Wednesday 23 September 2015

Quiet in the cottage

Good evening from a very quiet Emerald Cottage dear readers and friends :)
I've been cosying up inside this week, summer and holidays seem a distant memory now that Autumn has officially started, and temperatures have dropped accordingly.

My nest is feeling very empty - I have one child off on a residential school trip for the week, and one husband off to the US on business. The remaining Little People keep asking "When is Daddy back from holidays ?". Hmmm. I know there are presentations to be given and customers to schmooze but there also usually are in-flight movies to be watched, beer to be drunk and food cooked for you. That's a holiday in my book :)

Back here in Blighty I've nearly finished Sofia's baby blanket .... if you remember this is a gift for my neighbour's totally gorgeous little baby girl, Sofia. The rippling rippled along at quite a speed. I'm already planning another for a friend's baby, but really I need to finish Sofia's blanket first. It needs pesky ends dealing with - yes I know I could have done them as I went along but I do like a picture at the end with all those tails! Maybe it's just me ....? - and I need to decide on the border. I'm thinking a 3 row border of dc or perhaps htr, just not sure of colours. What do you think ?

Since I cannot possibly just have one project on the go at once I started a granny-square cushion yesterday. These two colours - pomegranatey-red and silvery-green are two of my favourite colours, and I think they work quite well together. The third round will be a darker green, I was going to use cream arran for the final round but I'm not 100% happy with it so as usual I'm dithering about the last leg as it were.

And, since 2 crochet projects on the go is nowhere near enough, I also have this pathetic little morsel to show for myself ....

.... but I'm hoping it will turn out veeeeeery sweet, I'm going for the "aaaaaaaaw!" factor. You will have to keep visiting to see what it turns into.

I can't remember if I mentioned before that I'm making up some little "Sewing-kit-in-a-jar" thingies to sell. My prototype worked quite well, the fabric is b-o-r-i-n-g but I didn't want to waste the good stuff!

I'm loving these, I would love to be given one, they are just so cute :) I think I may have seen them floating around on Pinterest, but if I owe someone specific some credit for the idea please do tell me :)

I've spent most of today in and out of my craft room chopping up fabric and cardboard for pin-cushion tops for the jars. Lots of fun! Here are a few of the fabrics I'm using. Which is your favourite ? I'm torn between the cream and red flowers in the middle, or the green and white polka dot. Or then again the lime green leaf print is pretty too. I just like them all :)

Each little jar will contain a pin-cushion-too, pins and needles, coordinating threads and trim, needle-threader, thimble, tape-measure and a selection of buttons. Oh and scissors. I bought some really cute little scissors but they were so rubbish it wasn't even funny. The handles bent and they wouldn't even cut anything. Useless. So the replacements that I've gone with are bigger, but they fold-up, and they do actually cut stuff! Amazing!

I'm making some wee needle-cases to match the pin-cushion-top fabric. It's like being back at school, I'm sure I made my Mum one of these at some stage. Probably with gingham since that's all we ever seemed to use at school.

Don't you love the little wooden bobbins - sooooo cute :). Currently they are sporting some funky stripey twine. I tried hand-winding thread onto the wooden bobbins - what a mess. I might see if I can use my sewing-machine bobbin-winder to do it instead, the wooden bobbins are way nicer than the mini spools I've used, they are on black plastic reels and, whilst practical, are not that pretty.

I have another project in mind for these little bobbins too, can't wait to share it with you, you'll have to come back after the weekend for that I think, I've promised the girls that they can help, and there may be paint involved, so it could get messy ....

Til next time,

Monday 14 September 2015

Marble Chunky Cushion

Rainy greetings dear friends and readers :) Well, it's raining at the moment, and it was raining first thing this morning, but in between it was warm and sunny and then a bit windy. Typical British weather I guess! My flowers from last week are still going strong, gotta love chrysanthemums :) But this gerbera was very wilty looking, so I popped it in one of my little starbucks bottles .... (

... doesn't it look sweet :)

Its been a busy week here, getting everyone back into the swing of the school routine, and we had Little Tomboy's birthday over the weekend, so of course lots of partying, celebrating, and eating cake! No cake pictures though, I don't make their cakes, they prefer to choose from the supermarket. Don't feel bad for me, I am well over it!

Craft-wise my week was quiet. Happily though, I managed to finish a WIP - hurray! Always good when a project that's been sitting around for ages finally gets completed. However it was a crochet project with my old nemesis James C Brett Marble Chunky. I've blogged about this yarn before, I love it to look at, it comes in a giant ball of super squishiness, but I most certainly DO NOT love crocheting with it. I find it too fuzzy and splitty. It's probably just me though as I know loads of other crocheters who seem to enjoy using it.

Its a fabulous yarn in terms of colour-changing and self-striping, love those blues and yellowy-greens. I decided to make a very simple cushion cover with it, in a nice dense double-crochet v-stitch. This cushion was my crochet-whilst-waiting-in-the-car-on-the-school-run project, a really easy pattern, as it was barely a pattern at all. I always find with these variegated yarns that there's no point to much of a pattern as it can often get a bit lost in the noise of the colour changes.

We recently updated our decor in the front room and have curtains and a rug that have bluey-green tones, so this cushion works really well in there. (The throw cushions that came with our grey sofa are purple and brown, rather strange default cushions to give if you ask me!)

It's a very simple envelope style cushion cover, and I joined the sides with a double-crochet seam. After the joining here's how much yarn was left ....

Pretty good usage of a skein I'd say!
For the envelope fastening I used a couple of wooden buttons, I seem to remember that they came free with an issue of Simply Crochet a couple of years ago.

