Garden Pictures for Spring

Just some garden pics. These have been taken over the last few weeks. It’s good to see what wakes up and when. There are lots of jobs that need to be done. I’ll go out there in a minute and put the bean canes up. If I can squeeze it in I’ll go to the garden centre and get some pretty annuals for the pots. I got some at the supermarket the other day but they need companions.

This iris is an unexpected visitor. I haven’t planted any in recent years and there haven’t been any flowers for that amount of time either. It must have decided to just go for it this year. I like his little spider friend!

Um, that’s all really. The rain has been relentless this last week, I must make the most of today’s sun.

How to Crochet a Beach Bag. Free pattern

At the very beginning of April I had an email from Hobbycraft asking if I’d be interested in designing a crochet project for them. It was really exciting to be asked and really exciting to learn that I could pick any materials from stuff they sold in their stores! Caron Cakes took my fancy, it’s self striping so no colour changes!! The brief was “summer” and what’s more summery than a bag for the beach?! The pattern pretty much uses two entire “cakes” including plenty for pompoms. Honestly, it’s a super easy crochet pattern and pretty fast to work up too.

Hobbycraft have an Instagram account and blog page especially for knitters and crocheters. The bag pattern is up and ready to grab over on Hobbycraft (see below). The best thing of all is that it’s totally free!! They’re asking lots of IGers to come up with patterns. It’s a lovely idea to include crafters who are already connecting in a virtual community. There are some fabulous patterns available and they’ve all been designed by us!

Go here for Crochet Beach Bag awesomeness!!

And if you spot my error, please keep schtum!! 😀  It was very late at night, I was tired and mistakes happen. I kicked myself for not noticing until it was beyond changing. What a silly sausage. Ah, you’re gonna seek it out now. Psshh.

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Episode 6. Crochet Vlog/Podcast

Hello there! The above screen shot will take you to YouTube for a crochet podcast /video web log experience you’ll never forget!!  Please do pop along and watch; it would make me super happy!  Anyway, what have you been up to? This vlog is pretty much what I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks. I always have really good intentions about structure, format, order etc. As soon as the record button gets pressed, that all goes out the window! It’s just supposed to be a chat, not a presented programme. That’s what I tell myself.

Here are the links to stuff in episode 6. If there’s anything else you’re interested in please do ask. Cheers.

This week’s bluebell blog post

Japanese crochet books (and other various craft books) can be found here

Nanna Nostalgia. A blog post I wrote last year about my crafty heritage.

Keep Calm and Carry Yarn Podcast

Crochet Cakes Podcast

Crochet Luna Podcast

And here is some of the stuff I talked about this time round…

Bluebell Time

It’s bluebell time, come on grab your friends, we’re going to visit bluebell lands…etc

I don’t know a single person that isn’t impressed with a sea of these. Let’s face it, even a single bluebell sitting on its own is pretty good. Bees especially agree.

At the weekend we had an impromptu adventure to our nearest gathering of knock your socks off bluebells. Blackbury Camp is situated on the Ottery St Mary to Seaton road and it’s beautiful and interesting at any time of the year. I wrote about it last year when I was seemingly a bit mardy. Check out my grump here.

Photographing outside views is a lot different to product photography. I’ve had more practice at the latter but not much else.  This was one of the things that was upsetting me last year. I’ve improved since then but I still don’t fully understand how to get the best shot. It’s not just about clicking away and hoping that one will turn out OK. Every picture you take should have something going for it. That’s what I think. Believe me, I totally click away and hope for the best but I also try and plan stuff too.

I wasn’t thinking about it at the time (hence the non matchy matchy) but these two pics are the left and right of the same view. We’re in an oval bowl of an iron age fort. You can run around the top “walls” or amble through the centre. What is not seen to the left is the lane that brings you here. To the right; an exit, a series of trenches and stunning views of the valley beyond. The pic above this one shows the other side of the wall and one of the trenches.

Do have bluebell woods near you? Anyone in Devon know of other pretty woods? What follows can only be described as Bluebell spam. It’s worth it though!

Spam over. And by the way, I cheated. The bumblebee shots aren’t from Blackbury Camp at all, I took them in my garden a few days before our jaunty outing! Sorry about that. The fun will never end.

