Monday, 2 October 2017

Beyond Puerperium Madness

There is a stunning pattern called Beyond Pueperium that I absolutely love (among many other designs by Pekapeka Patterns).

I have knitted several of these cardigans in various yarns and I wanted to show you my latest versions...



This one was made with one all of yarn that I loved.  I only bought one ball ... and there wasn't quite enough so the sleeves are 3/4 length.  I love how the yarn works up and it keeps me interested!  Isn't it pretty yarn?



I have two big tins full of buttons ... but isn't it funny how you never have the right ones for the knitted garment you've made?!  However this time I was lucky and found buttons in peach, mint and grey that were the same size and went perfectly.  


I am now a cottage license holder for all patterns by Pekapeka Patterns so I am now licensed to knit and sell the items that are designed by Kelly.  Find me on this link (at the present I am the last one on  the list!)


This particular cardigan is now in The Emporium in Yeovil.

I have also completed a really snazzy one that has made it's way up to Warwick for my youngest nephew.


Isn't this yarn super?  This picture doesn't quite do the colours justice.  It is a plum-y purple; bright orange, brown, turquoise-y blue and green.  I saw the yarn in a local yarn shop and just could not resist!  And I loved knitting in it, especially as it was an aran weight and knitted up incredibly quickly.  



Oh, that's another bonus of this pattern - it is written for three different yarn weights - fingering, double knitting and aran.  I am now knitting one out of some sock yarn (fingering weight) that I love and wanted to see how it would work up as this cardigan.  You'll see that one soon!

I found some super buttons for this one too (a good way of using buttons is going for different colours to match your yarn but making sure they are the same size).  The buttons I found were the exact orange and blue shades, so were perfect!

This version is a little older and was made especially for my brother and sister-in-law's expected baby who arrived back in May this year.


It is made with a gorgeous snuggly Sirdar Soft and Snuggly in lovely shades of mauve, pale blue, lime, grey and white.  I loved knitting this one as it was truly so soft to work with and just looked adorable.



And here is baby George in his new cardigan ...


Of course I couldn't leave his older brother Jack out ... so Jack got a jumper version of it in a super varigated Noro Lily Multi yarn and a little matching cardigan for his baby doll!


Below is the second one that I made for George ...



Isn't he a cutie?  He looks more like my brother and is going to have brown eyes like us!  Jack looks just like his mummy and has blue eyes.  Isn't it funny how the same ingredients can go in the mix and two different versions are created!

This one is one I made for brother Jack and this is George in it ...


Loving the hand-knits being handed down!


This lovely cardigan pattern is designed by Kelly van Niekerk and can be found here


2017 DeCluttering totals to date

4 x big boxes
2 x medium boxes
12 x bags

A big box of crockery still to be dropped off along with another bag

2 bags of clothes to friends (does that count too?) and one more to go

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Time Flies

I really cannot believe we are now in September!  
Where has that time gone?  

I can remember as a kid thinking that the summer holidays lasted forever ... now as an adult they seem to whizz by along with the rest of the year!  Seriously, what is time like?  Why does it speed up the older we get?

Talking of getting older, my man has just turned 50.  He's not too happy about it and keeps saying that we've all got it wrong and actually he's 40.  Bless!  


He's not one to be in the centre of attention and it was hard to think what to do for his birthday.  I wanted to celebrate it as it is a biggie, isn't it?!  So we had a get-together the previous Friday with my parents and my brother and his family, and my daughter too.  We all met at Lyme Regis and had a stunningly hot day down there.  We played loads with my nephew Jack ... who absolutely loves the sea and just wanted to be in it all the time, despite having goosebumps!  Then to finish the day off we got fish and chips and ate them on the beach.  A truly lovely day with us all coming home sandy and slightly sunburnt.


We then all got together at my parents for the Monday Bank Holiday and had a lovely time there with a superb spread laid on!  It was rather a squash but we managed it.  It was also great to get some photos of all the grandchildren together.  Granny and Grandad now have one grandaughter and four grandsons with the arrival of George in May.  Don't they look great?

