Hi there & welcome to Annie's Place. A place inspired by and named after my late Grandmother Annie. Somewhere I can be creative, and share my love for all things handmade. I like nothing better than sitting with hook & yarn, crafting something home spun & completely unique, or rustling up some yummy baked goodies. I live in a town with a beautiful embankment, situated on the River Great Ouse. You may know me as CosyKitty on Ravelry.
Why not stop a while.....?!!
I have been absent for a while. I did not have the time or inclination to blog as my mother has been very unwell for several months now. She is however at home, stable and in good spirits and we have just had a lovely family Christmas. I remain optimistic despite not knowing what's around the corner. The last six months has definitely taught me that.....
Nonetheless I am all about the positive, so here I am today to give a little wave. I send you all best wishes whether you celebrate Christmas or otherwise. You have all been wonderful to me over the years, and I appreciate it.
As you can see from the pics my Sister's bag finally got finished and she was pleased as punch with it. I also made a little coin purse to boot. My first foray into purse making. I enjoyed it so much I'm thinking of making a few more. I purchased a lovely hat and scarf for her too, to compliment my own handmade items.
I'm hoping to have a bit more time to crochet and blog in the new year. Fingers crossed.
I must make special mention to Becky in Wichita Falls Texas. This lovely lady sent me a box choc full of goodies, that landed on my doorstep just when I needed it. Unbeknownst to Becky it was a very dark time with worry over Mum. This gift appeared out of nowhere from a complete stranger thousands of miles away, who had happened upon my blog and enjoyed what she saw.
If you're reading this Becky, you'll never know what that meant. You are one in a million. Thank you.
It has been a really beautiful day here today, and although I feel the pull to be outside I'm currently glued to coverage of the first day of Athletics at the Rio Olympics. It's been a bit chaotic here in my world for the past few months, getting used to a new routine and I'm grateful for the welcome distraction of three weeks of great sport. I've particularly enjoyed the Swimming, Diving & Gymnastics this week.
Crochetwise I'm in the middle of bag construction. I put this down a while ago, and have only just picked it back up.I'm working with some Katia Planet Acrylic Yarn in a lovely Saffron colourway. It's a colour I'm increasingly drawn too. I love it, don't you?
The Bedford River Festival came and went last month. The weather was superb, and again it was a fantastic weekend of fun on the river. It comes around every other year, and I always look forward to it. I generally park myself by the Jazz Stage; under a tree with some refreshments, and just soak up the atmosphere.
Another spectacle that is currently very much a talking point locally is the Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander 10. This aircraft has been constructed firmly behind closed doors at the Cardington Hangars just a few miles from my home. It's the biggest aircraft in the world, some have referred to as the Kim Kardashian of Aircrafts ;) It's finally made an appearance and is currently sitting outside the sheds in the adjacent field undergoing final ground tests and will take flight soon. Exciting times...
Along with many others I've been patiently awaiting this moment, and as soon as I got wind that it was in view I popped down to get a few snaps of this iconic piece of engineering.....
Great news, Sally has reached her target of £500 for her charity blanket. Thank you to anyone that donated. I'm sure she's over the moon with the kindness and support for this project.
Right, I'm off to enjoy some more of the athletics.
I know you lovely lovely lot will appreciate all the time and effort that has gone into making this happen, so with that in mind I'm here to let you know that you are in with a chance of winning this gorgeous blanket, and a bonus cushion cover to boot with as little as a £2 donation! You could be the proud owner of these lovely handmade items with just a small token gesture, which will go a long long way to helping Sally achieve her goal of £500 for a very worthwhile cause.
Your help in spreading the word about this would be very much appreciated.
You could be the lucky recipient of this wonderful prize!
With so much fear and suffering in the world today, I like to take a moment to appreciate the simple things in life. I was fortunate enough to spend much of last week relaxing in the beautiful surrounds of the Dorset Coast. The chance to escape, de-stress and completely unwind was much needed.
The weather was thankfully on our side, and we had a blissful few days relaxing, eating, crafting. I made the most of the opportunity to crochet outside. My blanket is still progressing, and I'm happy with it, especially as I've managed to tidy away all the yarn tails thus far.
There is so much beauty in this world we live in, and it devastates me that there are people who are so disturbed they seek to destroy innocent lives. For what? Most of us just want peace, and the chance to live freely. I have an overwhelming sense of grief for all those that have ever been affected by terrorism, but particularly the LGBT community who are the latest target.
