: back into running, yoga and actually going to the gym. Hope it sticks. 
Coveting: stuff from Friends – Phoebe's statement coats and Monica's bee cushion and face vase. 
Feeling: exciting about my upcoming Copenhagen gal pal adventure. 
Snacking: on everything in sight, or sliced apple and peanut butter if I'm being virtuous. 

As always, I'm playing along with Pip's Taking Stock series. Thanks to Sam for this pic!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Bee My Baby blanket

Poised for a ta-da moment?

I started making this honeycomb hexie blanket what feels like absolute yonks ago and I'm over the moon to be able to share it with you at long last! This is my second ever crochet blanket design and, due to my love of both bees and the colour yellow, it's an instant fave.  

After finding the ultimate grellow palette in DROPS' Cotton Merino range, I got hooking. A little bit of maths was required, to figure out how many hexies I'd need in each colour to make one big hexagon. This yarn is an absolute winner - super soft and really good stitch definition. I've been using the leftovers to make cute baby bootees. 

Many, many hexies later and the blanket was complete. My favourite bit was creating the little daisies and the bees with their flappy wings! And, not only am I chuffed with it, but pattern is in Simply Crochet issue 65

I'm hoping to be able to give my finished bee blanket sample to a special new tiny one in the fam soon! Not bad for the last FO of the year, I reckon. What's been your fave 2018 make? 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Kitchener stitch and patterns on Ravelry!

Between the day job and my To Be Adorned side hustle, I'm managing to cram in few sneaky rows of knitting here and there. We've moved a little further out of the city centre so my day generally includes a bus journey or two, which is prime stitching time! 

As usual, I had grand ideas about all the amazing yarny gifts I was going to make for Christmas gifts this year, but as the end of November is fast-approaching, I'm going to have to swallow the craft guilt, scale it back and make peace with working on with my WIP instead. When you think about it, it is a bit bonkers to feel guilty about your own unrealistic goals that only you knew about anyway. Currently on my needles is a pair of Edith mittens, and while I shouldn't have to justify making something for myself instead of Christmas gifts, I do actually need a pair.

I'm using the leftover red DROPS Nepal yarn from my Miette cardigan (so cosy) to knit these, and am loving the simple lace design. So far I've completed the first mitten, minus the thumb, and am well into the ribbing on the second. All plain sailing, until it got to grafting the top of the mitten together. Knitting socks isn't really my thing and I've never grafted stitches before, so this Purl Bee tutorial on Kitchener stitch came in very handy. I literally couldn't have figured it out otherwise. I'm not quite sure I've nailed it, I think it could be neater. Do you have any tips or good resources for Kitchener stitch? 

The other yarn-related news is *drumroll* two of my Simply Crochet designs are now available to buy on Ravelry! My Over the Rainbow ripple crochet blanket and Figgy Pudding festive hat topper patterns are out in the big wide world. While I've added the odd simple design to Ravelry before, this is the first time anything's gone up for sale.

It's been a while since I've chatted yarn here, so I'd love to know what's on your hook / needles right now and what's in your Ravelry queue. Fill me in!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

to be adorned is one!

Photograph: Lee Niel Photography

It's my birthday today, which also means it's one year since my To Be Adorned shop went live! Happy birthday to us.

And what a year of milestones and firsts – it's been a whirl of non-stop crochet, vintage lace snipping, precarious hot gluing, craft shopping, Instagramming, sewing machine wrangling, Etsy meet-ups, wedding events, 'I've made/sold a thing' happy dances, post office runs and impromptu photoshoots.

And (full disclosure) along the way there have been tears, very little sleep and a LOT of hard graft. Trying to balance full time work, growing something new and all of life's other commitments has been a whole new kinda challenge. Any and all tips welcome. I have no idea how people do these sorts of things AND raise a family, too. If this is you, you're basically a superhero.

But, having a creative thing that's all my own gives me so much joy, and I've met some amazing people along the way.  The real highlights for me have been meeting brides-to-be, dreaming up new designs and working on special custom headdress and wedding garter orders.

I wanted to say a BIG thank you to everyone who's been cheering me on this year (Mr P has been a positive saint), placing orders, sharing pics and saying hello at events - you're the actual best. That's the kinda stuff that keeps me going and helps me quiet those niggling, doubting voices that I think all makers have.

