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

my sabbatical


























So don’t hate me or anything, but I’ve just begun a 6 (ish) month long sabbatical. Well, long service leave actually… but then truth be told I’m also officially unemployed after being made redundant due to a recent company merge. So long service leave, redundancy or sabbatical, call it what you will, but I choose sabbatical as it feels like a happy word and brings with it thoughts of retreat, holiday and time out… and that is kinda sorta what I plan to do with this time. Redundant on the other hand, not such a nice word, but in reality it was my choice. A new job or the opportunity to take my long-awaited hard-earned long service leave. It really wasn’t too difficult to decide, in fact I felt a bit like it was fate and the decision was already written in the stars… or sheep or cows or something. I did have plans to leave my job in another year or two anyway, and find something closer to home, rather than continue indefinitely with the 3 hour (at best) daily commute. I’m going to stretch out my long service leave and see if I can make it last double the time, hence the approximate 6 month time frame. Hello budgeting, meal planning and ultra conservative living!

To be totally honest I’m beside myself with a mixture of excitement, exhaustion, joy and overwhelm. It’s been a huge year of change for me, I’ve left my home of 19 years and moved far away (well around 100 odd k’s away) from my friends and family. Now after 14 years at the same job, I’m on a sabbatical and at home full time. It’s a lot to digest. But I’m so happy and have that awesome and rare feeling, that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be in life right now. I’m keen to tackle the ridiculously big list of things that needs starting in order to convert our paddocks into a productive farm. I want to invest some time in Charlie’s Stockman Leathercraft shop. I’m ready to spend some serious time crafting and possibly reopen my poorly neglected and too-long-on-vacation shop. I’m going to dust off my sewing machine and get stitching again. I’m busting to spend some reading time with our wonderful collection of books, full of teachings on practical self-sufficiency and practiculture. I plan to write a little more here, it’s something I enjoy enormously but find it hard to justify the time. In fact, I’m looking to make peace with time, it’s felt like my arch enemy for so long now, but I’m hoping these 6 months will unfold at a gentle pace and we can become friends again.

In other news, the two baby lambs are even more adorable than ever. They hang out together and play in the paddocks, running and bouncing and looking like they smile even for the camera. I’ve renamed Big Ears to Bouncer, didn’t want to give her a complex about her ears, and the new littlest lamb is Buttons, you know cute as a button and all. There’s also been another lamb born, sadly her mother didn’t make it so she has been hand reared by our neighbours (the real owners of all these sheep, although you’d think reading this that they’re mine!) with much love and care. To the extent she wore a nappy and slept inside during her early days. I know – just the image of that in my head makes me smile. They have named her Lucy and she is so very sweet and friendly, and actually let me get really close for a photo and pat.

The wrist warmers started out as this pattern, but I got really confused (it’s not hard!) around the thumb bit so I veered off pattern and made up the bit from the thumb up. They are not as nice as the original pattern, but still I’m pleased with the outcome. And in pure baby alpaca yarn they are so light and soft and warm and in time for the chills of winter. (my missing pairs still haven’t turned up)

So tell me, if you have a moment, what’s your best budget-friendly, gluten free, dairy free, recipes… ha, don’t ask for much do I?

May time be on your side x

make a pantone butterfly garland

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Pantone Butterfly Garland
100% Cotton, Crochet.

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I’ve made lots of butterflies lately, including a custom order colourful butterfly garland for someone special. I had a lovely time playing around with colour combinations, and as I did, fell in love with the idea of creating these Pantone swatch inspired ones. Because who doesn’t love drooling over beautiful Pantone colours?

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I have made them before here, but the pattern I used seems to have disappeared from the internet. Luckily I had a couple of screen shots on my phone from when I first made them.  I thought I’d pop the pattern up here in case you want to make some too? They are pretty easy and would be suitable for beginners.

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Crochet Butterfly Pattern
(This is not my pattern, I originally found it on Mariesmaking.com)
I am using US Crochet terminology.

  • Round 1:
    Start with a chain 4 and make a slip stitch join to form a circle OR do a magic loop.  Chain 3, then make 2 double crochets. *Chain 1, make 3 double crochets*. Repeat from * to * until you have 8 lots of 3 double crochet clusters including your first one. Join with a slip stitch into the top of your first chain 3.
  • Round 2:
    Chain 3 and in the next chain 1 space do the following, * 3 double crochet, chain 1, 3 double crochet*. Repeat from * to * in each of the chain 1 spaces until you reach the start of the round where you did your first chain 3. In this space you need to make 3 double crochet, chain 1, 2 double crochet then slip stitch into the top of the chain 3. Fasten off yarn now if you want to change colours. You should have 16 lots of 3 double crochet clusters.
  • Round 3:
    Add your new colour into any chain 1 space, chain 3. Slip stitch in between the next two double crochet clusters. *Into the next chain 1 space, make 9 double crochets. Then slip stitch in between the next two double crochet clusters.* Repeat from * to * until you come to the first chain 3 you started the round with. Make 8 double crochets here, then slip stitch into the top of the chain 3. You should have 8 lots of 9 double crochet clusters.
  • Fold your butterfly in half. Make a chain of about 24-29 stitches and tie this around the middle of your butterfly with a knot at the top. The endy bit become the butterfly feelers. Darn in all your ends and Voilà, you’ve made yourself a butterfly!

