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Frogging Sophie! 

My Sophie is getting really big now and I’m firmly back in love with her again. Here is a couple of pics I snapped this week.



I had 75g approximately of the dark purple I used for the last row so far. I absolutely LOVE it against the cream and near the vibrant pink of the tulips.



But…… 

I think its impact will be lost when the next row (the Persian stitch) happens and…..

I actually don’t want my ‘diamond/lattice’ detail to be green because I want my Sophie’s Universe to continue to be unique and not too colour choices similar to Dedri’s original one (as lovely as it is!) and I don’t like any of my other colours enough for them to be chosen for it. Guess what colour I really want them to be?

Yes! I want the deep purple I just used. 

I have no idea how much yarn the two rows of zig zag are going to use so I’ve frogged the row I just finished and am going to use a different colour next to the cream so I can be sure I’ve kept enought deep purple back for later. If I don’t like how it all turns out I may well frog again. I’m even thinking of experimenting with a little selection of light purple and blue for behind the diamond detail instead of just a block of one colour as the background. 

Probably madness. Here’s goes…..

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Hello! I’m still here.

Feels like its been aaaages since I posted an entry. I’ve had a funny few weeks of late, if I haven’t been really busy doing things with and for the little dark star I’ve been trying to keep on top of the house situation.

Work on our new kitchen is properly underway and I’m constantly chasing a fine layer of really fine but horrid dust off every single surface in the house (even the sofas) or making workmen tea and hunting manically for kitchen items I REALLY need that have ended up in a box in the bottom of a pile of boxes or under a dust sheet somewhere. It’s that whole “you have to break some eggs to make an omlette” type situation. I’m coping by closing my eyes and imagining that after 13 long long years of living in a semi building site of a kitchen my dream kitchen is installed, a new wall has been erected across the old one and I have a very small but lovely craft room with all my pretties in and a little pull out bed for when the firstborn or German Nan comes to stay.

The garden is pretty demanding at the moment too. I’ve got some veggies on the go out there so sometimes I’m having to water twice a day or everything is drooping and looking very sorry for itself. I’ve been using the paddling pool water or the water butts for a lot of the time so there is a lot of trudging up and down and double handling of water. 





This means of course I’m struggling to fit in any hooky time. 

I really need to make a start on the bunting for Sallyvans pelmet but I cannot find a pattern I like and recent brain fog means I’m struggling to create one instead. I’ve had a few false starts and have gone off the boil somewhat. I bought Sallyvan some cushions a long while back ready to make pretty covers for so I think I shall have a try at that first.  

I’ve been meaning to make some simple cord type crochet bracelets for ages now. I’ve got lots of pretty charms and recycled jewelry bits I want to use with them. I bought some drops cotton to make them with but after several attempts I couldn’t get them to come out how I wanted and the drops cotton is super splitty, stuff and hates being “reworked” if you frog more than once. Last week I saw a perfect  j-cord bracelet by Repeat Crafter Me on my Facebook newsfeed. Hurrah the hard work is done for me so I am definitely going to make a few soon, it might be my holiday project whilst we are at the two festivals in August. I posted the link to the Sophie’s Universe CAL group I made on Facebook and my freind has already had a go at the pattern, the result is lovely so I feel really encouraged to pull my hooks out and definitely have go myself now. 

I’m plodding along with my Sophie’s universe, as the sides are quite long now I’m lucky if I get one full side done when I get a little hooky time to spare. I am umming and ahing about if I want to make the end project bigger with the squares or my own extended border or just leave it as it is at the end of the ‘official’ CAL parts.

I’ve just finished the last row of popcorn ‘tulips’ 



I am also very slowly working on a little knitting project for The Little Dark Star I hope it might be finished by the end of the month.

Our clever Golden Hair has been making things again recently, she gets little crafting urges and goes off and creates something cute. She recently has made these lovely little butterflies.



And this fabulous fox cushion 



She made lots of these cute little hand stitched hearts last year. She just disappeared off with some supplies and worked it all out for herself 



Sadly I think the Little Dark Star got hold of this one and pulled a button off!

She’s currently upstairs listening to the Wicked soundtrack and organising her room ready for a big move around in there to create a crafting “nook”  I love having someone to get excited about crafting things with and who will squeal with me over spotting a yummy fabric in a shop or a clever idea on Pinterest. I’m a very lucky mum. I shall be a lucky mum with a lovely new kitchen soon…. well more likely a few months! 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my little ramblings about life at the virtual yurt x 



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A little knitting and Sophie’s universe part 13 complete.

