Hello everyone,

Another super hot day today. This heat is quite overwhelming to those who are not used to it! Never have I been in shorts and t-short quite so much.

Well, hot sun means perfect fleece washing weather. So that is what I have been doing. Last night I washed two small bags of Gotland fleece and 350g ish of Hebridean lambs fleece. Both from Woolfest 2016. Simple wash job. Three rinses each, first two washes with 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner. Then hung on the line inside mesh lingerie bags. They were left out overnight and were over half dry by the morning.

I laid them both out on outside tables to dry in the hot sun. They dried very fast then!

These are the Gotland curls. They were so soft and fluffy. I was impressed with my washing I think!

This is the Hebridean fleece. It filled the camping table. It is very soft with a lovely shine. Only trouble with it is that it seems to have an awful lot of second cuts – a spinners nightmare! Both of these are now in a mesh bag ready to care when I have a bit of spare ‘me time.’

I managed to wash a North Ronaldsay fleece this afternoon. Same wash routine. I never used to be good at getting the grease out of fleeces but my method is working out really well for me.

1. Very hot water, shampoo/conditioner/2in1. Leave for twenty minutes.

2. Come back within 20 minutes so water is still very hot. Use gloves if need be. Repeat step 1.

3. Repeat step 1 but omit shampoo, etc and have it as just a hot water rinse. Give it twenty minutes.

4. Squeeze out and lay flat to dry.

I also finished carding my pink Berrichon fleece. It looks nice and feels very soft!

The pink stuff was great and easy to card. I’d forgotten how time consuming it could be though. Wash, dye, dry, fluff and card twice before even getting to the spinning part! The blue stuff was a bit greasy and I just couldn’t fathom why at first. Then I remembered I had left the wet fleece lying in a bit of its bath water for a few days before I could dye it, so the grease had probably stuck back onto it. I’ll finish carding it and then hopefully when I wash the finished yarn the grease will come out then.

I’ve sorted out some more Berrichon fleece for the wash tomorrow. Maybe I can get three buckets done a day? I had a quick look in my fleece shed today and there is ALOT of fleece in there, desperate to be used. Some needing rewashed. We shall see. Seven weeks is a long time!

Have a great evening everyone,

xXx Love Kais xXx

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Hello again!

One of my New Years resolutions was to do more on this blog. Well… better late than never, right? (Last post was in September, eeek!)

Well, my little one is over a year old now, I can’t believe it, how on Earth did that happen so fast? I adore her so much. I also have another teaching job which is good fun most of the time.

But what of the crafts?!

I haven’t really knitted a lot recently. Just nothing seems to have caught my eye. Crochet, however, has been quite popular the last couple of months. I found my Attic24 Log Cabin kit under the bed where it had been languishing for quite some time and pulled it out. I think I had done five squares. I’ve now completed eleven out of sixteen. It’s a slow project, but easy going. I cannot wait to sew it all up together.

I also started making my own graph blanket from the popular radio series ‘Old Harrys Game.’ It’s a comedy series based in Hell from the demons and the devils point of view. Very funny. I won’t put that up until I’ve got it a bit more done though. I’ve got two out of nine squares done.

For a while I haven’t really been into my spinning. I’ve found time-wise it a bit difficult, but I went to Woolfest on Saturday and my interest just sort of exploded again! I bought a beautiful Jacobs fleece (you just can’t beat a nice Jacobs!), a Berrichon fleece and a North Ronaldsay fleece. As well as all the other bits and pieces, including seven issues of Yarnmaker for a grand total of £3.50! I have only been thinking the other day that I really could do with looking for back issues of the magazine. It’s a fascinating read.

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This fleece was absolutely massive, it would have carpeted the whole of the upstairs! I was ruthless on all my fleeces. I uhmed and ahed at times but then thought ‘nope, no use working on bits that aren’t the best.’ It just wastes time trying to card out yucky bits or wash out the really dirty areas. There is still a huge black bag full of fleece. The Berrichon was lovely too. I really was unsure about it but thought I would give it a chance. It came in a cotton pillowcase (just how I store mine in the shed) and was pretty clean, with a short staple. When I lay it on the ground there was loads of great, useable fleece, even with the ruthless skirting. I took maybe a quarter away to wash using three buckets. It got a three rinse bath using a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner. It smelt lovely afterwards!

