Thursday, February 16, 2012

The time has come

I started this blog on 6 February 2006.  I was in my early (ish) twenties, only engaged to the lovely man who became my H, and I wanted somewhere to keep track of my knitting projects, which at that stage largely consisted of baby clothes for miniature second cousins, and a little something Rowan for me.

Fast forward six years and this blog has recorded not only the knitting but all the other crafty things and a good few slices of family life.  And like a pair of battered old favourite shoes, it's been starting to creak a little, and let the puddles in.    Knitted Bear isn't going anywhere, I've no plans to take the blog down, or anything like that and it isn't time for me to give up blogging, far from it, but it might be time to move house.

So, if you'd like to come on a little adventure with me, please step across the way to Space for the Butterflies, where I promise more of the same haphazardly delivered tales of a crafty handmade family life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine

Reader, I married a Yorkshireman. And whilst there is a deeply romantic core inside that intensely northern exterior (and I know I've just made him blush by confessing it), for the most part this is a relentlessly practical man.  So when I admitted to him over the weekend that I hadn't even looked at Valentine's cards yet, he came up with the perfect solution.  Save the card pennies and put it towards steak.

We've just feasted on two rib-eyes from Aubrey Allen (local purveyor of mouth watering meat) some chips and veggies, and in a small white card box on the countertop are two Strawberry Millefeuille from my favourite bakery in Birmingham. 

It isn't by a dozen red roses, or cards, or chocolates that I know that I am loved (all of which is not to say that I don't like them, although for flowers I'd rather have tulips) but by the daily actions of a man who knows that my perfect Valentine is good food, time together, and for flowers my velvety red Rapido amaryllis that burst into bloom yesterday.

But I couldn't resist one more little touch.  Kitty's nursery had a pink and red day and although she already fit the bill perfectly in pink vest, pink flowery dungarees, pink flashing shoes and pink hair bobbles (at least until she got very very excited in water play and soaked herself from tip to tiny toe), she just needed a little something…

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(photo taken on my phone while she was in the sling on the way to nursery this morning, hence the funny angle) 

Her matching pair of heart hair slides were based on this tutorial at The Purl Bee from a few years ago.  I sketched my own heart shape to work with the hair clips we had, and used scraps of pink and fuchsia felt from a felt bundle from Paper and String and purple embroidery thread to put them all together.

They are incredibly easy to make; my pair took a little under half an hour of quiet undemanding stitching, curled up on the sofa last night surrounded by a confetti of felt off cuts.  I'm starting to wonder whether something could be done with shamrocks? Easter bunnies? Diamond Jubilee Union Jacks? The possibilities are limited only by the amount of felt and the colours remaining in the bundle.  I've hit the pinks and reds fairly repeatedly, but if you can think of a hairslide that needs a few varieties of fawn and beige we're all sorted!

I hope you've had a lovely Valentine's.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A mini snow day

I'm hesitant to say this but I think we might almost be feeling healthy again.  Having written that I now fully expect to be struck down by yet another plague.  Seriously, I've had a cold, the flu, and the Noro virus in the last three weeks, Kitty's had a chest infection and H got a cold, a throat infection and his fair share of Noro.  Fingers crossed, that's it for us for a while. (I didn't say that, I really didn't, I promise; we could really do with just catching a break).

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The snow fell again last night.  Only a tiny dusting this time, light enough to cling to the tops of blades of grass, and form a crisp icy crust across the pavement.  Kitty has just a touch of cabin fever, mainly characterised by bringing me her coat at regular intervals and trotting down the hall to pound on the front door, so I bundled her up this morning for a quick blast of fresh air.  We walked up to the allotments, counting foot prints, and different sized doggy prints, and added our own swirly patterns to the path.

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The walk to the allotments always detours to the baby playpark, and even the snow doesn't stop a pointy hand and cry of "Dap!" escaping from the buggy.  The slide was out of action with a snowy crash mat at the bottom but she loved stepping out making little flowery footprints into fresh snow.
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It's all melted now, and the forecast has switched the snowflakes for little round sunshines so I think we may have seen the last snowfall for the year.  I'm glad we got to go out and play though, to see her with rosy pink cheeks and and a pink-tipped nose, playing in the snow, the winter she was one.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Let it Snow!

It's true, I asked for it.  No sooner had I pressed publish than the teeny tiny virus invasion force rallied its troops and sallied forth for Cold 2012: Round 2. They squirmed their weaselly way into every joint and sat there, tapping at my bones with tiny hammers, while their colleagues took battering rams to my retinas, and I sat at my desk at work, desperately trying to carry on, as powerless as a bouncy castle (and with something of that wobbliness) against their microscopic siege.

I spent Wednesday, at home, in bed, wearing two handknit jumpers, my socks, and a hat.  Truth be told, it was an odd sensation, being home alone.  With a toddler doing thrice-weekly germ warfare in the Teeny room, our little family has had its fair share of sicks and lurgies, but most of the time we battle through them, or if we're sick, so's Kitty.  To nap, just because I needed to, was a rare and wonderful thing and did me the power of good.

I promised crafty finished goodness, but this is more than crafty, this is prophetic.  You see I finished a quilt:
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It's made from a couple of jelly rolls (and some extra bits) from a Moda fabric line from a few years ago, and it's called ...
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Let It Snow!
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Two beautiful fluffy white inches fell late yesterday and overnight, which we celebrated in time honoured tradition by going to the pub in the snow for a pint/hot chocolate/small bowl of chips and sitting in the window, watching the flakes fly, and the traffic negotiate the hill up into the village.

It's been melting today, and with rain forecast tonight it'll be gone tomorrow.  I am wondering about calling a quilt "Large Lottery Win" though!

But back to the quilt.
The pattern is the Barbed Wire quilt from Twosey Foursey Quilts.  I know it says it's barbed wire, but I looked at it and saw stars.  I split out the white based strips from the jelly roll to make the stars, and added extras from another jelly roll, some charm square packs, and a few bits of Kona white to fill in the gaps.

It left me with more than a few leftovers of the other colours; some went into Kitty's Christmas stocking, some into her birthday dolly quilt, and some I saved for the back.

I wanted to keep the borders relatively simple because the top is so busy so I added a 2.5" border in Kona white, and the binding is Kona red.
I wanted to try a pieced back, not least because the chances of finding something to work with all of the colours of the front weren't very high.  The middle band is pieced from leftover charm squares, and the rest is Kona red and Kona aqua.  They are the perfect match for my fabric, but I'll admit to being a little gutted that with all the wonderful colour names Kona have for their solids, I got red, white and aqua.
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It's quilted with dark red thread, a quarter inch inside each of the stars to make them pop, and other than that I left it well alone.

It's huge, cosy, and just perfect to snuggle down under to watch the snow melt, drip by tiny drip.

The Bare Necessities

Barbed Wire quilt from Twosey-Foursey QuiltsSize: 68" x 80"
Fabric: Moda 'Let it Snow!', two jelly rolls, two charm square packs and some Kona solids in red, white and aqua.
Time to make: Years. So many years that I've forgotten when I started.  It might not take years if you didn't take a few years off in the middle.
Would I make it again: Quilts tend to be a one time only thing - once is quite enough.