Project update

Most of my time at the moment is spent frantically making things on my Christmas list but I have three recent projects I can share as they have already been gifted.

The first is a crochet shawl that I made for a friend’s birthday. She wears blues and purples so I wanted a yarn to complement those colours. Instead of buying on the net, I wanted to feel the yarn and make sure the colour was right so I went to my local wool shop and picked up a skein of Manos del Uraguay Alegria (Tannat A6729). It is 75% wool and 25% polyamide, so essentially a sock yarn but as it isn’t cheap I don’t think I would want to make socks with it.

crochet scarf sock yarn lace

I followed the free pattern Summer Sprigs Lace scarf  by Esther Chandler. I don’t recall the hook size I used, probably a 3.5 or 4mm. The pattern appealed as it wasn’t a triangular shawl and it worked up quite quickly. It isn’t easy to tell what a variegated yarn will look like crocheted but this one had just the right balance of colours I was looking for.

crochet scarf sock yarn lace

I am pleased to report that my friend loved the scarf as it goes really well with the colours she wears (phew!) and that she has had lots of compliments about it, which is lovely to hear.

The second project I made as a gift was for my mum. My parents are visiting over Christmas and my mum does not like the cold. Not surprising as she and my dad lived in the tropics for nearly 50 years. So something cosy and warm was quickly made before they arrived (finished just in the nick of time).

I used Stylecraft Life Aran (Fuschia) for both the hat and scarf. The hat was knitted using the free Twist and Slouch pattern by Kali Berg. I wanted to practice my knitting on a circular needle and to learn a new stitch. The twisted rib gives a pretty cable effect. I used a 6.5 and 5.5mm needle.

knitted hat crochet flower

My mum loves flowers so a quick crochet one was added using this pattern.

To match the hat I crocheted a scarf, this time using a paid pattern called Newidyn Shawlette by Abigail Phelps. I used a 10mm hook as recommended for Aran weight yarn. This whipped up in an evening so would make an ideal last minute gift.

crochet scarf aran

The two together make a good set and according to my mum, both are toasty warm.

knitted hat crochet scarf

I can recommend all 3 of these patterns and all of them could be made in time for Christmas. So if you are like me and have left things to the last minute or have an unplanned gift you need to make, maybe one of these will inspire you.

x

 

Christmas Crochet

I have to say that I am not enjoying November and its dreary, damp days very much at all. No time for my moaning though, the time is flying by and I still haven’t done a Christmas post. The reason being that I haven’t made a single thing for the festive season yet. Despite my best intentions it hasn’t happened and now my priority is to make the gifts I want to. Still all is not lost and I have lots to things to share with you that I have made previously. That’s not cheating, is it?

In 2013 I did a couple of craft fairs selling crochet items so I thought I would share some of the bits and bobs I made and who knows? there might be something here you fancy making.

Who doesn’t love a bit of festive bunting?

Here are The Royal Sisters crochet stars in Christmas colours chained together.

This pattern is so easy and makes lovely baby bunting.

crochet garland star bunting baby blue boy

I also made trees using a pattern from the same website.

crochet granny christmas tree

These green trees  were the same pattern but only two rounds. I sold these as bunting with rainbow coloured buttons (no pics, sorry) and individual decorations. They looked good on the from of a card too for the recipient to remove and use.

crochet granny christmas tree decoration

The angels are so easy to make and people bought them to tuck inside their Christmas cards that they were sending.

crochet christmas decoration angel easy

I made bauble decorations from circles and a detail I found here.

crochet bauble decoration mandala

I have only ever made two of these robins following Attic24’s birdie pattern, one for a friend in 2013 and the one I sent to Meredithe of Pomegranate and Chintz this year.

crochet robin christmas decoration

It has been great fun looking back at these photos and the blogs that the patterns came from. Lucky I kept a photographic record of what I made, guess even then I was blogging in my head!

