Styna, Munchkin and Bones!

Styna, Munchkin and Bones!
Mischief Managed!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

I'm with Eeyore on This One...

First, an apology: Bonesy and I are doing NaNoWriMo at the minute and have therefore been concentrating all our available words on our novels, hence the lack of updates. So, sorry! We've still been crafting away of an evening, though, so expect a flurry of posts come december (since mine are largely christmas and birthday related, they're likely to be really cryptic) - including a couple of extra special ones about Bonesy's new shop, and our new partner, Krystyna.

But for now, I'm afraid you're stuck with my mini-rant :)

Do you know what I hate?


I mean, how difficult is it to join two pieces of yarn together without using a knot? Particularly raw wool fleece, and particularly when the culprit is a professional textiles company. And the sad thing, it's not just them - I've found knots in yarns from all manner of companies, and they all know how to fix it. I suppose it's just simpler not to.

So if you get a knot in the middle of your yarn (and it's wool, rather than cotton or acrylic) this is what to do:

Splay out the fibres at the ends of the yarn, and get wet (preferably using water); then overlap the two ends and rub them together between your hands in order to felt them. Easy.

See? :

Much better.

Ok, rant over :D

Friday, 14 October 2011

Gemma's Wand

As part of her birthday present, I made Bonesy a wand.

You will need:

A stick (should be roughly the right length and feel good in the hand)

Cutting tools



Ribbon (optional)

Charm (optional)

Glue gun (optional)

Common Sense (always be very careful when handing cutting tools and blades)

1. Luckily, I have access to an oak tree (planted by my Uncle), so I cut a couple of sticks from one of the branches and left them to dry for a couple of weeks, but found sticks are just as good. If you don't know what wood it is, it might be worth stripping the bark off part that you don't intend to use and seeing what colour it turns as it dries. The wood I chose was white oak, which looks really pretty when it dries, and a little (creepily) like bone, which seemed appropriate, given that this was for Bones :).

2. When the wood was dry, I chose a piece of stick with a helpful knobbly bit in the middle that looked like it would make a good handle-top. Then, I cut the wand to a good size, which more or less means 'a size that feels right to you, and doesn't look too silly when wafting about'; I made sure that it was slightly bigger at the 'magic' end to allow for further shrinkage through drying and shaping.

3. Next, I stripped the bark from the 'wand end', up to the knobbly bit at the top of the handle, and shaped the tip of the wand to be slightly pointy.

4. I sanded the top of the wand to make it smooth, and to remove any remaining bits of bark. The wand looked pretty good at this point, and I'm all for servicable wands, but since this was a special occasion, I decided to personalise it a bit.

5. Cutting a length of ribbon (matching the ribbon I used for the Witch's Writing Set), I secured one end of the ribbon to the top of the handle with the glue gun and wrapped the ribbon tightly around the handle. I threaded a silver leaf charm onto the ribbon and continued wrapping until I ran out of ribbon, tucking the end in and securing it with the glue gun.

And there you have it, a white oak wand, for a white witch :)

Witch's Writing Set, Part Two

This part of the recipe is all about decoration; for the first half of the Writing Set, see my earlier post.

You will need:

Ribbon (in a colour of your choice), I chose green

Decorations (that go with your colour choice), I chose keys and a chinese coin

Glue gun

Damp cloth

1. The letter holder thing that I started with had a slightly wider base than its walls, so I decided to add my trim just above that to accentuate the shape. I measured a length of green ribbon against the perimeter of the box, and glued it in place with the hot melt.

2. Next I had a rummage around my local bead shop for some large beads that would work as accents. I found two sort of Steam-punky keys (which are a symbol of knowledge, and therefore appropriate for a writing set) and a silver Chinese coin with dragons on (for good luck). First, I measured the middle point on the front of the letter holder, marking it with a bit of tailor's chalk, then glued the coin to the front (making sure that it was the right way up). It looked a bit strange on there on its own, so I added a sort of tassel of ribbons to the centre of it.

