Sunday, 20 May 2018

Spring Craft

The weather continues to be beautiful and May continues to dazzle me every time I go outside, but especially in the woods. Dog walks are a pleasure when it's like this, with everything so green and lush, just humming with colour and life. Hawthorn blossom hangs so heavily on branches it looks like snow and frothy cow parsley lines footpaths and hedgerows. And don't get me going on the buttercups. I just love May and we've still got months of colour and warmth (please, unpredictable British weather) ahead of us before it all starts to bleach and fade - maybe that's why I love it so much. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the royal wedding yesterday, did you? It was all lovely, especially because it gave me an excuse to sit down and crochet in the middle of the day - I shouldn't need an excuse, but it was nice to have one. My friend had a little get together last night with cucumber sandwiches, a cream tea and lots of prosecco. My contribution: gin and tonic cupcakes. There's a little gin in the batter, then you make a gin and tonic syrup which you brush over the tops of the warm cakes, then you put more gin in the icing. There's a lot of gin in those cakes. I wouldn't even let Bella lick the icing beater. They were very nice indeed, but I think next time I'd just rather have a gin and tonic. 

Thank you for your birthday wishes for Angus. You are all very kind and I appreciate your support and interest in the comments you leave so much. I finished one of Angus's handmade birthday presents, and only a few days after the event. (The children are very tolerant of my late gifts now, and "New Years Day Crochet Animals" were such a hit last year that I think that might have to become a thing.) A while ago I bought the book Edward's Menagerie: Dogs, knowing I'd love it and use it loads. You know l love Kerry Lord's previous two books Edward's Menagerie and Edward's Menagerie: Birds and have written about them often here, so I was excited to see the Dogs version and even more excited to see that it contained a pattern for a whippet. 

Meet Wilf.

I changed all the colours to make him more like Ziggy, and tried my hardest to get the grey markings on his face to match (colour work + decreasing = headache) and I'm pretty pleased with how he came out. Much more importantly, Angus loves him. The night I finished Wilf I propped him up on Angus's bedside table next to his clock so that Angus would see him sitting there when he woke up in the morning.

The second part of the late birthday present comes from the book below, Supersize Crochetby Sarah Shrimpton who blogs at Annaboo's House. I am making Angus a huge floor cushion, at his request, so he has somewhere to loll around and read on his floor. This book is packed full of very tempting projects and it's only the cost of yarn that's stopping me from making everything in this book. 

I'm only a few rows in, but I did spend a very nice hour in the sun this afternoon working on it in the garden. 

You probably spotted the other book in the photo above, Shibori: The art of indigo dyeing with step-by-step techniques and 25 projects to make by Nicola Gouldsmith. I treated myself to this recently with an Amazon voucher, having wanted to try shibori for some time. I have a plain white table runner and some tea towels and plans to play around with this Japanese tie dye technique over the half term break. I'll let you know how I get on.

I also spent a little time this afternoon on my Spring Craftpod box, working on the Botanical Stitch Practice sampler. 

While I love to hand sew I don't actually know that much about embroidery or the many different stitches that exist. I'm finding more and more that I am very much of the "make it up as I go along" school of crafting, so this sampler is actually really interesting and good fun. 

The other project in the box is for a little mustard yellow linen project bag, but I may use that gorgeous linen for a little embroidery hoop instead, I'm not sure yet.

And finally, I have finished the My Sweetiepie ABCs cross stitch sampler. I feel like I've been working on this for so long and, as often happens with me and long term WIPs, I'm a bit sick of them by the time I finish the project. I need to put it away for a little while.

I now just need to decide whether or not I can justify paying to have it framed professionally, of if I should try and find a frame to fit and and do it myself. I'm not sure yet. I enjoyed it though, even if it did take me over two years to finish. 

Have a great week everyone. I hope this settled weather continues right into half term, wouldn't that be nice?


  1. Yes, I felt very naughty crocheting on a Saturday morning and afternoon too! Like the sound of the g+t cakes, I had a large g+t to celebrate whilst watching.

