Tag Archives: Knitting

Remembering Vanessa Cabban

So many people have been remembering Vanessa Cabban since her tragic death last month.  I am hoping to bring a positive dimension to our sadness with news of two projects which will keep Vanessa and her huge talents in our hearts and minds.

Firstly, Lisa of the blog, Bobobun is master minding the creation of a crochet blanket with a group of volunteers.  Lisa and I chose Vanessa colours and Lisa is scaling up the Little Squares scarf with granny squares…

Little Square Scarf - Vanessa Cabban

Little Square Scarf – Vanessa Cabban

…and co-ordinating the production of the squares which we then will sew together to make a blanket. This will eventually be auctioned on Ebay to raise funds for Vanessa’s family’s chosen charity, the Mental Health Foundation.  You can find out much more by visiting Lisa on Instagram, and I will have updates as things progress.

Secondly, I was contacted by Christina who runs the Ravelry group, A Knitter’s Life.  Christina is remembering Vanessa by hosting a Knit-along, creating a knitted cowl inspired by her beautiful Fair Isle scarf…

Remembering Vanessa - Fairisle scarf

Fairisle Scarf – Vanessa Cabban

Christina will be releasing the first part of the pattern on February 6th 2015 on Ravelry, and I will be joining in.  If you would like to take part, Christina has listed the yarn and colours she will be using and everything else you will need on her Ravelry page.  If you are in the UK you might find, as I have, that you can’t get all the colours specified.  The yarn looks lovely so I’m hoping that I can swap some of the colours without losing the ‘Vanessa Cabban‘ vibe!

I’d love to know if you decide to join in, we can compare notes!

I’ll be back tomorrow evening with the Happy Friday Linky.  I hope your week has been filled with happy moments so far!

See you soon…x

Knitting as Therapy – The Joy of Socks…

socks knitting

I’ve rediscovered the joy of knitting socks…hooray!

I don’t know why I stopped, but I started again over the Christmas holiday when the seasonal cold germ dropped in, uninvited, and ground everything else to a halt.

I was rummaging pathetically around in the studio looking for something to do which required no flash of inspiration, no tracking down of supplies, no complicated instructions to follow and there in a little bag I found…the yarn…the pattern…the needles…and one completed sock just waiting for it’s mate to be knitted up – perfect!

I’m embarrassed to say that just now whilst looking through the archives to find past sock adventures I discovered when I made the first one of the pair…2011! We were taking Aimee to Uni when I made the first sock and in the time it’s taken for me not to finish the second one she’s graduated and is well on the way to being a qualified teacher! Oh dear…

Anyway, not only has this lone sock been matched with it pair, but I whizzed out for more yarn when I was feeling better and I’ve just completed a second pair.   To add to the mix my friend Kit arrived with a little cheer up bag containing…pink and green socks, so I’m well on the way to replacing all the ones which have succumbed over the years to the four legged sausage shaped ‘moth’ which makes holes in soft furnishing and garments willy nilly.

mini dachshund asleep

The Planet Penny Moth!

...and the socks he has chewed!

…and the socks he has chewed!

So what’s so good about knitting socks?

Well, the little pattern I use is probably the most basic one you can find, it came free with a ball of sock yarn a while ago.  And when you’ve used it a few times it sort of lodges in your head, and you can trundle away, following the plot of Broadchurch or The Killing (with subtitles) without getting flustered.

It’s a bit fiddly to start off with, casting on 60 stitches and dividing them between three DP needles and getting that first rib row set up, but then you are off.  Once the rib is done you’ve got rows and rows of straight knitting, and because you are in the round, every row is a knit row and you still get stocking stitch!

I like to use the self striping sock yarn because seeing what colour is coming next gives you something to aim for, ‘I’ll just finish the blue, or the pink, or the green’…

knitting socks - yarn

Turning the heel is an event, (you should have seen the first one I ever did!) but once you see the logic of where you are going it’s a little challenge in the middle of the project to keep you on your toes. and then you are off again, round and round until the toe arrives, a simple little decrease which makes an elegant seam each side.

