Monday, 28 January 2013

Hook book tutorial

I love my crochet hooks. I especially love the metal ones in assorted colours. I've got quite a few so how on earth have I managed to keep track of them so far? I'll tell you how - with an elastic band. That's right these poor beauties have been unceremoniously bundled together in an almost perished elastic band for longer than I can remember. I need a 4mm - hold on I'll just consult my bundle - oh no not again.
It's a sorry sight.
So after getting frustrated by not being able to find my 6mm last Sunday I had a light bulb moment - make a hook book!
I'd seen some lovely hook holders that had been knitted or crocheted, and several fabric made knitting needle holders but I had no pattern. Ready for second light bulb moment - I'm a grown up, I can make my own!
I firkled through some of my fabric 'that isn't quite big enough to make anything substantial' stash and came up with the following.
Now if you're expecting this tutorial to give accurate measurements look away now - it's what I prefer to call a 'bespoke' (yes that word sounds good) pattern.
Line up your hooks so that you can get a rough idea how wide your material needs to be. 
Leave about 5cm from the top of each needle ( enough to fold over the top - it will make sense later on) and a seam allowance all around. At this point if you want to add anything extra make sure you factor that in as well (I wanted to have enough room for a scissor pocket). Cut out your rectangle.
Then cut out some contrasting material the same width but only half the depth.
Fold over the top edge of your smaller rectangle to make a neat edge ( you don't need to stitch this as what you do next will hold it down). If you want to add an extra pocket (like I have for my scissors) add a patch by cutting out required size and stitching along three sides where you want it to go.
Is this making sense so far? It really is much easier than it sounds.
Next you need to make the slots for your hooks. Stitch vertical lines through both pieces of material at the required spacing. Mine vary between 1 and 2 cm depending on which hooks were going in.
How are we doing?
Now you need to neaten up the stitching by pulling the front thread through to the back and knotting to secure (bad picture alert).
Using your work as a template cut out another piece of material - the one you want to be the front of your book - the same size.
Place them right sides together...
...and stitch around the outside, leaving a small gap for turning.
I'm sure you know what to do next. Clip the corners...
...then push your nearly finished book through the gap so that it is the right way around.
Hand stitch the opening together.

At this point I was distracted as Little Sis had made some fudge and I was forced to go and try some.

I digress.

I thought it would then be a good idea to fold over the top of the book so that the hooks wouldn't be tempted to slip out and forever be lost in the bottoms of various bags.
Pop a hook into one of the slots and measure how far you need to fold the edges over.
Then hand stitch the folded bits down.
I love this next bit - try it out and stand back!
My hooks have upgraded to a luxury 'bespoke' home!
I've put a large safety pin above my scissors that I am going to use to hold stitch markers etc. on.
Fold it in three - it will probably do this quite naturally - and add a snap fastener.
Choose your favourite button and stitch it on the front!

What do you think?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!

(NB: No hooks were harmed in the making of this tutorial!)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Squinty the smelly owl

Who'd have thought it? In these days of snow and ice, black and white, cold and - errrr - more cold - that I would open my kitchen curtains this morning and find myself gazing at such a creature. His colours stood out against the bare branches and I can only think he was attracted by the ample food supplies that have been put out to care for our other feathered friends.
Can you see him?
A bit closer maybe?
Something of a shy boots it took some time and a variety of hoots to earn his trust and get a bit closer but, when I did, I could see he was made of glorious coloured wool and - hold on - what's that smell - LAVENDER!
His nonchalant look is perhaps emphasised by the fact that his eyes are not quite looking in the same direction.
He came inside for a warm and immediately palled up with Fi the one eyed pheasant.
After a lovely morning of hooting and swivelling of heads it was time for Squinty to leave.
He was on his way to Big Sis down in the Big Smoke to impart his many words of wisdom (and keep her clothes fresh!)

So for now it's goodbye Squinty - safe journey! 

(If you would like one of Squinty's friends to visit you take a peek at Bunny Mummy's blog for her 
fantastic tutorial - she's a star!)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

My Wednesday

I love Wednesdays. Well maybe love is too strong a term for a day but it certainly is up next to Friday in my rankings. I finish at twelve and have no other commitments so it is usually when I get some 'me' time. The last few Wednesdays have been filled with getting the house back to some sort of post Christmas normality so this afternoon time was going to be my own. I say 'going to be' with a wistful sigh.

