Keeping cosy

For years now I have been meaning to crochet a tea cosy but have never got around to it…until now!

I’m not sure why I never made one before but needs must and on Saturday evening I sat down and found this excellent pattern  from Crochet with Raymond. It’s perfect for stash busting and so quick that one movie later I had a finished cosy.

Crochet tea cosy

If you are looking for a simple, adaptable pattern I can’t recommend this enough. I used worsted weight yarn with a 4.5mm hook and started with a chain of 60ish. I just made the chain, checked that it fitted around the tea pot under the handle and spout and followed the pattern from there, omitting the part around the top. 

I love making crochet items for the house. I’d love to hear about any practical crochet items you’ve made.

That just leaves me to wish you a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2018 and beyond.

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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Warm feet

Thankfully the weather here isn’t too cold yet (uhoh, that’s going to jinx it now) but it is cooler and a little while back I found that my feet were getting chilly in the house. I am wearing my hand knitted woollen socks all of the time but the floors get cold and I don’t want to wear my socks out, so I need slippers too.

The great thing about living in a small town is that you get very resourceful. No slipper shop? Not a problem. I have wool, lots of it, picked up here and there, garage sales, thrift shops. And I have Ravelry!

This is the yarn I had to hand

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It is a super bulky 100% wool so good for felting and warmth.

The pattern I used for these slippers is called Felted Granny Slippers (free on Ravelry). Basically the slippers are made up of granny squares that are cleverly joined to make a slipper.

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The slippers don’t need to be felted if the squares are made to a size that results in a slipper that fits. I wanted a denser texture for more warmth so made the squares bigger and felted mine. It is worth noting though that granny squares don’t felt particularly well as they are made up of trebles (UK) and therefore have a lot of twist to them.

Before

crochet felted slippers granny square super bulky

After

crochet felted slippers granny square super bulky

I actually ended up lining the inners of these with felt as I wanted them to be a bit more substantial. I also stitched the sides up a bit for a better fit. They aren’t the most attractive slippers but they are very warm and very comfy and doing their job well. I think I would make another pair in worsted/aran next time and make them to fit without the felting (maybe for spring/summer wearing).

Keep warm.

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Cute little project and a test

I thought I’d share this little crochet project that I made last night and at the same time test writing a post on my phone. Often I don’t end up sharing projects as I have to get the laptop out, get the photos from my camera and write the post. I use my phone for a lot of things, so why not posting? I’d be interested to hear what the rest of you do.

So here is what I made. It’s a little scissor keeper.

I used the green cotton I had left over from my doily and some scrap fabric. the pattern came from a book I bought when we arrived here called ‘Romantic Crochet’. It’s an English book, something I failed to realise until about half way through the flower thinking it was in US terms, doh.

This could be an easy project without this exact pattern, just using a granny square pattern, cotton and a small hook. The inside is just a fabric pouch filled with a bit of wadding.

I was just thinking that little projects like this probably end up on an Instagram feed and don’t have whole posts dedicated to them. Uhoh! I could see me losing a whole lot of craft time if I started an IG account. Ravelry is bad enough!

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My Victoria Shawl .. of sorts

What with all the sock knitting I have been doing, I must say I have missed crocheting. So when I saw that Sandra Paul aka CherryHeart had released a new shawl pattern, I could not resist.

Here is my version of her Victoria shawl.

CherryHeart Victoria shawl crochet DK

The pattern can be found on her site or Ravelry and is designed using 200g 4ply sock wool. Although I have a lot of sock yarn stashed away (an embarrassing amount, actually), I don’t have two skeins of the same colourway, so I used DK instead. This meant I had to use a 5mm hook in order to get a decent drape.

The green is James C Brett pure merino and I used nearly 200g for 7 repeats of the main pattern. The blue is an unknown yarn that I bought in a charity shop. Let this be a lesson to me. I thought it was just the same wool as the green but in  fact it was much thinner so I had to drop down to a 4mm hook on the border. I had to stop short of the complete pattern on the border as I was running out of blue and the other ball I had that I thought was the same was in fact a completely different.

CherryHeart Victoria shawl crochet DK

The pattern itself was so easy to follow and had clear written instructions and charts. It has links to tutorials too, which beginners would find useful. My shawl took about 3 evenings to make.  I think that the design would make a beautiful blanket too.

