Friday, 20 December 2013

Finishing Touches

I'm so into adding embellishments and trinkets to presents, so I thought I would share some gorgeous ways to finish off gifts and even your household Christmas decorations. Everything from baubles to plush!


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Sunday, 15 December 2013

Christmas Time

The tree is now up, at home! Everything is looking festive, and although we have a few decorations still to put up, our tree is in pride of place in our dining room!

I love putting up the Christmas tree each year. It's one of my favourite parts of Christmas, and the best part is putting all of the presents underneath. Shockingly, all of the ones in this picture are gifts from me to others, so there are still yet to be even more presents going underneath! It looks fab though!

Each year, we go with a gold theme at home, and loads of the decorations of recycled and have been gifted to us from family and friends. There seems to be more on it every single year! The tree itself is older than me (so at least 24 years old) and was bought by my parents for about £40 at the time. Each year another branch falls off and gets stuck back on, but that's all part of Christmas for me! It's funny how you have those little things that make it special.

The other thing that I have yet to actually share with you all (very unusual for me) is my 2013 Christmas gift wrapping! This year I've opted for red and white, and something more fun and casual than last year. As always I have gone with paper from Paperchase, who seriously make the best wrapping paper ever, and then scanned the internet and local shops for embellishments!

Christmas 2013!

As I've already said, the paper came from Paperchase, and I fell in love with it the second I saw it. I already knew that I wanted to go with a red and white theme this year but wasn't quite sure how I'd go about it. This paper really jumped out at me though and I just had to use it. I originally wanted some glittered ribbon, but that came to a disgusting amount of money, so in the end settled for some plain white organza, which I bought from Ribbon Oasis, as recommended by a friend. In all honesty, in hindsight I do think the glittered stuff would have been a bit much and I do like how simple this looks overall. Gift tags are hessian with white felt stars, and came from John Lewis! And you can't really see it too well in this picture, but each present has a candy cane - I bought mine from Mr Simm's Olde Sweet Shoppe, but you can get them all over the place at this time of year! So that's how Christmas is looking for me at the moment!

Candy Canes!

In the next few days we will put up our Christmas cards, as well as some of the cross-stitch samplers that my Mum has made over the years. We also always decorate our fireplace with holly and fairy lights, but will do that nearer the time so that the holly looks fresh. All in all, we are ready to rock!


Everything looked lovely lit up last night. I can now kick back, relax, and enjoy the lead up to the big day! What are you all doing to prepare for Christmas?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Wreaths

Christmas just isn't complete until you have a beautiful festive wreath for your front door!


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Friday, 6 December 2013

Photographic Passion

I've been getting back into my photography again recently, after a really long and unplanned hiatus due to a lack of time and other commitments, so it's been great to feel the creative urge to get my camera out again. This has been sparked by a couple of elements, one of which being a deal I am working on with Nikki's Nibbles, of Weymouth. I received a message giving me the opportunity to fill some wall space in their café and have been really pleased to oblige! The prints are currently at the sorting office, as I was out when they arrived (sod's law...) but I will go and pick them up sometime tomorrow!

I went on a photo jaunt with Dave at the weekend, after a visit to the Athelhampton Christmas Food Fayre, which was delicious! We went down to Weymouth to photograph the beach and harbour and I managed to get a couple of images that I liked, but nothing that really screamed wow at me.

"WINTER HARBOUR"

I've always found Weymouth Harbour to be very beautiful. It's got such a traditional look to it, and the conditions were perfect on Sunday afternoon, with some stunning clear sky and still waters. We also enjoyed a beachy wander after visiting the harbour.

Dave then suggested that while we were in the area, we took a trip over to Portland to photograph the Chesil Beach viewpoint, as well as the famous Portland Bill Lighthouse. The Bill is one of my favourite places to visit, so I was more than happy to go over the causeway and take some more photographs over there, especially in the evening light.


"SHINE A LIGHT"

I have decided that next time there is a storm, I want to go down to Portland, because it's one of the most insane places to be in bad weather. The sea rushes up in "geysers" where it is forced into tiny channels in the cliffs, and it's a real experience.

