Paused 

Another washcloth finished. Yep, it’s the lettuce coloured one. A good stretch of ends have been darned on my Wave Blanket and I’m working on a second rectangle for a pink pot holder. 

If you want to make one: ch 32, ch 1  then into 2nd ch on the hook *1 dc, 2 tr into 1 ch then miss 2 ch, repeat * to the last 3 stitches, miss 2, 1 dc into the last ch, ch 1 and turn. And so on. My first rectangle measures 6” x 6 3/4”.  Dc both pieces tog, ch 2/3 at the corners, work 20 ch for a hanging loop in one corner.

My friend and her partner have bought a small narrowboat for weekends away. Being creative and quirky she fancies making curtains out of scarves, so after lunch on Saturday we went searching in a charity shop and found some really pretty silky scarves. She’s going to chop up and hem them to hang above the windows. They’ll give some privacy but will still let the light in. The overall look she’s going for on the boat is crafty with splashes of colour.  I enjoyed hearing about the Mexican tiles in different shades of blue behind the little black wood burning stove and her plans for a pretty porcelain basin in the bathroom. Looking for scarves was the kind of treasure hunt I enjoy. I’m going to make a few things for them and thought a pot holder would be useful for picking the kettle up. I use my grey one every day, they’re so good when you have hot pan handles. 

I’ve got really stuck into the audio version of A Year of Marvellous Ways and returned the printed book to the library. The author’s narration is spot on; I believe she’s an actress, which makes sense of her skill at accents and well paced delivery. In my experience most authors are dreadful at narrating their own books, but this one is a joy to hear.  

I finished The Ballroom by Anna Hope, and felt it could have been great but it fell short. By the end it felt like something was lacking; either satisfactory character development or a proper end to Ella’s story, I’m not quite sure what.

And now I’ve got this motley selection of books to choose from…

What are you reading and making? Have you also got a pile of books by your bedside? And, tell me what you’re eating for lunch at the moment! I made this soup yesterday (with a red pepper as I’d run out of carrots.) It’s good.


If you’d like to share what you’re making and reading every Wednesday too, leave a link to your post in the comments. Don’t forget to link back to this post on your blog, and use #yarningalong on social media, so others can find us and join us in Yarning Along.

Yarning Along

This week I’ve knit some more of my garter stitch blanket and darned a few more ends of my Wave Blanket (not many, it’s a poor show I admit.) But since I’ve shown both of these many times I’ll refrain today. The baby was born on Friday so now I can tell you what I’ve been calling the wavey one for months now: it’s Winnie’s Wave Blanket. The new parents were so thoughtful to chose that name, weren’t they? It goes so well with her blanket. I always like a bit of alliteration.

My little pile of washcloths is slowly growing. I’ll do four and then might pause for a bit. I can’t wait to start a new crochet whatever, but need to just have the garter stitch blanket on the go. I dislike having multiple things semi-made; it muddles my head. So, get on and darn Rachel!

The Ballroom by Anna Hope looks like a lightweight historical novel doesn’t it? It’s not. I’m finding it grim and upsetting, but so well written I know I cannot leave it unfinished.

I picked up A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman from the library the other day, as I’ve had the audio version for yonks now and thought it would be fun to listen to a chapter and read a chapter. I know you can buy both the audio and ebook which automatically sync, but there’s no way I’m buying two different versions of the same book! I love my local library.

If you’d like to share what you’re making and reading every Wednesday too, leave a link to your post in the comments. Don’t forget to link back to this post on your blog, and use #yarningalong on social media, so others can find us and join us in Yarning Along.

This is what happens when…

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two little girls rush to you before Sunday lunch saying “Aunty Rachel you really need to give us flannels again, our Princess ones are all holey now.”

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You happily lead them upstairs where you have a stash of homemade knitted and crocheted washcloths, far superior to Disney Princess flannels really.
The only problem is that the eldest is very fast thinking, especially when there’s choosing competition, and selects the pinkiest and largest washcloth available. The younger one knows her mind and won’t be swayed, although yellow was the top top fave colour a few years ago, it’s now definitely pinky purple combos which catch the eye. It also needs to be of equal size and dimensions to the other, a smaller one for a “cutie patootie little face” is not going to cut the mustard.

