Category Archives: Planet Penny Cotton Club

Challenges, and the Easter Bunny

daffodils in snow: no weather for the Easter Bunny

I think we’ve all been a bit challenged in the UK this week, by the weather!  What’s it been like with you?  We haven’t had huge amounts of snow here in Norfolk, but we are very exposed to the biting wind heading our way across the North Sea: it seems to have been howling down the chimney for days.  It’s hard to believe it’s Easter next weekend,  the poor old Easter Bunny is going to have to wear his thermals to do his chocolate egg deliveries!

My main challenge over the week was a talk I had promised to give, months ago.  You know how you agree to these things and they seem so far away in the distance and then suddenly, it’s here and you are wondering why on earth you agreed to it!   I headed off to Beccles, which is just over the border into Suffolk to give a talk to the Spinners and Weavers Guild about Needlefelting.   I sort of had a feeling I might be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, as the saying goes.  Then I found out there might well be over 30 people there and…ooo-er…!

As it was, it was fine.  After I got over my initial dry mouthed panic as I was introduced and stood there with no notes, no script but lots of props it went very well.

needlefelt demo

They were a lovely audience and very keen to set to with needles and fleece to have a go themselves after I’d finished the talk.

needlefelt class

As they were all textile practitioners they were happy to be experimental rather than being given a project and although there wasn’t a huge amount of time – and needlefelt is very time consuming – they came up with some jolly pieces and all seemed to have fun.

beginners needlefelt

However, I also had another challenge, and that was definitely down to the Easter Bunny!  I’ve been feeling so bad because I have been promising to write up the pattern for the bunny I made last Easter and my goodness, haven’t I got myself in a pickle with it!  And all of a sudden, there’s only a week to go!  I am sorry, aren’t I rubbish?  I think I’ve just been over thinking what I was doing, and seemed to spend ages ripping out and redoing the same piece.  Then suddenly, it all fell into place and the pattern is finished.

I’m on the way to having a complete Bunny Brigade…

crochet bunny backs

colourful crochet bunnies

As you can see, they each have their own personality, right down to a challenger for Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer’s title! (Percy, the Pink Nosed Bunny?)

So I’m thinking of an Easter present for you.  From now until after Easter the pattern will be available FREE as a downloadable PDF right HERE! (This offer has expired, but the bunny will be available soon via the Etsy Shop)   There is a Planet Penny Bunny Brigade group board on Pinterest so if you would like to add your version of the bunny just let me know and I can invite you.  You obviously have to be on Pinterest yourself and I have to be following at least one of your boards (but that can easily be arranged!)  Although I’ve made the Bunnies using the Planet Penny Cotton, they can be made using any yarn oddments, just match your hook to the yarn.  You can find out more about that in this post.

This is a limited offer, but I’d like to give my followers and customers a head start.  Although there’s only a week till Easter, they only take an hour or two to make so I’m sure we could have a wonderful board full of bunnies on Pinterest very soon, let me know what you think.

Finally, for those of you who read last week’s post about delivering Clovis, the Mad French Cat to his home by the sea you might be interested in a follow up tale (tail?) from his new home.  Visit Thomas’s blog to find out how he’s settling in, and have a chortle.  Tom seems to think there’s not a lot of call for cat stories, so if you disagree do leave a comment with him.  I need more pictures like that!

I’m joining in again with Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour so do pay a visit to see what’s going on…

Back soon…x

Mollie Makes and a Little Down Time

This was the week that I finally decided I wasn’t going to beat the bugs on my own and headed off to the doctor.  So, with a large box of antibiotics and some concern from the doc that I’ve been overdoing things I’ve tried very hard to keep myself confined to the sofa.  This was helped by Higgins’ favourite Post Lady arriving with my copy of Mollie Makes with a crochet project which looked right up my street.

Mollie Makes - Issue 24

I’ve been very focused lately on creating my own original ideas so  it was  nice to relax and enjoy someone else’s pattern!  This garland has been devised exclusively for Mollie Makes by Emma Lamb and is very easy, and oh so pretty.  I love Emma’s colour palette, very delicate and pretty and very much in the Mollie Makes style.

Mollie Makes - issue 24

But I have lots of odds and ends of Planet Penny cotton in the Planet Penny palette so I’ve made my own interpretation of Emma’s garland…

Mollie Makes issue 24 with garlandNothing delicate about this colour palette!

