Summer Craft Challenge 2017 (Week 2)

Last week, I began my summer craft challenge for this year. Beginning on the first day of July seemed as good a time as any! So this is the second installment of my weekly craft challenge round up. It began in Gibraltar and ended in Manchester as the Little Postcards and I started our summer holidays.

Day 8 : Saturday 8th July

Our last chance to take a dip in the pool and my last chance for some Mediterranean alfresco crochet for a while. A simple granny square by the pool was as exciting as it got.

Day 9 : Sunday 9th July



On Sunday, we flew from Gibraltar to Manchester to visit my family. I was rather tired by the end of the day after wrangling three Little Postcards through the airport without Mr Postcard (we left him at home). I managed to begin a project using my new Caron Cake, but just a few rows as I was a bit jaded!

Day 10 : Monday 10th July

Monday saw a bit more progress on my Caron Cake project, although not a lot!

Day 11 : Tuesday 11th July

By Tuesday I was getting into the swing of it and really loving the colour changes in the yarn.

Day 12 : Wednesday 12th July

On Wednesday it was rather busy, so I didn’t have much time for crochet, just a lonely little granny square to add to a long standing WIP back at home.

Day 13 : Thursday 13th July

After a bit of a slow start to my week, craft wise Thursday was brim full of yarny goodness… First stop Black Sheep Wools in Culcheth, near Warrington to drop off three Sixty Million Trebles blankets which had been made in Gibraltar. One was made as a collaboration through the Gibraltar Crochet Collective, the other two by me. They will now be parceled up and sent off to child refugees.

Oh how I do like Black Sheep Wools… So many lovely balls of wool to squidge and gorgeous colours to feast your eyes upon. Europa felt rather at home there ๐Ÿ˜‰.


Next stop, a nearby pub for a spot of lunch. Then, while the Little Postcards played nearby, I managed to get a bit of surreptitious under the picnic table hooky done!

Back at my parents’ home I finished it… I played yarn chicken (going in for another row) and won!

The finished article… Perfect for snuggling up in winter.



Day 14 : Friday 14th July


Time for another new project using birthday present wool (the Caron Cake used for my scarf this week was also a birthday gift). I got into a raspberry swirl with this lovely yarn as I began a string bag pattern.

So, there you have it, my second weekly round up. If you feel inspired, why not join in too, just tag your Instagram photos with #summercraftchallenge2017.

Thanks for stopping by!

Rocksy & Gib’s Med Steps Adventure

Do you remember Rocksy & Gib the mascots of the Gibraltar Crochet Collective? Last week, when the sun was shining they ran off and left the balls of yarn and hooks behind for a Med Steps adventure… do you want to see what they got up to?

It was hard work climbing up the hill to the start of the Med Steps. First pit stop was to admire one of the new signs which have appeared recently… This spot is 160 metres above sea level and this is just the beginning of the trail.

Ahh, time for a breather before the real work begins. So lovely to the feel the sunshine on your back after what feels like weeks of grey, damp and windy weather. These two posed for photos in the sun… admiring the view.

First climb completed and Gib soaked up a few rays at the entrance to the Twin Caves. Rocksy looked completely composed … not even a spot of perspiration yet! Next up… more steps and then the tunnel. Surely everyone who climbs this trail has their picture taken here by the sign? Not Rocksy, she was powering on through to the next bit!

Ahh, now that’s what you call a VIEW!

Knowing what lay ahead of them, Gib and Rocksy took a few moments to chill before attempting the final climb to the summit…

Here goes… these steps weren’t built for little crochet ape legs were they?

Phew, collecting themselves for the next mega step ahead….

Slowly but surely…

What more steps??

Holy Moly, I can see the top! But there’s a heck of a lot of steps to get up there!!

Did we really climb all that way up??

Time for another breather before the final push! What a great view of the Mediterranean…

They didn’t get very far before the next pit stop… Gib was looking a bit overwhelmed. Little did they know that they weren’t alone…

Literally seconds later, look who was sitting in exactly the same spot!

Better not monkey around any more then (sorry couldn’t help myself), last few steps and they were at the summit!

Phew – made it! That’s enough adventuring for one day… back home now for a cup of tea and some crochet!

