knitting sheep







It felt like I hadn’t really been crafting much lately but then I realised that I’ve made three beanies in the last month or so. One pure wool chunky knit for Charlie to double up with his pure baby alpaca beanie on the super chilly days. Both of these beanies were made with the ace “Farmer Boy Beanie” pattern from the lovely Kate at Foxs Lane. Thanks Kate, this is my go to beanie pattern now! Plus I’ve made two Baable Beanies. And I’ve cast on a third! Such fun to knit something like this and watch the image appear as each row grows. It is a pretty easy pattern to follow, even for the pattern challenged like myself, I managed to make it without one single #%$@&*!!%!! moment. I think I originally spotted the beanie on pinterest but have tracked back to find the creator of the pattern here. Thanks for designing such a cute pattern Donna!

The beanie with the darker richer colours is all pure wool, and the lighter shade beanie has a mix of pure wool and pure baby alpaca yarns, including some of my special baby alpaca I brought back from Peru. I didn’t have the same ply yarn the pattern requires, so I knitted the lighter shade one first, with 8 ply not 10 ply but used the needles recommended for the 10 ply. This produced a nicely fitting beanie, but not surprisingly it was a little too loose in the tension. The darker shaded beanie was knitted with 8 ply and finer needles, 3.75 for the rib and 4 for the body, and it turned out perfect! Lovely tension and a great fit. The whole gauge and swatch thing isn’t my favourite part of knitting, kinda does my head in to be honest. In fact I think that contributes greatly as to why I feel a bit antagonistic towards patterns. So I just do what I usually do – fluff and bluff my way through till I land where I’m happy. Not the most efficient path at times but that’s the way I roll.

I love that the Baa-ble beanie has Suffolk Sheep in it, with those being the sheep that roam around our home. It feels like I’m knitting exactly what I’m meant to be knitting. I guess I’ll have to find an Angus Cow pattern next. And just as I typed that two ducks flew by the back door, so ducks too!

May you never drop a stitch in a tricky spot x

lemon butter, sherbet and candy

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Mmmmm…. lemon butter… I could eat it by the spoonful… sometimes do! It’s the thing I hunt down at markets, forever in search of the perfect homemade lemon butter.

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Well I had myself a bit of a lemon butter off recently and I finally made some (even though my classic old New Zealand cookbook ‘Edmonds’ calls it lemon honey).  I also had a recipe for lemon custard, it’s been stuck to the fridge for months, teasing me.  Then I was gifted some lemons from my gorgeous daughter.  And you know what they say about life giving you lemons? Yes I’ve seen the pinterest boards saying ‘get yourself some tequilla and slam that sh*t down’… but tequilla and I aren’t fond of each other…  (bad memories!) … So when life gave me lemons, I decided lemon butter and lemon custard was the answer. And a day of whisking began.

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I whisked till my arm was burning. I kept remembering stories of curdled lemon butter when it all goes wrong. I was determined mine wouldn’t curdle. And it didn’t, all the whisking paid off. I tested both of these glorious lemony buttery delights extensively… I take my research seriously you know!  And I came to conclusion that they are both bloody delicious!

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But which one would I choose to make again you ask? Neither. I would take a little from each recipe and tweak up my own version. What a surprise hey?! You see I loved the addition of the zest in the lemon honey, but I loved the custardy texture of the lemon custard. The lemon honey was very sweet, the custard a bit tart… so I’d go somewhere in between for the sugar.

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The one on the left is the lemon honey, complete with lovely zingy bits of zest. The one of the right is the lemon custard. Funnily enough, looks a lot more like custard. Both equally moreish!

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Now I found the recipe for the lemon custard online, so long ago and I really can’t remember where I found it. I’ve searched far and wide to where I thought it may have been and can’t find it. So I’m reproducing it here but please know it is not my recipe. If it is your recipe or you know the creator of it, please do let me know so I can share some link love.

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Now for the sherbet. My sherbet wrist warmers are done and I can’t wait to pop them on the next gloomy grey cold day, and feel all bright and happy and sherbet-ey.

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This is my new project. It’s my Popping Candy Blanket, because the colours remind me of popping candy. Some of the sherbet colours mixed in with some of the many random odds and ends of colours that I keep promising myself I’ll use up. I find it tricky to use up end bits of yarn because I’m pretty pedantic about what colours I like to play together. But I’m loving the bright colourful mix of this one as it honestly feels really happy, and I feel happy crocheting it.

What about you? Are you making anything that makes you happy? Like eating lemon butter by the spoonful? Life giving you lemons?

Wishing you juicy lemons, sherbet smiles and happy candy coloured days.

meditations on the kiwi coast

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So the ever inspirational Kate from Foxs Lane is doing this thing called ‘A Motif a Day for May‘. The idea is you select a craft, most are crocheting a motif, and you meditate whilst you make. Because creating, for most of us, is a form of meditation. It’s that time when you are in the zone and not much else matters.

