Tag Archives: Craft


I know that I am not alone in this – when life gets very stressful my beloved blog and social media gets severely neglected. As this has happened rather a lot recently I am not going to apologise (although you know that I am really), rather take this opportunity to share with you how I am coping with a particularly stressful week.


Without going into too much detail, last week started off with a long Monday night visit to the local A and E with my eldest. We plodded along until Thursday when my youngest was sick. Then, Saturday night my other two. This is on top of the normal end of term stresses.

Lack of sleep made the decision to drop out of the 10k race on Sunday easy. Did I take the day easy? Probably not enough. There were things that did drop off the to-do list, visiting a few local studios one of them :(.

When I am stressed I am really good at coping. Afterwards comes the reaction and the ‘crash!’. Today is the day I crashed. I am cross with myself because I should have seen it coming. I slept for about 12 hours and got up fine. Dropped my youngest off at school and went to the office to let them know about the other two being absent…..and came out in tears! I came home and collapsed on the sofa.

I soon realised that I had two choices; stay on the sofa in tears all day, hiding from the rest of the world or try to do something about it.


I was really lucky that my husband was working from home for a time this morning so I decided to take the opportunity to go for a run.

Despite feeling like I was running in a steam room due to the high humidity, it has done the trick. On my way out I saw a REALLY close friend. It took every inch of my will power to look at her and smile before the tears started again. By the time that I had puffed my way around 3 miles I was able to stop and chat to someone quite normally.

I now feel that the day will be fairly productive rather than wasting it in tears. It has also kicked started my return to blogging.

As write this it has occurred to me that crafting would be a lot of people’s choice to help them get through times of stress, indeed it would also be mine, however this last week I have been unable to settle at anything. I did start a bracelet but it did not go very well and since then I have not had the energy to do anything. Today I am hoping that I have broken the cycle. It seems that I need running as well as craft to get me through. What about you? What strategies do you have?

My craft attempt.

My craft attempt.

(Please note that I am not writing this to get any sympathy, rather as a record to help me try to see my crashes happen in the future. Also it may help others in some small way?)


Aiming For Super Mum.

This weekend has all been about my boys (isn’t it always?), part from the usual ferrying around that is. On Thursday we had a rather odd e-mail from the school (mid OFSTED I might add) along the lines that it was rumored that The Daleks were going to spoil Christmas at the school. In order to try to prevent this they should wear bow ties, a Fez and bring sonic screw drivers in on Monday. Hmm. I truly fear that the Head has lost it.


Dalek (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a Dalek should you be unaware.

We do not have three bow ties in our house let alone 3 sonic screw drivers so I set to work straight away. I found a really cute pattern for a crochet bow here via Ravelry  (where else?) My eldest wanted black, ,my middle, yellow and my youngest multi-coloured (what else?)

The black one

The black one

The yellow one.

The multi coloured one. It is finished now but I took these photo’s when the sun was out!

In fact I have actually made 5 of these this weekend end as I made one each for my nieces too. 🙂

4 completed bow ties.

4 completed bow ties.

Then, this morning we made sonic screw drivers. The internet again came to my rescue in the form of Pinterest.

This is what we were sort of aiming for:


We found this brilliant tutorial using a pen, clay and a marble. Doable?

These are what we came up with.

These are what we came up with.

Unfortunately I forgot to buy the marbles when I was buying the supplies yesterday but I obviously have lots of beads around which I think worked out just fine. Making your own means you can add your own little details. One added buttons by adding extra beads along the side and the others got creative with their decorations.

Showing the marble end of the screw drivers.

Showing the marble end of the screw drivers.

We did have fun making these. I don’t think that this is bad for a weekends work considering we also had all the usual activities to do as well. I just hope they defeat the Dalek’s!

Exciting Times.

On Thursday our year-long crochet project culminated in an amazing display in the houses at the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens (read their take on it here). I think we are all quite amazed at how amazing they look scattered about in amongst the other plants.

We made Lichen which was put amongst the rocks.

We made Lichen which was put amongst the rocks.

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This plant is housed in a pot complete with soil, all crocheted of course!

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There are actually 2 crocheted plants in this shot. Each plant had an embroidered name card. This is so realistic it is hard to tell where the real begins and ends!

