Monday 31 August 2009

A time to craft

All housework has been put to one side and I've spent the past week busily stitching.

And you'll be pleased to know I've at last finished writing my long promised mouse pattern. I've created versions of this little lady for many years and I'm now sharing the pattern, which I designed many moons ago, with anyone who cares to take a peek at my Etsy shop (see link in the sidebar).

Little Miss Mouse will sit snuggly in the palm of your hand and measures just 5 cm (2 in) tall. In festive colours she makes a great Xmas tree decoration (and won't object to sitting on prickly branches). In pink or blue she becomes a sweet keepsake for a new birth or baptism and in white she makes the perfect gift for bride and bridesmaids. This little one is busily knitting which is what I shall be doing for the next few weeks.

The russets, golds and deep magenta pinks of dahlias in the garden great me each morning when I draw back the curtains and so I've filled my basket with yarns in these hues hoping for inspiration!

Sunday 23 August 2009

Fly away home

Here at Flutterby Patch in England's north country the days are growing shorter and the nights are a little colder and so we think the time has come for our much travelled blog-trotting sheep to return home.

Three of our most colourful butterflies are sunning themselves in the early morning sunshine in preparation for a very long journey.

And very soon they leave their sunny spot with instructions to fly to New Zealand where Chalky, Charcoal and Rose have been visiting their cousin. Hopefully the intrepid trio will have packed their things and be ready and waiting when the butterflies arrive to collect them. No more rough sea crossings or hazardous aerial flights for our brave flock, the butterflies will carry the sheep safely back to Flutterby Patch.
And sure enough the sheep are waiting for them. After each woolly animal is firmly attached to a butterfly's harness they are ready to leave.

Chalky is the first to depart and Charcoal quickly follows.
Poor Rose is understandably nervous and closes her eyes as her butterfly ascends.

She refuses to open them during the long journey home.
The three butterflies carry the sheep over many continents and oceans before Charcoal suddenly spots a welcome sight. Descending through the clouds a familiar English landscape comes into view. A patchwork of sunny fields and shady copses. Nearly there, just a little further to go.

And then Chalky calls excitedly to the others as their much loved land of misty mountains and sparkling lakes appears over the horizon. It was good to be back safe and sound.

Welcome home Chalky, Charcoal and Rose.
Your blog-trotting adventures are over at last.
I should like to say a BIG THANK YOU to all the lovely bloggers and their sheep around the world who have invited the flutterby flock to visit them over the past few weeks. It's been great fun. 'Around the World in 10 blogs' can be found in the Flutterby Patch sidebar.
Finally a BIG THANK YOU to everyone (children included) who have avidly followed the adventures of the three woolly friends as they have journeyed round the world of blogs. Your many kind comments have been much appreciated.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Up, up and away (blog 10)

Well friends, all exciting adventures must come to an end and today we find Chalky, Charcoal and Rose in the USA about to embark on their final blog-trotting journey. During the past few months they have travelled many thousands of 'virtual miles' and have now been invited to visit Moo-ness Family in New Zealand where their cousin Baaaa-rry is waiting to show them all the amazing sights in his native country.
Our intrepid trio are understandably feeling quite travel-weary and are sitting down to discuss how they will cover the many thousands of miles to their next destination when suddenly a handsome woolly stranger appears.


He introduces himself as Rudolph the ram. He explains that he works for Santa Claus who is now employing sheep to work for him as he can no longer afford to employ reindeer.
Rudolph has been sent on a mission to find unwanted toys that can be repaired and recycled as Christmas gifts. The trouble is, he's lost his red nose and without it he can't fly.


Rose, as you might guess, has taken an immediate liking to the handsome fellow and offers to help him find his nose.

The two disappear into the bushes and begin searching.

Suddenly Rudolph appears wearing a hideously large red nose which terrifies poor Charcoal.


"What do you think?" he asks
"Horrible!" exclaims Charcoal. "Take it off at once".
"How about this?" asks Rudolph showing Chalky and Rose a long red sausage-shaped nose.


The two sheep have to look away as it looks even worse than before.
"Is this any better?" asks Rudolph showing them a smaller nose that looks like a shiny red berry.


"Much better" they all agree. "That looks like a proper shiny red nose."
"Now for some antlers" says Rudolph. "Santa says I must try to look like a real reindeer" and he balances two enormous branches on his head.


"Much too big Rudolph, find smaller ones" they all tell him.
And so he chooses smaller twiggy antlers and pops them on his head.


Now Rudolph the red-nosed ram looks every bit as handsome as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and he takes the friends to see the sleigh full of broken toys that he is taking back to Santa's workshop to be repaired.


They all agree that the sleigh looks rather like a cardboard box. But Rudolph explains that Santa wants to reduce his carbon hoof-print this year and is using environmentally friendly cardboard to carry toys around the world at Christmas.
Then Chalky has a good idea and says to Rudolph "If you take us to New Zealand you might find some more broken toys that can be recycled."
"Let's go there and find out" says Rudolph cheerily. So the three woolly blog-trotters waste no time in climbing into the cardboard sleigh where they sit down amongst the broken toys ready for the journey.


"Everyone sitting comfortably?" asks Rudolph.
"Not really" replies Rose who is squeezed into a corner next to a toy horse and two plastic robots.


