Slow burners!

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Hello you!

Sorry I’ve neglected you, this year has been a bit of a slow burner so far, a bit like my crafting; slow work but working up to a big flame! I found the start to the year quite hard trying to balance work, motherhood and my passions for music and craft, it has been a bit of a juggling act.  I think I’m just about turning the chaos into some kind of order.  It was really good to get some perspective on things when we went away over Easter, it’s so great to get away for a little bit, isn’t it?  We were super lucky to go to New york for 10 days and visit family in Brooklyn.  It was both very exciting and a bit scary to take Roo away for the first time on a big trip, but we had an amazing family time.

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I only went and knitted a gawd, darn sweater!  I have done some (simple) knitting before, mostly things that involve square shapes, but I’ve never knitted a jumper before, so this was a first.

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As a slightly more experienced mum now after a year or so, I knitted this in my favourite merino wool (Tip:  I bought some in bulk online, check wool shop ‘Sale’ sections!) but made sure it was ‘super wash’ so it is a practical jumper as well as a pretty one.  I really feel happier when things are both aesthetically pleasing and practical and I’m not the world’s best at remembering to hand wash, so this was definitely the way to go.

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There was quite a lot of undoing and swearing and starting again, so it went even slower than I expected, but I got there in the end.  I’m really pleased with how it came out and I am feeling satisfied with my efforts although I’m no expert knitter yet!

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I used this free pattern in the largest size and I made up the patterned bit which was fun, just because I wanted a bit of colour and honestly got bored knitting in the same colour. The bits I was worried about actually were easier than anticipated, like the neck and buttonholes. I love, love, love these yellow buttons!

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I had enough wool to make a little jumper for Roo’s new cousin who has just arrived.  Yay!  It’s my favourite jumper to make for babies which I adapted from this pattern to make the Little Cornish Jumper.  Hopefully it will be breathable enough to keep her cosy through the constantly changing Spring temperatures and of a cooler evening but without overheating when it warms up. I kept the front nice and simple.

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But, I added a button at the back (that yellow again!) . . .

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. . .not only because I love the colour combination, but also because it should make it easier to get the jumper over baby’s head.

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Here are a couple of great photos taken by Roo’s uncle on our trip, firstly, Roo is modelling amazing booties by Laurel of Arrietty Exeter:

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. . . and here is little chubby cheeks in his new jumper (that’s Rupert, not his dad, shoving, one of many, amazing NY pastries into his mouth!)

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Perfect Strangers Project, Oh Comely Magazine

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I love ‘Oh Comely’ magazine. I am in fact hoping a certain someone is going to buy me a subscription to it for Christmas, if you haven’t seen it I recommend you check it out.  The folks there run an annual parcel project called Perfect Strangers where you can connect with a stranger via package swapping, snail mail style.  When I read about my swapper, it wasn’t too hard to decide to make her a handmade parcel; in a nutshell it seems she is as crazy about handmade stuff as I am.  It seems like we would get along really well!

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Here is what ‘Oh Comely’ suggest as a starting point for your package:

Dear Perfect Stranger,

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create a parcel full of trinkets and treats for your swapper. Inside could be anything from sweets, a poem, to samples of your favourite tea.

If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s an inspiration list to get you going.

1. A wintry treat

The nights are drawing in, so get something to warm the cockles. The choice is yours, but how about scrumptious hot chocolate, a mini hot water bottle or a small hamster. Just kidding: definitely do not post hamsters. The price guide is £10.

2. A modern-day message in a bottle

For this, you will need an empty spice jar and a memory stick. Record something on the memory stick that you’d like to share: a mixtape, photographs you love, a film. Think about the songs or photos from your collection that you recommend time and again. Pop the memory stick in the jar, and seal it up ready to send into the world.

2. ‘What’s in my bag?’, photocopy edition

Pop into your local copy shop or accomplish this covertly at work. Empty the contents of your handbag, rucksack or favourite pocket onto the photocopier. Remove anything scratchy first, like your keys. Other than that, no cheating. That stray piece of chewing gum stays in, you hear? Make a copy. Now pick a colourful pen and annotate the objects as if you were writing a children’s science book. Lighters with sentimental value, bus tickets to see your Nan: tell ’em all about it.

If you don’t have access to a copier, you could send something you always keep in your bag instead, such as a fresh tube of your favourite hand cream.

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So here is what I put in the parcel:

1. A handmade wintry warmer cowl in black and white chunky knit

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2.  My other passion is music, so the memory stick is full of all time favourite songs along with some tunes to craft to!

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3.  My handbag contents is always ridiculous (thanks for letting me scan it Molly!)

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I thought she would definitely need some of these:

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And also one of these:

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The package would not be the same without these either:

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I’m getting a touch of the Christmas about me already, and yes I do know I’ve really got to keep that urge under control until December!

I also added some chocolate, of course, some cinnamon tea and some sparkly apple Christmas decorations.

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I really hope she liked it and I’d almost forgotten that I would be receiving a parcel too!  It’s a lovely way to get to know someone and this package from Stephanie really cheered up a grey day today, can’t wait to listen to the mix tape:

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Thank you so much for all the lovely things! Hopefully we’ll get to have a cuppa one day soon.

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I’m already in love with this fabric:

 

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She even put in little gifts for my boys:

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This was such a great idea from Oh Comely, I thoroughly recommend that you look out for it and take part next year, I know I definitely will.