Category Archives: Planet Penny Cotton Club

Just the One…

Harvest TimeCan it really be August already?  The time flies by so quickly…

As I sit typing the harvester is rumbling up and down in the field next door, no doubt covering my washing with straw dust.  The joys of country living!  Never mind, the sun is shining and it’s warm, life could be much worse.

And I think I’ve seen more butterflies than ever before this summer.  They were late starting after the long cold winter but over the past few weeks the lavender and buddleia bushes have been smothered in butterflies and humming with bees.  I’ve spent so much time dancing around with the camera not getting them in focus…!

cabbage white in the lavender

bees in the lavender

peacock butterflies on buddleia

This year for the first time I saw a Swallowtail butterfly in the garden.  I was so excited, but between that excitement, the butterfly’s erratic progress round flowers and the breezy conditions every photo was a disappointing blur!

One of the things I really appreciate about writing this blog is the way it has given me a focus.  A focus on capturing the seasons, recording visits to beautiful places, exciting discoveries and new crafts, it’s been a lifeline on occasions.  And the added and unexpected bonus has been to link up with so many like minded people all over the world.  The internet is an amazing thing, opening up opportunities for virtual socializing and making it possible for so many people, especially women with families to run their own small businesses in a way which would have been impossible only a few years ago.

When I went on my detective journey eighteen months to find the yarn I had spotted on line, tracked it down, found there were no UK stockists and took a big gamble buying a wholesale amount I really had no idea what I had started.  For all I knew I might have ended up making rainbow colour blankets and cushions for the rest of my life to use up the huge packing case of yarn which was delivered!

But everyone who has bought it has loved it, just as much as I do.  It’s been bought by people all over the globe over the past year and I haven’t had one scrap of negative feedback.  Everyone has commented on the lovely quality, the wonderful colours and value for money.  And despite being surrounded by those colours everyday, I still love using it.

But, and here’s the rub.  I have become a victim of it’s success.  I have ideas for new things, more patterns, more fun…

And there’s only me…

Just the one…

I started the Mouse Kits and the Crafty Cotton because I was aware that the Royal Mail shipping costs made it difficult for some people overseas to afford the yarn.  But they require time.  Time to wind (and weigh) the yarn, to label, to pack.

yarn winder

And gradually over the past months it’s taken up more and more time and instead of being creative and innovative, I’ve just turned into a yarn processor…

wound Planet Penny Cotton

And meanwhile everything is suffering.  The garden is suffering from the erratic watering, my dear husband is suffering ‘cos I’m forgetting how to cook, the blog is suffering… The only ones not suffering are Higgins and Henry!

So for the moment with apologies, I’m calling a halt on the kits and the Crafty Packs so I can get back to exercising my creative muscles for new things for Planet Penny.

Planet Penny Cotton Packs will still be available.  The overseas shipping costs are lower now for the US and Australia than when I first started, and a pack of yarn will be enough to make up all the Planet Penny patterns which are currently available on Etsy with plenty left over for the new patterns I hope to have time to write now I’m not Winder-in-Chief!

And finally I will share the biggest and most important reason of all.  A couple of days back I was shown a small, grainy black and white photograph of the latest precious addition to the family… a new grandchild arriving early next year!  I just can’t wait to knit some teeny tiny socks!

So I do hope you understand, and stick around to find out what happens next…

I’ll see you soon….x

 

 

A Pain in the Neck!

If it’s been a bit quiet on Planet Penny the last few days it’s because its all been a bit of a pain in the neck…quite literally!  I don’t know how it’s possible to lock one’s neck up completely just turning on the pillow to look at the alarm clock  but that’s what I did, very effectively.   So my midweek post got delayed, and now I’m back in the chair with strict instructions from Lara, my amazing chiropractor, to set an alarm and step away from the computer every 20 minutes….

Which is quite tricky…

Feather and Needlefelt birds

I was mobile enough to take the second Needlefelt Workshop yesterday at Arts Desire and like the first one it was great fun.