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The Crochet Elephant Ripple Blanket

Hello! Happy May! Love May, May makes me happy. Proper spring you see, it’s magic! Plus it’s my birthday in a couple of days and that always gets me giddy (I can’t believe I still get excited about my birthday). It’s been a while since I wrote a post about crochet. They’ve all been videos haven’t they?! I’m starting to see a divide between blogging and vlogging, that I had no idea about. It’s not a problem but I’d like to not neglect anyone.

Anyway… blanket. At the beginning of April a friend got in touch with me and asked very nicely if I would make a baby blanket for her friend. I liked the ideas she had and fancied having a go at something different. It was nice that I could do a brainless ripple but there was also going to be something interesting in the mix as well.

I know that the baby in question is having a safari themed nursery and because grey was to feature in the blanket’s colour palette, it was elephants that sprang to mind. I did a quick search online and came up with these cuties. The pattern is from Repeat Crafter Me and it’s exactly the sort of thing I wanted.

I like how the secret elephants are hidden inside when it’s folded up. You might think it’s a boring blanket. But tumble it open and the cuteness is revealed!

They had to go trunk to tail, that’s something I definitely wanted. I hadn’t thought much about how they’d be attached. I’m glad it dawned on me not to merrily stitch through to the other side. I paid lots of attention to making the stitches only on one side. I had to forgo safety eyes for the same reason (they’d poke right through to the other side). I forgot to take pics of the other side to prove that there’s nothing on show. Watch my latest vlog, the evidence is there!

I used Stylecraft Special dk as it’s perfect for baby blankets. I ordered the yarn at the same time as the release of the new shades so I knew Buttermilk had to be part of it. It’s like someone has added mayonnaise to the Mustard. They go very nicely together. Also in the mix are Teal, Sage and Grey. It looks quite nice on my fabulous(ly cheap) sofa too!

And let’s not forget the ubiquitous Neat Ripple! I have no idea how many times I’ve made Attic 24’s Neat Ripple! So many! I did 8 pattern repeats and 64 rows before adding the grey. At each end I added a ripply row of grey and then a straightening row. You can straighten it off by following this useful guide from Little Tin Bird. Then it was just a case of making a couple of rounds of UK trebles before going back to Attic24 for the edging, which was pilfered from Lucy’s original Granny Stripe. Phew! What do you think? I like it! Anything with grey and mustard floats my boat though. Grellow they call it.

Anyway, I’m late for an evening walk that I must do. I’ve been very lazy recently and done no proper exercise. And I need to go to the shop for bread and milk…

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Stuff from Episode 5!

Hey! Welcome to Episode 5 where I talk about crochet. It’s a crochet podcast or vlog, I still haven’t decided what to call it. Technically it’s a vlog but podcast is the word that has caught on… The pedant in me is finding the situation very hard to deal with.

Click on the pic above to take you to YouTube!

Here, you’ll find links to all the things I’ve talked about, along with some photos. So even if you don’t want to watch, you can at least see what I’ve been up to recently.

Links:

The Neat Ripple by Lucy of Attic24

A simple blanket edging (the one from Attic24’s original granny stripe).

Cute elephants from Repeat Craft Me.

Straighten out your ripples, here.

My little purse tutorial.

The Cleckheaton colour block jumper that I so desperately want to make!

What my garden looked like a fortnight ago (it’s much more bloomy now-will take pics).

Instagram RavelryPinterestFacebookEtsy

I think this blanket deserves its own blog post! I’ll get on to that next week.

All my sewing projects are in full use, I’ve got a couple of other things on the go and yep, that’s it really! Let me know what you think! Have a fab weekend. X

How to Crochet a Purse and add Zip and Lining

Hi guys! How is everyone?! I’ve finally made another tutorial for YouTube! Phew. This one is for a cute little crochet purse. I wanted to show how to sew in a zip and then at the last minute I decided to go all the way and whack in a demo for the fabric lining too! The response from the crochet Easter egg (my first tutorial) was amazing, absolutely amazing! Thank you so so much. It has definitely spurred me on to make more video tutorials.

Anyway, if you crochet but have always wondered how to attach a zip to your project or want to know how to go about lining it too, this is the tutorial for you.

