Author: fosterlots

A disgruntled and intermittent public sector worker, I find great joy in stitching and sewing (among many other things). Join me as I seek fulfillment in crafts while trying to figure out what to do with my life. Could be interesting!

Rainbow Stripes

Greetings! Today I have the joy of sharing a completed project with you. It always feels like a victorious moment when I cut off that last, lingering yarn end and lay down the scissors. As a person terminally rubbish at finishing things it feels like I have fought a battle with my own inefficiency and won (usually resulting in me parading around the house with whatever i have finished being worn on my head).

However, on this occasion I merely laid the thing out on the floor and took some photos with something other than my phone (another tiny victory) and here one is for your delectation. SO STRIPY!

Blanket2

Yarn: Cascade ultra Pima in Paprika, Tangerine, Marigold, Blueberry, Chartreuse, Indigo Blue and Pansy

Stich: V-stitch, inspired by tutorial here

Hook: Aluminium, 4mm

Size:  35″ square, approx

Could this be any cheerier? I can’t wait to send it off to its new home.

In other news, I have turned 30, spent an unseemly amount of money on eye cream (no judging) and bought a new, indestructible pair of Doc Martens. It’s been an eventful few weeks.

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Making Things for Babies

I am nowhere near understanding babies. I find them fascinating and terrifying in equal measure. How can I manage my torrent of mixed emotions while showing appreciation for a new little life? Oh wait…it’s crochet isn’t it. Lovely, soft, friendly crochet. That will compensate for any potential fear or alienation.

So, as a friendly first birthday present for a baby I hadn’t met before, I made an amigurumi Diplodocus, which turned out exceedingly cute, even though his legs were too short for his huge belly.

Diplodocus2

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK in Lipstick (body) and Meadow (humps)

Hook: Clover Soft Touch Crochet Hook, 3mm (DK yarn + 3mm hook = ideal for amigurumi)

Pattern: From Dinosaur Trio by Linda Potts (Ravelry)

Diplodocus1

I knew the yarn would be a pleasure to work with, having made a number of other projects with it before now. The hook was a new acquisition as I had wanted to try something with a handle to see if it could save my wrists on crochet heavy days. I’m not entirely sure it made a huge difference, but the matte finish of the hook is nice to use and the handle is certainly comfortable in my hand.

Usually I look for free patterns online (or wing the design based on some images) but this time I thought I’d do things right and shell out for something really cute. In this PDF, Linda Potts shares three different designs, all of which are lovely. They are clear and easy to follow. My only minor criticism is the relative lack of assembly instructions. I see why they are minimal – presumably so you can give your creation a bit of character – but I generally struggle with getting limbs in the right places and could have done with some guidance in this area. Overall I recommend this pattern if you fancy making your own adorable Dino-babies. One year old or no, I will definitely be making the full set! The Triceratops is already on its way to completion. I’m just waiting for a new colour to make his little horns.

I have another baby project on the way too – it’s super stripy!

This Must be the Place

Well, it’s certainly been a while since I managed to write a thing. In the meantime, the usual amount of stuff has been happening. So I’ve been photographing, note-taking and generally procrastinating over the events of the last month or so. Get ready for a mismatched, cluttered, catch up style post. Let’s get this rudderless ship back on track!

Finished Projects

crochet cushion1

This month I made my friends a snuggly housewarming gift in the form of this stripy cushion cover. I crocheted it freehand and immediately started making another so that I could write a pattern to share with you. The #2 is in a brown/purple chunky yarn with some teal accents – noice.

catch up Jun153

The stripy blanket is complete. My magnificent octopus. Every day I see it on the sofa it brings me joy. I have already started the next one. I don’t want to come across as prescriptive, but everyone should crochet a blanket.

catch up Jun152

I also finished making a little vest top from some adorable fabric a friend brought me from Copenhagen. I say finished… it hasn’t had its final press yet, and it is a little too big. I have lots to learn about sewing clothes to fit!

Recorded a demo

Yeah, so.. I’m in a band now? If you follow me on other forms of social media you may already have gleaned this. We have been playing gigs around Sheffield for a few months and thought it would be a good idea to record some songs. We went to Old Pig Farm studios, near Oughtibridge.

recording1

The process isn’t complete yet, but we are well on the way to having some credible material. I hadn’t been in a recording studio for some time before this, but now recall that it is a singular experience (so…much…coffee). Credit to John at the Old Pig Farm for beautifying our folky stylings.

Went to Cumbria – Ate Meat

catch up Jun154

Bank holiday weekend? You bet your ass I went to Cumbria! And it was beautiful, despite a rather harrowing journey northwards, including 3 trains and a bus from Oxenholme (via Kirby Lonsdale. Seriously). My visit was the usual heady mix of being very well looked after, sitting in a range of comfy chairs and looking at the sea. Blissful. This time I didnt make it into Carlisle -sorry Carlisle – but I’ll be back before too long.

Bishops House

catch up Jun151

Things have been busy for me at the Museum of late, I’m now on the committee which runs the museum and have taken on some new responsibilities. We have welcomed a couple of different groups to the house for visits in the last month and I couldn’t be happier with the feedback. We have also had the pleasure of hosting a postgraduate intern who has been extremely helpful and positive – I’ll be sad to see her go!

