Very handy 

I’ve never managed to find out the name for this lovely textured stitch. If you recognise it please let me know. It’s one I used for a wash cloth ages ago and I thought it would make a good thickish pot holder.

Pot Holder

You’ll need to use 100% Cotton.I used DMC Natura DK with 4mm hook, I used roughly 30g, amounts will vary depending on your tension and size of your finished pot holder.

You could also use aran weight, or thicker, cotton with the appropriate hook.

My pot holder measures 6″ x 6 3/4″ / 15cm x 17 cm

All terms are for UK crochet stitches

FR: Chain 32

R1: 1 dc, 2 tr into the 2nd ch from the hook, miss 2 ch *work 1 dc, 2tr in next ch, miss 2 ch and rep from * across the row to the last 3 chs. Miss 2 chs, 1 dc in last ch. Turn

R2: Ch 1, 1 dc, 2 tr into 1st st, mis 2 st, *work 1 dc, 2 tr into next st, miss 2 st and rep from * across until the last 3 sts. Miss 2 sts, 1 dc into last st. Turn

Repeat R2 until piece is the desired length. (I did 24 rows.) Fasten off. Darn ends.

Repeat and make another piece exactly the same size, do not fasten off. Darn in the starting tail end. Put the two pieces together (wrong sides together.) Crochet them together working through all 4 loops as follows:

Edging:

R1: Work 2 dc into the same st as the last dc of your last row, also going through the 2 loops of the other piece too. Continue working along the edges of the cloths along the four sides, making 1-2 dcs into each stitch. Be consistent and do the same for both sides. I made 1 dc into each stitch on the top edge and at the sides, but 2 into the bottom stitches where the loop of the initial chains are wider.

Work 2 dc, 1 ch, 2 dc at the corners.

R2: Ch1, 1 dc into the 1st st, then make 1 dc into each stitch, chaining 18 (or the number you choose for the length of loop that suits) at the top left or right corner. Work 2 dc, 1 ch, 2 dc at the corners (increase the ch to 2 if you feel they look better or suit your tension, try it both ways and settle on one for all corners…) Secure the last ch with a ss into the 2nd dc corner stitch, make 1 dc into the same st, continue making 1 dc into each st around. Ss into the intial dc of the round.

R3: Ch1, 1 dc into the first st, then make 1 dc each stitch as before, 1 dc into each st of the ch loop and around. Ss to the 1st dc of the round. Fasten off and darn the ends neatly.

If you make a pot holder using this pattern please leave a link in the comments, I’d love to see yours.

(Saturday: I’ve just come across the stitch in The Harmony Guide to Crochet, it’s boringly called Sedge stitch II. Sedge stitch I is basically miss 2 ch, 1 dc, 1 htr, 1 tr and rep to the last 3 sts, 1dc in the last st.  That looks worth a try sometime.)

Yarn Along 

  I’m crocheting a second V Stitch scarf. I only started a few days ago and it’s now nearly half done; it grows so quickly.  This is a very good thing as it’s a Christmas present.  Here’s the link to my pattern. I had to find it myself to jog my memory for the initial chain and hook size! That green scarf is my favourite and I wear it more than anything else I own, or have made. 
 I loved the film ‘Brooklyn’ last week. It’s the story of a young girl from a rural area of Ireland in the 1950s, who is emigrating to America. The first thing Mum and I said as we left the cinema was “Oh, the clothes!” Although I have a few audio books ready to listen to I just knew the novel, by Colm Toibin, would be fuller than could fit into a film. It’s going to be so interesting to see what the screenwriter, author Nick Hornby, chose to include and what to leave out.  Dissecting novels (auto correct wants this to be bowels!) into screenplays must be a challenging, but fascinating process. 

I’m joining in with Ginny and co once again. Now around 100 others link to Ginny’s weekly Yarn Along posts. This is many more than when I added a few of mine several  years ago. You can find some pearls of crochet and knitting inspiration there if you want to dip into new blogs. 

William Morris inspired motif blanket …..Finished!

   



If you hadn’t already guessed; the blanket is for my Mother and the William Morris design curtains are hers. She wanted a new blanket for the end of her bed to keep her feet warm and to snuggle up in during Winter. This will replace one that was made by my great grandmother for her many years ago, when I was just a twinkle in the sky. So, the pressure to get this blanket right and as lovely as I could make it, was high. I did wrap it in Christmas paper, singing falalalala, la la la LA! and it was received with pleasure.

 I was hoping to take some washing line pics, but post-blocking the weather was rather grim. These are not the best photos of a finished item at all; due to the poor light levels. And I realised afterwards that I’d plonked it on the bed rather quickly and didn’t smooth it out, oops sorry! Still, you do get the idea of its size and look…

I wonder if anyone will be inspired to use these Autumnal, rather retro colours? They weren’t my thing at all at first, but they really grew on me. It’s sometimes good to do something completely different. I’d given Mum my Stylecraft Special DK shade card and she chose the colours, while comparing them to the curtains. They look really good together, she chose well.

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK

  1. Silver
  2. Grey
  3. Walnut
  4. Copper
  5. Spice
  6. Mocha
  7. Matador
  8. Parchment
  9. Cream
  10. Camel
  11. Apricot

Hook: 4mm for the motifs and JAYGO rounds

3.5mm for the border

Length: 5′ 7″ / 67″

Width: 3′ 5″ / 41″

Weight: 1,422kg

Motif: my own design as follows…

UK terms

FR: Ch6, ss to join into circle

R1: Ch4 (Counts as1 tr and ch 1) *Tr into circle, ch 1 repeat from * 10 more times, join with ss to 3rd ch of ch , ss into next ch sp (12 tr)

R2: Ch3, tr2tog in same space, ch3 *tr3tog in next ch sp, ch3, repeat from * 10 more times, join with ss to top of ch3, ss in next ch3 sp

R3: Ch3, tr2tog,ch2, *tr3tog repeat twice from * to corner then tr3tog, ch3, tr3tog and so on around motif, ss to ch3

R4: As for R3 repeat from * three times to corner then tr3tog, ch3, tr3tog and so on around motif, ss to ch3

R5: Now a more traditional granny square round without clusters: Ch3, tr2, ch2, *tr 3, ch2, tr 3 repeat from * to corner then tr3, ch2, tr3 (I found that ch2 in the corners of this round worked best, but you might find continuing with ch3 works best in yours.)

