A third 

Rather than tidy away leftover yarn from The Blackberry Ripple I just grabbed a hook and began another star ripple blanket. It’s such a neat little pattern by Celeste Young and can be found here on Ravelry.

The first, made a few years ago, I gave to my hairdresser for her new baby. She used it as a car blanket and said it was a perfect size. The second I sent off to Knit for Peace along with the Baby Hexagon blanket and the Squares and Stripes blanket. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this third one; I’m not making it for any reason other than to make something new. Ahem, also after my Dry Lent finishes I thought it might be good to take to the pub, when I meet up with other crafty people, as it’s simple and easy. You know what I’m saying?!

I’m still listening to The Trouble with Goats and Sheep  by Joanna Cannon (still very good) and have picked up  The Cursed Child by J.K Rowling et al once again.

Ginny has decided to stop hosting the Yarn Along, while I thoroughly support her decision I am sad because I’ve enjoyed joining in so much. I’m wondering if I could host a similar weekly link-up? But it obviously requires participants…

The Unnamed Ripple

 I’m picking this up every now and then, to add a row or so. It’s undemanding and relaxing crochet. I think this is why I like ripple blankets so much; they’re easy and there aren’t a crazy number of ends, like you get with multi-coloured motifs.  

To choose the colours I laid out a selection of swatches I’ve made up. I chose mainly greys, purples, blues, pinks and a couple of greens. I don’t follow rules or use a colour wheel; I just instinctively choose what I like and discard what doesn’t work. Sometimes advice about selecting colours can make it sound like a dry and humourless business, though I appreciate everyone’s approach will be different. 

The process took me about 3 minutes. I wondered about adding 2 other colours over the weekend, but have decided against them.  

Stylecraft Special DK:

1.plum

2.parma violet

3.emperor

4.grey

5.silver

6.sage

7.lavender

8.grape 

I still can’t think of the right name for this blanket. I’ve just asked for suggestions here and had “Benjamin”. Brian the V Stitch scarf was one thing, but this is not going to be called Benjamin! 

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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Zesty Raspberry Ripple Blanket – FINISHED!

I did finish the rest of the darning in and the border on Monday night, just a day over my self-imposed schedule. Ya-hoo! I’m really pleased with this ripple. The colour scheme is different to any I’ve done before and that’s good – variety is definitely my spice of life! It’s soft and very warm.

It’s a present for my sister in law and although she didn’t pick the colours I ran my idea of a raspberry pink, greys, some purple and navy by her. I wanted to make something which reflected the colours she wears and which I know she particularly likes. She told me that lime is her absolute favourite, so it became the zesty raspberry ripple. (Everything needs a name.)

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Initially I was just going to border it with trebles and simple rows of double crochet, I don’t think ripples need fancy edging or trim, but I started to want to do something a bit more decorative. Then I remembered Lucy, of Attic 24 blog, had made some pretty edging on her Interlocking Ripple. This is basically a row of dc 1, ch 1, miss a st, dc 1, ch 1, miss a st and so on. Then you make a spike stitch when going along the next row. This is a dc which you think will be going into the missed stitch space, but actually pops into stitch in the row below the missed stitch. Easy! It sounds complicated but it’s not at all once you get going. With spike stitches you have to make sure your tension is relaxed, not too tight, not too loose – otherwise  the whole edge with curl up, or the stitch will be a floppy loop.

As I was on the home straight, and keen to finish, I double crocheted the last two rows bit by bit –  the lime chasing the pink around the edge! For the corners I worked 2dc, ch 2, 2 dc in the pink but I found 1 dc , ch 1, 1 dc better for the lime row.

Before wrapping the ripple I will give the border a steam block, just to make sure it’s all flat and relaxed. It’s a good finisher.

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Getting good photos has been VERY tricky with the dull weather, today it’s bright outside but very cold and damp. I didn’t want to risk the blanket getting dirty if I tried hanging it from the washing line.

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I came up with a good plan in the making – for the first half I grabbed yarn colours randomly, with a little thought but nothing that made my head hurt. I’ve found while making blankets that by the halfway mark the whole thing is not as exciting. I just want to go on and finish. So, I crocheted another row and then just worked back through the colours, copying what had gone before. If you fold it in half on the middle row (of graphite) the whole blanket is symmetrical.

