Monday, 22 October 2012

036: Dreaming of ripples........


When you think of your crafty exploits, how do you categorise yourself?  
Are you a Knitter? a Crocheter? a Sewer? a Patchworker? an Embroider? or 'A bit of everything-er'!

I have always called myself a knitter who has a go at other crafts, and my blog reading represents this perfectly as I spend a lot of my time reading blogs about crafts that I wish I could be an expert in but probably never will.  I so enjoy looking at designs and photos of patchwork and embroidery and I just adore the fantastic crochet blogs and am so envious of the beautiful blankets I see.  I dream of making a blanket one day, I dream of Granny Squares and I dream of Ripples ...... but then I float back to earth and realise that I'm a knitter and I need to have two needles clicking rather than one hook!!

Recently I have been dreaming of ripples, mainly as over the last few weeks I have been looking (well envying) Jacquie's beautiful ripple blanket (that you can find HERE) and Meme Rose's stunning mini blanket (that you can find HERE ), and I finally decided I would have a piece of the ripple action but on two knitting needles instead!


I think I learnt this stitch when I was in my early teens, I used it for making knitted skirts on dresses for my younger sister's dolls. Whenever it was, the stitch has been imprinted in my brain since then and it feels like meeting an old friend as it emerges from my needles.  It's a slightly lacier stitch than the crochet ripples that have inspired me, and although it looks complicated it really is a simple stitch to follow.  

I knew that I wanted to satisfy my 'ripple' urge, but due to a large number of WIPs and quite a long to-do list a blanket was out of the question.  So a scarf was my next idea......


So far, I'm probably half-way through and I'm loving it.  The repetition of the pattern is so gentle on the eye and the soft pastel colours are perfect for a care-free knit, absolute heaven for those feet up on the sofa moments!


The only problem is ..... and I think it's the same for crocheters and knitters alike ...... the mass of ends that will have to be tidied up at the end!  Not a job I'm looking forward to.

Hope you are all enjoying the October Half Term.

Goodbye for now
Fleur xx

Thursday, 27 September 2012

035: Little things that make me smile


Lemons


Home-made Lemon Drizzle Cake


A slice of lemony goodness ..whilst the rain pours down outside!


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

034: Running around in circles.........




Does life feel like you are constantly running around in circles?  Well mine does at the moment! 

 I sometimes wish that I could just hit the 'pause' button of life especially when I find myself in tranquil and peaceful places.  All I could hear was the clicking of grasshoppers, the birdsong from the trees and the gurgling of running water ............. I could have stayed by the water's edge all day!

And then the moment was shattered by the call of 'mum', 'mum', 'mum'........... unfortunately a day out at Dunham Massey in Cheshire with my daughter and the Postie was not a time for solitary contemplation!

Here in Cheshire we are spoilt, in every direction we seem to have a National Trust Estate within travelling distance and we had decided a quick trip to Dunham was the perfect solution for a day when the weather was looking unsettled.  Amazingly the weather held out and whilst we were on the estate the sun came out especially for us!


Dunham Massey Hall dates back to the 1730s and is now owned and cared for by the National Trust.  The main attraction for my daughter is the herd of deer that roam freely within the 300 acre estate.  We've been here many times, and she has on previous visits spent hours sketching the deer but this time she wanted to capture the deer on her new gadget - her Ipod Touch - so she could put the pictures on instagram which is currently the new 'cool' thing for a 10 year old!

My photo skills seem 'old fashioned' in comparison!!


After the deer had posed for a countless number of shots, we had a brisk walk around the woodland on the estate and eventually took the time to 'pause' and watch the microcosm of life in a simple lily pond ... and then I realised that even in nature everybody was running around in circles too! The fish darting to and fro below the waters edge, the strange blue insects (photo below) hovering just above the water and the large dragonflies dive bombing the lilypads and us.  They were all just getting on with it ... no rest for the wicked even in that pond!




The weekend brought another challenge in a busy schedule - a 10k race on an extremely hot sultry sunday morning.  No pots of coffee and croissants on the patio for us, no instead the motorway beckoned for a jaunt to .......Warrington!   I rarely visit the town, only the lure of Ikea and the occasional road race are enough for me to contemplate getting lost in its maze of identical roundabouts, seldom have I ever visited without at least taking the wrong turning at one.

The Birchwood 10k race is an ever increasingly popular race, nearly 1,000 entrants on a sunny Sunday morning gathered on the car park of the Birchwood Shopping Centre for a 10.30am start.  The heat slowed down many as we followed the twisting course over one roundabout and round another. Everytime I looked up I saw another in the distance!