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This plant was amazing – it is all held up with wire and the detail in the flower is amazing.

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OK, so now this is not in situ – it is my groups sea onion before it has been tarted up!

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And here it is in situ. It looks so much better and I have to say that I am so relieved! I had been really worried. It has been actually buried in the soil!

What makes this project really amazing is that many of the participants were not able to crochet before the project started at the beginning of the year. It is a really tactile display and during our ‘meet and greet’ session yesterday everyone was touching them – including us!! Should you be in the Cambridge area at all this week it is on all week so do pop along and see it for yourself.

We all loved it so much that we are desperately trying to find another project to work on next year.
If you pop over to Claire’s blog from Monday you will probably find some better photographs to look at. I also know that Michaela is also putting it up on her blog – go and see their take on it.

I apologise to other Handmade Mondayers who will have read a very similar post already but I shall be linking up anyway.

A couple of other points to note:

1 – I have a giveaway that ends on Wednesday.

2. My son completed his first knitting project – a polar bear, pictures will follow (I am so proud).

3. I am about to have my very second  crochet pattern published – hopefully tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled 🙂

As I said – exciting times 🙂

Sew, Stick, Splatter and Salvage

I am very excited today to be able to show you an amazing book. To be honest, I have been a little bit naughty as I have had it for a while but sometimes life gets in the way.

This is the book!

This is the book!

It has been put together by the lovely Ellie from Eleanor Lucy Millinery. All for a very good cause – to raise money for The Air Ambulance Service.

It is a lovely book that I really enjoyed just looking through. It is full of lovely photographs which include lovely fabrics and pretty things. (Living in a house full of boys I can but dream of pretty things. ;)) The idea behind it is to use second-hand things and up-cycle them into new, useful things.

The projects include buttons, material, pottery and cups and saucers. Most of them are easily accessible, requiring little previous skill, a bit of glue and the odd bit of sewing. The one obvious example is a knitted snood project.

A cake stand made from plates and glasses.

A cake stand made from plates and glasses.

Beautiful picture frames.

Beautiful picture frames.

You can’t really loose on this book. By buying it you are supporting a very good cause and getting a lovely book full of great ideas which is also lovely to look at.

I am giving my book away to one lucky person. In order to be in with a chance I would like you to share an up-cycling idea that you either would like to have a go at or have done. If you have blogged about it then do please leave a link so we can pop over and have a look. You never know – it may form part of New Wings for Old Things Book 2! 🙂 I shall draw a random winner one week from today on Wednesday 30th 2013.

I am really looking forward to reading about your up-cycling adventures.


A surprisingly crafty week

It has been one of those weeks where I feared that I had no time for ‘proper’ crafting. I did rather a lot of sewing:

That is labels into school uniform.

That is sewing labels into school uniform.

This took a lot of my evenings up along with the planning and preparation at the computer  needed for the coming few weeks. I did feel that I needed a project that I could just pick up every now and again as complete relaxation so started on this:

Some crochet in lovely yarn.

Some crochet in lovely yarn.

I shall not reveal all yet – I like to keep you guessing.

Finally, this weekend has been a bit unusual as it has been about my husband and I. We have not been running around with our children here, there and everywhere, instead they have been coming to things with us. Yesterday my husband was playing at a local music festival which meant that I had some time to have a go at two more projects:

I did a bit more kumihimo to make a 'chain' for the turquoise chips I started on holiday. A step closer to being completed.

I did a bit more kumihimo to make a ‘chain’ for the turquoise chips I started on holiday. A step closer to being completed.

I also had a go at using my new larger and bigger french knitting loom.

I also had a go at using my new larger and bigger french knitting loom.

I really like the way that the beads are encased in the wire cage.

Yes I am one of those crazy people!

Yes I am one of those crazy people!

Today has been about me taking part in a Spartan race (a race with obstacles in) rather than crafting but I shall definitely be doing a bit more crochet as a way of relaxing this evening. That is once I have been over to handmade harbour and caught up with all the great makes over there (with a well-earned glass of wine of course).

Hope you all have a great week :).


Please Help Me.

I have a bit of a conundrum about this blog. As you are the ones that read this (and for which I am very grateful) I thought it best that I share this with you and allow you to share your views with me.

