Daisy May's crochet workshops Join me at Daisy May's in Wareham for:
Beginners & Intermediate Crochet. Call Fiona or Karen for information on upcoming courses 01929 551185.
Crochet @ The Olive Tree Easter courses for children & grown ups, come & crochet some egg cosies & pretty flowers at The Olive Tree. Plus, a four week summer course (one date per month, giving you plenty of time to work on your skills in between classes!), where we'll be putting together a gorgeous summer throw, amongst other projects. Call 01929 477260 for dates and details.
... brief follow up on my 'simple treasures' post, I felt a bit remiss not sharing any crochet or craft with you, although I know you won't mind a bit. But when The Sicilian put up a washing line earlier this week, I looked longingly at the grey skies wondering if I would ever air my laundry in the warm sunshine. Well, the day arrived sooner than I thought and whilst hanging said laundry and watching it blow in the wind, I couldn't help but admire my washing line and think how perfect it would be for photographing some of my projects.
I have been writing a monthly column for 'Inside Crochet' magazine for six months now and thought that it would be good to share said projects with those of you who maybe don't get the magazine. So, here's what I've been up to....
Right to left: Adoree arm warmers; tea cosy; chunky cowl; star lap blanket; primrose coasters; dreamcatcher; craft apron.
And here they are in the sun!
And the washing dried too!!! Who'd have thought a washing line would be such a pleasure ;) xxx
ps. Let me know if you'd like to see any of the projects in more detail - I took lots of pics!
... Spring is finally settling in here at the cottage. My precious magnolia, so carefully transplated by The Sicilian, is breaking into flower - I love the delicate white blossoms bursting forth from their little fur coats...
And the structure within is fascinating - it's moments like this when I remember back to one of my 'what I want to be when I grow up' plans. This one being a botanical artist, capturing the detail of flora in all it's wonderful, natural detail - maybe put that one in the think tank for future exploration!
Another bloom turning my head this week is my mother's Viburnum 'Eve Price'. It probably has something to do with my passion for pom poms! In this case, the prettiest pink buds, exploding into delicate white blossoms, all wrapped up with a beautiful, delicate scent, another one for my 'must have in my garden' list!
And just in case you've stumbled across my blog via Pinterest or similar, thinking you'd find a whole heap of crochet, then apologies on this occasion. There is invariably a large dollop of yarn and hooks but I've been so busy designing and making of late, I've decided to dedicate this post to the countryside in which I'm nestled and give you an insight into what inspires me on a daily basis.
My childhood was spent on long country walks or sailing the harbour waves. My children's time is spent wandering the beautiful estate that sits literally on our doorstep. They are forever stumbling across 'treasures' which they methodically bury in their pockets and bring home for closer inspection. In the absence of a 'nature table' at their school, I've decided to create one of our own.
Pipi's collection of feathers is filling out beautifully. Dante is more inclined to gather stones - mainly large, predominantly non-descript, but in a departure from the norm, he stumbled upon an interesting little bone (we suspect it's part of a duck's skull with what looks like a long bill) and a skeletal leaf...
All fascinating, inspiring and great for engaging the children with their environment. You see, it's these simple pleasures - gardening, walking, collecting and sharing - that inspire me. And don't worry, the crochet is in hand, although this morning I downed hook and picked up the needles again - 4 of them to be precise!!! One of the wonderful girls at the Wednesday Wool Workshop in Corfe Castle, Anna, ran the first part of her 'sock' class. I have knitted socks before, but on two needles, and this time I was determined to crack the 4 needle casting on method. With huge thanks to the endlessly patient Beverly, sock knitter extraordinaire Anna and the other determined ladies, I now have 60 stitches spread across three needles with a fourth needle in hand ready to knit - amazing!
And in case you need a crochet 'fix', check out the lovely, talented Emma Varnam's blog, where she too has been knitting socks and with her left over yarn she's whipped up the 'Amore' jug cover from my book 'Simple Crochet'. I love seeing my projects 'made up' and I'm honoured that designer/writer Emma has chosen this project, thank you!
