Thanksgiving crochet

Crochet leaves Thanksgiving maple

Last weekend it was Thanksgiving here in Canada, a new event on the calendar for us having moved from England last year.

I like the holiday and taking the time to be thankful but I’m really aware that we need to take time to be thankful on a daily basis. It’s so easy to fall into the habit of focusing on the negative and it can affect you more than you sometimes realise.

We were very lucky to be invited to not one but two Thanksgiving dinners this weekend and we are grateful to have met such lovely people since we moved here. 

I took crochet gifts to both dinners. I like to take something homemade if I can and these were really easy to make.

Crochet leaves Thanksgiving maple

I followed this pattern which also includes a helpful tutorial. I used different weight yarns but the same hook size to make the three different sized leaves. You can block the leaves but I like the curly edges. Both gift recipients added the leaves to their table decorations.

These leaves could also make a seasonal bunting or gift tags. I used acrylic yarn but you can use any fibre you want.

Autumn is my favourite season but I fear it will be a short one this year. There is already lots of snow falling here in BC! What’s your favourite season?

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Making new friends

Many of you will know of the fabulous blog Pomegranate and Chintz and will be familiar with Meredithe’s visually stunning posts (if you aren’t, do take a look, it is lovely). I frequently gush over the fabrics she and her class/group use for all manner of sewing projects and a while back I admired a fabric panel she had been sent in a fabric bundle.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when Meredithe contacted me and asked if I would like the panel as she wouldn’t use it. Of course I said yes and asked for her address so I could send a gift in return. Addresses were exchanged and if you read Meredithe’s blog you will know that we each received our parcels incredibly quickly. Meredithe has already posted about the gift I sent her and here is part 2!

Just one week after sending my address, I was delighted to receive a parcel from Australia in the post. I was at home with my youngest and he still talks about opening the present together. Of course I knew about the panel but I did not expect any of the accompanying treasures within. If I had been thinking I would have taken step by step pictures but no, I was too excited.

Just take a look at this bundle…

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Can you believe that there was more. Chocolates and lots of them. TimTams (amazing chocolate biscuity bites), a Cherry Ripe (coconut, cherry and chocolate heaven) and Turkish Delight (my all time favourite chocolate bar). These were saved and savoured but never photographed alas.

The card was a beautifully handwritten note from Meredithe (how rare it is to get a letter these days) and recipes from her and the ladies in her class.

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The red peeking through?

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A gorgeous needle case made with fabrics which were part of the original bundle that I had admired. How lucky am I?

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And then there was the fabric panel. You can see why I admired it I am sure.

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I have been riding on a high since I received Meredithe’s original email, offering me this amazing gift. I have found the whole experience so uplifting and I am so grateful to have made another new friend through blogging.

And Chicken in the Kitchen? She has finally been made! I am not great with needle and thread and broke my sewing machine a while back so decided to take the bull by the horns and hand sew her. Here she is in her full glory … in the kitchen of course.

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She’s not shy, so here is a close up…

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Thank you again to Meredithe and all of the other supportive, kind bloggers out there.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Crochet rug

For one reason or the other I haven’t made much this Summer and my crochet seems to have been put on the back burner. My wish list of projects, on the other hand, just keeps growing.

With moving home, I have spent a lot of time thinking about interiors and what I want our house to look like. Some things we are not changing, the magnolia walls, for example. They are newly painted so there doesn’t seem much point. Instead, I have been thinking about adding colour in in different ways.

Take our bedroom. We bought the Malm Ikea furniture from the previous owners, it’s pretty inoffensive and the walls are magnolia. Together this provides a backdrop for crochet blankets and complimentary accessories.

My husband doesn’t say much when it comes to our house but he has always said he would prefer no flowers in the bedroom. Fair enough. So I have bought white bedding and white curtains and some fab orange lamps from Habitat. I love the retro look of them and they go well with all of my blankets. Anyway, this is all leading to my crochet rug! Actually it is more mat size but it fits just between the bed and the wardrobe. Here it is..

crochet rug retro bedroom

 

crochet rug orage retro bedroom

I made it with Tek-Tek fabric yarn (bought on Ebay UK for £8.40 per large roll) and a 9mm crochet hook. This rug took less than two rolls. The rug measures  70cm across and is densely crocheted. A larger hook and a more doily like pattern and the yarn would go much further. I made this rug in an evening so it is super quick too.

crochet rug retro bedroom

I followed a basic circle pattern until I had reached the size I wanted (10 rounds) and then I crocheted a round of double crochets.