The following Friday (the 1st and actually his birthday) I had booked two bowling alleys and hadn't told him.  We started driving over to Yeovil and he was panicking big time and kept asking where we were going and what we were doing.  He guessed just before we got there (helped along by the fact that Katie said that he'd need to wear socks!)  We met my parents there and my daughter and her fiance, and had a great couple of games.  It has been years since I've played and I must admit it hurt! My arm is still painful now ... but it was worth the fun!

Afterwards we went to Prezzos for dinner.  Again I hadn't told him and again we had the questions, with my mum winding him up as to where the surprise party was!  



My daughter had already popped in and given the staff some balloons with "50" on and a birthday cake - so the balloons were on the table when we got there.  We all had a lovely meal and our waiter brought the cake out singing Happy Birthday!  We then made Jonathan carry the balloons back to the car!



 The day after we were going to his sister's for another get-together.  The air show was on in Bournemouth and the beach they are nearest to has a fantastic view point for it.  We wanted to go down there to see the Red Arrows especially.

I'm not brilliant at getting up early.  I find it difficult to get to sleep and when I do, I don't sleep a refreshing sleep - so mornings are not good!  Knowing this Jonathan will bring me a cup of tea in bed to wake me up "nicely"!  He did so on that Saturday ... and then asked me to marry him!


We had a super time down on the beach and saw the air displays - the Red Arrows were great!  We had a picnic lunch and then a barbeque in the evening.  I even went in the sea for a dip and a swim.  Adam, my youngest, was barely out of the sea!  He loves it!

We then went back to Karen and John's house for tea and cake ... and a glass of bubbly to toast Jonathan's birthday AND our engagement (I did say yes!)



All in all a lovely couple of weeks with lots of family celebrations.

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2017 DeCluttering totals to date

4 x big boxes
2 x medium boxes
10 x bags

A big bag and a little bag still to be dropped off, along with a box of crockery.

1 bag of clothes to a friend (does that count too?) and one more ready to give away.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Summer Sunday Shawl


I've been busily knitting and crocheting away!



I find that I can't sit in front of the telly in the evening without doing something, 
so out comes the hook or the needles, and sometimes a bit of hand-sewing.
I have been seen to do artwork too whilst I have half an eye on the box.



My latest shawl is a third Sunday Shawl!  This one I have named my Summer Sunday Shawl as I feel the soft green (Meadow Special DK by Stylecraft) with the accents of mauves, violets, lilacs and white at the lacy edge is reminiscent of balmy summer days.  


I even had a nice warm day to go out and photograph it! 
The weather has been a bit typically British recently and quite variable - 
we've had hail storms; winds; buckets of rain; chills and now sunshine!  
You just never know what it's going to be like. 



I love playing around with places to take pictures of my makes ... and it appears Trxie enjoys it too and just had to be in some of the photos! 

I'm sure she's checking out the shawl to see how cosy it would be to make a bed in ...!


Aren't the colours pretty and summery?  

I just love trying different colour combinations out!  Wonder what shades I'll go for next?  
I do have some lovely Stylecraft Batiks waiting patiently in a basket.  
I bought them from Wool Warehouse, where I tend to order a lot of my Stylecraft yarns.  
Great service every time!  And the yarn arrives in gorgeous organza style bags with ribbon ties.


I've also been playing around with Instagram.  Can you see my lovely photo collage above .... one of the tools you can use on there.  It is great fun to play around with. You can find me on there as lucy.mclaurin (also know as The Crafty Phoenix Lady).  



I'm trying to get used to all these hashtags and putting hashtags on everything I can think of that relates to what I've made and of course putting #thecraftyphoenixlady on the posts too!



Let's see if I can get myself "out" there!


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2017 DeCluttering totals to date

3 x big boxes
2 x medium boxes
7 x bags

And another big box to go!

1 bag of clothes to a friend (does that count too?)

Friday, 12 May 2017

This is me ...

It is Fibromyalgia and ME Awareness Day.

I have fibromyalgia.

This is a long post which I posted on Facebook.  Although once I'd pressed the post button I realised there were so many things that I missed out.  So I thought I would have the original post on here along with the additions.