Mollie Makes Garland

Mollie Makes crochet GarlandI thought it might be fun to try a little Mollie Makes styling for the photos…

Mollie Makes garland & china

Mollie Makes crochet garlandI don’t know whether all that was strictly restful, but I am definitely on the mend now!

This is a perfect  project for using up yarn from other projects, and I found the Planet Penny Cotton ideal.  I’ve just been looking on line for approximate yarn prices and found that Debbie Bliss Cotton, 50g /84m is around £3.30 a ball and Rowan Cotton Glace 50g/115m is around £4.95 per ball. The Planet Penny Cotton packs are £36.50 per pack of 14 50g/125m balls making them just £2.60 per ball.  I like it more than ever!

Spring is trying hard to arrive here in Norfolk,  it was very nearly mild yesterday, and taking my camera out when Higgins and I go walking is essential.  Otherwise I’d miss recording little sights like this…

roadside snowdrops…and yesterday’s evening sky…

Norfolk Sunset

And finally, I know some of you feel deprived if you don’t get your Higgins fix and he has been working very hard at being cute this week. (He needs to, he’s eaten the corners off yet another cushion!)

Miniature dachshund in a chair

miniature dachshund

 

I’m joining in as usual with Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour which starts on this evening.  I’m off to walk Higgins while the sun shines and I’ll be back soon….x

Hearts and Flowers Mobile – The Reveal!

I can’t believe it’s taken me all week to get to the ‘big reveal’ for the Hearts and Flowers Mobile project I was working on last weekend.  I’ve spent a lot of time keeping metaphorical plates spinning and I’m so glad I’ve got the routine  of Handmade Monday to keep me ‘regular’, once a week at least!   I think if I was asked to pick just one piece of advice to give to someone trying to get their head around blogging it would be make a routine, and stick to it.  I know when I started out it was so easy to put off a post and then have so many photos, so many ideas that it would take a huge effort of will to sit down and turn it all into something potentially interesting to someone else.  Right now the mid week post keeps getting put off because of ‘stuff’ getting in the way, but I’m hanging on the the weekend post for dear life until everything settles down a bit.

We’ve had all sorts of weather thrown at us in the UK  over the past days, but I made the most of a brief mild spell to nip into the garden to see what was going on and found these…

snowdrops…with a little help from my friend!

mini dachshund &snowdrops

snowdrops

I love snowdrops.  They look so delicate and yet brave the elements every year to let us know that Springtime will arrive, eventually…

There is an old rhyme which says…

The snowdrop, in purest white array,

First rears it’s head on Candlemas Day.

Candlemas Day falls on the 2nd February, so it must be true!

Back indoors though it was rather a struggle to photograph my Hearts and Flowers Mobile.  Ideally I need a large blank space, a white corner of a room with no distracting background stuff going on.  But I live in a very small cottage, my studio is packed with things and the mobile is just under a metre or 3 feet long so I hope you’ll bear with me…

Hearts and Flowers Crc0het mobile blue

 

hearts and flowers mobile citrus

Hearts and Flowers mobile top

Hearts and Flowers mobile all 1

Hearts and Flowers Mobile in studio

I’ve used the garland pattern to make the hearts and flowers using the Planet Penny Cotton colours (the pattern and yarns are  available from the Etsy shop).  I’m very happy that it worked out exactly as I had pictured it, and that doesn’t happen very often!

It’s triggered another idea, so I hope I get time to make a start this week.  My other ongoing project is building a website for our entry in this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios.  This will be the third year that I and my friend Kit Calladine the printmaker will be taking part, but this time we are part of an art trail with six other local artists which is very exciting.   Before long I will put a link to the website so you can find out all about us, and hopefully some of you may even pay us a visit!

And this also means I must return to the felting needle.  I have a plan for a piece for the Taster Exhibition but it is very easy to have the image in your head for so long that you forget you haven’t actually made it yet!

So altogether I have quite a bit to keep me out of mischief , and I promise I won’t forget to call back here to tell you all about it!

Meanwhile, I shall leave you with a link to Handmade Harbour where after 6pm this evening (UK time) you will find lots of other busy crafters and makers taking part in Handmade Monday.

I’ll be back soon…x

 

Birthday, Butterfly and Blanket!