I was so very nearly caught up in the 7/7 atrocities in London 2005. I can remember that day as though it were yesterday. When will this madness ever end......?
I really felt the need to acknowledge what has happened over the weekend in Orlando, and I'm deeply saddened that my first post back after several weeks absence had to include this. I had such a wonderful time away, every moment was well spent and this has sickened me to my core. However, I am not going to let this dampen my spirit. I am more determined to live life to the fullest, and I hope you will too!
The views were spectacular from the accommodation we stayed in. From every room we had an amazing vista. It was pure joy opening the curtains each morning.
Now I'm back home, I am beavering away on a side project for my sister. A bag similar to this one, in a different colour. It's working up really well, and I hope to share it with her and you soon.
There's so much going on at the moment, what with the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations, the Euro Football Champs, the lawn tennis season is upon us too. Not to mention the Olympics around the corner. So much great sport to get excited about. I love the way it brings nations together. I for one will be cheering on all our home teams in the football, tennis players at Queen's Club and Wimbledon, and the GB athletes on the road to Rio.
I'm sure most of my stateside readers know who those two lovely smiley people are pictured above?! For those that don't that's Chip and Joanna Gaines. A few months ago I came across their home renovations show Fixer Upper now showing on ITV in the UK. I'm probably very late to the party, but to say I have fallen in love with these two is an understatement.
I have binge-watched every show available and can't wait for the next season to hit these shores. They take run down homes in and around Waco Texas, and totally transform them. If any of my UK readers haven't come across Chip & Jo yet, you really must take a look! Word of warning though, be prepared to be sickened by what you can get for very little money out there in Texas compared to here in the UK. Chip and Jo would be horrified to know what we pay for property this side of the pond! It's actually a crime.....
They have created quite an empire out there in Waco, and they deserve every bit of the success they've had. Talk about workhorses, four kids, several businesses, phew it makes me tired just thinking about it. I just wish I lived out there so I could visit the Silos, their latest venture. Do let me know if any of you lovely readers live nearby there?!! I'd love to know if you've visited Magnolia Market???
Btw Joanna Gaines has a lovely blog which you might want to take a look at here......
Till next time
*been watching far too much 'Fixer Upper' #shiplap #demoday ;)
April has arrived, the days are getting longer, and I feel a spring in my step. I had the opportunity to take a trip out earlier this week to a place not too far from home. Somewhere I'd wanted to visit for a while, a beautiful little gem of a place called Stoke Bruerne situated on the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire.
After a leisurely drive west, we arrived at our destination to the sun just peaking out through the clouds. I was optimistic that the afternoon would be fine and dry for our little jaunt up and down the locks. The weather's been a bit hit and miss here just lately, so we were fortunate to pick the best day of the week.
As I drove into the village I noticed what looked like a public car parking area, so I decided to just follow the car in front. Once in the car park I realised we'd actually driven into the parking area of one of the local public houses 'The Navigation', which sits right on the canalside. A beautiful spot to while away the hours, with a nice tipple or bite to eat.
Despite the temptation to stop in for some refreshments, we wanted to explore a bit first so drove a little further into the village to find a public car park. Sure enough we found the Pay & Display that's right next to the Canal Museum, and for £3 per car it was very convenient and reasonably priced.
Not wanting to waste a moment of the dry bright weather we set to walking along the canal towpath, following the locks downstream first, then back up through the heart of the village towards the Blisworth Tunnel. It was a lovely few hours, spent blissfully unhurried.
There was a hint of Summer warmth in the air, a little taste of what's (hopefully) to come in the months ahead. I can't wait to spend more lazy days in the same fashion. The simple things eh?.....
Crochetwise I've been on a mission to hook up several Happy Flower Blocks. But instead of crocheting a whole block one at a time I'm deviating from my usual method and crocheting several of each round, building them in stages. After making a few in Acrylic to donate to Sally's charity project last month, I got the urge to do more.
So here are my efforts thus far. I'm hoping this method will keep me motivated for the long haul, as I want to make a blanket. Most of the colours here are Stylecraft Special DK. I'm making the best of the limited palette I have available. This yarn does go a long way, so hopefully it will stretch to a decent sized project.
We are speeding through March, heading towards the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. It's still very nippy here in my corner of Bedfordshire, and the forecast for the Easter break is far from favourable. Ah well, you never know what might happen.....
