Nothing Plain about these Granny Squares

Another of my son’s “bottom drawer blankets” has been completed. On 1st January I thought I had maybe a week’s work to finish off, it actually took 17 days to block each of the 70 squares, choose the layout, join squares together, and crochet 6 rows of edging. And then the arduous task of sewing in all the loose ends. The most tedious job ever.

The plain granny square works wonderfully with these colours. The stitch pattern is dense, masculine, geometric and suits these 1960/1970’s colour choices. Every square has its sixth row made of mid grey so joining up was crocheting across each row in single crochets on the reverse. It brings everything together in a harmonious way. I’m delighted with this blanket.  Each square looks so different to the next and I tried very hard to have no two squares similar sitting beside each other. I can’t decide which square is my favourite colour combination.  At the end  just to mix things up I completed a square in each colour and these have turned out just as effective as the combination squares. The edge stitches are a mix of half trebles and doubles (UK) depending on how much yarn was left in each colour. 

Now I just have to decide which son this blanket should belong to.

Made up in Stylecraft Special DK in colours spice, parchment, meadow, petrol, silver, lime, storm, blue, mocha, denim and graphite. The palette and pattern were first put together by my virtual crochet pal The Patchwork Heart and the. Ollie pack is available to purchase online at Deramores.co.uk.

This was a big project and should not be undertaken lightly. I have however enjoyed some great drama on tv while finishing it off, including the Agatha Christie mystery “And then there were none”, the final ever “Downton Abbey”, the movie “A little Chaos” – little was I to know that it’s director and star Alan Rickman was to die a few days later, “the Choir” with Dustin Hoffman…..its been very damp and dark this January, with long cold evenings and cuddling up under this  beautiful blanket has been a real joy. 

   
   

Made this Myself I did

Today as been wet grey and yuk. It’s post Christmas, post New Year and we are all a little tired. Some time ago I purchased a book called “Star Wars crochet” by Lucy Collin which turned out to be a book, and a kit, complete with hook, yarn and safety eyes, and after being wowed at the cinema over the holidays going to see the new Star Wars movie, today I gave myself permission to sit down and have a crack at yoda making. 

With a little help from the dog, who was so cold that when I got up to put the kettle on he jumped onto my seat.  

 
I’ve never tried amigurumi crochet before , it is fiddly but makes up very quickly as it is so very tiny. And cute.

My Pinterest amigurumi board has literally exploded after completing this wee project.  

 
Imagine having a crochet hook as a light sabre! 

Chuffed I am with this one. He is posing in front of my very own brand new yarn bowl which was a very surprise gift and which I am terrified of breaking. I will blog about that soon I hope. 

May the force be with you until then, my friends.

100 Crocheted Snowflakes. Well almost.

I will be very honest from the outset and say my copy of “100 Crocheted Snowflakes – make your own snowdrift” by Caitlin Sainio probably arrived by post towards the end of April.I had big plans back then to have made 100 different snowflakes to hang on the Christmas Tree by early December. However that annoying thing called life got in the way and by mid December I finally opened the book  to discover I needed a very small fine hook (3mm) and crochet thread to complete even one snowflake. My heart just about melted. 

So added to my long long list of food , gifts, wrapping paper, and household chores I searched yarn shops near and far for crochet thread.  It’s not easy to find. In fact I ordered some on Amazon which must be coming from outer space because three weeks on it has yet to arrive. 

    
    
    
 In the meantime I did find some, and what a joy to make up these little treasures. All different. In the end I made 12, one for each person round the table on Christmas Day. I had big plans to send them home as wee gifts, but most unlike me I kept them and hung them on my new twig tree where they looked most elegant. As you progress through the book the patterns get more complicated.  The last one I did was  number 49.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am not one for fine lacy designs, more of a chunky robust colourful practical crochet girl, but these were enchanting to make up. Crochet thread is actually almost as fine a cotton thread for sewing, and the hook is fine enough it looks like it could snap at any moment.  I found the patterns very clear to follow, with good word patterns and picture patterns which in the circumstances are very helpful. You need to count like crazy, but in the madness of December this was a good way to sit down and switch your brain to something else entirely even for an hour or forty minutes per flake. I sprayed them with starch, which wasn’t quite stiff enough, but my fabric stiffening paint had been tidied away so it was the best I could do for now and I was keen to get them hanging. I’m. It sure why I only took photos of 7 but they have all been packed away so you’ll have to hold on to next winter to see the rest. 

I finished the last one late on Christmas Eve, just in time to put out Santa’s cookies.

