17 for 2017 – May Update

May turned out to see lots of action with respect to 17 for 2017, including another two sets of goals achieved. So, this is progress to date:

17 RCKs 5

A gift vaark

Seventeen… Love Rocks or other little random yarny/sewn gifts. I could claim that this goal has been completed, having put dozens and dozens of hearts in the community garden in Chorlton last Saturday, but I’m only counting this as one ‘act’. I also made a little vaark which was sent as a surprise to one of the administrators for the 60 Million Trebles project. Thus, the total so far is six.

Sixteen… batches of homemade biscuits. Three lots in May means I’m just a single batch away from my goal.

Fifteen… cheeses.  I made two lots of Bel Paese-style cheese – it’s really simple, is ready after just six weeks and it’s great for cooking. Th total now is nine

Fourteen… pairs of knickers. None this  month, so the total is still six.

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Mended with a swirl or two of Sugru

Thirteen… mends. Leggings, pyjamas and two different sets of headphones this month means that I’ve reached my target for the year.

Twelve… letters to friends. None written this month, so the total is still six.

Eleven… new items in my Etsy shop. I’ve added just one item this month, the “Start a Revolution, Plant a Garden” embroidery that appeared in the craftivism display. This takes the total to eight.

10 plants rehomed 9

Lemongrass, grown from seed, off to a new home

Ten... plants given to good homes. Although I only gave the first plants away last month, I’ve already reached my target, with summer purple sprouting broccoli, lemongrass and chillies accounting for most of the plants that have gone off to new homes in May.

Nine… games of Scrabble. None yet.

Eight… meals using only our own produce. None yet, although there have been several meals that came close.

Seven… visits to see “social media” friends. My visit to Manchester took my total to six.

Six… Pairs of socks knitted, using at least three different patterns. None this month, so still only one made

Five… book chapters written. None yet.

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The squares for blanket six of four

Four… blankets for charity; knitted or crocheted. I’d completed this target by the end of February; however, I finished another this month and I’ve nearly finished one more.

Three… sessions in the loft, sorting out some of the accumulated ‘stuff’ up there. None yet.

Two… patterns published and on sale. No new pattern this month, so just the one published in January.

 One… gardening apron. I made this last month.
I’m feeling rather pleased with my achievements this month – how about your projects this year? If you have a 17 for 2017 blog post or an update on your progress, do leave a link in the comments.

Three Things Thursday: 4 May 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday.

First, apple blossom. We returned from our holiday to find our tiny apple tree laden with blossom. The cold north winds in our absence had not damaged it and there is the promise of a good crop again this year.

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in the pink

Second, making vaarks. The Sixty Million Trebles group is currently raising funds for the charity Hand in Hand for Syria. Lots of the ladies have admired the little sock creatures designed by Danielle (pattern available here) and so I have made a few that have been snapped up very quickly in exchange for a donation to the charity. Not only is this raising money, it’s also helping me deplete my stash of old socks! I’m going to have a break from making them for now, as I don’t want it to be a chore, but these were fun to do.

Third, (more) stash-busting. I had a big bag of cotton yarn that I bought a couple of years ago for making Knitted Knockers (at the time the knitters bought all the yarn; now they have the funds to purchase yarn to supply their knitters). For logistical reasons I’ve stopped knitting for this particular charity, but still had lots of yarn. I sent KK some whole balls of yarn a little while ago, but I still had many part-balls and a couple of full balls left in my stash. So, I decided to use this for a charity blanket. I’ve made a dent, but there’s probably going to be enough for a second blanket!

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stripy charity blanket

So, those are three things making me smile and for which I am grateful. What has made you happy this week?

17 for 2017 – April Update

This month has involved a holiday and a lot of work, distracting me from ticking things off the list; however, here is the April update for 17 for 2017. This is where I am so far:

Seventeen… Love Rocks or other little random yarny/sewn gifts. I crocheted a little collection of flowers and hearts for the craftivism display at The Make It Shop, to be given away at the end of May. Although there were seven of them, I’m just counting this as one ‘make’ on my list. Most unusually, I completely forgot to photograph them, but I will do so once they are in the display. This takes me to a total of four for this target.