R6: JAYGO using a ch1, ss, ch 1 in the corners, along the sides ss, ch 1 then tr3  and so on (see this tutorial by Lucy of Attic 24 for help if you need it.)

Please let me if these instructions make no sense, or if you notice an error, it happens!

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Border: When doing the first row of the pre-border edging you’ll find where you’ve JAYGOed two motifs together you have a lot of stitches along the edge each time when you come to where the corners of the motifs are joined (see photo above.) This is the solution that was passed on to me by Rachel, aka Mrs Pip: treble one stitch on the left hand side of the join, then treble two together – with a treble placed on each side of the JAYGO join – then make a final treble. This leaves only 3 stitches for the next round, but is wide enough to straddle the seam without being too tight. I enjoyed this round, it felt both interestingly different to crochet and pretty ingenious!

I did the final pre-border round in parchment, with a dc into each tr of the previous round and 3 in the centre stitch of each corner.

 Showing the back of the border

Border: #107 from Around the Corner Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman. It’s lovely and I really like the 3D effect that rounds 2 and 4 give from making dcs into the front loop only. It’s a thick border which goes particularly well with this heavy blanket.

I steam blocked the entire finished blanket, lying it on my foam mats on top of beach towels, blocking two thirds then the last third. Wear SHOES if you do the same, do not block scald your feet!

And now I’m crocheting a very small thing…

Bright Stripy Blanket….finished 

            

Bright Stripy Baby blanket 

Stylecraft Special DK: Lime Petrol Emperor Raspberry Silver Pale Rose

4mm hook

Starting chain: 148 + 3 (148 trebles)

Stitches: doubles, trebles, half trebles

Border: I made trebles into the space after 2 stitches on each side of the blanket, 1- 2 trebles in each row depending on the thickness of the stripe. The border is 6 rows in total: 2 of lime and 4 of petrol. (2 tr, 2 ch, 2 tr) in the corners

Dimensions: 38″ W  40″ L

Weight: 544g

As you see, I decided to crochet stripes of varying thickness including quite wide blocks of colour. It’s a purposely large baby blanket as his big sister’s Jewel blanket is still in good use even now she’s over two years. A little hanky sized one is too quickly grown out of, though I note with amusement that big sister has been covering the baby with the Catherine Wheel stitch doll’s blanket I made at the beginning of the year.  It very cute to see.

Tip: find the brightest spot, as you can probably tell it’s the top of the stairs today, and drop the finished blanket. This makes for a very natural looking photograph. With top tips like that perhaps I should be adding one of those slightly awkward ‘Buy me a cup of coffee’ PayPal gizmos?! Ha!

The last two ends 

   These are the last two ends to be darned and then the Bright Stripy Blanket is finished. It’s always a good feeling isn’t it? 

The expected girl turned out to be a boy, rather to the initial shock of my friend, so this is a fairly pink blanket. Rather than the planned lime border I’ve finished it in petrol; to emphasise the blue stripes.  

What are you up to at the moment?

Bright stripes

       I’m crocheting another stripy baby blanket for a friend, after seeing how much she’s still using the Baby Jewel Blanket for her soon to be two year old. I’ve spotted it in her photos while visiting to Australia, saw it in use in Leeds and a couple of weeks ago it was covering a sleeping toddler in Paris. That blanket is gathering air and train miles!  I can’t tell you how much its made me smile to see it being so well used. It also reassured me that my scant research on how big a baby blanket should be was worth it. To have any longer term use I decided there’s really no point giving a handkerchief sized square, which will only be good when they’re teeny tiny.

I didn’t want the new baby – due in June – to feel left out and so gathered up my balls of Stylecraft. My friend likes bright, is still all for colour equality and is very happy to have another striped blanket. I’m loving zipping along, doing a mixture of trebles, half trebles and the occasional row of double crochet.

My current audio books are Various Pets Alive and Dead by Marina Lewycka and The Life of Lee by Lee Evans.
What are you reading /listening to at the moment?
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Yorkshire cowl …ready & warm

As you know I bought this yarn during my visit to Holmfirth last Monday. I’ve had my eye on it for ages as I just love the colours, especially the aqua blue and turquoise. As I wrote this title, following a discussion about farming, wool and the great wealth which came from wool in Yorkshire during decades gone by, it occurs to me that if this were one of those ‘big blogs’ there might be uproar from the wool purists. My Yorkshire cowl is made from 100% acrylic. It’s named because I crocheted it during a week there, and it’s always going to remind me of walks by the sea and the coastal path. The Storyboards site gives some information about the paths. Yorkshire Cowl

I chained until I was happy with the width (I hung it around my neck as I crocheted!) and then joined the chain to form a ring, no sewing up required!

James C. Brett Marble Chunky Yarn Shade MC44

I used 175g of the 200g ball

Width (circumference) 36″

Height 11″

6mm hook

>Chain until width desired, join into a ring making sure the chain is not twisted

>Crochet rounds of trebles or doubles or half trebles (UK terms)

Turning chains should be 1 for DC, 2 for HTR, 3 for TR, 5 for DTR. The turning chain for DC does not count as a stitch, all others do.

All doubles, trebles and half trebles go into the back loop of the stitch which creates nice ridges to the fabric.