Today has been the usual early start. The little dark star crawled in with us at about 2am which seems to be the new normal. She’s an average sized 3year old and we have a standard double bed so it gets a bit squishy but we don’t mind. She won’t be little long and as uncomfortable as it is sleeping next to a small person that seems to curl up yet take up all the bed I love looking at her when she’s sleeping, those dark lashes and rosy cheeks, soft moth breaths on my face, just perfect and only ours for a limited time.

I mentioned before I was knitting a toy for her. Well today after spending the morning giving Sallyvan a really good scrub to get her all ready for our planned august shennanighans I sat and finished the toy. I’m not a natural at knitting and I had a few false starts but here he is, the lovely Flop from Bing!





I know some parents really dislike the programme but we love it, Flops gentle manner and Bings portrayal of the average preschooler is lovely and we bring elements from the programme to our daily life when we talk about the time Bing made a mistake but put it right. I HATE passionately programmes that over moralise and patronise children but I don’t think Bing does that at all. I’m hoping Flop is going to be a useful parenting tool. The Little Dark Star often insists we spend the day in various ‘character’ and I really don’t mind being ‘Flop’ she responds well to direction from ‘him’ and hopefully she might put her shoes and coat on for Flop even if she won’t do it for me 😉 sneaky huh?

As you can see I muffed him up a bit. I somehow got my needle sizes wrong and despite thinking I’d sized down a mm I actually should have been a whole mm smaller than I actually used. His stuffing is clearly visible in the body but I had to stuff him sort of ‘medium firm’ to keep his neck stiff enough to support his head. The Little Dark Star seems to love him mistakes and all, and that’s what matters. 



I have completed part 13 of Sophie’s Universe and am now making a start on the butterflies. I still have not decided what will happen to the Sophie when it’s finished. Maybe I will keep it, I think it depends on the final size. 



Now Flop is complete I really should finish up the toddlers cable cardi I started months ago. I’m going to have to wing it without help as I don’t think we can have German Nan to stay for a while yet as life here is a bit topsy turvy due to breaking down walls for the new kitchen and a friend staying with us on and off with her two lively boys. 

We have planned a bit of a busy august in our lovely Sallyvan. First we will be attending the Green Gathering. I’ve not been before and I fear I’m probably just not ‘green’ and hippy enough but that’s the point of going, to meet new people and learn stuff and come away with some knowledge that will help us be greener and kinder to our planet. After that we will travel onward to a campsite for a few days to wash our clothes and linens and give Sally a quick clean and tidy. Then we will be going to the Green Man festival for some more chilled out times before heading home again. The man of the yurt has fixed our LPG water heater in Sally so even though we will be off grid for both festivals I can have hot water for washing up and giving The Little Dark Star one of her Sallyvan ‘baths’ (my big green wash bucket on the floor of Sallyvans shower/loo). 

Sallyvan is in pretty good condition for what would be affectionately known as an old ‘crappy’ on caravan forums but in the past she obviously had some kind of pelmet (oh how the 80s and 90s did love a pelmet!) which has since been ripped off. It’s left behind a really ugly strip with old glue.

I’ve got some Drops cotton yarn that I made a tealight holder cover with on one of our trips away so I’m planning on making some bunting with that before we go away.



 I’ve got a proper ‘thing’ about that sort of mustardy yellow and greens at the moment. The Drops cotton isn’t the best for crochet as its splitty and catchy when hooking but I’m going to give it a try because I think it will have a good shape and drape as bunting as well as washing well. 

Hopefully I will get it done or at least nearing completion before we set out in August for our little festival trip. Now I’m off to water the tomatoes and stuff in the greenhouse and survey the overnight slug damage to the rest of the garden, the greedy slimy little horrors. 

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A little holiday, some gardening and Part 12 of Sophie’s Universe completed. 

We spent the half term week in the Isle of Wight again, we love it there. We have always stayed in the west Wight area where its a bit ‘wild and wooly’ as my Dad says i.e. The weather can be quite windy due to the exposed location and we stay at a farm with a cliff top campsite. The views are lovely, here is a sunset looking across the campsite and edge of the cliff to the right. Not the best picture quality from the ipad but it was very lovely in reality. 