3. I lined up the keys on the sides of the box, slanting slightly, to cover the edge of the seam, and glued those in place.

4. Using a damp cloth I cleared away any excess glue from around the box and finished smoothing out any remaining wrinkles in the fabric.

Voila! The finished writing set. I thought it turned out rather well, and from her reaction I'd say Bones appreciated the effort :)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Starry earrings

Bones here! Long time no see! So, I thought it was about time I took back the spotlight ;)

Well what I bring before you tonight my fellow crafters are earrings I made for one of my housemates from university last Christmas.

For these you'll need:

- Earring hooks
- A length of fine chain
- Headpins
- Beads (I used a star bead, two smaller clear oval beads, and two rounded beads as you can see, but these can be anything you want to use - I'd tend to keep your 'accessory' beads (i.e. the oval ones) smaller than the 'main' bead (i.e. the star)
- A couple of what I would call 'spacers' - the silver bits below each star bead
- Jewellery pliers - I used round-nose and thin flat-nose pliers

First off, I measured the chain to each length I wanted. I decided to try and get each piece a different length so that the star bead would stay the main focus and be accentuated by the oval beads. This was fiddly, but if you can keep your patience it's worth while! You need to remeber as well that the beads will hang longer than the chain and will have a small drop from the actual ear (because of the hook!), so it's always a good idea to hold the chain up to your ear just to see how long it might end up!

When you have your 3 lengths (for one earring - 6 for both!) you'll need to start assembling your beads. On your longest piece you'll want your feature bead. Get a headpin and place one 'spacer', main bead and a round bead on it. Bend your headpin to create a hook and then place through the end link of the chain. Carefully keeping this link in your 'hook' bend the wire around your round-nose pliers to form a loop so that you have a couple of millimetres between the bottom of the loop and the top bead. Take the end of the wire around the bottom of the loop a couple of times to close this gap and cut off any excess. You should have a bead attached to the chain! Repeat this with the other beads and chains!

The next thing is to put the chains on the earring hooks. All this needs is for the end link to be separated and then placed onto the loop on the end of the earring hook. You'll want each oval bead to frame your feature bead, so put your feature bead chain on in the middle. Once you've attached these you're all done! All that's left is to wear them with pride!

Or in my case send them to someone else who will! ;)

I'll do another post soon with a pictoral step-by-step... I sent these off before I took photos! D'oh!

Anyway, enjoy and be crafty! ;)

Witch's Writing Set, Part One

Me and Bonesy are big Harry Potter fans - like you couldn't tell - so for her birthday I decided to make something faintly Hogwarts related. I looked at owls, and although they were reasonably priced, the implications of raising an owl in an urban community were complicated, so I settled for a writing set instead :)

Here's part one of the how to:

I managed to track down a letter holder type object, so I didn't have to make that, but there are pretty good cardboard makes out there if you need them. When we moved I managed to sort through my fabric collection and came across the perfect covering material: black, not too fine, fairly practical.

What you'll need for the box:

Letter holding thingy

Covering fabric of your choice

Ribbon of your choice

Cardboard tube

Small cardboard boxes (these and the tube can easily be made from cardboard - I just happened to have them)


Glue gun / PVA


Now, when I started this project I'd lost my glue gun, but if you have one I'd recommend using it from the start.

I also put together a few bits that I couldn't make (from here, an excellent website):


An emerald turkey quill


1. Since the box thingy was covered with a shiny laminate type affair I gave it a light sanding so the glue would take more easily, then I put on the glue - you have to wait a few minutes for it to get properly tacky.

2. It was quite tricky to get the covering material folded over properly - in the end I put in a couple of tiny stitches to hold it in place, and used electrical tape to hold it in place until the glue dried.

3. Once the glue had dried, which took a while, I cut a section of the cardboard tubing to hold the quill. Once I covered it I slotted it into place inside the box thingy, and smoothed out the wrinkles in the covering material with a sliver of cardboard. Since the small box for the ink is unlikely to be seen, it didn'tneed a covering; the shot below is of the inside of the box thingy, with one half of the covering material smoothed out.