By the 5k mark I had started to lose count of the number of roundabouts we had encountered, I had the feeling that I was running around in circles....literally!

 I decided at the 7k mark that it wasn't going to be my day for a good time and I just scraped through with a respectable time 39 seconds slower than my current 10k PB, though in retrospect I'm happy with my run given the heat and the undulating nature of the course


As we came through the finish line we were greeted by the cheerful smiles of children with bunches of flowers for all the women runners, and to mop up our very sweaty brows everyone received a souvenier towel which was the perfect colour for me at the moment, can you guess????????

Duck Egg  Blue!!!!!!!!!! (well nearly...sort of that shade!)

Anyway, apologies to all you crafters for the lack of craft-relating posts, normal service will be resumed soon.....probably when the school doors reopen and peace and quiet are restored once more!

Goodbye for now
Fleur xx

Saturday, 4 August 2012

033: As time goes by............


 'To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else'

The words of the American Poet Emily Dickinson resonate with me today.  I look at the calendar and can't quite believe we are already in August.  I look back at the last month and my previous post and wonder where the time has gone?  But I am not sad, it has been a busy time and many things have taken a back seat whilst I have been concentrating on family life, but life has been good!


So whilst I have been 'living'.......... time has ticked by, and a whole new room has been decorated in my new favourite colour.  Can you guess? 

DUCK EGG
So whilst I have been 'living'......... time has ticked by, and new pictures have been bought to go in my new duck egg room.  Inspired by all the 'Britishness' and 'London Love', I just couldn't resist these two prints from the London Transport Museum collection, click here to have a browse.  They were both London Underground Posters from 1936 and they carry on the duck egg theme perfectly.

Can you guess where this one is?



You've just got to guess this next one straight away!



So whilst I have been 'living'....... time has ticked by, and new fabric has been spotted, desired and finally bought.  The fabric is from Amy Butler's new collection and is called Deco Dots ..... so it will complement my 1930s Duck Egg Blue scheme perfectly.  As I have been so busy 'living' the fabric is still currently folded neatly ready for action, I hear it calling to me often ...... cut me, sew me!!!


So whilst I have been 'living' ....... time has ticked by, and I have to admit that not a lot of clicking has been heard in my household in recent days.  Every year around this time I seem to have a knitting lull but my fingers are itching to get back clicking again, and I know that although I've got at least three WIPs in various stages, I really must start with a new project.  What better to get me going again .......some new duck egg yarn.



So whilst I have been 'living'....... time has ticked by, and I have been a very good girl!  I've lost 9lbs in weight, just by cutting out the junk, and my fitness has really improved.  This year although I've been running a lot and entering races I've felt as though my fitness was being held back by my weight.  I can't believe what an improvement there has been in my times and stamina since shedding those excess pounds.  Last weekend I ran a 10 mile race, my race plan was to try and run 9 minute miles, hopefully finishing around the 1hr 30 mark, I was so pleased when I finally finished a few minutes quicker, and when I looked at my mile averages they were all under 9 minute mile-ing!  So afterwards I was allowed a little treat ....... my prize for completing the race, a bottle of 'Jogger's Tipple'!


Hope you all have a great weekend.  I'm especially looking forward to watching the Olympic Athletics, it does astound me how these fantastic athletes can run the same distances as me but in only half the time!!!!  Whatever 'living' you are up to this weekend, enjoy it.

Goodbye for now
Fleur xx

Thursday, 12 July 2012

032: Simplicity

Sometimes simple is best.......


Who needs lots of colours ...when simple cream looks so stunning......



So this week I've been knitting something with simplicity in mind.

A simple knit row edging......


A simple pretty cuff......


And a simple little bit of colour around the neckline.......



It's been a 'simply' lovely week, the sun shining at the weekend for my daughter's school fair, the rain holding off as I spent Sunday morning running a fell race in Bollington (click here) - 7 miles of fresh air, steep hills, splashing though muddy puddles and home-made cake at the finish!

A week spent doing the 'simple' things in life that I love .... knitting, running & spending time with my family. 

Simply the best!

Goodbye for now
Fleur 

Monday, 2 July 2012

031: Looking back .. Looking Forward....

Looking forward and I realise that July has arrived and I am in denial!   It's always a whirlwind month ..... end of year parties, summer fairs, drama productions, swimming galas and to top it all - my daughter's birthday!  How am I going to cope! 