If you are interested in joining the Gibraltar Crochet Collective, please check out our Facebook page for details of our next get-together. Beginners are welcome as well as experienced crocheters.

Our current project is a blanket for the Sixty Million Trebles project, the project aims to raise awareness about the plight of refugees worldwide. Today’s the first day of Lent, how about making a crochet square each day of Lent to help us make as many blankets as possible? (It’s far more pleasurable than giving up chocolate don’t you think?๐Ÿ˜‰)

If you want to find out more about the Med Steps you can read all about it in my post: The Med Steps: a few facts & figures

And for some Med Steps inspired crochet you might like this: Wild flowers of the Med Steps.

Sunday Sevens #51 2.10.16

Let the sewing begin!

Three weeks into our dressmaking course and we have finished with the pattern drawing and cutting and we are now in the process of constructing a sample top. Because it’s a sample, we are just using curtain lining material to make it, hence the rather boring photo. I’m eager to get this finished and move onto the next ‘real’ project.

Bunny bombshell

Bunny Postcard had a trip to the vets this week. We had been meaning to take him for months so that he could have some vaccinations to allow him to play out in our back patio. Now the weather is beginning to cool a little bit, we thought he might like to have a hop about outside. The first thing the vet said when she saw Bunny was ‘Oh what a lovely girl’. I thought nothing of it, thinking clearly she’s made a mistake…

Once the full medical was done, including checking his heart, ears, eyes and teeth, the vet cottoned onto the fact that we had never actually officially been told Bunny’s gender. Well the big news this week is that Bunny is officially a girl! It’s taken a bit of time for that news to sink in in certain quarters, but I’m thrilled to know that at last I am no longer the only female in the Postcard household!

Suspensionย 

When I flew back from Yarndale last weekend, not only did I bring with me a suitcase full of yarn and wonderful memories, I also brought my Mum and Dad with me too. They hadn’t been to see the Windsor suspension bridge yet so one afternoon this week, while the Little Postcards were still at school, we took a walk up the Rock and along the bridge. I have to say, since my last visit, a discernible creak has developed as you walk from one side of the gorge to the other which did put me slightly on edge. The view is still as stunning as ever from there though.

Not much painting going on…

Inspired by our summer holiday in Southwold back in August, I decided that my next paining project should include some of the beautiful beach huts you see along the seafront. Last week I spent the entire lesson trying to sketch out the huts freehand, and not using a ruler. Unfortunately due to the composition of the photo I’m using and it’s perspective, even when just one line was out of place, it made the whole thing look wonky and a bit rubbish.

This week after a quick refresher lesson on perspective, horizons and eyelines, my teacher very kindly gave me some tracing paper to get the skeleton of the picture down onto the paper so that at least next week I can start painting. Shhh, don’t tell anyone I cheated ๐Ÿ˜‰

Interesting keyhole



I went exploring over the border in La Linea on Friday morning looking for yarn shops (not that I need to buy any more after Yarndale last weekend mind you). I had heard there were some and that they sold nice stuff. Thinking ahead to Christmas presents and such like I thought it was worth following it up.

Almost next door to a really lovely yarn shop, this most unusual keyhole caught my eye on the front door of an old building. There’s some really lovely architecture amongst all the late twentieth century and more modern apartments and shop fronts if you keep your eyes open. Next time, I need to take my camera with me….

Cake anyone?ย 

Yesterday, if you were in Gibraltar town centre there’s a good chance you were ย ‘encouraged’ to part with your cash for raffle tickets and cakes for the Scouts. As two of the Little Postcards are in Scouts, there was a bit of baking going on this week for the annual cake stall fundraiser. My fairy cakes aren’t in this picture, they were hidden down at the other end of the stall… I photographed the pretty cakes instead ๐Ÿ˜‰

Rainbow hope blanket completed


Begun on the last day of August (the very last day of the school summer holidays) and completed on the last day of September – it’s taken me a month to complete my contribution to the Sixty Million Trebles project. The blanket I made will join hundreds of others and be joined to make the worlds biggest ever blanket. It will be used to yarn bomb a site in London before being unpicked to make ‘normal-sized’ blankets which will go to charities in the UK and Syria.