Everything you see here is made from Drops Muskat cotton and probably a 3.5mm hook if my memory serves me correctly. I did block and starch all of the decorations to make them a bit more robust. I hope the links work. Let me know if there are any problems.

That just leaves me to thank Lynda, rather belatedly, at Sultanabun for nominating me for a Liebster award. So kind. Please hop over and take a look at her amazing blog if you haven’t already.

x

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

Beach trip

As I mentioned in my last post, we went to North Devon for the weekend. I am pleased  to report that the break had the desired effect and we all came back rejuvenated and full of energy. It helped a lot that the sun shone all weekend and that the caravan park I had chosen was just 200 yards from the beach!

We stayed in Combe Martin and spent our first day in Ilfracombe and Combe Martin itself. It is a while since I have been to this part of Devon and wondered if it would have changed much. It hadn’t. Even with Damien Hirst’s interest in the area it still felt very much a Victorian seaside resort. We did start by seeing Hirst’s Verity first (you can’t miss her, she’s 20m tall). Now, I am interested in art even if I don’t always understand it and  I know what I like, and I’m not sure about Verity. Google her and make up your own mind if you haven’t seen her before.

We went to the aquarium, ate ice cream, went to the Tunnel Beaches (Victorian beaches accessed through … a tunnel), ate fish and chips, played on the 2p machines in the arcade and ate more ice cream. The beach was windy and gave me the perfect excuse to wear my most recently finished crochet project (first seen here). Many thanks to my husband who took this picture under the strictest of instructions. Please ignore me.

crochet shrug x-stitch drops nepal

What do you think? It is a pattern I bought on Craftsy called X-stitch Shrug. I bought the pattern at the end of the summer holidays, anticipating cooler weather (which I am pleased to say, has stayed away) and decided I would use Drops Nepal (Deep Ocean) for extra warmth. It has been a start, stop project, mainly because I ran out of wool, then it was out of stock. I have certainly learnt my lesson when it comes to patterns and yardage. It would not have taken long otherwise as it is very straight forward.

Here it is hanging up.

crochet shrug x-stitch drops nepal

You will notice I have added a button to the front, which was not part of the original pattern. The shrug just didn’t suit me without it and it is so heavy (15 balls of 50g aran wool) that I didn’t want to be hoiking it up every 5 seconds. To be honest I think the shrug has had its only trip out. For me, this is a wear-at-home-snuggled-on-the-sofa sort of shrug, it is so warm and soft.

I might try a short poncho-type thing next time, although I do worry about looking like a sack of potatoes. Even when the sun is out I like to layer up. My sons were knee deep in the sea at the weekend, with nothing but t-shirts on and I was quite comfortable in jeans, long sleeves, boots and shrug!

Yesterday we stopped in at Lynton and Lynmouth, two towns connected by the most amazing cliff railway. A real feat of Victorian engineering.

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Of course, no trip to the seaside is complete without searching for sea treasure.

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Despite my improved energy levels after the weekend I am a little tired today after waking up in the middle of the night to see the supermoon lunar eclipse. I didn’t bother with photos but have been admiring some amazing ones today. Did anyone else watch it?

x

 

Hi Ho Silver!

Hooray for Fridays. We are off to the seaside later for a weekend break that I booked months ago with a view to reviving us after a month back at school. Beach walks, coastal town browsing and warm café treats. Small pleasures.

Talking of small things, my crochet this week has been very small scale and surprise, surprise…yarn-free.

crochet silver wire heart jewellery

Can you believe that this was little heart was crocheted with sterling silver wire? It’s really diddy, about the size of a penny.

I used a 2.5mm hook and 2 strands of 30 gauge wire. The silver wire isn’t cheap but it was a fun experiment and something new.

I also made this flower.

crochet silver wire flower

For the flower I followed these instructions which were very helpful. It is about 4cm in diameter.

In total I used just under 10m of wire which cost about £10. The heart is going to be added to my charm bracelet and the flower… I think I will buy a bit more silver wire and make a pair of earrings. It is a bit delicate for a pendant.