The original pattern said to stitch the butterfly together then stitch in a chain bit at the top for the feelers. But I found it impossible to get a neat consistent stitch line up the butterfly, which made the body look all lopsided. I found my little chain method much neater, but feel free to do the stitchy bit it you like.

 

So are you going to make one? Do pop back and tell me if you do won’t you?

Wishing you happy making, and pretty flutterby days full of all your favourite Pantone colours!

crocheted north winds & african flowers

Happy Friday! Have you been zenning out on top of the Mountain? Neither have I! I’ve spotted Mount Zen in the distance but not managed a visit longer than a nanosecond this week. Ah yes, best of intentions and all…. I had a busy week at work and am now feeling oh so grateful that Friday is here. Thought I’d squeeze in a quickie update to share a couple of finished projects that I haven’t had a chance to show you.

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North Winds Shawl
50% Silk / 50% Wool – main colour. 100% Silk – duck egg blue.

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I finished this a little while ago and really enjoyed crocheting it. The pattern is called Eve’s Shawl and it’s a freebie and it’s super easy! That’s a double winner in my books. I’m yet to wear it but when I tried it on it felt like a big feather! So light and soft yet I could feel its gentle warmth immediately. I’m thinking a mild Autumn evening might encourage its first outing.

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A colourful little bookmark that I made up as I went. I originally wanted to make a pansie flower but the pattern I started ended up looking really weird and lopsided so I gave up and just played around until this little sweetie emerged.

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The flower itself is layered and worked in quite a few rounds. It’s mostly made from cotton with a cotton blend and a bamboo yarn for the green.

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My first pincushion! I’ve seen so many different crocheted pincushions on pinterest! But this one using the African Flower on Sandra’s Cherry Heart blog really caught my eye. Sandra has also written a great little tutorial that’s easy to follow and makes life easier for a reluctant pattern follower like myself.

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I deviated from the pattern only slightly in that I changed colours more often as I wanted this pincushion to have a really strong pop of colour. I love the combination of these bright colours together and find myself branching out into new combinations and shades more often these days. And let’s face it, when isn’t Aqua appropriate? Exactly!

I must say what a lovely change it was to make a few little projects rather than the blankies. I do so love to make blankies and they will always be my favourite thing to make, but a couple of faster projects in between were thoroughly enjoyable. Having said that, I am so looking forward to getting back to crocheting my Milky Way Dreams Blankie, it’s like I’ve missed the comfort of an old friend. Do you feel like that when you haven’t worked on your crafty project for a while? Or is that just me? Am sure there’s a help group out there for me… somewhere…

Must dash and do what I’m supposed to be doing now, I think I’ve procrastinated long enough… productive procrastination though, so totally excusable… wouldn’t you say?

Wishing you the comfort of old friends and days filled with pretty flowers.

turquoise baby alpaca cardy

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I finished a piece of clothing! A real deal wearable cardy… that I love! It’s a bit amazing… you see I’ve started a few over the years but never quite finished them. And by started, I don’t mean a lame go at the band or something… I mean made the front, back, and one sleeve on one of them! But then something always happens… bored, yarn issues, get distracted with multiple other projects, make a HUGE mistake… and I don’t finish them. It used to be the cycle of a lot of my crafty endeavours… start stuff but not finish. Now I’m hellbent on finishing what I start… to the point where I’ll sit up knitting until 2 am to finish it because I’m so damn excited that I’m about to finish something! #crazycrafter!

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I first spotted this cardy on IG via the lovely Corrie from Retro Mummy. It’s called a Kina cardy and Corrie was knitting a gorgeous kiddie version, but you can find the free pattern for the adult version on Ravelry here. It’s a very easy simple pattern to follow, great for a beginner pattern follower (moi!), as it’s knitted from the top down in one piece. I made a couple of tweaks … of course… I extended the sleeves a smidge… I also made it a little bit longer overall and of course I popped some Pom Poms on it. I’ve yet to add the button at the top as the Pom Poms are more decorative than functional.