The project is being run to raise awareness about the plight of the sixty million refugees who are displaced from their homes around the world at the moment. It will also raise funds for the cause too. It’s hoped that sixty million treble stitches will be crocheted to represent all the people who have been driven from their homes. Where ever my Rainbow Hope Blanket ends up, I hope it brings some hope to whoever receives it. This 36″ square blanket adds 10,656 trebles to the current count of almost five million.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Nat atย Threads & Bobbins. For more information about it, and if you would like to join in, why not ย pop over to her blog.

ย 


Countdown to Yarndale 2016

Yarndale


I have been a follower of the inspiringly colourful Attic24 blog for a few years now. Back in my early days living here in Gibraltar when my homesickness for the north of England got me yearning for lush green countryside, I could get my fix of the passing seasons from Lucy’s lovely woodland walks.

It was, though, the crochet which introduced me to Attic24 first of all. I don’t know what made me pick up a crochet hook so many years after being taught as a child by my lovely Gran. In the intervening years between learning the skill on my summer holidays at Gran’s house and our arrival in Gibraltar, I really can’t remember ever feeling the need to pick up a hook and yarn again. (My love of sewing and embroidery continued but not that.)

 

My Attic24 inspired tin & jar

One day, for some long forgotten reason, I found myself trawling the Internet for crochet inspiration and I happened upon Lucy’s lovely post about crochet covered tins. Over the next few months whenever I did a hapless online search for crochet patterns and tips, sure enough Attic24 would appear in my search results.

I soon found myself actively seeking out the blog and looking for new posts about yarn as well as family life in Yorkshire. (I’m familiar with this part of the world as we lived in West Yorkshire before moving to the Rock.) When Lucy announced that she was part of a group of people organising a new festival of yarn in her home town of Skipton, I watched from afar glued to the updates and wishing the project well knowing full well I wouldn’t be able to attend.

In the run up to that first Yarndale, 3 years ago, Lucy made an appealย to readers of her blog to contribute granny bunting to decorate the auction mart where the festival is held. I felt compelled to have a go and send one in. Following the detailed and clear instructions I created a ‘Gibraltar’ bunting triangle featuring the national colours of the Rock.

I was thrilled to be sending my little triangle to Yarndale, safe in the knowledge that although I was unable to attend, a little bit of Gibraltar would be there anyway. My bunting even got a mention in the post festival bunting roll call, look at number 20!!

 

That first year, like each one since, I have avidly checked all the crafty blogs I follow to scour them for information about what the festival was like, trying to soak up a little bit of the atmosphere.

The following year, the crochet appealย for decorations was inspired by the fact the Tour de France would be coming through Skipton, so a call went out for mandalas to represent bicycle wheels. I need to point out that the request was for bright colours – hence the slightly clashy choice I made… Perhaps if I was to do it again, I would have selected a different colour palette! Oh, and it was my first attempt at a mandala too – so don’t look too carefully! ๐Ÿ˜‰

A lot more intricate than the bunting this time, the mandala was hooked up and popped in the post to wing it’s way over to Skipton again in time for the Yarndale festival.

Last year, sadly, I failed to contribute to the Yarndale appeal, which was for flowers to create a display raising funds and awareness for the Alzheimers Society. I am sorry I failed to join in – the deadline for submitting anything passed me by and it was too late to join the party again.

In addition to reading accounts of the festival, I have over the years collected a few souvenirs…. programmes, bags…

… and I even have the current Yarndale calendar hanging in my crafty broom cupboard.

This year, my crochet contributions resumed; first of all was the #woollyheartsforyarndale. I first heard about this on Instagram, when @bonnies_little_crafts announced that she wanted to collect 7000 woolly hearts to give out to visitors to her home town of Skipton when they visit Yarndale 2016. 7000 is rather a tall order, so I thought I’d like to join in and send some woolly love over from Gibraltar. I hooked a few hearts up under the bright spring sunshine.

…and then posted them off to ‘Bonnie’ along with a postcard from Gibraltar (naturally). She created this beautiful photo collage when she received the parcel through the post.