And a whole heap of eggs! Inspired by the simple knitting patterns in my MS 'Living' last spring (knit a rectangle, stitch up both sides and hey presto, instant hat), I thought I'd use up the last bits of Debbie Bliss 'Cashmerino' from 'Crochet Cat'. And here are the results, little egg cosies decorated with sherbert coloured pom poms. Many of you will remember my Cascade 'Magnum' knitted scarf with it's enormous pom poms - well here's the opposite end of the size spectrum. Worked around the tiniest cardboard circle, I used some Debbie Bliss 'Rialto Lace'(pink and green), Rowan 'Wool Cotton' (lilac) and the blue hand-dyed yarn I picked up in Vancouver last year. For the egg cosies:
With a 4mm hook work a foundation chain of 17; row 2 - 1dc into 3rd chain from hook, *ch1, skip 1 stitch, 1dc* repeat from *to* across; row 3 - turning chain 2, *1dc into 1ch sp, ch1* repeat from *to* across; repeat row 3 working your dc into ch sp and separating each dc with 1ch until you have 24 rows in total. Fold your rectangle in half and stitch down each side. For US crochet, replace the dc with single crochet.
And here's a little pile of spring inspiration - I can't seem to get enough of sherbert shades and gorgeous yarn at the moment. Bottom up - my 'star' blanket from 'Inside Crochet', issue 38, Feb 2013 in Jeanette Sloan 'baby alpaca dk', shade 'chartreuse'; my craft cotton summer weight cot blanket, mix of craft cotton, Rowan 'cotton glace' and any other left over cotton I could find!; a matinee jacket in Rowan 'Wool Cotton', all topped off with my pom pom yarns. It's about time I finished some of my mountain of projects. But with Easter here I've been a bit distracted with....
... our Easter tree.
The kids and I have been blowing and painting our bantams' eggs to add to the beautiful blossom branches gathered from the garden. And the contents of the eggs made it into some delicious cinammon buns which have proved popular today!
Hope you've all had a peaceful and enjoyable Easter. I'm hoping today's sunshine is a sign of the spring weather we're all longing for here in England xxx
... just back from a great weekend in Sussex, celebrating my wonderful friend Claire's 40th birthday. Claire and I are old friends from college. We shared a flat in our early twenties and meeting up again is like slipping on a favourite pair of shoes (Manolos rather than Clarks - Claire is a serious glamour puss!). Memories of fun nights out, great nights in and so much more come flooding back. Together we shared a love of history (which we both studied at uni); art, antiques and interior design (a field in which we both built careers) and fabulous shoes - oh boy did we love to shop!!! But the years have passed and partying consists of bouncy castles and ball pits now - Claire has two little ones and before her big four 'o', we shared her daughter Abigail's 4th birthday party. When Abigail was born, Claire asked if I would be her godmother - I hope it's a role I will fulfill with suitable aplomb - and as such, I set about crocheting her a baby blanket (thinking back it was one of my first ever crochet projects - Beata Basik's wonderful flower square pattern) and knitted bunny to match. 'Sara bunny', as she is now affectionately known, is still Abi's favourite bunny, and for her birthday I decided to add to her menagerie, so meet 'crochet cat'...
... complete with 'Betsy' dress and floral headgear. Even if the temperatures here in Dorset feel positively arctic, the crochet is going to be spring like!!! xxx
.... as ever I'm chasing my tail! My monthly column for 'Inside Crochet' magazine is due and I've been searching high and low through my cupboards and sewing boxes for linen tape, the finishing touch to my project. I finally threw in the towel this morning and scooted into town. Our nearest town being a small Georgian market town with a baker, a butcher, a bank or two, several charity shops, and fortuitously for me, it's own little wool and haberdashery shop, Thumbelina's. Owner Jennifer keeps her shop, the size of a postage stamp, beautifully ordered and brilliantly stocked. So, not only did I pick up the perfect pale rose satin ribbon for my latest design...
