Saturday, 31 December 2011

Catch up

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! :) I had a lovely time at home, and the new house is gorgeous. I thought I'd do a quick catch up post, as I knitted quite a bit while I was home :)
Here's are my WiPs.
A Rose Red by Ysolda. This still counts as a WiP as it hasn't been blocked :)
A Stockholm scarf (pattern available on Ravelry here). It's actually a cowl, and it will be huge!
And an Ishbel, also by Ysolda.
I was also lucky enough to win a giveaway at the lovely Suzy Sewing blog! I won the knitting bundle and among the goodies were two balls of yarn!

I've had a play around with them already, and I can't wait to knit them up :) I just have to decide what I want to knit.
I also received some lovely craft related gifts for Christmas too!
Books!! I love craft books, just flicking through them is so relaxing. I can't wait to try making a bag, my finishing has always left a lot to be desired so I'm hoping now that I have access to the proper techniques I can make a bag that looks lovely! I also received some stitch markers from my mum, but I forgot to take a photo. I'm sure you'll see them on a WiP at some point :) I also received lots of other bits and bobs too like chocolate, a very pretty dress, a lovely cardigan, some strawberry and cream tea, a couple of fiction books ( the Thursday Next series if you're interested. I highly recommend it!) and many more lovely little things :)
I was also lucky enough to get some spending money too, so I took a trip to Spins and Needles today :)
For the Fiddler's mitts in My Grandmothers knitting:

Some yarn for two pairs of socks (one for me, one for Dom):

And this is an old photo, but I bought three more balls of this too so I can make a matching pair of gloves for the Rose Red hat :) (yes, the colour is completely off in the photo of the hat above):
If you're celebrating the new year, I hope you enjoy your celebrations tonight :) I'll be back with a round up of the Christmas presents I made tomorrow. And probably a hangover too ;)
Ashley x

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas everyone!! I couldn't resist sharing these cute photos of Crunchie cat :)
Ashley x

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Stollen and the last one

It was delicious! I even got Dom's approval with 'You can make this again'! The icing was a lovely touch,  the recipe had you make it with lemon juice instead of water. I'd have never thought to do this, but I'll definitely be doing it again. It would also be lovely on cupcakes too. It disappeared pretty quick too!
As for the last one? The last Christmas present of course!
This is for my sister India, it's the same as Ebony's but in India's favourite colour :) Yep, she's a tomboy. Ebony has always wanted to be like me, whereas India has always wanted to be like her brothers. Ebony has also showed more of an interest in sewing. Mum bought them some little sewing kits, you know the kind, bits of felt with the holes already punched through? Well, I expected India to catch on more quickly as she's older. Nope! Ebony caught on quicker and got tangled less than India! India quickly lost interest so I finished it for her. I love the differences in their personalities, so cute :)
We also made gingerbread yesterday :) We don't have a gingerbread man cutter though, so we just did little round biscuits. Yum! It was another of Delia's recipes and worked perfectly.
Oh, and I'm going home tomorrow!! Woohoo!! I haven't been home since September so I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone :)
Ashley x

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Baking

That right there is Stollen. I'm using a Delia Smith recipe from her 'Baking' collection. You can find it online here. That dough took very little effort on my part and came together so easily! It didn't stick to me or the kitchen counter and smells amazing. And my hands smell like lemon zest from kneading it :)
I've got about 2 hours before it finishes rising, so I suppose I should go and wash all the dirty dishes I always manage to amass when I bake ;)
Baked Stollen photos to follow! :)
Are you doing any Christmas baking? Or any other holiday baking for that matter?
Ashley x

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Pick your battles

That collar is not going to lay flat no matter what I do. And it's whiter than the background of the strawberries. And the binding peaks out. So instead of fretting about it, I'm going to unpick it and simply bind the neckline with bias binding as per the instructions for the Pendrell blouse. Maybe I'll add a little bow at the neckline like on the Colette Pastille. I should have known it was not meant to be when a black mark mysteriously appeared right on the front of the collar.
So I'm going to spend the evening with my stitch ripper and perhaps some knitting and a mug of hot chocolate. And I'm not going to be grumpy about it, because I am picking my battles! And maybe tomorrow after I've handed those essays in, I'll have another go at the neckline. 
I hope you have all had a lovely weekend :)
Ashley x