Well, that's all for this week. Next week: decoration :D

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Starbuck's Mandala Hat

This is the second of the two hats that I made as a trade for the beautiful artwork created by this lovely lady (the first hat being Ma Cobb's Firefly Hat). This one continues the science fiction theme and is based on the beatutiful mandala mural that Starbuck (of Battlestar Galactica, of course) had painted on the wall in his quarters. The pattern was designed by quirkyknitgirl and lives here. It's a really great pattern - beautiful colours, gorgeous yarn and a simple but striking basic lace pattern, which shows up beautifully in the Cascade 220 yarn (which I sourced from the lovely people at PaviYarns).

I've not come across Cascade before, which is surprising given what a lovely range of yarns they make - and I'm really impressed with Cascade 220: the colours are stunning and it holds the pattern well without being too fiddly. The lace pattern is so simple and so effective - a basic moving 6-1 pattern - and very satisfying since it looks way more complicated than it actually is. Originally it was written as a circular needle pattern but I have problems with circs when it comes to maintaining an even tension, so I decided to work it on dpns, since I'm much more confident with them. It's a great hat pattern for someone who's mastered either dpns or circ's and wants to try something slightly more complicated, or someone who's mastered flat basic lace and wants to try something three-dimensional.

It's a brilliant hat and was great fun to knit - and another work-in-progress ticked of my list! Thanks again to Limlight for agreeing to draw my characters for me and challenging me to knit this hat!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Gigantic PomPoms

Just a quick shout out to YesJess Knits over on Flickr who has made a really easy to follow how-to on gigantic pompoms (and if you know me and pompoms, you'll understand how easy). POMPOMS AHOY!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Guest Post - Rubber Stamp Carving, Part Two

... and, in conclusion: part two of Krystyna's rubber stamp carving post (part one lives here).

So, first off you'll need some materials, I have here a Rubber (just a standard eraser from the shops, this one came from Wilcos I think), a Pencil, a Cuticle Tool (as above) and an ink pad or marker pen.

Next, I draw around the rubber so I know how much space I have to play with. This time I decided to use the largest side. So in my sketchy little box I draw what I want to stamp. As I've been reading a lot of Potter themed things lately this little doodle seemed appropriate.

Then I press the rubber against the image so it transfers across, not always terrifically clear, but we can go over the lines with our pencil to make the image clearer and easier to work with. In this case I think I altered the image a little bit in the transfer but it still looks good.

Now we go to work with our cuticle tool, it's fairly easy going, just try and make the longest runs you can to keep your lines nice and clean. Just apply light pressure and let the tool do the work, remember, you can always take away but you can't really stick rubber back on if you take too much.

We're getting there, nearly done now really. So lets colour our stamp in with the marker or ink pad.

Looks good, so lets do our first stamp!

So we can see here where I need to take off a bit more rubber. Some at the top and a little at the sides. Re-ink and re-stamp and see what we've got.

And there we have it, one stamp, one rather pretty stamp if I do say so myself.

Northern Craftoholic signing out.

Guest Post - Rubber Stamp Carving, Part One

Over to Krystyna!

Ok, so, Hi! It's me again :D

Hrm... where to start. At the beginning I suppose.

So my beloved and I are organising a group trip to Cardiff at the end of this month (ARGH! Panic! Battle Stations! and the like) for our Aikido buddies, it'll be a week of training and boozing, erm, socialising, yes, socialising and one of the many jobs I'll have while we're there is registering people at the training sessions, for this we give each person a little A6 card with their time table on and we stamp each session as they arrive. All good.

Oh Noes! We don't have any stamps! Whatever shall we do?