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Cottoning on

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A few weeks ago Natasja of CrocheTime blog asked me if I would like to do a review of yarn she sells in her Etsy shop. I’m always happy to play with yarn, especially one I’ve never used before so was just happy for Natasja to send me a selection of whatever she wanted me to try. When she told me it was Vinnis Colours Nikkim cotton, and sent me a link,  I changed my mind quickly – the colours are so delicious! This is my selection.
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Cloud Blue

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Fern
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Plum
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Red Violet
This was one I took to my knitting group one week, it was admired and fondled rather a lot!

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Information on the ball band: “This yarn is hand dyed and balled by women from an economically depressed rural area of South Africa. The scale of this product has empowered them and brought economic benefits to their community. Hand dyed yarn gives your garment a unique marbelled effect. Colourfast. Made in South Africa.”
The knit group nodded and agreed that yes, it has been hand dyed as you can see the variation in colour. Finally I could carry on knitting, but wondered if the ball might be best put into a bag at my feet as I worked – just to avoid distraction!

It’s DK weight cotton, comes in 50g / 119m balls. The recommended needles are 3.25mm-4mm and hook size is 4mm.
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Natasja said she’d noticed that my blog has gone to the dark side lately (! *mhah haha ha!* !) and wondered if I would knit something to test how well the cotton works with needles.
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I really like making practical knits so decided to try out a few different stitches and knit some washcloths. I’ll include my patterns in case you fancy taking up the knitty sticks and practising the dark art of knitting too!
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Moss Stitch Washcloth

24cmx24cm / 9.5″ x 9.5″
I’m pretty sure I used 4.5mm needles for all three cloths as I was using my 4mm set for my lace knit scarf. Either is fine as tension is definitely not critical for a washcloth. It’s such thick cotton that you could even use a 5mm needle (or hook.)
:: Cast on an odd no. of stitches. I cast on 49
::R1-4 Knit
::R5 –: K4 at the beginning and end of row, K1, *P1, K1, repeat from *
Repeat this row until the washcloth is 23cm / 9″” then K4 rows. Cast off and darn ends.

I’ve always really liked moss stitch – it’s got such a cute nubbly look and makes a nice textured washcloth.

The cotton is beautifully soft to touch, the colours please and there was not a single knotted piece in any of the balls. There is one issue however, it can be very splitty. This was particularly frustrating with the first ball I tried (fern.) There is very light twist to the cotton which means that you sometimes have 7 little strands lying over your needle, rather than one. Undo a row and you’re really in trouble because you’ve loosened the twist even more.

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A smaller version of the above, I cast on 39 stitches for this one. This washcloth measures 20cm x 20cm / 8″ x 8″.

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OOoh my favourite stitch, but do not try this pattern when you’ve had a G&T as it’s a bit tricky and you have to concentrate on some rows. I realised I had knitted a row, then undone it a few times and couldn’t work out the problem until I realised I’d just had my Friday early evening drink!

Vinnis cotton gives good drape; the knitted material has lots of movement giving a good flow. Obviously this isn’t important for the items I’ve made but I reckon it could be a very good yarn for cotton garments. Just be sure to do a tension swatch and check your gauge before you begin.

Basketweave washcloth

23cm x 23cm / 9″ x9″

::Cast on a multiple of 8 stitches plus 5 extra. I cast on 48 + 5 = 53 stitches in total

::R1 (RS) Knit

::R2 *K5, P3, repeat from * to last 5 stitches, K5

::R3 P5 *K3, P5, repeat from * to end

::R4 As R2

::R5 Knit

::R6 K1, P3, K1 *K4, P3, K1, repeat from * to end

::R7 *P1, K3, P4, repeat from * to last 5 stitches, P1, K3, P1

::R8 As R6.

Repeat R1-8 until square or the desired length. I cast off all but the last stitch, whipped up a 3.5mm hook and double crocheted all around the cloth. By this time I was yippeeing after all the knitting!

