Saturday, 19 May 2018

Following knitted dreams

After the other day mentioning a little project I had my eye on, there has been a bit of unexpected progress.

I popped into Stitch, our lovely little knitting and dressmaking shop in Seaford for a zip (to try to spur myself on to make some new summer skirts I think I am going to really need soon) when I spotted some wool which looked so perfectly suited for the super chunky puff sleeve dream jumper.

It is called Wendy with wool superchunky and there was a lovely duck egg blue (shade 5203 - aqua). I didn't buy it straight away but the next day in a moment of weakness after a long morning of playgroup and park picnics and playing, I decided to pop in on my way home just for a little check. And came out with six balls! ha! (and went back the next day for two more)

Wendy with wool super chunky

I went into a bit of a knit frenzy for the rest of the afternoon, and most of the spare minutes since then - I really have a lot of housework to do, and in true need of an early night - but am really enjoying myself. And have already knitted half of the jumper - a front and a sleeve. It's so super super chunky it is knitting up in a blink.

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Hip hooray.

And today was royal wedding day and I baked a cake and wore flowers in my hair and socks with my flats and I felt a bit like it was 2010 again - With this and blogging a bit I feel a lot like a bit of my old self at the moment and it's really nice. I hope you enjoyed the royal day if that's your sort of thing. I really loved that veil.

 Yours chunkily, Emily

  flowers in my hairjust don't care

Friday, 18 May 2018

Blogs blogs everywhere

I have been on a bit of an up and down journey with my blog ever since I had my first baby (who is now a child and not a baby at all - how has this happened?) I found I really lost my blog voice, and the reason was probably really because I had no time to do anything worth blogging about (no one really wants to read about changing nappies and breastfeeding... unless you a new mother and actually these are actually THE most interesting topics ever...)

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So feeling a bit lost I started a new blog - woolapple - which was really grand for a bit, but then I had another baby (who also is now not a baby but a rumbustuous toddler - again how this can be is beyond me, I am sure I just gave birth. for the first time) and lost my way with the one too. HA. So rather than start another blog, I have decided to come home to this one.

I am always thinking about how I can maybe create a bit of a business of my own and when I was pregnant with albert, and when he was tiny, I started to get really into amigurumi and then really inspired to design and write my own patterns. I have realised that there is quite a lot that goes into writing crochet patterns - and my head is still a little bit foggy, but I am trying really hard not to give up on that little project. But because I had this little alterior motive with my woolapple name and dreams that I will one day be a really famous knitwear designer and need a really glossy beautiful website (well, maybe...) I have become a bit self conscious there and not really sure what I am meant to write about.

So here I am back over here for all of that! And over there I will just keep it crochet, so do have a look if you like that craft. But that's settled now.

At least until I have another baby (hahahahahahahahahaha- no - no more babies. no more blogs. no no no) (no)

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Super chunks

So I am aware that I have been out of the loop for a little while now, but I am finding time is returning to me and I am beginning to feel less 100% mum all the time and more like just 93% mum and 7% emily again, which is really why I am back on my emiliabird blog, and embracing all my old loves, like liberty fabrics and expensive wool - haha! (I know, I know, I am sure I have said this before - but this time I actually think I really mean it!)

I was recently pinning my evening away on pinterest and came across one image that stole my heart away - the most beauty fluffy extra super chunky jumper in the most perfect shade of blue. YES!

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I have really no idea at all where it comes from but I really really needed to share it and really really need to recreate it!

I am currently in the middle of a chunky cropped jumper knitting project (can you see a theme developing?) which is a reknit of this grand wool from colinette  yarns from about 589439 years ago (when it looks like I might have had a knitting project per month?! No??)  I have condensed my wool stash into a rather lovely mid century style sewing box (the big type on legs) but things are a little bit crammed in there so I do need to knit some of it away into my wardrobe before purchasing any more...  then I found this and think maybe I should just take my old stored up wool to charity and buy some more new super chunky light blue wool? hmmmm

Have I mentioned that I am a minimalist now? I feel some conflict.


Sunday, 5 November 2017

And now is november

Hello this week. Another week gone - I really don't have enough time at the moment but wanted to show and tell a little of what is going on. Can you believe it's November already? I am really sad to not be making good progress with woolly projects and bloggy projects at the moment. I fear this may be the way of things until the new year now. ek. But I will try try try to push on with my grand plans.


