Allotment, Grow Your Own

GYO – Winter Crops

It is the time of year where most people have their allotments dug over for spring, as would mine have been last year, the crops I had sown all went in late due to poor germination. This year some seedlings really struggled to set, however I have to admit they were old packets, for example the few hundred of beans (purple and yellow dwarf varieties), onions were the same although I have heard that they are difficult to grow on our site.

My leeks got scorched by the sun, despite several good sowing’s however I might try to set some as they can cope with colder weather. The crops I have managed to set for winter are doing extremely well. As leeks are one of my favourite additions to roast dinners, the more fresh vegetables the better.

The summer sown beans are fabulous, still producing large pods a lot of which I will be saving for seed. Our winter sowing’s are growing along well with the field beans up the new arches and trellis, however this week the children’s craft projects will provide me with the gourd and small squash seeds that were not a priority. I plant to use the remainder of the mesh trellis to make a grow frame on my pergola, this will be to grow butternut squashes, small gourds and pumpkins.

The Broccoli; sown mid-summer are fabulous and hold great potential, the leaves are large and luscious, I have kept them under fleece to provide added protection from the frost. They will need very little to grow on to harvest when the florets are finally formed, these are the first really successful crop we have had which were home sewn.

My assorted cabbage crop which I over-planted for an extended crop are going strong as are the first lettuces. The beans on the trellis are following the wires without over crowding the cabbages, the fact that they are growing keeps me distracted that the main season has been and gone.

For now the plot is green thanks to the tomatoes, beans, flowers and Brassica plants, which are still going strong. As our impending new arrival keeps me busy I am thankful for the harvests we have received and for the mild autumn.

I have planted a few of the seedlings which were germinating into our new raised bed in a hope that they grow steadily, another bonus for next summer. I plan to fill a full bed with Brassicas next year and hope to plant an area to provide a Christmas and New year harvest.

For now it is nice to have things growing away while I work towards other things, but I hope to return later this week to dig over the potato bed for next year, before it returns to its natural state.

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Home Craft, Knitting Pattern, knitting project!

Knit – Sénor Skeleton – Part 10

Arms;

As the final pieces are put together, The new character is in need of some arms and once I added the hands to the arms I began to prepare them for sewing. Lay the body on its side and position the arm centrally around four rows down from the collar. Once in position stitch the flat top of the arm.

I find it easier to sew the back into position following a stitch line of loops on the jacket it can be secured neatly along to the reduced point. Following a set line stitch the under arm position and add enough stuffing to pack out the arm and shoulder.

The arm requires to be full enough to maintain a good shape, once you are satisfied stitch up the final side following s stitch line and tie off through the under arm neatly. Once complete repeat with the second arm removing the excess thread as required.

Hat;

Now if you have made this original to the pattern you will have a wonderful mariachi hat to add to the character. This being my second skeleton I thought I would make my own style hat, it has the shape of a Pharaoh’s; Queen Nefertiti as it has straight side and peaks at the back.

To make;

Cast on 46 stitches – Purple

Knit 3 rows in garter stitch (knit rows only).

Change to ascent colour (emerald green) Pearl 1 row.

Knit 3 rows in garter stitch (knit rows only).

Change to purple -Pearl 1 row.

Stitch to stitch for 10 rows.

Increase beginning stitch and end stitch of the next 6 rows.

knit 3 rows in garter stitch (knit rows only)

Cast off.

 

Flat top;

Crochet;

Chain stitch – 5 links,

Double chain, single chain – link to the circle.

Repeat this line until you have around a  5cm diameter circle

Allow 10 cm of excess thread, tie off the final loop.

Stitch into the top of the hat from the fold seam, until returning to the seam thread through the underside of the top and secure.

Making up;

I have left the lower third of the face visible to add small features and give the impression of an extended head. So finally I will make up an ornate skirt and detail the character, but for now it is a complete skeleton requiring a few final touches.

