Favourite Quotes

" When I can no longer create anything, I'll be done for"
Coco Chanel


A long silence I know, due to illness and the pressure of Christmas preparations..... while recovering from a nasty attack of cystitis I have started dabbling in the world of scrapbooking. Now I have a gorgeous little grandson I can indulge myself with all sorts of baby cuteness. My favourite two pages are of course yarny, all about making a lace shawl  and toys for him...

I have used Crafters Companion CD called Popcorn Kids to print out the borders and teddy pic. The little peice of knitting is real, on cocktail sticks with beads on the end to look like knitting needles. The quote is from the Yarn Harlot a couple of years ago on one of her calendars, love her sense of humour!
I am in danger of getting addicted to this craft, I can use all my card making stuff in a new way, such fun!
Here are some of the animals I've made for Noah's Ark so far, they are VERY fiddly, a real labour of love

I should have cropped this first, distracting background, sorry! The giraffe legs are a nightmare, so I've started on a lion now, the second giraffe will have to wait until I feel stronger!


Sorry for my long silence, I have not been feeling so good this past week, I've overdone it clearing up from the storm, I think. ME symptoms have flared up so having to pace myself. This is good news for you as I have HAD to sit at my computer and write up the sock pattern because I haven't had the energy for anything else! So here it is.......


To fit average woman’s foot up to size 7 (UK)
(You can adapt the cuff pattern to fit any size sock pattern you have, just make sure you have a number of stitches that are divisible by 12)

Yarn A  50gms plain 4ply sock yarn
Yarn B  50gms self patterning 4ply sock yarn
Set of 4/5 dpns size 2.5mm

With yarn B loosely cast on 72sts and divide over 3 needles taking care not to twist the sts, join the round.
Knit 2 rounds
Round 1 Knit
Round 2 Knit
Round 3 *(K2tog) three times (yfwd, K1) six times, (K2 tog) three times. Repeat from * to end of round.
Round 4 Purl (If you prefer a smoother finish Knit this round)

Repeat these 4 rounds 8 times (32rows) or for length required for turn back.
TURN CUFF INSIDE OUT and K one round decreasing 8 sts evenly as you go. (64 sts) (You have changed direction and will have a small hole here that can be finished off later)
Knit the next three rounds in K2 P2 rib.
CHANGE TO YARN A and continue in rib pattern until work is 7 inches long from the beg. or length required for leg.

Change to yarn B and put half the sts. (32) on one needle and the remaining sts over two needles.
Knit back and forth on the 32sts as follows
Row 1 *Sl1,K1 repeat from * across the row, TURN
Row 2 Sl1, purl to end, TURN
Repeat these two rows 14 times more (32 rows in total)
With right side facing
Sl1, K7, ssk, K1 turn
Sl1, P5, p2tog, P1, turn
Sl1, K6, ssk, K1, turn
Continue in this way working 2 sts together over the gap until you have used all the heel stitches. 18sts remain

CHANGE to yarn A
Needle 1, Knit 9 heel sts, PICK UP 16sts up the side of heel flap you just made
Needle 2 K 32 (top of foot)
Needle 3 Pick up 16sts down side of flap, K9 heel stitches (82sts)

Round 1 Needle I Knit to last 3 sts, K2tog K1
            Needle 2 Knit
            Needle 3 K1 SSK Knit to end
Round 2 Knit
Repeat these 2 rounds until you have 64sts in total

Cont. in plain knitting until foot measures 5 inches from picked up stitches or foot size required (my size 7 needed 7 inches)

Round 1 Needle 1 Knit to last 3 sts, K2tog K1
            Needle 2 K1 ssk, knit to last 3 sts k2tog, K1
            Needles 3 K1 ssk, knit to end
Round 2 Knit

Repeat these 2 rounds until 16sts remain.
Graft two sets of 8 sts together.

Pics of the Ark in progress in the next few days
Bye for now

What a difference a day makes...

Hiya, I've gone down with a cold this weekend and not feeling that sociable, so here are some cards I've made in the last week or so in between clearing up the storm damage.
This one is a New Home card for very dear friends who have finally moved into their own villa over here after lots of trauma and years of waiting, made from Cute Companions CD 1 and assorted CC stamps

I have a thing about Santa's this year for some reason, top one is from Joanna Sheen's new collection, the middle santa pings on a wire (I take no credit for this Joanna demo'd this some time ago!)