In the beginning…

The name of this blog is knitnrun4sanity. I started out writing about my knitting, crochet and running. Simple and fairly self-explanatory. Occasionally I would write about something completely random but mostly I stuck to the identified topics.


A few months ago I took the step to write about blogging, how to set it up, tips that I have learnt etc. Nothing to do with the title directly but, according to the feedback and comments, something that people found useful.


Even more recently I started writing the Blog for a bead shop called Spoilt Rotten Beads. In order to write that blog I have been making jewellery. Not knitting, not crochet and not running. I aim to write three posts a week for both blogs. Something which most of you will be aware takes a lot of time, especially when you consider the time it takes to make, photograph and research items and subjects for each of these posts.

So the problem is….

  1. I have spent a lot of time building up this blog. I enjoy the relationships and interactions that come from this and I am reluctant to stop.
  2. I also am enjoying building up the other blog and want to give it my full energy and effort that it deserves. (I am not being paid but, in a way, I feel like it is a paid job.)
  3. The summer holidays are coming up and my time will be way more limited with three children running around all day.
  4. I have come to write my Handmade Monday post and have not got nearly as far on with my broomstick Crochet as I would have liked to. This makes me feel sad and as if I am letting people down as the content is not really as it should be.

So do I……

  • Go for more of a crossover between the blogs? This is something that I have been trying to limit as far as possible because :
  1. I am worried that my content is becoming too broad and therefore the readers will start to feel that they are no longer getting what they signed up to get.
  2. The name no – longer reflects what I am writing about.
  • Change the name of this blog so I can write about all the things without feeling that I am duping anyone e.g: knitnrunnbead4sanity? (except for all the wonderful people who have already signed up to follow me before the change.)
  • Do nothing and carry on as before?
  • Change the name to an umbrella term such as Uniquely Alice which is the name of the shop that is almost, but yet to open? (I have also just got a load of business cards with knitnrun4sanity all over them)
  • Reduce the number of posts I do? (which feels a bit like neglect to me).

And Finally

I follow a lot of blogs….a lot of very interesting blogs that I enjoy very much. There are a lot more out there that I would like to follow but, at the moment I am struggling to keep up with all the ones I am already following. In short I am spending too long doing all this ‘blogging’ but am unable to see (or unwilling) to know what to change. Maybe I don’t really need to do anything.

I cannot be the only person who feels like this, or has been through this before. Can I?

I would really, really love to know what your views on this whole conundrum is.

Before I go this is the progress on the broomstick crochet diary cover. The broomstick crochet is all done (I really enjoyed that part). I am now on the more mundane part of trying to fit it onto the cover of the diary.

The front.

The front.

The inside

The inside

I also made a bracelet for a christening but that is not crochet, knitting, running or blogging so not sure if I can show that on here yet 😉

I am now going to head over to Handmade Harbour where there are people who know what they are doing. I shall now spend a happy hour or so catching up with their makes this week. Fancy joining me?

The online community – and an award

It is no secret that I am really happy that I started blogging. A day never goes by when I am not reminded about all the wonderful people I have ‘met’ via the online crafting community. As such I am REALLY ashamed to admit that I have been rather remiss about thanking, taking part and passing on the wonderful awards that I have been thoughtfully nominated for over the last few months. As such I am now going to produce a series of posts to put this straight. It will also remain as a wonderful reminder just how amazing you all are, each and every one of you. It still amazes me that anyone reads what I write, let alone comments on it – even though I must admit I do work hard at my blogging. I am very, much a ‘relationship’ girl. I like to get to know the blogs I follow as well as I can and that means investing time (and not as one of my friends puts it simply being a ‘blogtart’!)

I realise that these can be a bit tiresome to read but please consider it as a chance to find some great new blogs to read – we all need that don’t we. 🙂

Enough waffle. These are in no particular order (not even date!)

This award was awarded to me by lottieknits. I didn’t know this but Liebster is German for favourite. It was awarded to me on the 1st of May (only a month late this one!)

The rules say:

1. To thank the person nominating your blog (this of course goes without saying!)

2. To give 11 random facts about myself. (Oh uh – not good at that.)

3. To answer the questions that have been set me by Lottie.

4. Think up 11 questions for people to answer that I nominate for the award.

5. Nominate some more blogs and let them know (11 in total).

OK. 1. done.