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Zesty Raspberry Ripple Details:

4 mm hook

Stylecraft Special DK – 7 shades:

Silver
Grey
Graphite (the darkest grey in the ripple)
Raspberry
Lime
Emperor (“penguin” – I hear this everytime.)
Midnight

Weighs: 1,295kg
Width: 117cm, 46″ (2″ short of 4′)
Length: 183cm, 72″ (6′)

Starting chain: 213 (Attic 24 Neat Ripple Pattern)

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I’m darning all the ends before I do any more of the William Morris motif blanket. During the making of this ripple I have reminded myself that it’s painful to leave them all till the end!

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All at Sea Shawl ….finished

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I’ve really enjoyed crocheting this V stitch shawl, I haven’t felt this keen for a little while. You know that ‘I’ve got to do just one more row before bed’ thing?

The pattern’s by Elisabeth Davis de Herraiz and is in issue 22 of Simply Crochet.

I used Lang’s Tosca Light DK with a 4mm hook instead of the lace weight merino used in the mag. You could make a really chunky version too. That might be really snugly for freezing winter mornings, or maybe nights on the sofa when you feel a draft on your neck or shoulders?

My shawl is larger as I wanted it to be big enough to wear around your shoulders, granny/hippy style or like a scarf with the triangle part to the front and the long ends wrapped around the back of the neck. So for R50 I just repeated from R14 onwards until I ran out of yarn after R37 which was clusters. Boo! This was annoying with only 11 more to go to complete my repeat of R14 -49, but I quite like the frilled top edge so I fastened off, darned the few ends and it was over.

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Look at what I noticed as I was unhooking the shawl from a tree…..

And last night on a very old episode of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads….

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It doesn’t look Grannyish or exactly Hippyish, but I won’t be going out in a maxi dress and big cream shawl anytime soon!

Al fresco crochet

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It is such beautiful weather here at the moment that it just feels wrong to stay inside.

I started a ripple on Monday night but had to order some yarn before I could continue. Luckily I already had two of the greys I wanted to use as they’re the same I’m using for my other blanket, so at least I could make a start. I actually haven’t touched a hook for weeks; a combination of a sore elbow (acupuncture is really helping) and just wanting a break. It was a refreshing break, but I was absolutely raring to go once my plan was approved at the weekend. I’ve offered a crocheted blanket birthday pressie to a special someone as I’ve had her kind of colours in mind for ages, and fancied crocheting another ripple. I’m a little surprised I’m so keen as I became quite bored by the end of The Rhubarb Ripple. My offer was immediately taken up and so I’ve been happily zipping along the rows today. The motif blanket will wait for a while. This is easier crochet; it’s fast to add new colours and decide which next. I tend to need my leg up to join as you go (do you?! Is this just me?!) so it makes it sofa crochet, not al fresco crochet so much.

Hurrah! My new yarn came this morning! I could hear the rustle of the sack arriving from my spot (reading in the bath, hard work these summer hols.) Deramores have been undercut by Wool Warehouse on Stylecraft Special DK by 30p a ball at the moment. I have to say that as both offer speedy service and free p&p when you spend £25 it wasn’t a tricky decision to use WW for this order. 30p less for a ball is 30p saved. Or, spent on more yarn…

The bright pink was always going to be a gamble without actually seeing a ball. It’s not quite right is it? It jars with the scrummy raspberry, the sharp lime green (new colour) and the delicious graphic, silver and grey. The darker shades are midnight blue and emperor penguin purple. Someone suggested I use the bright pink to embroider “Get off, this is Mummy’s!” Ha! I must tell her this when I give the blanket.

My charity shop find basket is perfect for al fresco crochet. It’s very good at standing to attention with the yarn ball in use rolling around on top. I need a yarn bowl really, but it does the job of keeping it off the grass. Can you see I replaced the bag’s sequins? I preferred the scuffed brown originals really I realise, now it’s done. Too late!