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I think this is it after its first wash. Look how clean it is!

I then set about dyeing it. I had been given a great jam pan by my mother in law, which I thought was perfect for dyeing. I set it up with warm water and added in some magenta easy fix all in one dyes.

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I think I put in 5ml of the dye. I actually used it to dye some white wool I bought at Woolfest. I did the yarns one at a time, adding a shade mixer after each yarn to make them lighter, but matching, if you see what I mean. I love these colours. Eliza will hopefully be getting a Fair Isle hat from these.

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I used the final dye to dye my raw fleece. I decided to just dye it straight away whilst it was still wet, which motivates me more than having a load of white fleece and no clue what to do with it. I wanted to make a lovely purple fleece so added in some turquoise, which made a lovely purple.

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It’s a shame it didn’t stay this way!

After rinsing, this was the result.

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On the left is wool from the dye after twenty minutes, and on the right it’s wool after being left in the dye for 24 hours. Both pretty much the same. Because the dye had the added shade stuff in it, I think it prevented much dyeing to be done and maybe also because the blue just wasn’t holding as much as the pale pink was? It’s all a learning curve for me as I don’t dye that much with easyfix dyes. I usually use kool-aid!

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I put the fleece into net bags and hung it on the line outside to dry. It’s been super hot these past few days, and I mean SUPER hot. It’s been between 27-30 degrees centigrade which is almost unheard of around here. Once dry, and filling a washing up bowl nicely, I decided to card some. I cleaned out my carder of all the old colours and bits of old fleece and started going. It’s very theraputic sorting out the fleece and fluffing it up, turning the handle and watching all the fibres align nicely. I managed to get two small batts done on my Classic Carder before dinner time. Not much done, but little and often is my motto at the moment. The pink looks very pale in that photo but it isn’t that pale really.

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It hardly looks like anything has been taken from the tub! Tomorrow, after visiting the local town to see some dolls house furniture in the new recycling charity centre, I plan on having a few hours to myself in the shade outside, sorting fleece, washing it, and then carding the rest of this loveliness up. I have a gorgeous blue fleece outside washing too. It should match this nicely as it is quite a pale blue. I need to give myself confidence in using more of the dye, I can always buy more if it runs out! The batts in this photo need running through the carder again. I usually card it all once, and then once all of them are made, card them again. I love making batts and seeing them all on the table afterwards. Argh, I’m wanting to do some more now!

But, it is getting late and little one is asleep now and I don’t want to leave her. I love just being beside her, watching her sleep. I just keep looking at her and thinking, ‘wow.’ She truly is everything I ever wanted.

Have a good night everyone, and happy spinning/ knitting/ crocheting/ crafting, etc!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello,

Here are a few more sewing projects I have been getting on with, bit by bit, slowly, slowly.

Anyone ever made a jelly roll quilt? I saw a YouTube video of someone using one to make a quilt top and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I knew Moda fabrics sold them but I can’t afford or want to pay the crazy prices that their fabrics go for. I found a nice rainbow cotton set of 44 strips on eBay and I loved it! SOoooo bright and cheerful.

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I can see teeny tiny baby feet in the corner!

The cotton was nice and smooth and felt good, not cheap nasty cotton you can sometimes get. To make a jelly roll quilt you sew all the strips together end to end. Then fold them in half and sew them together down the long edge. It is a bit complicated to explain but it’s the easiest way to make a quilt, ever! But it is pretty tedious.

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I really like the effect when done though. This is going to be a quilt for my youngest brother. I gave a quilt to my Dad in March this year and a MASSIVE blanket to my Mother at last Christmas, so it is his turn now. We shall see what blanket I make for my other brother next!

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It’s pretty big. I am going to put in 4oz wadding. Well, we shall see. It is about six inches too small at the side. I can of course just sew some more wadding onto it but I don’t want any bumps left. I have bought a single duvet in the sale for £3 and I’m hoping that it will serve well as wadding… if it fits! There were no doubles or I would have bought one of those instead. I have a duvet that I bought for fabric a year or so ago. It has tiny rainbow dots on the back of it, which I thought would be perfect for this! I’ll be folding the edges over to make the binding instead of attaching separate bias binding. I shall have to give this blanket a really good iron first though!