>Crossed double trebles add a bit of texture and interest to the cowl: Chain 5, *miss a stitch and DTR into the next TR, DTR into the skipped TR* repeat from * to * . Make a single DTR into the last stitch, join with a SS to the top of the chain 5 from the beginning of the round.

Next time I might make the cowl slightly smaller in width, I think maybe 32-34″ but this is really warm and you can fold the excess at the front and tuck it under the rest. These are to show some the scrummy colours in the yarn. Some people are good at selfies, some are not; especially when in windswept Derbyshire visiting Hardwick Hall.

I took the photo below from the ruins of Hardwick Old Hall looking across to the New Hall. It’s ‘new’ as in built in the 16th Century. If you can visit both I recommend it, especially to see the Elizabethan embroidery and tapestries in the New Hall.What are you making at the moment?

Homemade compliments

I’ve just read Sarah of Crafts from the Cwtch blog post about how her new knitted Colourblock Shawl has prompted compliments from strangers on the street. This reminded that when I wore my crocheted ribbed scarf to evening class on Tuesday I was complimented on the colours. It’s so gratifying to make something handmade and have it noticed. (For the right reasons!) Shop bought rarely gathers compliments; I guess the colours and designs can be too generic to stand out.
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If you want to crochet a ribbed scarf the pattern’s here. Or, you could dig out your knitting sticks and make Sarah’s cosy shawl.
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Currently I’m rippling away still, full speed ahead. The end is in sight, bar the darning and border. I have about 19 more stripes to crochet and I’m whizzing along to (don’t judge me) Glee: season 4. I gave up on Glee at the beginning of series 3 which was shown years ago here. It was so samey and they looked far, far too old to still be hanging around a High School music room! Series 4 was apparently broadcast two years ago, most of the originals have moved onwards and upwards which makes it fun seeing their next steps. It keeps me singing along as I fiercely hook, hook, hook on the sofa. To be honest I am absolutely dying to make some small fun makes, but I know I have to get the zesty raspberry ripple finished and then go back to the motif blanket. Both WILL be completed in time for Christmas.

What are you up to?

Brian – V Stitch Scarf / Cowl

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A couple of people have asked me what I’m crocheting at the moment. I should be concentrating on my motif blanket, and ripple, but I’m really enjoying simple crochet. I woke yesterday feeling really unwell and today don’t feel much better, and this is perfect. I watched my first Disney film, Tangled, in years yesterday afternoon. Maybe the first since the Little Mermaid? I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it, that’s a definite sign of my custard brain. The animation seems more like 3D than before, perhaps Disney have had to adapt their technology to keep up with Pixar type films? The characters, especially Rapunzel, looked just like Blythe dolls, all huge eyes and small faces.

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I had some good news – Lang have NOT stopped making Tosca Light it’s just that for some reason I couldn’t find it on their website. I’m so pleased. If you look under Autumn / Winter on their website you’ll see the range of colours. (I know…they should make me a Tosca Light ambassador.) Lang is a Swiss company in case you’re wondering, TL is made in Italy.

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I’ve been looking out for other types of v stitches in my Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches. I was lucky enough to find it in a charity shop for a song a few years ago. They call this one Three-and-Two Stitch, it’s descriptive but a bit dull…

I’ve run out of yarn as I had only one 100g ball left and my scarves tend to need 150-200g as I like them lonnnng. Time to find some more. If I won the lottery I’d just fill a room with it. Oh, why not a house actually?

I was really pleased to hear that Kate’s (Greedy for Colour) Mum; Mrs A in Australia (Rambling with me) is crocheting a V Stitch Scarf, using my last pattern which you can find HERE. The power of the internet eh – sharing what we’re making with others all over the world. I really love it. I should put pattern links on Ravelry. One day.

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I asked what I could call this scarf and had “Brian” as the answer. Well, why not? I did ask!

Brian v stitch scarf / cowl

5mm hook – if you’d like a lazy, looser type of fabric, but try a swatch and see what you feel. I tried with a 4mm hook and it was nice too, although quite a firm fabric with far less drape.

150-200g DK yarn depending on the length of scarf or cowl you prefer
Lang Tosca Light is 100g/400m a ball 55% new wool, 45% acrylic.

Width: 22cm / 8 5/8ths ”
I’m aiming for – Length: 80″ / 203cm
Will probably be – Weight: 150g -200g

V stitch = 1 tr, 1ch, 1tr (UK)V stitch: 1 treble, 1 chain, 1 treble into same space (UK terms)
ch = chain
tr = treble
v st = v stitch
ss = slip stitch
st = stitch
tch = turning chain
sp = space

Foundation Row: Ch 50
Or a multiple of 6 st + 2 to get the width you want
R1: (Right side) Work a v st into 5th ch from hook. *Miss 2ch, 3tr into next ch, miss 2ch, work a v st into next ch; rep from * to last 5ch, miss 2ch, 3tr into next ch, miss 1ch, 1tr into last ch, turn
R2: 3 ch, *miss 2sts, work 3tr into centre tr of next 3tr, work a v st into ch sp at centre of next v st; rep from * ending 1tr into top of tch, turn
R3: 3ch, *v st into sp of next v st, 3tr into centre tr of next 3tr; rep from * ending 1tr into top of tch, turn

Rep R2 and R3 until desired length. I’m aiming for about 80″/203cm.

If making a cowl join short ends together using ss; bearing in mind before you join the ends that there is a right and wrong side to the fabric. Finish off and darn ends.

~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve been meaning to say this for a few years(!) when I get to the turning chain of the previous row I always find it easier to use a 3mm hook to go into and make the last stitch, aiming for the same tension as the rest which I’ve made with a 4-5mm hook. That might be a useful tip if you’re new to crochet and have trouble seeing or feel like you’re forcing the hook through the top of the chain, it depends on your tension and eyesight probably!

