Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Happy Hooker Backwards Project #39 in progress

It's time to start the next project in my plan to work through the Happy Hooker backwards.  After a bit of a delay whilst I tried to overcome the problem of not being able to buy the required Barnat Softee Chunky yarn here in the UK, I eventually took action (rather than repeatedly doing the same Google searches and coming up with nothing) and headed down to a local yarn store to get some advice. 

Yes!  Excitingly I actually now have not one but TWO local yarn shops!  When I went to buy our 4 year-old's school jumper at a specialist uniform shop in a nearby village I discovered that they are also a yarn shop complete with a resident old lady knitting expert.  Then I discovered Yarnia in Belvedere in Kent, just a ten minute drive away, and it was here I finally managed to find myself some alternative wool with the help of one of the owners.  Phew.

I went for these colours rather than the suggested red and tan combination...

I want everything to be baby-girly so of course it had to be pink and soft.  This stuff was *gasp* £3.35 a ball, three times the amount I usually spend on yarn.  It's 10% wool, 20% alpaca and 70% acrylic, so it's fairly posh for a baby blanket.  But I can still shove it in the machine on a wool wash so all is well.

The brand is Wendy "Serenity"...

The irony of using a wool called "serenity" for making a blanket for a newborn is not lost on me :)

Coming home clutching my new stash I had to get started straight away of course and prepared myself to quickly work up one of the monkey faces essential to the whole project.  In the end it took me about four hours - no matter how I looked at the patten it just didn't add up the way it should have - and after many unravelled attempts I finally started again and just did it my own way...

And you know what?  It actually does look like the picture in the book!  I will post my amendments to this part of the pattern after I've hooked up a few more and perfected it.

I then moved on to the hat part of the project, which I am pleased to report was easy as pie and took about an hour to do in between bouts of working from home...

The idea is now to attach the monkey face to the hat in order to elevate its cuteness to heart-melting proportions.  I haven't done this yet, but here it is placed together...

Gah!  Too too too cute!  My eyes my eyes!

So now I am off to work on the afghan part of the project.  I am very much enjoying this chunky way of crocheting, everything seems so quick, apart from the blasted monkey faces of course :)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Crochet flower hat for Ruby

Hubby's step-sister gave birth to baby Ruby on Monday so I jumped onto Ravelry for a newborn hat pattern...

This little easy hat was created over a few hours in front of the telly, I may have stayed up a tad too late to finish it, but I was having such fun :)

Then today I added a little pink flower and a leaf for good measure, well a girl has to learn to accessorise young right?  I am really rather pleased with this little creation and I am delighted to have my own baby to make another for, plus hubby's brother and his partner are expecting a girl in the same week as us! I am very happy when I am crocheting with purpose!

(If you want to say hi to me on Ravelry by the way I'm under my snipsnaphappy name!)

Hope you are having a lovely weekend :)


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Lack of sleep

Usual crafting has been slower this week.  My previously slightly swollen tummy has suddenly turned much larger, and the baby within is very wriggly, especially throughout the night.  Then there's the night-time weeing and the strange hormone-induced dreams, all of which make for rather sleepless nights.  I am exhausted.

My sewing basket, stuffed to the brim with cut fabric ready to be turned into various bags and boxy pouches, is somewhat neglected...

Although my crochet is still by my side most evenings, especially as the first of the babies due in our family this year arrived yesterday!  Another little hat is in production...

It's lovely to be able to crochet little personal gifts for people.

Of course when you're tired tea and biscuits are always a fabulous remedy so activity in the kitchen has been a little less sluggish...

(Some of these are supposed to be Gingerbread Monsters...!)

Plus I have another little project up my sleeve, all to be revealed shortly but here's a sneaky peek...

All will be revealed very soon :)  In the meantime, another cup of tea and a lie down is in order *yawn*

Friday, 13 August 2010

Folksy Friday

What do you think? Bit tidier around here? I finally managed to sit down and sort out my blog layout.  I created a  very basic header for now, I don't even have Photoshop you see, so I may need to get a header sorted by a professional soon, but for now I am quite happy to live with cake :)

So now I am all spruced up I thought I would try my first Folksy Friday. I love browsing through all the clever things that people make and sell, wishing that I was rich enough to buy all of it and I figured a Folksy Friday might act as a form of therapeutic window shopping.  So with the weather turning fresher, the distinct smell of autumn in the air, and with the first day of school just a few short weeks away, my mind is turning to crisp autumn days, chillier evenings, central heating, tea and melty biscuits, long hot baths and cosy knitted things. Aaaaaah…

I love Judith's shop  I bought some of her soap for hubby and it was great for his sensitive skin (bless him) and her lavender and goat's milk soap is a huge hit with the 4-year-old in this house.

