If I had remembered to pop in here, I could have told you about the gift swap I was going to do with a lady I met on Instagram, the lovely @florahoneypot. She asked if anyone would be interested in doing a swap with her and so many people said yes, she picked 10 of us!! We told each other a bit about ourselves and swapped addresses. This is what I sent her - a project bag I made and a few other bits and bobs, some hand made and others purchased. She was very happy with her gifts when she opened them on Christmas Day.
And this is what she gave me -
A beautiful pair of soft grey wrist warmers which I plan to wear in the office as they won't stop me using the keyboard. A skein of hand dyed yarn, a sweet little tin (I love tins and boxes and I've already filled it!), a reel of ribbon, a tape measure, chocolates and a colouring book. Such generosity from someone who's never even met me!! She certainly helped bring a little magic back into Christmas this year!
She must have been very busy making things to put in her gift swap with 10 people...
I've made quite a few things myself this year when I think about it. There was the Tooty Fruity Blanket I gave my niece for her first baby.
Then I used the remaining yarn to design my own stripey blanket which I called "The Tooty Stripey Blanket". It now seems a silly name but it made sense at the time!
I wanted to use lots of different stitches and textures and for it to be completely reversible. It took a surprising amount of time to write up the chart ready to release on Ravelry. But I got there eventually and was very happy with it. I quickly followed it with a rainbow coloured version to test the pattern and correct any errors.
It became my favourite make of the year and it is very warm and snuggly - although it never did reach "full size" as I ran out of yarn and decided to leave it as it was. It covers me from toes to chest and is perfect for chilly winter evenings.
I've just had a quick look at Ravelry and my pattern has been downloaded 1886 times as of today! There are a very small number of comments and projects using it though but I suppose that's what happens when you give something away for free. Everyone takes a copy but then doesn't use it. Had I charged a small amount maybe it would only have been downloaded by people who would actually use it. But that's fine. I like a free pattern myself and will often adapt them to suit my needs.
I was Very Pleased to see a lady on IG was using my pattern and she made a lovely little baby blanket herself. She said how much she enjoyed using my pattern and that it was well written and thankou for all the extra hints and tips on my blog page (see the button at the top of the screen). If you're on IG, her username is RAFsweetheart. She has promised to email a photo to share with you, so I'll come back and add it as soon as it arrives.
Edit - here it is!!!
She made a fabulous job of it! I still can't quite believe that I designed it - or that I managed to write up a chart for 80+ pattern rows that anyone managed to follow!!
I went on to make two more baby blankets as gifts using some of the leftover little bits from my Tooty Harmony Blanket - I called them Harmony Baby Blankets. The colours I used are the same - but one is then joined with cream yarn and the other with colours. They have different borders but apart from that, the pattern is the same. It just goes to show what a difference colour can make to a project!!
One exciting thing that happened this year was that we started to sell wool in the craft shop - that meant we could set up a knit and natter group! Or as I like to call it "Knit & Knatter, Crochet & Chatter"! It's a lovely little group of ladies, some of whom knit and others crochet - and some are very new to each. And they all knatter!!! It's the best two hours of the week!!
We have some nice baby wool in the shop and I bought a set which I used to make this baby blanket, using a free pattern I'd seen on Instagram (and yes, I made sure to say thankyou and give credit when I shared pics!). The pattern is called "Lost in Time" and was well named as you really could lose track of time while working on it. I put it in my Folksy shop and it sold to a lady in Scotland who bought it for her grand daughter.
I had a message from her a few weeks later thanking me again for the blanket and saying it was so lovely, people kept admiring it more than her grand daughter!!! That made my day!
This little cardigan is a sample I made for the shop - it was also the first time I think I took a lot of time and effort photographing something for Instagram. I'd read a tutorial somewhere on how to take better product shots and this was my dry run! Since then, I've always tried to take good shots against a neutral background - and try and make sure my name is on it somewhere too!
During the first half of the year, I took a holiday in the north east to visit a friend and she took me to Whitley Bay and the most amazing shop I've ever seen - Ring-a-Rosie Yarn. It was during this visit that I discovered and fell in love with hand dyed yarn. The owner Barbara is an indie dyer and this is just a taste of what she'd done -
I keep buying it and the colours are so lush - but I must stop buying 4 ply! I hate using 4 ply as it takes so long to make anything but very few of the indie dyers ever use anything thicker, although luckily Barbara did.
During the summer, I entered a tea cosie design competition in a magazine and won the runner-up prize!! This is what I made on a theme of the Blooming Great Tea Party for Marie Curie -
She's available for sale in my Etsy shop (link in sidebar) with all proceeds being donated to Marie Curie.
My prize was an awful lot of Sirdar Cotton Yarn which I've used before and is a dream to work with. I made myself a project bag to keep big projects in and put a pic on instagram. Well, I had a comment from someone asking if she could order one!! Well, yes, I said, that would be fine!! We agreed a price and I set to working on it. I modified the lining for her as she planned on using it as a shoulder bag rather than a project bag and then I posted it off to the US and waited for it to arrive. And waited. And waited... A full 2 weeks later, it did indeed arrive and she was very happy with it - phew!!
I did enjoy making it and there's now a beach bag design swimming round in my head!!
If you're a regular visitor, you will know I've been knitting a tunic dress for the great niece who received the Tooty Fruity Blanket. I decided to be clever and make it in the round but it took soooooo long!! It was also coming out quite small... Luckily it does fit her but won't last long!
It was at this point it dawned on me that after spending most of my life knitting, I do not work my purl rows rather loosely - I work my knit rows rather tightly!! Who knew?? It's taken me 40 years to learn that fact!!!! It would explain why I detest working garter stitch which is knit stitch on every row. I always found it a very tight stitch to work and avoided it like the plague - now I know why.
I've had a little look to see what were the 3 most popular posts on my blog this year and they were -
Emma stripey blanket
Lost in time ta dah
I'm not surprised the post about Emma's blanket was so popular (I made it nearly 5 years ago and it's had almost 20k views on Ravelry!) but the other two did surprise me. I think the second one must have been mentioned on facebook somewhere as I suddenly had a lot of traffic from there after it had sold. And Ringarosie Yarns?? Well, such a wonderful shop deserves to come in the top three!!
I had a look at my top posts on Instagram too - I found a handy app that produced this for me -
All my favourite blankets, plus my Bargello Alliums - I really must get on and finish that!!
I was scrolling through earlier today looking at everyone elses best nine of 2017 and saw this -
At first I thought, hold on, that's MY BLANKET top right!! What's it doing there?? Then I read what Ali had put underneath and saw that she had tagged 9 people and her favourite pic from their page. IG have changed their algorithms recently, so if you have less than 2000 followers your pictures come up on fewer peoples feeds. So she thought she'd show her faves! How lovely!! Thank you so much Ali!!
I'd like to share two more things before I wish you Happy New Year - firstly, another little video. This time of our cat Fluffy having a whale of a time with the wrapping paper on Christmas Day!! Turn your sound up!
And secondly, a New Years Resolution. To use garter stitch!!!!
Now that I know it was just my tight tension that was the problem, I'm going to give it a try. Here are some pics of a sample piece I'm working on - this is using a scrap of hand dyed that I bought from Barbara of Ringarosie. It's a variation on the Hitchhiker scarf which is plain garter stitch (a pattern which Barbara told me about). I thought it would look good with some purl rows thrown in and some eyelets.
The hand dyed yarn I'm going to use has been wound and I just need to check the tension with it before casting on. Watch this space!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
And THANK YOU for stopping by!!