The "button-holes" are just a loop of 5 chains at the appropriate point along the final row.

I love how the cushion looks against our sofas.

My assistant was on hand to carry out a cuddle test.

She gave it a really good squidge ....

.... and I'm pretty sure it passed the snuggle-cuddle test :)

Til next time,

Monday 7 September 2015

Bloggy chums

Happy Monday dear friends and readers!
And how happy and cheerful are these beautiful bright flowers - just a supermarket bunch - purchased mainly because I loved the colours but also as there is a decorative (if slightly out of focus) strawberry in there. Well, why not I suppose, ekeing out the last remnants of summer :) 

Today I am counting myself very lucky as one of my "readers" now most definitely falls into the "friends" category, not that she wasn't a friend before, but today we managed to meet up In Real Life :) The gorgeous Amy from lovemademyhome ( and I spent a very very lovely couple of hours this morning drinking coffee and chatting about craft pursuits and life in general. Oh the joy of talking to a fellow crafty soul who understands the need to buy yarn on a frequent basis. Amy, you are a woman after my own heart, and I hope we have lots of coffee yet to drink together :)

We both wore crochet brooches so we'd recognise each other and because, well, that's how we crocheters like to rock. Amazingly I didn't possess a crochet brooch (I know!! Shocker!!) so I whipped up a little flower last night, its a combo of the Twirl Center Rose from Suzann Thompson's "Crochet Garden" (divine book, highly recommend) and the leaf from the originally titled "Brooch" pattern in Nicki Trench's "Cute and Easy Crochet With Flowers (again divine, again highly recommend).

Yes I know there are probably similar patterns all over Ravelry, Pinterest and the rest of the internet, but I have to justify having the books somehow! I do like crocheting flowers, never mind cute and easy, I like the fact they are quick and easy.

The backdrop (that's stretching a bit really, it's just what was next to me on the sofa) to the book photo above is my current manic crochet project. As you probably know I'm a last-minute kinda gal, I work best to a deadline. (Actually I work best after a deadline.)

Anyway, my current manic project is a blanket for my neighbour's baby. I've known since about May that the baby was due in August and that it was a girl, but of course the blanket isn't quite finished and the baby is now 10 days old. She is scrumptious by the way, I went round to meet her on the weekend, and she is mostly laying on Mum's tummy still feeding 24/7 so I don't suppose there's any urgency for the blanket.

My colour choices were inspired by this image:

It's the title bar from a blog and irritatingly I can't remember which blog, but whichever blog it is - thankyou thankyou - I love the colour combo and I unashamedly totally copied it, and I hope you don't mind!

As you can see it's a ripple, my first ripple, and I'm loving it :) I'm using the "Wave Stitch Chair Runner" wave/ripple pattern from the Mollie Makes Crochet book (whoop - getting lots of value out of the crochet books at the minute).

Why have I not rippled before (or waved come to that)?? It's super easy and gives such a lovely textured effect. I see a huge big massive ripple blanket in my not too distant future for ourselves at home :) Can't wait to choose colours for that!

Bye for now,

Friday 4 September 2015

Everyday Cowls and more

Hello dear readers and friends :) I hope you are all having a lovely Friday, its my favourite day of the week, made even more fabulous by the fact that the schools went back this week so I've had some much needed peace and quiet!

I've squeezed in loads of crafting over the last couple of weeks. Remember I started those pink and grey cowls during my our holiday to Norn Irn (read about it here ..... well, I've finished them both. And worn them both already as its turned so much cooler here this week. Honestly I totally LOVE these cowls. I love them so much I will even post a picture of me wearing one .... sorry I am terrible at selfies and the cowl just looks all bunched up but its all you're getting for now  ....

The pattern, from Crochet Gifts issue 5, was easy-peasy - excellent TV watching or play-park-children-supervision or waiting-before-school crochet. The cowls are lovely and squidgy and just the right length to wear doubled around like a chunky scarf. I was a total cheapskate and used poundshop acrylic DK for them both, each one used four 50g balls and at 3-for-2 they cost £3 a cowl. Now I know its not all about price and aside from that really they are easily my favourite scarves I've made to date. I will definitely be making more of them, at that price you can't go wrong can you :)

Cross-stitch has put in an appearance too. I've not done any for ages, but took a wee notion last week so made a couple of mini samplers for cards (one's not finished yet) and I've started a large flower-fairy pictures. No photos of that but so far it looks like a splodge of random creams and greys. I'll show you more once it looks a bit less unimpressive :) If past experience is anything to go by, I'll be finishing it sometime around 2027.

One other project finally made its way off the to-do pile (huge) to the done pile (tiny). My friend's Mum, the lady who passed away a couple of years ago, and whose cross-stitch stash I rehomed, had made this beautiful rose latch-hook rug many years ago.  Here's the back of it, isn't it gorgeous .... I prefer the back to the front, I know its not the point but I like the neat flatness of it ....

She'd never managed to have it made into a finished "thing" but my friend really wanted to do something with it, so together we decided that a cushion would be best, and she asked me to make it for her. Aaargh pressure! To do justice to such a gorgeous piece of work which is irreplaceable and very cherished. I think that's why it took so long to get around to doing it, I was so worried about making a mess of it.

Anyway I finally bit the sewing-bullet last week and got it done. I wanted to make a cushion cover where the cushion was the size of the rug (about 18" square) but with a border around it, I think its sort of an Oxford pillowcase style ? Amazingly my often temperamental sewing machine behaved herself beautifully, bless her, and after a bit of thinking, and a surprisingly small amount of unpicking, I ended up with this .....

What do you think ? I'm very pleased. I hope my friend will be. And I'm sure her Mum would have loved it :)

Til next time,