I think that’s what meditation is at it’s heart… to slow down and get into the zone of something where you are not thinking about what’s for dinner, if the cats been feed yet and if it’s going to rain on your washing! We have so much going on in our lives, it’s not very often when you are thinking or concentrating on just one thing. Whether that’s your breathing in ‘traditional’ meditation, or ripping out that next weed you can reach, or painting or drawing, or cooking up a batch of muffins, or walking in the mountains or along a beach… I think ALL those things are forms of meditation if they are something that you just love to do.

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I’ve been playing along with lots of others on Instagram using the hashtag #motifdaymay, but instead of crocheting a motif I’m doing a row (or three or four) of my Kiwi Coast Blanket. I spend the time thinking about what part of the Kiwi Coast I’m crocheting represents, and I reminisce about our recent roadtrip around the North Island.

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As I crocheted the colours of the Napier shoreline, I thought about its huge waves that crash so close into its shore of shiny black pebbles… of falling asleep to sound of those waves… of the gorgeous jade green beaches…

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As I crocheted the choppy waves of Lake Taupo, I smiled remembering eating a $10 half crayfish we brought from Napier, whilst the Lake Gulls hovered above us waiting for scraps… the blues and whitecaps on the water… the chilly breeze that blew through us as we licked our crayfish fingers overlooking the lake…

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I’m crocheting the Hot Water Beach rows at the moment and it’s sooo lovely to remember that blissful feeling of sitting in steaming hot water, watching the waves roll in… the pretty reflections on the sand as the tide rolled out…. steam rising from the sand looking other wordly yet calm and peaceful…

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I love selecting the next colour I’ll use, and thinking about what stitch I might use with it to conjure up the particular coast, beach, bay, lake I’m thinking about. It’s really helping to slow down my mind whilst I crochet.

You see I’m consistently inconsistent… crochet is many things to me. Sometimes crochet will be my mental escape where I’ll think of nothing else but the stitches and get into a lovely peaceful rhythm. But sometimes crochet will be my mental checklist like I must remember to get potatoes tomorrow and get that load of washing out of the washing machine. Yet with the #motifdaymay awareness, and my Kiwi Coast Blanket theme, I have been relaxing into a peaceful world of sweet holiday memories and colours and stitches. How can it not be restful to the mind to think about relaxing beachy holidays?!

I do feel really relaxed and calm when I crochet this blanket. I think this vibe mostly comes through in the blanket… although… it’s a bit like me in that it has a few tension issues too! I’m hoping, for the blanket, they’ll wash out in the blocking process… and for me, they’ll fade a little as I keep crocheting it.

Are you playing along with the #motifdaymay? It’s not too late join… Just pop over to Kate’s blog to find out more…

Wishing you peaceful in the zone moments…

kiwi cups & the kiwi coast

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Kiwi Cups… just little container thingys really, but I like the sound of Kiwi Cups.

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Named so as I made them up on our recent roadtrip around the North Island of New Zealand… and I thought they looked a bit like kiwi fruit colours… before I added the grey one.

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I’m using them for business card holders, pens, froggy buttons, crochet hooks and I’ve just started using one to pop all those endy bits of yarn you snip off whilst crocheting. I often just have a big ol stack of them on the coffee table, but now they will look neat and organised tucked away in my Kiwi Cups… for a little while at least!

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The kiwi cups were born from my hoarding ways… You see I bought a stack of this yarn, and the balls of this particular cotton/bamboo blend came wrapped around these cardboard cylinders. They were too good to throw out, I knew ‘one day’ I would make something of them.

The idea came to me as I was tidying up my craft room and I started popping pens in the cardboard containers that were sitting around. I suddenly realised I could make them look a whole lot prettier if I crocheted around them, and If I added a base they would actually be practical. I packed a couple in my luggage along with some random lime green yarn hanging nearby, and somewhere between Lake Taupo and Wellington ‘one day‘ finally came.

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Remember my kiwi yarn purchase? It started in Napier and was added to in Rotorua. Inspired by the gorgeous colours of the North Island East Coast, I wanted to crochet a big blanket with all the lovely greens, aqua, turquoise and blues I kept seeing in the oceans, bays and beaches. It would be my Kiwi Coast Blanket. And even better, I had the perfect excuse to find yarn shops and buy more yarn. Serendipity!

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When I got home I realised I also had some colours in my stash from Bendigo Woollen Mills that would really set it off.

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I looked for an inky blue yarn in NZ but luckily I didn’t find any, as I had some already. I just love these colours together and have totally got my crochet mojo on making this blanket. You know, that feeling when you can wait to finish the row just to see how it’s coming along?

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And it’s a big long row… I want a big blanket… this baby is 242 stitches wide! I’m using this pattern as a guide. Huge thanks to Hannah from Not your average Crochet, for the fantastic pattern and great tutorial with loads of photos! From what I read Hannah’s pattern is inspired by Little Woolie’s pattern. Jules from Little Woolies has a great link on her blog with lots of pictures and patterns that can be used in a blanket like this. A big thanks to you too Jules!