So there you have it, now we are all up to date. Thanks for reading!

Crochet blanket update

Friends, I have not been prolific of late. It’s been one of those ‘have loads of ideas, achieve none of them’ kind of periods. There have been few evenings or free days and I have been spending even fewer with a craft project in my hands. Curse you Tomb Raider, you were too much fun…

Being busier than is perhaps pleasant meant that an easy, repetitive task was called for on the odd occasion when I did have a quiet moment. Enter this stripy blanket I started sometime before Christmas ( a mere 21 weeks ago – thanks Instagram). I found this tutorial on YouTube with a lovely Gillian Anderson impersonator talking about knitting vs. crochet:

The only change I have made to the pattern in along the edges of the rows, where instead of a ch3 I have worked a sc ch1, which i find gives a neater edge. Other than that, it is incredibly easy, quick and satisfying to make once you get into the swing. I have also found that it’s easy to compensate for a stitch lost here and there -you can add or subtract stitches in the next row without really compromising the look of the thing.

Blanketupdate3

The colours I’m using come from this yarn pack, selected by Lucy from the blog Attic 24. She is an aficionado of crochet blankets and seems to have churned out loads of really beautiful ones – well worth a look. She has a written tutorial for this blanket which I also referred to. I chose all the cool tones from the pack of 17 balls of DK acrylic, I know it’s a bit of an assault on the senses, but it brings me comfort.

Blanketupdate2

I think I’m only about half finished, so it will probably be next Christmas before I finally get to hunker down under this bad boy.

What are your long term works in progress?

Top 5 Lush Products

I was a christmas temp at Lush just after I graduated for the fist time, then again when we first moved to Sheffield. I have never before or since smelled that good. Seriously, people used to stop and ask me about it in the street. And, although I possibly hit it a bit late in life to buy into the infectious brand philosophy, I took away a huge amount of product knowledge and a secret love of luxury bathing.

There are a buttload of products I tried, but don’t give two hoots about now – equally there are a few I generally have in my ‘let’s feel pretty’ arsenal – which are truly excellent and completely unique to the brand. New to Lush? Intimidated by cheerful sales assistants/eye watering aromas? Read on for my top 5 all time favourite Lush products.

Image courtesy of Lush Retail

Image courtesy of Lush Retail

Soak and Float Shampoo bar

I generally need something anti dandruffy and this shampoo contains antimicrobial cade oil and soothing lavender to sort out my dry scalp. It lathers nicely, lasts ages and is very handy for travel if you aren’t a fan of lugging teensy bottles of EVERYTHING about. I feel that the cade oil scent of this product may divide people, but it works. It smells like it works, too.
lush top 5 - Ceridwen's Cauldron

Ceridwen’s Cauldren luxury bath melt

This is a creamy, oaty, lavender-y bath for dry skin in need of some softening (so me, forever). The puck of stuff melts in the water leaving a little muslin baggy of oats for you to rub on all your chapped bits. I always liked the idea of an oat bath for soothing eczema and this is a way of doing it without submerging yourself into in a hot porridge. Does anyone really want that?
lush top 5 - Blue Skies

Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds bubble bar

Firstly, this sucker is massive. If you’re feeling frugal, you can probably make this do 6 or 8 baths (this has been known in my household). It smells like bergamot and it brings such comfort. Really good if you are feeling run down/have a cold/are sulking. This is my favourite bath product from Lush. NOTHING can compete. Plus, no glitter!
Image courtesy of Lush Retail

Image courtesy of Lush Retail

Wiccy Magic Muscles massage bar

This one has peppermint, clove and cinnamon for relaxing tired muscles. Rubbing it directly onto your skin is brilliant because of the adzuki beans shoved on the top. There was one day when I put it on my stomach during ‘the painy season’ and it helped. A bit. But jokes aside it smells reassuringly medicinal (are you noticing a theme here?) and has a similar effect to a kind of luxury Tiger Balm with an added bit of slip and moisture. It’s not the sexiest massage, but its…functional.
lush top 5 - Ultrabland

Ultrabland facial cleanser

Yup, this is it, THE ONE. I have not been without this since about 2007. It’s another non-sexy, no perfume, basic item that does its job really well and doesn’t cost ONE MILLION POUNDS. A cleansing balm/cream with an almond oil, beeswax and honey base, it has enough slip to give yourself a really thorough facial massage while feeling substantial on your skin.  I think it’s particularly suited to dry/sensitive skin types, because however thoroughly you remove it (warm, damp face cloth is my preferred method, though Lush recommend cotton pads for some reason) it leaves a sort of protective film on your face. If ever I have been experimenting with new skin care and things go a bit tits up, I use this in an attempt to sooth any redness and help heal spots. I’m tempted to write a separate post on facial cleansers (have a few favourites) – you know this will be in it.

So there you have it! Nothing pink or sparkly, nothing fizzy or penis-shaped. Just good, effective products that I usually have stashed away somewhere in the bathroom. Do you have any staple Lush items?