Wednesday 28 November 2012

Hyacinth Cuff

Hi, my lovely readers,

I've got a mid-week day off!  What a treat...  After working a lot of overtime lately I've got some time back.  I feel quite odd, and a little bit naughty, as if I really should be somewhere else.   And JOY of JOYS, the sun is shining!!!  So a meander into town was in order, and I was delighted to find the hyacinths back in the supermarket.

I just adore hyacinths.  One of my earliest memories of primary school was of a large, fragrant bowl of hyacinths in the classroom; the smell takes me back there now...  I get them every year, but I've never obtained a pretty planter to put them in.  Wherever I've bought my hyacinths, they are always in the same shaped plantpot; wide enough to take 3 bulbs, but just a tad squat!  And I've never seen a planter to suit (not that I've done much looking!).

So with a gorgeous, bright, work-free day, perfect for taking photographs, in front of me I thought I'd prettify my latest pot and share my pattern with you guys.

I thought a plant cuff would be quite a good idea; made in cotton it can just sit around the outside of the pot, leaving the bottom bare for watering mishaps!  And being washable I can bring it out year after year.  AND being quite natural and plain it lends itself perfectly to being made-over every year with a different coloured ribbon, or applique, or buttons, or crocheted flowers.........  I could go on and on!  So, if you are interested, read on...............

Hyacinth Cuff


These would make a very special, but very inexpensive gift; I think I may just be making some more!

Happy crocheting everyone!


Sunday 4 November 2012

Just because...

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the great response from my last post, and when I have a bit more time I will start to publish some of the patterns I featured.  It's a bit full on at work at the moment, but I really want to make the effort to post more regularly, and so I thought I would just pop by and share with you what has inspired me this weekend.

I bought the fabric charm pack above recently to try my hand at some quilting, and Saturday morning saw me laying all of the squares out and admiring the gorgeous colours.  I loooooooooooooove pink, red and aqua, and have been lusting after some of the wonderful fabrics available online at the moment for ages. (Living in the back of beyond as I do, I'm afraid I don't have the luxury of having lots of wonderful fabric, or yarn, shops around, so I have to buy online) I saw this charm pack on folksy and thought it perfect; back at home I'm slightly disappointed that the aqua is slightly more green than I would have liked, and so I've decided to put off my quilting for now until I have bought some more fabric (any excuse!!)  So, sewing out of the window, what's a girl to do but see if she has the right colours in yarn....  and what do you know.....

I just couldn't help myself.

Bright little girly grannies appeared as if by magic...

These are loosely based on the Summer Garden Granny Square from Attic 24, but as ever I had to do it my way and changed a couple of things...  If you would like to magic up some of your own here is the pattern...

I used a 4.5 mm hook, dk yarn, american crochet terms.  Standard abbreviations and at the start of every row the 1st dc is worked with a chain 3.

To start, ch 5 (counts as 1st dc & ch 1);  (dc 1, ch 1) 7 times into the 5th chain from hook. [So you have 8 dcs each separated by a ch 1].  Join to top of 3rd starting chain with a sl st.  Fasten off.

Now into each space work 3 dc, ch 1.  Join with a sl st and fasten off.

For the final round work * (dc 3, ch 2, dc 3) in space, ch 1, (3 hdc) in space, ch 1; repeat from * 3 times more.  Join with a sl st and fasten off.

I'm making them just because...  but if I make enough I may use them for a small/baby blanket to sell in my shop.

Enjoy.............  by the way, I love these cushions I picked up in dunelm mills...

I went in to buy just plain square cushion inserts, but these were on special offer and with 5 cushions for £10 they were cheaper than just buying cushion pads... result!

I hope you all have a wonderful week :-)

Happy crocheting


Sunday 21 October 2012

Doesn't time fly...................

Hi Everyone,

It's a year since I wrote my first blog post!  This year has just flown by...and it's been an absolute joy connecting with all of you through my blog during this time.  I'm getting to know some of you more and more, and the friendliness and support that comes from all of you is truly wonderful.

As I have made many friends over the past year, I realise that I haven't really shared much about me personally, and so I thought I would take this opportunity, on my blog's birthday, to tell you a bit more about me.

I have already shared that I am a Cumbrian girl, who moved to South-West Scotland in January to start a new job.  I've shown pictures from my windows showing sheep and various wildlife filing past my flat, but if I point the camera a little bit to the left you can see this...

Not a bad view is it!  I work as the Housekeeper in a Scottish Castle within a large estate; think Mrs Hughes in Downton Abbey (which I loooooooove), but with a lot more to do than mince around with a very large set of keys!

