Sunday, March 09, 2008


Several of my friends are pregnant (or indeed have recently had babies) and I've been struggling to keep up both with knitting gifts and with being able to empathise with a process that (right now at least) seems alien to me!

My friend Heather and her husband Sam had a baby last year and I failed to get anything turned out in time, so in an effort to make amends, I decided to make something particularly yummy, and settled on the Elijah elephant by Ysolda. I knew it was going to be a tricky project, but all the finished versions of Elijah on Ravelry looked so cute I decided I just had to give it a go.

It turns out that this project, in my opinion at least, is every bit as magical as being pregnant (and don't you dare tell me otherwise ;-), because you just can't help but marvel at your own cleverness for making something so special! And like any proud parent, I took a ridiculous amount of pictures to show off my skills!

Here is the head, in progress taken from the side so you can see her trunk. Isn't she cute? Who do you think she looks like? And this is the head from the back because I was so excited by the pinwheel that her head originates out of - despite it being a pain to cast on for. Don't you just want to sniff that darling baby (elephant) head?!

Now, this is the base of her body, because I was just as excited with the 'X' that occurs at the base ready for you to pick up and knit triangular legs into. Isn't that just the peachiest posterior ever?

So this is a picture of head and body from the side, and you can just about see the shaping that ends up in that X-shape. Ahhh, she's all dimples and curves!

And here she is with the legs added. Look at those chubby legs and perfect tiny feet!

And, drum roll please (in a slight change of colour - the pictures above are more true - because I got a new phone half-way through making her and I take all my images with the camera on my phone), here is my finished Lillyphant (named like the original Elijah Elephant after its soon-to-be owner Lillian 'Lilly' Murn), complete with French Knot eyes, in all her gorgeous glory. So, I had to learn a pinwheel cast-on, M1l and M2r (I had no idea there was any difference in M1s until this project), short rows with wraps and turns, and as if that wasn't enough for my poor brain (and fingers) embroidering French Knots! Goodness me, if that isn't a tricky labour, I don't know what is! ;-)

I have to confess that despite finishing her a few weeks ago, I have yet to manage to part with her; I had no idea the bond would be this strong! But I've written the card that goes with her and put a ribbon round her neck, so its only a matter of time before I fill in the adoption certificate - I mean customs form - and send her off to her new home in the US.

It just seems so horribly fast that babies fly the nest these days...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Happy Mothering Sunday

My Mummy has one strict rule for Mothering Sunday: NO BOUGHT GIFTS!

I mostly observe this rule, and make or do something - although I don't think I ever did clean all the windows I once promised her I would. Last year she got a Simnel Cake, which involved a mad dash on the Sunday morning to find a blow torch to burnish my marzipan disciples! (which sounds painful now I think about it ;-).

This year, however, I whipped up a jar of passion fruit curd from a recipe in the back of How to be a Domestic Goddess and crocheted a small purple heart, using a crochet hook that once belonged to my Mother's Mother, for the front of a card. You can the curd and card both pictured below - although most of the passion fruit curd disappeared on Sunday as we all ate it over the meringues I had made for some guests of my parents' (who never arrived).
And actually the jar (which I adorned with fabric and wallpaper samples I ordered when I was decorating my flat - I didn't go with these colours, they were too red against my other furnishings) is sitting on a plate I painted for both my parents for the Valentine's Day before last. It is covered in hearts and on the front it says : 'hearts for you...' while on the back: 'for helping me mend mine'. Enough said really, Mummy (and Daddy) are always there when you need them, no matter what kind of mess you are in! (secret wink to my Mum! ;-)

Thank you! xxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ch ch ch ch chain stitch

I'm learning to crochet!

Inspired by my brother's fiance learning to crochet and then starting to crochet a dress for her own wedding (in just a matter of months), I decided I should at least give it a go, and it turns out crochet is a whole heap of fun!

I've been teaching myself using Ms Stoller's Happy Hooker, which I really enjoyed asking for in the book shop while standing next to an elderly man buying a crossword dictionary! And so far I've mastered several stitches and several shapes including circles...and (joy of joy) granny squares! I cannot tell you how thrilled I am at being able to do a granny square. I've wanted to be able to for ages and have had all sorts of plans for kitsch cushion covers and throws and now the only things standing in my way are a lack of crochet hooks and yarn!

I do know that my tension is a bit loose on both of these projects, and that is down to the fact I can't find a crochet hook in any of my local shops so I asked my Dad to get me a 5.5mm one when he was in John Lewis, deciding that was a good 'in the middle' size, but it turns out, just like with knitting, I crochet a bit loose. When I've finally got a few hooks I think this small glitch will be ironed out.

But despite that slight teething trouble, the rest of my experiments have been fun, fun, fun. And I'm happy to report that I ♥ crochet!
One thing with crochet patterns that keeps making me laugh though, and something I don't know why I'm sharing, is that that when I see 'ch' in a pattern (meaning 'chain stitch'), I get David Bowie's 'Changes' in my head, only it comes out as: "Ch ch ch ch chain stitch..."