And then…the wonder that is Kitchener Stitch!  It’s a fabby way to end your sock, weaving in and out of the stitches with your needle to make new knitting stitches so you can’t see the join.  It took me ages to get to grips with it so don’t shudder and turn away at this point, it can be done, believe me.  I can be heard muttering ‘Front – Purl off, Knit. Back – Knit off, Purl’ a little mantra to keep me on the straight and narrow.

And then, when you’ve finished, and tenderly pressed them (about the only time I like to get the ironing board out!) you’ve got something warm and delightful to enjoy yourself or to give as a very special present.  What a joy!

If you feel like joining in with a little relaxing sock knitting therapy one of my favourite online ports of call is The Sock Yarn Shop, where the most difficult thing is choosing! This what I’m hankering after at the moment…

sock yarn knittingIt’s like a spring sunrise, something to dream about just at the moment!

Are you a sock knitting fan, or have I inspired you to have a go?  I do hope so… If you are looking for some help, the Sock Yarn Shop recommends this set of tutorials.

I’ll be back soon with Happy Friday.  I’m going to try and get it posted on Thursday evening to give more people a chance to join in so look out your happy photos or jolly moments and get ready to link up…see you soon…x

 

Hooray for the Little Red Hen!

Little Red Hen Ladybird Book

click for the story

This is the version of the Little Red Hen story I remember from way back in primary school, how we loved our Ladybird books!

We got to talking about it the other day because my friend Kit was reminiscing about her mum, sadly long gone, who used to quote the Little Red Hen when she had failed to get anyone else to do the necessary thing, whatever it was.

‘ “Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did.’

I have been chuntering for ages about the overgrown state of my vegetable patch.  It always needs the most attention when I’m tied up with the run up to Open Studios and it’s got more and more overgrown, weedy and wild every season.  However, over the past two weeks I have channelled my inner Little Red Hen and I DID IT MYSELF!

It looks great….I’m exhausted!  I’ve filled a skip bag with rubbish, the beds are topped up with fresh compost and my little mini cold frame cum green house is crammed full of seed trays and seedlings.

Higgins has tried very hard to help.

Miniature Dachshund

Taking the little fences away from the raised beds has meant he could do lots in the way of turning over the soil, and then firming it down afterwards.dachshund in raised bed

He’s carried the trowel about helpfully (and put it away tidily where it couldn’t be lost)veg patch

More little fences have turned into a priority if any of the seedlings are going to make it to maturity once they have been planted out.  Higgins has history, remember the Mixed Greens?

Did you spot the laburnum tree?  This year it’s being completely wonderful – it alternates – and it’s very special as it was a seedling from the one in my parents’ garden.laburnum

And the bees LOVE it! For the last week or so, ever since the very first buds opened the air around the tree has been throbbing with the sound of very happy little bees…listen to this…

So this is why it’s been a little quiet here over the past week, and now there’s a lot of catching up to do.

While all this was going on the Green Man went off to the Forum in Norwich for the Open Studios Taster Exhibition – you can just see him dangling next to the patchwork…

Forum, Norwich NNOS taster exhibition

Taster Exhibition – setting up

Now it’s all systems go for the main event, which starts on May 24th.

You might like to see a glimpse of the other exhibition which was running at the same time, the most amazing knitted and crochet pergola which was made to raise funds for a local charity…

knitted pergola - John Grooms Court

knitted pergola detail

Just amazing, isn’t it?  There’s an interesting post on The Mercerie blog which will tell you more about it.

My next challenge is turning the studio into an exhibition space…eek!  I’ve just got so much STUFF.