Sixteen… batches of homemade biscuits. Just one batch in April takes the annual total to 12. We took this batch on holiday with us!

15 Cheeses 7

April’s cheese in the mould

Fifteen… cheeses.  I experimented with making a new sort of cheese this month, using a thermophilic bacterial starter. It is smelling very good, so I hope that April’s solitary cheese will be a success. The total has now increased to seven.

Fourteen… pairs of knickers. None this  month, so the total is still six. I have decided I need to tweak the pattern a little as I have lost a bit of weight!

13 Mends 9

Bucket reinforced using Sugru

Thirteen… mends. Two mends this month – both involved using Sugru to rescue damaged plastic items, namely a bucket and a coat hanger. This takes me to nine different mends so far this year.

Twelve… letters to friends. None written this month, so the total is still six.

Eleven… new items in my Etsy shop. I haven’t added anything this month, The current total is still seven, but I’ve got some new ideas.

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Here they were, ready to go to their new home

Ten... plants given to good homes. Finally kicking off this aim, I gave away two tomato plants this month to the friend who looks after our hens when we are on holiday.

Nine… games of Scrabble. None yet… we took the Scrabble set on holiday, but somehow it never got used.

Eight… meals using only our own produce. None yet, although plants are flourishing in the limery now, so the future looks bright.

Seven… visits to see “social media” friends. One lovely visit to see Karen of the blog Sweet Baby Veg – more about this in a later post. My total is now five.

Six… Pairs of socks knitted, using at least three different patterns. I planned to knit a pair of socks whilst on holiday, but I could not find the right needles before I went, and so I didn’t manage even to start a pair. Of course the needles turned up as soon as I got home, so maybe I’ll do better this month. The total is still just one pair.

Five… book chapters written. None yet – I’m still not feeling inspired!

4 Blankets 5

A bonus blanket in progress (the fifth of four!)

Four… blankets for charity; knitted or crocheted. I’d completed this target by the end of February; however, I have another one underway at the moment – it’s the project I took on holiday in the absence of sock needles!

Three… sessions in the loft, sorting out some of the accumulated ‘stuff’ up there. None, but now the weather is warming up, the prospect of this happening is increasing.

Two… patterns published and on sale. No new pattern this month, so just the one published in January.

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It’s a bit grubbier than this now!

One… gardening apron. Yay – this one is done, and it’s getting lots of use.

Progress has been a bit slow this month, but I’m still moving forward – how about your projects this year? If you have a 17 for 2017 blog post or an update on your progress, do leave a link in the comments.

Sewing and not

I don’t love sewing in the same way that I love knitting and crochet, but I do find satisfaction in making useful things. And so, over the past few days I have slowly been working on a gardening apron. I am using the same pattern ( the Beatrice pinafore) that I did for my two kitchen aprons, but this version is lined, so the edges didn’t need binding, and I made the pockets deeper because gardening requires much more transportation of random stuff than cooking does! The benefit of making garments from scratch like this is that I know it wasn’t made by workers who are being exploited and I am able to source fabric that is organic/fairtraded. It’s akin to cooking from scratch, it’s just that it requires more concentration! The downside is that I usually always have to unpick something and I am never 100% satisfied with the result. However, it is finished now, and I’m hoping that the dark purple chambray (which is a rather nicer colour than the photos suggest) that I chose for it will hold up to the rigours of the garden and that I won’t be too sad that the lovely bee fabric is mainly hidden away as the lining (although it is reversible if I don’t mind having the pockets inside).

I do, however, wish that I liked sewing enough to make gorgeous quilts and other complex constructions. That said, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the yarny things that I want to, so I mainly just look on in awe at the creations of my fabric-oriented fellow crafters. However, I do occasionally get my hands on a beautiful piece of sewing to treasure, and this has just happened.