Also, when crocheting in rows after I turn I’ve always taken the hook out of the stitch, rather than twisted the stitch. Do you? I’ve always wondered if that’s correct, me being pernickety or just silly?

Happy v stitching your Brian scarf / cowl!

V Stitch Scarf / Cowl

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I finished this last night, while watching Birdsong. It was such a fast make and if you’re thinking of crocheting a C———- gift for someone this would be perfect, particularly if you’re a last minute crafter.
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I prefer scarves because you can wear them lots of different ways, with a cowl it seems there’s really only tight or loose. You can easily crochet, or sew, the two short ends together before fastening off if you prefer a cowl.

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V Stitch Scarf / Cowl

Yarn: Lang Tosca Light DK
55% new wool
45% acrylic
1.5 x 100g ball, 400 m

Hook: 5mm (You want to crochet a fairly loose and lacy fabric)

Length: 80″ / 203cm
Width: 9″ / 23cm
Weight: 150g

V stitch: 1 treble, 1 chain, 1 treble into same space (UK terms)
ch = chain
tr = treble
v st = v stitch
ss = slip stitch
st = stitch

Foundation row: Chain 48
Scarf / cowl can be made narrower or wider by adjusting starting chain by 3 stitch multiples
R1: Tr into 4th ch, tr into each ch to the end, turn
R2: Ch 3, (counts as a tr at beginning of every every row) tr into each tr to end of row, turn
R3: Ch 3, v st into 3rd tr (skip 2 tr, v st into next tr) to last tr, 1 tr into 3 ch of the previous row
R4: Ch 3, (v st into each space of v st of previous row) across row, 1 tr into 3 ch of the previous row
R5: Ch 3, (1 tr into first st of v st, 1 tr into space of v stitch, 1 tr into 2nd tr of v st) across row, 1 tr into 3 ch of previous row
R6: Ch3, (1 tr into 2nd tr and every tr) across row, 1 tr into 3 ch of previous row

Repeat R3-6 until scarf / cowl is desired length. (If making a cowl join short ends together using ss; bearing in mind before you join the ends that there is a right and wrong side to the fabric.) Finish off and darn ends.

Try on and flounce about in front of mirror/your significant other.

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If you make one of these I’d love to see yours, please leave a link below or tag me on IG.

Huge granny square blanket – finished!

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Otherwise known as the Tilting Granny Squares blanket! Sounds ridiculous, I know, but I didn’t actually notice the tilty nature of the squares until I’d crocheted about six. This was probably due to the cider and chat as I crocheted lots of them in pubs with other crochet and knitty folk. I was momentarily tempted to undo, or worse – throw them away – but then decided just to go with it. The end result is strangely pleasing. We really like the tilting!

I Googled tilting granny squares and it seems it’s very common when you crochet many rounds, or make one of those blankets where they’re basically one huge granny square. Have a look online at granny square blanket pics and you’ll begin to notice it a lot. I did wonder about making a Pinterest ‘Tilting squares’ board as I went, but thought some people might not be very pleased to see their work! Now I wonder if you see a photo of a blanket heaped on a chair, never spread out, then it might be hiding it’s tilty nature! I’ve spotted tilting target square cushions too.

Tilting is thought to perhaps be down to tension. I reckon it’s more likely to just be the gentle drag of the hook as you repeatedly go in the same direction.  One way to avoid tilting is apparently to change direction on every round. I asked a crochet and knitting designer and she said hers tilt too and it’s ‘just one of those things.’ On a forum I read someone had suggested you embrace it and make a feature out of tilting squares, and that’s what I decided to do. At first I considered laying them out so they tilted in the same direction per row, order in disorder, but ignored the thought and concentrated on colour placement of the squares. I joined the squares listening to the final chapters of this bookaudio book cover. I was addicted to the story, completely engrossed.

I wanted to use up all my odd balls of Stylecraft Special DK and I really didn’t ever intend to keep the blanket. I ordered the multi-coloured SS DK packs when I was new to crochet, now I want to choose my own combinations. I’d planned to give this stash busting blanket away, or maybe try to sell it. But with the tilting factor it’s so quirky and fun that it’s here to stay. Last night I felt chilly curled up on the sofa, so it’s been christened already.

Details:

Blanket weighs: 1.362 kg

Measurements: 70″ long, 52″ wide (single bed size, or to wrap self in on the sofa!)

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK

Hook size: 4mm

Granny square:

There are many similar patterns but here’s the version I like to use:

FR: Ch 5, join with a ss

R1: Ch 3 (= 1 tr) 2 tr, 3 ch, 3tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 3 ch around, join with a ss into 3rd st of ch 3.

R2: Ch 4 (=1 tr, 1 ch) then in next chain space work  3 tr, 1 ch, work (3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr) in corner, repeat around and then 3 tr, 3ch, 2 tr and join with a ss into 3rd st of initial ch 3.

R3: Ch 3 (=1 tr) then into same space work 2 tr, 1 ch, repeat along edge chain spaces, (3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr) into corner spaces. Join with a ss into 3rd st of initial ch 3.

Repeat R3 until you have 20 rounds in total.

Make a dozen 20 round squares, then join as you go using one colour to frame the squares. I think it looks ‘bare’ without a border.

My border: 6 rows of cream trebles (3 tr, 1 ch around with 3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr at the corners.)

R7: 1 row of DC in cream (3 dc into the corner chain spaces)

R8: 1 row of DC in pomegranate (3 dc into the corner chain spaces)

R9: Dinky pointy edge: * 1 ss into each of next 3 dc, then in next dc (1 dc, 2 ch, 1 dc) * Repeat from * to * around.

Snuggle.

Sewing & crochet: needle roll

I’ll admit that I’m feeling pretty pleased about my latest make. I wanted to try the merino that DMC Creative World recently sent me to try after my cheeky request. It’s definitely a nice yarn to crochet, the colours are delicious too. I’d say that although it’s labelled as DK weight it’s more of a baby cashmerino thickness; slightly thinner than other double knit yarns, but that wasn’t an issue.