This stitch would make a super scarf in a chunky yarn on big needles, I can just imagine it. I enjoyed looking through my stitch bible for something new and this was a good find. Just don’t tipple while you do the latter rows because you’ll probably come a cropper like me.
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I really wanted to try crocheting the cotton and wondered if the splittyness would be better. It is, but you still have to keep your eye on the yarn as the hook can get tangled up, or you miss strands, resulting in rogue loops. I used my thicker Clover Amour 4mm hook (rather than my slightly thinnner 4mm metal hook) and thought it produced a lovely chunky material. Cara Medus’s potholder pattern caught my eye in issue 15 of Simply Crochet so I gave it a whirl.
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Vinnis cotton is good for something like a potholder when a double layer of fabric produces a very good thickness. I’m pleased with this make and it’s going to be in use tonight when I toss pancakes! Happy Shrove Tuesday all.
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I was already feeling a bit guilty for straying from my knitting brief but an old proverb came to mind ‘might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb.’ Excellent! In that case I was going ahead and making Hannah’s (Not Your Average Crochet blog) sweet Springtime hat pincushion from the lastest issue (16) of Simply Crochet. (Available in the UK this Thursday.)
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The flowers are in King Cole bamboo variegated cotton, I made my own leaf as I wanted a nice juicy looking one.
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I sewed on the leaf and flowers and darned all ends before filling the hat with stuffing.
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I just filled it with toy stuffing. I figured if my sewing’s going badly and I stab the pincushion violently I won’t be breaking the pins on coins or weights at the bottom!
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If you’re keen to try some Vinnis cotton you can buy some from Natasja’s  Etsy CrocheTime shop, she will give a 10% discount to the first ten people to order using the following code: LITTLEROOM.

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Helloooo to my new readers following Simply Crochet’s Edits magazine. It’s very nice to have you here. I’m loving seeing people’s curly twirly flower brooches appear, the first photo I was sent was from mrspip (the link should take you to her FB page.) It’s lovely.

Small make medicine & The Great British Sewing Bee

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Feeling like a quick crochet make would refresh and revitalise, after hiccups with a bigger project, I decided to start a little something. It’s so satisfying a way to banish the crafty blues; starting and finishing an item in a few hours.

On another tack, did you watch The Great British Sewing Bee last night? I’m loving it. Absolutely enthralled. It’s so good to have a crafty series on peak time tv, twitter and Facebook were buzzing about the episode until late last night. My friend and I were chatting about our faves well into the early hours. This usually turns out to be my reading time, despite knowing I should sleep I end up reading just one more chapter.
Another, replying to my “OMG wish I could alleviate clothes woes by whipping up a top for a do hours before!” (like GBSB contestant Heather) gave a lovely compliment: ‘I think if you turned your crafty skills and energy towards sewing you’d soon be able to do just that :-)’ It’s just starting isn’t it? I need to find an easy pattern to make an item of clothing, my first since a couple of pencil skirts at school!

Knitting idiocy, darning idiocy & a bowl of coconut porridge

20140209-195937.jpg I can’t quite believe I blithely said that I would cast on, and take this lace pattern to a new knit group a friend and I visited last week. What was I thinking?! Especially as I’ve said here that I’ve always taken crochet or something easy to knit while I chat and drink. So, I cast on the 70 odd stitches, knitted 3 lines chanting k2tog, yo, ssk, psso etc and realised I’m just going to either knit a cobweb, or seem like an total oddball. I grabbed the rest of a ball of bamboo cotton, my little notebook and knit another waffle knit cloth. I still had to concentrate but it was far easier than doing the lace pattern chant and appearing really antisocial.

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For my usual knit group later in the week I took some Not so soothing (after all) granny squares  and sat darning the ends in for the whole evening, until my eyes felt like they were bleeding. So, that’s 480 – 140 = 340 to go. Never again, NeVeR. It’s a crochet wasteland at the moment here I know. But if I start something new the granny squares will be permanently in my Yarndale bag undarned.

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I’m not (really) going to mention the amount of water that’s surrounding us, and which has the potential to flood the house. There’s no point getting worked up or worried at this point. We were on flood alert over Christmas and it came to nothing. Although the cumulative effect of all this rain means we have fields and fields and fields underwater all around and impassible roads…. I was awake, looking out of all the windows, in the early hours last night just checking that the neighbours weren’t canoeing along the road. We had a huge storm and I think the high wind woke me up, plus the fact I’d checked the flood status (‘on alert’) before bed meant it was on my mind. Anyway, let me share my gorgeous recipe for a warming, very filling breakfast in these rainy times. I keep making it and never ever need to eat before lunch after this bowl of yumminess.