In fact it's much more likely you will find me fighting a war against moth and woodworm, while trying my best to care for and preserve the wonders inside the castle.  For a history lover like myself it's a fabulous job and I love the camaraderie with the household and wider estate staff which is a wonderful community, most of whom have lived and worked on the estate for all of their lives.  I'm only just starting to understand the broad scotch accent that many speak on the estate, ken!

The castle is sandwiched between two lochs, and the scenery is simply idyllic.

I took all of these photographs this afternoon; the sun was shining and there was barely any wind.  It was amazing - I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.

I share my garden with lots of red squirrels, hares, rabbits, hedgehogs, roe deer and pheasants, none of which stayed around long enough for me to photograph today!

I used to work as a PA for an English Peer on an Estate in Cumbria, but I'm afraid as I am getting older, a desk job just isn't good for my waistline and I decided to change to a more active job.  While most of my leisure activities involve yarn and fabric I need to get my exercise at work!

When I've got this lot on my doorstep I have no excuse not to get out and exercise, that's for sure.

Well, I've waffled on for ages, and you still don't know much more about me!!!  How about some random facts:

  • I love all animals, but especially cats...  (in fact I'm considering fostering cats for the local cat protection league)

  • After school I went to catering college in Kendal (home of the mint cake, yuck!) but I really don't like cooking - well I don't mind baking...

  • I also lack a green thumb, and doing anything in a garden other than sitting in it leaves me cold... (and I feel guilty about this as though I should enjoy it!)

  • I love word games and puzzles.

  • Other than the occupants of the castle, my nearest neighbours are Len & Stella, the gamekeeper and his wife.  I enjoy going to aquafit once a week with Stella at the local leisure centre.  Spookily they also come from Cumbria (Penrith).

  • I am addicted to pinterest.

  • After having my two daughters I went back to college to get secretarial skills - made sense when I can't stand cooking!

  • I can knit very well, but it's too slow going for me and I don't have the stamina to finish a garment...  to my shame...  I've made quite a few toys and I love Alan Dart's toy patterns.  (Alan Dart also lives in Cumbria!!!).

  • I'm a perfectionist.

  • I love strictly come dancing, and would love to learn to dance (perferably with Vinthent!)

  • I would love to craft for a living.

  • I don't have time to make all of the designs I think of.

Do you want to see what my imagination has come up with lately...

I had an idea for a polka dot blanket...

A flower hexagon similar to my northern star hexagon...

Some whirly-gig squares...

Some fabric circles in crochet hexagons...

I'm not sure how to describe these...  moon craters perhaps???

And some puffy flowers...

I'd be interested to know if  there are any you particularly like and would like to see published...

So, here's to another great year!

Happy crocheting


Sunday 16 September 2012

Granny's Gone Dotty Square

Hi Everyone

Another pattern to share, but first I would like to shout out a very big thank you to all who took the time to drop me a line and show their support on my last post.  I get quite a lot of pageviews, but only a special few go out of their way to comment, pretty much on each of my posts, and I really do appreciate hearing from you.

I hope you like this latest pattern.  It actually came about as I was making another square and this was it part way made; I stopped for a coffee, looked at it and thought hey, that's really nice in it's own right.  (By the way, I've recently given up caffeine...   if you've heard it's bad then whoever told you underexaggerated!  1st day was hellish, followed by 13 days with a thick head...  However, out the other side and I'm glad I made the effort.  I definitely feel much better.  Another addiction gone...  Just sugar to conquer!)  So here it is...

If you would like to purchase, the listing on Etsy is

Happy Crocheting everyone!


Saturday 8 September 2012

Cobblestone Square

Hi All,

I have a new design to share with you...

Before I get to the new pattern I want to apologise for the lack of posts lately; my last post was 6 weeks ago!  I'm afraid I've been a bit disenchanted with the whole blogging and designing experience...  I've been aware of another blog, in German, who has done a translation of my lily pad hexagon flower, complete with a photographic tutorial - pretty much a copy, picture by picture of mine, for a few months now.  It crossed my mind that it would have been nice to have been asked, and I mulled over whether to do anything before thinking to myself that it wasn't worth getting my knickers into a twist over and forgetting about it. 

Only I kept seeing it pinned on pinterest, and when I saw a couple of pins with the comment "pattern only in german, but with good pictures" I'm afraid my anger bubbled to the surface and I looked at the blog post again and with the help of google translate deciphered the post to find out if she mentioned the original source at all.  Not once within the blog post did she mention that this was not her pattern, but after she had signed off at the very bottom of the post where nobody obviously reads, she had put a link titled "Translation in English here" - or something to that effect (I'm relying on google translate).  She had lots of comments congratulating her on her tutorial and she had replied with thanks to all but one - from an english speaking person asking if she could do a translation in english...  Blood boiling by this point I commented myself, pointing out that this was not her pattern nor tutorial, that I thought it, at the very least, good manners to ask the designer before publishing a translation of the pattern, that she hadn't featured my blog or credited me with the original nor, tellingly, responded to the commenter who wanted the pattern in English.