I will be changing colours and stitches in my Kiwi Coast Blanket, but I’m also plan on doing larger blocks of colour with the different stitches to add some subtle texture to the blanket. Like the ripples, white caps and waves of the ocean… at least that how it appears in my crochet imagination anyway!

As I’m finishing one row I’m thinking about the next stitch and colour combination… this blanket is going to evolve. I don’t like to plan things too hard or, as you know, stick to a pattern. I’m too fickle, indecisive and disorganised to do that! I’ll either run out of yarn or change my mind before I get the to end of a complete pattern. I LOVE to use a pattern as a guide, but I like to let the blanket and yarn and my mood take me where I feel like I’m meant to go… that’s just the way I crochet.

How do you crochet, knit, craft? Do you kinda make it up on the way or do you plan it?

Whatever works and gives you your craft mojo is the right way in my books.

Wishing you happy mojo moments…

crocheted heart garlands

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Happy Hearts
100% cotton light pink, 100% wool dark pink.

Happy Hearts are going to a brand new baby girl…

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Healing Hearts
100% cotton light pink, 100% cotton cream.

Healing Hearts are going to a wee baby girl on the other side of world…

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The pale pink is the softest pink ever, hard to capture in a photograph actually as it looks a bit washed out.
But it’s soft and delicate and pretty and perfect for sweet baby girls full of sugar spice and all things nice.

Sending happy healing hearts out to you, where ever you are, this sweet Sunday.

crazy christmas crochet lady

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I went a little crochet crazy this chrissy… just for something different! I made all those cushions in the pic… and the inserts…

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and all of these coaster sets… and a couple of knitted beanies… with 4ply!

Of course I only really decided make a few things late November/early December… then the list grew… then I decided to hand stamp all my wrapping paper too… I’m a bit crazy like that… but boy oh boy was it worth it… to see everyone’s sweet happy faces unwrapping their pretty pressies… smiling and surprised with their homemade-especially-for-them-coloured-coorinated-with-their-home-decor-pressies… ahhh – they are precious moments indeedy…

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The pop of brights blooming flower cushion and coastal coasters went down a treat.

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I forgot to photograph the heart cushion by itself, but these coasters used the same green as the cushion and went together. The baby blue and white cushion was gifted without matching coasters as they weren’t required for my mother in law who resides in an aged care facility. Cushions however are very much required. And a soft alpaca cloud pattern cushion seemed most appropriate.

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Cool grey with a clean pop of cream for the mod home.

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Soft deep smokey blue, duck egg blue, mint, cream, cotton, silk and bamboo. I do so love these colours and textures.

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I love the earthy olive green cotton coasters with the soft lime / chartreuse silk combo. The almost dirty but still fresh and bright without being too bright lime of the cushion with the cream. Oh what fun it was to pick the main colours, contrast colours, and accent colours for each recipient – I swear half the fun is putting colours together!

The Blooming Flower cushion is the most wonderful cushion. I’ve made a few of them now and I love to play with the colours in the pattern. Pretty sure I haven’t made two the same yet. Some I alternate evenly, others graduate in their alternation, some all one colour, some with variegated yarn. I love the endless options. I’ve just had trouble trying to find round inserts for the cushions so I made all the inserts. This worked out rather well to be honest because I like a well stuffed cushion, and I find most of inserts you can buy are a little lame in the stuffing department. The Free Blooming Flower Pattern is from the lovely Lucy at Attic24.

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And one of my favourite coaster sets, the citrus splice set. Yet to be handed over… if I can part with it… but what can I do with 3 sets of crochet coasters? Yes, I already have two sets. I posted the link to the sweet coaster pattern back here if you’d like to whip up a set… or two… or three… they are a bit addictive!

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So it may have been a little quiet around here lately but I’ve still been crafting like crazy.

Now I’m in the recovery period which means the PJ’s are getting a workout, there’s nananaps being had, left over turkey being scoffed, chocolates vanishing, odd jobs being thought about (can’t rush things), new to do lists being written, more knitting and crochet being done (crazy crafter!), garden pottering taking place, new music being enjoyed, and memories of a wonderful Christmas day, full of special and precious family moments, being cherished. Family love in motion is a beautiful thing to watch, be a part of, and enjoy.

I have truly felt so very blessed this Christmas, yet also shed a quiet tear. For some, Christmas is a painful reminder of special people missing in their lives. I hope you feel blessed with your lot in life or had a moment to enjoy a sweet memory if you have a loved one missing from the Chrissy table. I hope you had a lovely christmas day and got to share it with those near and dear to your heart.

And if you don’t do the Christmas thang, then I hope you had a lovely day filled with sweet moments all the same.

ps. this was my Christmas inspired flower bunch for the table, from my garden. Who knew being lazy and letting all your parsley go to seed would reward you with a sweet little pop of green in the flower bunch?
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