Half term round up

This half term was a much needed break for my husband (who is a teacher), my boys (especially the one that just started school) and me (who had lots of lovely treats planned).

The holiday started with our child-free break to the North Yorkshire Moors which turned into a 3 night stay after the in-laws said they didn’t mind having the grandchildren for another 24 hours (yipppeeee!). We had a fantastic time away, lots of sightseeing, lots of beachcombing and lots of uninterrupted time together… bliss.

Highlights were…treasure hunting for sea glass in Seaham

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… exploring the seaside town of Whitby

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… marvelling at Whitby Abbey (inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula)

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and my favourite part…  the Moors themselves.

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The only disappointment of the break was not finding a wool shop (I could actually hear my husband breathe a sigh of relief) but I did get a chance to practice my knitting for my sock knitting workshop.

I practiced my basic stitches by following the Hitchhiker scarf pattern and using sock yarn.

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I had bought the sock yarn a while back when I booked my place on the sock workshop. It is Mondial Ciao (241). It will make great socks so this scarf will be unravelled.

As the workshop approached I decided I needed to get more comfortable with knitting. I am a slow knitter and it all feels a bit clunky compared to crocheting. I found a pattern on Ravelry called Simple sample hat which uses the magic loop method on circular needles. My hat varies considerable from the pattern but I am quite proud of my first ever knitted hat!

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The sock workshop was today and it was everything I hoped it would be. We covered all elements of knitting a sock on DPNs (yikes!). I chose an orange sock yarn. Although this is far brighter than I wanted, it turned out to be a good choice as my stitches were all very easy to see.

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The workshop spanned a 4 hour period and everyone was exhausted by the end of it but we all produced a mini sock with a heel, gusset and toe (squeals of delight all round).

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The workshop was at my local wool shop the Wool Stop and was taught by Jacqui Harding of HappyMaking designs. Jacqui was the best type of teacher, patient, flexible and fun. She is a very talented knitter, crocheter and seamstress. Have a look at her Ravelry page for some of her designs.

Straight after the workshop the boys had a Halloween party. We had fun making some tasty treats to take with us.

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I have just realised with has got to be my longest post ever. Time for a glass of wine and to wish everyone a Happy Halloween.

x

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Crochet shawl

It’s nearly half term (counting the hours) and I am so glad that I have completed another crochet project before we go away. At the start of the school year I started a crochet shawl/scarf (first mentioned here) and if the weather today is anything to go by, I think I’m going to need it.

I first saw the shawl on The Green Dragonfly and fell in love with it instantly. It was the colour and the lacey (but not too lacey) look that both grabbed me. I had never crocheted anything so fine before and I really didn’t have a clue about what yarn to use. The Green Dragonfly had used 2ply and a 3mm hook so I did a search and found Susan Crawford Vintage and a yarn called Fenella which is 2ply 100% British wool in the most amazing vintage shades. Just the shade names are beautiful…Chalk, Myristica, Roman Plaster, Jonquil, Atomic Red, Phthalo, Limoncello, Porcellan, Columbine, Marriner, Constance Spry, Wheaten, Forget-Me-Not, Baked Cherry, Delicot, Myrtle. I chose Atomic Red for my scarf and was so pleased when the package arrived as the red is almost coral, one of my favourite colours.

The pattern for the shawl is called South Bay Shawlette and is very easy to follow. I used a 3.5mm hook. At first I wasn’t sure about the wool, it felt a bit scratchy but the more I worked with it the more I fell in love with it. It softened up and is so tactile and warm. For the border I used The Green Dragonfly border but omitted the last row. I wasn’t going to block my scarf when I finished it, I liked the dense texture and was worried it would become to lacey but I saw some amazing scarves which had lovely pointy edgings and knew I had to. So yesterday when the sun was shining I took the opportunity (I am glad I did, as it is raining today, yuk).

susan crawford fenella south bay shawlette crochet shawl

susan crawford fenella south bay shawlette crochet

I love the shadows that the blocking pins make.

susan crawford fenella south bay shawlette crochet shawl

The blocking made such a difference. I understand now why it is done. The shawl is so pretty and it is very wearable.

The only thing I hadn’t thought about was the fact that if you crochet a triangle and want enough width to be able to wrap it like a scarf, the triangle part gets longer too. Does that make sense? I wouldn’t want any more bulk around my neck and the ends are just long enough to wrap but I am going to try a longer and narrower shawl pattern next and see what difference it makes. Anyway after taking a million pictures to show you what it looks like being worn I have settled for the least worst (grammar?) of the lot. Hopefully you get the idea.

susan crawford fenella south bay shawlette crochet shawl

I am still practising my knitting and I would love one day to be able to knit something to wear with the Fenella yarn. One day.

x

Crochet Rug No.2

Life has been pretty busy since I posted about my Halloween bunting and blogging seems to have fallen off the bottom of my ‘to do’ list. The last few weeks have  been crammed full of stuff that afterwards I think ‘oh, I should have written a post about that’.

Anyway, one thing I have done is to crochet another rug and I actually have photographs to share with you. My last crochet rug was quite small (and bright) so this time I thought I would try a bigger (and more neutral) one. I used this pattern for a Gorgeous Mandala Rug. It is one of Wink’s patterns and throughout I couldn’t help but think and reflect more than usual. She was an inspiration and continues to be. A creative being has updates on projects to remember Wink by.

crochet rug tek-tek mandala

I used 3 rolls of beige Tek-Tek yarn and a 10mm hook. The finished rug measures just under 4 feet across.

crochet mandala rug tek-tek

These rugs are fun to make and very useable. So much so that I have got some yellow t-shirt yarn to make a rug for the boy’s playroom next.

With half term looming we have a busy few weeks ahead of us and some treats in store. First of all, my husband and I are going to the North Yorkshire Moors for a couple of days… on our own! I cannot wait. My second treat is an early Christmas present. A sock knitting course. I am so excited. Apparently you need to know the basics of knitting and it has been years since I attempted knitting at all so I have been studying my old books and having a go again. Progress is slow and everything keeps being unravelled at the moment but it is fun and the potential projects … let’s just say my Ravelry queue is getting longer.

I can dream but it’s back to reality with a bump as my youngest has just come in and announced he has ‘found my wrecking ball’ and presented me with my ball of wool, circular needles and a very big tangle!

x

 

Halloween crochet

We don’t go in for Halloween much in this house, although the boys have started talking about dressing up this year so that might change. We do love Lego though and there seems to be a theme at the moment of monsters, skeletons and zombies so I thought I would crochet some skulls using this fantastic pattern from kirstinskrazyknits.

The great thing about these skulls is that they are so versatile. I made some up in Halloween colours and then laid them out…

…in a circle (table decoration?)

day of the dead crochet skull halloween

…in a line (scarf?)

day of the dead crochet skull halloween

..grouped together  (blanket?)

day of the dead crochet skull halloween

The way these skulls tessellated appealed to the mathematician in me! In the end I decided on bunting (quick and easy). I really dislike photographing bunting so have had to settle for these ones.

day of the dead crochet skull halloween bunting garland

day of the dead crochet skull halloween bunting garland

I also made two more skulls and as I love all things Mexican, even though I’ve never been there, I decorated them using embroidery threads, buttons and beads.

day of the dead crochet skull halloween

day of the dead crochet skull halloween

day of the dead crochet skull halloween

These are my favourite. The boys saw them and said they were ‘for girls’, so I guess we are all happy! Are you doing any crochet for Halloween? I’d love to hear what you are making.

x