  2. I watched the entire wedding and enjoyed every minute of it... it was so beautiful! Harry and Megan are very much in love and it shows. Cheers to the Royal couple indeed! And the weather was fabulous! So happy you are having a lovely, sunny May. Your plants are looking great. I could go for a gin and tonic cupcake right now and a nice glass of prosecco... Yum!!

  3. I have ignored the wedding and all that goes with it. It meant a quiet day with lots of doing little (if that makes sense).
    Wilf/Ziggy looks fab, I am not surprised Angus loves it. You are good with the hook! I wish I was but I can't be good at everything and shall not worry. I would frame the sampler professionally, so much work needs to be appreciated :-) but maybe leave it for a couple of weeks to fall back in love with it?

    We don't get half term here in Scotland :-( but summer holidays are much sooner so not all bad. Keeping my fingers crossed for the nice weather. xx

  4. I have a cross stitch project languishing somewhere that I need to get to grips with. Love, love, love Wilf, he is in a league of his own. I know the littlest boy (who adores dogs more than anything in the whole wide world) would love some of those little crocheted chaps, I really should give them a go, although I fear I would get in a complete pickle. May is utterly glorious isn't it. Your photo of Ziggy reminds me of Bertie and his whippet friend running together. Blissful. Have a good week my friend. CJ xx

  5. I ' accidentally' watched the Royal Wedding all day! I put the tv on to see the crowds at 9am, and got hooked. What a fabulous day. I really hope it works out for Harry, Wills seems to have made the right choice, so fingers crossed...

  6. Gillian, I just love those crocheted animals and the fact that you make so many handmade items for your kids! The sampler is so sweet - love the little bed with quilt image.

  7. Some lovey Spring crafting going on here. Love the dogs.

  8. Our new garden is a riot of buttercups and daisies and dandelion clocks and fading bluebells not to mention cow parsley, red campion and forget me nots. Loving our new plot although I have yet to pick up any sort of needle for relaxation - there is always so much to do when you move. Your array of crochet creatures is amazing and I would definitely have the cross stitch professionally framed. I’m looking at my Midsummer Sprigs now and I know I would not have done half as good a job had I done it myself. Like you I love to embroider and learnt by watching my mum and grandma, but I am very tempted to enrol for a day course with a RSN tutor at nearby Parham House next month in order to challenge myself more. Fingers crossed for a sunny half term.

  9. It all looks lovely where you are. I especially enjoyed the outdoor photo with the dogs! Sweetiepie is one of the few samplers I have had framed professionally, mainly because it was a gift. I can't afford to do them all that way, but I try to do a few and it's nice. Wilf is so cute! I love all the animals you've made from that book. The wedding really was beautiful and I'm very happy for them. It's hard to imagine a wedding over here that would garner such interest, which I think just makes it all the more special and happy. It sounds like you have good plans for your break, enjoy yourself!

  10. Could anyone tell me what the plants are on the widnowsill in the 7th picture down please?

    1. Hello, yes of course. They are Pilea Peperomioides. Very easy to grow and take cuttings from.

  11. Hey Gillian,
    Angus must have been so thrilled when he woke up to Wilf! I watched the wedding with my Mum, and we loved every second of pomp and circumstance. For such a big event, in the end it felt rather intimate. Half term just around the corner here. Olly is definitely ready for it.
    Leanne xx

  12. Love your little Ziggy! So cute. I was looking at your cross stitch and thinking it would make a fabulous rectangular cushion. See you soon. jo x

  13. Love the ABC sampler, I think a professional frame would be an investment for all your hard work and it will keep it looking great for years to come. This will be a family heirloom I think! x

  14. Wilf is gorgeous, well done!
    I have this book and would like to replicate my own whippet.
    Please could you tell me which size you made and what yarn you used.
    Thank you so much for the inspiration, I can't wait to get started!

  15. I love all of the crochet creatures at Angus' room.


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