Author Archives: sarucrochet30

About sarucrochet30

I love crochet, knitting, sewing and reading and anything to do with the environment and saving our planet...oh and cake too! x

Books of the moment

Lots of crafting done last week and the week before that was my reading week lol! There have been some days recently when I have come in from work and read a whole book in one night. Sometimes it’s inspiration and other times it’s because I have had enough of crafting and wanted a change (or intellectual challenge considering the titles of some of the books!).

You can tell from the titles alone I have been into the reference/ informative books lately. Something to get my chops round you know?! I still have a list of fiction books to read, which has grown a little recently, but sometimes you have to go ‘off-list’!

In no particular order, this is what I have been reading in late July/ early August:

The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

This book is about finding the one thing you need to do to become more successful and happier in your life. It was OK, the whole thing seemed too general and vague for me, I suppose a lot of these books are as they don’t know your exact individual circumstance. But the basic premise seems logical really – narrow down your to do lists to find the most pressing, important thing that needs to be done in order for positive change to happen and do it. A good idea, but more of a coffee table read for me than one which I would make notes from.

 

The No Spend Year: How I Spent Less and Lived More by Michelle McGagh

This book leapt out at me because it is the kind of thing I could see myself doing and it’s interesting to read about other people’s experiments doing things like this. I liked her style of writing, but there seemed to be a jumbled layout of things, with random bits of information in tiny chapters that I didn’t overly love. The information was good and the points important, but totally randomly spaced out. Also, I thought she could have done more activities and ‘things’ and maybe could have broadened the scope of her little project, perhaps by looking at more ethical and eco-friendly things to do? I’m not sure what it was missing but it was lacking something, maybe pictures? But a good read nevertheless.

 

The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith

I loved this book, I loved the tips and the layout and the style in which it was written, and I even scribbled some notes and underlined stuff in pink in the book. The trouble with lots books about blogging is that they are too samey, but this had lots of good case studies – which actually answered questions and not just gave a biography. On one case study, a question was asked on how to find content to publish and the guy who was being questioned said 50% what was happening (in his niche) at the moment and 50% on keyword searches (i.e. via Google), which was what people were currently looking for, and that was something that had never occurred to me. Definitely worth a read for those serious bloggers out there!

 

She Means Business by Carrie Green

Carrie Green was one of the case studies in the book above which is how I first came across her and when I saw this book in WHSmiths I thought I’d give it a go. It’s written for women who are thinking of starting up an online business and reads more like a general self-help kind of book. Again, it can be quite vague, but the overall message is, if you are thinking about making money online, then why aren’t you taking steps to do so? It’s a good read, with the more useful stuff in the second half of the book. I think it could do with some more examples as she tends to use the same ones a lot, but overall not bad as it focuses more on the inspirational and creative side of things.

 

Craft, Show and Sell by Torie Jayne

Definitely a coffee table book this one albeit one with pretty pictures. This one is so vague and general and I suppose, again, it has to be as the author doesn’t know your personal circumstances, but it could have done with a bit more substance to it. Although, saying that, I did like the formula for how to price your crafts on page 79 – that was good. The case studies especially were a missed opportunity as the book focuses on the visual side of things, which means each case study gets a short biography and a short description of their business and that’s it. Perhaps doing a double spread at the end of each chapter with some useful questions answered would have been more useful? I don’t know…if you want pretty pics and something to kick start your research then this is the book for you.

Some food for thought – happy reading!

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Loom Knitted Scarves

I call these looms Long Looms. I’m sure there is a technical term or proper noun out there for them somewhere but I quite like the alliteration of Long Loom!

As opposed to the circular round looms.

I have bought a set of 4 from Hobbycraft for about 8 quid so they won’t exactly break the bank. They are so quick and easy to use, I don’t know why Primary School teachers don’t teach this in textiles.

I decided to do a trial run and bought some bright wool which has now been made into a kids scarf and then I found some gorgeous wool in my LYS and that is in the process of being made into an autumn scarf for me.

The wool in the pic above is James C Brett Party Time (chunky) shade PT1. And I used two balls at the same time so that the scarf was thicker. So, four balls altogether.

As you can probably see, the wool did decide to go out of synch suddenly when too much yellow appeared out of nowhere and ruined the gradual fading in and out of the different colours, but on the whole bright and cheery.