Over the weekend there was an online auction to support the Sixty Million Trebles project and I was lucky enough to submit the highest bid for the most fabulous handmade work bag.  Barbara, the lady who made it, sent it straight away and so I already have it… and I’m just blown away by her skill. Look:

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the skill!

Not only did it arrive beautifully gift-wrapped, but there was a rustle from inside and I opened it to find a matching ‘mug rug’ and a little pouch of sewing goodies. Internally, and somewhat difficult to photograph, there are all sorts of pockets, including some very narrow ones that will be perfect for hooks and knitting needles.

Oh the joy of owning a wonderful creation like this… I am in awe.

 

17 for 2017 – March Update

I can’t believe another month has whizzed by, but it has, so here is the March update for 17 for 2017. This is where I am so far:

Seventeen… Love Rocks or other little random yarny/sewn gifts. I have managed two contributions this month: hopefully my yarn bombing for Sixty Million Trebles reached a few people, plus I made Petunia vaark who has gone off to live with a new friend in Lancashire. This takes my total to three – I think vaarks may feature quite prominently in growing this target!

Ginger biscuits

Sixteen… batches of homemade biscuits. Four batches in March means that the annual total is already 11. The best thing to report, however, is that we have not bought any packets of biscuits at all, so there has been no palm oil consumption.

Fifteen… cheeses.  One regular hard cheese plus two alpine cheeses this month mean that the total has increased to six. The regular cheese has been waxed to allow it to mature without further intervention, but the alpine cheeses are being washed regularly with locally produced honey ale to control the natural mould growth – these are supposed to be ready to eat after six weeks.

Fourteen… pairs of knickers. Only one pair made this  month, bringing the total to six. However, I have now got some more organic cotton jersey fabric, so there’s cutting out to do.

Oh, darn!

Thirteen… mends. One pair of slippers and one pair of socks have been darned this month. I’m trying to keep on top of mends as they crop up, and this approach seems to be working well so far and I’ve now mended seven garments this year.

Twelve… letters to friends. None written this month, so the total is still six.

Eleven… new items in my Etsy shop. I haven’t added anything this month, but I have sold a couple of items, which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t listed them in the first place! The current total is still seven.

Ten... plants given to good homes. None yet – but it looks like I’m going to have plenty surplus as the year progresses.

Nine… games of Scrabble. None yet.

Eight… meals using only our own produce. None yet, although we’ve eaten lots of kale, broccoli, mizuna and eggs from our garden!

Seven… visits to see “social media” friends. We met up with a whole bunch of Twitter friends a couple of weeks ago, taking my annual total to four. I’m currently in the process of organising a visit in April, one in May and looking at a get-together at the end of July. If all three of these work out, then that will take me to my target number.

Stripy socks

Six… Pairs of socks knitted, using at least three different patterns. I made my first pair of the year this month using my old-faithful pattern… I just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to try a new pattern.

Five… book chapters written. None yet – I’m just not feeling inspired!

Four… blankets for charity; knitted or crocheted. I’d completed this target by the end of last month. I haven’t made any more in March, but various friends have given or are about to give me yarn and squares, so there are going to be more blankets in coming months.

Three… sessions in the loft, sorting out some of the accumulated ‘stuff’ up there. None, although a plan is afoot to increase storage space in the kitchen and then we can have a good sort-out of all the preserves and preserving equipment that’s up there and currently quite disorganised. I have also given away a couple of items, but I’m not being very focussed so far.

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fabric for #1

Two… patterns published and on sale. No new pattern, so just the one published in January – sadly sales of that have been disappointing.

One… gardening apron. Not yet, but the fabric, chambray for the outside and poplin for the lining (not denim in the end – I had a change of heart) has arrived and this is something I’d really like completed soon because I want to use it!

Petunia

So, it’s progressing well – how about your projects this year? If you have a 17 for 2017 blog post or an update on your progress, do leave a link in the comments.

The Sisterhood…

Some of you will have heard of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook and some of you will not… a few of you are part of the sisterhood.

Last year, Anne Lawson decided to start a project to draw creative people together around the world. She made a book and invited fellow bloggers to contribute… all the folks who volunteered were women, and so the sisterhood was born.