Looking back June has been a pretty hectic month too, highlights include:


Seeing the Olympic Torch as it went through Stockport. 
We have been extremely fortunate to get a second chance to see the torch.  We missed the torch in May on its first visit to Cheshire through Macclesfield (Day 13 of the Relay Route) as it was a school day, but the torch came back on Day 36 and we were able to travel to Stockport to see the torch on its return journey through the North West. It went from Manchester through Stockport and onwards over the Pennines to Leeds.    We caught the moment as the torch flame was passed from one runner to the next...how exciting was that!


Coldplay at the Ethiad Stadium

The Postie and I went to see ColdPlay at the Etihad Stadium (home ground of Manchester City Football Club).  A superb evening especially as the rain held off for the whole evening.

 
Delightful Daughters Day!


Don't you just love it when you have a whole day out just you and your daughter/son?  Well we both had a great day out in Knutsford, Cheshire. We shopped until we dropped!  I love this little town, it has some great independant shops, including a super yarn shop called 'Fibre and Clay' (click HERE for their website).


Their summer display in the window looks like wishful thinking...if only we could have some sunny weather to get our deckchairs and bikinis out!!


Both the deckchair's seat, flip flop flowers and the bikini have been crocheted.

We couldn't leave Knutsford without having tea and cakes at the 'Courtyard Coffee Shop' which also doubles up as the 'Penny Farthing' Museum.

As you look up at the ceiling whilst enjoying your tea (and lemon drizzle cake!) you can see the penny farthings all hanging above you......


Two Pink Knits Complete

Do you remember the little raspberry coloured cardigan I knitted in June? Well I've finished another identical cardigan for my Etsy Shop, it can be found HERE.



I enjoyed knitting with 'pink' so much I started a little summer top in a much duskier pink. 






This can also now be found in my Etsy shop HERE.

New Facebook Page

There was a time when I said I wouldn't join facebook - but things change!  I have noticed how many of my favourite bloggers also have facebook pages, and I've recently missed out on some great giveaways that have only been open to their facebook fans ...... so in the end I've decided that I'll give it a go!  So I've been spending a bit of time putting my facebook page together ... currently I look a bit of a 'Billy-no-Mates'!  - so if you have the time please pop over to see my facebook page and make my day by 'liking' me! You can find me at :   Fleur Cotton Handknits on Facebook


Running Races

It's been a great month for running - and this month I've clocked up many training miles whilst getting totally soaked through in all this 'summer' rain and I've been eaten alive on most runs by the horse flies which seem to be abundant in these humid but wet conditions  ........ but race wise it's been short and sweet.  I ran my quickest 5k race this year at the beginning of the month at a little race in Hollins Green in Cheshire, but this year my 5K times are nearly two minutes slower than my PB so I really need to get fitter.  5K races are my nemesis ... even though they are the relatively short and over quickly they are my worst type of race, so this year I am determined to try and crack my fear of them once and for all ... and that means trying to race as many as possible.  For all my running readers, what's your racing nemesis???? 


Looking forward again, I'm hoping that if I can survive July I should have two knitting patterns for you to download in August and of course that giveaway I promised!  So what are you all up to in July?  Are you on the Olympic Countdown?   If you know of anyone with a new baby who wants to be patriotic during the Olympic Games I have a great cardigan in my Etsy shop HERE in the Team GB Red, White and Blues.

 Anyway whether you are enjoying looking back, or looking forward I hope you have a happy week.

Goodbye for now.
Fleur xx

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

030: I love ONES and ZEROS!

I just love ones..............

                1         1         1        1         1        1

   
I just love zeros.....................

             0       0       0       0        0        0 

Put them together and what do you get????

  100   

100 Lovely Followers !

Oh I'm so excited that I have reached 100 followers - thank you everyone for following me....I hope you all enjoy reading my knitty knatty blog.

10,000

10,000 Page Views!

I can't believe that in four months my blog has attracted so many page views.  It blows me away everyday when I see how many people stop by and from such a variety of countries across the world....it's so nice to meet you all and I really love it when you leave me a comment.  As for reaching both these milestones I think I will have to celebrate with a giveaway .. so I'm going to put my thinking cap on and come up with something..watch this space!

Another exciting thing that has happened this week is receiving my very first blog award:

 

It's the Sunshine Blog Award and it has been awarded to me by Helen from Melbourne in Australia.  Her blog 'Twenty Six Minutes Past' can be found HERE.