Those little hearts are really quite addictive to make you know, during a bit of down time between other crochet projects, I felt the need to hook up a few more. So a second shipment of Gibraltar hearts found their way over to Skipton.

So did she reach the target of 7000? Well this is the latest update from woolly heart HQ and she’s within touching distance. Congratulations @bonnies_little_crafts!!!ย 

The ‘official’ appealย for crochet and knitted items this year was for little woolly sheep. They are going on display in the festival venue and will be auctioned and sold off to raise much needed funds for the Martin House children’s hospice in Boston Spa. This appeal struck a chord with me, as I was fortunate enough to visit Martin House with my job in the days before having Little Postcards of my own. It’s a truly wonderful place, so positive and friendly and a very much needed resource for the families who use it’s services.

In the spirit of my Gibraltar bunting from three years ago, I created Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep. You can read all about her in this post :ย The adventures of Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep.

Well, you can probably gather I am a keen (if distant) supporter of the Yarndale festival and I have really wished I could attend each year it has been held. This year, my patience has paid off because I’M GOING TO YARNDALE!!!!!ย Sorry – did that come over a bit shouty? I’m more than a little bit giddy at the prospect. I have Mr Postcard to thank for it, it’s my birthday present from him you see.

So on Friday I am going to follow in Llanita’s footsteps and fly off to Yarndale myself – I cannot wait!! I promise I’ll take loads of pictures when I’m there and share them on my return. I will have to really rein myself in and not be paying for excess baggage on the return flight – we don’t want the plane weighed down with too many yarny purchases do we?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Until next time, thank you for stopping by!

The adventures of Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep

Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep

Introducing Llanita, Gibraltar’s very own Yarndale sheep. For those of you unfamiliar with Yarndale, it’s a festival of all things woolly which takes place in Skipton, North Yorkshire in September. It’s in it’s fourth year now and each year, the organisers ask for crocheters and knitters to contribute a little item to decorate the festival, and as with last year’s event, those items will be used to generate funds for a local charity.

Baa!
 
In past years they have asked for bunting triangles, mandalas and flowers. This year, they have asked people to contribute little knitted or crocheted sheep. I have contributed to this effort in the past and couldn’t resist sending a Gibraltar representative to Yarndale again. 

The charity they are supporting this year is the wonderful Martin House Hospice for children & young people. Many years ago before having small people of my own, I was lucky enough to visit this marvelous place through my job. It is a magical place where everyone is greeted with a smile, so positive and uplifting. 

Before Llanita was packaged up and sent off, I couldn’t resist having a little bit of fun with her … she’s been around the Rock on a bit of an adventure, and even got lost! Here’s what she’s been up to:

Visiting the Convent

You can’t fly the flag for Gibraltar without a visit to the Convent, the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar. She popped in for afternoon tea and a chat about her important job representing the Rock at Yarndale. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hanging out in Casemates Square
She loved hanging out in Casemates Square, it’s quite the place to be seen, especially on a Friday night when the bars and restaurants are busy.

Admiring the art at the Gibraltar National Gallery
Quite the sheep about town, Llanita decided to soak up some culture on a visit to the Mario Finlayson National Art Gallery at City Hall.

Llanita likes nothing more than a sheep dip in the pool on a very hot day…

You just can’t beat an early morning frolic in the luscious grass at Commonwealth Park. A little nibble of that for breakfast sets her up for the day, but please don’t tell the park keepers!

Frolicking in the grass at Commonwealth Park

So here’s the thing… I discovered to my horror, shortly after taking the above photo, that Llanita was missing. No!!! Cue: little Bo Peep tune.

I could only assume she must have loved the feeling of the grass on her hooves so much that she didn’t want to leave Commonwealth Park. 

But we still need a Gibraltar Yarndale sheep I hear you cry… Drum roll please: in a Dolly the sheep type cloning exercise we have a replacement…. Llanita Mark II.

Continuing the good work done by Llanita Mark I, Llanita carried on her pre-Yarndale tour of Gibraltar. Next stop: the beach!

Llanita loves it at Catalan Bay but isn’t a fan of the sand on her hooves. She loved it so much that she’s been twice!

She also really enjoyed her trip to the Gibraltar Fair but the candy floss at the family pavilion was more her thing than the noisy rides…

The imposing Trinity House Lighthouse at Europa Point is right up her street. It even matches her woolly jumper!