So, if you've been wondered why the blog's been so quiet for a while, it's because I've been hustling elsewhere! I'm planning to start sharing more of what I've been up to in this lovely space again, and in the mean time you can find me 'grammin like a mad thing at @tobeadorned and sharing on Facebook, too - I'd love to see a few more familiar faces cropping up!

To celebrate this exciting first birthday, and also by way of a thank you, I'm throwing a discount party! If you wanna join the To Be Adorned fun and help me celebrate, you can get 10% off absolutely everything in the shop (it's not just wedding stuff) this week with the code BDAYLOVE

Photograph: Viktoria Kuti

Photograph: Jacky Badenhorst photography

Monday, 9 October 2017

When Becca met Julie (Knitted Bliss)

Have you ever met an online pal IRL?

When the lovely Julie from Knitted Bliss posted on Instagram that she was in Bristol this summer, I said a quick hello, which resulted in a lunch hour meet-up full of stitchy chat. How often does one of your fave knit bloggers from Canada visit your city, right? It had to be done.

We talked yarn, blogging, Netflix and multitasking over hot bowls of pho, before a quick pit stop in the Simply Crochet/ Simply Knitting office to say hi to the team.  Julie was rocking her fresh-off-the-needles Golden Hour jumper (SO pretty) and sent me these pics so I could share a bit of our conversation with you. Thanks Julie! Be sure to check out her Knitted Bliss blog to see what she's been working on lately.

What are you making right now?
I'm knitting two tops at the moment, Rie (from Knitpicks) and Gesture Sweater (from We Are Knitters). They are both completely different, but I'm loving everything about them! Rie is very much outside what I typically knit or wear, so it's a bit more of an experimental knit for me. The Gesture Sweater is something I adore wearing- toasty warm cabled sweaters. I feel like it's going to be my favourite fall sweater. 

Have you bought any yarn on your England trip?
I did! I tried to keep it really manageable, I bought a skein of Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in 'Boombox', which my daughter picked out. She wants me to knit her a little scarf. And I bought two skeins of of La Bien Aimee in 'Interstellar'. Not sure what I'm going to knit with those, but definitely something for myself. 

What's been inspiring you at the moment?
The intricacy of the colour grey has been inspiring me recently. It is quickly becoming my favourite colour, because it usually has so much range and depth. Very rare to see a flat grey, and I find that quite interesting. Plus, it goes with pretty much everything, making it such an easy to wear neutral. I've been thinking a lot of what it takes to have handknit classics in one's wardrobe, and colour choice is paramount. 

Any new designs coming up?
I have a new design coming in a future installation of, and I'm working on a couple of things that are still hush- hush. 

Current guilty pleasure (food, yarn or otherwise)?
When in England, gooseberry yogurt. You can't get that in Canada. When in Canada, Netflix is my guilty pleasure. 

Any favourite Bath/ Bristol treasures?
Photographs are my favourite treasures, the way they so perfectly conjure up a fragment of the day. But I also love the little Christmas store in Bath, and letting Lila pick out a new Christmas ornament for the tree. And in Bristol, I love combing the bookshelves of every book store I come across. I like finding new book by authors I haven't heard of before.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

8 inspiring podcasts for creatives

For me, listening to a podcast has the same sweet, immersive escapism as getting lost in a good book. It's a chance to get your mind to halt its frantic whirring for a little while and focus on something else instead. If I'm gym-going (pah!), walking to the office or stitching away at my To Be Adorned desk, I'll always whack a podcast on. It's like minimal-effort multitasking. Here's what's been in my ears lately. What do you love listening to? I want your recommendations!

This is one of those 'why didn't I already know about this?' kinda podcasts. You NEED to give it a listen. Blogger and Instagram duchess (you're probably already following her as @meandorla) Sara Tasker shares really valuable and honest insights on creative social media for bloggers, small biz folks and anyone who loves Insta. Without the spambots. She's had some stellar guests on already and I always come away feeling encouraged and with some practical ideas to try. 

Host Tara Swiger is from a yarny background, so I instantly knew her podcast would be my cup of tea. On this weekly podcast, she talks business – frank advice and insights for creative folks who are selling their stuff. She's not afraid to talk money and numbers, or to give out some tough love, but it's always passionate, jargon-free and encouraging. I've not been listening to this one for long, but I've already found it really helpful for my Etsy side hustle in terms of goal-setting, social media and audience. Ooh, and Tara often posts Instagram live vid while she's recording the podcast, so you can get a bit more interactive with it. 