I know! I'll make some! Only one thing, those carving tools are pricey and hard to find in the UK, probably have to order them from the interweb and that costs even more, but WAIT! What's this? A cuticle tool in the bottom of my make-up bag (2 actually but they were free with some stuff I bought a while back) no idea how to use it on my cuticles and that's a kind of scary prospect anyways but it looks very much like a stamp carving tool.

So how hard can it be? With some shaky nerves and a lot of nervous lip biting I managed these.

Of which, I am infact quite proud.

You're curious you say? To see how they came to be? Well it just so happens that I was asked to write about them, so I've made a little how to, to share my discovery with the world!

To be continued... (here!)

Northen Craftaholic

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Ma Cobb's Firefly Hat

So, it's been a while since I got around to posting on here. It's been a hell of a couple of months, let me tell you! As soon as I'd got into the swing of having a job, I lost it, so I'm back to being impoverished - but that doesn't mean I've not been busy, oh no. Not too long after that, we found out that we had to move house at short notice, which was pretty annoying since we'd just signed the new lease - landlords, I don't know - and it took us a while to find the new place. As you can imagine, crafting and blogging was rather put on a back burner, not least because all my crafty stuff was thereafter boxed up ready for the move.

Then, around three weeks ago, my stupendously awesome and wonderful Granddad passed away. One of those things that turns your life upside down. So in the middle of moving house - in fact, the very same week - I was in an entirely different county helping sort things in the house and organise the funeral and such. The Lovely Amanda and my Mr had to do all the moving themselves (which I still feel a bit guilty about).

Anyway, that's where I've been - hope it's been a bit less fraught for you lot *peers out of the screen*.

A while back I coralled all my partially done projects into a box and posted them here. The ones at the end of the list - but funnily enough with the highest priority - were a couple of sci-fi themed hats for my good friend Limlight (who has a home on Blogger here), in exchange for some of her beautiful artwork. She created two pieces for me, based on my Harry Potter fanfiction, Dreams and False Alarms: this one, of Hermione and my OC Amelia being all cousinly, and this one of Amelia, Lupin and Snape, upon whom she has something of an impact. You'll have to read it to find out what impact, of course *grins evilly*.

Right, the first of the two hats was based on the hat the formiddable Ma Cobb sends Jayne in the (amazing) sci-fi series Firefly - and if you havem't seen it, I'd highly recommend it. My Mr made himself one of these hats a few years back in slightly more muted colours (a picture can be seen in the WIP post above), and that turned out pretty well, so I knew it would be a blast. Limlight provided the pattern, which was created by Emisanboo over on Craftster, and it was really straightforward to follow.

The yarn (Alafoss Lopi), which I eventually tracked down here, initially felt quite scratchy for a hat, but it was surprisingly soft when I knitted it up. I used one skein of each of the following: Gold, Rust Red and Orange; Lopi are delightfully uninventive with their colourway naming, which was something of a relief after trying to hunt down some obscurely spelled laceweight, I can tell you. It knitted up beautifully, and showed off the stitches nicely without looking too neat - the idea being to match the rustic style of Ma Cobb. It was also fairly quick to work since the yarn was giant (well, giant considering I'm mostly using sock yarn at the moment).

The pompom proved tricky (which is why there's no image of the completed hat), mostly because pompoms are one area of craft that I have absolutely no clue about (I know they're supposed to be easy, everyone keeps telling me - I think I must have a pompom shaped mental block somewhere in my brain). Fortunately my Mr came to the rescue in flying colours - here he is, crafting said pompom and looking surprisingly gollum-like...

If you're a massive geek like me you'll love this hat - and it's such a satisfying make!

Pictures: Hat body: achieved!; Alafoss Lopi - I love this stuff!; My preciousssss pompomsssss.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Easter Knitting!

Hello crafters! Bones here! So, finally with the long Easter weekend, and the Royal Wedding/May Day Bank Holiday, I finally had some time to do some crafting!

With the sheer fact that I'm well aware that many of my friends are on the path to producing children in the near future, I decided that now was the time to learn how to follow patterns and make jumpers and hats! So, this was my first foray into such things. And I have to say, I'm rather impressed with how these turned out.