The santa above is stamp I used at craft club, the trees are from Cute companions Christmas CD. The Vintage one is a graphic from a vintage CD I have, printed onto vellum, soft and pretty. The brads were supposed to go through the vellum, but I misjudged the holes and had to stick it instead and cover up with stickers!
Yes, the famous extreme weather of Spain struck on Tuesday night,
One day we are basking in glorious warm sunshine the next........here is some of the stuff we have had to deal with this week outside

The sunbeds have travelled 200 yards off the terrace, plants are all over the place, branches off trees, broken pots and tiles off the roof and leaves, leaves, leaves everywhere! We also had a lake of rain water in the house where the roof was supposed have been fixed! All through the night the wind howled round the house, Dora our golden retriever is terrified of storms so we ended up with her pressed up against the bed one side, Sophie the little dog in the middle, then Bobo the cat decided he would like a cosy bed for the night and settled down on my feet! At one point I had a huge fit of the giggles, we must have been such a comical sight! Needless to say not much sleep was had by anyone!
We are gradually getting sorted, but have a rule that Sundays are a day of rest a relaxtion whatever, so it all has to wait. I'm not up to anything much today anyway, so I'm off to watch Create and Craft on TV and snuggle up with a nice hot drink! Back soon...

Cards, cards, cards....

Well, I'm in production line mode for Christmas cards. I suddenly realised I need to have all my overseas cards ready to take with me to England by the 26th November, panic! I've got 15 done, another 10 to go. The problem is I get wrapped up in the designing and spend hours just playing before I finally get each card together! I've had such fun making these two over the past couple of days

I was inspired by Barbara Grey of Clarity Stamp on TV on Sunday to get some of my old Christmas stamps out (from Graphicus) and try some different techniques such as masking and stamping borders etc. I don't have a magic brayer like her, so I improvised with sponging and I'm quite pleased with the effect, especially the landscape for the Three Kings. I also sprayed this with Crafters companion irridescent Spray and Sparkle which doesn't show up on this pic. These are A5 size and took hours to do so they will be for very special people in my life!
Yes, I am covered from head to toe in glitter and the rest of the family will be too by the end of the day!
On a yarny note here is a tie back for curtains that I have to make 6 of, the first two were fun, now its getting very boring, but I must force myself to finish them because they will look good once they are up.

Off to tackle more of Noah's ark, back tomorrow...

And suddenly it's Autumn

One huge thunderstorm at the beginning of the week and Autumn has arrived, cool nights and mornings, damp and musty smell in the woods and the duvet is back on the bed......no I'm not fond of Autumn, it spells death and decay to me, I also think it is linked in my mind to the 'back to school' feelings of long ago, the end of Summer freedom and fun and back to maths and stiff new school uniform! My favourite season is Spring, full of new life and hope, but I must admit walking with the dogs in the autumn sunshine the other morning was very pleasant, little Sophie leaping like a deer through the long golden grass was a delight.
The socks are done, washed and drying in the sun....
From this pic I can see that I'm getting a line where I join needles, I think I'm pulling too tight for fear of getting a ladder and overdoing it! Ah well, it won't notice on my feet and its all part of the learning curve. I will put the pattern on here soon, we have visitors at the moment, so I'm not getting much spare time, but its lovely being a tourist with them!
Since starting to write this, the weather has turned back to summer, 28 degrees yesterday so I was sunning myself on the beach! Such a treat at this time of year, it can be cold, wet and miserable by now.
More soon I promise!

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Charity Box

Phew! I have just pruned about 30 palm branches off our palm trees (that some chump planted much too close to the house so they either swipe you in the face as you walk past or drip cold water down your neck!); wrestled them to the basura, (recycling point) without taking an eye out, or mortally wounding myself in any other way. Quite an achievement, these innocent looking leaves are viscious, if they manage to pierce flesh the wound rapidly gets inflamed and painful, only 'magic cream' (aka Savlon) will heal it.
That's my energy used up for the day so I reckoned I deserved a nice coffee and some bloggy time with you. During the year I come upon patterns that just scream 'make me', do you find that? Even when the thing in question is totally unsuitable for me or anyone I know. My particular weakness is baby things and before I had my own little grandson to make things for I always had little things just hanging around in case someone had a baby. Well, I solved the problem by having a special box to keep these things in, my Charity Box. I discovered through a friend that there was a battered women's shelter locally that always needed baby clothes.  Mums often escape from violent partners with just the clothes on their backs, here was a perfect place to send my little stash of baby things, I've been doing that for a couple of years now.
Here are some of the things in my box right now