The scarf below is made from King Cole Corona, shade 2271, Carmine. It is probably the nicest, softest, squishiest wool I have ever used. It’s going to be soft and gorgeous and lovely!

Forget ‘get a life’ – I say ‘get a loom!’. Really, have a look in your local hobby or crafty shop and you’ll pick it up in no time! 🙂

Yorkshire Life is a Good Life!

I love Yorkshire!

There, I said it, it’s out there, I’m not going to take it back – although let’s be clear, people. When I say Yorkshire I mean NORTH YORKSHIRE!

You know, the posh and all round better Yorkshire lol!

Where I live is right in between 2 National Parks – The North York Moors and The Yorkshire Dales. Both beautiful. Both different.

The Moors have a bit of a barren feel to them. Sometimes on the top of the moors, it’s like walking on a different planet. But down in the vales and valleys it’s quite cosy.

The Dales are just cosy. They’re snug and the walks are really pretty (and easy – no GIANT HILLS like in the Lake District!). The hills are small, the villages are quaint and the countryside is, perhaps not COMPLETELY untouched, but still rural and remote.

One of my favourite places in the Dales is Aysgarth Falls, where I have been recently with 2 friends called Katrina! It’s quite a small walk unless you decide to walk across to Bolton Castle in Wensleydale. This has a slight claim to fame as it is where Mary Queen of Scots was held for 6 months during the reign of Elizabeth I and also if you watch Game of Thrones, you can imagine it’s where the Bolton family live!

Aysgarth Falls is a small set of waterfalls near the village Aysgarth and is popular with tourists and walkers. It’s also where Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (the Kevin Costner version) filmed the river scene, in the upper and middle falls I believe.

If you are ever up North in the UK, you should definitely make time for the Yorkshire Dales – in Wenseydale they have cheese – what do you think Wallace and Gromit eat? Wensleydale! 🙂 x

WIPs and Stuff

Good afternoon peeps!

Sorry for the loooooong absence, I haven’t blogged or even been online really in about 6 weeks. What happiness!

Work has been tiring, and frankly, sometimes after a long day the last thing you want to do is spend ages faffing around on the interweb! Also, been doing lots of reading and crafting and going places and seeing people and planning things and trying new things, so it’s not all bad right?!

But, first a crafty catch up. I had a long list of things to finish and I managed to get a few done which was good. 🙂

    The crochet hook holder is done, just need to add either a button or some ribbon and maybe tidy up a few loose ends and things. I knitted the cover back in either January or February (or possibly earlier) and that and the fabric have been lying around since then.

It isn’t the best thing I have ever made – mostly because I didn’t really measure it! Oops! I can already hear some of you sewists cringing and tutting. I know, I know, it’s the whole ‘MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE’ old maxim, but I was impatient and didn’t want to spend hours and hours on this so I sort of guessed it, which is why it only sort of works. But it’s not terrible, just needs another few minutes of tidying up like I say.

The second thing I did recently was learn how to knit socks, which has been on my wish list for a looooong time. It took me 3 weeks to knit this one sock (ha!) on and off I might add, so maybe that explains why there is still only ONE SOCK! But the other is coming, once I get a couple more projects out of the way.

It was made with Stylecraft’s Head Over Heels range, the kilimajaro colourway I think and I really like the colours as they remind me of Nepalese prayer flags (which I have long had a strange fascination with). The only thing I’m not sure I like with this wool is on some parts where there is a colour change, it looks like the Stylecraft Wool Gnome has missed a few spots so it’s still the base white. It kind of makes me want to get a felt tip marker and colour it in myself!

I made quite a few mistakes, but i am well chuffed with myself (thanks Youtube!).

(It’s the same sock btw, just from a different angle!) And I have massive clown sized feet…lol!

What else?

Ah yes, a friend has just adopted the cutest baby girl ever in the history of baby girls so I had to make SOMETHING for her. I opted for a cute little pink loom knitted hat and with the leftover wool I crocheted a little bag and filled it with Mr Men books. And added a cuddly toy too. 🙂

I have also made some headway with a crocheted blanket which is nearly finished just need a few more rounds. The trouble is, the bigger it gets, the longer it takes just to do a single round!

James C Brett Marble Cunky range was used for this, they stopped doing the brown colour which is sad, so the last few rounds have just been red and purple.

