Tuesday, 31 January 2012

My day in photos ::

Inspired by a photo I spotted in fat mum slim's instagram stream over the weekend, yesterday I took a photo of my day, every hour throughout the day. Below is a little snapshot of my Monday ::

#mydayinphotos 9.30am

#mydayinphotos 12.30pm finishing up this mornings work

#mydayinpictures 2.30pm post nursery hot chocolate

#mydayinphotos 7.30pm swatching, sketching, designing patterns

You can see the rest of my day over on Flickr.

Monday, 30 January 2012

A new obsession :: bread ::

For Christmas my lovely man added to my growing collection of river cottage handbooks, with 'vol 3 : bread'. When Milo first starting eating real food, and I was being a precious first time mother all concerned about what I gave him, I started making my own bread, I got ok at it but never brilliant, and it took up a lot of my day, so we purchased a bread machine. I've never regretted it, there isn't much better than waking up to the smell of fresh bread, especially when all you've had to do is measure out some ingredients pop them in a tin and press some buttons.

Getting a little bit obsessed with this bread making malarkey

But with the addition of this book to my library I thought I'd have a go at doing it by hand again. The introduction to this book is fabulous, it's amazing to learn so much of the science behind bread, it's crazy how much goes in to making something we so often take for granted and which consists of so few ingredients.


I had a shot at making my own sourdough starter and consequently sourdough bread. But it was a bit hit and miss, the starter seemed pretty active to me (not that I know a lot about such things) but the bread never seemed to rise very much, I still quite enjoyed it, but Johnny wasn't a big fan of the taste.


I turned my attentions to using reliable, shop purchased yeast and regular bread. I was so surprised at how well the first few loaves came out. All white to begin with, using yoghurt as the recipe suggested, and they were all amazing! Great crust, lovely light middle's and incredibly moreish, seriously this bread baking business is not good for my health (well my waistline at least!).

Milo's first attempt at making his own bread!

I'm becoming obsessed now, I literally had to stop myself making more this morning, when I already have some left over from yesterday and no one home to feed!


If you've never tried I encourage you to give it a go, it's so rewarding doing it all yourself, and truly there is something quite magical about turning 3 simple ingredients (plus a few yummy extras if you want them) in to something wonderful.

Friday, 27 January 2012

This moment ::

Inspired by SouleMama

In her words...
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.This moment

Thursday, 26 January 2012

yet another blanket ::

as I mentioned on Monday, despite already having 3 crochet blankets in progress at the moment, I decided to take on yet another!

Hexagons this time, as requested by the mr.

I'm afraid I don't have a pattern link for this, as I sort of made it up myself from a photo provided to me by said mr.

another blanket ::

I'm using a variety of acrylic yarns I already had, in some fantastically bright colours!

another blanket ::

I initially thought I'd run this alongside my leap year blanket, doing a square for each everyday, but to be honest, I'm starting to think that the leap year blanket is going to be huge! As much I love the idea of a huge granny blanket, I expect realistically I only really have room for one of these in my life, so I'm thinking the hexagon will be more ideally suited as a lap blanket or maybe a single blanket for the boy's bedroom. This is assuming of course it doesn't just find it's way to the pile of incomplete projects!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Allotmenting:: And so it begins ::

and so it begins ::

The seeds arrived a couple of weeks ago now, but with the arrival of some of the live plants this week, I really started to get going on this years growing season. Oh my, it is awfully exciting, so much hope and expectation in each tiny little seed.

and so it begins ::

I purchased the majority of my seeds from these guys this year, and they certainly look fabulous (obviously I can't vouch for the seeds themselves yet, having only just sown a few of them). The packaging is really nice, simple, but comes with great information, and even instructions on how to save next years seed from this years crop, brilliant.

and so it begins ::

I purchased too many to list here, but some of my favourites are the atomic red carrots, black plum tomatoes and squashes, but there really are lots I'm looking forward to growing.

This week I've sown, a windowsill full of herbs, (I've been slack with fresh herbs recently and really there is no excuse not to have a least a pot of basil in the kitchen) cauliflower, perpetual spinach, alpine strawberries, aubergines (3 varieties, this is surely a little ambitious as none of mine worked last year!) asparagus and leeks.

and so it begins ::

The plants that arrived this week came from Thompson Morgan, they include, black currant, white currant and red currant canes, honeyberry plugs and a variety of potatoes, I've also got some Jerusalem artichoke tubers arriving from these guys.

It's only January and I'm already feeling a little overwhelmed, I best get myself down that allotment and digging!

Monday, 23 January 2012

finding inspiration :: hexagon love ::

OK so I'm already working on much too many projects, but alongside the leap year blanket, I've decided to make a hexagon crochet blanket too. So here are a few of the favorites inspiring me from around the interwebs ::

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

January pullover ::

So at the start of the year I decided I was going to start writing and publishing my crochet patterns myself (as well as in magazines). My goal was to write and publish one pattern a month. At first I thought I would be starting in February, but the yarn for my first project arrived much quicker than I expected and the piece itself crocheted together in less than 2 days! So here is the first of my finished pieces. The pattern is still in the works, but I'm hoping to have it ready sell soon (if you would like to test if for me, drop me an email, lovelylilley@hotmail.co.uk)

January Pullover ::

It's a loose fitting pullover, worked in the round, in one piece, with just the underarms to sew up at the end. I worked it like this because personally I hate getting to the end of all that lovely crochet only to have to sew up loads of seams (this is apparent when you look through my unfinished project pile!). I used Rowan pure wool 4ply, in the beautifully named 'gerbera'. I choose wool as it's January and I wanted something warm, I choose the colour because it's January and I needed something sunny in my life! You certainly wouldn't need to use wool, in fact the weight of the sweater and the 3/4 length sleeves would make it a great summer jumper worked in cotton on linen.