Just last week I heard that the local U3A had a 'knit and natter' group to make things for local poor people and my ears pricked up. In the building boom time a few years ago hundreds of workers were brought over to Spain to work on the building sites here for cash in hand, and of course since the bust they have been laid off with no work available and no benefits because they never paid into the system. Many are really destitute and can't get back home. The group is distributing donatations of clothes and blankets to these people. So the next batch from my box is going there. In between special projects I keep a stash buster project going, using up my odds and ends and these will go into the box eventually. I do sometimes wonder with all my WIM's how I will ever have enough years of life left to make everything I want to, but that's quite a nice problem to have isn't it?
I will post pics of the two stashbuster blankets I have on the go and I am (promise) working on the sock pattern for publishing very soon!

Girly socks and Spanish crochet

One pretty sock finished, the second one started, I am ridiculously pleased with this pattern, I have a 'thing' about the feather and fan lace design, it's so easy to do but so effective. Once I've done the other sock I will share my pattern with you.
The beauty of this design is that you can wear the cuff rolled over or not depending on how cold you are!
While wandering around my local town this week (the very picturesque Javea, in the Costa Blanca) I popped into a newsagents that is always stuffed with lovely Spanish magazines on cross stitch, knitting and crochet. Most Spanish crochet mags are full of lacey doilies and dainty baby things but my eye fell on a new magazine promotion that included a free ball of a yarn and a ring binder. Always a sucker for a free gift I picked it up and saw this bright and beautiful design inside

Unusually for Spain the patterns are written out in full instead of the familiar charts. This means I would have to practice my Spanish and learn a few more new words into the bargain, so I HAD to buy it then didn't I? It is really a step by step series for beginners and when I got it home discovered that there was only one of the squares of this blanket actually featured and this copy was issue 2. You have to order a subscription to get number one with the other designs in, cheeky heh?
I'm not falling for it though, I'm sure I can work out how the other squares are done by looking through my pattern books.
The weather has continued to be hot, hot, hot, on Wednesday my local craft group started up again and we were making Christmas cards in 30C heat, how bizarre is that! Today has cooled a bit, a lovely 25 with a breeze, so my hands will be able to cope with heavier stuff again which is just as well, Noah's Ark has been languishing in my basket for 2 weeks now and I need to get a shifty on, it has to be ready (well the Ark part anyway, with a couple of animals) by the end of November to be taken in my suitcase to visit baby Noah.
Well, my comfy chair by the pool and my second sock are calling me, talk soon!

and lingers........and toys again...

Just found this wonderful website full of lovely yarny kits for children (and adults that never grow up!) I could seriously indulge myself here
Well, the pin cushion is done, and I'm on to the heel of my pink socks. It's still so warm here that I can't work on the Ark, its too hot in my hands. We have colder weather forecast for later in the week so I need to make the most of the late summer sunshine. My flowers are blooming like there is no tomorrow now the punishing intense heat of August has passed.

The bell flowers are on a Datura plant, the bees love it! Unfortunately the wasps love the golden figs, these are the last of hundreds we have had all through August from our ancient tree. Everyone who comes to door is given a bag full as they don't keep and there are only so many figs one persons insides can cope with! I was delighted to see a lovely recipe for a Fig Frangipane tart on Saturday kitchen (BBC 1) this week,  there are not many recipes for fresh figs around, it turned out to be delicious, (the Amaretto in the fruit base had something to do with it!)
I suddenly remembered I had to make a Wedding card this week, here is the result

and here is the pin cushion

and finally a beautiful sunset to round off the day.....

The view from my back door........I know the electricity cable is an eyesore but you can't escape them in Spain. One day I will learn how to Photoshop them out!

Summer lingers....