I started with the jumper.

This was a Sirdar pattern (Design 1220) made up using three 50g balls of Sirdar's Snuggly Stripes DK in shade 256. I planned to make this up for a 0-6 month old at first, before I realized that babies grow rather quickly, so 6-12 months would be better! It was the same amount of yarn etc. As a starter pattern it was fairly easy to follow - the trickiest parts being learning to pick up stitches for the neckband, working out what the pattern meant for the centre of the V-neck in the neckband, and learning how to sew seams. But once you work out exactly what you're doing, you're fine.

The easier of the two I have to say was the hat.
This T-bag hat is again Sirdar Snuggly Stripes DK in shade 252. I made this up for a 6-12 month old, which required two balls. Aside from the large amount of 2x2 rib (which got rather tiring after a while!) this was a very simple thing to knit. Making it up was simple in itself, making sure that half of the 2x2 rib band is sewn up the other way around to ensure that the seam is on the inside of the turn-up. The seam is sewn straight up the side, and then placed centrally at the back of the hat, before sewing across the crown. A few hours, some dedicated knitting, and a couple of seams later, and voila! One pretty baby hat!

I have more projects on the go (including more baby things, and a jumper not dissimilar to the baby one for myself) so I'll update you on the progress of those as I get around to finishing them!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Wedding Embroidery

A few weeks ago me and my Mr attended the wedding of two of my old school friends - I wrote about how much fun it was in my other blog. I wanted to make something a bit special for them (and I'm assuming I've left enough time for them to have opened it now, post honeymoon :) ) so I turned to blackwork. I first started to experiment with blackwork for a workshop at the craft club and I loved the strength of the patterns and the boldness of the lines. So, I had a hunt for an appropriately elegant embroidery pattern, and came up with this one, which I found at the awesome Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread, and which the Mr resized for me (me being technically impractical). Not your standard blackwork pattern, but I liked it a lot so I traced, outlined and sewed it (one thread of black cotton, if you're interested) on some 28 count linen I had left over from my big celtic knot design, and added some fancy lettering.

When I'd finished the design and sat back to have a look at it, it looked great as it was, and blackwork would have made it too busy, so I decided to blackwork the lettering instead. Big mistake! It was like trying to read a magic eye picture, so I settled for satin stitch, which worked really well. So in the end, it wasn't really blackwork (even though it's all in black), but what it turned out to be is pretty. It's funny how you can start out on a project with a clear direction for it and have it take you in an entirely different direction - and for such a small project this one proved to be a huge learnign curve in terms of design and balance. I think it turned out pretty well, all told.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Works in Progress, April '11 (part the third)

And finally... technically these two aren't yet started, since the yarn only arrived today, but I need to get them done sharpish as I'm trading them for artwork from this lovely lady at Easter :) Battlestar Mandala Hat - this hat will be based on the mural painted on Starbuck's wall from Battlestar Galactica, the pattern for which was made by QuirkyKnitGirl and lives here. I think this one will be a bit of a challenge, but I'm raring to go! The yarn which I eventually found here, knits up beautifully, and the colours are stunning :) Ma Cobb's Firefly Hat - Who can forget the touching gift Jayne's Mum sends him in Firefly? I know we can't in our house. My Mr made one of these a few years ago, but couldn't track down the Lopi yarn (which lives here), and settled for brown and black instead of Ma Cobb's original colourscheme - suits him though (see below). The pattern for this one was put together by Emisanboo (a crafter after Ma Cobb's heart), and lives here. My Mr, in his Jayne Cobb hat, on the way to the Isle of Mann.

Works in Progress, April '11 (part the second)

To continue my guilty conscience WIP posts...

