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Happy New Year!

1 Jan

Well, goodbye 2012. It was nice knowing you!
It’s been an exciting year for me. In the spring I set myself a goal of having 20 patterns available on Ravelry, which I achieved as the year drew to a close. I’ll have 10 more coming out in February, which were finished some months ago – more on that soon.
Over the summer we published issue 50 of The Knitter, with a frankly bonkers 50 patterns, and redesigned the magazine.
My only regret was all that work meant I could only take a one week holiday while
Storm had 7 weeks at home before starting school.
I made some new friends, and got to know some others better.
My journey as a minimalist is now in its third year. At Christmas this meant having an emptied car driving home after the festivities, and actually being able to see out of the back window for a change! Being a minimalist doesn’t mean all white interiors and a penchant for Philippe Starck (at least, not to me). It means fewer possessions, and more real life. Zen Habits and Becoming Minimalist are both great places to start if you’re curious.

While letting go of possessions has felt relatively easy, one of my biggest challenges as a minimalist is reducing my commitments. For about four months over the summer my workload meant I barely had a moment to just ‘be’, and also resulted in much reduced blogging here.

So my goal for 2013 is to look at balance, say no a little, and have some more fun and get some more adventure in my life!
I’ll have 2 pattern collections coming out this year, but first up is a very exciting trip to New York for Vogue Knitting Live.
In the meantime, here are my key moments of 2012. I hope you had a good one, and wish you all the best for 2013,

Rosee
Xxxxx

1) Storm starting school. And starting to read and write. Just wow.
First school packed lunch. Awww.
2) Making new friends and renewing old bonds
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3) The death of one of my oldest friends – in itself a terrible loss, but with some surprising silver linings.

4) Starting and finishing (!) quilts for my dad and Storm

5) Being able to call myself a designer – after 20 plus years of dreaming about it

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6) Watching my husband launch his fledgling breadmaking business
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7) Helping Storm learn to swim and being able to share my passion for swimming with her

8) Handmade birthdays and a minimalist Christmas
Christmas chutney!
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9) Being constantly reminded that happiness in work, family and friends is more important than anything money can buy
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10) And this picture… (thanks Steven)
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We have a winner!

21 Nov

Hello my lovelies. Sorry not to announce this sooner. It’s amazing how silly little things like sending a magazine to the press can get in the way of the best laid plans!

Anyway, to keep it short and sweet, we had 17 lovely entries to the Blue Sky Alpacas yarn giveaway and I’m happy to say that ‘stormandateacup’ (who made the 6th comment) is the winner.

Obligatory random number generator shot;

And here’s a wee reminder of what you’ve won…

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Nom nom nom!

Thanks to everyone who entered. You all rock!

Pumpkins and yarn: Giveaway

4 Nov

Why hello there!

How was your Halloween? Storm still hasn’t worked out that she can go trick or treating, so we had probably our last year of staying home, pumpkin shining outside, to welcome the neighbourhood ghosties and goulies.

Instead of being dragged around the streets in the pouring rain, we handed out sweets (Storm dressed as a witch) to the small number of kiddos who darkened our door.

Woooooooooo!

Witchy!

During the day Storm had one of her friends around from school, and we got the little ‘uns to draw their idea of a perfect pumpkin, which we then carved out.

Mine was OK I think…

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…but I should have got a pic of the pumpkin wee Frankie’s dad carved. He’s a model sculptor for animation and honestly, I have never seen anything like it!

Anyhoo, as it’s Halloween (well, was) I have a little giveaway of some pumpkin yarn!

The nice peeps at Blue Sky Alpacas are offering the yarn to make one of my Popsicle Shawls

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…in a suitably seasonal colour.

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Normally this yarn  – yummy Organic Cotton Worsted – comes in hanks. I wound it up to make a third shawl for Mollie Makes, but ran out of time when a deadline moved.

So, rather than hoard it, in the spirit of minimalism, and sharing, I’m giving it away!

For a chance of making it yours, just leave a comment below and I’ll draw a winner at random on November 10.

Happy hauntings!

Ma’am Mat: New design in The Knitter

12 May

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Apparently it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year. Did you know that? Me either 😉

Anyhoo, to celebrate, I got all patriotic for a little design for The Knitter which is out about now.

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In the mag it’s known as the Jubilee Placemat, but I would have loved to have been able to call it the Ma’am Mat. As in Ma’amite. Arf.

It’s knitted in Excelana‘s new DK weight yarn which comes in some lovely vintage colours.

I had great fun finding the props for the photoshoot – the mug was my fave (from Cancer Research UK – £3!) and is now residing in my kitchen cupboard, where it has become my ‘mug of choice’. (Minimalism alert – Al managed to break my purple Pantone mug about a week after I bought it so we are on an even keel mug-wise, you’ll be relieved to hear.)

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The mat is worked flat and then the edging is picked up and worked in the round. It would probably take a couple of evenings to make and uses less than one ball of each colour – you’ll have plenty left of the red and the white, not so much of the blue.

Annoyingly, I brought it home and now can’t find it, so for now I’m stuck admiring these brilliant pictures (styled by Sarah Clark at The Knitter, who is just top at that kind of thing – thanks Sarah!).