Despite the frustrations of living in Spain (and there are many!) warm sun in September makes up for a lot......swimming under the stars before bed..... eating every meal outside..... and the scent of jasmine and this improbable plant...
Looks like nothing doesn't it? To me it looks like a scruffy privet type plant, but at night it lives up to its name 'Dama de Noche' (Cestrum parqui Usteri for the horticulturists amongst you). It really is a Lady of the Night, these tiny flowers only open after dark and the perfume they release is quite simply the most powerful, intoxicating scent I have ever experienced. The flowers only last a couple of weeks, but are just gorgeous growing next to the front gate, a wonderful welcome home and a pleasure when sitting with that last drink of the day on the patio....
Sorry, not really trying to make you jealous! Back to yarny things, I was sitting in a hospital room all day yesterday with my partner, who had a knee operation, so I had lots of lovely time with my knitting and sewing. Really helps take your mind off worrying! The blue socks are done and I so enjoyed making them that I've started another pink and white pair.  Socks are so portable, they were pefect to take with me. I'm making up my own pattern, another first for me, feather and fan turn over cuff, then hopefully coloured heels and toes, watch this space, it might be a disaster! 

I also took a small tapestry kit that has been lanquishing in my WIP's box for ages, so long in fact I can't remember when or where I bought it! A pretty pin cushion, I just love the colours and the interlocking design on the back peice.

There is still a border to do around the flower motif and then I have to cut round the canvas and stitch the two peices together. This will be very handy in my knitting bag to hold the large pins I use to make up knitwear. I love having hand made accessories around me, one of the simple joys of every day. Now I must tackle that huge pile of ironing because I am the  chief (and only) cook and bottle washer around the place at the mo!


Hiya, I think I must have a butterfly mind, hopping from one thing to another, I've got sucked into making some quilled cards....... It was all because I picked up an old copy of the magazine Crafts Beautiful in my local cancer charity shop that had a picture of the most gorgeous quilled roses on the front. I've been wanting to try these for ages, fiddly, but very pretty when they are done. So my knitting time for two nights has been swallowed up by rolling little peices of paper ad infinitum! But I think the results are worth it.

The lavender card design is from a lovely book my daughter gave me of paper pricking designs, something else I have never done before, a very pretty Victorian look I think. The pink one is simpler, I just used my new Nestabilities scalloped circle dies in my Wizard and stamped the corners of the card. (For UK readers you can find these on one of my favourite craft shop sites, Joanna Sheen, along with loads of other gorgeous temptations!). I think quilled cards are so pretty that they need very little other embelishment.
Must get back to the socks tonight.......


I love making toys for the children in my immediate circle of family and friends, and now I have a brand new granson I have more WIM's (works in mind) than I will ever have the time to make! But as his name is Noah, I just HAVE to make this.......

This was a free pattern supplement with Simply Knitting magazine in 2007 by Alan Dart and I have been saving it for the right time, and that time is now.
Here is the funny looking piece of knitting that is the first side of the Ark, (don't look at the mistakes in the Fair Isle, it is only a toy after all!)

Well, OK, it does show doesn't it? I'll use duplicate stitch to straighten out the wrong stitches. This is great TV knitting, plain stocking stitch with a garter stitch row thrown in to make the plank effect.
If you want the pattern go to the Future Publishing icon at the bottom of the page and order a back copy. Some of the yarn he suggests is now discontinued, but if you e-mail Alan Dart from his website he will give you good alternatives, such a nice man!
Next WIM is the cats from  'There are cats in this Book' book,  (see Amazon link to the left of the page). There is a Free Pattern in the book for them and also here. I've ordered the book for a little girl in my family and want to give her the book and the toys for her Birthday in October, so I have my work cut out. At least my socks are nearly done, but the crochet group I belong to starts again next week so I must have something on my hook to show and tell..........what a hard life I have!
Back soon...



Clematis called 'Julia' blooming away for my Birthday this week, what a gorgeous colour! (Thanks to my brilliant partner for the photo) It has been too hot to breathe here this week, on Friday it got to over 40C and 90% humidity, no joke! So I sat inside in the aircon in the afternoons and finished my sock and started another one, and I've managed to make the second to match the first by winding a bit off the second ball of wool, very chuffed!
For the card makers among you, here is a lovely card I have made for my step daughter-in-law from the Debbie Moore CD called 'Glitter & Glitz'
It's actually cloudy this morning (what a relief!) so the pic is a bit dull, but there is real glitter on the dress, very sparkly and pretty. I put dots of glue with a glue pen in lines down the dress as demontrated by Debbie on TV ( Create and Craft channel) recently. The whole project is on the CD to work from step-by-step.
In the craft world everyone is planning for Christmas already, I can't possibly start making Christmas cards in August, I can't get my head around it! Besides there are lots of birthdays to make cards for first. But I am knitting for Christmas, I have taken on a huge project for my grandson, a complete Noah's Ark set, I've just finished one side of the boat, complete with Fair Isle waves, pics of my progress will be coming soon.
I've just launched my own website http://www.handicraftscrazy.com/ where I am building up a lot of information, free patterns etc, so check it out evey now and then, its still a WIP too so be patient!
Back soon....