I made Eliza a dress using a McCalls pattern. It is far too big for her which is perfect, she has dresses for when she is bigger! This is the smallest size in the pattern which means I have a few more years of use out of the pattern, so good value for money. The fabric was 99p a metre from Oh Sew Crafty in Kidderminster. The lining is from pillowcases. I really took my time on this and am so pleased with the result. I hand-sewed in the zip, like I do with all zips.

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I added the lace on the bottom to give it a bit extra, rather than completely red.

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The zip is almost invisible, yay!

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She wasn’t too pleased with this, she was a bit tired and cranky! As you can see, it is far too big for her, so plenty of room to grow into it!

The last thing I have made recently is something you either love the idea of, are on the fence, or are completely ‘urgh, no way!’ I make my own sanitary cloth pads. It is no joke when I say that since using these my periods are lighter, less painful and over quicker. The pads I make have no chemicals inside them and do not rub me in ways that disposables do.

I use scraps of cotton for the tops, jersey for the bottoms and either towels or nappy inserts in the middle as the core.

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I am addicted to the Luna Wolf pattern which you can find on Google. It is so simple and effective and best of all, FREE! I sewed around the cores (on the right) to make them sit inside neatly and to keep the cores all in one place, rather than sliding all over the place.

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These are the best I’ve made so far. And really, they only use scraps so I have a good use for the bits of fabric I have left lying around. And they are not bulky so cannot be seen. Here is eight of them, one on top of the other.

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I think I have about twenty reusable pads now. To wash them, simply rinse and then put in the wash along with the normal washing load, and dry the same way as the clothes. No different to reusable nappies. But each to their own!

Right, must go now, it’s time for little ones bedtime!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello again!

This is just a quick post to show what I have been making in the world of yarn! Having a little one who enjoys grabbing my crochet hook makes crochet a little slow at the moment, haha. But it makes me laugh and I enjoy every single second.

I haven’t had a lot of time for crochet lately, not just because of Baby, but because I’ve been sewing quite a bit in my few spare moments.

A friend gave me this black and orange yarn which I have been desperate to use for something Halloween themed. I had in my head a little dress with straps with orange and black netting at the bottom like a tutu. I had a good go this week and it looks pretty much how I imagined it to look.

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I used a 4.5mm hook and made a chain of 60 stitches along the bottom. I then did SC along and then changed to HDC. It isn’t long enough so I added a panel at the back and put buttonholes in it. I have these gorgeous pumpkin buttons I want to put on there, but can I find them?!

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‘Stop Mummy, give me attention!’ I wonder if she will be a crocheter like me in the future?

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Look at that face. She makes me go all gooey inside when she smiles. The dress looks so cute on her! I have had the orange and black netting for ages so I’m glad it is getting used. I have to hide this dress from the cats though as they seem to enjoy chewing net fabric and ribbons. I’m going to add more net and tulle though, making the dress fluff out like a ballerina dress. She will wear a plain whit long sleeved vest underneath and tights. I wonder if you can buy orange baby tights? I’ll look in Primark. If not, I’ll buy her a pair of cheap white ones and dye them orange using kool-aid. Kool-aid is so great for dyeing! I dyed about six inches of my hair on the 22nd July this year. It is STILL in. It’s semi-permanent! I love the red in it though, first time I ever dyed my hair. I’m thinking blue ends of hair next.

The only other knitted thing to show you, besides all the lovely cardigans she has, both by me and lots of other people, is this romper I made a few months ago. It is from a book ’60 Quick Baby Things to Knit’ or something like that. I changed the elephants to have two rows as I hate plain stocking stitch. I also changed the straps as they were just not working for me for some reason. I sewed on tiny elephant buttons at the straps and added kam snaps at the crotch. She looks so cute in it, so small and dainty! This will keep her warm for sure! 0-3 month size I think, in Drops Karisma from Wool Warehouse.

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Anyway, must go now!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello everyone,

What have I been up to? Besides very much enjoying motherhood, I’ve been really getting into my sewing. I found an AMAZING website called Brindille and Twig and they have the best sewing patterns… EVER. When I bought a walking foot for my sewing machine I had the whole new option of using stretch fabrics. I never thought I’d be able to make t-shirts, etc. But now I can, it’s so cool! Anyway, I digress. When I was looking for patterns to use with my stretch fabric someone on ‘Sewing in the UK‘ Facebook page suggested the aforementioned B and T.