"DUSK"

Thankfully, Sunday was very still though and we managed to get some nice pictures of the lighthouse. Some international readers may recognise the names of Weymouth and Portland from the 2012 London Olympics - the Olympic sailing events were hosted here.

Today, I have continued my bout of creative flair, and took a trip to Hardy's Monument, which sits a few miles outside of Dorchester. It can be seen for miles around, and commemorates Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy (not the famous Dorset writer of the same name), who was a commander at the Battle of Trafalgar. You can read more about the monument here.

"HARDY'S MONUMENT"

I find this a very difficult place to photograph. The monument itself, pretty much resembles a chimney, which looks very unusual against the views that surround it. It's a very bleak and weather-beaten place, but unique to the area and I haven't visited in a number of years with my camera.

"A MONUMENTAL MORNING"

I also feel that because of the landscape, Hardy's Monument lends itself very well to black and white. However, I am really pleased with A Monumental Morning, as I have named it. I feel the colour works well, on this occasion.

Anyway, I am hoping that this stretch of creativity continues, and that I will be out taking some more photographs very soon. I have a few places on my list that I would like to visit in the next few weeks - one of which will involve an early start and some frost, so I'll have to sit and wait for the right conditions to occur.

For those newer to my blog, please check out my website! You can find it at www.sianlister.co.uk, and it is home to loads of my photographic portfolio. I also have a Facebook Page, and would love to see you there.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

165 Squares

I have only made 15 squares in the last month, which is actually quite shameful. But I am back on track and getting into the rhythm of things again.


I am very nearly at the halfway point, which feels good! And, at the moment I am focused on building up my stockpile of squares again, before starting to join more into the blanket, which at present is 19x7 in size (finished will be 19x19). It shouldn't take me too long to get a good backlog of squares together though - I have already replenished the orange pile and started back on yellows (orange, yellow and red were the most depleted squares after my last joining session), so I'm making steady work of it. I'm just so looking forward to seeing it finished and in it's full glory! 196 squares left to go...

Why have I been so rubbish in my square making? I've been super concentrated on Christmas. All of my presents have been wrapped and are ready to rock! It's a really good feeling knowing that all I have to do is write and send my Christmas cards, which I will do next week. So despite the fact that I have done far less blanket work than I would have liked during my time off, I have still been productive in other ways!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Santa's Toy Shop

My first Treasury of December, and what better way to start feeling festive, than with a selection of Christmas trees and elves!


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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Jack Frost

It's time to wrap up warm and cool down the colour palette, for this week's Treasury! I'm diving into frost and ice this week, to match the beautiful Wintery weather we have been experiencing where I live. It's a gorgeous time of year - as long as you remember your scarf!


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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Festive Reds

I saw Santa coming in to Poole on Sunday, and it's gotten me feeling really festive - I may even wrap some Christmas presents today! I thought I would start making some more Christmassy treasuries, but don't want to go full on yet, so here are some beautiful crocheted earrings, in gorgeous festive reds!


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Thursday, 14 November 2013

How To Stash With Style

So, I was browsing Facebook earlier and saw that the fabulous Twinkie Chan had posted up a picture of her craft room, and absolutely love the way she has all her yarn both on display and to hand for projects!

© Twinkie Chan

It's got me thinking about how awesome it must be to have a room dedicated to your crafting (I can only dream!) and also, really brought it to my attention how great the yarn all looks out in the open, in her shelving! And there are so many ways you can keep your yarn, and make it a real centre piece to a room, as well as functional and practical!

© Knit Today

I'm loving this crate storage idea from Knit Today, which comes from a whole selection of storage methods in this blog post! Not only do I love the colour sorting, but the recycled crates are such a fantastic way to keep everything in order, and they are readily available from charity shops and/or online (search "wine crate" on eBay for loads of fab results).