Sock project #4. As I said in an earlier post, I'm terrible for getting bored or distracted halfway through something, particularly socks. I've been wearing this one with the other completed sock that has no partner. Before you ask, yes I have finished a pair of socks, two pairs in fact, and I'm sure I'll post about them in dues course :) Cetlic Blackwork Round - this one was started for a Craftiness workshop, which worked pretty well, despite the low turnout. I really like the look of blackwork, and I love to try different kinds of embroidery. I'm considering unpicking one of the sections of fill though, looks a bit too busy. I should be paying more attention to my Mum's advice of a few years ago and 'making use of the white space :) Patchwork cushion covers - I've made a few of these already, and I suspect they'll shortly be the subject of another post, but I still have a few to finish off. I'm intending to sell them, but the ones I've finished already have made great gifts! Butterfly Cross Stitch - I started this one in the summer and this is how far I've got :) I find cross stitches really relaxing, so it will come as no surprise when I tell you I have two more in progress (but those are in the attic). Well, three (but only because that one needs framing). Well, five, if you count the one's that are still in their packets. *sigh*. I need to get stitching...

Works in Progress, April '11 (part the first)

So, I recently had a bit of a spring clean and discovered that I have way too many half-finished projects. I put quite a few in the attic for later on, but here are the ones I found room for downstairs... I think I may challenge myself to finish them. At least one a month until the end of the year, or I'm not allowed anything new... I'd better get crafting!

These mad little fimo monsters are part of an alternative chess set I'm working on... I'm mostly saving up for some thin acetate to use as a board, so this one depends on funds (and therefore won't be done for some time).

This is the first of (believe me when I say 'many') many part-finished sock projects. The pattern for this one came from a knitting magazine (no idea which one, which is partly why it's still only two inches long) and is called 'Blackberry'. It's also how I learned to cable, which wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be :)

Ok, sock project #2. This pattern is the standard one that comes with all the opal sock yarns - I'm good at that one. Though as you'll no doubt notice, I tend to get fed up of one colour and immediately start on a new one (hence the number of sock projects).

Sock project #3. This sock is a NQS (a not-quite-sock) and for some reason that I can't recall I've removed the needles at some point (silly old bean). I'm intending to frog this back to the heel and start the foot part again - this was my first attempt at lace, which i am enjoying, despite the maths involved, but I neglected to remember how uncomfortable lace is underfoot being as I haven't had lacy socks since I was in Primary School. This is another case of misplaced pattern as it happens, though I have all the important bits except the name, but I know who it was by and that is was from Knitty.

These two balls of yarn are to become a stunning shawl, called Bitterroot (also from Knitty). The yarn, which is gorgeous, is Sea Silk by Handmaiden yarns and is soft, silky and in stunning colours; it's also part Seacell, which if you haven't googled already, I'd suggest you do now. I suspect this project will elicit a wide range of swearing, particularly as it will only be my third lace project and the yarn is quite slippy, but we'll see.

Eazzy Bees

This is a really old bit of craft, but I haven't worn them for a while, and the sun is out today, so here are the bees!

I was having a bit of a go at freeform wirework two or three years ago, and not really concentrating when all of a sudden these two buzzed into life. Since it was so long ago, I can't remember the guage of the wire used, or where the beads came from, but I can remember that it was sliver plated jewellery wire, and that I probably got both guages from Hobbycraft.

I started off with a thicker guage wire (for argument's sake, let's say 1mm) and made the body of my bee. First, I made a tight ring around my smooth nosed pliers - both to hold my first beads in place and as a handing winding point for later on. I threaded a yellow and orange bead onto this bit and made a right angled bend in the wire, then another after about another centimetre. On went another bead or two - black this time - followed by two more right angled bends (the bit with the beads should look like a really blocky 's'); I threaded on three more yellow / orange beads and made one last right angled bend (this time going back over the 's'). Using the smooth nosed pliers, I shaped the wire into the back end of the bee - I found that a blocky, cartoon style worked for me - and shaped the wire around the bottom of the bee (under the blocky 's'). The wire was then pulled upwards in a fairly smooth curve to form the bees 'nose'; two more tight rings with the smooth nosed pliers to form the eyes and the body of the bee was complete.