"Then we'll be off" says Rudolph. "Hold on tight everyone...... New Zealand here we come". And away they fly.
And so we leave our intrepid blog-trotters as they head off to visit their cousin at the 10th and final blog. Will they ever return home to Flutterby Patch or will they decide to stay in lovely NZ?
To be continued......


Meanwhile, if you'd like to knit your own Rudolf the red-nosed ram you can use my basic sheep pattern found in the sidebar. This fellow is slightly larger than the other sheep so all you need to do is cast on an extra stitch and knit an extra row for the head, body, legs, ears and coat. For example, the pattern for the head tells you to cast on 9 stitches and knit 10 rows so you would change this to - cast on 10 stitches and knit 11 rows. Its as easy as that!
For Rudolph's horns I used pipe cleaners and for his antlers some little twigs from a bush in the garden. His bead nose is attached with a pin but you would probably want to stitch this on firmly, especially if you have children around.

Sunday 16 August 2009

Cousins in dollyland (blog 9)

If you have been following the travels of the flutterby patch blog-trotting sheep you will remember they have been staying in Ohio (USA). But now they have been invited to visit little Eli and their woolly cousins in Iowa who live with an ever growing family of cute knitted dolls. As they don't have an ocean to cross (thank goodness), they have decided to walk all the way to the next blog Knitting Tree.


However, their journey has barely started when they bump into a couple of items that appear to be lost.
The basket doesn't interest them much, but the sheep all agree that the strange black monster requires further investigation.


Brave Chalky climbs inside the monster's mouth but is afraid it might swallow him so he quickly climbs onto the long pole hoping to escape the ferocious jaws.


Suddenly he slips down the pole and with a loud 'SNAP' the jaws open even wider.
Now all three sheep are swallowed up and trapped inside. What a disaster!


A gust of wind spins them round like laundry in a washing machine.
They twirl and twist and then are suddenly tipped out.

"Perhaps it's not such a bad monster " says Chalky "it will make a great shelter from the wind and rain."
Eventually curiosity gets the better of Charcoal and he climbs onto the basket and tries to lift the lid.

But his efforts are unsuccessful and so Chalky suggests giving him a helping push.


With Chalky's help, Charcoal is able to open the lid and excitedly calls to the others that the basket is full of knitting wool.

What fun! Chalky and Rose join Charcoal in the basket and nestle down into the soft yarn.


And what a snug little house it makes.

The black monster, who all this time has been watching them, suddenly takes a mighty leap.
It's black handle catches hold of the basket

and before the friends can jump out of their new home they are lifted skyward.


And it seems another journey has begun.

Will the flutterby flock reach Iowa safely?
To be continued - the 10th and final journey will follow shortly.

Thursday 13 August 2009

The woolly wandering continues (blogs 7 and 8)

You might remember that back in May we had fun following the flutterby sheep (Chalky, Charcoal and Rose) on their blog trotting adventures around the world. At each blog they met a new woolly friend the idea being that they should travel 'around the world in 10 blogs'.


Their first trip was to Ivory Blush Roses in north America where they met Fred


Trip number two involved a rough ocean voyage to Tasmania where they spent a happy time with dolly Beth and her woolly friend at Little Jenny Wren.


Three was a long balloon trip to Belgium where a sweetie named Daisie was waiting to greet them at Cats and Quilts.


Four - a lengthy trip on a magic carpet transported the threesome to North Carolina where Billy and Miss Kitty entertained them for a while at Cats, Crafts and Penguins.


Trip five was back to Australia in a giant bubble. The sheep were pleased to land safely and spent a quiet few days with Shee-Baa and Lam-Baa at their blog Still at Home.


At the end of May the flutterby sheep travelled with some adventurous penguins on an iceberg all the way from the Southern Ocean to Dublin in Ireland. And it is here that they have spent the summer with their cousin Aaaa-shling and pretty Bo at Wee Cute Treasures.
But the time has come to move on again and the flock have been invited to .... well let's find out...


Total confusion! The sheep cannot understand their invitation to visit a blog in Dublin because they are in Dublin already (Dublin in Ireland)....


Problem solved, they turn the card over and find it is a different Dublin. The invitation is from Dublin, Ohio in the USA.
They will travel to Life of a Domestic Disaster. So out comes the trusty atlas.

A quick look at the map and the friends realise they have another large ocean to cross...not a happy prospect. Rose says she will never travel on a raft again. Chalky insists he will never sit on another magic carpet and Charcoal refuses to travel via balloon or bubble. So how will they reach Ohio?
"Anyone need a ride to America?" the sheep recognise a familiar voice.


They look up and see the penguin friends that brought them to Ireland on an iceberg.
"Our iceberg is moored in the harbour and is ready to sail if you want to travel with us" the chief penguin said. "We are going to America ourselves before heading back to the snowy lands in the south."


The flutterby sheep were happy to accept the offer of a ride and jumped on board. As the iceberg set sail Charcoal watched the lush green pastures of Ireland disappear into the distance. Another journey had begun.


Thankfully the penguins were experienced sailors and before long the three sheep were transported safely to America and were heading off to Dublin, Ohio to see Charlie and Kate at Life of a Domestic Disaster.


The penguins meanwhile were bound for upstate New York to visit their friends at the blog Northern Crow Country. If you are wondering why they are pulling a large cart full of wool just take a look at their smartly dressed cousins on the Northern Crow blog. Wouldn't you want to own waistcoats like that if you were a penguin? The yarn will all be put to good use that's for sure.
Further blog-trotting adventures following soon.