It’s the first time, I can think of, that I’ve combined machine and hand sewing with crochet. It’s been fun to use several different skills on one item.
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I really like incorporating ribbon into things at the mo. What can I make next with some?
I changed the browny pinky ribbon back to the Mollie Makes chevron ribbon by the way, it just coordinated better I decided on the drawstring bag. (Just in case anyone was awake fretting about it. Tee hee.)
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This challenged my mathematical brain, which is the size of a peanut, as I worked out how large the separate pieces needed to be. The success is part luck and part crossing my fingers and toes.
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I gave the roll a good shake just to see if all the needle tips would fall out, but only the shiny metal Nova tips slipped out. So that’s fine.
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All the lovely sunny days have brought the tulips to the brink of opening. They are so close. The yellow tulips are last year’s pot and look like they’ll be just as pretty. I do love my seasonal pots which are a pretty sight at the front door.

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Thank you very much for all your likes and lovely comments about my sewing on my last post, they really made my day. It’s such basic stuff (especially after watching about Great British Sewing Bee last night – I get sweaty hands just watching them do the most incredibly tricky tasks in a short time!) and I’m grateful for your encouragement.

My flower brooches in Simply Crochet!

I came home late last night from London frozen to the bone after a three hour Jack the Ripper tour in the East End, a long wait for the bus then a frozen car windscreen which I needed to de-ice. My feet felt like two big ice cubes! But there in a prominent place propped up on the stairs was my new issue (16) of Simply Crochet. All thoughts of feeling cold vanished!
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In January I was contacted by Tanya, the Commissioning Editor and asked if I would design a brooch for a Springtime feature in Simply Crochet. You can imagine my surprise and pleasure at being asked, especially as I’ve bought the magazine since it began. I was sent these lovely balls of cotton and given completely free rein to design whatever kind of brooch I fancied.
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I really enjoyed sitting here in The Little Room playing with different stitches and colour combinations, it was a great way to banish any post-Christmas January blues.
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I came up with a curly twirly flower brooch to pin on a bag, to add a bit of pretty.
20140302-145729.jpgThey work well if you pin the petals out (dry) for a little while, as you release them they ping up and curl delightfully around. Alternatively you can block them and leave them flatter as the magazine have done.

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As this would be my first ever published pattern (I’m beaming as I still can’t believe it, I’m sooo happy about this unexpected event) I was a bit nervous that it would be gobbledegook and asked Kate of Greedy for Colour to check it. The rush of having someone else, particularly such a crochet clever clogs, test your pattern and come back with a gorgeous version of their own (2 lots of delicate light pink petals on the top,  a white set at the bottom and a pale primrose middle) and 100% positive feedback was immense.

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I had thought I probably shouldn’t show what I designed until the magazine is in the shops or online but today see that others have shown photos and are talking on social media about the feature, so gave myself the go-ahead! It’s way too exciting not to!

20140302-145820.jpgOoh on the front cover of the supplement!!!!!!!!!

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Lovely styling. That’s MY crochet, crocheted here in this Little Room in my house! Wooooooo! Boom! (As Claudia says on GBSB.) The opposite page has the brooch pattern, a few other photos and bit about my crochet, thoughts on blogging and inspiration.

I was in stunningly good company as most of the other blogger designers are those I’ve followed for a few years. But you’ll have to buy the mag to see who they are, as I’m not spoiling any more surprises. Well, except one! I have to, I just do…

I met this blogger last Christmas, just over a year ago, as she was visiting England from the USA. We talked and talked, a coffee turned into a day of wandering, lunch and sight seeing. We discussed yarn, crochet, craft shops, blogging and our fave bloggers. I never expected us both to be featured in this top, top crochet maazine together! (I’m allowed to sprinkle !!!! liberally in this post. It’s my 15 seconds of crochet fame after all.)

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It’s the lovely Hannah from Not Your Average Crochet. I’m so making this Springtime hat pincushion.
20140302-145904.jpgNow I’m off for a refreshing glass of wine!

Happy weekend all.

Simply Crochet (16)

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Next week, if you get a copy of Simply Crochet, you’ll see what I was doing with these beautiful cottons in January. It’s been hard not to mention anything – it goes against my nature not to talk about exciting things!

Knitted cactus pin cushion

Inspired by a cactus pin cushion I spied in a craft shop in the Summer I decided to have a try at making my own version after my table got a bit scratched by my new pins the other week. They’re too long for my 20131111-102229.jpgpin cushion which I reckon would be termed ‘vintage’ now as the material dates from the 1970s. I’m wondering if these are really millinery pins?

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I glued a circle of felt to the bottom of the flowerpot so it wouldn’t scratch the table. I bought a new terracotta pot although you’d never know with all the glue marks I’ve left. At least I didn’t superglue my fingers together, though I did ruin the trousers I was wearing due to glue blobbage as it set firm in a plastic disc. Oops.

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There’s a lump of polystyrene at the bottom of the flowerpot, then some toy stuffing so the cactus sits at the right height. Next time I might try using rice or similar just because of the huge mess the polystyrene made (see photo on my Facebook page…) when I tried to saw a chunk from a piece I’ve been hoarding.

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How to knit a cactus

I used Stylecraft Special DK Meadow Green, with 4 mm needles.

Cast on 30 stitches for the main body of the cactus
Rows 1 & 2: Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch (that’s 1 row in knit stitch, the next row in purl stitch)
Row 3: Knit a row of garter stitch (that’s all knit stitch)
Repeat these 3 rows until you have a nice tube – check this by keeping the knitting on your needle and folding the rectangle in half until it’s the diameter you’re happy with.
Don’t cast off, just cut the thread leaving a length to thread a needle and gather up all 30 stitches tightly, fasten off securely and darn in the ends. That’s the top of your cactus.