Coconut porridge

45g porridge oats
300ml skimmed milk
2 tsp light brown sugar
1tbsp desiccated coconut

Put all in a pan and cook on low for at least 15-20 minutes. You get the creamy flavour from the porridge with added texture of the coconut, sweetness and flavour of the brown sugar. It is DELICIOUS.

I’ve had banana porridge, apple, cinnamon over the last 4 months, and also eaten it plain, but this coconut version is my current favourite. I was rooting about in the pantry one morning for something different to add to it and came across the coconut. It was leftover from when I’d baked a coconut and cherry cake last autumn. Try it and let me know what you reckon? MMmmm roll on tomorrow morning.

My current reading…

Printed book: Park Lane by Frances Osborne.

Kindle: re-reading (guilty pleasure) The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.

Audio book: I’m really enjoying Red Joan by Jennie Rooney,  narrated by Juliet Stevenson. I’ve listened to other books she’s read and love her style (I keep hearing a cello at certain times as I strongly associate her with Truly, Madly, Deeply but that’s not too distracting!) It’s turning out to be a cracking story with mystery, intrigue and some complex characters.

Thanks for your recommendations last week.

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

Simply Crochet: Filet Crochet Hearts

Something new…

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I’ve fancied trying my hand (hook!) at filet crochet for ages, so when I spotted Anne Egan’s sweet hearts in Simply Crochet issue 11 I had to give it a whirl.

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Sweet don’t you think? Easy too!

I can see all kinds of possibilities for Valentine’s Day projects too…

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!

Sew Happy

I can’t tell you how excited I felt last week about getting together with one of my crafty friends to do some making, rather than go to another craft event to see others’ creations, or buy more pretties which sit and wait to be used.
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I set up the dining room into a sewing paradise, stocked the fridge with ingredients for a late breakfast and chilled the wine in case we wanted a post-sewing reward.

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I decided I’d better stop arranging stuff as I seemed to be heading towards doing a wall display, or an interest table…

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I’ve been saving the Mollie Makes kits for a while now for a social crafting session. My cousin gave me this craft pocket wall organiser, doesn’t it work well?

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She’s arrived! We did a happy dance on the doorstep, then I carried in her kit as she unloaded the car. And yes – I know her swanky sewing machine is backwards! We’re new to sewing, or refreshing our long-lost skills, but not that daft. It was where it landed when I plonked it down with the cover still on.

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The first thing I said was that I’m not very impressed that Brother don’t sell a cover or case for the sewing machine. It’s going to get dusty in no time, and I don’t want to lift it in and out of the box between use. And so my friend suggested that was exactly what we should make, especially as she happened to have pieces of PVC. What a good idea! Plus it’s a total money saver as the s/m bags I’ve seen are hardly cheap.

We couldn’t match the patterns because we had to be extra careful with the piece of PVC so we had enough. I don’t mind – it’s really cute isn’t it? (I think it was bought in a Dunelm store.)

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I had imagined we’d tackle one of the easier projects from Sew! part of my collection of Cath Kidson books but no, we basically made a sewing machine cover from scratch – no pattern! If you’re a sewer (do we have to use ‘sewist’? Where did it come from – is this an American term?) you might be quite unimpressed with this but we’re both fairly inexperienced.

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When I tried to hem the bottom of the nearly completed cover we just couldn’t get either machine to go. The PVC surface was too grippy and held tight. After a bit of head scratching I remembered reading how you can use tissue, or a special tear-able material to sew with flimsy fabric for support and improved tension, I imagine. Something tissue wrapped arrived last week and I’d tucked it away Womble-like ….. “making good use of the things that we find, things that the everyday folks leave behind”…..

The drawback was that in order to get the machine to move the tissue had to be at the front and back of the cover. Ha ha! I’m not only sewing a new material, on a brand new machine, but I’m sewing blind. It’s a bit wobblier than my other pretty even seams, but if you visit and check the straightness of the stitches at the bottom of my cover you just won’t be invited back again.20131028-132523.jpgRipping the tissue off was actually good fun – a bit like when you’re tiny and the wrapping’s not to be admired, it’s all about the present. Of course now I need to look out for more tissue to hoard.