I started off with their free patterns, I mean, who wouldn’t? They were written out so simply and easily. Most of the patterns call for either a serger or a zig-zag stitch on the machine. I only have zig-zag stitch available and its worked fantastically.

The first free pattern I tried was the Ringer Tee. I thought, I’ll try the easiest looking on there, ease myself into stretch fabrics. And afterwards, I was hooked!

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I bought fabric from Birmingham rag market. A fantastic place if you ever go there. So many places sell fabric at £1 a meter. I got a meter each of these fabrics. I still have plenty of the polka dot purple one left. After making this I wished I had bought so much more fabric!!

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Fits my gorgeous little model well. It was easy to get on and off and the seams didn’t bother her. I think this is 3-6 month size. I’m going to start making bigger ones soon.

Well, after the t-shirt trial I thought I would try the Hooded Raglan Sweatshirt, or as I call it, a hoody. So easy again! I was super worried about the hood but it came out great. Only thing I would have changed would be to put the polka dot purple inside the hood as a lining, rather than the same purple as the rest of the hoody.

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The cuffs were a little bit tricky to sew around as they are so small. But with a bit of patience they worked out well, as long as I remembered to stretch them to fit the sleeve edges.

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She likes it really!

I am so, so, so proud of this next hoody! I struggle to get decent fabric at a price I want to pay so I am always on the look out for cheap clothing at car boot sales and charity shops that I can cut up and reuse. I found this Primark jumper for 50p a few weeks ago, brand new.

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I think it is a size 18. I’ve since looked for other jumpers like this in Primark but I’ve been unable to spot any.

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I love close up shots like this – and I LOVE my Wonder Clips!

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For the ribbing on the sleeve cuffs and waistband, I just used what was on the jumper itself. But I am so proud of this, it looks like it came straight out of a shop. I tried hard with keeping the seams neat and tidy and the fabric stretched at equal measures.

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She was very cosy wearing it! Here she is in the Dr’s waiting for her second set of injections. Needless to say, she wasn’t asleep long!

After doing these great patterns I looked at the paid for ones and decided I just had to have the cuff pants pattern. All patterns I’ve made so far are in sizes 3-6 months. They are all good sizings I think, true to age.

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The stripey fabric is from a piece at the car boot I found and the purple bits are left over from the hoody and t-shirt. These look so comfy I want a pair for myself!

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She isn’t complaining anyway!

I got two womens t-shirts from a local charity shop at 50p each and I had a metre of fabric from the rag market which had cost me £1 or £2. I wanted to make her some pajamas.

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To this day I’m totally amazed that the legs match up! I have NO idea how that happened. I really love this little set, it’s so cute. The jumper is the ringer tee with long sleeves. The cuffs are from a dress I bought at a car boot for £1.

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Again, a super fit. (And no, she isn’t always this smiley when trying on clothes, she must get so fed up with me sometimes!)

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This set is made from the two womens t-shirts. There seem to be not many t-shirts for adults that are fully patterned like the blue one. The blue was a bit tricky to sew as it wasn’t as stretchy as the pink fabric. It worked out ok though.

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She is so adorable in this!

Then I spotted the T-Shirt Dress pattern. I just had to have it. I mean, look at it! I forgot to mention, all of these patterns are PDF form and you have to print them off and stick the pieces together. OPened up a whole new world for me doing this! (Now I just need to buy a printer and stop going round to my parents and using theirs!)

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Fabric is from the nearest city and I bought half a meter. There is a third left at least. Maybe I could make cuff pants with contrasting cuffs? Oooh, or ribbons for her hair to match when it is long enough? But then again, I’ll need to make a bigger dress!

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Isn’t she cute? Starting to sit up by herself now too, clever girl.

I found this Pokemon t-shirt in Primark on sale at £3 and thought, yeah, I can do something with that. Her Dad LOVES Pokemon and stuff to do with that so I thought I would surprise him by making her a dress to match. This is an XXL sized t-shirt. I didn’t realise until I’d cut out all the pieces how little stretch it actually had. Most Primark stuff is like that by the seems of it. I made some alterations and they worked great!

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I wonder how much this would cost per metre in a fabric store??

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The twin stitching at the sleeves was already on the t-shirt. I double stitched the bottom too to make it match. I did better with this one than the purple as I didn’t fold the bottom hem up enough so it rolled before. This one doesn’t roll.

