Knit Your Own Zoo Challenge – Lion

The fourth animal I completed in my Big ‘Knit Your Own Zoo’ Sponsored Challenge was Lion.

I normally leave this for the bottom of the post but I’m going to say it straight away this week – it would be really, really, lovely if you could visit and share my JustGiving page. All this crafting is for a cause. I’m trying to raise as much money as I can for the World Wildlife Fund so I’d really appreciate any help you can give in reaching my target. Remember, before the start of this project I’d never knitted a single thing before. This is a completely brand new skill & the patterns are getting progressively more challenging!

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But back to Lion… I found matching these colours of yarn the most difficult so far, so my Lion definitely has a much more orange mane than the one in the book. Hopefully it just makes him a little more jaunty. I like to think so. I’m definitely getting quicker at basic knit & purl stitch. I really noticed on his legs & sides how much quicker they were finished, especially compared to Polar Bear of Week 1. It took me about two hours to knit one leg back then…

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To complete this animal I had to master the Loopy Stitch. It was used for his mane which you then trim once he’s all stitched together. This is definitely the most fiddly, time-consuming stitch I’ve learnt so far. I did feel a little bit like throwing the pattern across the room when it told me to K22Loopy Stitch. My hands really ached after that.

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Here’s what the World Wildlife Fund say about African Lions on their website -
“Lions are powerful and majestic, but they’re incredibly vulnerable to loss of habitat and conflict with people.
About 30,000-35,000 African lions remain in the wild today. Numbers have plummeted by around 30% in the past 20 years, and over 40% of their key populations are in decline. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies them as ‘vulnerable’ on its red list.”
The WWF aims to help Lions by providing them with secure and protected areas, and learning more about their needs and behaviour.

This week I’ve been knitting Meerkat…

Knit Your Own Zoo Project Logo

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Easter Bunnies

This week, in the few snatches of sunlight, I’ve been photographing some Easter items. I’ll be adding the cards to my Not On The High Street shop tomorrow, the notebook is already listed there, & you can find the necklace over on my Esty!

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Have you been making any Easter-based crafts this week?

I’ve been less focused on Easter than I might’ve been, mainly due to the large amount of knitting I’m still doing every week as art of The Big ‘Knit Your Own Zoo’ Sponsored Challenge. You can read my post on last week’s animal – Panda - here, which I think got a bit lost as I posted it during the middle of the week instead of on a Sunday as usual. My post on this week’s animal, Lion, will be up tomorrow afternoon (I need to photograph him, fingers crossed for some sunshine tomorrow!)

Head over to Handmade Monday & lots of other fabulous craft blogs!

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Knit Your Own Zoo – Panda

As some of you may have noticed, I didn’t do a post about my zoo challenge last week. This is because a close family member passed away and I didn’t knit a single thing. As such, I’m seeing yesterday as the start of week 4, not week 5, which it would’ve been if I hadn’t taken a week out. I hope you understand and think this is ok.

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The last time I blogged about the challenge I was just starting Panda. Well, he’s now completely finished now and  Lion is underway! Panda was the first animal where it required me to change colour. I found this quite time consuming and kept getting the different coloured yarns tangled. Any tips?!

Panda Knitting In Progress

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I’m quite happy with how she’s turned out, especially the cute little bamboo shoot! What do you think?
I’m sorry this post is quite a bit shorter than my other Zoo Challenge posts – it’s really been one of those weeks.
My Big ‘Knit Your Own Zoo’ Sponsored Challenge is in aid of the World Wildlife Fund so it would be amazing if you could donate via my JustGiving page, share the challenge or help spread the word!

Knit Your Own Zoo Project Logo

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A Day At The Races

Today is Gold Cup day at Cheltenham. Here are a few things to get you in the spirit…

A Day At The Races Equine Inspiration
1. - Lisa Angel Homeware And Gifts
2. – Silk Purse Sows Ear
3. - Modcloth
4. – VivaRevival
5. 6. 7. - Equine By Lauren 

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I really love horses & have been riding since I was very young (something I’m not sure if I’ve actually mentioned on my blog before!) & yesterday I was very excited to spend a day at the Cheltenham Festival. We were lucky & managed to get very good positions throughout the day along the track, parade ring, & by the winner’s enclosure, meaning we were able to get up close to some of the beautiful runners like Big Buck’s, Annie Power, Zarkandar, & Dynaste. We also stayed to watch the charity race being run in aid of Cancer Research.