Just like all beauty queens who represent Gibraltar on the international stage, Llanita posed for a photo on the runway in front of the Rock before flying off to join the flock of woolly sheep at the Yarndale Festival.

She packed her very own postcard from Gibraltar so that the other Yarndale sheep know her name and where she’s from.

Bye bye Llanita, have a safe trip! Keep the Gibraltar flag flying!


Baa baa!

But that’s not the end of Llanita’s story, no sooner than she was ready to set off, who should put in an appearance?

The original Llanita turned up in a totally inexplicable place, under a beach towel at the bottom of the beach bag! She must have been hiding in there all along. What a happy ending to the Llanita the Yarndale sheep story – now one Llanita can fly off to Yarndale and the other can stay at home with me!!

Llanito or Yanito is the dialect spoken in Gibraltar and includes a mixture of English, Spanish, Genoese and words borrowed from other languages.

A Llanita (pronounced Yanita) is a female Gibraltarian.

Summer Craft Challenge 2016 part 2

Day 8 : Saturday 16th July


I have a Dino tail ๐Ÿ’™! I can’t show you any more of this make until it has been gifted and has arrived in its new home I’m afraid. I love the 3D quality of crochet, it’s just magic how yarn and a hook can create structures like this! 

Day 9 : Sunday 17th July


I hooked up my contribution to #jennysblanketofhugs organised by Kate at Just Pootling. Crocheters around the world are making up to three squares each which will be joined together into three blankets. With a colour palette of pinks, red and orange, they are made into any of the three patterns detailed on Just Pootling: plain, stripes or bobbles.

Two of the blankets will be gifted to two ladies, a mother and daughter who are going through a tough time at the moment. The third will be raffled or auctioned off to raise money for charity. It’s a very worthy cause.

Day 10 : Monday 18th July


Having watched a video on how to crochet bobbles on Just Pootling’s Instagram I realised that yesterday’s attempts at bobbles fell far short of the required roundness. They were unraveled and redone. I think they are a far superior version and am glad I discovered my mistake. I think they could become a favourite stitch and will appear in a future project :-).

Day 11 : Tuesday 19th July


A day trip to the beach meant lots of playing in the sea and chatting to friends and not much crafting, but I did manage one solitary #woollyheartforYarndale ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 12 : Wednesday 20th July


I took a break from my crochet hook and had a bash at free-motion machine embroidery… and failed. I did a batik, quilted, fabric picture at school in sewing which used machine embroidery to embellish it (I was trying to impress with the number of different techniques – can’t you tell ๐Ÿ˜‰) and I’ve always fancied having a go again. 

I tried and failed to find an attachment online to adapt my 10 year old Harmony 2039 New Home by Janome but my mind was boggled by all the options. I told my dressmaking teacher about it and she gave me the plastic plate (above right) to cover the teeth below the presser foot.

I clipped it into place (kind of) and set off. It wasn’t very free with the motion- I had to tug the fabric through and was convinced I’d end up breaking a needle (I didn’t amazingly). I did however chew up the underside of the plastic plate and got the threads tangled into lots of knots.

I asked for help from any experienced machine embroiderers on Instagram on Wednesday and was given lots of great advice about new presser feet and lowering the feed dog so I will give it another try when I get the machine out again. Isn’t the online crafting community lovely? Thank you to everyone who offered me help and advice!  ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 13 : Thursday 21st July


I’m not sure whether this counts as ‘craft’ or not, but I finished an alteration for my Mum. She asked me to shorten her new trousers, normally a simple job, but these trousers had zips at the bottom. I had to remove the zips, trim the length and then reinsert the zips in their new position.

I have to admit I was guided by my dressmaking teacher – it wasn’t an entirely solo affair, but considering that I only inserted my first zip just over six months ago, I’m pretty  pleased with how they turned out.

NOTE TO FRIENDS: I am not taking in alterations ๐Ÿ˜‰ these trousers were good practice but I prefer frivolous crafting to the practical stuff! 