What are you crocheting or making? Or are you having a crafty break?

Progress report

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Oh yes, I’m pleased with this joining malarkey. Choose the outer colour, zip around round 3 and join one side of round 4. It feels like a fast way of making a blanket.

I’ve just unravelled the matador red motifs, apart from those with it in the middle. It’s not going to work. It was always a bold colour choice – to match William Morris’s red flower centres – but any more than a little splash is going to set the teeth on edge, especially with so much peach going into the mix too.

Random fact: the curtains were originally chosen, in fact the whole room was coordinated, around a cream and peach tapestry cushion I made years back. I know this probably isn’t that interesting without pics but I’m still under house arrest. I’m going to try driving tomorrow with a heavy duty support on the peg. See, you get all the highlights during these days of being patient.

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I just had the nicest compliment, via the tweet machine this morning, about my last post. It was from Jennifer Reid who is a crochet designer for Inside Crochet and Simply Crochet magazines. You’ll recognise her patterns straight away if you buy those mags and check Ravelry. It’s always a lovely surprise to hear from different people. She’s also a member of the Darning Sisterhood – the leave them to the end club. Anyone else want to join?

Throw another one in the basket

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Friday night’s been G&T time for a long, long time but nowadays Friday night is cocktail night. This week it was mojitos. Mmmmm. I might do a cocktail post of my faves, with recipes sometime. I keep sorely trying someone’s patience while I photograph them before drinking commences!

Fresh juicy cherries and crochet go well.

My Japanese steel snips are incredibly sharp; I have to take care around these. So much faster than grappling for scissors can be, they slide into a plastic cover when not in use. It’s a good job as even the ends are razor-sharp. They were a gift from a posh shop which sells household goods.

I can’t believe how many half completed motifs I’ve done, already. I edge a diddy little middle with a second round and throw it into the basket I rescued from a friend’s jumble sale bag. One (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure.

It’s nearly time to edge some with the third row and join while crocheting the fourth. I’m looking forward to placing the colours and seeing how the overall effect works. It’s definitely a different sort of palate for me.

….Oh and oh yes…the ends. Well I just read Heather’s thoughts about darning, rather than crocheting over them, and realised she’s a kindred spirit in this respect. I groan about them a bit and resolve to tackle the ends as I go but rarely do; getting absorbed in the act of creating. Select the colour, crochet the round, snip the tail, throw the motif into the basket and onto the next. Usually I darn them listening to an audio book, or semi watching a film and find it a soothing activity in itself. This weekend’s film was one I seem to have missed at the time. I really enjoyed the undemanding, sweet, sometimes funny, little story.

What are you up to at the moment?

Sometimes there is no right way

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Playing with joining as you go the other evening I took this photo as a reminder; because I didn’t feel too confident that it was right, and thought they’d probably soon be un-joined!

After Carina commented on my last post, reminding me that she’s crocheted some of the motifs from Edie Eckman’s fabulous Beyond the Square book, I emailed her the photo above and asked how she would have joined them. It’s the first time I’ve used the join-as-you-go technique with anything apart from granny squares. I was really dithering and feeling unconfident. When I start saying, or thinking, ‘Well, I’ve only been crocheting a few years’ I know I’m struggling with something. It’s not the end of the world, but is an irritating feeling.
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Carina is one of those bloggers that you just know will answer a query and try their best to help. I rushed to work yesterday having fired off a HELP ME! email, and in the evening found not one, but two replies from her. The first saying she’d had a busy day but would get back to me shortly. The second, sent less than an hour later, had detailed ‘This is how I would do it’ instructions and an attached photo. She’d obviously pulled out her BtS book and had a go at joining two motifs. How kind!
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I do prefer Carina’s joining method which replaces the 3 corner chains with 1 ch, 1 jss (joining slip stitch) 1 ch. This was the part I wasn’t sure about. Do you replace all the ch with one jss, or only one? How many jss would you need overall? What about the 5 ch in the middle? Carina had also joined this motif in four places, rather than three.