We had wonderful weather this time except for a couple of windy days. I was a little bit nervous as Sallyvans awning shuddered and shook and Sallyvan herself rocked about in the wind but it all held fast. It’s a new (but second hand) awning and aluminium rather than steel. We had to replace our old one urgently after the zip busted completely and we had high winds coming in on our last trip (we seem to pick these blowy places as our favorite sites!). The magic of the internet saved us and I sourced the awning we now have via Gumtree. Two hours post broken awning and a ‘new’ awning had been collected and was being fitted. 

It’s quite a nice one I think, even if it isn’t as heavy duty as the old one. And it came with an optional ‘annex’ which our lovely Goldenhair teenager now has as her little room. 



Between our two Sallyvan jaunts I’ve been trying hard to get on with some gardening. Things had fallen by the wayside out there the last two years due to the arrival of the Little Dark Star and her being not very low maintenance 😉 

The man of the yurt made me a “squash arch” on a big bare patch of flower bed I still haven’t planted up. I have no idea if they are actually butternut squash in the grow bag because I got all my seedlings mixed up so they might be yellow or green courgettes or even cucumbers! 





He also converted this pallet into a little herb planter for me.



 So far I’ve only got some garlic growing in there as my seedlings have failed to germinate. A lot of seedlings I’ve planted in the veg patch have not come up this year and I’m actually wondering if slugs are munching them at the first peep. Our garden is like slug paradise it seems and I wage continual ongoing war with them. I try and keep to enviromentally kind methods like sand and ‘slug stoppa’ gravel but this year I’d really had enough and I have used a couple of pellets and I feel really crappy about it. I’m so sick of spending months growing stuff in the greenhouse to have it reduced to completely nothing overnight the moment I plant it out. I’m hoping this little bit of protection means they can get big and sturdy enough to withstand a bit of munching when the pellets wear off and then I can just stop using them. 

Anyway enough of the garden! 

Here is Sophie at the end of part 12 hooked over our windbreak at the campsite 



I wanted to take a few really pretty pictures but it was so windy Sophie was threatening to just take off and end up in the field with the sheep. I was also get some askance looks from fellow campers standing there trying to take a picture of a blanket! 

I am actually really enjoying the repeat of the earlier part of the pattern with the big daisy corners and zig zag hills and I decided to keep the colours as close to the originals I’d chosen but as I’ve moved into the next parts I’ve had to substitute the pale pink with the bright pink because it didn’t look like I had enough of the light one to get all the way round. There’s no way I’m frogging anyhting at this point if it can be avoided with some foresight. 

Here’s a picture of the lambs in the field next to our tent, just because well they are too cute aren’t they! 



They are waiting to shear the adult females but two are still pregnant so they are having to delay. Apparently they only get paid £8 per sheep fleece. I’d always assumed its would be much more than that. Had to stop myself getting ‘ideas’ it’s actually a good job they didn’t shear them whilst we were there because I could see myself dragging one home to experiment with. They actually had the alpacas shaved whilst we were there. They went from being these big poofy captures to looking all gangly and slim. We went and visited the local alpaca farm too. I didn’t buy anything from the yarn barn as it felt too itchy for me unless I bought the really expensive stuff with silk and cotton blend. I’m stash busting and being very very restrained. I’ve vowed not to purchase anything no matter how fantastic a deal or beautiful it is until I’ve halved what I have here already. That’s going to take at least a year but I must control myself. 

Yarn addiction is a thing. I know because I definitely have it! 

Here’s a pic of the oldest two girls ‘putting their tent away’ on the last day of our holiday. It was quite breezy so they resorted to this. Makes me chuckle everytime I look at it. 



 The little dark star is napping so I’m off to sneak in a little bit of time with one of the other projects I’m working on right now, a knitted of a character from a TV programme she loves. Hopefully it will turn out well and I can post about it next time. 

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Just finished part 9 of Sophie’s Universe! 

I’m plodding, I don’t think I shall ever ‘catch up’ but I’m cool with that. I like being behind because I can see a little better how things are going to pan out and it helps me with colour choices. It also helps avoid some of the issues that might occur. 

So here is Sophie’s Universe in the sunshine on the deck this afternoon



I’ve had to become less precious about which colours I use, I cannot justify buying more of anything because I actually MUST make a dent in my insane yarn stash that currently is taking over every single room of the house! (except the cream. I got a Hobbycraft voucher for my birthday so I’ve been buying the Women’s Institute yarn they stock for the cream) I’m about to run out of the very light pink and I’m running low on the deep purple so I’m having to control myself from ordering more. Its so hard to resist though….