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I added in a hand-sewn zip as it clearly didn’t fit over her neck when it was done. I cut a slit in the back, pinned the zip and sewed it up. Bulbasaur still looks great! I then inserted a tiny button and loop at the top to stop it hanging open.

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And here she is, posing with her Pokeball! (I crocheted this using a free pattern from Ravelry). It fits well with the zip. I’m planning on making some cotton versions of this dress, going the next size up and adding zips in, rather than using stretchy fabric. I have A LOT of cotton and polycotton fabric to use up! (Again, from the trip to the rag market and Oh Sew Crafty in Kidderminster. Let me tell you, it’s a good thing I don’t live near them!) You can make the t-shirt dress in short AND long sleeves.

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Here is the Ringer Tee I tried making in the left over fabric. It didn’t turn out great. Fabric is upside down at the fron and the waistband was far too tight. I made the cuffs bigger but they look dreadful! In the end I ended up unpicking the cuffs and waistband and just hemming them both, which looked a lot neater and really improved the general look of the garment. The only picture I have of her wearing it is very dark so it probably wouldn’t be easy to see on screen.

Well, that’s my Brindille and Twig adventure for now. They have so many beautiful romper patterns which are very popular. I’m not sure I have the courage to attempt one just yet, but never say never. I’m next looking at the Leggings as Eliza wears a lot of leggings under her tops and dresses and handmade stuff. And the best thing? They have adult patterns too!!!! I’ve printed out the adult leggings but haven’t got long enough fabric to cut them out with yet.

Anyway, I will stop there for now, it’s getting way past my bedtime.

Nighty night!

xXx Love Kais xXx

English Paper Piecing – a tutorial

Hello everyone, As most of you who read my blog know, I’m mainly into my wool crafts. But recently, I’ve really been getting into something called English Paper Piecing, or EPP for short. It basically involves putting fabric over paper … Continue reading

Wow, it’s been a while! I used to be pretty good at keeping up with my blog posts but I haven’t done many crafts in a while really. I have been busy though, that’s a good enough excuse, right? I haven’t even been on WordPress checking out everyones blogs.

Well, first things first. I moved house! Me and A have finally got a house together!!! It’s in the village where I live, only five minutes walk from my parents house. It’s a decent sized house, good sized kitchen and living room and two bedrooms. The downstairs hall is really big and that is where the chinchillas live in their large cages. Plenty of room for everyone! I’m glad the two cats get on well enough with them. There was a bit of climbing on cages to begin with but they seem to have settled that down now. The chinchillas (especially Molly) have started trying to bite them though the cage if they get too close now. I’m glad they are sticking up for themselves!

I’ve done a bit of knitting and completed my seafoam stitch blanket. I know I mentioned it in this blog a while ago, but not sure when.

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It is pretty big! I was going to do a border around it but I found once I sewed up the ends I really liked the way it looked. It fits the bottom of a double bed like a runner or fits nicely on the top of a single bed. It’s pretty heavy!

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I really like the stitch definition.

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I am so pleased with this one! This was the Groovyghan CAL and I was so excited to finish it. There were two or three parts I did not join in with (the long pieces right across the blanket) as I liked the small parts that I needed to sew together. (Sssh, I LOVE the sewing up part, just not sewing up the ends!)

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It’s really nice and warm and fits across the double bed. I’ve managed to sew in half the ends at the back and boy, did that take a loooong time! You can see the ends sticking out from the unsewn half.

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The look quite small, but are pretty warm and sizeable. The crochet blanket that is underneath is one I actually bought from a charity shop a few months ago. It was dumped into the box for dog blankets. Not saying that dogs don’t deserve a beautiful blanket (I LOVE my dogs) but this one was stunning. It looked brand new (just made) and it seemed such a shame that someone had crocheted something so beautiful and it was just dumped in a charity shop. I bought it for the massive price of £2. It completely covers the double bed and it sooo warm, especially on these cold nights. Thank you to whoever made it, it’s well loved!

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Here are my lovely hand-made blankets. Think we shall be warm this Winter! I’m missing my other sewn one, a mini picnic blanket.

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Lovely and warm!

Right, I’m off to go and read a few Golden Hands magazines (remember them??) and then eagerly wait for ‘The Missing’ to come on BBC1.

Have a great night!

xXx Love Kais xXx