But I also picked up a couple of metres of this slubby, linen tape, perfect for my 'Inside Crochet' column....
I can't reveal the project just yet (it will feature in my May 2013 column), but you can see it combines crochet motifs with stitching and if you look closely, you might get the tiniest glimpse of some Liberty tana lawn - surprise, surprise!!!
Whilst The Sicilian is dismantling and reassembling the chicken house at the bottom of the garden - we need to reunite Bullseye (our cockerel) with the girls, but not outside my bedroom window - I'm off to attach the linen tape. I'll leave you with Pipi's butterflies...
When I asked Pipi what she would miss most about our old house, she replied her butterflies. I remember the day, seven years ago, when she was at nursery and I set about stenciling her wall with a fluttering stream of butterflies. She asked if we could strip them from the walls and bring them with us. It made me sad to think this one simple thing meant so much to her and she had to leave it behind. Our first weekend in the new house, I pulled out the original stencil (still available from the fantastic online Stencil Library) and having chosen her paint colour, she painted her own winged beauties onto some lining paper. Hanging in simple frames, she can now take her butterflies with her wherever she goes! xxx
.... it's Mother's Day here in the UK and I have been lucky to share the day with my two wonderful children and my mother. This is the second year that I have been confronted by my mother's battle with cancer - one that, for now, she seems to be fighting head on with as much energy and determination as she can muster. After a week's pause in her treatment we are back to chemotherapy tomorrow. None of us know what the future holds and it seems life has it's own plan for each of us. My thoughts today are with my friends and loved ones who have lost their mothers, may the wonderful memories bring you joy and happiness amidst your sorrow.
And now it's time to confess. With regular, sometimes daily, hospital trips I have been absent from my blog. I have so much to tell you, I'm not even sure where to start! My wonderful trip to London to meet the fabulous Mr Finch? The Red Nose Day Dolls' lunch 'chez' Ros Badger (knitwear designer extraordinaire)? Too much, too much!!! So, until I can do any of the above justice, maybe just a quick summary of what's making me smile right now...
A delicious Mother's Day breakfast in our 'new' kitchen courtesy of The Sicilian and his two little helpers!
My magnolia 'stellata', nestled beautifully in the bed at the foot of our spectacular wall in the 'new' garden - once again, thanks to The Sicilian who transplanted it so tenderly.
Violet enjoying the sun streaming through the 'new' bay window - I told you she'd settle in quickly!
The beautiful spring flowers on our 'new' drive to school each morning!
The wonderful daylight streaming into our 'new' kitchen, perfect for all my new spring crochet projects - judging by my threads, the cottons have made an appearance!!!
And I'll share some fresh, new projects with you soon, as well as tales of Mr Finch and Ros Badger - but one last quick thing. You might have heard me go on about these Red Nose Day Dolls - amazing little things, complete with accessories made by truly gifted makers. Well, they're up for auction on Ebay. If, like me, your numbers haven't come up recently, you can make a donation to Comic Relief via Emma Mitchell's 'giving' page (Emma from 'Silver Pebble', together with Ros Badger, masterminded the whole project) and £5 really can make the difference between life and death with the purchase of a single mosquito net. So, whilst I have never asked for donations or contributions for free patterns or ideas I have published here on my blog (I just love sharing my crafty ramblings with whoever will listen!), if you can spare just a small amount I know it will be much appreciated. Times are hard and I know that we all do what we can, so maybe a financial gift isn't an option and there is absolutely no obligation ;-) xxx
.... thanks to a huge amount of help, we are in! Yes, the move is complete and I'm sitting in our new cottage penning my first post. The Sicilian and I couldn't have done it alone and words simply aren't enough to express our gratitude to all of our wonderful friends who have made this possible. We are already planning a supper party to host them and I'm already planning tea lights, trestle tables and cut flowers from the borders - yes, even my beautiful shrubs and bulbs have been carefully transplanted and once the weather warms they should enjoy their new sheltered position in the walled garden. The hens are happily exploring their new terrain and Violet is pacing the corridor in anticipation of her three day 'house arrest' curfew being lifted! She seems quite happy in the house but is clearly desperate to hot foot it outside to explore with the hens. Here is one last image of her enjoying the sunshine at the old cottage...