If the motifs were making up a blanket it would probably be more…I’m struggling for the word….connected? Strong? Less gapy? I just checked the spelling of gapy, so I didn’t type gappy by mistake instead, and asked ‘Is it gay-ai-pee-why?’ I’m tired!’ Taking non-drowsy cough med is so stupid right before bed. Consequently I was wide awake and reading my Kindle after midnight last night. (The book was Necessary Lies, if like me you like to know these details. It was a 99p Kindle deal I bought weeks ago. Diane Chamberlain a new-to-me author but the blurb interested and readers’ reviews and stars were impressive on Amazon. The first two chapters have me completely intrigued already.)
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The point which I’ll try quickly to come to now, I always waffle far more when tired, is that when I popped into the library today I swerved to the fab craft section and ended up having a quick flick through a Crochet Guide by Jane Crowfoot. She writes that joining motifs is similar to free-form crochet; no two people will join them in the same way. I’m really grateful to Carina for her help, will be joining the motif using her suggestion, but also have learnt a good lesson and a bit of a confidence booster on the way. Sometimes there isn’t always a right way or a wrong way. There’s your way and there’s my way.

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.

String Bag III

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This time I used Wendy Supreme cotton since I wanted to make a single colour bag. I chose it because of the competitive price to be honest, compared with other cottons in the shop it was very cheap. I like the DK thickness, the cottony soft feel and love this poppy red shade (1949.) It’s actually darker than it looks in the photos, it’s sunny and a lovely warm 26 deg here today. Ya hoo!

The bag pattern’s from Granny Chic by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel (I’d say to borrow or look for a cheap secondhand copy, don’t pay full price….) and I adapted it slightly. Instead of 4 dcs into chain spaces I made 5 dcs and crocheted an extra round so I didn’t cut and reattach the cotton for the second set of handles. I reckon they’ll stand more of a chance of not loosening/falling off if I don’t have dodgy darns and joins. We’ll see! I repeated the main pattern for 32 rounds and it’s looks like a decent length, but no danger of dragging along the ground when full. Unless I’m carrying rocks. I must remember not to carry rocks.

Hope you are also having  a lovely weekend. What are you up to?

::: I meant to say that after all these string bags I now feel confident that I could make a fishing net someday!

Provence Summer String bag

While browsing through a collection of string bag photos on Pinterest I noticed one that kept turning up. The pattern’s by Kathy North and is available free from Ravelry, it’s called the Provence Summer String bag.

So, that’s how String Bag no. II came about. It’s easy and fast to crochet in trebles and double trebles. Again I used more of my Planet Penny cotton with a 4mm hook.

Yesterday I pinned and then steam blocked it to gently pull it into shape.

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After a visit to the library, and a really nice book find, I’ve seen another string bag pattern which I’m going to try. I hadn’t planned to crochet another so soon but they say good things always come in threes, don’t they?

To the person who Googled and somehow found this blog using the rather sad search phrase: “feeling so fed up and worried will doing knitting and crochet help me….” the answer is YES! I really hope you feel happier soon.

Week 42: CAL BLocks #193 #197 #201

Here are my unruly blocks in the penulitimate post of the CAL for the September starters. It feels good! It’s been great fun, and good for my crochet skills in lots of ways, but I’m really enjoying the freedom from the schedule of making 3 blocks every week.

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#193 Textured Stripes

5 1/2″ sq-ish. with a bit of tugging out at the sides. You already know that I’m going to say how much improved all three will be after blocking, right?

I like the texture of this stitch. It might be a a good one for a dishcloth.

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#197 Fretwork

5 1/2″ sq.

I like this, there’s a good contrast between solid and openwork crochet.

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#201 Zig-Zag Bobbles

5 1/4″ W

5 1/2″ H

R4&6 have a missing *. I just made a dc into 7 st then MB again.

I didn’t read the pattern in reverse so my bobbles are more Zag-Zig, but I don’t think it matters for the sake of avoiding the aggravation of reversing everything. I increasingly feel that designers should include pattern details for lefties too. Why not?

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I’m amused, and a bit pleased, to see that new joiners are still coming to the Ravelry CAL group, despite the threads being silent for a long time. Check out the projects page to see lots and lots of blocks, people have posted some beauties.