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Loved the colours of this tea flavoured notelet.

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Seriously kitsch!  Makes me wish I owned a teapot.

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This shop has the most beautiful collection of tags, I can see these autumnal ones adorning my winter birthday gifts.

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Perfect for keeping my teabags safe and sound.

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If only I had some spare cash!  I can see myself sweeping about the countryside and sipping wine by a fireside wrapped in this gorgeous shrug.

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So there you have it - my first Folksy Friday.  That was very enjoyable.  Think I might snuggle down with a cuppa now and dream of autumn :)

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Mr Snipsnaphappy and I have a bit of a thing for monkeys.  The first gift I bought him very early on in our relationship was a stuffed monkey who we named Munkee...

Munkee has since, over the last eight years or so, travelled everywhere with us.  He's been to the Eden Project in Cornwall...

He has joined us for a few camping holidays...

He has travelled to Scotland, France, Majorca, Spain, and New York City...

 He even came with us on our honeymoon to the Maldives...

Why is this travelling simian relevant you ask?  Well!  The next project in the Happy Hooker Backwards projects is to be...

Yes!  That's the "Li'l Monkey" Baby Hat and Matching Afghan by Carmen Watkins.   It's MONKEY TIME!

The set consists of a blanket and a cute wooly hat, both decorated with crochet monkeys.  Crochet and monkeys in the same sentence = *happiness*

I'll be making the girlier frilly version of the hat (the bottom one in the pic above).  I will also be using girlier colours. I do love the traditional sock monkey combination of red, cream and speckly tan colour, but I feel a little pink would be well received in this house :)

Now all I need to do is to work out how on earth I get hold of Bernat Softee Chunky yarn in the UK...

Monday, 9 August 2010

Happy Hooker Backwards Project #40

Gosh, thank you very much for all the lovely comments on my bow bag! It really was just a bit of an experiment, a thoroughly enjoyable and educational experiment of course, and I never thought you would like it so much! A few people even asked about buying one, which is really exciting. I would love to make and sell bags, it just seems like such an enjoyable idea, though I have never taken the plunge with an Etsy/Folksy shop, but maybe one day :) 

Now, on with the first reveal of my Happy Hooker Backwards Project! I am actually stupidly excited about this, there is something very satisfying about setting out to do something, saying out loud to the great blogisphere that you are going to do it, then getting on with it. In case you need reminding the Happy Hooker Backwards Project is my mission to complete every pattern in the Happy Hooker book from last to first.

I wasn't sure if this was technically a post about project 1 of 40, or project 40 with 39 remaining, so I went with Project 40 to keep with the spirit of the whole backwards thing. My first project is on page 281, the last project in the book, the "Seija Set" Baby Hat and Stroller Blanket by Bev Ireland.

This project was incredibly easy, quick and enjoyable. It kept me occupied on my daily commute, during my evenings in front of the telly, and on long car journeys (obviously Mr Snipsnaphappy was doing the actual driving...) So the wool arrived on Monday and I put the finishing touches to the blanket this morning...

I used the same colours as in the picture in the book, purely because I really love the combination of brown, pink and white. The yarn is 100% acrylic, I got it on Ebay for £1.57 per 100g ball so it's very economical and, more importantly, very washable!
I made the blanket about 40% bigger than the pattern recommends as I want it to be used for a good few years...

I realised afterwards that I should have kept my feet in the above picture for perspective, oops. It's relatively small but big enough to keep even my 4-year-old quite snuggly in her car-seat. The pattern has an option to include a hole in the middle to allow for the buggy harness to come through, but I didn't do this because I...well...I forgot, I was having such fun with my nice easy lines of double crochet!
It has really lovely little braids at the bottom and top of the blanket, as well as on the sides of the hat.

I am really pleased with it. And the best thing is that I have enough yarn left to make at least two more hats and a smaller blanket (with the hole this time!)