To achieve the best results;

  1. Ensure your material is knit face out.
  2. Ensure your positioning is accurate before you attach the pieces.
  3. Try not to over pack the pieces.
  4. Leave on all excess thread for the final sewing of the pieces.
  5. Once secure tightly draw the threads to cut and relax it back inside the finished piece.

Again if you wish to make your own Halloween project today, with this day of the dead inspired character! You will find the website link below, whether you are seasoned or a novice it is worth the time and attention as the nights draw in to create something unique for your family!

AlanDart.co.uk\Holiday knits (Sénor Skeleton) for £2.50.

The information on this project should give you enough detail to complete any of the projects on the website, whether you choose the Noah’s ark an epic sized knit or one of the many fairy tale of celebratory characters the focus and attention to detail is the same.

Happy Creating!

Cheryl

Home Craft, knitting project!

Knit – Sénor Skeleton – Part 9

Attaching the legs;

Dependant on how you work best this step can be quite difficult to get the right positioning for the legs, it is a good idea to use large knitting clips to pin the two legs in place. It is obvious that the feet need to be facing forwards and that the thigh position is set equally on the body position.

Once you are happy that you have the correct position put the needle in at the nearest back point of the seam and push through catching the leg to secure in the front position. This will pin the leg into place, the leg can now be stitched into place in a circular line ensuring you stitch positioning evenly to ensure a symmetrical finish.

Once the first leg is in place position it is easier to set the second with equal proportions, it is essential to space them to fall evenly but it does take a good eye and consistent positioning to get an accurate finish.

As you can see from the photographs, choosing a loop per line on the body, you can stagger the stitches in a circular position with ease ensuring that the finished sew falls without any twisted material. Remember to ensure the feet are facing forwards is a key step it is easy to start sewing up without checking your positioning is correct especially if you are new to making characters.

 

To achieve the best results;

  1. Ensure your material is knit face out.
  2. Ensure your positioning is accurate before you attach the pieces.
  3. Try not to over pack the pieces.
  4. Leave on all excess thread for the final sewing of the pieces.
  5. Once secure tightly draw the threads to cut and relax it back inside the finished piece.

I think the combination of colours work well, although I still have not decided what the finished skeleton will look like as I am still deciding on what hat to creat.

Again if you wish to make your own Halloween project today, with this day of the dead inspired character! You will find the website link below, whether you are seasoned or a novice it is worth the time and attention as the nights draw in to create something unique for your family!

AlanDart.co.uk\Holiday knits (Sénor Skeleton) for £2.50.

Happy Halloween!

Cheryl

Home Craft, Knitting Pattern

Knit – Sénor Skeleton – Part 8

 Making up the Head;

The head is quite a difficult part to complete, obviously it requires packing firmly to show the shape. Once it is full and firm you can sew the neck to the base of the body, it is essential that with all centralised parts you ensure the seam is linked at the back of the character.

The neck;

Using two straws place a hole in the centre of the body for them to sit ensuring there is enough stuffing below to prevent them popping through the bottom. If you have added the bean bag, it should sit neatly against the top of the bag, however if not an inch of filling below should be sufficient.

Once in place pad around the straws in the neck until firm maintaining the body shape slopes to allow for the shoulders. The straws can then be looped around tightly to restrict the movement in the neck space, after stretching out the rest of the straw you are ready to add the skull.

Making  an indent in the filling of the skull, you can post the remaining straw into place and attach the top of the neck to the base of the skull. With equal stitches these should link together perfectly once you have linked the seams at the back. Sew around externally through each loop starting at the back seam and working your way back to the seam, tying off on completion.

The thread can then be pulled taught and cut closely against the fabric to hide the excess thread. The body and head now firmly in position it should be fully supported with the straw holding them up perfectly. This is an important stage for the structure, it is the weakest point of the make as once the straws have been flexed it can become floppy.

Jacket;

The cape has several staggered layers for this I chose to add buttons to secure it without extensive stitching to the body. Using the excess thread secure it to the same position on the opposite side of the decrease. Once the jacket is set in position you can sew the first button tightly into place, after sewing through the eyes, loop around the button and tie through to the back of the button twice and cut off the excess threads.