I must dash now and eat lunch, then go shopping this afternoon. It’s my MA Graduation Ceremony (feels like it needs to be in capitals!) tomorrow and I need to get a few things to look smart when I wear the cap and gown. Did I ever confess that starting the CAL was a complete distraction from the study, and writing, I should have been doing for my research dissertation? Probably not. But both have been completed. ;-)

Making something new

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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…..

Week 33: CAL Blocks #97 #98 #99

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#97 Eyelet Lace

5 1/2″

I ran out of apricot (I’m using every last scrap of my baby cashmerino) so there are 3 rows of sienna to finish at the top.

R4: ‘Break off yarn A’ ?!

R5: Repeat row 1 but note that you’re going to ch3 then 1 tr into the next 2 ch, not 2 tr.

R8: At the end of this row I was confused dot com, why did I only have 1 tr?  I looked at the book’s photo – it’s all back to front compared to mine! I guess if a leftie wanted to create something identical then you’d need to reverse the pattern, starting from R4 > 1. Are you wondering what I’m waffling about? Well, basically left handers crochet rows from left to right, rather than righties who go right to left. This is why my holes go up to the left and yours will go to up to the right as in the book.

I quite like being different to most, it suites my sometimes contrary character. At school once out of a huge group of sixty, during lacrosse training, there were only two of us left-handers who needed to learn a different technique. This resulted in one very grumpy teacher.

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#98 Old Vienna

5 3/4″  I turned R6 into a ‘tr into every tr of the previous round and  ch sp as my block was a measly 5″.

R3 & 4: Crochet 1 tr not 1 dc mid round! You’ll always use the book’s photos to check if you’re switched on and thinking about what you’re doing. I wasn’t, so ended up with a funny scrunched up triangle. Bah!

This reminds me of #10 Openwork Square, which is not a good thing.IMG_2371

#99 Baby Bow

5 1/2″

I  see I squashed some of the bobbles down a little  trying to stop the curling for this photo, but gave up for the group photo below and used pens to anchor the corners, though some bobbles still look rather subdued. They’ve perked up and are all nippley looking again now.

It was very apt crocheting this block today, as the baby for whom the Baby Jewel blanket was crocheted was born this morning! I can’t wait to see her in hospital and pass on the blanket tomorrow. IMG_2366

So, the next block is the big 100, wooooo! And, the beginning of the cheaty ones:  ‘Look you can make them in all kinds of colour combinations and this book can be legally called 200 Blocks, when it’s really far fewer.’

Happy weekend everyone! Have fun and stay safe wherever you are. ♥

Weeks 31 & 32: CAL Blocks #91 #92 #93 #94 #95 #96

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#91 Terraces

6 1/2″ W x 5 1/2″ H

I added 4 more rows at the top to bring the dimensions a little more into line, but stopped at completely squaring it; I might make this into something else. It’s not going to fit with the squarer blocks. Maybe it would be good doubled in width for a scarf?  I reckon small fingers might pick at the loops of the dtr if it was a blanket.IMG_2363

#92 Victorian Lace

5 1/2″ sq.

Definitely needs blocking to see the detail and straighten it out! At the moment the middle is slightly bunched up.

I’m really glad to have more of this mauve wool, it’s such an earthy colour for the garden theme. It should tone down some of the brighter blocks if I make a huge blanket at the end.

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#93 Sequenced Stripes

5 1/2″ sq.

“Row 6: 1 ch into each of the next 2dc, turn.” ?!?!

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#94 Gothic Square

5 1/2″ sq.

Not so much a gothic square in these colours as a full-on summer cottage garden. I’m picturing a flower growing against a blue trellis.

This has a really pretty middle. It also needs blocking to straighten out, but it’s sweet. IMG_2352

#95 Kingcup

5 1/2″ sq.

Kingcup has a 3 hook – challenging – level of crochet rating, but I found it easy. This was very pleasing!

My overall favourite of the Easter fortnight’s blocks.IMG_2355

#96 Light and Shade

5 1/2″ sq.

This was a block where I wished there was also a symbol pattern to go with the written version. I used the book’s photograph to check mine was on track.

