The Taco and Spinning Party

I had a birthday not too long ago, and because as any good crafter knows, a celebration isn’t a celebration without a healthy dose of crafting involved, I hosted one of my infamous Knitting Parties.

Tacos was the elected food theme for the day, so I fired up my slow cooker and made the very simple and very lovely Stupid Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken , diced some taco veg, heated some taco shells; made my Dill Salsa, and because I can’t have a Knitting Party without my Greek Dip, (though I make my own seasoning as the prepackaged one in this recipe doesn’t exist in the UK.) I made some of that as well.

My youngest son choose the cheeses for the, again required, cheese board, and then prepped the tea pot for guests to arrive.

People arrived with yarn, and projects a plenty, but what had happened organically was everyone who had a spinning wheel brought theirs as well! (People also brought awesome cakes and pavlovas as well! BONUS!)

So we set up in the biggest open space we had (in front of the food) and had a mini spinning party.

The more experienced Spinners held us baby Spinner’s by the hand as we learned to treadle, to draft, and relax our grips.

We got to try different wheels to see which style suited each of us better, (and I am now lusting after a double treadle conversion kit for my wheel), and witnessed how fantastic one of our members is for learning to spin on her warped antique double drive.

The event went down quite well as everyone at lots of food, drank much tea, and had a good gossip.

The day was a great success and I have even plyed our singles into a rather fetching bit of yarn.

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A New Year, A New Skill, A New Pattern Book

2015, by all accounts, was not the greatest year. It could have been worse though. It could have been like 2014! And 2015 did produce my youngest child, who has got to be the loveliest baby on the planet. (Just watch out for the boke.) So I’m hoping that the upward trend continues and that 2016 is even better!

Another good thing that came out of 2015 is that I now feel I can call myself an amateur crocheter. Before, I dabbled, and did a lot of winging it. Now I find myself looking at crochet patterns and feeling confident that I can probably complete the project. It was this confidence that finally led me to purchase Toft’s Edward’s Menagerie pattern book. Every year at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Dublin I’ve eyed up this delightful yet quirky little toy pattern book, and every year I’ve passed it by. I’m not into crochet, I told myself. It’ll take too long to learn. I’ve enough to do already.

Not this year. In November, at the annual K & S Show, I spotted the Toft stall, complete with samples hanging from the ceiling and a giant crocheted flamingo propping up one corner. I barely thought twice before asking for a copy.

And then I got started. I decided immediately on making Rufus the lion for my youngest as a Christmas present. Christmas Eve saw me rushing to finish, as you may remember.

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Spoiler alert: I didn’t finish in time. But I did finish by Boxing Day, and it wasn’t long before my tiny son had Rufus in his hot little hands (er, make that mouth).

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He’s such a cutie. (The baby is too.)

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Meet Rufus

Kerry Lord, the author of the book and designer of the patterns, has recently come out with more: a book of bird patterns and dinosaur kits.  I’m tempted to try them too. As someone starting out in crochet, this book is perfect. The instructions are clear and have accompanying pictures, the patterns are simple and straightforward and they all have similar forms, so once you do one, you can confidently tackle almost any pattern in the book. Still, the patterns are handily split into three levels, so you can work your way up to more complicated skills like colourwork and different stitch patterns. All in all, it has become one of my favourite pattern books on my shelf. I can’t wait to try more!

Happy New Year!

Also blogged here.

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