When my Amazon thread arrives from Venus I plan to make the remaining 88 designs in time for next Christmas.

Yeah right. 

A gift for a man who has everything

  
When you are invited to celebrate a milestone birthday of some one renowned for their own personal style and taste, it’s hard to choose the right gift.

So we gave a splendid bottle of wine (we know what he likes) and I spent the past two weeks squinting at tiny linen threads to produce this primitive style cross stitch sampler. Thanks to Pinterest I have an extensive primitive cross stitch board, it’s so much quicker as there is no shading and the pattern is based on fairly simple shapes, unles, unless you dare to work on linen. It’s torture and need to be done in daylight.  I’ve been carrying around my magnifying craft light wherever I go so I could get it completed in time.

He has a black dog, and there are other indications personal to the birthday boy, including various sets of initials in the jumbled up alphabet.

It is mounted with olive card and surrounded by a heavy mounded black Matt frame. It was very much admired and appreciated not just by the recipient but by other guests too.

A very personal gift to be treasured.

Lellabella

not many people come home from holidays very excited about the yarn they have purchased! But I suspect you dear reader, like me, often spend time on holidays checking out craft and yarn shops in other countries! 

I’back from three wonderful days in Venice, Italy with my husband celebrating 25 amazing years of marriage. We decided to throw away the map and just get lost wandering the narrow streets, crossing sweet twisty bridges, turning corner after corner and spotting romantic canals with gondolas serenely gliding through the water.

And in the midst of all this romance I stumbled upon a fabulous wool shop. Lellabella is run by a mother and daughter. Like most shops in Venice its small, but full to the brim with gorgeous yarns and woollen garments, and with beautiful shop windows which drew me, and the husband with the money, inside.  

 
I’m a real Autumn person, loving both the season itself but suit wearing the colours. This super chunky Katia Look yarn in pink, orange, purple, yellow and brown is very me. I was advised to buy two balls and she was right. I would have been eternally frustrated to only have enough yarn to make half of anything.

I made a cowl inside the time it took to watch the very first episode of the very last season of Downton Abbey, advertisements included! 

It is very chunky and I hope will soften a little when I wear it round my neck.

We’ve had a fantastic Indian Summer the past few weeks. Not just the time or temperature for cowls and gloves, but I suspect it’s only round the corner!

  
This is a photo of the Lella Bella shop window displaying the very yarn that I bought, and also the same yarn in gorgeous purples and pinks. I can’t believe I showed enough restraint not to buy that colour too!

I did however purchase some lace weight purple yarn which is dyed and made exclusively for Lella Bella and is sitting calling to me from my yarn stash as another memory from our wonderful anniversary trip.

Summer Project – more awesome amazing V stitch loveliness

It’s been much too quiet. Mostly due to issues with WordPress (this blog hosting site) and not being able to publish any photos. Because crochet, as with most crafts, is a very visual thing. I’m hoping that I’ve resolved these issues without the aid of my technical advisor (17 year old son) who has been in Uganda for two weeks.

On 12 th July on holiday I began the Amazing V Stitch double bed rug for my oldest son who just turned 22, and I’m sure will plan to leave home eventually. Just not yet please! Falling in love with the amazing v stitch pattern and the colours provided in the yarn pack from Deramores I was delighted when he himself picked this pattern and these colours. I couldn’t wait for the postman to struggle up to our door with a large parcel of rainbow delights.

I lugged a mahoosive bag of yarn on two holidays – County Donegal and Isle of Skye Scotland.  Thankfully we were driving not flying or I would not have been able to bring any clothes at all, there was so much yarn – 17 awesome bright 100g balls of yumminess.

this is meant to be a random selection of colours. I discovered quickly that random with 17 colours is not that easy. After selecting balls at random from the yarn bag, I then had to plan a few rows ahead. One day I put them in rainbow order. As we sailed across the Irish Sea I used blues and greens. I experimented by crocheting shades together, then worked with warm and cool tones . In a fit of ingenuity I stitched them in alphabetical order – from aspen green to wisteria. There were many pinks and purples in this yarn selection So I tried hard not to make it too feminine. My gut feeling is this will ultimately be determined by the edging pattern which I am experimenting with and also the colour of the edging.

here are some stage by stage photos.  I’m on the edging now after 140 rows of 300 stitches per row. Using 3.5 mm hook, which I will tell you about in another blog post.

So excited to see it finished but dreading sewing in a lot of ends!

Starting at the very beginning

Starting at the very beginning

We met Flossie at an Air BnB near Loch Lomond. She loved it!

We met Flossie at an Air BnB near Loch Lomond. She loved it!