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I notice there are many blocks with a 1 hook – easy – level of crochet coming up, which is good since I feel I want to zip through the next few weeks worth of blocks. I’ve got my Mile of Mice bodies to sew up, tails to attach and features to stitch (rude comments about the linked post will not be approved Jill & Trish.) Also, I’ve knitted another cable piece for my first-time-I’ve-ever-cabled bag. I need to sew them up and attach the handles. My cousin’s going to help me sew a lining for it over the next few weeks.

Thanks for all your likes and comments about my Wool Money post. I’ve had a few more items arrive in the post after I spent some more of the winnings (JD as he should now be known, short for Jammy Dodger, has ordered an expensive fishing jacket and there’s still lots of loot left. Woo hoo!)

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I had reluctantly taken the Knitting & Crochet Bible back to the library, so it seemed sensible to buy my own copy. I found a brand new one for a little over £11 on Amazon, which compared to the RRP of £26.99  is an absolute bargain. I can imagine using it as a reference guide, particularly for knitting stitches, for years.

What are you making at the moment? Do you also have a list of items to complete before you start any more projects?

Lazy Sunday, happy Sunday

What a lovely Sunday, eating Thai food then browsing for spices, exotic drinks and foods at the Asian Supermarket next door. Then home for a bit of cosy crochet and to read my new Mollie Makes mag. It’s -1 degrees here today, with some snow covering the hills after the snow-storm yesterday. It’s hard to believe we had brown grass in the garden from the dry, warm start to Spring this time last year! (Isn’t it funny how every blogger will, at some point, mention their local weather wherever in the world they are; I always thought this was a purely British obsessive topic of conversation.)

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There’s been much rain and snow that there’s even flooding in parts of the city now.

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I think most are staying warm at home as this is usually a buzzing restaurant.

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Mum has asked me to crochet her a scarf. I like the circularity of this as I grew up wearing and using home-made knitted, crocheted and sewed scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, cardies, jumpers, dresses, gym bags for my plimsolls and much more.

I chose shell pattern 2 from the Vogue Crochet Stitchionary I won in a giveaway last year. 

I trebled the stitch count and hey presto it’s just right for a scarf. The scalloped sides are really pretty, I like the pattern a lot.

I’m using Lang’s Tosca Light which is 55% new wool with 45% acrylic, a really warm and soft mixture. I can vouch for this yarn as I used it to knit myself a lacy purple scarf a couple of years ago, and wear all the time. I also knit a green one for my sister-in-law which she loves. I’m using  a 4mm hook, though think a 3.5mm would also work nicely.

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I hope you’ve had a lovely Sunday too.

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?

Week 9: CAL Blocks #24 #25 #26 #27


#24 Italian Cross

Baby cashmerino (being slightly thinner than dk) is just a bit too thin to show off this stitch, like I thought for the popcorn stitch it needs a bulkier wool to show it off. I probably should have pulled the chain a bit tighter as the top of the stitches look a bit loose. But it’s my first ever go at the puff stitch. Darning the ends will make it a bit less saggy looking in places.

In my CAL notebook I’ve written that the Harmony Guide to Crochet says ” A puff stitch is a cluster of half treble stitches (usually 3-5) worked in the same place to make a soft lump.” Ha! I’ve created soft lumps.


#25 Tannenbaumn

I used the new colour to finish off the last stitch in the background colour when starting the tree stitches each time, and swapped to the background colour to finish off the last stitch of the tree design. It seems to work.

I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think of using two balls of background colour instead of carrying all that yarn, but I wanted to avoid darning and didn’t think of the third way. D’oh!

At 5 3/4 ” square this is turning out to be the average size of my blocks.


#26 Snowflake

This, of course, needs blocking to straighten it out but it’s ok. I’m not a fan of very holey blocks but it’s good to try new stitches.

One of the rare blocks that is 6″ square


#27 Snowy Stripes

I think there’s a mistake in the notes for spike stitch at the top of the pattern. I checked the notes at the back of the book, then went to my trusty Harmony Guide to check too. Basically don’t go into the top of the next stitch after going below the next stitch, yo and pulling through, just yo again and draw through the stitch as you would a normal dc. I tried it the way the note said and the spikes were almost diagonal.