I had "it" for nine months before I was given a diagnosis. This was nine months of numerous blood tests; tablets; electric currents run through my legs; hydrotherapy whilst having a week in hospital whilst they were trying to diagnose me (this was whilst my little girl was at Nursery and had her first ever Nativity  - I had to plead with the hospital to let me out for those two hours!)

It all started off with pain in my right knee and then the left, then my right ankle, and then my left - it went round my body like that; adding one side and then the other until practically every joint in my body hurt.

During this time I was unable to have my 2 year old daughter on my lap or give her proper cuddles; Stairs were a major issue and I frequently had to go up and down on my backside. Sleep was rare and disturbed which meant I was so tired every day and what energy I did have was spent trying to run a "normal"ish home for my daughter and I. I was off work for a year and my ex-partner would ring work and tell them "it was all in my head". I couldn't drive anywhere so was reliant on friends (and my ex) for lifts. Walking to the doctors would take me 40 minutes when it was 5 minutes down the road.

Eventually I got referred to yet another doctor ... but this one specialised in chronic pain. He did seem to be the first one that really understood what I was going through. He ran Pain Clinics for those suffering with chronic pain - and I attended. It was the best thing for me. I was able to learn to pace myself and get back my mobility.  I did little (and I mean little) exercises every day and I was able to build up to driving again and return slowly to work; I could do more, but also learnt to know my limitations.

Nowadays (and this is over twenty years since I was diagnosed) I have good days and I have bad days. 

The majority of my good days are spent feeling exhausted as I still don't sleep properly. I wake often and dream lots and just don't get a "proper" deep sleep. Every morning I wake up and I ache, my shoulders, my back and my knees mainly.  I always feel like I haven't actually slept at all. I pop my pills (I'm on lots of pills) and hope that it's going to be an okay day. Most days it is. I get through the day okay. But I can't do everything I want to. There are so many things I want to do, but can't for fear I will suffer for it the next day or next week.  I have to learn to pace myself and know my own body and what I can do.  I desperately need to lose weight but I haven't got the energy to do all the exercising that I need to do in order to lose it.  

Practically every day I have a headache. It can be one I can cope with, but it can also be one that means my brain just does not work! I often have pain behind my ears and the hinge bit of my jaw (oh and fibromyalgia sufferers often grind their teeth ... mine are practically smooth!  My dentist has recommended a mouth guard to wear when I sleep... hah!  As if!  How can I get the few poor hours I do get of sleep when I've got a bl**dy mouth guard in my mouth?). I also have IBS.

There are days when I can't do. I just can't. It means I spend a day in bed or on the sofa. I hate those days. It means I feel disabled and worthless. I want to be able to do things, anything. I craft and sometimes on those days I can't even do that.  That really hurts as I feel that crafting is a huge part of who I am.  I read and I read lots, but even that can hurt on those really bad days.

I am extremely lucky in that I have found a lovely man who understands.  He really is a saint as he does so much around the house when he's here.  His job means that he is away a few days during the week and those days are hard.  I have the four kids (his two teenagers and my two boys) at home and I have to sort every day things out for them.  It does mean, though, that when they're all at school I can collapse if I need to.  I just need to be able to wake up for the end of school to pick up the youngest one - and then the evening begins!  When my man is home he does the school run so I don't have to get up; he cooks many of our meals; and he always does the big weekly shop; he does most of the driving. He does so much and doesn't once complain.  I honestly don't know what I would do without him.     I have had previous partners who haven't understood and have expected me to be "normal" (whatever normal is!) or have been overly sympathetic and made me feel a total invalid. So I am lucky.  Very lucky.

So please (if you've managed to read this far) spare a thought for those who do suffer chronic pain and fatigue every day. You may not be able to see it in their face but boy oh boy they know about it in their body.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Boho Sunday Shawl

Do you remember the Sunday Shawl CAL (Crochet Along) I was part of at the beginning of the year?


It was a super pattern by Alia Bland  (also known as The Little Bee) called Sunday Shawl.  