Things you’ll need:

-Cotton aran yarn (or another yarn of your choice). I used Drops Paris.

-4.5mm hook.

-Zip in the length of the purse you want.

-Fabric for lining.

-Needle for darning in end.

-Needle and threads for sewing zip and lining.

-Scissors!

Here are a few pics of the starting process… Don’t forget, you can chain as many as you like. Make sure your foundation chain is a couple of stitches longer than the actual zip. The work shrinks down slightly smaller than the foundation chain. The piece is worked from the bottom up and in the round. To get the full how to, please hop over to YouTube. Cheers.

Please do let me know how you get on. If you make a purse I’d love to see, you can #zeensandroger and I’ll see it on Instagram or Ravelry it! Or just come and say hi!

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Busy Busy in the Garden.

I feel like this is the beginning. Doesn’t it feel like the beginning of the gardening season? Hardcore gardeners have probably been at it for weeks but cliche that I am, I did most of it over the Easter weekend. Even squeezed in an obligatory garden centre visit. Anyone else stereotype themselves this weekend?!

My outside space was neglected last year and I made a promise that I would be more attentive by the time spring came. So I chucked on old trainers and tatty jeans to spend a couple of days in the garden. (If my mistreated anemones can make the effort to flower, I can make the effort to green my fingers).

If I’m being honest, the bank holiday weekend wasn’t my first time out there, I’ve done rudimentary weeding and pruning, stuff like that, oh and planted some pea seeds. But it was the first weekend where I’ve spent a considerable amount of time doing organising, tidying and planting. Alchemilla mollis was growing in the gravel, so I scrabbled around and got those in pots,  I popped out to the front and gathered lots of baby foxgloves and put those in pots too.

Mum had given me a heuchera and a pulmonaria, so in the borders they went. I’m hoping the foxgloves and alchemilla will join them to fill up all the gaps I’ve got. Some cat mint died last year and left a hole. I didn’t split it when it was at its best a few years ago, I could see its demise coming and wasn’t proactive in saving it. Eh, I’ve never actually split any plants, even though the gardeners on the telly do it all the time. I get a lot of my plants from Mum cos she does what she’s told! Maybe I should chop apart the geraniums this year.

It doesn’t matter how weedy things are in the borders. As long as “weeds” bring colour, they’re welcome. Look at the delicate blue of the speedwell, I love that colour. My mum must too, it’s another one from her. Do you love forget me nots too? They make me extremely happy indeed. Those white anemones are the first plants I ever introduced to that patch. I’m amazed  that they come up every year.

At the end of the season last year, I collected some seeds from the aquilegia. I planted them in a tray this weekend (along with many other seeds in many other trays) and I hope to give the ones under the fig tree some friends (not that you can see the fig tree in the photo above – it’s that blurry trunk in the background).

I’m so excited to see all the buds on the clematis. We had to chop loads back last year as it was clogging everything up. Buds mean flowers! We didn’t kill it!

And you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve been eating purple sprouting with nearly every dinner. There’s flipping loads of it now. I needn’t  have worried about it at all. Just had some patience. But now it needs to get over itself, my runner beans will need to go in that space.

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Crochet Vlog Episode 4!

Hi everyone! It’s another crochet vlog/ podcast episode! Wahoo! Click on the image above to take you on a short journey to YouTube. Thank you again for lots of encouraging words and stuff like that. It has been wonderful reading all your lovely comments, cheers guys!  Hope everyone is well and enjoying any sunshine you’re having (it’s been an exceptional few days here)! I forgot to mention all the usual gubbins about where you can find me, eeh…  If you google Zeens and Roger,  I’m sure you’ll find all my bits! Just don’t click on that annoying “Did you mean Jeans and Roger?” No! I didn’t!

Below are some  links and pictures of all the things I’ve acquired, that I’ve been working on, or have finished! All of which, I chat about in the video.

Neat Ripple by Attic 24. This baby blanket version has 8 multiples of 14, I forgot to mention that!

Granny square bag pattern. Here is the link to my free pattern.

My trip to Amsterdam can be found here. Check out the gorgeous woolly stuff.

Want to know more about the Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey? Click on the link!