The second button is positioned at the second decrease, repeat as above sewing through the eyes and tying off at the back. The excess threads on the jacket can now be cut back, however I tend to knot through the knit at the final loop to ensure the panel does not unravel.

As with all makes it is all about the finish, removing the threads once secured to the panels will allow you to cut away without having to reknit which often happens if the cast off knot is loose.

To achieve the best results;

  1. Ensure your material is knit face out.
  2. Ensure your positioning is accurate before you attach the pieces.
  3. Try not to over pack the pieces.
  4. Leave on all excess thread for the final sewing of the pieces.
  5. Once secure tightly draw the threads to cut and relax it back inside the finished piece.

Again if you wish to make your own Halloween project today, with this day of the dead inspired character! You will find the website link below, whether you are seasoned or a novice it is worth the time and attention as the nights draw in to create something unique for your family!

AlanDart.co.uk\Holiday knits (Sénor Skeleton) for £2.50.

Happy Halloween!

Cheryl

 

Allotment, Grow Your Own, Harvests

Harvest – 21 October 2018

Yesterday was another quick visit to the allotment, the sun was bright as I wandered down the path to check on our plants, the courgettes have had their final crops which will mean I can clear the final part of the first large bed ready for winter. This I will do on a day next week when I am able to visit if I get a moment.

The grass has made a full recovery post drought and the site is in need of a good cut back, this will be dependant on the weather as the grass is holding moisture in the morning frost. My structures and spaces are just beginning to require preparation for next year and I hope to complete it as soon as possible.

The cauliflower although small I picked for harvest as it was beginning to draw unwanted attention, after putting it with our first Broccoli head I was pleased to have the first to pick. The beans are flourishing on the main vines so I picked a few handfuls and will check to see if any are large enough to store for next years seeds.

All of the tomato plants had ripe fruit on them so I collected the red fruit and left the green to ripen, my peppers are still growing slowly as are the bean plants on the new arches. The new plants are a foot from the top of the supports although I do not know whether they will produce anything, let alone last still spring. As I admired the growth of my Brassica beds, I am glad to have a few productive areas growing nicely, especially the carrots and Broccoli.

The water tank it’s now at 300 litres, hopefully by next year it will be full after the increase in rainfall, I look forward to being able to use my own water supply next year. All in all the space is working well and I look forward to preparing the beds and cutting back for spring.

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

 

Home Craft, knitting project!

Knit – Sénor Skeleton – Part 7

Previously the filled shoes were sewn directly onto the legs, once they are secure and the excess thread has been removed you can begin to fill the legs. This requires adding a small amount at a time, this will ensure that the shape is not lumpy and uneven.

Once you have add a quarter of the packing you can roll it within the leg to smooth and stretch out any excess, once the legs are full they will be ready to attached to the body. If there was any lumpy parts continue to roll until the legs are firm, if you can see the white of the filling through the leg reduce until only the material is visible.

The next part to be filled is the body, the original is black, orange and white but irrelevant of the colour it is the same make as the pattern. With this part you have to place a large amount of packing into the base firming into shape with your thumb. If you push the filling into the edge of the body and rotate as you add more you will end up with a nice cylindrical shape.

Once the body is full set to one side, this will require reworking in the final attachment to the head. The completion of these pieces really show how well this pattern works, the character already is evident in the made up parts. It is easy to ensure a good finish if you stick to these rules;

  1. Ensure your material is knit face out.
  2. Ensure your positioning is accurate before you attach the pieces.
  3. Try not to over pack the pieces.
  4. Leave on all excess thread for the final sewing of the pieces.
  5. Once secure tightly draw the threads to cut and relax it back inside the finished piece.

Again if you wish to make your own Halloween project today, with this day of the dead inspired character! You will find the website link below, whether you are seasoned or a novice it is worth the time and attention as the nights draw in to create something unique for your family!

AlanDart.co.uk\Holiday knits (Sénor Skeleton) for £2.50.

Happy Halloween!

