Butterflies and Hurricanes

Hurricane

I love it when a plan comes together. As expected, my first full teaching week has been a hurricane of activity, choca-block full of the things I want to get done before the first batch of marking floods in.

I always say that teaching is like a play, all the audience see is a few hours of on-stage performance and they judge your working day against that. What they don’t see is the actors learning lines (or teachers writing activity sheets); the sets being built (or the after school meetings we have on sharing the latest methods); the costumes being made (or the adapting lesson plans/activity sheets to fit the ability group in front of you); and the make-up being put on (or crunching the data to make sure that the group is progressing ok).

Then the stage is set, the performance given and then the marking begins!

Hurricane2

So the plan was to give myself small achievable goals along-side pecking at larger projects.

I have been making small items to put on my ever-growing “Granny’s Garden” throw (1 ball to go, roughly 1 hour per row, fingers crossed it is finished this weekend).

I have taken a couple of evenings out to make a big blue butterfly. In the picture it is next to the fridge magnet of the one that landed on my chest in the butterfly house on my birthday outing (see the April post “Butterflies and Dinosaurs“).

The pattern in from 75 Birds and Butterflies to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield (it is the big blue one at the bottom of the picture at the start of this post).

I added the black trim and I am debating about embroidering some white dots, but I am not sure if it works better being simple. Any thoughts?

Hurricane 3

I have also managed to finish the first sock of my stress buster socks. In my hazy and relaxed summer break I clean forgot to do my online renewal of my food hygiene certificate, so I accepted my fate and knocked that out on Saturday morning (I really know how to party!).

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of doing this, it is a *fun* packed four-hour online course with tests at the end of each section and instructional games to play as you go. Never have I been more grateful that I can multi-task!

I was more than able to knit away at this sock during the video lectures and more than able to put down and pick up the sock as I needed to inter-act with the program.

I am pleased to report that I scored 100% on all 10 module tests and 100% on the final exam! And, because I could knit away, I did not chew at the furniture anytime I was left waiting for things to load (2 minutes is an age when watching a progress bar).

Hurricane4

On a side note, I am also ridiculously pleased that despite this being a stash-dive-needles-grabbing kind of project, I have accidentally managed to perfectly colour co-ordinate my sock with the little owl iron-on patch on the project bag. I have been pecking at this for a week and I suddenly noticed it while grafting the toe. Simple pleasures for simple minds!

LouBug

Blasting the Cobwebs with Chunky

chunky

After the soul destroyingly slow never-growing scarf, I am happy to report on my other big summer project – Granny’s Garden.

This blanket came out because KnitWit started making flowers, and it reminded me how much I like making flowers. My LYS then had a sale and happened to sell some dark green chunky yarn, and so I decided to crochet a big green blanket and cover it with flowers.

The yarn is 50% wool to acrylic and is nice and soft. It should be very snuggly, with the added bonus that I will give myself a garden to enjoy in the deep dark winter.

chunky2

This was the progress at the start of the break and now (drum roll…)

chunky3

Here it is at the start of term!

I have put a flower on it for scale and, as you can see, things are looking good for it to cover the double bed. It is not finished (6 balls down, three and a half balls to go) but despite only working on it in short burst to dodge heat exhaustion, it has spectacularly grown. An ironic twist on the cobweb scarf (that I worked solidly on for the holiday) but never grew.

Oh chunky, how we love you!

I am currently playing with the idea of stash busting some Kermit green eyelash yarn on the border. I do quite like the solid edge the chunky crochet gives, so we shall have to see on that. Kermit may have to linger in the box a while longer.

chunky4

The grand plan is to make (and start using) the blanket and then cover it with flowers. A plan that realistically reflects the available time in the hectic first term. I can make a flower in an evening or two with minimal brain power needed.

This will give me short achievable goals at a time when I will be frazzled and/or frantically Christmas knitting. To give myself a head start I have re-claimed flowers from a never-worn scarf (as previously mentioned, there was nothing wrong with it; I just made a second one I liked more).

chunky5

I have also re-claimed these from various bags and jackets.

chunky6

Deciding that the start of term was already melting my brain, I also made this flower earlier this week out of sparkly sock yarn. I like the idea of playing around with different yarn weights on the flowers, as it will naturally change the scale of the flowers and hopefully create a more English garden effect.

It should also help work through my sock yarn scrap – there are only so many mitre pillows a girl can use.

(*Quick plug* – the pillows are a fantastically useful user of sock scrap, go have a peek, it is on our free pattern page “Bug’s sock scrap pillow” and on Ravelry).

chunky7

I also plan to make a few butterflies and bugs to dot about (mainly from my 75 Birds and Butterflies to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield) as I think this will help to balance the look. I do like it when a plan comes together!

Has anyone got any suggestions for flowers for me to try?

LouBug

Well, I Blame KnitWit…

flowers

I refuse to believe this is my fault. I was all set up to knit my hearts shrug, socks, bath mitt and lacy scarf. All nice, physically light projects and all suitable for the hot summer weather. All made from cottons, linens or 4ply yarn and all things that can be kept out of my lap to prevent me melting into a sad little heap. Such fine plans. And then KnitWit rather meanly shows me photos of fibre flower making. How selfish is that?

flowers2

This (naturally) led me to review my flower books and from there I now want to make more flowers. My inner five-year-old will not let up, it wants flowers and it wants them NOW!

