Holey cowl

….Just in time for our current lovely Springtime temperatures! Oh well blink and the weather changes here in England.  I’ll take it away with me to wear during chilly evenings, or for wearing by the sea if the wind blows. 

The yarn looks a different colour in every photo, it’s more red not raspberry. 

The apple blossom should flower soon. It’s so pretty. 

Details – as you might want to knit a holey cowl too? 

I used Louisa Harding Orielle – Ruby (colour no. 12) 

This is a gorgeous wool blend; with 97% baby alpaca and 3% metallic polyamide (can you see the little sparkles?) It’s as soft as a cloud and drapes beautifully. 

I used 4mm needles and sewed the seam at the end. Can you spot it in the second pic? I’m not sure how I managed such a neat job of it, but I did enjoy the sewing. It would knit well on circular needles too if you prefer seamless makes. 

I used 3 x 50g skeins but if you want a longer cowl or a narrower one, the amount would obviously differ. 

Height: 41cm/16″ (I wear mine doubled over, I don’t have the neck of a giraffe!)

Circumference: 61cm/24″ 

Cast on 72 stitches 

1-5 rows: Knit  

6th row: K1, *yo, k2tog and repeat to the penultimate stitch, k1

And repeat until it’s the right height for you. 

Easy! Good pub or cafe knitting if you have a crafty meet up ahead. 

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.)

Valentine’s heart patches


This is a sweet little patch. I intend to buy two blank craft cards and envelopes and attach a heart patch to each using double sided sticky tape. Do they still use that all the time on Blue Peter? I’m going to send them to two little-ish girls for a Valentine’s surprise.

Alternatively you could just knit two rectangles, swiss darn the heart (or one on both sides) and sew or crochet them together, to turn them into a little woolly pincushion or a pointless but cute woolly thing. You’ll probably have even better ideas. If you do, please share them!


Yarn: I knitted these with Stylecraft Special DK scraps, in parchment and did the swiss darning in raspberry. You can use any DK you have.

 
Needles: I used 3.5mm but use whatever you have or prefer. 4mm would work equally well and will still make a patch small enough to easily fit onto a card.

 
Pattern:
Knit a moss stitch border with stocking stitch as the main part of the patch

Cast on 20 stitches

Moss stitch for 2 rows:

Row 1: *k1, p1*and repeat * until the end

Row 2: *p1,k1* and repeat until the end

Stocking stitch with a moss stitch border for 8 rows

Row 3: k1, p1, k to last st, p1

Row 4: p1, k1, p to last stitch, k1

Repeat rows 3 & 4 6 more times.

Repeat rows 1 & 2 once

Cast off

Swiss darning/duplicate stitch: decorate the patch with a contrast yarn. See this video from Simple Stylish Knitting if you’re unsure about how to do swiss darning. It’s easy once you get into the rhythm of it. Sew in a good source of light, so you can see what you’re doing properly.

 Both of my hearts are slightly different from each other. The main thing is to start at the top, and do the middle stitches first. Make sure the bottom stitches line up with those at the top.  You can make the heart as wibbly or symmetrical as you like.

Bright Stripy Blanket….finished 

            

Bright Stripy Baby blanket 

Stylecraft Special DK: Lime Petrol Emperor Raspberry Silver Pale Rose

4mm hook

Starting chain: 148 + 3 (148 trebles)

Stitches: doubles, trebles, half trebles

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

Dimensions: 38″ W  40″ L

Weight: 544g

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

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

The last two ends 

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

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

What are you up to at the moment?

Bright stripes

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

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

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

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

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

James C. Brett Marble Chunky Yarn Shade MC44

I used 175g of the 200g ball

Width (circumference) 36″

Height 11″

6mm hook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homemade compliments

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

What are you up to?

Brian – V Stitch Scarf / Cowl

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian v stitch scarf / cowl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

Happy v stitching your Brian scarf / cowl!

V Stitch Scarf / Cowl

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

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V Stitch Scarf / Cowl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huge granny square blanket – finished!

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

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

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

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

Details:

Blanket weighs: 1.362 kg

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

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK

Hook size: 4mm

Granny square:

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

FR: Ch 5, join with a ss

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

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

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

Repeat R3 until you have 20 rounds in total.

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

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

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

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

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

Snuggle.

Sewing & crochet: needle roll

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

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

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

Simply Crochet (16)

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

Knitted cactus pin cushion

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

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

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

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How to knit a cactus

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

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

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

Crochet some earth!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grandma’s knitted washcloth/dishcloth pattern

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

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

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

Grandmother’s washcloth/dishcloth pattern

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ribbed scarf

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

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

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

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Do you want to make one too?

Ribbed Scarf

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

4mm hook

Scarf width 5 1/2″ – length 77″

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baby Jewel Blanket – FINISHED!

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

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

Details:

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK

1. Meadow

2. Plum

3. Sherbert

4. Pomegranate

5. Aster

6. Lipstick

7. Turquoise

Hook: 4mm

Stitches: trebles, half trebles, doubles (UK)

Pattern/Design: My own

Length: 37″ Width: 33″

Weight: 448g

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

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

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

Playing with new stitches

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

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

R: “But is it a bit court jester?”

M: “No!”

S: “A bit”

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

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

Gadget cover

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

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

Finito!

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

The End

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A hot water bottle cover for Vikki, as requested.

Saturday morning: Bake 2 Devil’s Food cakes

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

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

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

That was a very good day. :-D


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


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

Prachi’s bag

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

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

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

::Could it be ‘holey look’ crochet

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

::Something she could sling across her on walks

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

::A bright stripey bag

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

Here it is:

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

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

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

Fingers crossed it arrives please! :-D