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I did have a productive week in other areas though and finished the Moana costume in time for a lovely birthday party on Saturday. I think I used all my skills in this one - even a bonus bit of fabric painting and stencilling and stamping. Unfortunately the costume wasn't for Rose so she got quite cross about this - we managed to talk her into being 'Hawaiian Dora' (the explorer) though, in a rather inferior last minute grass skirt / flower necklace combo - we just about got away with it. Typical the night before Albert had decided to be awake from midnight until 4am (so that's all the good part of the night then) and keep us all awake too (full moon - it can't be coincidence).


hat progress


Here is Sarah's hat as it stands. It's coming along. I need need to get this done because I really need need a hat for meeee. This week ahead I think will be another sewing machine one as I have a Rapunzel dress to make Rose in time for her birthday, and a few clothes for myself as I am really rather lacking in the wardrobe department at the moment after a rather ruthless cull over the summer. oops. And as well as this, we are going to have a look at some schools for Rose! This is an exciting time. Rose and I both have our first choices sussed, mine based on logistics, Rose's based on the uniform.


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And I'll just leave you here with a few pictures of the amazing skies and sunsets we've had this week. We are very lucky at this time of year that we can see that from our window. Have a good week xx

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Birdy Half Term

Another week - I am not sure where that one has gone? I am feeling in a bit of a muddle at the moment. We had half term but rather than it being a good time to catch up with myself, I feel like I am further behind than ever. I am not exactly looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, but I am looking forward to getting back into our routine. And I think Rose is too - she has been asking to go to nursery for about seven days now. I have made a little bit of winter hat progress you'll be pleased to hear, but despite me telling you specifically to watch this space, I have failed to take a picture. But good things come to those who wait you know. One area I have made good progress though is my costume making tasks. These are not woolly at all, but I have a Moana costume to make for one of Rose's friend's birthday next week and had been a bit in denial about it. I really enjoy making the princess dresses because you can use lovely shiny fabrics and I just have a little dress pattern that works so easily. So Moana is a bit of a diversion from this, and I didn't really know who she was, and I honestly couldn't work out where I was going to start (and making costumes for other people's children is a little bit more stressful than for your own) But now I have started and I feel much happier. I'll let you see next week if it comes out okay!! IMG_8164


And on the sewing theme, I found this amazing child's sewing machine this week - a real gem of a charity shop find. I had a little sewing machine when I was little and my mum gave it to me recently for Rose, but it is probably from the fifties originally and hasn't been used for about 25 years so it's very stiff and dusty. I hope it will be used again, but it is nice to have this little one for Rose to just play with a bit. We haven't tried putting the batteries in yet, but it has a little pedal I am very excited about.


market haul


The week started very grey but we managed a nice outing to East Dean market on Wednesday (it is there every Wednesday if you are local, and it's a good one) I got some lovely veg, including a Romanesco broccoli which I had never tried before. We have enjoyed that for a little change though. The children did some apple bobbing (then they had to bob for a sweet from a plate of flour with their wet faces which was a fun little trick!)


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There was a lovely little park at East Dean, in the most amazing setting - with what looked like a forest behind and hills in front and a view up to the Beachy Head lighthouse to the side. It was so nice to be out in the green and fresh air despite the damp.


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That afternoon we finally got around to making Rose's invites for her (and Albert's) birthday party. The theme of her whole birthday is Rapunzel (Albert's favourite) and although there was a bit of stress getting the invitations together (she kept getting the faces upside down so they looked like little pacman ghosts) I think this was good team work.


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We also managed a really gorgeous crisp sunny beach day at the end which was such a treat. We are really lucky to live where we do. I am hoping that we'll have more days like this and not so much rain now. And hopefully this week will be woollier. Better get to sleep now - it's a school night.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Oh my woolly head

This week has been a sleepy head one for me - but I think it had a lot to do with the grey (and sometimes red) sky overhead so I am hoping all this wind will blow some blue sky our way. But luckily now it's half term and what grand timing - I hope I can clear my woolly head a bit. It's the first time I am really benefiting from my 'term time only' job and I have to say I am very happy about it tonight. Sitting here with no train breakfast sandwiches to make, no bottles to prepare, no 'just in case' bags to pack. Ohm. Last week, I mentioned my little hat projects - three hats to knit for winter - for my friend Sarah, her daughter and myself. Sarah really wants matching cream cable hats with furry Pom Poms but my first choice of yarn (the Rico soft merino aran) I feared the colour really wasn't what she had invisaged and I realised from my swatch that I think Aran wasn't heavy enough for what she wanted either. No good. I was hoping to get some Wendy mode chunky but did you know it's been discontinued! Such a shame as it was a lovely merino-acrylic blend and there doesn't really seem to be anything else like it. I had a little scout around and even online and eventually settled on Hayfield bonus chunky - (extra value!) It is completely acrylic but it actually feels really nice. I usually avoid it as the crunch puts my teeth on edge - but here - no crunch, just quite soft and spongy and snug really.