Now many of you reading this have received blog awards already so I apologise in advance if I don't follow the correct etiquette!

I believe that I must mention the blogger who has given me this award, which I have done already and then I must answer ten questions and then nominate another ten bloggers who are worthy of the award.  So here goes..........

Favourite animal: I get most pleasure from watching the small birds that visit my garden every day, I love to see them each morning and one winter I had a robin who would sit on the shed looking at me everyday whilst I did the washing up.  Currently we have a woodpecker who sits in the tree at the end of the garden ...so that's great to see.
Favourite number: 41 - my current age, and contrary to any jokey remarks (particularly the Postie!) ....there is life in the old dog yet and I'm not over the hill! 
Favourite non alcoholic drink: After running I love a glass of cranberry juice (half fill the glass with juice) and then top up with cold water and ice.  So refreshing!
Facebook or Twitter: I'm just starting on Facebook ( will post about this soon) but don't use Twitter, I really don't understand how I would find the time to tweet as well as blog and post on facebook.  There again NEVER say NEVER!
My passion: I think you all know what I'm going to say here : Knitting & Running.  Knitting I've been enjoying since I was six years old, my Nanna taught me ... I knitted myself a cardigan when I was 10 much to the amazement of my junior school teacher when I wore my finished cardigan to school!  Running is something I took up later in life, I've been running for about four years now and I just love it ..... which is amazing as prior to running I was probably the most un-sporty person you could imagine.  I run on my own, socially with a running friend, with my other half (the Postie), with a running club and I try to do a variety of road and off-road races anything from 5ks to Half Marathons all year round.
Getting or giving: Definitely giving.  I love choosing gifts for people and am really trying to make a conscious effort to buy handmade.  Of course fabulous websites such as Folksy and Etsy have made this easier......I would definitely champion handmade gifts!  As for receiving I always feel awkward when people buy me gifts especially expensive ones ... I think this stems from having a birthday very near Christmas, I always felt so guilty everyone having to buy for my birthday when they had the expense of Christmas just round the corner ... and I suppose that feeling has stuck.
Favourite pattern: I have many patterns that I have knitted over and over through the years, but I would love to share my 'dream' patterns with you instead, those that I dream about starting if only I had the time!!  I am intent on starting a Ysolda shawl that I have been looking at - click HERE to view, I would love to knit this in either purple or teal.  I am also dreaming of Kate Davies' Betty Mouat Sweater - click HERE to view.  I would just love to do this pattern in black grey and beige. If you haven't seen any of Kate's work yet you must have a look at her blog HERE
Favourite day of the week: Friday .... nothing beats that 'Friday' feeling.
Favourite flower:  This seems to change with the seasons and what I see in other people's gardens around me.  Currently I am loving the large Oriental Poppies everywhere, especially the ones with large white petals and purple/black centres......I have vowed to have these in my garden next year.
Favourite country: Japan.   I have been lucky enough to have had two solo backpacking trips to Japan, and they were both out of this world trips!  The Japanese were some of the kindest people I have ever met, it was a very safe country to visit as a female traveling alone and I have such great memories ....just too many to list! If I won the lottery I would definitely love to have an extended holiday there again.


So now comes the difficult part, nominating ten blogs that bring me sunshine!  I have chosen the blogs that always make me feel happy and sunny when I visit and look at the beautiful colourful photos of their crafty projects, please click on them and have a look as it's always great to find new and inspiring blogs. 

LITTLE WOOLIE - Beautiful crochet projects 

TRULY MYRTLE - Knitting & Sewing Projects Galore

TEA AT WEASELS - Knitting, Crochet & Sewing - Something for everyone.

SEW SWEET VIOLET  - Delicate & Beautiful Sewing Projects ..not to be missed!

PLANET PENNY - Colourful Inspiring Crochet Projects

ACCORDING TO MATT - One of the most colourful craft sites in the universe!

DOTTY RED - Beautiful Sewing Projects 

HANDMADE BY MIA - Adorable Felted Projects

COZY THINGS - Knitting & Crochet Enthusiast - Infectious love of yarn!

and last of all, if you haven't visited this site...where have you been??

ATTIC 24 - The queen of colour!


I really hope you enjoy my choices and find at least one new blog to follow from them.....it's a wonderful world of  colourful and sunny crafters out there!


Hope you all have a wonderful and sunny week, here in Cheshire we are blessed with the sun shining brightly today.  A welcome change after all the rain we've had over the past few weeks.

Goodbye for now.
Fleur xx