A Weekend in Amsterdam.

Did I catch my cold in Amsterdam or did the kids give it to me when I got back?! Either way, it’s snotsville here at the minute and I’m not sure if I can coherently conjure up words. If you would like to see what happened this weekend then please come, come on a virtual tour of my one of my favourite cities (I’ve been to Amsterdam four times!!). I will bung up pictures and see what I can do! Beware, many pictures of wool skeins will appear at some point and then it’s back to the tour via some phone pics.

I love Amsterdam, it’s friendly, it’s easy and it’s fun. The architecture always blows me away, the canals too. The last time I went was ten years ago and what I didn’t realise then is that it is a city full of young and beautiful people. I didn’t quite feel old this time but if you’re not quick on your feet then tram/bicycle squashing seems pretty inevitable. I don’t recall feeling panicky before, but this time round my brain wasn’t quick enough to feel casual about crossing roads. I didn’t think to get a photo of the crazy crisscross of multiple lanes for cars, bikes and trams.

  The weather was mostly good. On our last day it was glorious sunshine. The day before was overcast and we didn’t mind a bit of rain. There was no need for a real coat or anything.

  Upon arrival the first thing I made everyone do was visit Stephen and Penelope’s. It’s the “home” of knitwear designer Stephen West and someone not called Penelope. I dragged seven other people on my mission for wool. I felt marginally guilty; not a single one of those people was remotely interested in this pilgrimage but it was alright cos we went for beer straight after. I had to take lots of photos because it would have been taking the Mick to spend too much time in situ. Oh, crikey I wanted to buy it all. I went in having already decided to at least come out with a tote bag. They didn’t have any left and that made me sad. So I spent 5 Euro on a teeny drawstring bag instead. And two skeins of souvenir dutch yarn to squish.

Undercover Otter is a yarn actually from Amsterdam, you can’t get more souveniry than that! I’ve got plans for this yarn but have no idea when I’ll get the time to make anything (certainly not for the next couple of weeks whilst the kids are off school).

Being a dweeb.

Look at what I missed here?! Right next door to Stephen and Penelope’s is a gorgeous looking fabric shop! I didn’t take this pic until the next day (when it was closed, boo). In all the yarny excitement I was blind to all else. Gutted. Anyone know where I can buy geo patterned fabric? What makes me cross is that it was all so bargainous, I missed out on bargains!

We spent half a day in the Rijksmuseum. Yes, it’s pretty impressive but my back ached far too much to give a stuff by the end of floor two. Look, I have a degree in Art History but even I thought it all looked the blinkin’ same (hyperbolic of me, I know). Floor three  should have been my favourite but I hardly saw any of it. By that time I’d given up.

Highlights of the museum included Petronella Oortman’s dollhouse. No one was looking at the painting of it (see above) but everyone was clamouring to get a look at the real deal. I was interested to see it because I’ve just read The Miniaturist (it was OK, not as amazing as I was lead to believe). The Miniaturist is set in 17th century Amsterdam and was inspired by this very dollhouse. Not sure how the real Petronella would have felt about someone making up a fanciful story about her though. Also, there was the other “must see” that is Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. We kept calling it The Night’s Watch and wondering where Jon Snow was. Hilarious, aren’t we?

We walked all over the city. People’s fitbits confirmed well over twenty thousands steps per day. Fitbits! We all loved the Albert Cuyp market. Loads of great stalls. Wool, fabric and food. I was very happy.

Amsterdam’s night life is notorious and you really shouldn’t miss out on it. It is a marvel to walk the streets and see with your own eyes. Sadly, pictures taken in the dark, on my phone after a few beers; I didn’t get anything to even come close to capturing the true nutjobness of the red light district. You have to see it for yourself. The city’s lights at night are stunning too. The canals are lit up, it’s magic!

A fab way of seeing the city is a trip on a barge. We did this on our last morning, with the sun out and jumpers off. I learned loads about the history of the place and it was a good accompaniment to The Miniaturist. We chugged down the Herengracht (where all the mega rich people used to live) and around the Golden Bend. There are certain sights you can only see here by boat and I think it’s essential if you’re after a touristy excursion. It was just the right thing to end the break on. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

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