Saturday, 10 December 2011


I made these using the leftovers from my cable stitch wristwarmers. The pattern is from the book Brave New Knits, which Dom got me for my birthday :) It's a lovely pattern, not too difficult but with pretty results. I like the yarn, but it's not the best choice for this pattern. I wanted to use up the yarn while using a pattern form the book because Dom thought I didn't like it as I hadn't knit anything from it yet. So if I make them again, I'll choose something a bit more solid, so the pattern stands out more. I'll definitely use them though, as they're perfect for taking to the library while I work. It is cold in there! My Ravelry project page is here :)
Also the yarn made my nose itch. I think I hold my knitting too close to my face so stray fibres got up my nose. Bleugh!!
I have two essays due on Monday. I've had them both finished for about 3 weeks (yay!). I was going to start my essay that's due in January this weekend, but I figure the library will be busy with lots of last minute students doing their essays due in for Monday. So I'm going to wait till Tuesday, and spend the weekend relaxing. I also want to do a bit of work on my dissertation before I go home for Christmas, so there's that to do as well. So a weekend off will be lovely :)
Ashley x

Saturday, 3 December 2011


I bought this yarn at the Lincoln Christmas market on Thursday night :) There was a section of the market called the Medieval market, where everything had a medieval theme to it. The yarn was spun and dyed by the lady selling it! And it was the very first stall we went to :) It made me giggle because Dom saw it before I did, but he didn't say anything as he knew I'd be excited. When I went over to it, the lady's husband saw me looking. All of the vendors were dressed in Medieval style clothing, so it was particularly funny when he smiled and said 'Adding to the hoard?' because he looked like he belonged in the game World of Warcraft! :) (In WoW there are two sides that you can play as, the good side is the Alliance, and the evil side is the Horde). It's 300 yards of DK weight pure wool. It's soft, but also has a nice roughness. And it smells like sheep. But I kind of like that. There's something wonderful about knitting with a sheepy earthy yarn :)
There was also a stall selling jerky, made the traditional way. They had some tofu jerky, which was very tasty (a bit too tasty for my liking). Dom bought some, and it was gone within half an hour when we got home! They also sold something called 'fruit leather'. This was delicious, and we'll definitely be ordering from their website! Nom! I might also have some photos to share soon that Dom took, as I didn't take a digital camera :)
Also, I finished my little sisters Christmas present today! Both of my sisters asked for the same thing, some ear warmers like they had seen in a shop. But in their favourite colours. So here is Ebony's, in her favourite colour!
Yes, I am fully aware she's going to look ridiculous but it's what she asked for! I'm not sure what it's meant to be, but I'm sure Ebony can decide :) It's Cascade 220, and the pattern is simply an inch of ribbing, 2 inches of stockinette, and another inch of ribbing. And of course pom poms. I hate making the damn things, so tedious. I worked out how many stitches to cast on from my gauge and Ebony's head measurement. It's got an inch of negative ease, so should be a nice fit. Especially since her head is the same size as mine, and it fits me fine. No, there is no photographic evidence of this thing on my head ;P
Ashley x

Thursday, 1 December 2011

November - Finished Projects

It's December already?! We opened our advent calenders this morning!! (Thanks mum :) And yes, we are 20 and 21 years old and we still have advent calenders) I also finished 4 Christmas presents this month! You can see them herehere and here.
I also made progress on my Pendrell dress :) I've started getting the collar together. Then I hit a slight technical hitch, the collar somehow doesn't reach centre back (I did it two pieces). I'm not sure where my calculations were off, but after thinking about it I'm just going to go ahead with it anyway. I don't have enough fabric to cut another, and it's not that big a gap. Plus I have long hair so it won't be that visible ;)
Also, today is the start of the Lincoln Christmas Market!! :D I've been looking forward to it all year, especially as last year it was cancelled due to the snow. And we're putting the Christmas tree up today!
Happy Thursday!
Ashley x

Monday, 28 November 2011

My first crochet project!!