Needlefelt Workshop, Arts DesireIt’s always fun to see the different interpretations of the same basic skill when we all get together, last week we had these little chaps (spot the bumble bee!)…

needlefelt bird workshop

…and yesterday these little feathered friends were born…

needlefelt birds29June

The Craft Lounge at Arts Desire is proving a great venue for these workshops and I’m looking forward to the 27th July and the Planet Penny Bakery when we will be needlefelting lots of low calorie high fibre treats!  If you are interested in joining us you can find out more right here

Meanwhile, I have been responding to many requests for a Rainbow Mouse knitting pattern for all those who don’t crochet and I’ve come up with this little fellow…

Knitted Rainbow Mouse

and introduced him to his crochet chums…

Knitted and Crochet Rainbow Mice

What do you think?  As soon as I feel happy with the design it will be available  alongside the crochet Mouse pattern via the Etsy shop

Knitted Rainbow Mouse

He seems to be looking very much at home..

And the sun is shining!  The creaky neck has put paid to much gardening, but my lovely son has been over and planted my Sarah Raven Sweet Peas. It’s a super scented collection of white, blue and deep pink …

Sarah Raven Sweet Peas…and I just can’t wait to pick my first bunch and fill the house with their scent.

I don’t think I’ve shown you my Planet Penny Cotton garden project!  It seems a bit mad, but so far has withstood the weather really well…

flowers in tins

Planet Penny Cotton Covered Tins

A possible tutorial?  Let me know what you think…

And now, because the sun is still shining and it’s heading towards being the hottest day of the year so far, I shall take my basket of yarn and the embryo mouse pattern into the garden and enjoy the rest of my Sunday, knitting under the cherry trees.

I hope you enjoy your Sunday too!

See you soon…x

 

 

The Knitters Mobile

Do you remember the Knitters Mobile?  Back in February I returned to the Knitters Christmas decorations I made for the Advent Calendar in the run up to last Christmas…

Cristmas Balls, Knitters Mobile

Christmas balls - Knitters Mobile…and decided to make a mobile.  I knitted some tiny bunting to go round a wooden hoop, suspended all the little balls made with the Planet Penny rainbow colours and ‘Hey Presto’,  a Mobile!

Knitters MobileIt’s been hanging around quite literally, for a while and was a source of amusement during Open Studios but over the last few days it made an appearance on the Loveknitting  Facebook Page which has sparked a fresh wave of interest.   Planet Penny yarn is perfect not just for crochet but knitting too so a pattern to reflect this is well overdue.  The Knitters Mobile requires minimal knitting but is a fun project to start off with.  I have written a set of instructions and you can download them here,  for free.

(Ed. to add: due to a few Facebook comments about sharp pointy things I would like to point out - This is a decorative piece for a craft room.  It is NOT a toy, it is NOT intended to hang in a crib, it is for the enjoyment of adults, not children!)

I still have a fancy for a lampshade with these hanging all round the edge, wouldn’t they make wonderful shadows?

There have also been requests for a kit.  I am thinking of perhaps a pack containing all the materials necessary to make the mobile which could be bought along with Planet Penny Crafty Cotton Pack.  Would love some feedback on this idea, especially from those of you have bought the cotton already!

And finally, I’ve cracked  the challenge of a knitted version of the Crochet Rainbow Mice!   The Knitted Rainbow Mice Pattern is now available from the Etsy shop as an instant download, as are all the other patterns…

Knitted Mouse pattern & crochet mouse pattern

Enjoy your week, I’ll be back soon…x

 

 

Beautiful Blues

I’m suffering from the Blues a bit here after last weekend.   No lounging in the garden for me this time, but it’s all full on for Open Studios in 10 days time, and anyway the weather has gone back to it’s default setting – Rubbish!   I can’t believe it’s nearly mid May and I’m back to lighting a fire in the evening.  Not that the four legged members of the family are complaining, they can’t believe their luck!