I made one which I renamed my Gypsy Shawl.

Whilst I was making it I knew that I would make another one (at least one!) 
as it was such a lovely pattern to follow and crochet up.  It also worked up super quick too!


This time I used Stylecraft Special DK as I had a few balls in navy and oddments in other bright colours.  

I really wanted to go for a more "bohemian" look and so choose the brightest colours I could find 
so that they would really pop against the navy.


I also wanted to add a bit more of the pattern at the bottom to add a little bit more length. 
 I am not sure how many more I did, I just kind of winged it!
When I felt it was long enough I went for the last two rows to finish it.


It took me about three days to make from start to finish ... how speedy is that?!  It really is a very quick make and so enjoyable to do because of how it looks and because of how quickly it works up.


And ... I'm going to make another one!

I am taking this one a bit slower but have already selected Stylecraft Special DK in Meadow 
and have started to hook it!  

I think this time I am going to go for more delicate colours at the bottom - 
perhaps mauves, lilacs, pale green ....

So watch this space as I'll let you know when that one is finished.  Mind you, I do have a few other projects still on-going AND I plan to start a couple more KALs - this time a shawl and perhaps socks too (eek!!!)  

Wish me luck!

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Lulu's Loft's Lois

There are many traders in The Emporium in Yeovil.

One of whom has become a very good friend of mine - Lucie at Lulu's Loft.  She paints furniture and makes them beautiful using Frenchic Paint which comes in gorgeous shades - AND you can also buy this paint from her (along with the brushes and stencils and lots more)!

Anyway, as well as giving a shout out to my friend and her business, I also want to mention that she has just had the most gorgeous little (or maybe not so little at 10lb 6oz) baby girl 
... and I have knitted a little cardigan for her.


The pattern I used was Short Notice Cardigan by Taiga Hilliard Designs.  It uses chunky yarn and I had the idea yarn for this ... a gorgeous Devon Sun Yarns Humble Chunky in a lush pink colour-way.  Perfect for a little girl.


I have such high praise for this yarn ... it is soft and just a dream to knit with. 
It feels lovely .... I just cannot find enough superlatives to describe how gorgeous it is to work with 
and how it works up.  So a big high five to Daisy at Devon Sun Yarns
#devonsunyarns #humblechunky

I am hoping that when little Lois is big enough for the cardigan that I can show a picture of her wearing it.  In the meantime ... some progress photos ...




I have worked on many more projects during the past month (which has just flown by) but have been hampered a bit by my fibromyalgia flaring up and haven't felt much like writing blog posts.  I am hoping to remedy this over the next few days (or weeks) and you can see what else I've been doing when I haven't been almost comatose on the sofa!  



Plus side ... I've nearly caught up with Neighbours!  And managed some more hexis for my Beekeepers Quilt along with the ends from these going into my Sock Yarn Blanket.  Both of these are long-term projects and are picked up every now and again.  

Believe me, though, when finished ... they are going to be fab-u-lous!

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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

A bit of Sparkle coming to The Emporium tomorrow!

Anyone who saw me in The Emporium in Yeovil last Tuesday and Thursday will know that I was busily crocheting away whilst serving our lovely customers on the till downstairs.



I have finished it!

And here it is in all it's sparkling glory!


It is a square baby quilt/throw/lapghan measuring 39" x 39".  
I made it with Hayfield Baby Sparkle which worked up lovely.  
A soft yarn that is actually 97% acrylic and 3% polyester but feels rather like it has a lot of cotton in it.  



Everyone that saw it in progress commented on the sparkle in it - 
a lovely silver thread running all the way through.  It just gives it an extra bit of fairy dust!  

I'm really pleased with how it has turned out.  I think it looks nice and fresh.  A summery feel to it.

Wouldn't this be ideal for a baby gift?

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I have a little left over so made a little outfit for Barbie!


Doesn't she look pretty?!


Anyway both the blanket and the Barbie outfit are coming to The Emporium (link above) 
tomorrow morning (Thursday 30 March) when I do my next shift.

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Now what project shall I do now....?  

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