And I haven’t forgotten about those extra little Boxes of Delight.…  2014-04-28 21.37.50

The challenge now is seeing just what I can squeeze inside, so watch this space, I’ll be back soon…x

A Funny Old Week…

It’s been one of those weeks where I feel like I’ve taken two steps forward and one and a half steps back, do you have those?  The main calamity was the disappearance of Planet Penny into a virtual black hole a couple of days ago.  Many apologies if this affected you in anyway, it was not your computer!  The technical term according to the help desk was the ‘White Screen of Death’ which was very scary, but I was really smug when I worked through the long list of instructions they sent and sorted it out…All On My Own!

It’s quite horrible outside, the wind is howling and the rain is lashing down, so I do hope you are keeping warm and dry.  My heart goes out to everyone suffering in the floods, it must be horrendous…

It seem very odd that if a disaster happens abroad all manner of aid, both financial and physical is supplied, but when people are suffering hardship from extreme weather conditions in our own country it seems such a struggle for them to get any help.  (If you are not in the UK, you might not be aware of the flooding in some areas in the west of the country, but you can find out here.)

Anyway, back home with a cheerful picture of the bike which I found outside our Community Shop this week.  It’s owner was probably only about eight years old, but what style…  I’m quite envious!

Flowery Bicycle

I had great plans to share a new pattern, but what with one thing and another, it’s not quite there.  I found some crochet bunting on Pinterest, but not finding a pattern decided to work it out for myself.  I wanted something a bit plainer than the more usual ‘granny’ bunting, and I’m very pleased with this.  It’s really quick and easy…

crochet bunting - Planet Penny Cotton

Hopefully I’ll finish off the pattern very soon, and there will be more photos when the light is a bit brighter!

I’ve had my ‘window-dresser hat on this week in our Community shop and with Valentine’s Day on the horizon I made this Valentine Tree for the window display…(although I’d actually quite like to keep it on my dresser!

Valentine tree

I’m now going to desert you for a comfy chair by the fire with the baby knitting, where hopefully the sound of the howling wind and lashing rain won’t be quite as loud as it is here in the studio!

I’ve amalgamated two of the patterns from the Debbie Bliss pattern book from my last post, so I’ve got a stripy tank top on the needles…

Debbie Bliss tank topI’ll be back soon…x

Baby Knits with Debbie Bliss

The rest of the world may think February 14th is St Valentine’s Day, everybody in the Planet Penny orbit knows it better as the due date for our latest family baby!  Babies, I know, have a mind of their own when it comes to their arrival time, but it’s going to happen sooner or later, so I’ve been wielding my knitting needles this week.

The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits - Debbie Bliss

I bought this Debbie Bliss pattern book at the Knit and Stitch show last autumn, but it was only last week that I headed into Norwich for some yarn shopping.  I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t done any ‘nice’ shopping for ages, and in the spirit of catching up with people in the real world rather than cyber space I was also able to combine the trip with coffee and a catch up with Lisa, whom many of you will know from her blog, Bobobun.

It’s nice that that after losing just about every yarn shop from the High Street not that many years ago, there are now more and more springing up, but it’s impossible for them to stock every yarn available so I think I shall be looking on line for some of the Debbie Bliss yarn I need for my baby knits,  However, despite not being able to get exactly the right wool for these little socks I was very pleased with the results after using this Sublime cashmere/merino/silk blend.

Debbie Bliss baby knits

baby knits Debbie Bliss

There are lots of things in this pattern book I would love to knit given the time, Debbie Bliss always comes up trumps with her patterns, and there’s a good selection for boys as well as girls which is sometimes a problem.  I love this simple little tank top…

Baby Knits Debbie Bliss tank top

And the back button opening makes it so much simple to get on and off a wriggly baby.

baby knits - tanktop Debbie Bliss

This simple tee shape looks cute in soft coloured stripes…

striped jumper Debbie Bliss Baby knitsAnd this little Wee Willie Winkie cap is just adorable, isn’t it…

striped cap Debbie Bliss Baby Knits

striped hat Debbie Bliss baby knits

And I’d quite like this teddy…

Debbie Bliss - teddy…and these coathangers for myself!

