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Monday, 20 December 2010

Woolly Winter Wonderland!

Yes, we're nearly there - just a few more days!
Halfpenny Home has seen an awful lot of handcrafted presents planned and made during this last year. A handmade gift means so much more than a shop bought present as the recipient knows how much thought and care has gone into producing it. One of our Sew and Crow ladies, Michelle has really thrown herself into her crafting and presented me with this wonderful bauble wreath - I love it!

I on the other hand could not resist the temptation to knit up some of the Colinette Point Five that we have in the shop. This speedy one skein pattern is on the very wonderful Purlbee, the blog for Purl Soho in New York. It's really easy and comfy to wear, we need as many woolly knits as possible with all this snow!

Purlbee has some brilliant projects and I'm quite a fan! Jane Southgate and I have been looking for a long sock pattern for ages and couldn't quite find one that we liked until we saw one on the Purlbee blog. We had to get it and it arrived just before knitting...

It's this shaping on the back that really got us going!
It took me no time at all to start knitting up a pair in the hand dyed Wensleydale yarn from the Gedgrave Flock.

They are on hold for now though as along with everyone else I've got loads more presents to make and it's getting closer and closer to the big day!
Everyone needs to stop for lunch though and I can't knit and eat but I do like a read and luckily for me the current issue of Oh Comely magazine has just been dropped off.

It features our very own (Dolly Beth) Beth Davis with a delicious recipe for rhubarb pie!

Right lunch over, back to work! Halfpenny Home will be closed after Wednesday 22nd December and will re-open on Saturday 8th January 2011. Hope everyone's Christmas preperations are going smoothly, Nic x

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Crafty, Christmas Countdown!

Inspired by a craft tutorial in the current issue of Selvedge Magazine I decided to make gift bags this year to cut down on wrapping paper.
I bought one of these lovely ponies for my neice - Marion (one of HH's crafty mates) makes and sells them along with her delicious preserves at farmer's markets and craft fairs.
He's called Biscuit and to ensure that the bag fitted I measured him up!
This gorgeous print is some old unused fabric that had been put by for ages and I reckoned that this would be the perfect excuse to use it.
The pattern needs four pieces shaped like a bag with ears and although I made all four pieces the same it would also look really nice in four different fabrics...maybe the next one that I make will be like that!
When it's all sewn up you tie the 'ears' together and present to the lucky recipient, they get a lovely gift AND a little bag that can be used for ferrying toiletries or a packed lunch around and you get to help reduce some of the waste produced at Christmas - result!
It's always lovely to meet fellow knitters and the group that meet at the Brewery Tap are an especially nice bunch - a load of them visited HH this morning and we had a homemade Christmas cake to greet them along with lashings of tea!
There were sighs and gasps at some of the buttons, all the yarn was thoroughly inspected and you could almost see minds storing up ideas for yarn-y projects.
I even had a few ideas myself, the Katia yarn Ondas has been a big hit and we had some of the green knitted up into a scarf by Miss Pat, it's gorgeous BUT it also makes a great wreath for the door and being the blue door leading to HH it could only be trimmed with notions (of course)!
Hope everyone is enjoying the crafty countdown to Christmas as much as we are, Nic x

Friday, 10 December 2010

A Deli Day Off!

I had a day off from Halfpenny Home today and went off to visit my best mate who owns a fantastic deli in Norwich, and I love food so much that it all adds up to great way to spend a day off!
I was so very proud of Danda when she opened up Clarke and Ravenscroft as she knew exactly the sort of foods she wanted to supply to people and exactly how she wanted the shop in St. Gregory's Alley to look.
I love to visit Danda because as well as spending some time together I also get to stock up on loads of foody treats!
The gap in the cheese counter above is where the piece of Mrs Temples' Binham Blue was before I added it to my basket, yum!
I was under strict instructions from my Pa to not go mad on the cheese shopping - but I still did! Brown paper carrier bags straining I was dragged away from the deli to have the birthday lunch that I had come to Norwich for...the day was, after all supposed to be all about the Birthday Gal!

I (very) proudly presented her with a scarf knitted (by my not so fair hands) in Stardust Garland by Knit Collage - a beautiful yarn for a beautiful Birthday Girl!
Hope she's pleased with it, Nic x

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The textile artist Jane Southgate paid a visit to Halfpenny Home today - it's always great to see Jane as she always brings along plenty of cake and inspiration with her!
We helped Jane with a little natural dyeing in the Summer when we dyed some fleece, yarns and fabrics for her artwork.
To see more please do pay a visit to Jane's Blog where you will see some great photos of her work!

We were admiring one of the new Colinette Point Five yarns that Sam had test knitted up for us - Autum Leaves, it's so lovely with it's subtle browns and blues along with flashes of orange!
Just like the rest of us Jane is busy making a lot of the Christmas presents that she will be giving this year. She's made a fair few scarves of this ruffley yarn but not in this colour!

Jane had come along this morning to make some covered buttons with the button press in the studio, she'd done her prep during breakfast this morning - the circles of fabric needed for the die are exactly the same size as a plastic milk bottle cap!

Two cups of tea and a bit of cake later there's a whole load of buttons, a few knitting pattern problems solved and 42 buttons (+ the 3 that Jane did for me!) on the main HH work table.

What a great way to spend a chilly morning! Nic x

Friday, 3 December 2010

Carry on Katia!

At last! We've been waiting for this special delivery from Spanish yarn company Katia for ages and it finally came today.
The special knitting tape Ondas has been a hit with both knitters and non-knitters and has been responsible for turning the head of the most stubborn - 'I'm not ever going to knit again' and 'you'll not get me knitting' has been a phrase used by a few HH regulars...and yet some of these have fast become some of the biggest fans of this style of yarn!
You don't cast on in the usual manner instead you insert the knitting needle into the side of the tape. By continuing to knit only into the side of the tape ruffles are formed like this!

So I can, at last make all those phonecalls to let everyone know that it's here, it's finally here!
The Ondas was accompanied by Peru - a blend of 40% wool, 40% acylic and 20% alpaca. It's so soft and squidgy and will knit up as Aran which means that it would be perfect for that lovely new hat pattern that Jane showed me at knitting on Wednesday morning!

If it gets any colder I may have to make a nest in the box of yarn...Nic x