At the end of my last entry here I did hint at what I've been working on. A crochet bag no less. My very first attempt at something like this. Heavily inspired by a couple of crafters who offer fantastic free tutorials.
The first being the late Marinke (Wink) of A Creative Being. Very much missed in our community. Her squares bag pattern is awesome, and definitely a fantastic resource for any would-be bag maker. The other source of inspiration came from Brittany at B.Hooked Crochet, who offers some step-by-step video tutorials.
Now I know some of you like to know the particulars, so I'm just going to mention the materials I used. I'm not sponsored and gain no incentive for mentioning them here, but like to give you a bit more info should you wish to replicate this for yourself.
The yarn is Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK in Shrimp (3674). 3 balls was sufficient for me to make this size bag which consists of 24 squares (pattern from B.hooked link above), worked up on a 4mm hook. The lining material is Bhandari Chennai in the Reena Colourway, that I sourced from a local independent department store. I bought a metre and that would easily line 2 bags, so I have some left over for another project.
I hand-lined the bag as I do not have a sewing machine, nor have any experience of using one. I'm pleased with the overall finish considering I didn't have a clue. I very nearly didn't bother, as I thought I'd make a hash of it. With a little thought, and a bit of trial and error I sussed it out. So glad I didn't just give up.
The handles I purchased from Hollie Craft on Ebay. I plumped for 2 pairs as it worked out slightly cheaper than buying a single pair. I'm sure I'll be making another bag sometime in the near future so made perfect sense. The big button is from Hobbycraft, the brand is Vogue Star and colour reference 123.
So there you have it, my first handmade bag!
I look forward to using it........
Before I go, I thought I'd share a couple of collages from a recent trip to Camden Lock Market in London. I drove down, parked opposite Regent's Park and sauntered through Primrose Hill, along the canal tow path to the market.
It's been some years since I've been there, and let me tell you it's VAST. Goodness me, the sights and smells were a feast for the senses. I enjoyed having a good browse amongst the hundreds of stalls. Just wish I had endless pots of cash to spend! Suffice to say I had to be very disciplined.
Did I mention the food? OMG, the food stalls/outlets/restaurants are on another level. There is something for every palate. The only thing that puts me off is how busy it gets. This was a quiet Friday afternoon in Winter and it was still bustling. The Summer must be a nightmare!
Don't get me wrong I like the vibe of the place, but it's never pleasant when there's hundreds of bodies trying to occupy the same square metre of space.
Just one last thing before I do disappear, and btw thanks for staying with me till the end. I know I've waffled on a bit. But I wanted to share with you this amazing flautist who I've just been introduced to. His name is Jef Kearns, and I love this instrumental track in particular entitled 'Lavender'.
This will be the soundtrack to my Summer this year.......
I'm welcoming in March with a little bit of hooky for a wonderful cause. I received a very sweet message last month from a lady who had come by my pattern for the 'Happy Flower Block'.
Sally very generously said she had 'fell in love' with it and wondered if I minded her using this motif in a community fundraising blanket project for 'Friends of the Elderly'. A fantastic charity supporting older people in our community. Very apt as my blog is dedicated to the memory of my late Grandmother Annie (pictured in my side bar), who would be just over 100 years old were she still with us today.
Well of course I was more than happy for Sally to go ahead and use the pattern, and as my little contribution I've hooked up a few squares to add to the collection she is steadily accumulating through her Facebook Page.
As Sally plans on using the 7th round of my pattern as the joining round she only requires squares made up to round 6, so I set to the task of doing just that this lunchtime whilst supping on some hot tea and chomping on a Turkey Mayo sandwich. Can't think of a better way to spend a couple of hours tbh. 'Twas lovely.......
As Sally has favoured Stylecraft's Special DK as the preferred yarn for the project (although she welcomes any similar Acrylic being utilised too) I used it as a justifiable excuse *cough cough* to do a little online shopping to purchase more supplies.
If any of you lovely readers are interested in supporting Sally on this journey, I do hope you will pop by her FB page HERE for all the details.
In other news, I'm attempting my first crochet bag project.
Happy February All. It sure has come around quick! I'm pleased to say the sun is shining today, and with the days lasting that little bit longer I feel energised and positive for the month ahead. A great big thank you is in order for all the wonderful feedback you left for my granny square blanket. I love to hear from you, so do make yourself known. Yes that means YOU! sitting there unsure whether to comment........I don't bite, promise xx
To mix things up a bit I've been dipping in and out of a few projects. I bought some new yarn at the back end of last year from a local craft supplies store. The soft snuggliness of it and the subdued colour palette won me over. It's Jarol Shetland Mist DK, an 80% Acrylic/20% Wool mix available in 100g balls.