This week the book arrived with me – the eleventh contributor on the list. From Australia, it went to the US and recently it has been travelling in Europe:

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the journey of the sketchbook

It contains drawings, paintings, quilting, stitching… words and visuals… love and creativity. It has its own blog and I encourage you to take a look here at the posts from the contributors, where there are beautiful pictures and lovely thoughts. Here is a little taster of some of the contributions to date:

Sadly one of our sisterhood, Viv, passed away before the book reached her, but some of her words have been included in the book.

I’m currently working on my contribution… news will follow.

Three Things Thursday: 23 March 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday.

First, a new vaark for a new friend. I made this little creature on Sunday and on Monday it went in the post to make a new friend smile:

A new vaark ready for the world

Second, seed saving. Last year I saved seeds from the melons that I grew. The variety, Green Nutmeg, came from the Heritage Seed Library and so it’s particularly pleasing to have a new generation germinating this year. I have loads of these seeds, so if anyone in the UK would like some, just let me know and I’ll put a few in the post.

Green Nutmeg melon seedlings

Third, a rare carnivore. I have lots of sundews and pitcher plants in the limery, and whilst they present some challenges, they generally seem to be doing ok. The Venus Fly Traps are a bit more of a challenge, but I have three small ones. My favourite carnivore, though, is much more tricky to care for. The Monkey Cup can’t stay in the limery over winter as it’s too cold – it has to come and live in my office on the window sill. I’m very happy, therefore, to be able to return it to the limery this week and to note that it’s getting bigger and looks really rather healthy:

Monkey Cup (Nepenthes ventricosa x talangensis)

So, those are three things making me smile and for which I am grateful this week – what about you?

17 for 2017 – February Update

Spreadsheet

Spreadsheet

Here I am again with a 17 for 2017 progress update (where does the time go?). If you look carefully at my spreadsheet, you can see that one of the rows is full! There are still some rows that don’t contain anything, but I’m making some progress, and some is very seasonal anyway. So, here’s where I am so far:

Seventeen… Love Rocks or other little random yarny/sewn gifts. I sent off my first of these just the other day. I want it to be a surprise for the recipient (although she knows it’s on the way), so no photograph just yet.

Sixteen… batches of homemade biscuits. I’ve only made one batch this month, but since I made loads last month, the total for the year so far is a respectable 7 batches

Fifteen… cheeses.  No hard cheeses this month, but one batch of curd cheese.

Another pair

Another pair

Fourteen… pairs of knickers. Three more pairs completed this  month bringing the total to five. I’ve getting better with the overlocker, so they are getting easier to make.

Thirteen… mends. Three this month: the knees of Mr Snail’s work jeans patched again; a hole darned for a friend and a pair of my leggings mended.

Twelve… letters to friends. Just one written this month, but that’s ok because I only have to average one a month to reach my target.

Eleven… new items in my Etsy shop. I’m delighted to say that there are now seven bird roosts listed – some felted and some made with woollen twine. I haven’t sold any yet, but it’s early days.

Ten... plants given to good homes. None yet – it’s still too early in the season.

Nine… games of Scrabble. None yet… we seem to have been so busy.

Eight… meals using only our own produce. None yet, although we’ve eaten lots of omelettes, making them partial meals from our garden!

Seven… visits to see “social media” friends. I’ve managed two ‘big’ visits – first to Manchester, where I saw a whole load of friends who I know via Twitter, as well as my dear Sarah, who I’ve known since I was 18 and my niece Alex; second to Birmingham, where I got together with lots of permaculture friends, most of whom I communicate with via FaceBook.

Six… Pairs of socks knitted, using at least three different patterns. None yet… it’s all been about crochet recently.

Five… book chapters written. None yet, although I may have persuaded a friend to contribute to the book.

Max quality-controlling the final blanket

Max quality-controlling the final blanket

Four… blankets for charity; knitted or crocheted. All four done… I will make more later in the year, but I’m having a rest for a while.