I am sure there will be plenty more snaps of her enjoying the new house and garden very soon! It might take a little while longer to sort out my creative 'hut'. The home office is currently piled high with boxes and furniture. As soon as I have a corner cleared I will show you the 'before' and a while later the 'after' - I have high hopes for my creative sanctuary but am in no hurry, the children's rooms are priority at the moment. But I am hoping to pen my next 'Inside Crochet' column from there, so better not hang around too long. Speaking of which, the March column is all about my love of vintage doilies, and a doily inspired coaster pattern. Here's my stack of samples - just a glimpse into my rather lengthy creative process! I think I worked out several patterns before deciding on the 'one', which is inspired by spring primulas....
And for those of you who have asked, I won't be changing the name of my blog/etsy/folksy shop - OneChurchillsGreen was where my creative journey found its' feet and it will forever hold a special place in my heart... lots of love xxx
... please forgive me if I've been distracted of late. Life has a habit of taking me by surprise despite the best laid plans. I've finished the dress for one of the super cute Red Nose Day Dolls and am working on April's 'Inside Crochet' column and project, which is proving to be great fun. And, as if life wasn't busy enough, we've decided to move!!! It's with a heavy heart that we will be bidding farewell to our little cottage in the woods, the home and garden that we have nurtured over the last seven years. On the bright side, we're moving to a slightly larger cottage in the woods (different woods, but similar country vibe!) with a work room conveniently located in the garden - oh, and an airing cupboard, I've been dreaming about one since I left home 22 years ago! So, between packing boxes, hospital trips and creative mayhem, I thought I would share a few of the projects that are building up quietly in the background.
I've been restocking my Etsy shelves with egg cosies and dishcloths, whilst planning projects for my Easter crochet workshops....
I'm hoping to have my workspace set up and ready for the first 'big kids' and 'grown ups' workshops at the beginning of April. The courses are listed on my Etsy store too - the wonders of technology!
I've been putting all of my leftover ribbon lengths to good use with an assortment of bookmarks - for those of you who missed the pattern, it is tacked onto the bottom of my 'joining grannies' post in January. This will be one of the projects I'll be doing with the 'big kids' on their Easter crochet workshop...
And I've been trying out different projects for my 4 week (one evening, once a month) course, which will involve a beautiful summer weight cotton blanket project amongst others.
And last, but by no means least, I've been selecting duck feathers (reclaimed from one of The Sicilian's game cookery courses) for my 'Inside Crochet' column. Those of you who know me, know I love to approach crochet from all different angles, quite often incorporating other crafts - sewing, quilting, applique - and with this one, there will be feathers and shells. I can't wait to reveal all, but need to get my head down and write the pattern first! I hope you are all enjoying a crafty weekend and I promise I'll be back soon, focused and raring to go! ;) xxx
A beautiful sunny day yesterday gave me the perfect opportunity to take a quick snap (or two) - seen here hanging on my magnolia stellata! Whilst I had most of Blossom's measurements, I'm not privy to them all (a girl's gotta keep her modesty after all), so the dress will definitely be long enough but it might be a little large around the middle, so all that is left is to thread a pretty satin sash around the waist which can be tied in a pretty bow to fit. And with spring on it's way (the first primrose is out in the garden), I thought I'd add some tiny blossom...
...and what doll's dress would be complete without a birds eye button to fasten...
I only hope Blossom likes her new dress, and more to the point, I hope the Red Nose Day Dolls raise a smile and heap of cash for Comic Relief - keep an eye on the Comic Relief auction website (and the Red Nose Day Dolls Twitter and Facebook pages to see all of the other gorgeous handmade accessories being created). Every time I make a little crochet dress, I dream about making a 'grown up' version one day, definitely a project for the future! xxx