11 facts about me:

1. I learnt how to play the clarinet.

2. I was a VERY shy teenager.

3. I played Cinderella.

4. I am a complete control freak (but am getting better.)

5. I have a degree in Geography.

6. I chose to study English Language over English Literature at A level.

7. I very rarely wear make-up.

8. I am prepared to knit or crochet anywhere and at any time (usually at the park or indoor play centres!)

9. I live in the same village as my parents and my brother and his family.

10. I have very small handwriting.

11. I hate sitting still for too long.

I hope that satisfies 😉

Now onto the questions I have to answer:

1. Knitting or crochet? That has to depend on the project. If I am designing – crochet every time, especially jewellery although there is something very comforting about knitting (and I don’t have to watch what I am doing when knitting).
2. What was the first thing you ever knitted or crocheted? I honestly cannot remember (I was a child!)
3. Can you crochet? Yes If you don’t crochet do you want to learn, or are you happy with just knitting?
4. Knitting/crocheting garments or accessories? Mainly accessories – they are quick! 😉 Although I enjoy test knitting garments and am currently knitting a tunic.
5. Natural fibres or synthetic fibres? Natural.
6. When you choose yarns, do you choose according to the colour or the fibre? Usually look or feel but I don’t choose that often as I often get the yarn specified or supplied!
7. Self striping yarns (like Noro) or plain yarns? I mainly use plain but I wouldn’t mind self stripping if the yarn was good quality and the item right for it.
8. Variegated yarn that does the work for you, or semi-solid yarn that shows off details? Again, depends on the project.
9. Cables or lace? Again depends. I want to say lace as I like fine work but I am knitting cables at the moment. Both add interest to the work which is important to me.
10.Fairisle or intarsia tricky. I have never done fairisle and am not always that keen on the patterns I see but, more recently I have seen more that I like – maybe it is something I should learn.
11. What is your favourite knitting or crochet book and why? My crochet stitch book – simply because it is my go-to if I ever get stuck and it has a lot of stitch patterns in it. It was also my first book. Not very big or complicated but still special 🙂

I really hope that you don’t feel that I have opted out too much on these answers.

Now for my questions:

1. What is your all time favourite craft?

2. Where is the strangest place you have ever crafted?

3. What is your favourite craft time snack?

4. Do you prefer the radio, tv, music or other when crafting? (If other then please inform!)

5. What is your proudest achievement?

6. What is your biggest crafting ‘dream’?

7. Who is your inspiration?

8. Is there a craft that you have yet to try that you would like to have a go at?

9. How often do you craft (everyday, every weekend, twice a week etc) ?

10. Are you a messy or neat crafter?

11. What or who got you started crafting?

Now for the blogs to nominate:

1. Misschaelaboo

2. lacreatureandyou

3. Bits and bobs Crafts

4. free spirit designs

5. Truly Myrtle

6. Mrs Snufflebean Makes

7. Alibee creations

8. All night knits

9. Miss Neriss

10. Polka Dots and Sparkles

11. Off the hook thread designs by Keke

I really enjoy all these wonderful blogs so if you do have time then do pop by and say hello.

Thanks again to Lottie for nominating me. I am much appreciative. Have a great weekend everyone. 🙂


Help – crafting is taking over my house!


Day 3 of the knitting and crocheting blog week.

Today we move away from the houses. I found it really interesting seeing all the different ways that people went about planning or deciding on projects that they would do. It was also interesting how broad the meanings of the houses were, the different paths and associations that people made. That was yesterday….

 …..today we have been asked to make an infogram about any aspect of our crafting. This is really to get us to think a bit more creatively about how we present information on our blogs. Creating the ‘infogram’ was relatively easy for me. Putting it into the blog – now that is another matter!

Unfortunately I am not techie enough to be able to import a document from word into WordPress. I tried several different ways but failed on them all. If you are able to enlighten me then I would love to know. So I went down the route of printing and photographing.

How my craft is taking over my house!

I really hope that you can read the labels. If you can’t then let me tell you – my knitting and crochet is taking over the house slowly but surely. I am quite horrified by it all!

Lets just hope that my Husband doesn’t see it!

