Tag Archives: photography

Popsicle Shawls in Mollie Makes

28 Sep

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A little over a year ago a pretty little craft mag was launched. Mollie Makes has taken the making world by storm, with its heady mix of beautiful projects, inspiring features and one to ones with some of the world’s top crafters.

I was a subscriber from issue one, so I’m absolutely chuffed to say that I’m in the latest issue. Hurrah!

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My Popsicle Shawls are a fresh twist on a classic – a mini shawl that thanks to a little clever shaping, won’t fall off your blinking shoulders!

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I wanted to create a design that was easy to wear, simple to make, and grew quickly. You can knit up a Popsicle in a couple of evenings, and all the stitches are very straightforward.

The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton Worsted (nom), and the pattern uses 6mm needles so blink and you’ll miss it!

The first one I knitted – the lime shawl, started life as a mini strip of garter stitch. I was trying (again) to teach my daughter to knit, and this is what we ended up with after a little while.

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But she quickly lost interest (she’s allowed, she’s four) and I sat and stared at this 2cm strip for a few minutes, thinking, ‘well, I’ve knitted that, I don’t want to undo it, what can I do with it?’

Then I remembered a neat technique to pick up around the 2 short sides of a rectangle, and knit out to create a shawl shape. So I looked up Elizabeth Zimmerman‘s Pi Shawl formula, which I’d been wanting to try, and started from there, developing the shape to fit around the shoulders properly.

The increases are all partnered with dropped stitches to create long eyelets, and add a bit of interest, but unless you’re an absolute beginner, this shouldn’t be beyond you!

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Once I’d made the lime shawl, I had another go with blue, and refined the design a bit, to make the lower edge more ruffled. A bit girlier perhaps.

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I roped in my stylish friend Helen for the photo shoot (check out the feather necklace) and her hubby Tim helped out with holding reflectors and gave me some tips for getting the best shot (he is a much better photographer than me).

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We also had two pint-sized helpers – Storm (mine) and Jet (Helen and Tim’s little girl), plus their new baby. We were quite a sight!

We shot in front of a wall painted by Bristol street artist Inkie, who you might have heard of in connection with Bristol’s famous street art gallery See No Evil.

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And if you haven’t encountered See No Evil, look it up – it’s amazing.

Ttfn and happy knitting!

New designs in Simply Knitting

7 Aug

 

Oh hello there! I’ve been a bit busy of late, hence the tumbleweed blowing across your screen for the last little while.

Here’s why…

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The new issue of Simply Knitting is out this week and I’ve got three patterns in it. Huzzah!

First up is Zest, an ombre cushion, with a flash of colour just for fun.

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It’s knitted in Rowan Big Wool on 10mm needles, so it goes super fast – the whole thing took just a couple of evenings to knit. You start from one corner with just 3 stitches and increase out to the widest point, before decreasing again.

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The back is envelope style, which means no sewing on buttons or any faffing at all really.

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If you want to make the whole thing in one colour it takes less than three balls.

Also in this issue is Play Time, a dress for little girls, modelled by a familiar face, if you’re a ‘regular’ here at Nana Taught Me How…

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I used PeterPan Sweetheart DK, which is machine washable (hurrah!) and super-soft against young sensitive skin.

It’s sized from 9 months to 6 years, and the smallest size is quite a bit shorter than the others so your crawling tot won’t get tangled up in a long skirt.

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I bought dresses for Storm she never got to wear because she was a late walker – crawling and long skirts do NOT mix.

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Thanks to Frances Jago for her sterling knitting, Phil Sowels for the lovely photography of lil’ Storm, and Sarah Clark and Al for helping me wrangle her on the shoot. That lollipop was the only thing keeping her from escaping!

Last, but not least is Happy Days, a cheerful polka dot cardigan with cute picot edgings.

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The magazine has helpfully included a step-by-step tutorial for Fair Isle knitting in case you’re new to it.

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And it’s on the cover. Whoop!

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So, a busy month!

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I’ll have more design news very soon. Ttfn!