My 'me'  time started like this: 
  • Discovering I had been blocked in the school car park by a mammoth car the size of a bus. 
  • Hunting down the owner of said vehicle.
  • 55 minutes later, and after many laps of the school, finding owner and very politely asking him to remove the obstruction. I am not an angry person. I like to be fair. But aaaaaargh - did he not know it was Wednesday?
  • Picking up some shopping on the way home - person at checkout in front of me has queried the price of a brush - noone can agree. I patiently watch as the people at the checkouts either side happily pack and pay.
  • Home. Kettle on. Kick over half cup of coffee that has been left on the floor.
  • Take Jessie Dog for a brisk walk to the lock. The fresh air and exercise will perk me up. Fall over on the ice. Hurt bottom and pride.
  • Pick up Little Sis from school to take her for haircut. Someone snowballs my windscreen while I'm waiting. Do I get out and throw one back - no I'm a grown up (and I'll probably miss). Grrrrrrr.....
Five hours after my me time began I have finally reached my sofa. Little Sis has made me a cup of tea and Mr K is cooking. Bliss.

Now I hope you won't mind if I indulge in some of the things that have been cheering me up.

I treated myself to 'Simply Crochet' magazine. Having heard some comments about it on other blogs I felt compelled to buy it. I justified this by telling myself that it was the law and, even though I own crochet hooks in every size known to man, those plastic ones on the front might come in handy.

Belonging to Ravelry (janiek66) I really couldn't ask for more in the way of ideas but there is something oh so lovely about snuggling up with some magazine eye candy. Not sure if I'll do any of the projects - do I really want to crochet a picture frame?

I've sorted out the shelf for my craft books. You might recognise one or two that you own up there.

The box ( the one on the right that I have managed to splice in two) is full of patterns from when I started sewing many moons ago. I really must start this up again. The last thing I made was this dress (it really is a 'better on than off' type thing) and I still haven't worn it!

 The Readers Digest is the most well thumbed. Although it's now getting tatty it's still the first place I look for instructions on just about anything.

A parcel arrived! I never usually make the most of January sales as this is when we tighten our belts but I couldn't resist some of the lovely things this company had on offer.

How sweet is the little sewing pack - a snip at 29p!

My lovely blue hyacinths making the kitchen smell diviiiiiiiiiine.

Making contact with someone who we lost touch with some time ago via her lovely blog - 'A Quiet Corner'. If you've never visited before it's well worth a look.

'The Greatcoat' by Helen Dunmore - oh I am sooooo enjoying this. A good old spooky ghost story that has been a perfect accompaniment to snuggling down on these icy nights.

My (very) little granny square project.

Although it started off as the beginnings of a grand blanket I have now downsized my expectations and hope to make it into a sweet cushion cover - a bit like this:

So although my 'me' time didn't exactly arrive on time I'm looking forward to a cosy night by the fire, watching celebrities baking on television, crochet on knee.

I think Thursday's going to be great x

Saturday, 19 January 2013

White and other colours

We knew it was coming, we were as prepared as we could be, but as to the exact timing of the heavy snow we couldn't be too sure. In our house the weather forecast was scrutinised frame by frame by Little Sis to see exactly what time it was going to hit our area and - more importantly - whether this would mean no school. It had been predicted to start in the early hours but at 6.45am there was only a light smattering. Mr K went to work just as the first flakes started. By 8am there was a steady flurry and following an excited round of phone calls the news came through - Little Sis's school was closing! I however still had to make my way in, only to be told that due to the small number of children who had turned up I may as well go back home. SNOW DAY! 
Now one thing's for sure - when it snows in the UK photo opportunities abound.

Little Sis had already bagged a gorgeous photo of the canal behind our house

Now it was time to don my newly knitted hat and shawl and brave the storm!

Jessie Dog was ready

The bird bath and bird box had on their snowy hats


Time to see what was beyond the garden gate

This is what greeted us

The canal presented a huge range of picturesque images

Lock 31 was decidedly snowy

And my bench looked slightly too cold to be mused upon today

Jessie Dog was belying the fact that she is fourteen and begged to play at any opportunity

And so did Mr K!

Black silhouettes were sharpened against their backgrounds

 But there was also colour



And various shades of brown

This sign stood out

(thank goodness I wasn't thinking of doing any fishing!)

 Then of course there were the boats

With their colourful sides and beautiful doily windows

 Time to cross back across the bridge for home

Plenty of colour. Perhaps just more difficult to find than normal. 
I hope you have been able to find some colour in your day wherever you are.

(And Jessie Dog slept very well that night x)