Monday, 30 March 2015

Driftwood at Dad's and D

Short Round and I spent the last two days at my Dad's, having a well earned break.  I thought this week I'd share some of the photos I've taken.  They're in chronological order so you'll get a sense of our holiday without me waffling on too much.  I did buy some beautiful embroidery books, which I'm going to have a good look through tonight.  I'll post about them next week I think, unless something more exciting comes up between now and next Monday.

This weeks square is D.  You'll find the chart below and detailed instructions on this post here 

Short Round and my rock balancing (mine's on the left)

Dad building his stack
Fossil hunting


Driftwood and worm tracks (I always come back with something)

Nap time at Maiden Castle

so cute!


Dorchester's Roman Town House

Spring (and they smelt like it too)

Mosaic.  I want to stitch this.

Hypercaust system

Yarn Bomb!
This week's chart

unblocked example.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Chorus and C

This week has been a challenging, although interesting week.  I was pondering what to write today and it suddenly hit me the one of the nicer things about this week has been the singing.  I sing all the time, usually to myself or inadvertently to others if I happen to have an ear worm (for those of you who don't know there is a great description of ear worms here, although there are a lot of adverts on the page).  

This week however I was reminded of the power of group singing.  On Tuesday night I had to go to a Wake, for a folky friend.  We spent the evening singing, with some hurried catching up with other friends in between songs.  Although the occasion was sad the hall was filled with the sound of our voices, all singing harmonies.  The sheer noise level was incredible, but with everyone singing together it was also beautiful and joyous and uplifting.  Pearl, who's wake it was, would have loved it.
The whole evening felt like a fitting tribute to a lovely lady.

The second singing sensation I managed to participate in was the Rock Choir, who performed at our WI Spring Council meeting at Portsmouth on Wednesday.  If you get the chance to go and see them I would.  They were inspirational!  You couldn't help sing along with them, and feel happy as you did so.  

So I learnt something this week.  If life is getting to you, and things seem to conspire against you, all you need to do is sing.

This week's letter is C.  The chart is below and there are more detailed instructions on this post here.

I'm adding numbers to the overall blanket design, and each letter or number will be represented by an object or animal.  The objects and animals will form the reverse of the blanket.  That should keep us going for a bit!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Beaker Button name and B

I get asked a lot why the shop name is Beaker Button, so I thought I'd tell you all here.  Some of you will already know that I have a degree in archaeology.  When I was a child my Dad used to tell my brother and I stories about history and prehistory and I have very strong memories of the Beaker people (nothing to do with The Muppets!)  I also spent nearly 10 years working at Stonehenge and the Beaker people are thought to have built at least one of the phases of Stonehenge.  So who are the Beaker people I hear you ask?
In my Dad's version they were a prehistoric people, named for the particular pottery beakers they made, who came to England and duffed up the local Neolithic population.  They built burial mounds, took over ancient monuments and generally lived it up until the next lot (the Celts) came over and duffed them up.
Archaeologists, however, think they were a lot more peaceful and that Beaker people integrated well with the local population, helping to build Stonehenge and building Avebury among other things.  The Beaker people are also credited with bring metal to our shores.  I like my Dad's version better, but I always was pretty blood thirsty!

There is a nice little article about Beaker people on the BBC website here.

So that's why Beaker Button.  It's a nod to my archaeological roots
And how did you end up running a wool shop I hear you ask?  That my friends is another story.

This weeks square is B and the chart for it is below.  I'm thinking of expanding the squares to include pictures as well. I'd love suggestions for each letter.  A is for Another Gin and Tonic......

Stonehenge in the snow

Avebury in the snow

Stonehenge sunset

This week's chart.  For detailed instructions see last week's post.

My square, unblocked of course

Monday, 9 March 2015

Milestones Legomania and a new prize KAL

 Yesterday we took Short Round to Milestones Museum in Basingstoke.  If you haven't been I'd highly recommend it.  It's full of very well presented stuff, from old tools to childhood toys to pristine vehicles.  The history is brilliantly presented, with boards and audio tours.  They run a lot of events as well, which is why we were there yesterday.  The Legomania event has been running for a few years now.  Last year Short Round had one of his models on display (so proud!).  This year we got to make one of the panels in a giant picture of Lightening McQueen, and had a fascinating look around the hundreds of Lego models.  Short Round got to make a mini figure.  We got to spend time with my Mum, brother, sister in law and their kids too, which was lovely.
The higlight of my day though had to be the Womble puppets and the knitted jumpers on the footballers in the penny arcade!

I've added some photos to give you a flavour of our day.

I'm starting a long KAL on the blog, 27 weeks to be exact.  Each week I'll be posting the next set of instructions, usually in chart form.  It's called the Alphabet Blanket and should be good for using up all the bits and pieces in your stash.  The first two charts and instructions are at the bottom of the page.

I'll be offering a yummy woolly prize for the best blanket at the end of the KAL.  If you don't want to make an Alphabet why not use the letters to spell out the name of the person you're making the blanket for.  You could replace the other letters with striped and plain squares.

Knitted jumpers on the footballers, so cute!


Posh Lego

I love Landrovers

Our square is 3rd along the bottom from the right

Bear shop

Alphabet Blanket
©Jen Best 2015
Each square
Tension: 17 sts x 24 rows over 10cm x 10cm using 4.5mm needles. DK yarn - about 10g (20m) in main colour, about 5g (10m) in contrast colour, yarn needle for sewing in ends.  Each square will measure about 14cm x 14cm when blocked.  

The sample squares in the photo below are knitted with Adriafil.  I used Regina for the main colour and Knitcol for the contrast colour.  The Knitcol gives me a nice variant colour for the letters and stripes.

Cast on 27
Follow the chart, starting in the bottom right corner.  Knit all the right side (odd) rows and purl the wrong side (even) rows. The different colours indicate where to use the main colour and where to use the contrast colour. I used intarsia to knit my squares.  There is a great tutorial here if you haven't knitted intarsia before.  It's from the Knitting for Dummies website.

Block each square to measure 14cm x 14cm.  When all the letters of the alphabet and four of the striped squares (30 squares in total) are finished I'll show you how to sew them together and give you the instructions for the border.  

first letter, make one

striped square, make four

Monday, 2 March 2015

Tuesday group and a free Ravelry download from my pattern store

As many of you know this week Beaker Button has been at Make It, Stitch It at Farnborough.  We had a stonkingly good time, and met some fantastic new button addicts.  It means that I haven't had time to prepare anything for today's blog, so I'm going to cheat. I've wanted to share this for a while.  Last time I showed you what the Tuesday Group did was a couple of years ago.

For those of you who don't know, the Tuesday Group are a small group of ladies with learning disabilities who have taken to peg looms like ducks to water.  They brighten my Tuesday with gossip and laughter, and are frequently challenging me with what they want to make.  Between us we always manage to get their ideas to work.  Here are a few of the latest makes.

The cheating part is the free coupon at the end of the post, for  one of my patterns on Ravelry here

Jo with her owl

Beryl's bracelet

Karen with her owl

Jo with her horse

Beryl with her bear

Jo with her bear

Clare with her owl

Coupon code for a free pattern from my Ravelry store is FEBBLOG15
Choose a pattern, add the code at the checkout and download for free.