© Leethal

Lee, from Leethal.net has a brilliant tutorial on her amazing blog, showing you how to use recycled coffee tins as a solution to yarn storage. They are even wall mounted, and you could cover them to fit in with any decor you fancied! I love the effect of this, and you could make the display as large or small as you like. Check out the original blog post here for a really interesting read.

© Prudentbaby

This wine rack by Prudentbaby makes a really gorgeous statement, and is a method that I'd have never even considered. It's a mixture of stylish, functional and plain funky, which I absolutely love. The black exterior makes all of the yarn colours really pop, and I also like the fact that there are drawers for additional storage - mine would be full to the brim with ribbon, buttons, and loads of other embellishments, along with all of my hooks! Another great thing about this storage method, is that if you ever do decide that you no longer want to crochet/knit (how, I have no idea) it's easy to revert back to filling it with all of your wine - it's a win win situation!

 
© Knits For Life

Now this one is really nifty! "The World's Best Yarn Storage Idea" does exactly what it says on the tin, and has a beautiful outcome, which must also function well as room insulation for the winter months! Lorna from Knits For Life explains how she created this amazing wall of yarn, and all you need is a yarn winder, lengths of peg board to fit your desired space, and hooks. You can even add extra attachments to hold all of your crafting bits and bobs! What I really love about this idea is the fact that it takes up next to no space in your room. You have an art feature and storage system all in one, and it's definitely quite breath-taking to look at!

© Wood & Wool Stool

Finally, here's an excellent way to use an existing cupboard space, allowing you to shut everything away after you've finished stash diving! Like the first suggestion, this is a great way to organise all of your colours, or yarn types, and if you have someone that is less of a yarn addict in the house, you simply shut the door and they need never know it exists!

I hope you've enjoyed reading as much as I've enjoyed looking up these great ideas. I am ashamed to say that my yarn stash currently resides in a bin bag and seriously needs some TLC, as there are some massive tangles going on in there. Maybe one day I can implement one of these awesome ideas!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Twinkle Twinkle

The sky was absolutely brimming with stars when I started work this evening. I could sit and watch them all night ^^


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Saturday, 9 November 2013

150 Squares

Been a while since I've mentioned my current blanket project, and today I have made excellent progress, so I thought I'd share it with you all! I have now made 150 out of 361 squares - woohoo!



I'm so close to being halfway! It feels good to have done lots since my last update, as I think I was only at about 80 squares in total, so this is awesome. Now for a few (badly taken) pictures...

As I have probably mentioned somewhere previously, the blanket is going to measure 19x19 squares, and will end up about the size of a double duvet. Dave has chosen all of the colours himself, and I'm randomly placing them as I go along. At the moment it's only joined lengthways, and I'll do the horizontals afterwards once I have the full size. It's looking good at 7 rows though, and you can really get an idea of how it's going to look when it's all finished! I really love the light blue squares, which are a colour called "Pool". They brighten it up, which is unusual for blue tones. The cashmerino yarn is a dream to work with! I think I'm doing ok at randomising though. It's going to look quite impressive when it's completed...very colourful, at least! What do you think?

I also can't wait to get it all pressed and looking a little less "wobbly" on the edges, but that's just the perfectionist in me! It's really taking shape now though.

Tonight, I'm back on the job of square making though. I have a couple of new films lined up to keep me amused for the quieter parts of the shift! Not sure what colour I'm going to go for next, but I've just finished a few balls of dark blue, so it won't be that. Something light, I expect. It's still going to take me quite a while but I'm definitely on the right track! It's all running very smoothly actually. I like the fact that I can change colours ever 12-13 squares or so, when the ball of yarn runs out, so that's quite refreshing. If they were all the same colour, I'd have lost interest long ago! It's great to be working on something so simple though - it's perfect for my night shifts because it doesn't require much attention or brain power, which is always a bonus.

So that's where it stands at the moment! I've almost reached the halfway point, in terms of construction and square making. I've definitely made the right decision in joining as I go...I honestly don't think I could stomach the prospect of joining 361 squares, with no respite! More updates soon!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bead Crochet

I wish I had the patience to work with beads! Bead crochet has such stunning results, so hats off to these incredible artists!