Look!! A crochet project!! This and granny squares is the only thing I've ever managed to crochet. But I managed these without the help of youtube, though I did use a crochet how-to book for the stitch definitions :) (thanks Sarah!). I've made them into decorations for a Christmas tree, and I plan on making more for our tree and my mum's tree :) They're so cute, I love them! 
The yarn is left overs from my socks, and the pattern is a free one found here. My Ravelry project page is here.
I was also in the mood for some mindless knitting today. The best kind of mindless knitting is the useful kind. So I knitted this:
A wash cloth! I'm really bad at bothering to take my make-up off at the end of the day, so hopefully having a nice wash cloth will encourage me to take it off :)
The yarn is Wendy's dishcloth cotton, and the pattern is another free one found here. My Ravelry project page is here :)
Ashley x
p.s. has anyone put their Christmas tree up yet? We're planning on putting it up on Thursday, I can't wait! :) 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Pendrell Dress - part 5

Ta daa!! I fixed the fitting issues that I was grumping about, and the fit is much better! I'll probably do a sway back adjustment to the tissue for next time, but it's not major thankfully. Definitely needs a slip underneath with my thick woolly tights though. I finished the seams, and I found a new stitch on my machine for finishing the seams that I prefer to the old one I was using. Yay! And as you can see, I've added cute little capped sleeves! I love capped sleeves, I nabbed these ones from another pattern I have. They really change the whole dress, I was worrying it looked a bit frumpy but the sleeves really help. 
Next up is a white peter pan collar. I'm hoping this will really banish the 'frumpy' :)
Ashley x
p.s. Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! And to those who don't, I'm sure we can all think of something to be thankful for :) 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Lace hand warmers

I finished these in between my brothers' Christmas presents and waiting for my sisters' head measurements. A really quick little knit. I finished the first one in an evening, but the second one took longer because I was doing some sewing!! More on that tomorrow!
The pattern is a free one, here. You might recognise the yarn as being leftovers from my scroll lace scarf, I've still got a little left but not enough for another pair. This pair only took about 70 yards! You can see my Ravelry project page here, the link should work for non-Ravelry members too :)
Look out for a real live sewing related post tomorrow! ;)
Ashley x

Saturday, 19 November 2011

I'm on a roll!

I just posted about two more Christmas presents over at the Crafty Christmas Club! My post is here :) I'm getting excited for Christmas now, but mostly I'm looking forward to going home. I've not been home since the middle of September so I'm missing everyone! Plus mums just moved house, so I'm looking forward to seeing it :) Apparently there's a church pew in the hall!
In other news. . . 
Isn't it beautiful?! And it's ring bound!! How practical! No more faffing with a silly book trying to make it stay open on the right page! It's really nice to have a reference book, so I don't have to go looking for a tutorial online. I think I'm going to try the Pastille first, as it's the only one I really have suitable fabric for. I find it so difficult to find fabric with enough drape that isn't a sheer chiffon online! It's so hard to tell, or the description will be 'suitable for dressmaking or quilting'. So not drapey then? Grr! I need a BIG fabric shop near me so I can feel and see the fabric properly. 
Is there anywhere online that sells lightweight fabrics that aren't a sheer chiffon? Please let me know!
Ashley x

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Half way there!

I just posted my fourth handmade Christmas gift over at the Crafty Christmas Club! :) This is the half way mark for me, and I'm excited to get on with more. Because then of course, I can start knitting for me again! And I might even squeeze some sewing in there too ;)
The link is here. Just a quick warning, but it may not be safe for work. So be careful who you open it around!
I'm also starting to think of uses for the bag of dried lavender I've had for a while now. I'm thinking of using the fat quarters that I won in a giveaway to make mini lavender cushions. They'd be great for popping in with the knitted gifts! Plus, I'll get to use up some of the lavender as there's way too much for Dom and I to use. 
Also, this week I finished an essay that isn't due in until the 12th of December!! I feel so organised! I've got another essay in for the same date, and then I need to do some research for my dissertation. Then I have another essay in for the 12th of January. But, I'm feeling pretty confident I can do it with minimal stress if I start now :) I might even get it all done before Christmas, so I don't have to worry about it. That would be lovely!
Ashley x