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Slow coach Sophie 

Since we got back from our Easter break I’ve had what I have called Sophie Dystocia. I haven’t been able to move forward very much. I have been stuck on an obstacle; choosing colours.

I think I said before I can can get really obsessed with wanting colours to work a certain way or tell a story and with the Sophie’s Universe blanket I’ve been on that vibe a lot. 

I finished the roses round on holiday and was already unsure about them being yellow but the colour change yarn made me think they would come out like tea roses on the bush, the type when the roses are not uniform tone but have lighter petals and hints of pink. They came out exactly like that and remind me happily of my Nan’s rose garden. 

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The yellow had made onward colour choice difficult though. I’ve used purple in the end and thought about them as the tall bearded iris’ that also used to grow year after year in my Nan’s garden. 

In the next few rounds the pattern starts some jiggery between the colour placements on long and shorts sides. I really wanted the next to rounds above the roses to be blues and greens to represent sky and grass but that would have made the petals of the feature flower on the ‘short side’ not right. 

I got frustrated. I spent ages studying pictures of Sophie from the pattern website so I’d see how things will pan out further down the line, trying to decide if that short side flower mattered enough to make the long sides not exactly how I wanted them. I’ve driven myself fairly bonkers. 

So I took a short break and started wet blocking the toddlers aran cabled cardi I’ve been knitting for The Little Dark Star.



I’ve still got the sleeves to block before I can then start putting it all back in the knitting needles to knit the neck band. I feel fairly confident with that and am looking forward to it but after that I have to pick up stitches all along the cables of the front panels for the button band. I’m going to have to ship German Nan in for some help with that.

I recently got my eyes tested after not being able to thread a sewing needle (I used to be the person my nan asked to do that so it was a wake up call I completely couldn’t see it at all!). It turns out my eyesight was worse than I realised I’ve always needed a lens in the left side but now the right side seems to have required a stronger lens than the left! The optician said with incredulousness “how have you been managing?”  Wearing my glasses to crochet has been a revelation, I can see all the little fuzzy strands of the yarn and the definition of the stitches. I still don’t think the left lens is quite right but the change for my right eye is AMAZING and I feel so happy. I feel as if I’m seeing lots of the world through new eyes, I guess in a way I am? Anyway it’s lovely and worth the money spent on my eye test and new specs (even if glasses don’t suit me). 

So, back to Sophie. I realised I just had to dive in and choose colours and frog it if I hated it.

Here’s how the flower on the short side has ended up



I used this flower as ‘inspiration’ 



I don’t know if that pink is right and will look ok in the long run but I’m going to continue for several rounds to see how it settles in. I didn’t want the flower to be too plain but I didn’t want it to end up looking so fantastical it ruined the look of everything else.  

The long side ruffle flowers reminded me of the light blue hydrangeas in my garden, there is  something about the sort of squared off but fluffy look at the tops of the stitches feels similar,  so I’ve dived in and used my light blue, which also means when I start the zig zag on the short side it will be very similar to the ‘daisies’ I made earlier on. It’s made me feel so much happier again. 



Thankfully, pushing through the ‘dystocia’ has worked and I’m eager to see how things are going to pan out and already mentally planning colours for the next stages. 

I’m off now to ignore the washing waiting to be hung up, the sunflowers, butternut squash and cucumbers in the greenhouse waiting for larger pots and Sallyvan waiting to be deep cleaned whilst I just sneak in a little bit more of Sophie time before The Little Dark Star and her Daddy get back front their sunday morning swim 😉 







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Sophie continues: part 7

We had a lovely week away in Sallyvan for the Easter holidays. However crochet time was fairly limited. I managed to sew in a glut of ends on the car journey and finally complete part 7.

I decided to stick with yellow for the roses and now I’m deciding on colours for the flower on the short side.

Here is Sophie’s universe by the sea whilst I took a break from hooking to just sit and soak up the sunshine and listen to the gentle waves.

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Sophie’s Universe – End of part 6

It has been very slow progress here at the virtual yurt because we have all been really unwell with some kind of horrible cough and flu like illness that’s lasted on and off for weeks. I tried picking up my crochet and popping a few stitches in from my sick bed but trying to concentrate made my eyes actually hurt! Each stitch was painful for my head so I had to just take a little break.