I  didn’t even find time to write a blog post either, and I’ve been collecting lots of photos over the week.  Mother Nature is a lot more robust about the weather than I am, she’s in ‘I’ve started, so I’ll finish’ mode and the garden is filling up nicely, and the hedgerows and verges too.

I love the way Spring has a sequence of colours, it’s reminds me of the little mantra of names I run through when I’m packing the Planet Penny Cottons…Aubretia, Delphinium, Cornflower, Eggshell, Aqua, Jade, Apple, Lime,  Buttercup, Marigold, Peach, Petal, Gerbera and Rose Red.  Spring starts white, with Snowdrops, but almost immediately there are yellow Aconites…

Aconites and snowdrops

photo: Van Muewen

…and then the Daffodils and Primroses arrive.

Not long after, pink is added to the mix, with Primulas, Tulips and all manner of blossoming trees.  But get to May, and it’s blue…the  Beautiful Blues and probably my favourite time of year.  I’ve tried and failed so often to capture that mysterious ethereal blue of the Bluebells but it always defeats my little camera…

bluebell wood - Beautiful Blues

Bluebells - Beautiful Blues…and anyway I can’t catch that glorious smell and save it in a file on the computer, can I?  It’s an experience, and all the more exquisite because it’s impossible to completely capture it.

In the garden, there are Forget-me-nots.

forget-me-nots - Beautiful Blues….Periwinkles…

Periwinkle - Beautiful Blue

and Cornflowers, and quite a few of the ‘Wrong sort of Bluebell’ , a European interloper, very prolific but not quite achieving deep glow of our native species.  Still, it looks pretty good as a flower arrangement…

blue flowers Beautiful Blues

There are also Irises, but I can never bring myself to pick those…

Blue Iris…aren’t they amazing?

IrisBack in the studio the challenge is to turn the working space of one incredibly messy worker (Moi!)  into an exhibition space for two, and it’s a  l-o-n-g  job.  I can always think of so many things I would rather do than tidy up!  T’was ever thus.  My dear Mamma, listening to me moaning said, ‘Well, you always used to stuff things under your bed…’  Too late….full!

I’ve tried hard to keep the creative vibe going though.  I mentioned the on going white cotton theme in this post, and I’ve at last found time to complete the project which required it.  I found this gorgeous pattern…

circles crochet pattern…with a tutorial here which was just perfect for the Planet Penny colours.   One day I might have time to make a throw, but in the meantime, there is this…

crochet circles and flowers

crochet circles crochet balls

crochet circles

2013-05-08 16.41.28It looks perfect on the dresser.

If you are looking for white cotton, there are still a couple of packs left from this post and of course all the other colours can be found in the Etsy shop.

I might be a little random in my appearances over the next week or so, there are a couple of family birthdays, a confirmation and much travelling round the country coming up, but I’ll be back, like the proverbial ‘Bad Penny’!

See you soon …x

The Right White

I can’t believe it’s sunny again! The Spring has taken so long to arrive but it’s so nice to be able to get out with Higgins for a walk with the camera.

a walk with a miniature dachshund

I’ve just trawled back through the May posts for 2010, 2011, 2012  and been amazed at the flowers I photographed then.  the cherry blossom was out, lupins and poppies, tulips, wisteria and roses.  There’s an awful lot of catching up to do.  I’m really hoping the back yard get’s a move on or it will look like a desert for Open Studios!

On our walk however, I was looking for ‘White’ and I found it.  A daisy…

white daisy..a feather…

white feather…white sloe blossom…

white sloe blossom…and stitchwort…

white stitchwortHiggins tends to get a little impatient with all the stop/start on his walks.  He does like to keep an eye on me at all times, and if he’s wandered away and found something really interesting (and probably revolting!) just hiding behind something is the best way to attract his attention.  He come’s hurtling round the corner convinced I’m eating all the dog treats!

miniature dachshundI’ve been thinking about white because I’ve been planning to add white to the Planet Penny Cotton range, as I’ve had quite a few requests.    I trialled it at Christmas for the Christmas Crochet Bunting kits and was very pleased with it.   However I’ve been caught out with the dreaded dye batch anomaly, and the yarn I received is not quite the the right white to put the Snowdrop labels on.  I’m probably being over fussy as it’s the same lovely quality and the difference is very slight.  But I’ve decided to sell it on at a reduced price because it may be just what you need to create a bag, or some bunting or edge your granny squares.