And here is a montage of them all below, because that is a word I rarely get to use these days so here you go…montage!

I have also finised a loom knitted bright scarf which I forgot to take a picture of, but as I have a gorgeous autumn loom knit scarf on the go as well now, I might as well wait and post them together.

I have bought an awful lot of wool and yarny gooess lately, but again that’s for another time. As are the many books I have bought and read. I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any more until I had read the rest of what was leftover on my shelf still to read, well, I got paid last Thursday and I just had a book blowout, what can I say?! I don’t even feel guilty as they are some nerdy bloody books and there is room to put them now that I have been decluttering!

Have a good Sunday and it’s good to be back! 🙂 Ellen xx

Loom Knitting

Last week I bought a set of circular knitting looms from my local yarn shop. I’ve always wondered how to use them and after watching a video on Youtube I have it all figured out (at least the knit stitch – haven’t tried the purl yet).

And it is so QUICK to knit on. I made the smaller hat in an hour and a half and the larger one over 2 evenings. They both use 2 strands of yarn, the smaller hat using aran weight and the larger one chunky weight yarn.

The smaller hat was made on a 36 peg size loom and the larger one on a 41 peg size loom.

I followed this tutorial on Youtube. She’s really good and has a website, just google Loomahat and see what comes up.

Have a go and see how quick and easy it is to knit things in the round! The looms are not expensive at all to buy and you will wonder why you didn’t try it earlier! 🙂

There were no seams to weave in, it was all knitted in one piece with no increases or decreases and the only thing I had to sew in was when I gathered it all at the top at the end.

P.S. you can add a pom pom to the top if you want to finish it off properly.

 

Book Challenge Update

Oh my, how much can one read when one has a week off?!

The answer: shitloads!

From my original Read-What-I-Have challenge I managed to get 3 books finished, which means I have only 4 more to go in total and then I will have read everything on the list – hooray!

This week I have read The Mill on the Floss, The Woman in White and Ivanhoe. I have also bought a few books, both from a physical bookshop and Amazon. I read The Fat of the Land, Strong, Get Rich Blogging and How to Make a Living with your Writing. AND I managed to get in a couple of e-books and magazines.

Phew!

7 physical books and 2 short e-books is not a bad haul in one week!

I have to say I really enjoyed The Woman in White, I couldn’t put it down, it was so well written. I found it full of suspense and drama and the way it was told from the points of view of different characters (thereby having different narrators) I  thought that was a really modern thing to do (even though it was written in the early 1800s).

Interestingly, even though Ivanhoe was written at around the same time, the language used was very different (even challenging). It is set in Medieval England and has appearances from Richard the Lionheart, A Knight called Ivanhoe, Friar Tuck and even Robin Hood. One downside was as I was reading it all I could see in my mind was an image of those Hollywood films from the 40’s and 50’s where all the costumes were bright and the fight scenes were hilarious (to say nothing of their hairstyles!). And poor Isaac the Jew! He is the untold hero of the story.

The Mill on the Floss was OK, it actually has some really good quotes in, but after spending 3/4 of the book focusing on their childhoods, it was too a sudden and abrupt end, ending as it did. It was OK, just OK.

How to Make a Living with your Writing I ordered from Amazon, it’s a lot tinier than I expected – really thin and that says it all really – not much substance to it. The hints are quite general and vague.

BUT. I really liked Get Rich Blogging by Zoe Griffin. That seemed a bit more practical and helpful for me and I liked the case studies in it, even if they weren’t all in the same ‘niche’ as me (parenting- urgh not yet thanks!). I liked it and it’s one to dip into for inspiration every now and then.

SO. 4 more books to go and then I am free to buy to more (although as you can see, they have already started to creep back in – let’s see if I can’t keep this bookshelf free).

They are:

  1. Vanity Fair
  2. Rob Roy
  3. War and Peace
  4. Anna Karenina

And I can already see that I will hit my target for this year – yay!

But I need a break now, all this reading lately has had one downside.

NO CRAFTING! EEEEEEEEEEK!

No knitting. No crochet. No writing. No nothing. (Apart from baking scones today).

And after a nice relaxing week off work, it’s back to the grind tomorrow 😦

Enjoy what’s left of your weekend, Ellen xx