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This is immediately post ripping so I can see little white lumps of tissue under the stitches in this photo. Afterwards I wiped both inside and outside with a damp cloth and it all came off.

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We did a fair bit of woo-hooing and *blushes* high fived ourselves at the end of the making. Chinese, wine and a sweet DVD followed, of course under no circumstance did we sit and sing along to Jolene

but you can if you want to ;-) I just did a practice run to check this vid and heard howling noises coming up the stairs. Soup for dinner tonight it is, despite the earlier look of depression. That’s what you get for mocking my Dolly.

Knitted dishcloth, button nerdiness & anticipation

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I’m wondering really if I need to start seeking out a dishcloth/washcloth anonymous group soon, because I still seem to be held in the grip of an obsession.

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Last night I sat and knitted my way through a Strictly and Gilmore Girls intending to finish another washcloth (in the softest bamboo cotton, not dishcloth string like the one above!) and because I couldn’t seem to stop have ended up with the makings of a scarf. It looks just like the type we used in Brownies and Guides. This morning I’ve held it up and wondered if I should undo half but I might carry on for the fun of it and decide at the end. I’ll post my version of the pattern whatever it becomes.

Really feeling I need to write a blanket apology about the awful photos you’ll see from now until Spring. I’m a clicker not a photographer – that’s obvious – and the blankety grey skies with terrible light levels are not helping at all, sorry.

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We stopped here recently and ate a delicious lunch, then wandered around the full to the brim Most Marvellous shop where I bought bags of colour coordinated buttons. I’m going to look out for a big jar – I have so many different little tins and jars of buttons. I guess they’re more colour coded sorted separately, but I do fancy having a big jar full to the brim on the windowsill in the little room. It will provide a handy distraction to stare at when I’m meant to be doing more sensible stuff on the PC!

On Sunday I’ve been invited to a rather exciting event. I can take a plus 1 and asked a couple of crafty friends if they wanted to accompany me. The first is booked on a card making workshop, the second is attending a book-binding course on Sundays. I love my friends! This did make me grin, my busy creative friends.

As the invitation helpfully stated that the +1 could be friend or family or someone from the blogging community I had a little think about who and had a brainwave. She replied within minutes sounding very excited about finally meeting after a few years of internet contact, and about the thing, which frankly is quite exciting!

To be continued….. ;-)

And another one

It’s suddenly changed into autumn weather here, so welcome to dodgy photos and cold toes once again.

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Dishcloths / washcloths are just so fast and satisfying to crochet. They make really scrubby cloths and the morning I went out with a glowing red face is proof enough.

Again I’ve used the same patten as for my last – the pink aran cotton cloth which can be found here. Basically it’s chain an even number of stitches, 1 dc and 2 tr into the 3rd ch. *skip 2 ch and 1 dc, 2 tr into the next ch and repeat *…ending with 1 dc in the last ch (st on subsequent rows.) Remember your 1ch at the beginning of rows for your turning chain, which does not count as a stitch. If you know the name for this stitch I’d like to know please.

I’ve started my chunky knitting and 4ply crochet, but the sewing up has to be done for the potentially deformed cat one evening soon because the Cats and Kittens book (by Sue Stratford) needs to go back to the library this week. Ho hum.

Thanks for your comments on yarn snobbery, Noro and sewing up, its always nice to hear from you. :-)

Crochet wash cloth

I suddenly got the urge to crochet something in one go last night, so ironically sat up until too late making this while watching a tv programme about sleep problems, yawning my head off.

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Isn’t the stitch lovely? I’ve been looking though my Vogue Stitchionary and Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches to find out its name, but can’t find anything similar. Lack of sleep can affect your cognitive skills so I might well have missed it… Basically it’s 1 dc, 2 tr into a ch, miss 2 ch and repeat to the desired height.

Strictly speaking it needs blocking of course, some of those curly round corners need the spa treatment, but since it’s going to spend half of its life wet it seems pointless.

