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Buttons and braids (no! …. edgings actually!)

Hello,

Two of the samples required for the International Diploma in Crochet Part 1 are seven different, usable, crocheted buttons and three crocheted edgings in DK yarn appropriate for adding to the front edges of a plain edge-to-edge knitted/crocheted jacket. I have been working on these during the last couple of weeks and sent them off to be assessed last week.

Each of the buttons had to be different so I settled on covering a flat button (lime green), a button with a shank (turquoise), a small round one (cream) and a metal ring (multi) which I covered in double crochet before weaving in and out of wheel-like spokes.  These were all worked in fine threads of differing thicknesses in amigurumi style, spiral double crochet.

The remaining three needed to be firm enough to hold their shape by either stuffing or working very firmly on small hooks: a red disc of trebles, a small pink globe filled with toy stuffing and a turquoise, variegated flower.

Here they are …..

Buttons

Let’s hope my mentor approves!

I can’t truthfully say that I found this to be a fun exercise as I found it quite fiddly. The buttons also needed more finishing off with a needle than I ever would choose. My friends all know that I go for a crochet join rather than a stitched one wherever possible!

The edgings (they differ from braids in that one side has to be plain double crochet to stitch onto existing fabric) proved more interesting and it was fun trying out a few new effects with stitches …

Edgings

Dk tweedy mix

This first edging is worked in a tweedy Scandinavian yarn called Sandnes Garn Robust and the last two rows form the half treble crochet puff stitch which I found in Pauline Turner’s book of finishing techniques.

Htr and front loop only crab st

Wendy Ramsdale DK provided a lovely woolly look and feel to this edging where I experimented a bit with working into back loops only.

Front post trebles

Finally, an edging based on an American afghan border which I had, using a combination of trebles and front post trebles.

Aside from these samples, I just could not resist starting a couple of extra projects  …… different requirements for car journeys, watching TV, knitting group etc. Well, that’s my excuse!!

So, here’s a glimpse of a real stash-buster that I have on the go using one of my favourite stitches – linen stitch, also sometimes referred to as woven or up-and-down stitch. It’s not a fast grower but I love the way the resulting fabric lies so flat …..

What could it be?


Linen st

Last week, feeling that a visit to a local Craft centre was justified by my stash-busting I splashed out on this interesting looking Bergère de France yarn. It has a metallic thread running through it …

Bergère de France reflet

I have to say I am pleased with the way it’s growing into my next shawl/triangular scarf; the four-row pattern is designed by Elisabeth de Herraiz and featured in Issue 41 of Simply Crochet

Elisabeth Davis de Herraiz lacy shawl

So there we are …. plenty to keep me busy over the next few weeks not to mention coming to grips (unintentional pun!) with Broomstick and Hairpin crochet for my course.

Enjoy your knitting and/or crochet wherever you are and be inspired to try something new. We all know how beneficial any crafting is.

Best wishes,

Jenny x

 

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3

Tunisian … ta-dah!

Hello again,

It’s been ages since I wrote last – holidays, kitchen flooding and other bits and bobs have rather scuppered my writing of late. In the meantime, my IDC course has not been totally neglected: I was able to spend some time during our brilliant holiday in France on my third project – a household item worked in 2ply yarn/thread – but I’m getting ahead of myself …….

Before we went away I completed my second coursework project – a cushion cover in Tunisian crochet using Aran weight yarn with the addition of some fashion yarn …

flowers on the front

flowers on the front

 

striped back

striped back

 

buttons on back

buttons on back

 

flower in fashion yarn

flower in fashion yarn

Have to admit that I am surprisingly pleased with the result and I shall be sending the cushion off to my mentor this weekend and hoping for the best.

If you remember a while ago I attended a local workshop on Tunisian crochet before starting on the cushion cover. Quite coincidently, when we came back from France last week I noticed another workshop in Miju Wools, Gloucester; this time it is based on Broomstick crochet and that is indeed the technique which I have decided on for my fourth and final project.

I now have my latest crochet requirement, a single huge knitting needle purchased for 50p in a local Charity shop! I have to admit my initial attempts have been a bit clumsy! Maybe not surprising with an implement this large!

20mm needle and 4.00mm hook

20mm needle and 4.00mm hook

So, I’m off to embark on my latest new technique, armed with my “broomstick”. The stitch was originally worked with the handles of brooms …. can’t imagine how awkward that must have been!  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Happy crocheting!

Jenny x

 

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From parcel string to pots to pebbles

Happy St. David’s Day to you all for Saturday.  It was so lovely to celebrate it in sunshine with big bunches of daffodils.

signs of spring

signs of spring

Crochet is so very versatile …. I was reminded of this last week when somebody was fascinated by the granny square border on the cotton top which I have been finishing off. “Nobody does it any more”, she said “and granny squares are so old fashioned”. I had to put her right and enlighten her on the wealth of different projects now available and also the increasing numbers of people wanting to learn the craft.

My motif border top is indeed finished and just needs a bit of blocking; I must admit to being pleasantly surprised at how well the design has turned out and how much I enjoyed working with the fine cotton thread – all we need now is the summer weather to wear it.

finished at last

finished at last

Now, crochet with parcel string is a completely different concept and not kind to the hands. But …. the results can be amazing.

When I saw Vicki Brown’s design for storage containers in Issue 40 of Inside Crochet I was intrigued as to how it might be possible to work in parcel string and incorporate super chunky yarn. How can a piece of crocheted fabric stand up unaided and be strong enough to put things in? It’s a little miracle of crochet!

Here are the results ..

