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Wednesday, 28 February 2018

What I'm up to Wednesday

I always used  to post weekly under 'Work in Progress Wednesday' which followed my (mostly) crochet projects. For me personally everything falls by the wayside during the winter when I struggle to get the time to take photos in daylight. As the days lengthen I am starting to document my progress again. I thought I'd also share some of the things I've been making, any new yarn that I've acquired, my crafty plans and anything I've been listening to and reading that has resonated, or that I think that will be interesting to you. 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

NEW PATTERN!! Ballyvaughan Cowl

I'm excited to introduce you to the Ballyvaughan Cowl. 

Ballyvaughan is a small harbour village in County Clare, Ireland. Inspired by the gorgeous landscapes surrounding the village I designed this quick, easy cowl pattern. A mix of double and treble stitches creates texture, and gently  blends the colours, mimicking those that I saw in the surrounding countryside. This cowl is perfect for those 'in-between' seasons where you don't necessarily want a full scarf, but need something to protect you from those northerly winds. 

Like all my crochet patterns this is a really easy, fast, satisfying project. 

Now for the details:

One size: 18 cm wide, 60cm long before joining into a round. Measurements made after blocking
This garment will benefit from wet blocking to relax the stitches.

100g Siabod Slate (05)- A, 50g Gwyngregin Damson (06)- B and 25g Idwal Lichen (09)- C  in Ada from Find Me Knitting.
6.0 mm hook.

Gauge is not strictly important for this project.

This cowl is constructed in rows. The short ends are sewn together using mattress stitch to join into a circle

This pattern is available for free on my Ravelry Store until the end of March. I would love to hear if you make this project, you can let me know by commenting here, or via Instagram (@sal_strawbs).

Here are some snaps of the stunning scenery that inspired this pattern. 

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Hitting 30

Two weeks ago I hit the big 30. My 30th was spent drinking coffee and people watching in first Copenhagen, then Malmo, followed by a massive curry in Manchester in the evening. Just ever so slightly different from my 21st!

Have I grown up? slightly, or maybe my body just can't take it anymore!

Where I have felt real, unexpected changes is in my crafting. I have frequently discussed my dislike of long projects. Blankets- nah, waaaay too dull and repetative. Garments- an even stronger nah......so much stocking stitch........

I had always favoured small, fast projects offering instant gratification. These projects were mostly crochet (because its faster than knitting obviously), with my favourite things to make including bunting and coasters. I even enjoyed amigurumi, crocheting a few of Kerry Lord's fabulous creations from Edwards Menagerie.

I'm not sure when things changed, and maybe it was gradual, but last year I crocheted 3 blankets. (there's another in the WIP pile but lets not dwell on that) Yes, at times I found them pretty slow going and tedious, and at times I really had to force myself to push on and keep crocheting, the majority of the time I enjoyed the process. I even published one as a free pattern.

At the beginning of 2017 I knitted 2 cabled bobble hats as gifts, and last April I knitted my partner a pair of socks using the magic loop technique (a revelation I tell you!) and slowly I began to fall back in love with knitting. I was a very basic knitter before I learned to crochet, which soon dominated my life and the poor old pairs of sticks got left by the wayside. However, after joining the Everyday Knitter group on Facebook I realised that I still had so much more to learn in knitting. With my crochet I got stuck in a rut, but with knitting I have been learning something new with every project.

Because of neglecting this blog over the winter months, and because most of my recent projects have been gifts I don't have a whole host of photos of finished items, but will show you what I can.

A finished pair of socks for my boyfriend. Unfortunately I now have no idea which pattern I used, but they used a Slip Stitch (reinforced) Heel, and the yarn was by Opal. I knitted a lot of these whilst on holiday in Iceland last year. We hired a car, exploring the south coast. Knitting to scenery like this was just magical.

(I wanna go back now!)

I also knitted a pair of socks for myself using the pattern by Sox Therapist for the Fish Lips Kiss Heel in some gorgeous yarn in Madame Rosmerta by Norah George Yarns.

As often happens I then got somewhat addicted to sock knitting and knit a pair of Spellbound Socks by Naomi Buchanan. I knit these for my sister for Christmas, and the moment I posted a progress shot on Instagram she only went and joined herself! These were definitely my best socks yet, not least due to the yarn.  I totally love this yarn, Vintage Christmas by Vikki Brown, and am hoping to get another sock out of the leftover skein.

Some BIG news happened in August last year. I became an Auntie to a gorgeous squidgy ball of fun. When I saw this pattern in Cutest Ever Baby Knits I just couldn't resist! I have lots of plans to knit and crochet him jumpers and cardigans as soon as he slows down with his growing!

As you can see I have really embraced the knitting!

So I turned 30 in Copenhagen, which happens to have a great independent yarn store, Sommerfuglen (butterfly in Danish). I wanted to get myself  a keepsake from the trip, and yarn seemed the obvious choice! I've got to the point in my life (maybe its a sign of getting older!) that I don't want to be consuming for the sake of it. If I buy a skein or yarn it needs to be lined up for a pattern (maybe there is another blog post in this somewhere). I wanted to get something Danish, something that I hadn't seen elsewhere. Hidden in the corner was a plastic box of random skeins of sock yarn, perhaps yarn that they were no longer stocking. In this box I found this beauty, which is destined to be another Sockhead Hat (click the link and scroll to the bottom for pictures), though less baggy and minus the bobble.

Have you seen the new pattern, George Street by Maddie Harvey? It's absolutely gorgeous and I so wanted to make it. This pattern is a 2 skein shawl in fingering weight wool. One colour is a solid, the other variegated.  As soon as I saw the bright pink/orange yarn by Madeline ToshI knew that it had be be part of the shawl. I chose to pair it with a solid blue/grey. I think you would have to be a very experienced photographer to do this yarn justice, but I've tried! This yarn really is something special and I can't wait to get knitting!

I've been lost in writing this post, time has passed and I've barely realised. I've also realised that so much has happened in my life, and not just with my crafting, since I was last blogging consistently. As I was writing I found myself saying to myself, "well how about the time when....?", "what about.....". I'll save this for another post, as I feel it will be a long one.  Just one photo of beautiful Copenhagen to finish, Nyhavn at night. Here's to the next decade of creative living. I wonder where it will lead?

Monday, 25 September 2017


Following my massive hiatus I feel that a few snaps from my trip to Yarndale this weekend would be the perfect way to get back into this weird and wonderful world of blogging. 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Hello Sunshine!

I don't think I have seen such a persistently blue sky in a long while. I don't think I've spent a whole day lounging outside on a day where not a single cloud obscures the sun from waking to sundown. Today was such a luxury as it was the first summer Sunday for almost three years where I didn't have to bundle myself in the car and spend the afternoon on the motorways back to South Wales. 

Monday, 5 June 2017

A project to be proud of (and a cock-up!)

I have an amazing friend who has been pushing through some incredibly harsh treatment for breast cancer. I wanted to make her something whilst she was going through the treatment process.  I chose the colours (Stylecraft Life DK, 25% wool, 75% acrylic) Fuchsia, Rose, Teal and Pebble Nepp (grey with multi-colourd flecks) and made 6 large granny squares which I then joined and bordered. 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Back to Basics

It feels massively overdue, and having been blogging on and off for almost 4 years now, I want to go back to why I started this blog in the first place. I had recently moved to a new city, I had part time jobs which allowed me lots of free time during the day and flexibility that I had never had before. I was at the point in my life where the possibilities were limitless, if only I could settle upon what I wanted to do.