CherryHeart Victoria shawl crochet DK

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

x

 

 

Crochet Hearts

 

I don’t think hearts are just for Valentine’s Day. I love having them dotted around the house all year round. And if they are crocheted, even better (until I learn how to knit them!).

Here are some of the crocheted hearts I have made over the years…

Crochet coasters made with Drops Muskat and a 3.5mm hook

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Three heart decoration adapted from this pattern, made in Drops Muskat with a 3.5mm hook

crochet cotton hearts drops muskat

This garland was made using the same pattern and yarn/hook.

crochet heart garland bunting

This year I also mixed crochet and jewellery and made these…

A Teen-Tiny heart pendant

tiny crochet heart pendant necklace

and these (apologies I haven’t got the links for these)

and last, but not least, my sterling silver crochet heart earrings.

silver crochet heart earrings

Happy crocheting.

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A tahdah!, a project update and a little bit of news

For reasons that will become obvious by the end of this post, there is a sense of urgency about my crafty projects at the moment. I keep jumping from one thing to another and desperately want to make everything now!

Honestly, Jen, who runs my local wool shop (The Wool Stop), must think I am insane. I keep rushing into the shop shouting ‘No time, I need this needle and this wool for this project’, then I proceed to waffle on about this, that and everything, pay, and leave her, I’m sure, wondering what the heck just happened.

I have finished one project though. A while back, I was looking on Ravelry for a more complex looking crochet project. I found the Closing Fans Shawl (paid pattern) and I started it with a 4ply silky yarn but quickly discovered that my diamond shapes were a fraction of the intended size and the shawl would cost me a small fortune if I ever actually finished it. I put the project to the side over the holidays and picked it up again in January, this time with a Stylecraft Alpaca DK in lime, yes, LIME! I guess I was yearning colour and something zingy after all the grey weather we have been having.

The pattern was a bit tricky at the start but I soon got the hang of it and a couple of weeks later we have a shawl. Tahdah!

Stylecraft Alpaca DK shawl crochet closing fans

 

Like all of the shawls that I have made, I have worn this one like a scarf and it is very soft and snuggly. I would make this shawl again but with a silkier DK yarn possibly but at the moment, I’m just pleased to have finished something.

Ever since I started knitting socks, whenever I am just about to start the heel, I start to think how easy it would be to make a pair of wristwarmers using the same skills. So last week when I saw this lovely post over at The Little Room of Rachell, I remembered that I had admired the same yarn in a different colour at The Wool Stop, so I immediately rushed off and bought some.

To say I rushed into things would be an understatement and not surprisingly, the end result was a single, very sorry wristwarmer.

Adraifil Knitcol trends 58 knitted wristwarmer

Where do I start? I used a 3mm long circular needle because a 4mm seemed way too loose and I didn’t have a 3.5mm and to be fair the fit is good until you get to the thumb area. My afterthought thumb was a learning curve but overall it is crying out for a thumb gusset. So instead of ploughing on like I usually do I am going to take my time with these gloves, so long that they probably won’t be ready until next year but they will have a thumb gusset. YouTube, here I come. The yarn is Adriafil  Knitcol Trends 58.

So it will come as no surprise that I have cast on a another pair of socks in the meantime.

Mondial Ciao 241

I am trying A Nice Ribbed Sock in Mondial Ciao 241, this was the first sock yarn I ever bought, before I even attended the sock workshop, so it is a little bit special to me. To avoid Second Sock Syndrome I am casting on two socks onto separate short circulars (I haven’t mastered two at a time yet), I’ll let you know if it makes a difference.

Another project that has seen the light this week is my Flowers in the Snow blanket. I say blanket but it is really a lot of circles still.

flowers in the snow crochet circles

I have to admit to going off this project last year but I am determined to finish it. I was going to use a denim blue colour instead of the usual white as a background but have decided white it will be and I have decided not to lay the circles out randomly after I arranged them like this

flowers in the snow crochet circles

What do you think? Much more appealing now and that is good as I am far more likely to complete the (much smaller than originally intended) blanket now.

And that brings me to my news.

(Trumpet fanfare)

We are moving.

To Canada.

In April.

This year!!!!!

If I can string the words together I will write a separate post all about how this move has come about and what it means for us. I hope you will wish us luck and stay with us on our travels. One thing I know for sure is that I am going to need to fine tune my knitting skills and get started on some winter woollies as I’m going to need them!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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