Day 14 : Friday 22nd July


I can’t show you what I made yesterday as it’s a surprise gift but I can show you my craft supplies all packed into my suitcase ready for our summer holidays. I flew to England last night to visit family along with the Little Postcards. Mr Postcard stayed behind to look after Bunny. He’ll join us later on when Bunny checks into his health farm retreat for his vacation.

I’ve got two crochet projects and a cross stitch picture to do while we’re away – do you think that’ll be enough?? ๐Ÿ˜‰



Mr Bumble free crochet pattern

Since the Alameda Gardens Yarnbombing at the weekend I’ve had loads of lovely comments about Mr Bumble. He was obviously so popular that he’d actually buzzed off home with someone else by the time I went back to take the yarnbomb down (either that or he’d checked into the Bee Hotel).

To make your own Mr Bumble, you’ll need a small amount of yellow, black and grey double knitting yarn (and a little bit of white for the eyes), a 3mm crochet hook and a stitch marker. The pattern is worked in a spiral like amigurumi and uses UK crochet terms. 

(If you are a seasoned crocheter, apologies if these instructions are a little basic – this is my first attempt at writing a pattern of my own!)

Body (make 1)

Using black yarn, make a magic circle and crochet 6 double crochets (DC) into the circle. 


Pull the tail of the yarn to close the magic circle – row 1 is now complete.

Row 2: 2 DC into each of the stitches on the previous row = 12 stitches 

(It can be useful to mark the first stitch in each row with a stitch marker so you can keep track of where your rows begin and end).

Row 3: (1 DC into the first stitch, 2 DC into the second stitch) and repeat to the end of the row = 18 stitches 

Row 4: (1 DC in first stitch, 1 DC in second stitch, 2 DC in third stitch), and repeat to the end of the row = 24 stitches.

Row 5: (1 DC in first stitch, 1 DC in second stitch, 1 DC in third stitch, 2 DC in fourth stitch) and repeat to the end of the row = 30 stitches

Row 6: 1 DC into each stitch = 30 stitches (At this point the flat piece of crochet will begin to be 3-dimensional)

Row 7: Change to yellow yarn. 1 DC in each stitch = 30 stitches. It’s starting to look a little bee-like now!

Continue the stripes in this fashion:

Row 8: Change to black yarn. 1 DC in each stitch = 30 stitches

Row 9: Change to yellow yarn. 1 DC in each stitch = 30 stitches 

Row 10: Change to black yarn. 1 DC in each stitch = 30 stitches

Row 11: Change to yellow yarn. 1 DC in each stitch = 30 stitches

Row 12: Change to black yarn. 1 DC in each stitch = 30 stitches

Row 13: Change to yellow yarn. 1 DC in each stitch = 30 stitches

Row 14: Change to black yarn. (1 DC in first stitch, DC next two stitches together) and repeat to the end of the row = 18 stitches

Row 15: (1 DC in first stitch, DC next two stitches together) and repeat to the last stitch of the row DC into the final stitch = 13 stitches. 

Now is a good time to stuff the body of your bee with toy filling before the opening in his tail end gets too small to fill him. 

Row 16: DC next 2 stitches together 6 times 

Row 17: DC next 2 stitches together 3 times

The hole in the end of your bee should now be closed, cut the yarn leaving a tail. Pull the tail through the loop on your hook and tighten. You should have a little point on your bee’s bottom a bit like a sting. 

Darn in the yarn end being careful not to flatten the sting.

Wings (make 2)

Row 1: Make a magic circle and DC 5 stitches into it. Pull the tail of the yarn to tighten the magic circle before beginning row 2.

Row 2: Crochet 2 DC into each of the 5 stitches in the previous row = 10 stitches.

Row 3 : (1 DC into the first stitch, 2 DC into the second stitch) and repeat until you reach the end of the row = 15 stitches

Fasten off.

Then make another.


Attach your wings securely to the top of your bee’s body using the tails of yarn. 


Using the white wool embroider two eyes onto the face with French knots.

And there you have it, your own Mr Bumble!

He does look rather at home amongst the flowers don’t you think?

Please feel free to make your own Mr Bumble, but I would greatly appreciate it if you were to credit Postcard from Gibraltar with the pattern of you do. Happy hooking!  ๐Ÿ™‚