A Drum-roll seems only fair!

Last night I chose my border colours and sat down to start the tricky first row. I don’t think I want to crochet through the end posts again, yes it’s less gappy than working around, but it means you’re in danger of pushing out some of your darned ends. Phooey! It’s also damned tricky to do. That made me pack up my Hitchhiker knitting to take to Knit Group instead; as I didn’t think the light would be good enough to see, or the company would want to hear my groans and sighs.

I would very much like a drum-roll please while I complete the border, it seems only fair!  This has taken me far longer to finish than adult sized 6’x4′ blankets. Warm summer days, where the last thing I wanted was a blanket on my lap and sweaty yarn in my hands, and a house move contributed to the slowness of the making, not that there has been any rush really. I’ll show it to you once more with all the details including the yarn colours when it’s finished, before it goes to little baby Winnie next week.

I really like this simple edging. As you probably know I don’t really go for ornate borders, I reckon it can just be too much on a patterned blanket. But conversely an unedged blanket is a rather sad object, with a raw, unfinished look. There is a happy medium, isn’t there?

So on to Knit Group; do you remember reading this this post? (Oh sigh, please let’s not have porridge-gate all over again, tee hee.  I’m looking at you Vikki and Jill! Just whizz past the pictures and find the paragraph where I described what people were making…!) Teresa asked to see some pictures of what was being made and last night I asked if they minded me taking a few photos. It was a smaller group than usual, just a select four of us, but such an easy, relaxed night with lots of laughter.

First here’s A’s 4ply cream cotton bedspread in progress,  it’s one her mother began and she’s finishing, along with other half finished items. There need to be 20 squares or so and I think she was given 12. Look at those criss-crossing stitches and the detail on the leaves. Isn’t it lovely? It looks impressively complicated to me.

A. also brought along this gorgeous crochet shawl that she’s made for one of her young daughters. Apparently the yarn was cheap stuff and on offer in the local wool shop, but it feels luxuriously soft. Privately I thought it would rather suit me when I wear my smart black woollen coat and could imagine shimmering into a carol service, but sadly it was popped into a bag on the floor across from me. No stealing. Rats!Next there’s J’s Lego Man Mitts for her husband. They’re so fun! Not that the process of making them both has been much fun, as I understand the other mitt came into contact with a small boy and a pair of scissors…. He was taken to the wool shop to choose more wool and had to ask ‘the lady’ for the correct sized new circulars (yes, they were snipped too) which he didn’t enjoy. Lesson learned hopefully. She found the little figures in the bottom of her knitting bag. They look quite cross about me wearing the mitt I think.And P’s is currently a tea-pot cosy making machine, I can’t say anything much about it (secret squirrel) but it is making me want to try crocodile stitch. I’ve never been particularly keen on the stitch, now I wonder if it was the items I’ve seen made with it. P makes everything look good. The other knitted cosy is sooo special that I’m not dwelling on it, as it makes me feel knitty-knotty inferior! Yes, she does have a drink problem.I posted a pic of my Hitchhiker scarf the other day on Instagram. Click on the pink camera on the sidebar if you want to see how it’s getting on. After Winnie’s Wave Blanket that’s the next thing I need to finish for Christmas, for my Mum. Then the world is my oyster. Anyone who types the words ‘sock’ or ‘garter stitch blanket’ will be blocked. I mean it!

I chose this book first for my cosy Christmas reading, it’s so lovely, absolutely perfect.

What about you: Have you done any crafting with friends lately? What are you making and reading? Managing to resist the early festive treats or giving in completely to mince pies, stollen, chocolates or …..?


Feel free to add a link in the comments, to share your own Yarning Along post showing what you’re making and reading.


Look at those gorgeous cottons, I really had fun with these. You’ll see what and why soonish. It made me feel very happy I can say. I stopped and took the photo of the little room’s bed in full use to the side of my desk because it was so colourful and busy looking. I banned myself from using smileys in the middle of posts ages ago, but picture a winking smiley here.


Spending Christmas money is fun. The 5 year journal is one of the things I treated myself to (from Amazon.) And, it’s fab. You can start anywhere during the year and fill in a few lines in answer to a question posed at the top. Sometimes it’s an easy question, such as: list three foods you ate, what is the oldest item of clothing you’re wearing or what was the most peaceful part of your day today? Others are quite a bit more thought provoking, especially as you have to write succinctly. The trickier questions include: What makes you ‘you’, are you holding a grudge? About? And if you were starting a company what kind would you choose? It’s fun, takes no time at all to fill in really and could be interesting serving as a future aide memoir to where you were, what you were thinking, dreaming, eating, drinking, watching, listening to etc back when you began.

I had a mini Christmas yesterday with my cousin and her partner. We ate roast lunch, cake and opened presents. It was fun and, like a friend said, there should be more of these pop-up Christmases! Look at my lovely haul – especially the beautiful fabric, ribbon and the lovely coloured owls. They’re going to have to be used for something very special.