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Just a quick hello

Just a quick post, to say I've got another post up at the Crafty Christmas Club! If you're family or a close friend, step away from the link!
It's here. I really like this one, the colour is gorgeous :)
Also, I have discovered the joys of the uni library. I spent 4 hours there yesterday, and managed to do 800 out of 2500 words of an essay!! And it isn't due in for 5 weeks!! How organised am I? :D I find I work much better when away from home as there's nothing else to do but work :)
And because it's too pretty not to share, I bought some yarn the other day:
It's Botany Lace, and is sooooo soft! :) It's a good incentive to get cracking on more Christmas knitting!
Ashley x

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

October - Finished Projects

This month has been a month of finishing knitting projects, so I can start on my Christmas presents. The only sewing that went on was falling out with my Pendrell dress! lol The poor thing.
I also finished two Christmas presents! The first is here, I've shared this link before. But the second I only posted today, although I finished it yesterday :) It's here. I'm really pleased with it! 
How did you spend Halloween? We spent it watching Jumanji and eating sweets. Yes, Jumanji is still scary ;)
Ashley x

Sunday, 30 October 2011

New boots!

I got some new boots this week! As you can see, they're Doctor Martins. I've needed a warm pair of boots since it got colder, but the rain was the worst. Now my feet are warm and dry! :D Last winter, when we had all that snow (I haven't seen that much snow since I was about 5!) I made do with a pair of socks, plastic bags over my feet, another pair of socks, and then a pair of converse shoes. Yeah, not the warmest or the driest. I love them already! I had a little bit of rubbing on the backs of my heels, but not enough to cause a blister. After wearing them twice, the rubbing is now gone. Hurray! Also, they're gonna last a long time! Dom has had a pair for 7 years or so, and they're only just starting to fall apart. 
I paid £63 (student discount!) for a pair of warm waterproof boots that are definitely going to last the winter, and probably many more. I paid £28 for a pair of brogues from Dorothy Perkins that lasted about 6 weeks. And I didn't even wear them everyday! After 6 weeks, a hole had worn through on the bottom. At least I don't have to worry about that happening with these boots. Also, the soles are almost bouncy! So comfy :)
Anyway enough about my boots. I took my Pendrell dress out of the wardrobe and spent an hour or so removing the zip. It wouldn't have taken so long, but I had stupidly finished the seams before trying it on. Here she is after I had finally freed the zip:
The poor thing. I'm still grumpy at her, but I'm considering working on her tomorrow morning. It depends how long it takes me to write up an essay plan. I hate writing essay plans.
In knitting news, I've finished another Christmas present! And half finished another! The finished present needs blocking though, but I should hopefully have a post up over at the Crafty Christmas Club sometime this week :)
In other news, I pre-ordered the Colette Sewing Handbook from a few weeks ago. Yesterday morning, I got an email to say my order has been cancelled as they are no longer supplying it. But then today, it back up for pre-order!! I am more than a little angry. I have already ordered it from the Book Depository, so hopefully my order won't get cancelled this time. Grrr!!
I hope you had a lovely weekend :)
Ashley x

Sunday, 23 October 2011

First present finished!

Hello! I posted my first finished Christmas present over at the Crafty Christmas Club! If you're my friend Becky, please step away from the link!
My post is here. I want to keep for myself! :) I've started a second present too which is going well.
Unfortunatley, the Pendrell dress has been stuffed in the wardrobe in a huff. I have some uni work to do so it doesn't look like we're going to make friends again any time today. If only the damn thing co-operated in the first place, I'd have a new dress by now! Humph.
Ashley x

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Rosebud socks - Finished!

Yes!! I finally finished them! I started these at the end of June, had problems with my gauge and had to order bigger needles, got a blister on my finger from the needles which then split, and worked on other projects instead. So these socks took a long time to finish. They're worth it in the end though, as they're so pretty! :) I'm considering wearing over tights with a dress and some pumps to show them off! 
So the pattern I used was the Rosebud sock pattern in the book Toe up socks for everybody by Wendy Johnson. It's a lovely book and I want to make every single pair in it! My only problem is the gauge. The pattern says 8 stitches per inch on 2mm needles. I went up to 2.25mm needles and still only got 9/10 stitches per inch. I decided to go ahead and knit them on the 2.25mm anyway, but I do wish I had gone up another needle size. The yarn is Ranco Araucania which is lovely. The colour is amazing, and it feels hard wearing but soft. I haven't washed them yet, but I'll report back when I do. I'm hoping to get a little extra width by blocking. 
I'm wearing them now, and they're so warm! :)
Ashley x
ps. don't forget to click the photos so you can see the detail! ;)

Monday, 17 October 2011

A Crafty Christmas Post!

