Sunday, 23 February 2014

Book review: Cuddly Knitted Animals by Caprice Birker

'Cuddly Knitted Animals' by Caprice Birker is a fun and entertaining book for all knitters who love toys.

All the animals are knitted in the round with double pointed needles and a couple of the animals need very basic crochet skills. There are charts but the charted sections are also written.

There are 22 animal patterns in total and they all use the same torso pattern at the beginning of the book. There are extensive 'basic' patterns in the first section so you could even experiment and branch out with your own design if you wanted to.

The first section is quite exhaustive with a total of 24 pages introducing you to toy knitting such as which yarns to use and making the face, etc. Caprice has been adventurous with her choice of yarn and I particularly love the sock yarn used for the dragon, but the exact yarns she's used are not specified and you would have to try and find your own 'green and blue sock yarn 75 per cent wool' to use.

The animals range from an elephant and monkey to a unicorn and a dragon! This is a really fun book which should be accessible for the intermediate knitter or the advanced beginner.

You can buy 'Cuddly Knitted Animals' by Caprice Birker from the Search Press website.

Thanks to Search Press for sending me this book to review at my request.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The joy of Wollmeise

Have you ever noticed the two scales of stress and knitting? When one goes up the other goes down? It's a vicious circle. Sometimes, when you feel stressed you don't want to pick up the needles and it's difficult to plug into your crafting mojo. So a couple of weeks ago I had to force myself to knit. I picked up my knitting and gradually I felt better. It wasn't much but I immediately felt the benefit the next day. (Although reading my new Neil Gaiman novel helped too!)

It also helped to be able to order some Wollmeise! It arrived a couple of weeks ago, and having lost my crafting mojo at that point, I put it away and didn't really look at it (I know - how did I do that?!). But last week I wound it into five balls and started to knit a tension swatch as I couldn't wait to find a pattern. It's amazing. There are two things I've tried in the last few months which haven't disappointed me after being highly recommended by bloggers or podcasters, one is Craftsy* and the other is Wollmeise.

It doesn't always follow that if you spend more on wool you'll get a better result but I'm pleased to say I feel this is well worth the extra money. At about £5.25 per 50 grams it's only like buying Rowan but in a 200 gram hank.

I am planning to knit 'Naiada' by Martina Behm which is a paid-for pattern on Ravelry. I have some 150 cm circular knitting needles on order from Love Knitting who kindly gave me free shipping on my first order as I subscribed by email. I'm sure I will need to consider investing in some interchangeable circulars soon otherwise the cost is quickly going to rack up.

I hope you are in a position to treat yourself to Wollmeise - it's well worth the postage, trust me.

*This is an affiliated link - I will gain a percentage fee from Craftsy if you click this and then buy something.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

A trip down memory lane

I've been recently looking through my childhood photos and putting them all into a Paperchase photo album I bought a few months ago. I'm getting there, although some of the mediocre ones look awful next to the ones my father took as he had a passion for photography. If there's one thing this blog is lacking it's baby/children photos so here are mine instead!

This is me at around the age of six or seven and my older sister Louise at the age of ten or eleven. I may look like I want to kill her, but as you'll see if you hover over the photo and find out what I've labelled it, nothing happened after the photo was taken.

This is one of my favourite photos of all time from the album. There are many, but this is in the top ten. I always wonder why I love tulips so much, and this is probably why.

Gosh, I loved the paddling pool. I remember this being a very very hot summer and I was constantly being slathered in sun lotion everywhere I went. It had to be positioned underneath our apple tree as the rest of the garden was just too hot. And before you ask, yes I was born a blonde. Suddenly I became a brunette a couple of years after this photo was taken.

By this time you're probably wondering did I forget the camera when I turned into a teenager? The answer is yes, I threw it into the lavatory. I can't believe how awful I looked as a teenager but then, I suppose everyone does, and maybe one day I'll pluck up the courage to create a post based on my teen photos.

And, finally, here is a photo of me and my sister during a tour around Granada studios in Manchester while we stayed with my Nan in Lancashire during the school holidays. I absolutely loved this tour and I had a great day. I was totally addicted to Coronation Street as a child. I think The Darling Buds of May, Poirot and Corrie were on quite a lot and we rarely watched the BBC if at all.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my photos. Have you found an interesting way to display yours?
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