Crafty wise I’m not allowing myself to start another knit until I sew up the fingerless mitts. So, no knitting has been knitted for a few weeks. Boo. I’m visiting a new knitting group this week and think I might take knitty sticks, rather than crochet, so they’ll have be sewn before then. Crochet..? Oh boo as well. I love crocheting in the evening, when the tv, audio book or radio’s on, but dislike darning the ends in as I go as it stops the whizzy crochet. So now I have 12 completed huge granny squares with many ends a flappin’. That’s 480 ends…..

Have you any Christmas presents that you’re really loving and recommend?

Crocheted Raspberry Scarf

The pattern by Rebecca Jackson can be found on Ravelry: Claudia scarf. It’s been in the making for several months as it wasn’t a crochet project to spend long periods making. It’s crocheted in 4 ply using a 3mm hook, so takes a bit (a lot) of time as I found it to be a little fiddly. It might have something to do with the hook I used. Perhaps Father Christmas might bring me a Clover Armour 3mm hook?

Yarn: Sirdar Country Style, 4 ply – a wool blend
Raspberry – shade number 0527.
Quantity yarn used: 100g – exactly 2 balls
Hook size 3mm
Length: 67″
Width: 8″

I didn’t follow the pattern exactly as I couldn’t really see the point of breaking off after 85 rows and joining to the initial chain, so I carried on crocheting until it was the length I wanted, or until I ran out of wool. Happily both of these happened at the same time!





I always thought the scarf might be a gift, but wasn’t entirely sure. When I tried it on I found it just slightly too scratchy. I think I’m sensitive to some wool or blends. A relative came to dinner earlier this week and tried it on. You know it’s meant to go to a person when she says “This will go really well with my black jacket, and my new coat.”

After a very chilly walk I’m dreaming of knitting a new hat next, chunky yarn here I come….!

Vintage USA Crochet books

Last September I wrote a short Blogalicious post recommending Cassie Stephens blog. It’s so fun and often very interesting as you’ll learn about artists and techniques her school students are focusing upon . I sent Cassie a 1970s Simplicity dress pattern which I came across in a craft Charity shop last Autumn, it was just a little gift. A couple of weeks ago Cassie left me a comment asking for my address. Ooooohhh! I didn’t expect anything in return but I was taught never to look a gift horse in the eye, so emailed my details. A parcel arrived at lunchtime. 031 It’s so kind that someone would spend so much sending a parcel to a stranger, what a lovely thing to do.032Professional looking packing! What is inside??!! (Such a blogger thing to do; we can’t open a parcel, spot a huge spider or see a bunch of flowers without grabbing our camera!)033Moon Pies! I’ve heard of these but never eaten one. Woo hoo! Slightly squashed and a bit soft so I’ve put them straight in the fridge. It doesn’t matter, I’m sure they’re going to taste yummy. After a Winter drinking far too much hot chocolate and as many marshmallows as I could pile on top I went cold turkey in the Spring, so these are very welcome. Cassie writes that they’re ‘a made in Tennessee delicacy, right after barbecue and whisky’! Apparently the best way to eat them is microwave for 10-12 seconds and enjoy with a sugary soda. Can do! No issue with those instructions. At all. 043044 It’s a comprehensive little book, published in 1971. 045 046 Top marks for including a chapter for Lefties! This beats many current How-to-Crochet books.040 This really is treasure! I’m so pleased to own this booklet and will take good care of it.041 10 cents. 042 So, this was published in 1941, I wonder how far ‘away back’ they mean?047 There’s something about the girl below that makes me think of The Sound of Music. It must be the blond hair and hair style.038 I watched a friend tatting once, I’d never seen it done before and would like to learn sometime so I’m adding it to my mental list of skills I’d like to acquire. It’s growing all the time.035 Using a finer hook than I usually crochet with and fine crochet cotton appeals, but I can never imagine myself wearing a crochet collar. Maybe one day I’ll send Cassie one? I can somehow imagine her rocking that look in a vintage style dress with her usual aplomb.034 Pom-poms ahoy! 037 So interesting to see these diagrams. 036 Well, if you have been following my CAL posts since the beginning you’ll know that I’ll never be using the popcorn stitch for a whole bedspread! Can you imagine?! A row or so of blocks for one end would be painful but ok, but urgh a whole bedspread full of blocks would be way too many! But looking at the picture I wonder if the USA popcorn stitch might be the UK bobble stitch? I need to check the stitch details. Things might be looking up for this bedspread.039It’s interesting to see which of these companies, threads and yarns are still around, this booklet was published in 1941 after all. 72 years ago! The new enthusiasm for crafting is exciting and there’s so many contemporary makes we can see and read about to inspire and teach us, but these are not new skills; it’s just that they’ve become popular again. This gift could not have come at a better time. When I was out shopping for my Graduation kit on Friday I started to feel a bit odd and by the time I got home I was ready to crawl into bed, which I did. Basically I haven’t spent much time out of it until today. I’m still feeling pretty ropey and am not able to eat much other than dry toast and sip water but can feel I’ve turned a corner. No graduation, no champagne or meals to celebrate, but I’ve had very, very sweet messages from my student friends saying how much they missed me on our special day. The most touching messages were from the two friends whom I was to sit between in the hall. The seating’s alphabetical so they knew that the empty chair was mine. Cassie’s presents could not have come at a better time. They’ve really, really cheered me up. I text Someone at work earlier to say we’ve got treats from Tennessee. His reply? “Woohoo. Or, more correctly, Yeehaaw.” Exactly how I feel.Thank you VERY much Cassie.

