Thursday, 27 August 2015

Book Review :: What the Ladybird Heard Next ::

We're huge fans of the original 'What the Ladybird Heard' book, so we were thrilled when asked to review the follow up, 'What the Ladybird Heard Next'.

In a lot of ways I would have assumed that Milo was too old for this book already, but in reality he really isn't. Despite the fact we've moved on to 'chapter' books for most of our bedtime reading, this book has reminded me that he's really still interested in picture books and he absolutely loved this story. He still likes hunting out the ladybird on each page and loved the pictures too.

Effie has also been enjoying this book a lot. It's really only the last couple of weeks that she's shown much interest in books at all, but now that she has she really really loves sitting on your knee leafing through a book. She adores this book especially and will point to it on the shelf declaring 'dat', which I think means 'that book please' (we keep the paper books out of her reach but she has an easily accessible array of board books in both her bedroom and the living room). Effie especially loves the texture of the glitter on the pages. But her favourite thing of all is when Milo reads it to her, which is also my favourite thing of all.

Just like the original, the rhyming structure of this story is lovely (as is to be expected from Julia Donaldson) the illustrations are fun and bright with plenty to look at, making multiple readings a must and a pleasure and each page has both glittery elements and a little ladybird to find. It's fun and funny and bright and thoroughly enjoyable for everyone.

Milo made a little stop motion video of the book ::

The book is out on the 10th September but you can preorder here.

**We were sent a copy of the book to review but all thoughts are completely our own.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Works in Progress :: A School Sweater for Milo ::

I'm not going to lie, knitting for my children is one of my greatest pleasures. What could possibly be more rewarding than devoting your time to a craft you love and producing something to keep your loved ones warm? However over the last few years Milo's been very much against me knitting anything for him. Anything garmenty anyway, he did ask me to make him a hitchhiker last year, which I very obligingly did. So it was an especially heartmeltingly lovely surprise last week, whilst sat in the hell that is Clarks two weeks before school goes back discussing school uniform shopping, when he tells me; 'you can knit me a jumper if you like'. Oh my! He actually requested I knit him something, completely out of the blue, without any kind of encouragement.

Of course I quickly arranged a trip to the wool shop and took to ravelry to favourite a whole array of sweaters and cardigans for him to peruse. After much deliberation he chose some yarn (Paton's Extra Fine Merino DK in Burgundy) and even some buttons, upon decided that he would like a cardigan. Next up came the job of choosing a pattern. I did think about designing one for him, until realising I just didn't have the time for such extravagance right this moment. Having seen some cable sweaters in the yarn shop he declared 'I want one with printing'. I have had my eye on the gorgeous Arlo Cardigan by Michele Wang for Brooklyn Tweed's Kids collection ever since it was published, so I tentatively showed it to him and with much relief he told me that was exactly what he wanted.

As it turns out the pattern calls for aran weight yarn and we had purchased double knit. I did a quick swatch and though I was getting gauge, it was just looking much too loose. I held the yarn double swatched again and got slightly too many stitches per inch (as would be expected) but it wasn't so much I was especially worried. Instead I've decided to knit the size 6 years and crossing my fingers that it won't be ridiculously too big. So far it's looking perfect.

This is not a pattern for a newbie, or indeed a pattern to be knitting whilst trying to do much else, but I'm loving how it's coming along so far. It has a tubular cast on, which is something completely new to me and like some kind of crazy magic I think. It's also pieced and seamed together, which is not exactly my favourite way of knitting, but as I've not worked like this for a long time, I thought it would be really nice to do.

The most important thing is, so far Milo is happy and loves it. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

** The pictures do not show this yarn in it's best light, it absolutely is not this pink in real life, but more like the burgundy that is required for Milo's uniform!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Design Wars :: Heart and Sole ::

I'm so excited to be participating in another Design Wars Challenge. This week I'm up against Cara Louise of Heritage Heartcraft, using Red Heart Yarns, Heart and Sole.

Heart and Sole is a sock yarn, which contains aloe vera! It's fabulous, I love the stripey colour changes and the way it slides easily over the hook when being worked.