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I used this pattern by Kara Gunza. Do you recognise the cotton? It’s the ball of Rico aran creative cotton I bought the other week during my visit to Guthrie and Ghani. I’ve never used aran cotton before. Actually I’m not sure I’ve used aran anything before. It was a bit splitty but worth it for having such a soft cotton cloth at the end. I wanted a nice close texture so used a 4mm hook and chained about 32 to begin so it would still be a decent size.

I forgot to report that the last washcloth hasn’t made my face yellow. The Planet Penny cotton is great. If you want a cloth with good scrubability that’s the one.

Now I have a random picture of some garlic a relative’s grown. Isn’t it impressive? It looks just like it does in the shops!

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Waffle knit cloth ~ ready to scrub

As you know I’ve been using the knitty sticks again lately. I finished the cloth early Wednesday evening, as you can probably tell by the golden sun which streamed in through the windows as I took these photos.138

I used more of my Planet Penny Cotton with 4mm circular needles. Mine measures a genteel 6″ by 7″.

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I *think* this was another of my Pinterest finds, but you know how it is – I’ve got a folder of printed patterns, saved patterns and links on three lap tops and on my iphone, plus, more in my Ravelry library. It gets a bit crazy but you save what you see at the time (and then often forget all about it for ages!)

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I really love the texture of this knit. It’s almost too nice for scrubbing dishes so I’m going to try it as a wash cloth. I haven’t used any cotton for ‘wet use’ so am wondering if my face will turn yellow! So far it’s been perfect for owl I and owl II as well as the three string bags you’ve seen lately, but I’ll let you know if I end up looking jaundiced….

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Today I’ve been sitting in the garden, in the lovely sun, trying out a new crochet mouse pattern (see the KAL: A Mile of Mice group on Ravelry for the details) for the Mile of Mice charity fund-raiser. I’ll post a piccy of him tomorrow. This song goes well with summer outdoor crochet – I’ve been listening to a double album of theirs –

Hope you’re enjoying the sun – or snuggled warmly if it’s winter your side of the world.

A bit of crochet, a bit of baking

We’ve been having lovely weather here in the south of England after what was weeks and weeks and weeks of rain. There’s a bit of a festive looking forward to the Olympic opening ceremony vibe in the air at the moment too.

I had a request to crochet another dishcloth since the one I made in January has now come to the end of its useful life. So, I sat in the garden and whipped up a new one with my stash of dishcloth string. This time it’s rows of alternating doubles and trebles for extra strength and scrubability (new word invented?)

I’ve been making banana bread too….

….Nearly ate the first slice before remembering to take a piccy! Ooops.

Banana bread

300g ripe bananas, 15ml lemon juice, 125g shelled chopped walnuts, 75g unsalted butter, 175g dark soft brown sugar, 50ml walnut oil (I don’t have any so used olive oil) 1tsp mixed spice, 3 medium eggs (I used 2 large since it’s what I had) 325g wholemeal bread flour, 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda, demerara sugar

Line a 2lb loaf tin with non-stick paper, heat oven to 180 oc (160 fan assisted) 350 of / Gas mark 4.

Peel the bananas and mash with the lemon juice until smooth. Stir in the walnuts and leave to one side.

Gently melt the butter in a pan, tip into a mixing bowl with the sugar, oil and spice. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until everything is evenly combined.

Sift the flour and bicarb into a bowl, adding the bran caught in the sieve to the flour in the bowl. Beat half the flour into the egg mixture, fold in the banana and walnut mixture, then fold in the remaining flour gently.

Spoon into the loaf tin and smooth the top. Sprinkle some demerara over the top and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Dan Lepard recipe: taken from The Guardian…oh ages ago.

This is substancial but surprisingly light in texture.

A present

I knitted my friend a dishcloth last year and since it died, after constant use, I haven’t heard the last of her wanting another. So, this time when I got my special delivery of cotton from Lincolnshire I crocheted her one…

It only took me an hour or so. I must be getting a lot faster at the hooky stuff.

A foundation row of chains, a row of doubles and then trebles all the way.

I’ve never seen anyone look so excited, and this was after all the joy of Christmas and present opening. Maybe I could start a business selling hand-made dish-cloths?!