I posted my Crafty Christmas list over at the Crafty Christmas blog! If you've clicked over here from Facebook and are a close friend or family member, do not click the following link!! You'll spoil the surprise! 
For the rest of my lovely readers, my post is here :)
A little update on my Pendrell dress. I've sewn up the shell. However, I'm getting major creasing at the back! I think the zip is a bit stiffer than the one I used in the muslin, so it's causing it to crease and wrinkle. I'm going to move it to the side. The bust fullness is still too low even though I thought I'd moved it up enough. And there is too much fabric around my tummy. Grrr!! This isn't supposed to happen after two muslins!! *sigh* I'll get there.
Ashley x

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Crafty Christmas Club!

The Crafty Christmas Club is back! It's a place to share your Christmas Crafting where friends and family who follow your main blog won't see their presents! I've joined it this year, and I can't wait until I have a finished gift to share over there. I'm going to look through the posts from last year for ideas, there were a couple that really stuck in my mind :)
Are you planning a Crafty Christmas this year? 
Ashley x

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Scroll Lace Scarf - Finished!

Yay, it was actually cold enough for me to wear one of my knits! And so I chose my Scroll lace scarf so I could get a photo :) I really like it, it's lovely and soft and drapey. And surprisingly warm for how thin it feels! 
The pattern is the Scroll Lace scarf by Ysolda Teague. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I used 8 grams from a third ball, so should be able to squeeze a small project out of the leftovers :) I also used Knit Pro Symfonie needles for the first time and absolutely love them! So smooth and I love the cheerful colours. I used 5.5mm needles which is the recommended needle size for this pattern. Next time I'll go down to 5mm to make it a bit denser and to hopefully squeeze it out of just two balls of yarn.
Now to get some photos of my Rosebud socks!
Ashley x

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Pendrell Dress - part 4

That's how far I got today! I re-traced the front bodice pieces as the they were covered in sticky tape. Then I drafted a peter pan collar vaguely following Casey's tutorial. And then I cut the main fabric pieces :) I haven't cut out the collar yet, but I'm planning on block fusing the pieces. I now have sore knees from the scratchy carpet. I also managed to scratch my thigh with a pin which has come up in a super sore scratch. 
I also finished up two knitting projects today! I finally finished the Rosebud socks! It's so good to have them off the needles! And I also finished up the Scroll lace scarf. Now here's the annoying thing. I bought 2 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, totalling 250 metres. The pattern calls for 250 metres. I ran out of yarn with half a row and the cast off to do! I didn't want to undo all that knitting so I decided to just buy another ball and find a project on Ravelry for the left over. It's currently drying on a towel, as it had to be blocked to open up the lace and also to try and get rid of the edge curling that I had going on:
I'll get photos of both the socks and the scarf soon :) I'm going to ask Dom to take them for me with his new Pentax K5 camera. He got it on Tuesday and he's been playing around with it ever since. And of course who does he take pictures of when he's playing around with it? ;) Yep, me! No matter what I'm doing he'll come over to take a picture with a new setting that he's found or to just play around with it. I don't mind of course, but some of the pictures must be awful! lol 
I also bought some more yarn this week. I'm planning on making two more Snapdragon hats. I chose these two colours, as then I will have a hat that goes with everything in my wardrobe. I think I'll do the matching gloves at some point too. 
Cygnet Superwash DK

British Breeds Blue Face Leicester DK
I can't wait to finish up my current secret knitting project so I can sneak in a Snapdragon! :) My current project is my first Christmas knit. I've got three planned, but there might be more depending on how soon I finish them. When the Crafty Christmas Club starts up again this year, I'm going to join so I can share my Christmas makes :) I've been keeping an eye out for sewing projects too that I think friends and family might like. Not sure yet :)
Also, as Dom now has a new camera he has passed his old one onto me. It's a Pentax K2000. Dom felt he had outgrown it, but it's all new to me! I've only ever used it on Auto, so the photos of the yarn and the scarf are from me learning to a bit about the camera. I know a little about aperture and ISO and what not from having a film camera, but I've still got a long way to go!! :)
Ashley x


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