Pardon My French
In a series of inspiring interviews, plus giggly chats with her Atelier Dore team, Garance Dore talks all things lifestyle. I'd long been a fan of Garance's beautiful illustrations and blog, so I kind of freaked out when I realised there was a podcast, too. This one's my go-to for walking to work. Garance has a brilliant warmth and honesty to her, so you feel like you're listening in on a natter between friends. My favourite guests so far have been Linda Rodin and Elle McPherson.

Get It On
Dawn O'Porter is #bobgoals AND she's way into vintage fashion, so I gave it a listen and it quickly became one of my faves. Each episode she talks to a pal (usually of the showbiz variety) about their personal style. Rather than being super-fashiony, it's more about why people wear what they wear. And it's a riot. When I'm laughing out loud with my headphones on, it's probably because I'm listening to this. After hearing this, you'll probably have urges to ransack your wardrobe for the brightest thing in there. Or maybe that's just me? 

She's a deep thinker, that Tavi Gevinson. I loved her Style Rookie blog and really admire her Rookie mag work (although maybe I'm too old now?!). It very much feels like an audio version of the online magazine, which is fantastic. It's aimed at teens, but feels relevant for everyone. Also, there's a WINONA episode. I WISH Rookie had been around when I was a teen.

Blogtacular superwoman Kat MOLEsworth (you'll know what I mean when you listen in!) hosts this  natter with indie business owners and bloggers. You could say it's an extension of the Blogtactular conference, with an aim of inspiring and connecting bloggers and content creators. It's in interview format, but Kat also answers listener questions as part of the show, which is so useful! My favourite episodes have featured Kristabel, The People Shop and Nikki McWilliams

Magic Lessons
Eat, Pray Love and Big Magic author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about finding passion, purpose and inspiration. She's all about exploring the soul connection we have with creativity and how to overcome what stands in the way of us doing our thing. And it gets pretty emotional, you guys. There haven't been any new episodes in a while, but there are plenty to catch up on. 

The Cheerful Visit
Prepare yourself for some VERY Texan accents. I heard about this podcast via One Social Girl. It's a faith-based show for creatives hosted by Pollen Events florist Andi. With an emphasis on living out your calling with integrity, Andi interviews fellow makers about their creative journeys and what keeps them encouraged. 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

off the hook: over the rainbow crochet blanket

It's no secret – I've been AWOL for some time because I've been busy making all of the things ever. One of which is this crochet blanket. The fab news is, not only is my latest blanket off the hook, I designed it and the pattern is in the new issue of Simply Crochet magazine! Wahoo! Grab a copy of issue 56 if you fancy making it (shameless plug). 

Blankets are always a bit of commitment. They're a labour of love, really, as they take such a long time to make. But when I first clapped eyes on these fantastically over-saturated, Crayola-esque colours, I instantly felt a crochet blanket coming on. Have you ever had that feeling? When you discover a new yarn and it just shouts it's intentions at you? Sometimes it's "I NEED to be a cardigan!" or "I'm a shawl! I'm a shawl!", but it could equally be "Keep me in your stash and squish me". In fact, most yarns seem to say that to me. 

Not KnitPicks Shine Worsted, though. These babies were destined to become a rainbow crochet blanket and no mistake. Zig-zagging ripples were the order of the day, so I played with a few different stitch combos and settled on this repeat with clusters and back loop details to highlight the colour changes in the stripes. The texture and colour changes are what kept things interesting through this project. I just couldn't wait to see how the pattern would look in the next shade of yarn, and the next, and the next. Colour is very exciting, you guys. 

Naturally, I fell head-over-heels for this yarn during the process. The sheen, smoothness and depth of colour in KnitPick Shine Worsted is amazing, and it's loosely plied without being splitty at all. I'm currently plotting what to make with the leftover scraps. Maybe some granny squares for a rainbow cushion? I'll keep you posted.

Mr P kinda loves this design too. He keeps asking when we'll get the sample back and we've decided it'll take pride of place on the sofa for lap blanket duties. I often joke that I'm never happier than when I'm in a blanket, but in a rainbow crochet blanket of my own design I'm sure to be ecstatic. 
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