Check out the collection by clicking here!

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Monday, 4 November 2013

North Wales

I have just sat down and realised that I am yet to fill you all in on my fantastic trip to Wales, and today marks one month (where has that even gone??) since I embarked on my week-long trip! So without further ado...North Wales 2013, with my fabulous best friend Kirsty!

We left on the morning of the 4th October, with the journey taking about 6 hours from start to finish. The cottage we chose to stay in was just outside the village of Pentrefelin, near Criccieth, and was surprisingly easy to find! I was expecting a trek around fields and tiny unheard of roads, as the last time we went to Wales we literally ended up in a field after taking a (very) wrong turn. However, "The Old Cow Shed" was really easy to find, and absolutely beautiful!

"The Old Cow Shed" and the amazing view!

The cottage itself was a converted cow shed, like the name would suggest, and was surrounded not only by mountains, but also had the most incredible sea view. You literally could not have asked for more, from a scenery perspective! We settled down for the evening with pizza and Disney films, tired from the journey!

Criccieth

On day one we went for a walk around the local town of Criccieth, which lay just 2 miles down the road. It's a sleepy seaside town, with a highstreet and a really nice beach (although, October isn't really beach weather!) so it made a nice relaxing start to our week. I had read online during my epic pre-holiday researching session that Criccieth had a Cadwaladers ice cream parlour, so obviously we had to go and sample some of that! I bought myself some "holiday yarn" while we were there, as a souvenir - I need to decide what to make!

We decided to spend the rainy Sunday as our crochet and cross stitch day, staying in our pyjamas and watching films for the duration, whilst indulging in our hobbies - nothing wrong with that! But Monday brought on a new adventure, and an hour long drive to the Corris Craft Centre. Words just cannot describe, so here are some pictures...

Corris Craft Centre

The Corris Craft Centre houses 9 individual artists' studios, including glassblow, candlemaking, pottery, a goldsmiths, and more! When visiting you go into each "pod" and can have the opportunity to buy some of these exceptional gifts, but also to have a go yourself, should you choose to. We both spent far too much money on the Monday, after Corris! The candle studio in particular was absolutely amazing (bottom right), and also played house to an adorable spaniel called "Steve", who had been trained to accept money from customers! If anyone is ever in the area, I would highly recommend a visit! I can also tempt you with the promise of a Welsh food store, and an excellent café!

Tuesday was my day, as such. The one thing I was desperate to visit while in the area, was the village of Portmeirion. The village itself is the work of architect Clough Williams-Ellis, who basically wanted to build an Italian style village in Wales, with the intentions of not spoiling the surrounding area. It is also famous for it's pottery, and was the location for the 1960's television series "The Prisoner". I took so many photos in Portmeirion and I'm glad that I got to visit it! It's definitely one of the most surreal and unique places that I have had the opportunity to go to!

Portmeirion

I just love how happy and colourful it is! Everywhere you looked there was something interesting or unusual. It's a really breathtaking place, and the only thing I was disappointed in was the weather. Alas, it still looked gorgeous so I can't really complain!

On Wednesday we took a trip to Betws-Y-Coed, which is the home to lots of lovely waterfalls. Kirsty is a fairy collector, and whilst researching I came across a location just outside the village called "Fairy Glen", which obviously was a must-visit for the trip! Betws-Y-Coed was lovely though and had a great atmosphere!

Betws-Y-Coed

During our time in and around Betws-Y-Coed, we visited three main attractions - Swallow Falls (which is the most famous waterfall there), The Ugly House, and Fairy Glen. All of them were fantastic, and the rivers looked great because of heavy rainfall the previous night (and just as I took my camera out, actually). The leaves were also still relatively green considering the time of year, but this didn't really matter. I was so glad that we visited Fairy Glen though. It was off the beaten track and quite difficult to get to in places, due to some horrible stone steps. It was quite a climb in and out but was worth it for the beautiful surroundings we were in. It was unfortunately a little wet for any fairy sightings though. We came home considerably wetter than leaving that morning, but both very happy!