Clever effect

Clever effect

Chunky strands

Chunky strands

Pleased with these

Pleased with these

….. and it was both easier and faster than I imagined. Those balls of chunky yarn lurking in my stash will have a use after all as my storage baskets multiply in number.

One of my favorite crochet books at the moment is hook,yarn and crochet by Ros Badger. I have already worked some of her crocheted pebble patterns and to give my hands a rest from the rather tough string I tried the Tea light cuffs  ….   just new my empty Bonne Maman jam jars would come in useful for something. What better way to protect perfumed candles when sitting outside on those balmy summer evenings which we look forward to at this time of year.

can't wait to see it with a candle in

can’t wait to see it with a candle in

How lovely is this? You can make one in an evening.

I rest my case: crochet is not as passé as people think. For those of us who are hooked on hooking wool, cotton, string or whatever the queue of projects in our to-do list is endless. Better get on with something then….

Bye for now,

Jenny x

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Pebbles and patterns

Hello again,

It’s hard to believe that a scrap of cotton crochet can transform a stone into a thing of beauty. Admittedly they are those most sought after North Sea cobbles but nevertheless ….

unadorned

unadorned

I just pootle along with a bit of thread and a tiny motif, adding a round of double crochet here a few chain there until the cover looks big enough.

five rounds in

five rounds in

Then comes the moment of truth …. which stone or pebble will fit best inside?  A tug at one end, a little easing at the other and it’s in, ready to be secured with a couple more rounds.

it just kept growing and growing

it just kept growing and growing

Suddenly, what was just a trial piece is too nice to undo and so another crocheted stone appears on the hearth!

…. And another one – these are addictive!

Star by Ros Badger

Star by Ros Badger

There have been a couple of patterns in Crochet magazines recently … this design by Ros Badger featured in Issue Ten of Simply Crochet. I also found some online: Margaret Oomen has a few super patterns such as Sunburst, Shamrock and Radii on her website but others don’t seem easy to track down. This is frustrating because the detailed lacy patterns on these pebbles on Pinterest and other sites are so lovely that I just want to be able to try them myself.

sunburst and radii

sunburst and radii

I covered two stones for my daughter last week and they blend very well into her bathroom rock collection.

rock collection

rock collection

What’s more the backs of these stones are beginning to look a bit more professional – less trial and error involved as I get used to the shapes.

getting neater

getting neater

These covered stones are so lovely to do as each one turns out slightly different from the rest and the colours and shapes vary such from stone to stone. The other satisfying thing is that one can be completed in an evening.

Well, I’m off now to keep track of my other projects.

Back soon,

Jenny x

2

Handmade Christmas

Hello,

Internet problems were an issue last week but it’s all sorted now so we’re back in business and it’s December.

I’m quite traditional deep down and love it when I hear Christmassy music or see sparkly decorations. The arrival of December always brings excitement and panic in equal measure: yoga party and two Xmas lunches all within three days not to mention the sudden shortage of crafting time before Christmas Day.

On Tuesday our knitting group met to make seasonal bits and bobs so the tiny white snowflake made for my pebble was replaced by some red, green and white larger ones.

Colourful bits and bobs

Colourful bits and bobs

Then we all went off to the local hostelry for a roast lunch  … really sociable and good to have time to chat about things other than yarns, patterns and the intricacies of reading crochet patterns. I expect you’ve guessed that I could spend every waking hour talking knitting and crochet!

The afternoon was spent browsing The Wool Croft in Abergavenny and adding to already substantial stashes! Luscious yarns to save till the New Year, you understand, when all our projects are completed! So all in all it was a beautiful knitty day.

How yummy are these?

How yummy are these?

Now to more pressing issues – and some of my completed presents do, in fact, need blocking. I can’t post full photos in case some family members try to sneak a look so here are just one or two tiny previews …

.... or this?

…. or this?

Guess what?

Guess what?

The crocheted pebbles haven’t been completely neglected either  ….. and the finished results of the first snowflake designs have turned out quite well although a little tweaking is still needed to produce the finish which I have seen on some website photos. I think it will be a question of trial and error especially with very different shaped pebbles.

Different effects

Different effects

Marbles and stones

Marbles and stones

A busy week as you can see – all great fun. Hope you are all getting on well with your Christmas projects. Why does every day seem so much shorter as the weeks go by? What I need is an extra month of crafting time!

That’s all for now,

Jenny x

2

How it began.

Some of you may be familiar with the prawn through the knitting and crochet book, The Woolly Prawn. My daughter and I wrote it and incredibly it’s now almost twelve months since the launch. Many prawns later we have put together a Woolly Prawn kit which includes all you need to make your first prawn or two and is available from our Etsy shop.

Yes, but where do pebbles fit into all this  .. I hear you asking yourselves.

Well, the prawn has just been on tour in Devon and Cornwall. Inspiration came while building a dam over a stream on the beach with my grandsons.

DSC02978

Yes, that’s me striding purposefully away into the distance!

DSC03003

The pebbles and rocks were just so striking and I suddenly remembered the pattern for crocheted stones in a recent Issue of Simply Crochet. I had to get my hands on some cotton to try it out.

You would not think that it would prove so difficult to find crochet thread …I had to make do with doubling up some No 20 in a far from perfect colour!

Here are my first attempts …

IMG_7072

IMG_7073

Quite pleased with those I must say!

Sourcing the project

Not much success locally trying to find attractive, fine crochet thread so have had to look at some of my favourite online shops. The good news is that the local Garden Centre has beautiful, rounded cobbles which will be perfect for enclosing in some fine crochet.

All very exciting!

jenny x