Debbie Bliss - Baby knits- coathangers

And, still in the book theme, remember I signed up for The Year in Books with A Circle of Pine Trees?   Laura’s January book is from Persephone a small publishing house I’ve long admired.  Waterstone’s quote…

 ‘Persephone is a wonderful publisher specialising in discovering criminally neglected books by wonderful female authors. Stylish and timeless – they make perfect gifts.’ 

…is very apt as nearly all the books I’ve bought from them have been gifts.  I’ve just received the Persephone Catalogue and magazine and this year I will treat myself to the occasional book (and drop large hints around my birthday!) as part of my reading project.

persephone books

Oh…whoops!

I’m sitting at the keyboard and have just become aware of a pair of brown eyes staring at me accusingly – it’s Higgins’ dinner-time!

I will dash off as required before he starts getting vocal about his hunger!

See you soon…x

 

Has Anybody Seen My Mojo…?

Norfolk SkyI’m feeling like I’m a bit of blogging dead loss at the moment, I do apologise!

I built up quite a head of steam during December with my daily Christmas Countdown posts, and had lots of plans for January but as you know, 2014 did not get off to a good start for Team Planet Penny…

And annoyingly I’m just generally not very well.  Nothing alarming, but two separate things which necessitate visits to different clinics at the hospital the other side of Norwich  for tests and consultations and so far I’m averaging two trips a week!

So the energy levels are low, and my get up and go really has got up and gone!

There are only two choices in this situation.  I can sit and fume about not being able to do the things I want to do and make myself feel even worse, or step back and let things drift a little while I administer a little TLC to myself.

I’m my own worst enemy when I’m busy anyway.  Eating standing up, being too tired to bother to cook for one in the evening when Tim is away, cheese and crackers and a glass of wine (or two!) is SO easy… Saying ‘yes’ too often when asked to do something I don’t actually have time to do…I don’t need to go on, I’m sure you’ve been there too.

So I’m switching off the computer in the evenings, and trying to ignore all but the most urgent emails and texts which arrive via my phone.  I’m eating meals at mealtimes, simple stuff but fresh and not filling up on biscuits and tea to keep going.  And while I’m waiting for my inspiration to return I’m going to make some little things for my forthcoming grandson, due to arrive of Valentine’s Day.

I’ve had a baby blanket on the hook for ages revisiting my old favourite, the Ripple stitch and made what my Dad would have referred to as a ‘Bobby-Dazzler’!

crochet ripple blanket - Planet Penny Cotton

Planet PEnny Cotton - Ripple stitch blanket

Ripple Stitch baby blanket - Planet Penny cotton

pram blanket - Planet PEnny cotton

And I bought a magazine after Christmas which I hoped would inspire me…

Handmade Gifts for Girls and  Boys

Don’t you love the dinosaurs?  I thought they would be perfect for the Planet Penny Cotton and planned to make all three.  This is the Diplodocus…

crochet diplodocus - Planet Penny CottonHe’s very cute, but alas I can’t recommend the pattern to anyone who isn’t a fairly practised crocheter. It was quite tricky to keep track of the stitches because there was no indication at the end of each increase or decrease row as to how many stitches there should actually be.  Such a shame, and silly really because there are so many other places to find patterns with picture explanations or even videos. You need a bit more when you’ve paid out £7.99 for a magazine.

crochet dinosaur - Planet Penny Cotton

dinosaur - crochet in Planet Penny CottonI have another project too, thanks to the power of serendipity!  It’s all about making time to read, and linking up with other readers.

I’ll be back soon to tell you all about it, and in the meantime I’ll leave you with the promised photo of my knitted square for the Age UK Campaign from this post.  It’ll be on it’s way to Norman Lamb MP this very week!

warm homesd now Age UK Campaign 2014

Have you made yours yet?!

See you soon…x

 

 

 

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