Thursday was our final whole day, so we made another hour long journey, this time heading North to the Welsh Mountain Zoo. We got to see so many gorgeous animals, including bears, which neither of us had ever seen before! It's a fantastic zoo though, with plenty of photo opportunities!

Welsh Mountain Zoo

I was totally obsessed with the Macaw! They're such gorgeous birds and I got some lovely pictures of him! It was nice to spend our last day chilling at the zoo though, and we both had a great time.

Friday meant home time again. The week went way too quickly, but I was definitely glad to get the 6 hour journey out of the way again! So there is your very late rundown of what happened on my 2013 holiday with Kirsty! Sorry I'm so behind...I'll make it up to you with tomorrow's Treasury!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Avalon Faery Fayre 2013

Sorry I've been so quiet lately, guys! Everything has been a little hectic since I returned from Wales (I will blog about that soon, I promise) and I've been a little distracted. However, I have something awesome to share with you all.

"Spirit of the Ocean" © Josephine Wall

On Saturday 26th October, I visited the Avalon Faery Fayre in Glastonbury. This was my second visit to the bi-annual fayre, which is hosted in Glastonbury in the Spring and Autumn of each year. My best friend (whom I went to Wales with) is a fairy fanatic, so she invited me to attend a few years ago, so she could see and meet her favourite artist Jasmine Beckett-Griffith. We went along and had a really good laugh. Many trips to Glastonbury later, we attended for the second time at the weekend, and it was equally fantastic.


It's a really happy event, and isn't just about fairies (although that's the main theme, obviously). There are lots of very talented artists exhibiting and selling their work, along with jewellery, scented items, gifts and ornaments, amongst other things. The atmosphere is fantastic, and everyone always seems to be having a great time, which is really refreshing!

Meeting Jasmine for the second time was really lovely. I was pretty unaware of her work the first time Kirsty and I attended the Avalon Faery Fayre of 2011, but since then I am an avid follower on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and love seeing all of her updates! I couldn't resist buying myself a little signed print, which will end up in my scrapbook like the one I bought a couple of years ago. She's a great person though and really happy to talk to fans, sign items, and talk about her work. I've really grown to appreciate her style, since first being introduced to her. I also think it's really lovely that she flew in from her home in Celebration, Florida to attend the fayre and meet some of her fans in the UK. It was great to see you again, Jasmine!

We also got to meet another artist, Josephine Wall, for the second time. Josephine's art absolutely blows me away. The detail and complexity of her paintings is out of this world, and it simply can't be captured to full effect on a camera. However, I did snap a couple of pictures of her latest paintings (she had two originals on display, worth in excess of £4000 each)! My favourite has to be the mermaid on the seahorse (opposite). The detailing in the hair is absolutely gorgeous, and I really fell hard for the colour palette. Josephine's gallery is actually only about half an hour from Dorchester, where I live, so at some point we intend to go and visit her at "home", so to speak.

Of course, Kirsty and I fully intend to plan another visit for next year's October Fayre. In addition to being really good fun, I will never turn down a trip to Glastonbury. On this occasion I ended up buying a candle at the fayre, and two scarves in some of the other amazing shops in the town centre - Padma Glastonbury (one of my favourite shops on earth), and Bedlam Boutique!

So there you have it. I am still alive, but just have a lot of personal things going on at the moment. I'm still frantically crocheting squares for Dave's blanket (now somewhere in the region of 140) and have actually started assembly, so I'll take some photos of that and share them soon!

Pumpkins

Halloween is just a few days away! I have a couple of pumpkins sat waiting to be carved!


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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Hibernation

The evenings are drawing in, the leaves are changing colour and it's definitely starting to get cold! Lucky for these little critters, they can jump into hibernation!


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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Grey Skies

It's raining outside. I hate grey skies, but grey is such a beautiful colour when it comes to blankets!


Check out the collection by clicking here!

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Welsh Dragons

Next week, I am going on holiday to North Wales, with my best friend! I'm so looking forward to it, and have been looking at photos from our last trip!