White Yarn Pack for SaleThere are just 7, SEVEN, packs left now priced at £20.00, which is £2.00 a 50g/125m ball instead of the usual £2.60 and is a light DK weight.  If you would like to purchase a pack just leave a message on the contact form with your email address and I will get in touch to arrange payment.  The postage in the UK is £3.50, for elsewhere, please ask me.

And now I’m going to get back out into the sunshine and do a spot of gardening.  I think Higgins will be assuming his usual gardening position, however…

helping in the garden…you just can’t get the staff!

 

See you soon…x

 

P.S. Don’t forget, there is still time to enter the Planet Penny MOO Prize Draw and win yourself some gorgeous business cards!

 

Waiting for Spring

Happy Easter!  It seems strange to start a post entitled ‘Waiting for Spring’ that way but we are really stuck in some topsy turvy weather at the moment.  Hard to credit getting up on the first morning after the clocks change for British Summer Time to a sprinkling of snow!  We’ve actually got off lightly here in Norfolk as far as snow goes, the pictures of devastated farmers digging their sheep out of snowdrifts in other parts of the country have been heartbreaking.  We’ve just got the Arctic blast coming straight off the North Sea and hitting us sitting on the exposed lumpy bit sticking out of the East of England to contend with.

So I’m sharing a pretty Spring like picture to cheer us up…

lollipop broom bush for Spring

Higgins is not a fan of going out in the cold and I’ve had a running battle with him over the building of dachshund ‘nests’ out of the soft furnishings.  He’s only really happy when he has buried himself  and if he finds himself on the sofa with no available ‘blankie’ he will grizzle until he’s been covered up.

Since he’s eaten the corners of all the old cushions he now has a cushion of his very own, and a fleece blanket he can do whatever he likes with.  Unfortunately, he feels these are just not good enough, and compare very poorly with the fluffy throw I have draped over the back of the sofa, and the new velvet cushions in anemone colours I rashly bought a few weeks ago.

Every time my back is turned, this happens…

miniature dachshund keeping warm

…and he might look guilty…

Miniature dachshund looking guilty

…but that doesn’t mean he’s going to move!

I’ve reached a bit of a hiatus on Planet Penny just now.  It’s always slightly problematic judging  stock levels with the Planet Penny cotton because I don’t have a huge amount of space to store it.  Unfortunately an unexpected rush of orders has coincided with a couple of colours being out of stock at the suppliers so it’ll be first come first served on the few packs remaining until the middle of April.

But…

There are some changes afoot.  I’ll be trialling a new pack, which some of you have been asking about for a while AND I have a new venture in the pipeline which I will tell you about later on in the year, so I’m not standing still by any means.

Meanwhile, Open Studios is on the horizon and I have started an ambitious needlefelted piece for exhibition so a lull on the cotton front is probably a good thing.  There are only so many hours in the day!   It’s refreshing change to be doing something creative and challenging  just for me,  I hope it turns out looking at least a little bit like the image in my head.

Just a reminder, the Bunny crochet pattern offer ends tomorrow, Easter Monday at 5pm UK time.  After that it will be available through the Etsy shop, but for now it’s still yours for FREE!

I changed the yarn to make this version, a big soft squidgy version as a baby toy…

big spring crochet bunny

big crochet bunny for Spring

I’m off now to dig Higgins out of his latest nest, put on his coat and march him round a field or two…

Norfolk Field - Spring

…and then get back to my felting needle.  Don’t forget to nip over the Handmade Harbour to see what’s going on for Handmade Monday this week.

I’ll see you soon…x