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I suspect on Jubilee weekend itself a lot of peep’s breakfasts won’t be quite as civilised as this one, what with the four day holiday, ahem.

Happy knitting!

I may be gone sometime…

11 Apr

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Now I’ve written this title, I’m wondering whether alluding to the last known words of a fearless explorer facing certain death is entirely in good taste. Ah well.

Anyway, I have taken possession of The Sewing Machine (hurrah!) so forgive me if I hibernate a little.

I combined the trip with a 2 hour visit to Bath’s amazing Victoria Park playground to keep the wee girl happy, so I didn’t feel too guilty when I then carted her along to Husqvarna Studio to pick up my Janome XL601, complete with add-on quilting package (swoon).

The first thing I did (OK, the first thing, after wrestling with the bobbin winder and wrangling with the automatic needle threader), was to sew some ‘proper’ one-step buttonholes onto Storm’s Puppet Show dress.

I practised a lot first, which was just as well. Ahem. The best bit was when I tried to start a buttonhole with the feeddogs down, thus zig-zagging on the spot for several seconds before realisation hit, which led to me having to practically cut out the bobbin. Duh.

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I got the hang of it in the end. They aren’t perfect, but a damn sight quicker, and neater than any I’ve sewn by hand.

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The Machine is not top of the range by any stretch, but it has a few cute embroidery stitches, and I particularly like the one you can use to create a scalloped hem. Sweet!

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I feel nervous about getting rid of my old heavy-duty machine, which mum taught me to sew on, and I’ve had about 20 years. But I suspect a minimalist is not allowed two sewing machines by any stretch. Uh oh.

Lovely Easter things

8 Apr

Ooooo, it’s my birthday today. Hurrah! I must confess though, I’m not brilliant at celebrating my ‘big day’. It often falls around Easter, when people are on  holiday or with their families so in recent years I’ve gotten a bit half-hearted when it comes to rallying the troops for a big shin-dig.

Still, I can always enjoy the little things that make a birthday special. This year, its combination with Easter Sunday has meant lots of warnings in advance not to eat ‘too much chocolate’. When did we ever start worrying about that?!

My own indulgences are pretty simple. Some lovely flowers from the fantastico ladies at The Knitter and Simply Knitting (I am very lucky to work with such delightful, generous people)…

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A smidge of Tilda fabric remnant for another pass at Simplicity 2211, which I treated myself to yesterday at  Get Knitted (where we also had lots of delish cakes courtesy of Kat, whose birthday is tomorrow. Happy birthday Kat!).

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Buttons which came with the new issue of Mollie Makes that arrived yesterday. Mollie has great taste, and perfect timing…

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(And they match the fabric uncannily – although my camera seems to be implying otherwise – weird).

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‘Proper’ chocolate from the husband, who knows me too well by now (today is also our sixth wedding anniversary). This has candied orange peel in it. Yum.

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And a gorgeous vintage tin, which I plan to line to use for sewing kit.

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I’ve also had some lovely cards, and a beautiful fig candle from my dear friend Jo. Top work!

You may notice that this doesn’t seem like a lot of ‘stuff’ and that’s how I like it. My big present is, quite amazingly, a new sewing machine, which my lovely family have clubbed together to buy me, and should arrive on Tuesday.

I will be sorry to say goodbye to my old machine, which is pretty much the same age as me, and is starting to look a bit tired (no jokes please). I feel very disloyal getting rid of it, but, while it is perfectly functional as a basic machine, it has a lot of things that don’t work any more, and it also weighs about 50lb.

As well as sharing my birthday with our wedding anniversary, I’m sharing it with a celebration of all things chocolate, which makes it a little easier to keep the small person cheery when I’m being spoilt. I do hope you’re having a lovely time too! Happy Easter!

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One hour project: Clothkits apple doorstop

8 Mar

Ooo, hello Clothkits. What a blast from the past!

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As a child I was usually dressed in either:

a) Something my mother had sewn

b) Something my aunt had designed

c) Something from a jumble sale

d) Something from Clothkits, which my mother had sewn

Once my mum made me a dress by tracing a Clothkits pattern onto an old curtain she’d got from a jumble sale for about 15p, thus fulfilling options a), c) and d) all in one garment.

Clothkits died a death in the 80s, but it’s back. BACK! And just as brilliant.

It now has yummy artists like Rob Ryan, Emily Peacock, and Echino Designs (lovely Japanese fabric designer) on board, and has revived some old favourites (I think my brother had this coat) and created some new classics.

Anyway, when I saw their stand at Ally Pally in the autumn I couldn’t resist one of their lovely apple doorstops (minimalism alert – we actually did need a second doorstop in addition to The Squirrel). Especially as they were just £5 (show offer – nice!).

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Of course, the kit has since languished in a cupboard for a few months, but when I finally got it out to make it took me less than an hour from start to finish. Great for a present.

Foolishly I forgot to trace the pieces before I cut them, (the nice lady on the Clothkits stand told me everyone does this) but actually the pattern is very simple – four triangles with the point chopped off, a square for the bottom, and a handle.

And, oooo, that lovely Clothkits babycord. Such great fabric (iron it upside down to avoid squashing it).

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Clothkits, welcome back (OK, I know it’s been a few years). You guys rock!

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