Handbag pattern

Several people love the handbag I made and want the pattern. It is from Knit Today magazine Jan 2010 issue, go here to order a back copy. I adapted the cosmetic purse pattern to be wider for a handbag size and made a strap of a few rows of dc. The basic design is very simple, just dc stripes as the basic bag and then a pretty border in the same colours sewn over the stripes. I would like to experiment with other lacey border designs sometime.
By the way, I was given a set of Provocraft interchangeable crochet hooks and I can't get on with them so they are on ebay at the moment, go and bid here if you want them.

Here is the heel of my socks, I usually prefer bamboo needles for knitting, but I am using Knit Pro double pointed needles for my these, they are fabulous for socks, so smooth and pointy. It took me a while to get the hang of them as it is easy to drop stitches on such a pointy end, but I love them now.

This is my fourth pair of socks and I'm getting better each time, less mistakes and holes! Some of you may be wondering why I need warm wool socks in Spain? Contrary to what many people believe, it gets very cold here on the Costa Blanca in the winter, the temperature doesn't actually go below freezing that often, but the houses here are built to keep the heat out not in, so they are not insulated and the floors are just cold tiles. My old farmhouse walls are made of rock plastered together, lovely and cool right now, but so cold later. I have been colder in this house than I have ever been in the UK! We do have heating, electric radiators and log effect gas fires, but the heat evaporates very quickly, so I love my warm woolly socks and rugs and my electric blanket!
Busy for a couple of days, back soon.xxx

Hot weather makes

Hi there, when it is so hot during the day I can't bear to work with heavy, warm yarns so I turn to cotton. I thought you would like to see my crochet necklaces made by just working double crochets (single crochet for US readers) of 4 ply (fingering) cotton around  plastic curtain rings and purpose made crochet rings. The flatter ones I used here were Prym Crochet Rings 96 x 26mm. You can find these at Purple Linda Crafts, along with lots of other scrummy crochet things.

I plan to wear this one tonight to a BBQ with other purple accessories, one of which is the handbag I made a few weeks ago from the same yarn. The stone table this is laying in was a beautiful gift from friends, the engraving says,
'Fair quiet have I found thee here'
a bit of a joke this afternoon as the French holiday makers next door have their Cd player on full blast with 'oonge, oonge' music!

When its cooler in the evenings I can knit and am enjoying the fun colours of Kaffe Fassett sock wool and the lovely stripes that are forming as I knit. I wasn't sure I liked olive greens in a mixture of bright turqoise blues, but it works, makes it more adult looking somehow, what do you think?

I am using the Yarn Harlots 'recipe' for this pair and I like it so far. Since this pic was taken, I have done the magic bit of turning the heel, I get such absurd pleasure from this stage, seeing a straight piece of knitting turn into 3D before my eyes!
More pics tomorrow, hopefully, have a great weekend!

Well here we go.....

At Last I am venturing into blog land, bear with me while I get the hang of it! I am a passionate crafter, and have been ever since watching 'Picture Book' and Blue Peter! I was always wanting to 'make things', driving my poor house proud Mother to distraction with my 'messes'!
Anyway, I just want to share my projects, inspiration, hints tips and links with you and hope you will enjoy my ramblings along the way.

This is my most recent project, 'Vintage Car Coat' from Knitting magazine April 2007 issue. I had been saving this pattern for a while, and as my lovely son and daughter in law have just produced the most adorable son, I had the perfect excuse to knit it! It is made from Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino yarn, it's beautifully soft, I fell in love with this yarn a few months ago. Look at my Flickr pics and you will see the other things I have made with it.
My WIP's (works in progress for those of you who are new to this stuff) are an Alan Dart's Noah's Ark set (for my grandson of course), crochet necklaces, a rag rug cushion, oh and some warm socks for me.
Over the weeks I will be adding links to sites that I love, and sharing free patterns with you, be patient I am a WIP myself!
Happy crafting until next time...