Hayfield bonus chunkycable knit hat swatch


So with wool (not wool) found, the next challenge was working out the pattern. Sarah had sent me a picture she wanted replicated so that was nice and easy to copy, but trying to work out how many stitches I needed for a hat, and to incorporate the pattern, was tricky - and will wait and see if I got it right. I did knit a cable hat before and it was too small, so I think I am carrying this trauma with me through this project. Baggy hats are not so good either though... I made a little swatch (pictured above unravelling due to manhandling by small child) which was super helpful - although I wasn't sure how much to stretch it before measuring it - hmm - so got a lot of different measurements from it. I worked out every combination of cable twists I could think of while still staying true to Sarah's vision, and came up with an array of different numbers. Anyway, without boring you too much I have settled on 80 stitches on 5.5mm needles (it was 76 stitches, but then I realised I'd made a horrible miscalculation - after 26 rows of k1p1 rib I decided to just increase 4 across the row and hope for the best!)
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Despite all the hiccups though, now that I'm on (a) course, I am really really enjoying knitting for a bit and admit I'm finding it quite addictive. I've been so pre-occupied with crochet that I forgot that knitting is really my home sweet home. So stay tuned for this rollercoaster hat knitting ride - I'll be sure to update you!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Hens and Hats

Hello friends for another week. I am doing quite well at blogging at the moment. Hurruh hooray! I have been really inspired recently by The Minimalists - I found them as I really love throwing things away these days (I think because children + things = mess ∴ fewer things = less mess (?)) and they do talk about getting rid of 'things' but also about living simply and well and intentionally - which is also very useful advice as I find my time is very limited really between children and housework and going to work, and has inspired me to focus a little bit on using the time I have more productively and focused on what I really love in my life (and less scrolling through facebook and watching zoella vlogs). I think it is working for me. This weekend was a wonderful special one for me as it was my very dear friend's hen do. We had a really lovely day at The India Club, on The Strand. It was a funny little place but so relaxed and quiet - a little gem for central london. The food was amazing and I really recommend this one if you ever find yourself in this part of the world with a rumbling tummy.


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For my friend 'The Hen' I managed to get a great hen hat (which Rose and Albert both thought was highly amusing) And I had a little bit of fun making some little hen hats for the rest of us and even more fun making everyone wear them. We did get some nice feedback from a fellow diner who liked our hats a lot. Also while we were sitting in the bar we met a very sweet old gentleman who offered to take our photo in our hats, but then took the pictures with his own camera. It was all quite funny and we were all too polite to mention that him using his own camera wasn't helpful to us, but he did soon realise his mistake and used my camera instead (and has emailed my friend with the pictures too). He gave my friend a little Matisse fridge magnet which he had got from an exhibition he had been to that day. That was a nice chap. Also yesterday some wool arrived for another new project. I do need to finish a project soon as my list of outstanding unfinished projects ... but... you know...


rico design essential soft aranwinter hat - knitting a swatch


This wool is for winter hats so some nice small quick knits. I went through a little hat spurt a few years ago and could manage a hat in four hours... possibly I won't be so quick these days but this fills me with hope that this task will be achievable for me. I promised some hats to a friend and her daughter, and thought this would be a good opportunity to make one for myself too as I do like my ears to be warm and I fear the winter will really be here soon enough. I ordered a few balls of Rico Design Essentials Soft Merino Aran in 'cream' (for my friend) and 'medium grey' (for me). It's really lovely wool but unfortunately I don't think the cream is quite what my friend had in mind - it's a little beige really and not so bright - so I think I will go back to my old faithful hat yarn (wendy mode chunky) for those hats, but am excited for my soft merino grey hat (with a cream trim). I have been following a really grand knitting and crochet pattern designer on instagram for a while - her name is Miskunn - have a look - so great - and I really would like to make my own hat in her style. I've started by knitting a little swatch so I'll keep you updated on my progress with hats. I hope all is woolly and well where you are too. xx

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Scamping about

This week we've managed to enjoy a little sunshine and it's felt like a little bonus bit of summer even though autumn is definitely upon us now. Was it just me or did it seem like the air actually changed on the 1st of October. We had such an amazing outdoors summer with friends, and we're all trying to hold on to those outings despite rain and school. This week we managed a lovely late afternoon at the beach - it was really really a treat.