What is the strangest material that you have ever crocheted or knitted with?

x

That’s better

Some of you may remember my first post about a blanket I made for a friend’s daughter. Well, to cut a long story short, I never actually gave the blanket to my friend. For one, we didn’t meet up for ages, then I moved house and then…it just didn’t feel right. Something was niggling me about the lack of border on the blanket. It just felt too plain. So I left it and continued with other projects and then finally last week I made a decision.

First of all, I decided that the blanket needed to be squared off with some half hexagons on the top and bottom (I kept the zigzag edge on the sides). I used this post to make the half hexagons.

Then I had to decide on a border. To be honest this was more trial and error than anything. I completed a few stripes first and then, in my mind I pictured pompoms on the zigzag edges. I went out and bought a tiny pompom maker, rushed home and made my first pompom. Hmmmm. To say I was unimpressed would be an understatement. My pompom certainly didn’t feel safe enough for a baby blanket and it didn’t look great either. Then I remembered seeing crocheted pompom edging. Phew! I used this tutorial by Bella Coco and after a bit of playing around with spacing this was the final result. Ta da!

solid hexagon blanket crochet flowers

What do you think?

Here are some close ups of the border.

crochet hexagon blanket border

 

crochet hexagon blanket border

It was lovely and sunny when I took these pictures. The Stylecraft Special colours are so bright and cheerful. This blanket is ready to go to its new home.

As it was sunny, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of a tablecloth that I bought at a local charity shop. Please excuse the creases.

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Whilst I was in the shop I also spied this pristine piece of 70’s history.

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I couldn’t resist!

Maybe I was indulging in a bit of retail therapy as we took our eldest son to University this weekend. I am excited for him on his new journey (Dr Seuss’s ‘Oh, the places you’ll go!’) and so proud of the young man he has become. He isn’t far away at all. I miss him heaps though.

x

 

 

Keeping busy

After the emotional rollercoaster that was last week, it was decided that this weekend would be a chilled, relaxed time with the family. No jobs, no rushing to the shops, no stressing. It was just what we all needed.

I spent Saturday afternoon in the kitchen making runner bean chutney which I can’t wait to try. The problem with making chutneys is I want to eat them straight away! This was a recipe I used years back and my husband has been asking me to make again every Autumn. He is a very patient man.

The best thing about making this chutney is that I get to use my Spong bean cutter which I inherited from my husband’s late grandmother.

IMG_20150912_130945918

We lazed about a lot this weekend, played games and went for walks but I still managed to start a new crochet project. I have never worked with yarn this fine before (2ply) and it took a while to get used to but I love it. Full details when I actually finish it.

crochet shawl lace 2ply

This is the last week before my eldest starts university so I am going to be busy getting him ready and enjoying his company whilst I can. He might be 18 but he’s still my baby!

x

 

All change

September is definitely a month of change for us here.

The weather can’t make up its mind. Each day brings its own clothing dilemma… boots of flip flops? Jumper or t-shirt? I find myself changing outfits at least once a day!

We have been so busy with the start of the school year. My little boy has just joined reception and we have a staggered settling in period so there has been a lot of diary checking for drop off and pick up times. My eldest goes off to university in a few weeks so there will be even more change then, but I am really trying not to think too much about that now.

The new school year has brought with it some time where I find myself without children as little one goes to preschool now too. To be honest, I am not completely comfortable with it all yet. I miss my boys.

Still, I will have to get used to it and I am sure I will soon enough. On Monday, I made myself come home and sit in the garden in the sunshine rather than wandering aimlessly about the house feeling guilty about the housework that never seems to get done. Time rather to catch up on my current WIP and to enjoy working with wool for a change.

drops nepal deep ocean crochet shrug

Hopefully I will finish this project off in a week or so and I share it with you properly then.

Thank you so much for all of your lovely comments about my orange rug. It is great to have feedback about a finished project and to know that the rug made so many of you smile too!

x