Cast on 15 stitches for the ‘arm’ of the cactus (I probably need to look up cactus terminology?!)
Repeat the 3 row pattern, as for the body, until you’re happy with the tube you’ve made. As above, gather up the stitches and secure.

Crochet some earth!

FR: Chain 6, slip stitch into a circle.
R1: Treble 6-8 into the circle (depending on your tension)
R2: Chain 2, then DC into each treble of the previous round
R3: Chain 2, then DC into each DC of the previous round, increasing into every other stitch
R4: Chain 2, then DC into each DC of the previous round, increasing into every third stitch

Continue rows in the same way increasing into every fourth, then fifth, sixth stitch etc until the circle fits nicely into your pot.

Sew the arm onto the body of the cactus and then sew the cactus onto the earth circle (sounds New Age?!) Use superglue with care, sticking the sides of the earth circle to the pot.

Stab the cactus with an assortment of pins and darning needles until it’s suitably spiky.

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Here it is in use last night as I began preparing to sew a Cath Kidson pattern – a large tote bag.
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It’s an anniversary today – 2 years of The Little Room of Rachell. How time flies! When I look back I’m amazed at how much I’ve made, with lots of learning curves. I really didn’t think I’d still be blogging beyond learning to crochet, which was my goal for the New Year of 2012, but it’s been fun making crafty connections with others and sharing what I’m up to online diary style. So I carried on day by day, week by week without a plan. I just looked at my stats and this is my 305th post! Admittedly I’m rarely short of something to say, both here and in real life! Thank you for reading, especially if you’re part of the little band of followers who’ve been here since the beginning. And thank you for leaving so many great comments (2,374!) I always really appreciate it when you stop to type your thoughts, or respond positively to a post. As many of you know I often reply with an email, it’s been fab batting chatty messages back and forth.

The blog’s definitely evolved and is not solely crochet focused anymore. This year I’ve been dabbling in all sorts of crafts, although crochet is still a big part of how I spend my spare time. I joined a knitting group in the Autumn and find it far easier to crochet while I chat and get to know the group. I don’t have to look at what I’m doing all the time, and I always take something simple like the huge Granny Squares so there’s no counting or complicated pattern to follow. Several of the group are also both crocheters and knitters which is cool.  I have to say that it’s nice to watch someone else also wave a hook and a glass of wine around!

Have a fun New Year’s Eve! Enjoy reflecting on the past year and looking ahead with crafty resolutions, learning goals or just anticipating lots of creative fun to come in 2014. :-D xxxx

Knitted slouchy beanie

During the last couple of evenings i’ve been knitting a beanie
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I used this basic beanie knitting guide from Kirsten but have adapted it by making a slouchy beanie and you can see that I’ve ribbed my hat brim. Next time I’d do a double rib of k2, p2 for an even stretchier brim.

I’ve used up the rest of the marble chunky, that you’ll recognise from other makes, with 40cm long 6mm circular needles. It’s a fast way to knit a hat. Of course you can also use straight needles and sew a seam.
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Basic slouchy beanie pattern

::Cast on 80 stitches
::Rib (k1,p1) until the band is as thick as you like
::Stocking stitch around (actually on circular needles you just knit every round and the SS stitch magically appears. I love that!)
::Keep knitting until the hole appears well above you head. If you want a regular beanie then stop when it’s just past the top of your head
::Knit 8, knit 2 tog around. Repeat for the round.
::Knit the next round
::Knit 7, knit 2 tog around. Repeat for the round
::Knit the next round
::Knit 6, knit 2 tog around. Repeat for the round
::Knit the next round
::And so on until you have 16 stitches left. You could change to DPNs or use the magic loop method with circulars like I did when the going gets tough because of too few stitches
::Knit 2 tog, repeat for the round (8 stitches left)
:: Knit 2 tog, repeat for the round (4 stitches left)
::Cut the yarn, run the tail through the remaining four loops using a darning needle, darn in the ends. Make hot chocolate with marshmallows and drink while wearing your beanie.

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Grandma’s knitted washcloth/dishcloth pattern

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There are lots of patterns for this type of cloth but after testing a few I decided they come out too small. I’m lazy so when I wash my face I want to soak the cloth, hold it in both hands have a quick scrub and done!

I’ve edged it in crochet in other versions I’ve made, but this is just cast off at the end with no frills.

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Here’s my take on the basic pattern with the initial stitch count increased:

Grandmother’s washcloth/dishcloth pattern

Yarn over: easy as easy can be although it sounds tricky. All you do is bring the yarn to the front as if you’re going to purl the next stitch – but don’t – knit the next stitch. You’ll see you have an extra loop over the needle, you will knit it on the next row.

Cast on 6 stitches
R1: knit 6
R2: knit 2, yarn over (yo) knit the rest of the row
Repeat R2 until 66 stitches on the needle
R3: knit 1, knit 2 tog, yo, knit 2 tog, knit to the end of the row
Repeat R3 until 6 stitches on the needle
Cast off or first double crochet (USA single) around the edge, you can make a chain loop in one corner if you want to hang it up.

20131102-091307.jpg It’s squarish at 25x26cm but it’s probably pointless blocking a washcloth.

I knit the cloth with 4mm needles. The yarn I used is lovely, being soft and not at all splitty, it’s the inexpensive King Cole Bamboo Cotton, shade 693. It can be washed at 30 deg, don’t tumble dry.

You can thread a pretty ribbon through all the holes, place a small bar of scented soap in the middle of the cloth, draw up and tie the ribbon in a bow. This could be a sweet little gift (I think I’d like chocolate in mine!)

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I did play around with this pattern and carried on R2 until I had a triangular scarf (see it in progress here) but ended up unravelling it to 66 stitches as I knew it was probably something I wouldn’t wear. If you think you would this is a dead simple way to knit a triangular scarf.