Us with Pen Y Fan in the background -  South Wales' highest point

I am going to celebrate my holiday countdown with some Welsh Dragons to mark the occasion! Apologies in advance that there won't be a Treasury posted between 4th - 11th October, due to the fact that the cottage we will be staying in, doesn't have a WiFi connection - I will make up for it with holiday pics afterwards!


Check out the collection by clicking here!

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

60-something Squares

I am making excellent progress with my newest project but haven't had much chance to talk about it yet, due to restricted internet access. However, in the brief period that I can now spend connected to the world, I am happy to share with you my 67 squares!

Square eyes?

Now, I know there are only 66 in the picture, but I finished another light blue one after taking this photo.

This pattern comes from Simply Crochet Magazine, and is designed as a baby blanket; however I want to make this up to double duvet size. It's going to come to approximately 361 squares in total, so I'm about a 6th of the way there!


Hopefully I will have the first batch of light blue finished by the end of my shift later, and then I can repeat the process all over again, with my new yarn. It's quite a task though!

Snoods

Definitely one of THE greatest inventions, ever.


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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Forestry

I believe it's so important to look after our forests and woodland. Here's to keeping things beautiful and green for the future!


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Monday, 9 September 2013

Countdown

I've just done some maths and worked out that my latest blanket project calls for 361 squares in total! So I am counting down as I go along...


 Let's see how long this one takes me!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Owl Blanket

To start off, I want to say a huge thank you to Mary-Heather from Ravelry, who decided to feature my blanket on the front page of Ravelry today! Check out the blog post (which features some other beautiful blankets) here. I'm literally beaming from ear to ear!

So, incase you hadn't already worked it out; I finished the owl blanket! I actually finished a few days ago, on the 1st September (meaning I completed it in exactly a month) but didn't want to take photos and share until I'd pressed it, and had it looking at it's best. Today was the day and I am ready to share.

Lots of lovely owls

I want to give a big and well deserved credit to The Hat & I for producing this beautiful pattern (click here for Ravelry and here for Etsy), because without their amazing designing skills, I wouldn't have gotten very far. As you can see, it's very colourful! I used Knit Picks Chroma yarn, in Lollipop, as the pattern called for, but was unable to get Knit Picks for the edging. Instead, I opted for Sirdar Snuggly, which despite being DK instead of Worsted, worked out absolutely fine. The whole thing feels so soft, I absolutely love it!

Front and back

I love the fact that this blanket looks great from both sides. I've made stuff in the past and have cringed when they've been turned over, but this one looks fab. I was very meticulous, trying to get all of the ends darned in nicely, so it really paid off.

Edging details

I had lots of new experiences in making this particular blanket. It was my first time using a wool blend yarn, as well as my first baby blanket. It also gave me the opportunity to try out the border in the pattern, which I very nearly didn't do because it scared me. However, it is extremely well explained, and although I was a little apprehensive before stitching the "half-octagons" on to the blanket, for fear of them tugging and ruining the shape of the rest of it, it is now my favourite part of the whole thing. They give a really delicate and pretty edging to the blanket overall, especially when coupled with the waved border.

Twit-twoo!

Ironically, I can hear a Tawny Owl outside, as I am writing this. The joys of night shifts! Anyway, I have made this for my very dear friend Karen, who has just become a Grandmother. It's no lie when I tell you that this woman changed my life, so this is the least I could do as part of saying thank you. I am going to be posting it to her and her husband at some point next week, so that's exciting!

Ribbon by Cath Kidston

I wanted to make it a really special heirloom gift, and I hope I've achieved my goal. I still have my baby blanket, from when I was born, and although it isn't hand made it's still nice to keep it. So maybe this will remain in her family - who knows. It's a nice thought!

Anyway, this has been an absolute joy to work on. I couldn't have asked for a better pattern, yarns, or a more worthy recipient, and it has honestly made my day to see the reaction on Ravelry as well, so thank you to everyone that has commented and favourited. You've all put a massive smile on my face! Love to you all x