It is a demanding creature and even buying more flower books hasn’t shut it up. I’ve got 75 Birds and Butterflies to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield and Quick Knit Flower Frenzy: 17 Mix & Match Knitted Flowers by Annie’s.

Accepting my fate, I then started to look at old flower scarves and brooches and worked out whether I really need another one. So far so crazy.

flowers3

So, I was content to simply make some more flowers and then LYS (Franklin’s) had a yarn sale. If you can walk past those magic words then you are stronger than me. My plans for a few brooches has been blasted out of the water – they had chunky 50% merino/acrylic in the perfect shade of dark green, and if that wasn’t tempting enough it was at 50% off.

Seriously, is this a conspiracy? How can I possibly not make a double bed throw out of dark green that will be covered in flowers?

flowers4

So, here is the plan (heat exhaustion allowing). I am going to make a giant green granny square and cover it in flowers (I might resist making all 207 mentioned in the books), with the odd butterfly and ladybird. It shall be beautiful and as it is chunky, it should work up relatively quickly.

I have deconstructed a little-worn flower scarf (nothing against it, I just made a better one that got worn more). This will give me a 15 flower head start, and I figure that I can make as many or as few flowers as I want.

flowers5

The genius of this plan is that if I get distracted onto another project (*gasps from the back row*), I can add to it over time but still have a finished object. With luck, it should be ready in time for the winter – and who can resist snuggling up under flowers in the winter?

LouBug

Top 4 Fibre Flower Books

flower book

With KnitWit’s latest foray into the world of fake flowers, I decided to do a book review on fibre flowers. I freely admit that my first attempt at fibre flowers came about as I got a free magazine booklet on crocheted flowers and then wondered what the heck I was going to use it for. I then had a fancy for a new tea cosy and was very pleased that my plan for “an English country garden” themed cosy could be achieved firstly from scrap stash and then with the new booklet. Nothing quite like instant gratification!

flowerbook2

This then led to a minor obsession spree resulting in many brooches, bag charms and even a garden themed inside door-mat.

Flowers have the twin delights of being both quick and thrifty, as they are fantastic for using up those small pieces of yarn that we hoard like dragon gold. I find them really useful for making quick “thank you” style brooch gifts (knitted cupcakes are also good for this) as it can be made in an evening and always raise a smile.

(1 & 2) Crocheted Flowers (Twenty to Make) Jan Ollis Twenty to Make: Knitted Flowers Susie Johns

Jan Ollis

susie

As I am sure you have gathered, I love this series (no I don’t have any shares in it!), as it tells you everything you need across a double page spread.

Both these books take advantage of using different types of yarn (for example using eye lash yarn to make the centres), as well as beads to add detail. I find these books especially useful for brooches as there is a good spread of shapes/styles of flowers and with 20 in each book it is easier to settle on a flower (as it is easy to be overwhelmed with too much choice!).

The size of the books also makes them perfect for slipping into a project bag to take along to knit nights.

(3) 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet Lesley Stanfield

Lesley Stanfield

Obviously this is a book on crocheted and knitted flowers! But this also has a few patterns for things like leaves, veg and bugs (which are useful embellishment items).

I particularly like the way this book has a gallery section at the front that has divided the flowers by colour, as this makes it useful to browse for us folk that don’t know our flowers by name.

The flowers are a good match for their real world counter-parts in both colour, look and size. The size thing is useful as it makes it easier to combine “bouquets”. I have a plan for a pillow that looks like a flowerbed (mud with worms at the bottom and then up to the flowers).

The back of the book has 10 ideas for things to use them for (mainly embellishments) which is good inspiration.

(4) 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet and Felt Kristin Nicholas

Kristin

Again, no prizes for guessing what the patterns are! As with the last book, there are also a few patterns on bugs and leaves. The layout is similar (despite being by different people and different publishers) with a ‘how to’, a gallery, patterns and uses (12 ideas).

I found it to be a good companion book with the last book as these flowers tend (obviously) to be much larger and with that you can play with the construction and embellishments.

Book I am most likely to recommend to a beginner

Either of the 20 to make books (depending on the preference of the crafter) as they are cheap and cheerful.

Book I most use

The 100 flowers as it is comprehensive and nice to flick through while planning projects.

LouBug

Top Ten Knitting Books

If the house were to burn down, these books would be the first to be saved.

Well maybe I would save Mr LouBug and Ozy the cat first. They could at least then make themselves useful and carry some books…

***Top Ten Favourite Knitting BooksReviews to come shortly***:

1. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac: The Commemorative Edition of the Bestselling Classic Elizabeth Zimmermann

Knitters Almanac

2. Sock Innovation: Knitting Techniques and Patterns for One-of-a Kind Socks Cookie A

sock innovation

3. Domiknitrix Jennifer Stafford

domiknitrix

4. Fitted Knits: 25 Projects for the Fashionable Knitter Stephanie Japel

fittedknits

5. Knit. Sock. Love. Cookie A

knit sock love

6. Socktopus Alice Yu

socktopus

7. Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar: Go Beyond The Basics Debbie Stoller

superstar knitting

8. Charted Knitting Designs: A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns Barbara Walker

chartered knitting

9. Crocheted Softies: 18 Adorable Animals from Around the World Stacey Trock

Crocheted softies

10. The New Knitting Stitch Library Lesley Stanfield

knitting stitch library

LouBug

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 363 other followers

%d bloggers like this: