Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Finishing and Announcing

I have been analysing my granny square blanket A LOT (you know the one I made for the Janaury Defi'13). And there was something wrong with it. Not an obvious 'wrong' (ie the colours were not wrong), but it did not look finished. And I did not like it. After a bit of blog stalking - one of my favourite pastimes - I came across Faustine's own granny square blanket (made for the same Defi'13) and I could see that she had a really nice finish. The solution was simple she said, the last row is a single crochet row made of a contrasting yarn - of course!

Once I started, that was it. I knew it was right for the blanket. I had some grey Cocoon left - not a full skein, but just enough for this last row. I really like the effect, it looks like a blanket stitch and really finish off the granny square (so no temptation for me making it even bigger!).

So guys, what do you do when you know there is something wrong? Do you have a standard solution or do you try to find similar projects on blogs? or do you just give up...

Anyway, did I mention an announcement in my title? I sure did... I am SO exciting about this. To thank you all for coming to my blog, I will have host my very first GIVEAWAY whilst we are on holiday. I set myself a threshold of people visiting my blog and I passed it - and that is really rewarding!

So Friday this week, all will be unveiled. I think you will like it - it is not just for knitters, or for patchwork... more a home thank you giveaway... It will be open for a bit more than a week - so plenty of time if people missed out. All you need to do is follow me!

Put your hands up those of you who thought I was pregnant?

Monday, 30 January 2012

{Artist Inspiration} - Tom Fruin and scraps

New York artist Tom Fruin used 1,000 reclaimed scraps of Plexiglas for his Kolonihavehus that takes its name and inspiration from Copenhagen’s ubiquitous kolonihavehus - a modest garden shed intended to provide state workers with refuge from the city’s cramped living conditions.

This really jumped at me - first of all for the use of geometrics - but also the colours and the fact that this is made of scraps. A lot of blogs are looking at how to use scraps ... although I still wonder how to define scraps (I suppose it depends how small or big your scrap project is, and how much patience one has).

For some patchwork inspiration do check Rachel's blog Stitched in Colour for the Scrap Attack project but check out also the Compost Quilt over at Completely Cauchy - one of my favourite quilts! (added later... I just realised there is a scrap attack Flickr Group for much more inspiration)

For some knitting inspiration, check out the scrappy lengthwise scarf by Zona Sherman. There are some beautiful versions of this project.

So what do you define as scrap, and what do you do with them?

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Basically not a lot ...

It is W.I.P. Wednesday, and what do I have to report - basically not a lot... On the positive side, I am making progress with the Happiness project - started running again, my house is getting more organised, I am sort of keeping to the Weight Watchers plan - and we have started our Britain in our kitchen blog (our 2012 challenge of eating only British food at home). I have also attempted to do some felting - with a varying degree of success (same wool, same temperature, definitely not the same result).

I was hoping to make a pouch out of those but the texture is so different, I may have to rethink this. I saw a patchwork felted blanket on pinterest... I may get tempted (although this project involves having many more jumpers).

I have also received my new Echo, Lotta Jansdotter, fabric which I love - this is
the colour scheme of my parents' new kitchen, and I am thinking of making some table mats for them (any interesting pattern out there? or inspiration?).

I also really really want to make a sewing machine cover - I do have a pattern in mind, so now it is a case of sitting down and getting on with it. And the small spring buds in grey (the right hand-side fabric) would be perfect!

As far as the knitting is concerned Winnowing is still going - hmmm -, and this weekend I had the joy of having to unstitch 3 entire rows - brilliant. I did make it good
- started the last part of the chart pattern - and then stopped. I will go back to it! I have now seen more Winnowing finished and it is really a beautiful garment, worth the 500+ stitches I am going to end up with at the end of the chart pattern.

Hopefully over at Freshly Pieced people will have more to report and get me inspired!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

{Pay and Display} Vintage Tennis Rackets

In my French life - a long, long time ago (ok, not that long ago, but it sometimes feels that way) - I played tennis a lot. I played for my local team, and I would watch a lot of tennis on TV. I was keen and in love with Andre Agassi and Stefan Edberg. I am now a Roger Federer and Wilfried Tsonga supporter, and play much less tennis and moved on to squash (it is all about being indoors). Since then I always liked things related to vintage tennis. And vintage tennis rackets is what my house needs (no that doesn't mean more clutter!). Here are 5 reasons why!

Vintage Display

I love this display from the Whitcomb company, it takes a bit of space but adds interesting colours and forms to any bland wall.

The Vintage Organiser

You know it guys I am on the look out for something to organise my earrings. This is a quick and querky way to make it happen (found on the SoLovely blog). Not sure about the 'tache on the picture next to it...

The Vintage Valentine

Do you know that Valentine's is coming up? Or have you been on the moon for the last month|? What about making your own decoration to celebrate? This is actually a very clever DIY project from Bloesem Kids.

It looks good and the key is probably in the tension. Would be great for a kid's room (euh, so not for us then).

I reckon this should be coupled with the earrings display - except that it would require a bit more work and thinking, but it totally works.

So no wonder I have 3 vintage rackets currently in my Ebay Watchlist! It is all to finish pretty soon, will let you know how successful I am. We are making progress with decorating the house, properly (the map of Paris is on display now, yeah! - how much nagging did that take!.. will post about it soon).

Friday, 20 January 2012

Happy to Happier

Apart from an obsession with geometrics, yarn, patchwork and crafts in general, I am also an avid reader of self-help books - and usually about finding my 'true self' - whatever that may be (still reading about it!). So when Emma over at Gawgus Things posted about 'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin, I knew I had to get the book. And so I did!

I need to add something straight away. I am a happy, positive person, I am - serious. OK I get grumpy at work and also I nag at home (when the house is not tidy or clean usually). So why am I so into self-help books? It is probably because I think there is more to be done, that time should be really spent purposefully (be it at work or at home). I feel that time should be spent for me and my loved ones rather than for others who do not really care about my well-being. And it is, just not enough...

So anyway the book in hand, I was off to Paris with the train journey ahead of me. The book is divided by month. So I was not sure how I was going to tackle it. Read a chapter every month, or read the whole thing (I may have different priorities than Gretchen's?). I knew though that I agreed with the January Chapter should be my first task because January is Vitality, and that should make other taxing tasks easier.

So 1.'Go to sleep earlier' - should be easy. I take my sleep really seriously (I am sure I mentioned this before) but I really want to make sure I spend time with M as well.

2. Exercise better - I may add eat better. The emotional eating has to stop as well! So I will start weight watchers again and start running regularly again. Yes I will... a whole year of it. bring-it-on.

3. Toss, restore, organise - yes, those bank statements have to find a place in the cupboard under the stairs - actually come to think about it the whole cupboard needs to be organised, as well as the garage... And we still have some bits and pieces in the house to finish (by the end of Chapter 1, I basically had a 'big item' to do list of 5 pages)..

4. Tackle a nagging task... Well the problem is prioritising only one.

5. Act more energetic - hmm, I like the theory...now did to make it happen...

So here we are the basis of my own Happiness project. I am sure loads of you have already read it or done it, would be great to hear about your experience! If you are planning to do it, let me know!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

New Toy - Part II

Pictures of the sleeve for my yarn winder are finally uploaded! I think M is soon going to be sick of grey and yellow - I hope you are not yet, because I am hoping to make one more grey and yellow 'thing' for our little room this weekend.

Let's start by the fact that I love this yellow fabric bought on Etsy at Stefanie's shop. I have a bit of a thing about geometrics as we know, and this is undoutedly my favourite fabric. I love how the top of the sleeve turned out. I was not sure how to end the sleeve as the yarn winder is cylindric. I decided an easy closing method - using strings. It makes it much easier to use.

As I mentioned on Monday I made a second cushion cover (well only the top part) which I really did not need (it stayed 6 months untouched - that was clearly a sign, right?). So I cut it (breathing in and out along the way) and rearranged to make a square pattern. The cushion cover was too small for the length of the yarn winder - hence the need for more fabric at the top and bottom.

I was also going to add my fav yellow fabric at the bottom - but hmmm well maybe it was too much. Added some Kona solid banana from
Simply Solids that I had left from the Cherry House QAL. Not a lot of quilting involved, a couple of lines at the bottom and at the top between the grey and yellow fabrics to reinforce the change.

So as we are Wednesday I have finally a chance to link up to
WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced!

Off to Paris this afternoon, I am hoping to fit in a trip to La Droguerie (totally on the way back to the Eurostar - or not).. Will let you know how I got on Friday!

Monday, 16 January 2012

New toy

There was a plan, a very good plan. Yesterday I finished the sleeve for my new toy and I was going to post about it today - sorted. It meant that I was going to show you some patchwork and not some knitting - to break a bit the routine. It was a brilliant plan. Left my computer to upload the pictures on Picnik (whilst watching Sherlock - such a good episode yesterday!). And this morning I should have been able to edit the pics a bit. But this morning, surprise, none of the pictures of the sleeve were uploaded except one. Thanks to my trusted Blackberry, I can at least show you pictures of my new toy that needed a sleeve for the cold nights.

Isn't it beautiful? This is my Christmas or birthday present, as all of these things happen at the same time for me, from M - which I thought was amazing. I did mention I wanted a yarn winder, I showed him a couple on internet, explained the difference this would make to my life - yes, I laid it on thick. He clearly took all of these things on board and I got my very own this Christmas. Finished the hours spent in front of the TV making yarn balls.

Since receiving my present, I had had a chat with one of my colleagues at work about men and how they (supposedly according to her) buy you things they want for Christmas or birthdays. Let me reassure you, M has NO intention to knit, he looks at me weird when I knit. Not in a bad way, just more in a 'how does that work' way.

So for the sleeve... well this is the only picture rescued from last night upload. Quite a lot of details, right?! However I can tell you it is based on the same patchwork made for the cushion in the hobby room (as shown in Friday's post).. So I guess more to post tomorrow!

Happy Monday guys!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Defi'13 de la decoration

We are the 13th of the month and it can only mean one thing - it is time to link up to Defi'13! This month we had to make something for your house.. Pretty easy - I had loads of ideas. And I managed to make... one, I suppose at least it is one. This is probably the most simple - yet the most expensive (it literally eats yarn) - crochet pattern. The giant granny square blanket.

Pour ce Defi'13 de la decoration, j'ai decide de faire le plus grand des granny squares. J'avais beaucoup d'autres idees en tete bien sur, mais je n'ai reussi qu'a finir (et en fait commencer) ce projet. Pour ne pas me sentir trop nulle, j'ai quand meme ajoute un coussin que j'avais fait l'annee derniere en patchwork. Le granny square au depart c'est tout simple, le probleme c'est en fait son cout - j'ai arrete de compter le nombre de pelotes dont j'ai eu besoin - c'etait trop deprimant.

The yarn used is mainly Rowan Cocoon - and it worked - much better than in my Cadence! I know now how I can use it in the future! I used 4 different shades of grey and you may remember that yellow yarn from Baby Longlegs I used for that slouchy hat! The hook was a 5.5 mm. This is the colour scheme of our bedroom - except that when on the bed, well it just not the right effect. So the grann y square is going to the little room - aka my hobby room with the cushion I made last year. It actually works very well there - so pleased. Would have been really upset if I could not show it off in my house!

J'ai parle il y a quelques billets de cela de mes malheurs avec la laine Cocoon de Rowan - je la trouvais trop lourde et pas facile a travailler. J'ai perserve et ca a paye! J'ai utilise 4 nuances de gris, et ai fini ma derniere pelote de jaune de Baby Longlegs - que j'avais utiliser pour ce projet. J'adore cette couleur. Le crochet est un 5.5 mm. Pour celles qui suivent mon blog, il s'agit effectivement de la palette de couleurs de notre chambre, et en fait ce granny square etait pour la chambre. A part qu'en dessus de lit - ou en bout de lit - ca ne va pas du tout. Ca ne rendait vraiment pas. Donc le granny square est maintenant dans mon bureau, sur ma chaise made in IKEA.

This was a great project for the winter as whilst doing it - in front of the TV (so great after Gingko!) - it was on my lap the whole time, keeping me warm! Brilliant! If you have not done any crochet before, I would definitely recommend this project - it is really easy to do and it grows very quickly (at the beginning). The only problem is at the end, when you need a skein for only one round (hence the expense). As far as the change in colours is concerned, I think at the beginning it was based on a 6 round basis, and then on what I had left... I made a very quick sketch, that I follow quite loosely.

J'ai adore ce projet, apres Gingko qui m'a quand meme pris un peu de temps et beaucoup de ma concentration, c'etait quasiment trop facile... Non pas vraiment, parce que ce n'est pas facile a manier quand on a utililse toutes les pelotes de Rowan de son magasin de laine (bon peut etre pas toutes, mais une bonne partie). Par contre ca tient au chaud tout au long du projet, et en plein hiver c'est quand meme super appreciable. Je recommende ce projet a toutes celles qui n'auraient jamais fait de crochet avant. Ca grandit tres tres vite au depart et ca rend vraiment bien pour un point assez basique. Un autre Defi'13 releve!

Another Defi'13 done!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


M and I did not make many resolutions this year - I think M made none except the one I will be talking about, and mine are always the same: buy less yarn (failed already), buy less in general (failed as well)... So none of great consequence. But we agreed on one thing - that we will eat 100% British food (and drinks) at home. And what it really means is that we have to cook a lot from scratch (to ensure that it is British flour, British butter etc). We have a couple of exceptions - condiments (we found salt but not pepper yet) to spice up our dishes and products in which the main ingredient (at 95% for instance) is known to be British (e.g. some brands of crisps). We are also still using some of the ingredients bought in 2011 that we have left - cannot bring myself to throw away food!

Black pepper and linen seeds Water Crackers

The good thing is that I did not have to stop having cheese! We are tasting all sorts of cheese at home - never had so many in my fridge. But there was the question of water crackers - we had to find a solution. A little googling and testing later we think we have the recipe for homemade water crackers - the original recipe is available here.


200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

50g butter , cold, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp of table salt
flaky sea salt (to garnish, not to add in the dough)

We are using the pasta maker to make the crackers super thin (on setting 6 if you have one) - using that technique you can probably make around 40

Cumin seeds version

1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Place the flour, baking powder, butter and ½ tsp of the table salt in your food processor, then whizz for a minute until the butter is completely mixed with the flour. Add some water and work until the dough comes together. You want a soft but not sticky dough.

2. Roll out the dough very thin, or use the pasta maker to make thin sheets.

3. Brush a little water over the surface of the dough, scatter 1 tsp salt flakes over and press in lightly. You can also add pepper or linen seeds (British). Prick the crackers all over with a fork, then cut into squares. Place on the prepared trays - don't worry if they stretch a bit. Bake for 10-15 mins until the biscuits feel dry and sandy but are still pale - they may should be a bit hard.

4. Transfer to a wire rack and leave until completely cool. Will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

So here we are, these two batches should keep us going for .. a maximum of two days. We made some over the past weekend - but they were not thin enough.I am just glad the pasta maker multi-tasks!

So more to come on our cooking adventure - we have nearly finalised the mushroom soup recipe, and the pasta one as well (hence the fact we have a pasta maker!), and we may also review some of the products we find along the way.

The adventures may become a separate blog altogether - we just have had no time to actually set it up, but I will keep updates on this blog as well.

Monday, 9 January 2012

12 mm

I came back on Friday night from work, and after dinner, I started knitting Winnowing (the first of 3 attempts) and M told me that I should stop knitting squares for the house... Aouch! Since when did he care? OK our bedroom is full of square patterns (more to come on Friday) - but still ... And NO it did not matter I had been thinking the same thing for a week or so, and been looking at patterns using triangles. I took my 12mm needles, and showed him I could also knit triangles - in the round.

OK so I had the idea of making a snood for a while now. I saw this one from
Plumo and was inspired. I wanted to finally knit that Terria yarn (from Katia) I bought 2 years ago in France, and the pumkin chunky yarn from Whaferdale Woolworks. All I needed was a pattern - and apparently one featuring triangles.

Snood from Plumo

Whilst perusing Ravelry on Friday, I came accross the Modern Pillow from Veronik Avery - and loved the effect. All I needed was to be able to reproduce a similar pattern on a snood.

I cast on 60 stitches (which represents 5 repeats of the triangle pattern). I wanted to achieve that 'oversize' effect of the Plumo snood. I was however a bit restricted as I only had 3 balls of the Katia yarn . I knitted 2 rows in garter stitch and then started the pattern (2 and a half repeat in the end). I finished with a couple of garter stitch rows. Easy-peasy. Except that it is not THAT easy to actually knit with 12mm needles in the round. My fingertips are still suffering. But it is a super quick knit, and well worth the effort!

I am very pleased with the result. The Katia yarn is OK, it is felted chunky yarn that is a bit stiff to wear - but hopefully this will get better overtime. I would have loved to have a grey yarn similar to the pumpkin one. But I needed to destash, and the colour work effect is really nice.

And it was an opportunity to show you my new jeans shirt (from New Look), and I recommed putting some super red Bourgeois nail polish (it is dry fast one).

The new Sherlock serie was on TV... As M was taking the pictures I had to keep an eye on the developments of the story line...

Friday, 6 January 2012

Coup de Coeur

If you follow me on twitter (@NoasLibellule) you will know that I fell in love this week with Winnowing. So beautiful. Even M loved it when he saw it. I bought in within 10 minutes of seeing it - I am an emotional buyer.

Except that Winnowing is not to be bought done, Winnowing is to be knitted - see guys what you are missing out by not knitting! Winnowing is part of the Wool People 2 published by Brooklyn Tweed which is in itself a beautiful book (you can peruse it on-line, Jared is a very talented photographer).

I do love the 34th & 8th blue mittens pattern as well - and I love the model relaxed casual style.

And finally a jumper pattern that may reconcile me with knitting jumpers. It was SO hard to find a jumper for M this Christmas (that he may like, otherwise would have been fine) that I think I should just get on with knitting him one. Although if someone does knit a woman version of Guston, please let me know..

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Pay and Display - Earrings

2012 is the year I will be totally organised. I am serious, I cannot go on like this anymore. I went through my numerous jewellery boxes (there was no need to have that many) and realised that I usually keep wearing the same earrings or pendants because I 'forgot' I had all the others. It is time to display all my earrings. But how? Some pinterest-ing and googl-ing later here are some ideas I quite like.

The lamp version - clearly it is a win-win: a lamp AND a storage solution, probably quite easy to do as well with a lamp from IKEA. Interesting, but probably not for me - and worried that the earrings will be super hot..

As seen on sharesomecandy.com

The Needle case idea - would be great for studs. This is not necessarily my choice of colours guys, but a grey/neutral version of this could work. Slightly worried I may forgot where I stored it though... or worse take the earrings case rather than my needle case or vice-versa.

via pinterest

The frame and fabric solution - chic and easy. The frame featured is WAY too small for the number of earrings I have, but seriously how long would it take to make - half an hour tops (without painting the frame). A definite contender..

As seen on apartmenttherapy.com

The Metallic version. I love this project, well I love the pattern of the pattern of the metallic sheet - so Morrocan. The only thing is that now I really want that pattern, and no other - and how likely is this???

As seen on iheartorganising.blogspot.com

Well we know now what M will be doing this weekend (bless him)! Just need to convince him he really wants to come frame shopping again with me!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a great break and feeling refreshed for 2012! The first post of 2012 is really a post about 2011. I finished Gingko - the big version - on time, as in 10 minutes before giving it to Mamy (not blocked yet, had to keep it another day). It was huge in the end, but so soft! I also love the colour - it is a mix of burnt orange, blue and white (knitted with 3 different yarns.

Bonne annee 2012! J'espere que tout le monde s'est bien repose et est pret a affronter 2012 avec une energie nouvelle (surtout que c'est les soldes bientot). Mon premier billet de 2011 est en fait pour vous parler de 2011 et de Gingko. J'ai fini le chale a temps - 10 minutes avant de le donner a Mamy (pas bloque, donc j'ai du le garder encore une journee avec moi - pour prendre des photos egalement!). Gingko est GRAND, Gingko est vraiment tres tres doux et Gingko est egalement tres colore (tricote avec de l'orange, du bleu et du blanc - rien que ca).

This is a beautiful pattern - but something that requires your entire attention (NO TV). The lace pattern is knitted on the right side AND the wrong side (just in case it was too easy otherwise). There are a lot of repeats, I found that it helped marking them (just in case something goes wrong). Not a lot of modifications in terms of knitting. I started the leaf pattern a bit earlier beacause I felt there was already quite a lot of stockinette fabric. I doubled the lace chart.

I used 7mm needles, and three different yarns - The orange strand comes from Dye for Yarn (Etsy), the blue (Trance) and white (Cream) are Rowan Kidsilk Haze - which makes it so soft! I must admit I cannot knit the Kidsilk Haze on its own but with the sock yarn it has worked like a charm and I may repeat the experience. By the way it was a nightmare to block - did not manage to do it well, but I had to give it to her at some point..

Gingko est un modele superbe, mais attention il requiert toute votre concentration (et donc pas de tele), c'est des jetes a l'endroit ET a l'envers et d'autres manoeuvres obscures que j'ai du aller consulter sur YouTube. Bref ce n'etait pas de la tarte, mais le resultat est vraiment gratifiant. J'ai mis un marqueur a chaque debut de repetitions du pattern du milieu et ca m'a (un peu) aide. Je n'ai pas vraiment pas fait de modifications - j'ai commence la chart plus tot que prevu par le modele (le jersey commencer a devenir trop grand) et j'ai tricote deux fois la leaf chart.

Je l'ai tricote avec des aiguilles 7mm, and 3 types de laine - la laine orange vient de Dye for Yarn (sur Etsy), les laines bleu (Trance) and blanche (Cream) sont des pelottes Rowan Kidsilk Haze. Je n'avais jamais reussi a tricoter avec du Kidsilk Haze dans le passe mais en le combinant avec de la laine pour chaussette c'etait parfait et je crois que je vais reutiliser cette methode. Aussi il me faut vous dire que j'ai vraiment eu du mal a bloquer ce chale, d'ailleurs je n'ai pas vraiment pas reussi a le faire, mais a un moment donne il faillait que je lui donne..

Bad picture but it gives you an idea of the final product. Mamy loves it - which I suppose is the only thing that matters really. She wanted something bigger than the other shawls I knitted for her - and if nothing else, her Gingko is big indeed!

Pas la meilleure des photos mais cela vous donne une idee de la taille finale de Gingko. mamy l'adore et en fait c'est tout ce qui compte. Elle voulait un chale plus grand, et Gingko c'est ca un tres tres grand chale!