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It’s hard to keep things “random” I discovered!

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Some of the 140 ends needing to be sewn in

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Finally starting the edging. The end is in sight

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It may not be finished but the dog loves it already

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Grace Wrap’s Big Day Out

Remember the lovely duck egg and black wrap I made? Probably not! Well it had its big day out at our oldest son’s graduation last week.  The day itself was warm and sunny, but he graduated in the evening and there was a garden party afterwards as the sun set over the university quadrangle.  It was all very nice until the midges came out! As the air turned a little chilly I was thrilled to be able to wrap myself in my very lovely wrap with the satisfaction that it was unique, handmade and belonging to me!

I managed to take a few photos of the wrap, and it’s maker (me) wearing it, and my very fancy hair up do. We all had a super day. We are so proud of our son getting his degree after four hard working years.

 (Sorry for the state of these photos. Since WordPress updated on my iPad I am finding it difficult to load photo images so these aren’t even properly edited. ) 

    
 

Paintbox Tea Cosy

  

This is my very well used white ceramic tea pot. It’s great. It doesn’t dribble and holds about 6 cups.

Since having a go at making a tea cosy a few months ago in a post   Time for Tea I was keen to make one for myself. Using the super wash paintbox yarn again, this time in the colour of “tropical seas” to match my mugs, I set aside an evening, started from the bottom in double stitch measuring as I went. You need to make sure the teapot is empty and cold as you will be twisting and turning it to make sure your rows of stitching are fitting perfectly to the pot itself. 

I won’t lie, it was tricky. The previous teapot had straight sides. This is a lovely round tea pot and so there was a great deal of increasing and then decreasing, mostly working in the round but leaving a hold for the spout and a large space for the handle. (One side does fit better than the other, oops). This time I managed to make the whole thing in one piece, whereas first time around I made the lid or top of the cosy and then attached it on. 

It is held on tightly with a bow above the handle, but this wasn’t really necessary. And of course the Pom Pom maker was out once again for a very satisfying huge pompom on the top!  All in all this took probably 2-3 hours max and was challenging but I’m very pleased with the result.

I know the yarn is expensive, but it is washable, and there was enough  to make a mat. I made a mat but I’m not pleased with it so when I’ve made one to my satisfaction I will post photos.

For now, here is the tea pot in its nice new jumper. 

     

The amazing V Stitch

Crochet bloggers are a very inspiring group of people! I think they must all either have full time staff to keep their tasteful homes clean and tidy,or be born with six pairs of hands to keep up to date designing, crocheting, photographing and blogging about their work.

One of my favourites is The Patchwork Heart. I discovered her first on Facebook  and love her ideas, her style and the clarity of her pattern writing.

Yesterday feeling in the mood for a challenge I decided to learn a few new stitches so headed to her blog. Who could resist a peek at “the amazing v stitch”? 

Having read through the pattern carefully, using cotton yarn and a 4.5 hook I produced this 

 

I love this stitch. As she says a blanket makes up very quickly. Long time readers of my blog may remember my attempt at a sampler stitch blanket which went horribly wrong. I had unravelled most of it and put it away in a dark corner. This stitch is perfect for the bags of quite expensive baby merino Drops yarn!

Last night, using 3.5 mm hook and 60 chains across I produced this much in about an hour 

 

There will be many many ends to be sewn in when this is done! Yuk. 

But if you are looking for the easy kind of stitch to make while you watch a film on your dust free TV in your perfectly tidy home, eating a home baked cake, wrapped in a blanket you’ve stitched yourself while your domestic staff pass you freshly peeled grapes then go for it!

And if you have a moment over the weekend please do go check out This wonderful inspiring blog.

A  New Style of Cotton Bag

Last summer I made many cotton market bags to be sold at a craft fair, none of which were actually bought! I still have a great deal of cotton yarn in my stash so watching Netflix and having empty hands and a willing heart to try something new  I launched into a bag pattern from my Doring Kindersley book and being me tweaked it to suit my mood and my needs.

It starts easy with a rectangular base in double crochet, then working in the round to make the sides. I just love these colours, I think they are navy, kiwi and cream. (Very popular colours in my wardrobe) This is to be a yarn holding bag so I was keen to make it shut (if not dog proof then at least dog deterrent) , so crocheted a button band, added handles and gave it a sweet spotted green lining. Mixing sewing and crochet is a first here!  I even added a pocket! 

       As I am such a loose crocheter this has turned out quite big and floppy so I improvised the top by reducing the number of stitches quite dramatically. Not quite the finish I had planned but it is done and I have moved on to other things.