Cotton baby bib


Crocheted for the baby to whom I gave the Jewel baby blanket. We visited the hospital the day after she was born and now unbelievably she’s already just over 2 months old, whew doesn’t time go fast?! Today a friend and I are going to visit her in London on the canal boat which is home.

I fancied making a little follow-up gift and feel liberated to try lots of new patterns now I have that end of term feeling, after the schedule of making three CAL blocks a week since September. Ya hooo!

The pattern is from Nicki Trench’s Cute and Easy Crochet book. I used the specified Rowan Handknit DK Cotton with 4mm and 3mm hooks. It’s really easy to make and is crocheted in the same sort of way I used for Prachi’s bag.

Have you made anything for family or friends lately?

Making something new


Since a trip to Nottingham a few years ago, when I stayed in The Hilton right next to the John Lewis store, I’ve had some balls of Rowan handknit cotton. It was impossible to resist buying even though I was a total crochet beginner and didn’t know what type and size of hook would be best to use with it, or what I could make. But I did know I liked the colours very much. This was the first time the yarn shop bug bit hard.

The verdict about whether it’s a good new something, or not so good will come…..

Shell Scarf



I finished this warm woolly scarf for Mum yesterday.

Here are the details:

4mm hook

Lang Tosca Light DK 55% wool, 45% acrylic yarn

Weighs 149g

76″ long & 81/4″ wide

Pattern Vogue Stitchionary or here *NB: pattern is in US terms, if you use UK terms you’ll be crocheting trebles*

I chained 48.





Little Christmas Stockings

Hello again,

I’ve been crocheting these sweet sparkly little Christmas stockings for a while, filling them with mini candy canes to give as little gifts and maybe I’ll hang some on the Christmas tree next weekend too. When they catch the light they’re all glinty and pretty.

You can find the pattern on Le monde de Sucrette’s blog.

It’s a really easy pattern and I can whip up a stocking from start to finish in less than an hour.

The End



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?

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.

First Day of Spring

I’m never sure what these are, but they always look pretty at the end of the garden! I notice each year I photograph them that they’re never sharply in focus. I think they move deliberately, but I still think they’re pretty.

Nearly there. I’m still not sure what colour(s) they’ll be…

A food parcel sent as I had to cancel dinner plans yesterday. (I reasoned that sharing is fine; apart from when it’s nasty coldy germs.)

Coq au vin underneath, it will be yummy.

Lemon pudding with lemon sauce, and raspberries. Mmmm. Wonder if it’s ok to have for breakfast? Energy boost?

Earlyish morning meditation. I should have kept a note of the interesting blog I found on how to turn crochet into a mindful, meditative, activity. If I find it again I’ll share the link.

Oooh! These are my get-well-Rachell presents to myself, only ordered on Saturday.

I feel the need to say I don’t usually read chick-lit, but I’ve discovered JC and this is the third the fourth of hers I’ve read this year. They are so well written, entertaining and make me laugh out loud.

This Colgan book has obviously been through a few pairs of hands! I’ll google that hospice charity shop to see where it’s come from.

Happy Spring to you.

Now I’m off to do some proper work before the programme leader at Uni cuts my fingers off one by one. If that should occur please send me bars of ready broken-up chocolate. (Any sort apart from Galaxy.) Thanks very much. :-D


I couldn’t wait to get started using some of my new stash of wool yarn last night!

After I’d moved the scallop edging to the bottom of the jar I preferred it far more.

I hope Naomi likes it. I know crochet and hand-made isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea and for some it’s all a bit hokey…but I wanted to make her something to say THANKYOU.

The Stylecraft yarn is really nice to work with, yes I’d prefer Rowan and Debbie Bliss with no acrylic at all but it’s far too ££££ for playing around with. Until I win the lottery!

Birdies complete!


Birdies complete! A nice way to spend an icy Saturday afternoon…

I used Nicki Trench’s pattern for the circles (who needs cushions anyway ;-p) Using DK and a size 4mm hook for one circle, then a 3.5mm for the other as I thought it could be tighter.

Beaks, legs and wings were inspired by Lucy  of the Attic 24 blog. See the link at side of my blog if you’d like to see some really amazing crochet and projects she’s done over  several years.

One of the birds is going to fly over to someone who shall remain nameless for now, in case she sees this little blogette.

As a beginner I really do enjoy little projects that are fast, and these were perfect. I really did enjoy putting the finishing touches on and sewing them up. In fact I have a feeling that I need to buy some felt and retrieve an old supply of embroidery threads I’ve had for years; to make something pretty and practise my very rusty sewing.

Anyway, enough waffle – here they are – here’s the reveal….!

A Happy Weekend to you!



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?!