So to sum up Project 40:
  • Cost - about £4.71 - I used three balls in total, half of what the pattern recommends, and that was with making the blanket 40% bigger too. Total bargain.
  • Yarn - Hayfields Bonus DK Extra Value, bought from Ebay, in "white", "chocolate" and "iced pink". Though any double-knit yarn would do it I suspect.
  • Hook - 4mm
  • Difficulty - Easy peasy lemon squeezey! If you can understand basic terminology and can do single and double crochet stitches then you can make this!
  • Overall happiness with finished object - absolutely delighted! I am very hard to please but I love this. The hat especially is just adorable and I'll be making more for the various family members also due to have girls over the next few months.
So what's next? Well I am rather excited about the next pattern, but more on that in a day or two!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Bow bag with a zip

I keep a notebook by my bedside.  I use it to write down all the things that suddenly occur to me right when I am about to go to sleep - call british gas, buy water filters, book horseriding for Lillia, and other exciting things.  I also use it to scribble ideas of things I want to make - bags and toys, polyclay characters etc - the kind of ideas that only ever seem to pop into my head late at night.

One such design was a bag with a big bow on the front.  I wanted to try something more challenging than my usual plain dual fabric design.  I also wanted to try putting a pocket on the front.  So I drew up a rather amateur pattern, grabbed some old fabric that I didn't mind wasting should it all go wrong, and got to work...

I have to say I am pretty darned pleased with the finished result!  I managed to keep my seams relatively straight (and where there are wonky bits you can't see them)  I took my time over each element, made sure it was neat and well made, I unpicked several times in order to make sure I got it right.  It was a real learning experience.

But perhaps most exciting for a geek like me is that I successfully added a zip!  I've never managed to do this on a bag before, I didn't even know where to start, but then I came across Made by Jane's Recessed Zipper Bag tutorial and decided to take the plunge.

Woo hoo!  My first zippered bag!  And it looks really good too!  I made the bands that attach to the zip to form the recessed part quite a bit thinner than Jane's, as I didn't want it too recessed.  Also instead of adding a matching band to the outside I just made the outer fabric slightly longer than the lining.

I even added a lined pocket to the inside...

So there you have it!  My first ever zippered bag, I am one chuffed little sewing person :)  Maybe zips aren't that evil after all?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

When things get used

I do like it when something I make for somebody else is all new looking and pretty.  Like the bag I made for my mum-in-law's birthday last year...

But I like it even better to see it one year on, propped against the fridge, next to the ironing board, being used...

There's something very satisfying about that :)

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Happy Hooker Backwards Project

I had an exciting delivery this morning! 

I ordered some 100% acrylic yarn in this lovely combination of colours in order to make a buggy blanket and matching hat using the pattern on page 281 of the Happy Hooker book...

You will notice pink features...Yes, we found out last Friday that we are having another little girl!  The current little lady of the house is very pleased indeed, she had said she didn't mind either way but I think she really wanted a sister.  For me it's great, I already have everything I need and I won't have to learn a new way of nappy changing!  Plus hubby will be outnumbered entirely which amuses me greatly :)

So now I know what colour blankets I need to be crocheting, what fabrics I will use for toys, and what names I need to narrow down.

The pattern I started with my new yarn today is the "Seija Set" Baby Hat and Stroller Blanket (buggy blanket to us in the UK!)  Within 20 minutes of the postie delivering the parcel I had made a start...

I am very excited to get started on a crochet project, it seems like ages since I last picked up my hooks. I think this one is going to be a lot of fun. How fortunate we are to be having a winter baby! It will be the snuggliest winter baby ever.

Coincidentally this pattern happens to be the very last pattern in the Happy Hooker book which, in the words of the fictional Cary Bradshaw, got me to thinking – what if I just kept going? 

So an idea formed in the messy crafty recesses of my mind – a project! Why don’t I just make it all, pattern by pattern, from back to front? It so happens that the next (or rather, previous) few projects contain some rather nice baby things, like the monkey hat and blanket, and the softies, which at the time the idea formed seemed to make a hell of a lot of sense.  And so the Happy Hooker Backwards project is born! It will take me a while of course, I am not made of yarn for start, nor money, nor time. Plus there’s the small matter of having a baby at some point in the next three months or so, that might slow things down slightly. But darn it I shall keep going until I have made every pattern in that book! Even if I am hooking away in the birthing pool…ok maybe not but you get the idea.

I will of course be keeping you updated every step of the way.  Now do excuse me, I have a hat to finish off...