However I decided not to make socks for this challenge. You know me, I love socks, but I wanted to do something different. Inspired by the pointy leaves of the aloe vera plant itself I designed a shawl, that's long and thin, making it easy to wrap round your neck and wear as a scarf. Which is generally how I tend to wear my shawls.

It's worked from side to side, using half treble and double crochet stitches, increasing as you go to work up those points. I absolutely love it and have been wearing mine non stop since it came off the blocking board.

My challenger Cara Louise has designed this gorgeous lacy vest top. It's going to be a tough fight this week!

The patterns themselves will go on sale on Thursday in the meantime you can go cast your vote for your favourite on the Design Wars blog and if you leave a comment over there you also get a chance to win a 30 day subscription to their Love it Membership.
You can find the listing for my shawl over on ravelry if you fancy adding it to your favourites.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

How to :: Foundation Half Treble (fhtr) ::

How to make a foundation half treble stitch (fhtr) or if you're using US terminology, foundation half double crochet (fhdc) ::

I love using this stitch and it's counterparts (fdc and ftr) because it creates a much more flexible foundation row for your crochet stitches than the traditional row of chains, it's also a really good way of starting a project if you want to turn and work into the underside of the stitches as it creates really clear loops in which to work into on the underneath. It's also really easy and in my opinion much quicker than the chaining option.

I've put together a little video showing you how to construct the the stitch ::

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Design Wars Challenge with Scheepjeswol ::

I'm so excited to reveal my newest design for the Design Wars Challenge. If you don't know about Design Wars, it's a weekly challenge pitting 2 (sometimes more) designers against each other. Usually the designers use the same yarn, sometimes they follow a theme, both produce a pattern and the public votes for their favourite. The last time I took part was back in 2013 before the challenge went weekly, you can see my entry over hereYou may remember me posting about starting my design process back in May over here

The theme for this weeks design challenge was the gorgeous Sunkissed yarn from Scheepjeswol. This cotton yarn has a hand dyed effect, which produces lovely subtle colour changes, it's also really nice to work with, no splitting, which is pretty rare in my experiences with cotton yarn.

Obviously babies and baby garments are heavily on my mind recently, so I was very eager to turn this yarn in to something especially for my little Effie. Inspired by the many envelope neckline vests she has in her wardrobe, I made this envelope style t-shirt. I absolutely adore this Oceanside colourway and paired it with Scheepjeswol's Cotton 8 in Canary to add a pop of colour to the edgings.

I liked it so much I sized it up for Milo too. I moved the little pocket up to his chest to make it a little more boyish and made his in Rockpool, with a red trim.

My competitor for this weeks challenge is the wonderfully talented Ana of Accessorise, with this gorgeous crochet shawl.

You can cast your vote for your favourite of the designs over here.

The pattern will be available to purchase on ravelry from Thursday and if you use coupon code DWSALE you can get 50% off until Saturday too! 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Life Recently ::

Apologies for my sudden unexplained disappearance, life has been very strange and all consuming of late. Just as the summer holidays got ready to kick off, after over 3 months of waiting we were told we would be ready to exchange on our first house purchase, it's been a long time coming, we've been looking for 2 years, offered on 5 different houses, but finally it seemed as though we were actually going to be buying a house. However just as we were in the throes of packing we heard that the vendors we were buying from had pulled out. It was annoying and frustrating, but not the end of the world, these things happen. Unfortunately though, as we'd told our landlord we were buying a house, he is now expecting us to move out. We found ourselves with 2 weeks to find another place to live. Obviously there is no way we can buy a house in that short amount of time, so we're having to rent again. There was one 3 bedroom house to rent in the area, which we'll find out today whether or not we'll be able to have. It's all been so very stressful and exhausting, but I keep reminding myself to stay positive and really there could be a lot worse things happening than this.

One big thing that has lifted my spirits is the viewing of house on Saturday, a house which is just so perfect for us. We'll be making an offer today and we're keeping everything crossed that finally our luck will start to change. In the meantime, I'm going through all our possessions reorganising it into stuff we're going to need for the next 6 months and stuff to put into storage until we finally finally get a home of our own. In the meantime, I'll be over on pinterest fantasising about interiors!

Wish us luck!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

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