I’m slowly crocheting a few rows of the hot pink scarf each day, and have just started to crochet a cabled yoke cardigan for a friend’s baby. What are you making at the moment?

Thank you for all your good wishes on my Inside Crochet adventure :-) Happy weekend everyone!

Ribbed scarf

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I’ve enjoyed picking this crochet up at odd times and doing a (long) row accompanied by my audio book, or listening to Aggers and Vaughan gently mocking Henry’s threads of the day, the beery state – or not – of the watching fans and waiting to see if Mrs Aggers has been up on the roof again lately. Anything they say, apart from the actual cricket, is fascinating and strangely soothing. I admit to doing an air punch when we won last weekend. I even might have had a teary eye in fact, but I’ll cry at anything.

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I’m so pleased with the yarn. I picked it on a spur of the moment – dashing away from the till while the shop assistant totted the total on the back of an old envelope, like they do there. It was reduced to half price-ish and seemed refreshingly different to my yarn choices so far.

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Crochet rib is cunning isn’t it? Just like its knitted sister it’s springy and creates a thick cosy type of fabric, just perfect for a scarf. I really liked the ribbed square that we crocheted for the 200 crochet blocks CAL earlier in the year. I’m going to keep experimenting with different variations.

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Do you want to make one too?

Ribbed Scarf

2 x 100g balls of King Cole ‘Wicked’ (shade – 728 – Dye lot – 67886) or any DK yarn

4mm hook

Scarf width 5 1/2″ – length 77″

The scarf is worked horizontally so I loosely chained approx 371 stitches to make the length I wanted. Periodically I stopped and draped the chain around my neck. I prefer long scarves that I can wrap around my neck once or twice but obviously you can make yours shorter by making fewer chains.

Foundation row: Half-treble (UK) into the 2nd chn from the hook. HTR into each chn to the end. Turn. (Sip a G&T – it’s been a fiddly job.)

Row 1: Ch 2, HTR into the back loop of each HTR from the previous round to the end of the row.

Row 2+: Repeat row 1 until the scarf is the desired width. (Or in my case until you run out of yarn!)

+++ If you HTR into the back loop the rib looks the same on both sides. You can also alternate rows: making a HTR into the front loop on row 1, then making a HTR into the BL on row 2. Repeat these two rows if you want ribbing on just one side.

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Take it easy and crochet this in shortish bursts as it takes a while to do a whole row. I found it left my elbow a bit wincey if I did too many HTR at one sitting. If your hands are getting tired then stop and give them a good wiggle. Be prepared to be mocked though – I was standing over the sink (for some reason) “Why? Why are you practicing starfish shapes with your hands? Is it for casting spells at the witch Olympics?”
They just don’t get it, do they? So silly, just so silly.

Baby Jewel Blanket – FINISHED!

I started this (mostly) Jewel Baby Blanket straight after Christmas for a baby who was due to be born in the middle of this week. As the Mum-to-be was at a wedding yesterday, dancing and scoffing wedding cake, I’d say there’s probably no new-born baby yet!

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It took a while to complete this because I got a bit bored with darning the ends. I’m wondering if next time I could carry the yarn up the side and continue using them with no cutting, then crochet in the ‘floats’ when I do the border? I’ve learnt that with some projects it’s pointless resolving to darn-as-you-go; it’s not going to happen as you enjoy picking the next colour and zipping along the rows with a smoking hot hook.IMG_2324

Details:

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK

1. Meadow

2. Plum

3. Sherbert

4. Pomegranate

5. Aster

6. Lipstick

7. Turquoise

Hook: 4mm

Stitches: trebles, half trebles, doubles (UK)

Pattern/Design: My own

Length: 37″ Width: 33″

Weight: 448g

IMG_2331I’m not entirely convinced about the side edges. As there was a mix of stitches adding the htr around the first stitches for the FR of the border left some gaps. I think this was where the first stitch was a turning chain on treble rows. After a bit of consultation I went into the space after the second stitch. It adds a rather rustic look to the sides whereas the top and bottom (see the edge on the right in the above photo) are very much neater. I like the 2 tr, 2ch, 2 tr holey corners, that’s the look of a proper crocheted blanket!IMG_2343

Overall I’m pleased with this blanket; the colours are bright as I aimed to avoid the pastel-yuck palate that is used for so many baby items. The turquoise border seems to bring it all together. I’m going to have a think about alternative ways to deal with the initial row of a border going down the side edges of a multi-stitch blanket. I know some published crochet and knitting designers follow this blog – so if you have any advice it is welcome. :-)

As you see we now have sunshine! Hurray! Have a good Sunday, wherever you are in the world. (CAL post to follow, umm errr when I’ve crocheted this week’s blocks.)

Jewel baby blanket

I started this after Christmas. The plan after making four full-sized blankets was to have a lonnnng blanket-making holiday. But you probably know better than me how it happens; you look at the amount of yarn you’ve managed to accrue over a year, someone you know announces she’s preggers and you’re off!

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It’s my own design. I’m doing a random mix of rows of trebles, half trebles and double crochet (sometimes single rows, sometimes more.) Mostly I’m turning at the end of rows, sometimes I don’t as I like the variety of textures and height of stitches this gives. It will have a border around it. There’s no huge hurry to complete this as the baby’s not due for a few more months.

The Mum-to-be doesn’t know if the baby is a boy or girl but is quite rightly in my opinion “all for colour equality” so there’s my favourite Stylecraft Special DK pomegranate in the mix. I’ve used a few yarns which aren’t jewel colours (meadow and sherbert) and love the combination. :-D

What are you making at the moment? Did you get sucked into a project when you’d planned another?

Playing with new stitches

S: “It’s a fine example of skill, I’m just not sure it’s a fine example of scarf”

M: “That’s really different, I like it! The green is lovely”

R: “But is it a bit court jester?”