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This is the first thing I’ve knitted with my stash of pure baby alpaca yarn I stuffed into my carry on suitcase, sat on it to close it, and carried it back all the way from Cusco! Man that suitcase was stuffed full, and there were more bags (of 10 x 50gm balls!!!) stuffed in our regular big suitcases too. I was only slightly embarrassed when they had to open my luggage at one of the many airport security checks, and sheepishly mumbled ‘yes I like to knit and crochet a bit’. All I can say is it was so worth it. The yarn is exceptional quality and so soft and light and fluffy and warm.

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As you can see by the different colours in the photos, it was really difficult to capture the true colour of this yarn. Turquoise just wants to break my camera for some reason. It looks blue in the photos but it’s true colour is closer to this last photo.

I think knitting yourself a piece of clothing is a huge leap of faith. What if you get to the end of it and it looks crap on? And what do you do when you make a mistake? Unpicking Knitting is hard, unlike the forgiveness of Crochet. But I’ve got to say, the satisfaction of making something that I can actually wear is huge. So give it a go… if you haven’t already… you don’t have to be an expert. Take that leap of faith… cross your fingers it will fit… and look ok… and if you do have to unpick, my best advice is to do it slowly… whilst eating chocolate.

Wishing you proud I made it moments and coolish summer days so you can wear your knitted goodies!

PS: Yes I probably should have dead-headed the rose bush behind me for a prettier backdrop… but you know… I like my gardens wild and rambling (reads: ‘slightly’ unkempt).

hexy make up wipes

bear loves dove Hexy Make Up Wipes

Do you use those little disposable cotton pads to remove your make up? I do… Or I did, until I made some re-usable ones! They are pretty ace and I thought you might want to make some too? I made up this pattern for my hexy make up wipes and thought I’d pop a little tutorial here in case you are a beginner crocheter and would like to have a go.

Hexy Make Up Wipes by bear loves dove

I can totally recommend them as a great learning project, not too big or tricky. And hey, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind wiping your mascara off with a slightly wonky hexy if they don’t turn out perfect first go would you? And just think, every time you do, it’s like you are kissing the earth a smidge as you’re not piffing the disposable cotton ones in the bin. Oh and these guys survive the washing machine no probs, so don’t be thinking it means heaps more work, just pop them in with the next hot or cold load.

1. Supplies

Ok let’s get started. This is what you will need.

8 ply cotton (this is parchment colour by Bendigo Woollen Mills)

3mm Crochet Hook

Darning Needle

Pretty Scissors (ok, they don’t have to be pretty!)

I use American Crochet terminology and you’ll be making the following stitches:

Chain (ch), Slip Stitch (ss), Double Crochet (dc), Half Double Crochet (hdc).

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Start:

Chain 4 then join with a slip stitch into the 1st chain to create a loop OR make a ‘magic loop’

I made a magic loop in the picture above and there’s some great you tube videos around if you’d like to learn how to do one, they are really very easy once you know how.

2. Round 1

3. Round 1 Join

Round One:

Chain 3 (this becomes your first Double Crochet), then Double Crochet another 11 times into the middle of your loop. Join with a Slip Stitch into the top of the first Chain 3 you did. (12 stitches all up)

4. Round 2 & Join

Round Two:

Chain 3 then Double Crochet again into the same spot. (This spot is the place between your Round One Chain 3, and the Round One first Double Crochet).

Double Crochet 2 times into each space between your stitches. Join with a Slip Stitch into the top of the Chain 3 from this round. (24 stitches all up)

5. Round 3 1st point

Round Three:

Chain 2 then do a Half Double Crochet into the same spot. Chain 2, then do 2 more Half Double Crochet stitches into the very same spot.

6. Round 3 2nd point

Make a Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces.

Now into the 4th space do this: Make 2 Half Double Crochet stitches, Chain 2, make another 2 Half Double Crochet stitches ALL into the same space. This makes your little hexy corner.

7. Round 3 Join

Now make a Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces, **then do your Hexy Corner (make 2 Half Double Crochet stitches, Chain 2, make another 2 Half Double Crochet stitches ALL into the same space), then Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces**.

Repeat from ** to ** until you end up back at the start next to your first Chain 2. Slip Stitch into the top of the Chain 2.

8. Round 3 finish

Cut your yarn with a generous tail to make darning the ends a bit easier, and pull the loop right out through the last Chain.

9. Darn those ends

Now darn your end through the top of those first stitches, then work on the wrong side of your hexy whilst you darn that sucker in good and proper so your beautiful work doesn’t unravel.

10. Add a pop of colour

And that’s it! You can even add a pop of colour to the last round if you fancy. I hope you found the pattern easy. I’ve written it in a very long winded way, so if you want the short and very pinterest friendly version, tis here;

hexymake up wipes free pattern

Will you pop back and tell me if you make some? And please do let me know if you find a glitch in the pattern, I’m a beginner pattern maker / tutorial writer so forgive me if there is one!

Happy earth kissing and may your waterproof mascara hold steadfast during the sad movies.