So I’ve finally reached the end of part 6 and I’m hoping that last bit looks ok. In my mind once I’d decided on the light pink for the little tulips I wanted them to look like they were bright colour in the night time garden. The blues and purples representing the night sky.



I am as usual a bit undecided about the next colours. I want to keep breaking things up with sections of cream but I don’t want it to look to boring either. It’s the ‘roses’ coming up yet and I can’t decide if they shall be in the new bright pink I bought this week or if they are going to be made with the colour changing yellow yarn I have in my stash. 



I definitely wanted the yellow originally because I think the little flecks of colour will make them look a bit like the tea roses I have in my garden and remind me of my Nan’s rose garden too, but I’ve seen some flowers coming up that remind me of the yellow water hyacinths we have in our pond so am tempted to save the yellow for that. However the water hyacinths in the pond are a flat bright yellow so actually I might use the plain yellow I’d used earlier for those and do a side of roses in this colour change yellow then the bright pink in the roses before I decide for sure!

I had to buy a different cream yarn to what I’ve been using this week which gave me a bit of a sulky lip. I was given a huge amount of hobby craft vouchers for my birthday so I intended to get some more of their budget DK cream. The ONLY colour they didn’t have was the cream!!! I’ve bought the Women’s Institute cream instead. Hopefully it will look and feel ok. I actually really liked the one I was using before even though it was a cheapy one! 

The little dark star has gone to soft play with Daddy so I’m off for a turbo shower then as much hooky as I can cram in before they get home and I tackle the sunday dinner. 

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Still on Part 5 of Sophie’s Universe. 

So after long deliberations about the colours of the tulips and the next couple of rounds (and as you know I fussed about it quite a bit) I went for it in the bright pink for the tulips and loved them!



I used a lighter green to go behind the tulips (the purple petals round) so they might look like lots of foliage. I was just finishing that round when I spotted a horrible mistake….



That missing tulip was at the end of the first side of tulips I done. I almost cried at the thought of not only having to frog all the green but three sides of tulips too?

So I cheated a bit or as I like to think of it ‘was inventive’ I ripped right back to the tulips but slip stitched into the area, added a tulip and an extra set if chains into the corner (running the now incorrect ones behind) then crocheted over the two sets of chains on the next round. You’d only know I fluffed it up now if your looking at the back and can see the chain coming from the second to last tulip.

The next morning I came down and looked at the previous days work and just HATED the green I’d used! 



So I frogged all the way back to tulips AGAIN, then procrastinated over colours for ages….. Again.

And now I have this 



And I like it much better 🙂 I’m glad I frogged it even though it meant doing all those trebles again for a forth time! 

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Sophie’s Universe… Colour deliberations! 

So I’ve not ordered any special yarn for this project. There’s two reasons for that, firstly I wanted to get stuck in STRAIGHT away when I saw it and not have to wait to either go yarn shopping or have something delivered and secondly because as some of you already know I have a yarn stash that I could actually open a shop with! 

The way the colours have gone so far means I’ve worked with a fairly cool palate and only about 8 colours right up till the end of part 4. Because I’m behind with the project I can see what’s coming and I really feel I want a slightly more diverse selection for all the flowers and detail but on the other hand the small selection brings a kind of simple harmony to the project so far. 

I’ve got a really lush vibrant dark pink I’d like to use but I’m worried its just going to unbalance the whole thing. I feel like I’ve left I too late to introduce new colours but if I had put many more in much earlier it would have been too “busy” at the centre area. 

I can get pretty obsessive about things being just so and I worry terribly about ‘ruining’ something beautiful with a bad choice. Have you ever done that, made a big thing and realised one colour in there just wasn’t singing harmoniously with the rest and they have have ended up being the only thing your eye goes to and not in a good way at all?

Agonised over the pink with the kids last night, I whipped up three weeny rows to try and help visualise it and did a bit in purple instead. You can’t see the vibrancy of the pink here for some reason, it looks more red. It’s actually a shame I don’t have that tone because I think it just about settles in nicely there and will blend well once the project has grown if I used it a little more elsewhere. But it IS pink, very vibrant pink! 



I sort of have this tulip in my mind and it is very close to the actual colour I’m using.



So tempted to play it safe with the purple but here goes……



I’m going to go for it and if afterv several rows it’s just not right, I’m going to take a deep breath and frog it all back and change it! 



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