M: “No!”

S: “A bit”

Court jester and lack of style aside, this is actually not the softest scarf you would want against your face, especially when it’s mostly double crochet as it makes a dense fabric. It feels slightly scratchy. Stylecraft works well for blankets, hats and probably gloves too but perhaps not scarves? (Shame as I have another Stylecraft scarf on the go, but it’s not a dc heavy pattern so might be ok.) I need a gorgeously soft merino type wool to make another version of this bobble scarf. I’ve written down what I did so that’s not a problem, but the purse jangling with coppers might hold the making back a while.

In the meantime I made a cover for my iphone yesterday, using my new found knowledge of spike stitch. It’s my own pattern, which means that it might be a bit dodgy, but for me it’s very early days of designing my own things and you have to start somewhere. Let me know if you try it and if you find a glitch.

Gadget cover

(DC Spike stitch: put the hook into the row below the next dc, yo and pull through, yo and pull through the two loops on the hook. Easy!)

>Chain 13
>Dc into the 2nd ch from the hook and to the end of the chain. (12 dc)
>Ch1 then dc into each dc – repeat this row three times
>Change colour (I didn’t cut off the yarn, I just carried it up the side and picked up the colour as I figured the strands carried up the side wouldn’t show when it was made, and they don’t, so there wouldn’t be huge lots of darning) and work alternating spike stitch then a dc along the row
>Dc into each st of the previous row – repeat this row three times
>Change colour and do another row of spikes, I alternated mine so they are staggered with the previous row’s spikes but you could do them above the others
Carry on the pattern until the strip is long enough to fold over your gadget, I did 14 stripes
>SS across one top edge to make it a bit thicker then dc the sides together with the ws together (I like the dcs on the outside, but you could sew yours up inside out or, or dc it rs together if you don’t want to see them)
>Turn the cover inside out, cut the wool to leave a long tail to use to dc the other sides together, thread a needle and weave the end through stitches at the bottom of the cover
>Turn it back the right side out and dc the other two edges together
>SS along the other top edge, fasten off and darn the ends in.

Finito!

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What are you making this weekend? Crochet, sewing, knitting, cooking etc etc? I love to know as I’m basically a very nosy person.

The End

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A hot water bottle cover for Vikki, as requested.

Saturday morning: Bake 2 Devil’s Food cakes

Saturday afternoon: Darn the ends in (lots of them!) and crochet the two HWBC pieces together. Find buttons. Arghh! I have mainly white, black and navy from old shirts etc. Nothing funky or bright. Use little transparent flower shaped Mollie Makes giveaway buttons. Write ‘buttons’ on my Christmas wishlist.

Saturday evening: Drop off the cover (plus the hot water bottle I’d borrowed from Vikki last weekend, so it fit perfectly) at the stage door of a West End Theatre in London making my best ‘It’s a VERY cool thing in a jiffy bag actually’ face. Three minutes later get a call from V saying thank you, she loves it. Phew! Very bright stripes may not be for everyone so I’m relieved.

Run to the tube with S. to meet friends and go to the Hammersmith Apollo for a charity comedy gig for tigers with ZSL .

That was a very good day. :-D


Posted on Facebook this morning with the caption “So, Rachel crocheted me this yummy water bottle cover, and it was immediately stolen by the cat. Predictable.”


If you want to check out V’s blog I recommend it. It’s a mix of writing and craft. Not the usual ‘everyone’s making X and so I am too’ stuff, most are unique creations. It’s cool. Very cool. Well, what do you expect from someone who works on one of the hottest London shows doing pyrotechnics and stuff?

Prachi’s bag

Backdated crochet post for good reason, it was a surprise for Prachi:

In the first week of July, or so, I made this little crocheted bag using Planet Penny cotton because I have a contact, Prachi, who is a trainee lawyer. She had recently moved to a remote, tribal district in Gujarat, India as part of a new job. The place she moved to lacks basic facilities (apparently running water is a luxury) and it’s very different from the city life to which she is used. Prachi had found a small, cosy place in which to live but was feeling very lonely. She was trying to make her new accommodation a home and really likes handmade items; and so I offered to crochet something of her choice.

After having a look at some of my crochet here she asked for a bag with a few specific requests:

::Could it be ‘holey look’ crochet

::A bag about the size of a kindle would be perfect

::Something she could sling across her on walks

::A bag to carry her wallet, mobile phone and keys (so not too holey then, I thought!)

::A bright stripey bag

I looked around at patterns but none were quite what she described. I decided to make my own design. My first ever off-the-cuff crocheted item. It’s pretty basic and was easy as anything to make in a granny stripe of clusters of trebles (I’ve really come on with this crochet lark I realise, I’ve definitely got the basics now!) but it’s still my work.

Here it is:

I toyed with the idea of lining it, but frankly I’m so unconfident about that kind of sewing that I decided it would be ok without. It’s sturdy and doesn’t have that much ‘give’ being cotton and is a fairly dense material as I used a 3.5 hook, so should be ok and not saggy.

To make the (very pink!) strap I made a lengthy chain, then double crocheted back along the row – very, very fiddly stuff. For strength I crocheted one end of the strap to the bag, then double crocheted all along the strap again until it could be crocheted to the other end.I have some nice buttons in my collection but decided that it might spoil the look of the front and the flap’s heavy enough to stay flapped over. A button can always be added. I’m happy to post a little chain for the loop.

But here’s the thing: I posted this on 9th July. I’ve waited and waited to hear from Prachi and just know she’d be super fast in getting in touch to say she’s received it. There’s maybe still time for it to arrive I guess. I’ll be sooo disappointed if it never turns up in India and am beginning to feel it might not, so have written this blog post so at least Prachi can see her bag, know she was thought of and the promise was promptly kept.

Fingers crossed it arrives please! :-D