Well, that was the first Sunday without a post for months and months, but I had an excuse, my sister had a ‘Big Birthday’ celebration!  By the time I got home it was rather late, so I sat in front of ‘Blandings‘ and digested my slice of birthday cake, rather like the Empress!

Empress of Blandings

Having just come back from Weight Watchers I find I’m well on the way to looking a lot like the Empress after Christmas (too many Frangipane Mince Pies!) so no more cake for me for a while!

One of my sister’s birthday presents was a beautiful scarf, knitted by a fellow member of our Knit and Stitch group in gorgeous Noro yarn, but guess who forgot to photograph it? Sorry!  But it did look pretty wrapped up…

Birthday Present with butterfly decortation

It was my first chance to use my lace effect sticky tape, which is lovely!

Pink tulips for a birthday

 And aren’t these pink tulips cheery?

Today is my first day properly ‘back at work’ after a week of organising and catching up after the rather manic month of December so I hope to get my blogging rhythm back very soon.  Tim goes back to work too tomorrow and will be away for his usual two weeks so meals will be simpler (and Weight Watcher approved) less wine will flow (!) and I will be spending more time on Planet Penny!

The Planet Penny Crafty Cotton has proved popular so more winding is needed…

Planet Penny Crafty Cotton

…and more Rainbow Mouse Kits are required!

Meanwhile the baby blanket has been progressing slowly in the evenings in front of the fire.  Coincidently a friend asked the other day if I could show her how to make a baby blanket in ripple stitch and I was able to whip out mine and say ‘What? Like this?!’ so I will be writing a pattern for it…

Ripple Baby blanket

Ripple baby blanket in yellow and white

It’s really pretty just as it is, but I wanted to add an individual twist …

Ripple baby blanket with weave

…and added a weave through the lacy holes…

ripple blanket and crochet bunny - Planet Penny Cotton Club yarn

There are few more ends to weave in, that’s a job for tonight while watching Lewis!

So I’d better get out of the office and back into the studio and get my winding arm whirring, but before I go I want to share a picture of the moon last night.  I stepped outside into a clear frosty night and saw the moon as a slender shining crescent but with the rest of the moon clearly visible in the light reflected from the earth.  It was beautiful…

My Mother told me later that it was the New Moon with the Old Moon in her arms, which I thought was lovely. Although a little pocket digital is not the right equipment to photograph heavenly bodies  you can just about see what I’m getting at…

New Moon

There’s also an Old Wives Tale about the ‘Moon on her back, rain in her lap’, and that figures!

Be back soon…x

Advent Calendar – Day Nine

It might be Day Nine on the Advent Calendar, but it’s also Sunday so I think we’re allowed a bit of a break.  Feet up with the Sunday papers, and a magazine or two. I have a new favourite magazine which I have to say saved me from a bit of  a downer a couple of weeks ago.  I was having one of those anti commercialised Christmas moments.  You know, when you go into the supermarket at the beginning of November and they have the ‘Seasonal’ isle all stacked up with tins of chocolates, bumper bags of nuts and crisps and Christmas puddings as far as the eye can see.  And Father Christmas hats, and Elf suits, and illuminated antlers.  Oh, and mince pies with a sell by date a good month before Christmas.  And it all seems too much, there’s just too much STUFF!

But then my Christmas Issue of ‘The Simple Things‘ landed on my doormat…

The Simple Things - Advent Calendar Day 9

and it made me stop and think of what Christmas really means, and what it means to me as a celebration.

My fantasy Christmas would involve a log cabin in the woods and lots of snow, a reindeer drawn sleigh to take me visit Santa (I expect my grandsons would like to come too!) and a Carol Service (with a choir)  A log fire, a big Christmas tree filled with my eclectic collection of ornaments gathered over the years.  A traditional Christmas dinner with all my dearest family and friends and Higgins and Henry of course (and lots of help in the kitchen!)  Dr Who, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’and ‘White Christmas  on the TV’, and someone who can sing and play ( guitar, piano?  I don’t mind)  for the musical entertainment.

Well, it’s not going to happen quite like that for me or anyone else for that matter, but it does make you think that actually, whatever the TV ads tell you, Christmas isn’t about cut price tins of Quality Street and Roses chocolates or the latest electronic gadget.