Three… sessions in the loft, sorting out some of the accumulated ‘stuff’ up there. None – it’s still too cold to venture up there yet!

Two… patterns published and on sale. I did one last month, but nothing further this month.

One… denim gardening apron. Not yet, but I will try to sort out the fabric in the coming month.

So, it’s progressing well – how about your projects this year? If you have 17 for 2017 blog post or an update on your progress, do leave a link in the comments.

Three Things Thursday: 23 February 2017

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain here are my Three Things Thursday…

First, being safe and warm. We are currently experiencing Storm Doris – heavy rain yesterday and now really strong winds. It’s at times like this that I appreciate having a home. It’s also at times like this I think of all those refugees who, through no fault of their own, don’t have a place to feel safe and be sheltered from all that the world throws at them. And so I continue to make blankets to provide a little bit of warmth and a token to show that other people care; here’s the latest:

Another blanket for 60 Million Trebles

Another blanket for 60 Million Trebles

Second, new skills. I have been focusing on getting to grips with my overlocker this past week. Using it is not quite the same as using a normal sewing machine, but they say that as we get older it’s good for our brains to learn new things. I’m very happy to say that I’m finally getting more comfortable using it (the overlocker, not my brain) and that I can rethread it without too much trouble now.

It's all starting to make sense

It’s all starting to make sense

Third, seedlings again. I am being very restrained sowing seeds so far this year, but the peppers, chillies and tomatoes that I planted a couple of weeks ago are coming through and the tomatoes will need potting up from their tiny modules this weekend. I just love the promise of abundance.

All that potential

All that potential

So, those are three things making me smile this week – what about you?

17 for 2017 – January Update

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see- very geeky!

As we are coming to the end of the month, I thought I’d give you a 17 for 2017 progress update. I’ve got quite geeky about it all and made myself a spreadsheet with hyperlinks to pictures and (in one case) a second spreadsheet, meaning that I should be able to see how I’m getting on at a glance… if I remember to actually update the spreadsheet as I do things! Anyway, in less than I month, this is what I’ve done:

Seventeen… Love Rocks or other little random yarny/sewn gifts. I haven’t finished any yet, but I’m working on quite a big creation to send as a surprise gift.

Sixteen… batches of homemade biscuits. This was under-ambitious for the year – I’ve already made five batches!

Fifteen… cheeses.  I’m not sure whether I should count one or two here – I made a tomme-style cheese, and then I made ricotta with the whey. I’ve only entered this as one cheese on my spreadsheet, because it was only one cheese-making day.

Fourteen… pairs of knickers. Good progress here: two pairs completed and another six pairs cut out and ready for sewing.

Thirteen… mends. Two done: some boro mending on the knee of a pair of jeans belonging to Mr Snail and a tear in a cotton tunic repaired using my overlocker.

Twelve… letters to friends. In a flurry of activity on a dull and wet day, I wrote five letters!

Eleven… new items in my Etsy shop. None yet (although one pattern is now listed, but that’s lower down this list)

Ten... plants given to good homes. None yet – it’s too early in the season.

Nine… games of Scrabble. None yet… we’ve got a bit carried away with watching The Blacklist on dvd to the exclusion of playing games.

Eight… meals using only our own produce. None yet, because neither of us fancy kale omelette!

Seven… visits to see “social media” friends. One visit to blogging friend Katy the Night Owl.

Six… Pairs of socks knitted, using at least three different patterns. Yarn and new pattern at the ready, but none started yet.

Five… book chapters written. None, although I’m planning a talk on ecology that will form the skeleton of one of the chapters.

Four… blankets for charity; knitted or crocheted. Two completed – one for Knit for Peace, one for Sixty Million Trebles, and two on my hooks.

Three… sessions in the loft, sorting out some of the accumulated ‘stuff’ up there. None – it’s too cold to venture up there yet!

Two… patterns published and on sale. Bird Roost pattern finished and available as a digital download from my etsy shop.

One… denim gardening apron. Not yet – I’ve been dithering about the fabric!

If you have 17 for 2017 blog post or an update on your progress, do leave a link in the comments.

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