Cheryl

 

Home Craft, Knitting Pattern

Knit – Sénor Skeleton – Part 6

Cushion Filling;

As my husband had popped to the range to collect me the filling for my new Skeleton, it was around £6 per bag on the last purchase which I usually buy a couple of bags so I have plenty to knit with over winter. As once the weather draws in I generally spend my free time between writing and knitting, as days at the allotment are rare.

Shoes;

The first step is to cut out a cardboard foot to fit the base of the shoe, if you wish to be able to wash you character it is probably best to use a plastic base. This will allow you to get it wet without losing the structure of the foot, as cardboard will disintegrate in the wash.

Once the sole of the shoe is reinforced you can add the filling, pressing down on it to firm it into position. The key is to add a little at a time to ensure a firm but not over pack the finish, pressing the outside of the shoe to ensure the form is firm and that the filling is not visible.

Legs;

The legs require setting knit side out, with the seam drawn to the back of the shoe. The key here is to stitch together the final two loops of the cast of row, this leaves one horizontal stitch visible that creates a defined lip to the shoe. As I used the thin end of the leg to the shoe occasionally you have to add two stitches per loop to ensure that the sides are in a good position.

As you complete the final stitch neatly and tightly tie up the back and sew through to the outside, once secure you can pull the excess thread through tightly and cut it back close to the panel, this draws in the final thread once relaxed it returns into the finished leg. This method is good when adding the facial details on completed items, although you have to be careful with the darker colours on white for example as they can often still be seen through the material.

Once both shoes are secure you are ready for the next stage, it really is a small part completing the build, as once you have your collection of pieces you can move through the various stages quickly. It is easy to ensure a good finish if you stick to these rules;

  1. Ensure your material is knit face out.
  2. Ensure your positioning is accurate before you attach the pieces.
  3. Try not to over pack the pieces.
  4. Leave on all excess thread for the final sewing of the pieces.
  5. Once secure tightly draw the threads to cut and relax it back inside the finished piece.

So, as you can see the legs are the next step, I could have continued them on however I want to be able to detail each area and support the description with a visual representation.

Again if you wish to make your own Halloween project today, with this day of the dead inspired character! You will find the website link below, whether you are seasoned or a novice it is worth the time and attention as the nights draw in to create something unique for your family!

AlanDart.co.uk\Holiday knits (Sénor Skeleton) for £2.50.

Happy Halloween!

Cheryl

Home Craft, knitting project!

Knit – Sénor Skeleton – Part 5

Arms and Jacket;

Saturday has been my first day this week that I have had chance to sit and focus, yesterday I completed the arms, hands and jacket and legs to Sénor Skeleton. With that in mind, I have everything but the hat completed.

The Arms are a straight forward knit, which as with all other panels require reversing before stitching with mattress stitch to the decrease for the shoulders. As the decrease is the section which will require attaching onto the body of the skeleton once the hands and arms are stuffed.

The hands follow on from the sleeves, however I chose to knit them from previous experience of hand patterns, the end product will be similar just take a little longer. It is much easier to complete by using the pattern however as I was completing them by part I chose to cast them off so the panels could not be lost on the needles.

The hands are started after a change to white, they are a gradual increase and work over a few stitches at a time and require tying off at the end of each finger tip. I find it is easier to stitch the fingers upon completion, as there are a lot of excess threads to sew into the inside of the hand, to ensure a neat finish on the completed arm.

The jacket panel is a simple knit which has gradual increases, and casting off at the end of the panel. It will require at least 20 cm of excess threads, as will the arm pieces to ensure you have enough to attach them into their final positions. On completion of these parts there is only the hat to knit, however I will be working on the making up of the main character; as the hat is the final part before the final touches, which are the facial features of the skeleton.

As you can see the choice of colours make a big difference to the style of the finished skeleton, however the is finished the pattern itself is great for those early nights, After a few days of celebration and the preparations for half term I am thankful for a good sit down and a warm cup of tea.