Next, I took thinner wire (let's say 0.5mm) and tightened the joins on the body of the bee, particularly around the initial tight ring, the horizontal parts of the blocky 's' and the eyes. Then I attached a length of the thinner wire to the upper middle of the body (between the first two rows of beads) and formed two elongated loops for the wings; these were then wound around the upper body to secure them. Finally, I attached earring findings to the top of the wings; I chose to have my bees facing opposite directions, but it's really up to you.

I think it took me about an hour to finish them both, but I suspect it would have been quicker if I hadn't been gossiping with the fabulous girls at the UBU Society for Craftiness :) We were making stuff to sell at the May Carnival, but I didn't want to part with these beauties, and have been wearing them ever since! (Which is why they look a wee bit bashed).

Granny Square Baby Bonnet

Just a quick shout out to Krystyna (of Star Blanket fame) who made me drool over her newest creation yesterday - just look at that scalloping! I'm still massively jealous of her skill with the hook :)

Knitted Sweetheart Neck Sweater (aka, the big green jumper of awesome)

I've been working on the big green jumper of awesome for a while now, in between writing masters projects, attending trials and finding work; the first year of life of this jumper has been quite a year. One of my big problems when it comes to craft is that I have a tendency to get bored part way through a project and get absorbed into another - i'm working on this, it would be nice to get more stuff finished instead of having bags of half finished projects around.

Still, the jumper's finished now, and I love it - just in time for the first really warm day of the year, naturally - but because of the sweetheart neck it's perfect for those chilly evenings that take you by surprise after the first throes of summer. I got the pattern from a tiny knitting shop in Stafford (Knits and Needles) way back when I was still a placement student (which is a slightly horrificly long time ago now) and therefore the last time I was paid for work before this part-time thing at a soap shop I'm working on. It was in Twilleys Freedom Yarn too, which I've always wanted to work with and not had an excuse to - it knits up beautifully, as it turns out, and the varigation looks lovely. I remember thinking, 'I'll put this away for when I'm poor and don't have a project going', and it worked :) last christmas I found it in a blanket chest at home and was delighted at my own ingenuity (I had completely forgotten about it). I dug out my bits and pieces, as shown below, and got to it.

Now the early part of last year was complete hell, which I won't go into here, but having a juicy jumper project at my fingertips was a big help, and I managed to get the back done fairly quickly, but when it came to the front I managed to thoroughly confuse myself. It was no fault of the pattern, which I've since realised makes perfect sense, but my own ability to tangle my brain up into knots. I got to the point where I had to put it away for a while. A long while, as it turned out, partly because of the massive amount of work I was doing for the masters, and partly because we moved house and it went to live in the blanket chest again. I rediscovered it in early March and figured out that I was being dim about the front (which turned out to be so much easier than I thought *facepalm*). I've been working on it on and off (in between trying to write novels and fanfiction) in the evenings and this weekend I finally got it done - though I'm still not entirely sure I got the neckline right, but I like the way it turned out, even if I'm wrong. That's part of the joy of crafting :D

I'm dead impressed with myself, particularly as my only other jumper was a bit pants. There was a bit of a saga with the blocking and making up, partly because I've never blocked before (actually, I still haven't, taking my mother's advice of "who has the space / time?". Seems ok *shrugs*.) and partly because all the sewing up guides I found had very useful diagrams for sewing together everything except two diagonals. I eventually raided my ancient and much loved copy of The Marshall Cavendish Complete Guide to Needlecraft, which I rescued out of a skip at the back of the old textiles department in second year (I mean, really! Throwing out a book!), where I was advised to back stitch any seams that weren't overtly listed. I should really have looked there first, seeing as it's my craft bible, but it currently lives with the rest of my craft library under my printer and is therefore a bit of maul to get at.

Anyway, after a year of not really getting much done (you know, except the masters and moving house and finding a job) it was a wonderful feeling to finally finish something off - and have it turn out so nicely. Which it did, don't you think?