Autumn beach afternoon




Today we had a funny trip to the park where Rose decided she wanted to use my camera. I just really want to share some of her best shots. She told me she loves taking photos. I loved looking through afterwards at all the things she had tried to capture. This one of us made me laugh a lot.




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In other news, I have been back at work for a month now and finally it is starting to make sense to me again. I was very down about the whole thing to begin with - the separation from Albert made me so sad and work itself was really a struggle. I felt like I burnt myself out just getting us all out of the door in time and arrived at work at 9am feeling like I had done my day's work. It is all coming more naturally now though, and the bags are already packed as I write this. I have even done my hair in advance - now that is what I call pro-mum-organisation-skills (skillz)!




So there is not really much else to report in my  world at the moment. I am working hard on my crochet patterns and putting some tutorials over on Woolapple and hope that I can make some good things to share in the next few months.




And also I am thinking I might start Christmas shopping? Too soon??

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Back here with bird

hello! I'm here and it's nearly July and Albert is 7 months old and growing like a champ (chimp) and I now have my evenings free from holding the baby as he is quite happy to go into his bed. Well done small Albert. This is good progress. It feels like such a faraway time when I blogged and sewed and crocheted. Ah lovely time. I had decided that being on maternity leave would include all my endeavours but the time feels right to start turning my mind back to other things a little bit (scarily I am technically back at work from next friday - but thankfully I don't have to do anything until September!) Before Albert arrived I had been enjoying creating some little woodland creatures and friendly faces. So to help me get back into creating in the evenings and hopefully a little bit of blogging too, I decided to pick up again with something small and here now is a little chaffinch!


Crocheted chaffinch


Unfortunately he doesn't yet have a tail as I'm just not sure how that should go, but once he's complete I'll be sure to share his pattern for you.


Field guide to birds of BritainA page of finches


I really got into this project of turning a bird into crochet. I found a lovely field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe in Oxfam while I was making him which I couldn't resist - it felt like a gift. It has so many birds in it and has sparked my imagination. I think next I will have a try of another one on the Finch page.
Crocheted chaffinch

Friday, 3 February 2017

Albert

Hello and happy new year! A little bit of a long overdue greeting from me. I am pleased to announce my best creation of 2016- Albert. Six days late and born on Rose's birthday!


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Here he is with his wonderful big sister just a few days old (he is almost three months now - slow down time). She has been a real gem, I never imagined how patient she can be. And she just loves her brother. One day this week I got a bit cross with her and she went and sat with to him to sulk and tell him all about how misunderstood she was. Little partners in crime. I have been trying very hard to photograph them together every week to record how they grow. I'll be sure to share some of those as the months pass. Sorry if I vanish again for a bit - it's quite busy here, but very nice and we're having fun (despite the frozen winter and pouring rain) my evenings are mostly spent in a dark room with a sleeping baby and iplayer, but I am hoping for a chance to pick up some crochet again soon. I'll let you know!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Foxy

So here I am - getting very fat, but at last on maternity leave! I have had a bit of a tiring few weeks of work, doing a few more hours than I was used to, and really struggling to keep on top of my life - but am pleased to be at home again now, and although Rose and I are not really doing any blog-worthy activities (our favourite pastimes at the moment are making 'just add an egg' cakes and 'shout singing' to Frozen!) we are enjoying this new pace of life and the new routine the autumn brings (I am sure she agrees!) After Rose has gone to sleep though, I have really re-discovered my crochet hook and it is proving to be the perfect activity to relax with. I am mostly making woodland creatures. It's nice to make some things just for fun. And I like the faces and taking pictures of them for instagram and seeing the other gems posted there. I have been trying to write up the patterns too, but this is a little bit more brain work than I can really manage at the moment, but maybe a project for the future. Here are some pictures of some foxes - Felix and Sylvia... little friends...

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Happy woolly faces!