If you would like to see what infograms others have come up with then type in 4KCWDAY3 into a search engine and it should take you to lots! I have found some great blogs this week in this way and I am sure you will too!

See you tomorrow 🙂

A Blogiversary and Queen Stitch Crochet

So it would seem that I have been writing this blog for a year now. Wow. I can hardly believe it. It has certainly been a really positive thing in my life. I have ‘met’ so many completely amazing people through this. I have always known that I am a  ‘people’ person who cannot survive without contact with people and this has opened up a whole new world of people (almost literally!). If you are one of these people then do please help yourself to piece of cake and join me in my celebrations. (I would love to have had a giveaway but am sadly not that organsied – will do better next year I promise.)

Today is the day of the week where I eagerly await the ‘biggest’ regular coffee (tea or wine) meet up with fellow crafters through Handmade Monday.

Handmade Harbour

Through a special link everyone shares their post about what they have been making during the week. I have to say I have learnt so much through each of these wonderful people and eagerly await the time when the children are in bed and I can sit down and have a good read. A big, huge thank you to all (with a special mention for Wendy whose idea it is and who hosts it every week.)

Another marker in my week is the creative ‘meet up’ called Creatives Unite that happens on a Thursday evening.

MissBeatrixThis is simply a time where you can sit down and know that others are also crafting away too. There is a great sense of community on twitter throughout. It is the time that I set aside each week to create my object for handmade Monday if I have not got around to making anything for the rest of the week. A huge thank to Anna for organising this one.

So what have I made this week? Following on from my experiments last week with Tunisian crochet I was very keen to have a go with wire and beads. I chose the queen lace stitch and created this:

Beaded Queen lace Crochet

Believe it or not this took 2 hours. Unfortunately it is not long enough to go around my wrist so cannot technically be called a bracelet although this is what I am hoping it will end up as.

I do really like this as I think it works really well.

Queen Lace Stitch.

Queen Lace Stitch.

The idea was to add beads to the ‘loopy’ (technical term!) bits that go across. I added 4 seed beads to each loop this time although I would also like to try using 1 larger one each time.

I think the beads would hang better if it was this way but I don't have a long enough hook (yet!).

I think the beads would hang better if it was this way but I don’t have a long enough hook (yet!).

So there you have it. A work in process for this week. This is because I am also in the middle of a test knit which has taken a bit longer than I anticipated getting going. It is now on its way but I have a long way to go yet.

As for now….. well I should be knitting but fear that I shall not be able to avoid the lure of Handmade Harbour!! Hope to see you there 🙂

A Win = Beaded Rope Number 2!

This week I realised that I had a won a giveaway competition over on the Make and Craft Blog. What did I win?

Seed Beads by Gutermann

One of these tubes of lovely beads 🙂

It arrived in the post a few days later – so full that the top wouldn’t fit and the beads were spread all over the bag. (Not that I am bothered – the more beads the better ;))

So what would I use them for?

That was easy really. Having completed my first beaded rope bracelet I was really keen to have another go. When  I posted a picture of my first go on my Facebook page Mary Anne and  Miss Beatrix suggested that I should use as many colours as possible. Well here it is.

A pretty rainbow of colours.

A pretty rainbow of colours.

I started off threading the beads on randomly but didn’t like the effect so ended up sorting them all into their colours. There were a lot of different colours so ended up making the decision to graduate the colours, going from lighter to darker.

The lighter end....

The lighter end….

....and the darker end.

….and the darker end.

To be honest I am not sure about the overall effect. I am, however pleased with the way I executed this.

What do you think?

What do you think? Spot any mistakes?

The beads are a smaller size the ones I used previously so I had to use a much smaller hook (size 1) but still managed to get into the swing of it easily enough. My only mistake was to twist the odd bead somehow, can you spot any?

I can see how people can get hooked on making these – expect a few more popping up! Would any of you be interested in a tutorial so you can have a go? It is truly addictive and not that tricky, honest.

I hope that you all have headed over to Handmade Harbour this week to join in with the giveaways as part of the centenary celebrations for Handmade Monday. There have been some amazing things up for grabs so if you haven’t looked, I suggest that you go now!

I am now heading over to check the other blogs and catch up on what everyone else has been up to this week. Do come and join me 🙂