Saturday, 23 December 2017

Christmas is ...

... a time for giving

Christmas 1966

... a time for decorations

... sometimes a time for snow


... and always a time for family

In the middle of all the last minute preparations I try to pause to remember Christmases past and to look to the future. At this time of year I always think about my first Christmas as a single parent with a five year old and a toddler and I make a donation to Gingerbread, the charity that supports single parent families. Back in the early 1990s single parent families were still seen as 'not proper families' and I think that, all to often, this is still the case. 

So, to all those celebrating Christmas on your own with children this year, I wish you a very Merry Christmas ... oh and try to take some pictures. It took me ages to find one with both children in (and sitting still).

My apologies to those in the above pictures but it's a Christmas tradition to embarrass your nearest and dearest with old photos. And in case you're wondering, that's me with my new doll's house and also in the snow.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017


I've been playing around with crochet puff stitches recently (as you do) and I came up with this little flower pincushion.

Now it's quite nice but the bit I really enjoyed was the domed top with all those puff stitches. So I dived into my pile of Stylecraft Special DK and pulled out some rainbow colours (I know, I'm so predictable) and came up with this ...

It's a rainbow puffball, isn't it nice? The trickiest part was working out how to join the two halves invisibly; in the end just sewing them together with a sort of mattress stitch did the trick. 

There are seven rounds in each puffball, one for each colour of the rainbow so, naturally, I got a bit carried away and made seven of them, starting each one with a different colour.

Each ball is about 5 cm in diameter so they're just the right size for babies or for juggling. Or ... you could crochet a hanging cord and use them as Christmas baubles. Tolly cat finds they'r just right for practising his pawball skills. He's getting quite good at that, although what looks like clever tricks may just be him getting his claws caught in the ball.

As ever, you can download the free pattern from my Ravelry page. There's still time to make one or two (or seven) for Christmas.

Let me know if you'd like me to turn the pincushion into a pattern too.

Friday, 1 December 2017

A Year of Mini Quilts

Today sees the publication of the last pattern in my 2017 series of mini knitted quilts. It all began back on January 1st with this little snowman ...

January Quilt

... and then carried on each month. In the season of April showers there was little girl ...

April Quilt

... and the start of the school year was marked with this one ...

September Quilt

Each little quilt is about the size of a postcard and you can hang them up or incorporate them into other projects. There are some lovely calendar blankets in the pipeline which I'm looking forward to seeing. Maybe I'll be able to share some photos of them here next year.

So, I felt December's quilt should have a Christmas theme but I didn't want to do yet another Christmas Tree pattern (I've done more than my fair share of those). In the end I took my inspiration from old-fashioned tree baubles and came up with this ...

December Quilt

I'm particularly fond of the one with the sunburst embroidery.  All twelve of the mini quilt patterns are free to download on Ravelry. As ever, if you like them, do think about donating to the charity I support, The Children's Liver Disease Foundation through my fundraising page. I know a lot of people donate to charity at this time of year so I hope you'll help me raise even more money for this very worthwhile cause - over £16,000 and counting so far!

My little quilts have been hanging in turn from the handle on my bread bin all year ... which has been a bit awkward every time I want to get at the bread. I should really choose a more practical place for next year.

As well as knitting a little quilt each month this year, I've also been making matching fabric quilts and sending them to my daughter. I think she had to wait a week or so for one but, other than that, I've managed to send them off for the start of each month. I've tried to make them copies of the knitted designs but sometimes this works better than others. This month though I think the fabric quilt is as good as (perhaps even better) than the knitted version. What do you think?

I like the embroidery with the gold thread, even if it is a pain to sew with. Those little gold things that look like bats are actually meant to be angels.

I hope everyone taking part has enjoyed knitting and displaying their little quilts. If you didn't finish them all this year you can always catch up in 2018. 

There's still lots of knitalong fun to be had though. My Advent series of patterns is underway now with the first decoration for the Tree Sampler and, in the New Year, the adventure of Frankie's Blankie will start. Happy Knitting!

Tree Sampler 1