January Pullover ::

Though the yarn required is 4ply, the striped effect is created by doubling up the yarn for the darker sections and using a big hook for the lighter stripes, so if, like me, you usually avoid projects with slim yarn, through fear they'll take too long, don't worry, I promise this is a quick project (like I say mine took me 2 days).

January Pullover ::

I may of course my be a little biased but I love this pattern! It was a joy to make and I've worn my sunny sweater everyday since it's completion (in fact it really is due a wash now!).

January Pullover ::

My ravelry notes on this project here.

Edited::: The pattern is now available for purchase on Ravelry and Craftsy xx

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

the leap year blanket ::

At the beginning of the year (not that it isn't still the beginning of the year really), Jodi of pollyorange shared a link on twitter to this facebook group.  The idea is a simple one, 1 crochet (or knit) square, a day everyday for 366 days (as it's a leap year and all).  Now don't get me wrong, I already have about a billion knitting and crochet projects in progress (including 2 blankets no less) but I just couldn't resist.
leap year granny

And so far it's working out pretty well.  Most days after collecting the toddler from nursery we sit down and relax for a bit, Milo watches whichever film it is he insists on watching every single day that month, and I have a cup of coffee and a breather, except now I have a cup of coffee and work up a crochet granny square.  I am a couple of days behind at the moment in all honesty, but I hope to catch up later today.

leap year granny

The other great thing about this project is at the moment I am using my little jar of yarn balls too small for anything (except of course they are not too small for granny squares).  It means not only am I using up otherwise wasted yarn, the blanket will also be quite an eclectic one.  Mostly I am using double knit yarn but there is a bit of aran and a bit of 4ply thrown in too, it will also be a huge array of fibres (which granted will make washing it interesting) it's lovely though because there is a little bit of every project I've made with hook or needles over the last few years in there.

Here's hoping this one will actually get completed!

Of course there is still time to join in if you fancy, the facebook group is here.

Ravelry page for this project :: here.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Finding inspiration :: dresses/skirts::

I've been looking at a lot of dresses/skirts recently, we're going to a wedding in march and I'm on the hunt for a fabulous new outfit for the occasion. I may even try my hand at making my own, though I'm not sure my skills are really up to it yet. Here are a few pieces I'm particularly taken with ::
Source: etsy.com via VickiBrown on Pinterest

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

inside crochet 25 ::

After the excitement of my first published pattern, came the even more exciting moment of seeing my very first garment pattern in print!

lacy sweater :: inside crochet

This was the first time I had written an actual garment pattern, it took a lot of maths and concentrating and maybe a bit of swearing, but I got there in the end and am so proud of it.  And it's awesome to see the garment I made in professional photos, on a beautiful model.

lacy sweater :: inside crochet

lacy sweater :: inside crochet

Yesterday I finished my third adult garment pattern, and so far I can't say it's getting much easier, but I'm still loving it!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Finding inspiration :: garden markers ::

With the allotment now coming to life again, with lots of digging and a little planting, it seems necessary to have a few markers revealing to me (reminding me) where exactly it was I buried those bulbs or planted those seeds. Especially so at this time of year where little of it is actually above ground yet and I am plodding around in my boots digging ground up left right and centre. I plan to make some this week, but take a look at this little lot I found in my hunt for inspiration, I think I love them all!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

My first published pattern ::

Back in the summer I sent my first few submissions in to inside crochet, with little hope I'd hear much back, but as it turned out all of the patterns I submitted were commissioned! I was so unbelievably excited, and as I heard back the day before my birthday, this news served as a fabulous per birthday treat.

  my first published pattern ::

 The first of my patterns to be published was this heart bunting.

  my first published pattern ::

 It's a fairly simple pattern, but seeing my name in print like that was such a proud moment, and has given me so much encouragement, I'm now brimming with ideas and designs!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Dreaming of spring ::

dreaming of spring :: 

 It's only just January I know, but there's oh so much to plan and dream about in the coming season. The seed catalogues arrived the day we got back from our Christmas holidays, giving me the green light to dive in and start drawing up lists, researching varieties and well, purchasing all those all so promising little packets! I won't lie, I did spend quite a hefty amount, but I have quite a few long lasting items on their way (including 3 currants, some honeyberry plugs and Jerusalem artichoke tubers). With the seed choices I've mostly opted for heritage varieties so that I can save the seed each year. I'm growing lots of things that are new to me and a few of my favourites, but mostly everything is new to me as I've only been doing this gardening business a few years, but this the year I hope to become completely self sufficient in our vegetable consumption, with my fruit monster toddler, I doubt it would ever be possible to do the same with fruit, but with all the berries we'll be growing this year, hopefully we'll be quite well stocked through the summer months at least.

  dreaming of spring :: 

 Most of the growing will be taking place at the allotment this year, but I expect we'll keep a few favourites in the garden too. Namely some herbs, a few tomatoes, blueberries and the raspberries we potted up last year before I got the allotment and a few flowers no doubt. I'm really looking forward to this growing season, though I know I have a huge amount of work to do, I'm really hoping I'm more successful than I was last year.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Finding inspiration :: crochet cables ::

I've been working a lot with crochet cables recently, though it's something that is fairly new to me, both a pattern I'm currently writing for inside crochet and a pattern I have in my head for a wintry skirt include cables. So I've been searching out some inspiration, here's a few os the fabulous cable crochet pieces I've found around the internets.