Again if you wish to make your own Halloween project today, with this day of the dead inspired character! You will find the website link below, whether you are seasoned or a novice it is worth the time and attention as the nights draw in to create something unique for your family!

AlanDart.co.uk\Holiday knits (Sénor Skeleton) for £2.50.

Happy Halloween!

Cheryl

Gardening on a budget, Home Craft, Writing

HORT – Autumn Colour

As I wandered around my garden yesterday I noticed that Apart from the evergreen chorus, the colours of my deciduous plants were beginning to come through especially the Acers. I find the combination of the Hebe’s, grasses and bamboos are fabulous at this time of year.

I found a lot of these gems, in the sale area of garden centres on our travels, At this time of year the combinations stand out and add to texture of our garden. So as our trees die back until spring. I love how the different varieties stand together softening and blending the different areas of the garden. The tones and textures are amazing, they draw you in and you lose yourself in the peace and tranquillity of the space.

I have to say it is beautiful at this time of year, somewhere we can watch as the birds tend to the winter garden, their harvesting of the seeds a welcome addition to  a dull morning. As the weather draws in and the dark nights it is the time to snuggle in and keep warm, thankful for the summer and harvest, excited for our new addition and in anticipation of the spring ahead.

I enjoy the days of Autumn were we can open the doors and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine, the focus being on enjoying our family and preparation for the work ahead on our new arrival. It will be a busy winter this year, which will make a good transition for next year as we settle in to the growing year with our baby.

Whatever the weather we will make the most of another year of growing, and nurturing the wonderful family we cherish. My youngest flourishing with happiness and confidence around us, I am proud and satisfied with our year so far and look forward to spring!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

 

Home Craft, Recycling

CRAFT – Ariadne Family

Materials;

  1. A Newspaper.
  2. Two types of Black Fabric (textured and shiny).
  3. Darning needle.
  4. A pair of scissors.
  5. Black wool.

Step 1 – Roll the paper into a spider body shape and squash until firm.

Step 2 – Wrap the paper body in the chosen material and cut away the excess.

Step 3 – Sew the material, stretching it back to the centre of the body ensuring the stitching is on the underside of the body. Once all of the material is stretched tightly over the body tie off and cut away the excess thread.

Step 4 – Making a smaller roll of paper, shape the head in proportion with the size of the body.

Step 5 – Cut the second material to make the head, I chose a shiny material which looks like lots of  different spider eyes.

Step 6 – Sew the material into the centre of the underside of the head, stretch until it is stitched tightly at the back and tie off to secure.

Step 7 – Using the excess thread sew it to the end of the body until secure, once satisfied tie it off and cut off the excess thread.

Step 8 – For the legs, I will either crochet the required lengths and stitch centrally to the base of the body from the centre of the leg.

8A – To knit cast on the amount of stitches required for adequate length for two legs and knit 4 rows, cast off and tie up the seam. Obviously you will need to repeat this four times for the eight legs. Once they are complete stitch them centrally, so it is halfway along the leg  and secure to the underside  of the body. This can then be tied off when all four strands are set in position.

8B – Alternatively you could buy black furry pipe cleaners and twist them around a button at the base of the body, the button can be secured and tied off before the excess thread is removed.

The idea;

I remembered on one of the autumn make-over pictures, there were some papier-mache spiders so I thought about what we could use to make our own. Truly they are not a favourite character, however these are soft and textured something tactile for the children to play with, they are child friendly as there are no additional small parts. The body is simple to shape and can be as big or as small as you would like, I have made several in a variety of sizes.

The materials were from items which were on their way to the clothes bin, so it cost nothing but a bit of time and effort. These will last for years if stored in a suitable container, on completion I used some garden fleece and black lace from one of the tops to make a web over a white box.

After adding a play tea-light I set them all out together, I plan to add a few large ones to web drapes on Halloween but until then; I will have a bundle of legs to make once my Main Project is finished, see how Sénor Skeleton is doing on my other posts.

I am happy with our little craft project, they are unusual and fun additions to add to our pumpkin projects!

Happy Crafting!

Cheryl