Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Getting into the festive spirit

Every year I get myself into a pre Christmas panic, so when I start hearing Christmas carols or seeing the Christmas lights being put up round the shops I don't enjoy them at all. This year by some miracle I'm almost finished with the shopping for presents (so far I've done about 95% of it online - much easier!) and although there is still lots to do in the way of wrapping and card writing I'm feeling a lot more festive than I usually do at this time of year. Things have probably been helped by my not trying to get a huge amount of Christmas crafting done last minute which, though fun last year, does put me in a bit of a mad panic.

This year I'm going to be taking it a bit easier on myself, I'm not going to worry that I haven't bought all my friends and family the perfect present and just be happy that everyone will get something to say we are thinking of them. I have got a few small presents that I'm finishing off this week - but nothing too difficult so when the time comes to get all our Christmas decorations out of the loft tomorrow I should be very happy to see them all and relaxed enough to really enjoy putting them all out.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday book review

"Natural crochet: For babies and toddlers"
by Tina Barrett
ISBN: 978-1861086242

UK crochet terms

This book has been sitting on my computer desk for months now waiting for me to review it - and I've really wanted to do so, there just hasn't been the time. Seeing as the two little ones seem to be sleeping I'll try and write you a quick review now.

The book is beautiful.

The layout is simple with a photo gallery at the start with a few photos of each project model by some pretty adorable looking little ones which if you are at all like me you'll spend a good amount of time cooing at. This book is unusual in that I found most of the projects really appealing and would be very happy to have a go at making all of them. Sadly my own little boy is probably too old to make for now as he is past the largest size this book has patterns for.

The first half of the patterns are for babies and usually have instructions for more than one size, either 0-6 or 6-12, but there are some patterns with just the one size given. Some of my favourites from this section include the hooded cardigan which is particularly lovely and the little matinee jacket that is very similar to the Maisy baby cardigan I made up for my little niece last year

The second half contains the patterns for toddlers and has some really cute jumpers for little boys in which are so much nicer than the boxy crochet patterns you normally get for boys. However as I need to make a present for my soon to be one year old niece I went with the swing jacket pattern and made the version for a 1-2 year old. To achieve the gauge I had to use a 5.5mm hook instead of the 4mm hook that was recommended, however I did get the jacket to match what the finished dimensions were supposed to be. The jacket looked massive though, but as I didn't have a 1-2 year old about to try it on I crossed my fingers and sent it off. Well - it was far too big as I thought, in fact it was a much better fit on my other niece who is 5!

There is a brief techniques guide at the back of the book - but even so this is definitely more for the intermediate/advanced crocheter. I'm not too convinced with the sizing of these garments after the results I got from the coat I made, but I'm tempted to think it was a one off as a good number of other Ravelry users have had lovely results from the other patterns in this book. So I think I'll try another pattern from here next year and I'll let you know more then.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kirstie's Handmade Britain

I've been a fan of the Kirstie's Homemade Home craft TV series (you can watch the old episodes through the 4oD player) since watching the first episode back in April 2009. The first two series covered quite an array of crafts and though they only touched briefly on each of them they did give you a taster and got a huge number of people in the UK crafting.

This new series is a little different (you can also watch Kirstie's Handmade Britain on 4oD) , instead of Kirstie just having a quick go at a few crafts each episode she is instead trying to enter what she makes in the various craft competitions being held in Farm shows across the UK. This does mean that Kirstie has to actually make the things she is entering (in the earlier series it was always a case of her doing an hour and then leaving her craft creations to be finished off for her) but I'm not too sure why the focus is on doing craft at a competitive level. The latest episode was about papercrafting and I found it quite disappointing. The items Kirstie made though interesting were not particularly taxing (I do love these paper roses though). The episode also focused on the other papercrafts entered and these were disappointingly old fashioned - the embriodered cards were especially so. So instead of being fired up to give entering what I make at a local fair I'm not even tempted to try.

Oh well - it's not like I have any time to do much craft at the moment anyway :-(