6 1/4 ” wide 5 1/4″ high. Oh!

Lots of darning too, would it work to carry yarn up the sides? What did you do?

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I’m definitely learning new skills and picking up tips from other people doing this CAL, it’s good learning new techniques. It’s made me want to move my knitting on and try something new (harder!) sometime.

Did you see what a commenter wrote on my last CAL post?

”…….I met Jan Eaton a couple of weeks ago and she said every block in the book is blocked and steamed to within an inch of its life!” I think this is regarding the different sized blocks (which is why I reckon the book is not called 200 Crochet Squares, there would be too much hassle from crocheters!)

Week 4: CAL Blocks #10 #12

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#10 Openwork Square
It’s vital to check there are 33 dc at the end of your foundation row and I also found counting at the end of each row 2 a good check to make sure you aren’t missing/adding a stitch. Wibbly wobbly patterns like this are easy in lots of senses – they grow fast and aren’t tricky to do – but they can funnel out or in if you’re not careful.
I wasn’t sure about this after I’d crocheted it, S thought it “looks particularly 70’s crochet” and I reckoned it was a bit string bag. After a weekend away and looking at it with fresh eyes I think it might work well as a scarf design, if you turn it on its side and squint a bit.

#11 Baby Blocks
I stopped halfway and spotted a few places where I hadn’t crocheted the yarn in properly and so decided to unravel this block. I’ve just been away for a fab long weekend with a group of friends in the oldest recorded city in Britain (guess before you click?) and so I’ll do another version this week.

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#12 Fine Lines
I really like this! It’s also one of the few perfectly 6″ square blocks so far.

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We are now a month into the Crochet Along! It’s incredible how fast time has flown.

How are you getting on? Is 2-3 blocks a week feeling do-able?

Week 3: CAL Blocks #7 #8 #9

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#7 Corner Granny
I like this pattern so much I made two! It’s my favourite so far in fact. I might have to try blocking for the first time so these are at their future best.

#8 Popcorn Flower
Not my favourite so far. Fiddly stitch and not that impressive for the yarn that goes into making these popcorns. Is it just plain wrong to say that getting the popcorns ready for photographing felt like XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (completely inappropriate for a crochet blog so have censored myself, but it did.)
I dislike the mid row joins too. This is not going to be a pattern which is doubled, eh?

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#9 Arcadia
(Introducing my new colour – yellow.) Easily made but I’m not so keen on very holey patterns though the colours are pretty. It needs block-blockety-blocking of course.

Really looking forward to #12 Fine Lines next week, it’s pretty and has an easy rating in the book.

Come and join me on the CAL (crochet along) it’s not too late, and it’s fun but not too demanding crocheting 2-3 blocks a week :-)

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Week 2: CAL Blocks #4 #5 #6 #169(!)

#4 Bobble Diamond
I’m pleased that I found bobbles so easy after my concern that I’d struggle. They are a piece of cake! As I said before; I checked The Harmony Guide and did a chain after each bobble to secure them.

So easy in fact that I made another! (They curl a bit at the top right and bottom left corners so I pinned them to the carpet to photograph. Anyone else have curly bobble diamond blocks?!

#5 Twin Stripes
It’s crucial to get the very end stitches of the foundation row right otherwise row 1 is completely off-kilter!

#6 Textured Bluebells
I like this one a lot, I think the DBBC colour fits the name and pattern perfectly.

And uh-hum *cough cough*

#169 Interlocking Stripes
I just wanted to see how my Debbie Bliss colours, well 8/9 of them anyway, look together. I decided there’s something missing and bought number 10 yesterday. All will be revealed soon!

A word for the future – this is a ‘darn heavy’ block (whichever method you prefer, mine’s sewing at the end of the block.)

Have you noticed that I’ve stuck to my CAL Resolution? So far so good anyway…..

I’m going for a little wander round blogland now to see how others are getting on, there are also some fab pictures on Ravelry and more being being added to the group’s projects page all the time.

This is fun! Week 3 here we come. :-D