My last two rounds were made as follows;

Penultimate round: Chain 6, miss next two stitches, slip stitch in next stitch, repeat to end, slip stitch to first ch6

Last round: Slip stitch to centre of first ch6 from last round, chain 6, join to the centre of the next ch6 space with a slip stitch, repeat to end, join with a slipstitch and fasten off. Your rug is finished!

The rug may turn up at the edges a bit but I found sitting on it whilst I was making it helped and at the end, I went round and manipulated the edges to lay flat. The yarn is really easy to work with but here are a few tips you might find useful:

  1. The yarn is recycled and it does state on the packaging that the colours can vary and it is not one continuous strand. I only found one short section which was a different colour to the rest and I cut that section out.
  2. I found the knots where the strands had been joined to be thinner than the rest of the yarn so I cut the knots out and just joined as if I was joining a new colour.
  3. One section of yarn was really thin compared to the rest, it was noticeable when I was crocheting, so I just cut it out. I don’t think I cut more than about 80cm out in total including knots and the discoloured section.
  4. The yarn is heavy so after a few rounds I lay it on the floor and crocheted from above. After a while I was able to sit on it as I crocheted. Take regular breaks as this can be sore on the back and hands.
  5. Ends are really easy to ‘sew’ in on the back. The stretchy nature of the fabric means that you can just tuck them in by hand.

Please ask if you have any questions about my rug. I’d love to hear about any similar projects you have made or other uses for fabric yarn.

On a completely different note, I had a return nomination from Zeens and Roger for a Liebster Award. I don’t really have anyone else to nominate but here are my responses to the questions. I love reading the answers from other bloggers to questions like these as it feels like you are getting to know the person behind the craft.  Anyway, here goes..

  1. What did you have for tea last night? Sweet and sour chicken and rice, wish I could say I made it all from scratch but I can’t!
  2. What are you having for tea tonight? Prawn curry, friends are coming over and cooking for us. My kind of cooking.
  3. What are you doing at the weekend? Walks and pubs.
  4. As a child, what did you want to be when you were a grown up? A teacher and that’s exactly what I became.
  5. What was your first job? Working in a garage when I was 16 for £1 an hour!
  6. Name a book you read again and again. Jane Eyre, about twice a year.
  7. What do you collect? Ladybird books, enamel badges, pressed glass.
  8. Mastermind subject? The Tudors.

School starts back next week which means we will all be getting back into a routine of some sort. Hopefully when things settle down I will have more craft time. Here’s hoping.

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Things making me smile this week…

 

crochet heart decoration

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… little crochet touches making a house into my home. The heart pattern and the basket pattern are both very easy and quick.

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… learning where our food comes from. We went to Bibury trout farm when we were away camping at the weekend and the boys fed, caught and cooked their dinner.

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…rainy day activities. Loving the fact that my boys’ number one request is to do craft. Wonder where they get that from?

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Upcycled crochet

This week, two bloggers that I follow have posted items made from vintage fabrics. This adorable cushion by Bernadette and these amazing, crocheted rugs made by Moji-Moji Design. Both posts inspired me to share my upcycled crochet rugs that I made a little while back.

upcycled crochet rug

The first was made from curtain material using a simple doily pattern and a 20mm hook!! I can’t find the pattern anywhere, sorry. I tore the curtain into long strips (using the same method as Moji-Moji). They were quite wide (with hindsight I would tear narrower ones and use a smaller hook, as the 20mm hook was heavy going!). The centre of this rug is actually deep purple with a denim border but for some reason I could not get the colours to show up.

upcycled crochet rug tshirt repurposed

The second rug was made from my youngest boys’ t-shirts. I used a rotary cutter and cut loop from the armpit down and then linked the loops together to make a long string. I used a 9mm hook for this one. I am in two minds about this rug, the t-shirts varied in quality and some areas are very thick and others thin, so I am actually considering remaking it in a round. I love that I can look at the rug, though, and see favourite t-shirts. Good memories.

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This post got me thinking about hook size. I generally use a 3.5mm or 4mm hook and DK yarn, so using large hooks and fabric was an experience.

We move tomorrow so it may be a while before my next post. Amsterdam was amazing, by the way. I won’t bore you with pictures… well maybe just one. (Edit: Teenage son has requested a picture of Amsterdam and not him! )

Amsterdam holiday

 

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