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Great & Small Mother’s Day Range 2014!

Mother's Day Personalised Tag 4

Mini Gift Wrap Set Pink

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All above items are available in my Not On The High Street shop!

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Knit Your Own Zoo Challenge – Elephant – Day 19

Today is Day 19 of my 10 week challenge to knit 10 zoo animals, without ever having knitted before, all in aid of the World Wildlife Fund!
Sorry I didn’t get this post up on Sunday. I was away for the weekend but I assure you, Elephant is completed and I’m now onto the next animal…

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I chose Elephant as the second animal to knit as he was all one colour, like Polar Bear, with just a little bit of white on his feet and tusks. I found I got through his legs and body a lot quicker this time and I felt I picked up the new stitch I had to learn – the wrap and turn method – fairly easily too, both of which were big positives. However, I still had big problems when it came to actually knitting on the legs to the body and managed to put one of them on backwards again. I’m having real trouble in telling which is the right side or the wrong side of the knitting – any tips?! Also, if you do happen to sew a leg on the wrong way or some other such disaster occurs, how do you undo the damage without the whole piece unravelling? (I had to improvise when sewing him together again, which I feel is not the professional way with coping!)

Elephant In Progress

I bought a row counter this week which was very helpful especially as on the tummy there was a part where you needed to St St 98 rows. It would’ve been very difficult to keep track of without it. I’m rather pleased with this chap, and think he turned out quite well in the end for my second ever piece of knitting! Here’s what the World Wildlife Fund say about his real-life friends on their website -
“Once common throughout Africa and Asia, elephant numbers were severely depleted during the 20th century, largely due to the massive ivory trade. While some populations are now stable and growing, poaching, conflict and habitat destruction continue to threaten the species.”
The WWF is helping elephants in four main ways; reducing the conflict between local people and elephants, strengthening anti-poaching initiatives, working to stop illegal ivory trade, and conserving and protecting elephant habitats. It would be really lovely if you could help share and promote my JustGiving page, where you can also leave a donation and words of encouragement!

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And what’s this week’s animal? Well, the rarest of the bear family, none other than the WWF’s logo itself – the Panda! This is my first animal that uses more than one colour so could be quite a step up in the challenge. I’ll let you know how it’s gone on Sunday!

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A Visit To Hampton Court Palace

At the end of January I went on a lovely mini break & I’m finally writing my second post about it. You can read all about the first day, when I went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour, here!

We decided to visit Hampton Court Palace, take a stroll round the beautiful grounds, find the centre of the maze, & see if we bumped into Catherine Howard’s ghost. It was a grey, rainy day but we didn’t let that put us off, and had a nice breakfast of waffles, strawberries & blueberries, & maple syrup to set us up for our day’s adventures.

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Hampton Court was built by Cardinal Wolsey during the reign of Henry VIII & was then partly rebuilt during the reigns of William & Mary, giving the palace a distinctly split look with one side remaining Tudor, the other more opulent Baroque.

I’ve always loved & read a lot about the Tudors, & find it amazing to be able to walk through where they lived, & where certain historical events unravelled. Henry VIII’s 5th wife, Catherine Howard, was put under house arrest in the palace when she was accused of adultery. Desperate to plead her case to the King, she escaped her guards, & ran to beg for her life. However, she was caught & dragged back to her rooms screaming before she had chance to reach Henry. It’s said that you can still feel her ghostly presence in the ‘Haunted Gallery’ but sadly we didn’t catch a glimpse of anything untoward.

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Hampton Court is open 7 days a week, & I definitely recommend a visit if you’re ever nearby. There’s lots to do & see, & plenty of stories to find out & unearth. I bought myself a book about mysteries & spooky goings-on surrounding Hampton Court & it was a fun a little read.

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