I'm just playing around with it at the moment, experimenting with a simple 5 round circle in a square pattern. Changing colours the first 3 rounds, with the same colour for the squaring off part, and using a join as you go technique. It's been very relaxing.
The scarf I started last year has been resurrected, with a determination to have it finished whilst there's still a need for it. Famous last words! I made a bit of an error in judgement with this one. I had the bright idea that I'd like something with horizontal stripes, but didn't factor in the hundreds of rows it would take to create something remotely big enough to sufficiently wrap around my neck. It's got to be warm right? otherwise what's the point? Not to mention the hundreds of yarn tails to painstakingly sew in, grrrrr......
This is the moment when I think I should've just gone to Primark and paid a couple of quid for a mass-produced factory made scarf. Is this effort really all worth it? Yes of course it is Sharron I hear you cry, and I agree but boy does it take some patience.
I know there's nothing like handmade and that is what drives me on, but I HATE HATE HATE tidying yarn tails. And yes you guessed it, I left them until I was some 120 rows in before deciding I really should do something about them. When will I ever learn? Like letting the air out of a big balloon, my passion for this project began to seriously wane.
But now the bulk of those pesky ends have disappeared and I have a renewed enthusiasm for it! So watch this space for the end product, it should be all done and dusted sometime soon.
Next up I'd like to try out some cross stitch from the lovely book pictured above 'Storyland Cross Stitch' by Sophie Simpson (aka Delilah). I was super lucky to find it in my local branch of 'The Works' for only £3 (RRP UK £14.99). It's such a pretty book, beautifully put together.
Before I leave you I just wanted to mention something that's had me gripped over the last couple of months. Some of you will already be aware of this but for those that don't know, Major Tim Peake, a British Astronaut currently living and working aboard the ISS (International Space Station) took his first space walk recently. The significance of which was massive, as it's the first time a Brit has ever walked in space.
I have followed Tim's journey, and felt privileged to watch the whole space walk live from start to finish on NASA TV which was amazing, if not a tad scary. It has ignited a real fascination in me about space, and I've been keeping up with Tim's day to day via his awesome Instagram feed.
The reason I'm mentioning this here is because last night I went out to spot the ISS as it passed overhead during one of it's 16 orbits per day. I drove out into the countryside to get the best possible viewpoint, where light pollution is at a minimum. Fortunately there was a clear sky, and I could see a multitude of stars, so I felt confident I would spot the ISS with little trouble.
Sure enough at 6:47pm there or thereabouts I saw a bright light moving swiftly across the night sky. Quite incredible to think Tim and his colleagues were up there, flying past at over 17,000 miles per hour. Within a couple of minutes it was gone. I admit to waving though not too sure they'd have seen me, lol......
Anyway, if you'd like to see the ISS with your own eyes then you can check out when it will be flying over your part of the world here.
I am really rather pleased with myself you know. It took a lot of restraint for me not to dive head first into a brand new project for the new year. I very nearly let the temptation of some new yarn distract me from all the unfinished projects I have piling up (literally).
This blanket has been hibernating for so long it's actually embarrassing. Every time my parents visit my father will ask 'have you finished that blanket yet?'. My sheepish response 'urm, no Dad not yet'. However, I shall not dwell on my tardiness, for I know I am not alone. Many of you have the same affliction, so I shall find solace in that.
The main thing is it is now all neatly finished, every last tiresome end sewn in, border complete and ready to find it's permanent place on the sofa. Now the weather has changed and Winter has finally descended upon us, it's the perfect thing to snuggle under. It's 4ft square, so ideal for one or a very cosy two.
The blocks are made up of a mixture of different yarns, worked into 6 round traditional granny squares on a 4mm hook. I joined them all (JAYG method) with Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton in a grey colourway known as Logwood.
The border is #93 from the book Around the Corner Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman. Also crocheted in Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton (Logwood). I think it's the perfect edging for this type of blanket project. I am super happy with the lacy finish.
I've got a nice little collection of crochet cushions that compliment this blanket, so I'll be able to swap and change them around as the mood takes me. Nobody can complain that there's a shortage of cushions in this home.
The guilt and shame of having multiple UFO's (unfinished objects) has now given way to euphoria as I sit and admire my handiwork.