We can find our own magic if we look in the right places…

The Simple Things - Advent Calendar Day 9 The Simple Things - Advent Calendar Day 9 The Simple Things - Advent Calendar Day 9

Do you have a fantasy Christmas?  Do share it if you do…

The other magazine in the reading pile is a new Crochet magazine which was sent to me to review.  Have you seen it yet?  I spotted it for the first time on the High Street yesterday and you can also find it here.

Love Crochet magazine - Advent Calendar Day 9

Ideal for beginners as it has a comprehensive ‘How-to’ section at the back, and lots of different project  for different skill levels.  Some pretty baby blankets,  this neck warmer which is on my to do list..

Love Crochet magazine - Advent Calendar Day 9 (and the dog’s cute too!)

And these pretty mats which would be a great project for honing newly learnt crochet skills.

Love Crochet Magaxzine - Advent Calendar day nine

I love these subtle natural shades, but these patterns would work well in the Planet Penny Cotton yarn, especially using either the warm part of the spectrum…

Planet Penny Cotton Warm shades

or the cool one…

Planet Penny Cotton Cool shades

Hope you’ve had (or are having)  a peaceful Sunday, I’ll be back tomorrow!

Don’t forget to call over to Handmade Monday to find lots of other Christmas makes, and if you haven’t entered the Prize Draw you can find out all about it, and the fab prizes on this post

Bring on the Log Cabin

No, sorry, I haven’t suddenly moved into a log cabin in the woods, although the idea is rather appealing, especially with Christmas on the horizon!  I’ve just been creating something a little different, which I shall share with you  in a moment.

I hope you’ve all had a creative week, and haven’t been suffering from too many winter chills if you are in the Northern Hemisphere.  I have now regained most of my voice and am no longer getting baffled looks from Higgins who obviously wondered why he should take any notice at that funny croaky noise.  Yesterday was grey and soggy, but ended like this…

Norfolk November sunset

which was most certainly a ‘Shepherd’s Delight’ as today is glorious.

I came home from the Farmers’ Market with some lovely local veggies …

Veg from the Farmers Market

which, together with a mixed pack of game (vegetarians look away now) has been turned into a massive pot of casserole which I hope will keep me going for most of the week.  I do appreciate being able to ‘Eat Local’ and while not everyone would want to eat rabbit, pigeon, pheasant etc, at least they had a happy existence as nature intended before ending up in the pot.  And there has to be some compensation for listening to guns going off most of the day in the surrounding fields.  The joys of country living!

I mentioned last week I have had some knitting on the go and I’ve just finished it and turned into a cushion.  I do like cushions, and the fact that I can’t actually put them on the sofa because I also have a small four-legged beast which chews the corners off (see this post and this one) doesn’t stop me making them.  I was just dozing off the other evening when an idea dropped into my head of a project which would be perfect for the Planet Penny Cotton and the next morning sent me off to raid the book shelves for the book I knew would help me achieve it.

Mason-Dixon Knitting Book

I’ve had this book since it came out in 2006 when I found it extremely hard to find brightly coloured cotton so now is the perfect time to revisit it.  (It’s still available, just click on the photo) But now I can make the log cabin of my dreams, in rainbow colour yarn!

Moss stitch Log Cabin

The log cabin knitting in the book is in garter stitch, which works well as it emphasises the directional nature of the knitting, but I do love moss stitch, the textural look and feel.

It’s now a cushion so I’ve tried it out on my wicker chair…

Log cabin moss stitch cushion

the sofa…

Log Cabin knitted moss stitch cushion

and the throw.

Log Cabin knitted cushion

I added the cross stitch to the design as it just seemed to need that little extra something.  I think it works.  And the back?  Well, I’ve been treasuring this little beauty for a while and this seemed the perfect place for it…

Island Girls - Alexander Henry Fabric 1999

If you are wondering it’s ‘Island Girls’, an Alexander Henry Fabric from 1999 which I bought when I was at Art School.  It really brightens up a November day!

I have this hankering for tassels at the corners, but I suppose it would just make them more enticingly chewable!

Coming soon is another book review.  If you saw the first episode of Kirstie Allsop’s new programme ‘Kirstie’s Vintage Home” you will have seen Lisa Comfort demonstrating the art of making a patchwork quilt and I have a copy of Lisa’s new book to tell you about.  This is probably a good reason why I should step away from the computer right now and do something about it!

I shall leave you with a link to Handmade Monday

See you soon….x

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