A couple of days later after not hearing anything from her I checked her blog again and found that she had removed my comment and, again at the bottom of the page after her sign off, she had replaced "Translation in English here" with -

This is the original, on this page I found this flower.

Something at least I guess...  but I still feel that the original creditation should be within the body of her post. For anyone interested the blog post is
Am I being petty?  Should my designs be considered fair game to pass off because I share them for free...  I can't help thinking that she wouldn't have dared do this had she bought the pattern.

Anyway I'm sorry to say that it has made me reconsider sharing so freely, and while I will no doubt offer the odd freebie I have decided to open an Etsy shop and sell my patterns from now on.  It is something I was planning on doing eventually anyway, just not quite yet...  At the same time I have been asked by a few people if I would produce my patterns in a printable pdf format.  When time allows I am going through my patterns, producing both a pdf photographic tutorial and also a brief non-photographic written pattern (to aid in printing) of all my past patterns, and I am adding them to my Etsy Shop.  The charge for these will be half that of any new patterns that have never been published publicly before..

So, my first brand spanking new pattern in my brand new Colour in a Simple Life Etsy Shop is the Cobblestone Square...

I originate from Ulverston, a small market town in South Cumbria (also the birthplace of Stan Laurel - it's only claim to fame!) where the market street is cobbled, and these squares remind me of the textures of it's old streets.  The pattern pack includes a photo tutorial to produce a Cobblestone Square, plus directions and photographs to show how to 'join as you go'.  Adaptable to lots of different things - blankets spring to mind - I have also given simple directions how to make them up into a cushion cover.

Illustrated in bright colours with a cream background they also look fabulous with bright backgrounds...

I really hope to see you there...
To all my fellow musers out there (muse to lose blog); in my misery I have hurled myself off the wagon most spectacularly, but I hope to clamber on again very soon.  I quite understand if you have all lost patience and abandoned the cause...
Happy crocheting everyone!

Sunday 29 July 2012

It's a Girl.......!

Hi Everyone

Regular readers will remember that way back in March I started on a baby blanket for a friend.  I didn't know what flavour it was going to be, so I had to make both a girls and boys option.  A link to my original post is here.  I was convinced it was going to be a boy, and along with the excitement of the boy's pattern being a new design - Northern Star - and my all seeing eye sure it was going to be a boy, I have been steadily working on the star design, secure in the knowledge that the daisy blanket would get there eventually...  So with the star blanket almost finished I was caught on the hop when Jill appeared instead of Jack! (names have been changed to protect the innocent obviously!) 

Particularly when I realised I didn't have enough white yarn to continue with the colour arrangement I had chosen, so a rethink was needed.  Instead of the background hexagons being different colours I used up some stashed cream sirdar snuggly bamboo yarn, which actually contrasts beautifully with the white daisies.  (I can't really capture it on my pics, but it's quite subtle and looks fab).  There is also a gorgeous sheen on the whole blanket, from the bamboo I guess, and it feels amazing and is surprisingly heavy.

So, it's 60 daisies, with a border of hdcs and scs.

Not huge, but big enough to use as a cot bedspread or a pram blanket.

I'll be back soon with the star blanket tadah!!  Although I'm not sure what I will do with it now...

Thank you, thank you, thank you to those of you who leave such wonderful comments on my blog.  I really can't express how much I love to hear from you; you make it so worthwhile continuing to share my blog and patterns.  I love the lot of you!  You make me feel like a star!

Happy crocheting


Saturday 21 July 2012

Porthole Square

Hi Everyone

So, Porthole Square... intrigued???  This is something I came up with a few months ago, and I thought it was about time to share it with you all.  I love 'em, and can think of lots and lots of uses in many different ways.  I'm planning on making a mobile case and possibly a laptop and kindle case; I also have a couple of ideas to make these into bags.  Anyway... you don't particularly care about that do you...  you just want to know what they are and how to make them right?

Don't you love them?  I adore the way the outer circle is pulled into a perfect circle when you join the top layer to the bottom...  Not difficult to make, I'll walk you through it below.


One Porthole Square...  but you don't have to put the inner circle in if you don't want to...  Just leave it out, and start with the outer circle...  you can put fabric behind instead if you prefer...

Let your imagination run away with you...  ok, I'm off now to fight my sweet cravings!

Happy crocheting everyone!!