Choo choo!

23 Jun

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Storm’s birthday was over the Jubilee weekend, so we postponed her treat for a couple of weeks as everyone was away on the big day. Something tells me we won’t get away with that next year…

I’ve wanted to go on the Avon Valley Railway (real steam trains!) for yonks, so this was my perfect excuse, haha.

We packed a picnic, roped in some family and friends, and somehow secured the only sunny day in a fortnight of rain. Hurrah!

I wish all train stations still looked like this…

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They swap the engine from one end to another half way through the journey so we got to see this…

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And this…

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Everyone seemed to like it…

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I loved watching this…

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And seeing this…

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(expert tickling by Abby)

And then we had cake (lemon – yum)

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And went home. Job well done I think.

Happy birthday chickie!

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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 ūüėČ

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!

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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Postcard from Cornwall

9 Nov

We got back yesterday to my favourite place in the world (Bristol) after a few restful days in my second favourite place in the world – Cornwall. Or Kernow, as it should be known.

We stayed at The College in Week St Mary at the very generous invitation of a good friend. And it was lovely.

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We rocked our country best…

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Saw Merlin’s Cave at Tintagel – that place is spooky!

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Tackled killer hills!

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Ate like kings (yes, indeedy, marshmallows on the fire)

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And ventured onto the beach, and in Storm’s and my case into the sea at Bude! (I swear they are plotting in this picture…)

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After much Monkees style wave-chasing in the winter sun, I got lulled into a false sense of security… There are no words to describe how cold I got when I had to scoop my crazy daughter out of the waves (she was lying down in the shallows pretending to swim) and clasp her tight to stop her leaping back in. Her puffy, sodden winter coat had acted like a giant icy sponge in the sea, which squeezed out all over me, soaking me from neck to knee with freezing water. It was so so cold – and also one of the funniest moments of my life.

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Sadly there are no pics as Al was laughing too hard to take any. Here they are at the beach cafe anyway, just after our awfully wet adventure. I’d cleverly brought a change of clothes for Storm, but not for me…

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Even with my unexpected soaking, it was exactly what we all needed, so thank you Abby and Steven for sharing your weekend with us. It was just marvellous.

Perhaps you’ve noticed a lack of knitting posts here of late. I have had RSI for the last month, so I haven’t been able to knit much. But slowly, slowly, my powers are returning. Stand by for more on that very soon…

Knitting at the Thali – the Woolly Wonderland is go!

23 Sep

Wow. We’ve already been overwhelmed by the response to our idea to cover Totterdown in woolly goodness for the Front Room Art Trail this November.

But we were still pretty bowled over when 20 lovely knitting and crochet volunteers turned up to our first meeting at the Thali cafe this week.

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The meeting was a huge success (even if I say so myself), with lots of volunteers to make squares, stripey strips, birds, and flowers for our trail through Arnos Vale, and some extra goodies for the streets of the art trail itself.

A jolly time was had by all, new friends were made, our donated yarn stash was extensively raided (yay!) and we ended the night on an absolute high, fuelled by the yummy poppadums and chutney provided by the Thali, and a cheeky Asian beverage or two.

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We’ll have a new meeting date for you very soon so keep your eyes firmly fixed here or on the Woolly Wonderland blog. There will be leaflets going out in the local area too, for those without access to the internet.

Since the meeting we’ve had more donations of yarn (lots of lovely bright colours) from The Knitter magazine, the offer of an entire knitting machine, plus cones of machine knitting yarn, and even a crocheted stair runner to wrap around a lucky tree in the cemetery. Phew!

Thank you so much for getting involved and making what was just a vague idea two weeks ago into something quite spectacular.

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Want to be kept up to date with what’s next? Just drop us a line to woolywonderland@gmail.com, or rugby tackle me in the street if that’s more your style.

Special thanks for the meeting go to Hannah, for booking the room, little Pablo, for not making a fuss about being out and about rather than tucked up at home, and everyone who turned up to offer their help.

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See you soon!