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Buttons, braids and Brighton Plaid

Happy Sunday everybody!

Required sample No 32 for the International Diploma in Crochet is “A varied selection of seven practical and usable crochet buttons”.

Sample No 33 is “A selection of five crochet braids”.

I have been scouring my crochet books and have come up with a couple of button designs  ……

first two - rather plain

first two – rather plain

…… so one of today’s tasks is to find a few more decorative designs and try them out. I have covered pebbles in crochet so the concept of an enclosed spherical item is not a problem but the fact that the button must not show through is a bit more testing and seven different examples seems quite a few.

Braids, however, could prove more problematic since the definition of a braid seems to vary. What exactly is a braid and how does it differ from an edging? Must both sides be symmetrical as in a belt or bag handle or can one side be straight for sewing onto a piece of fabric? Some books describe braids as plaited which is something else again???

I love the fact that this course is challenging me to concentrate on all these ideas and concepts; I know that in order to extend myself I must take the plunge and some risks – safe is not an option in spite of it being my preference.

Last but by no means least ……  my Brighton Plaid blanket is coming along. I just love the yarn and the fact that because it is hand-dyed different shades of colour appear in different lights.

centre squares

centre squares

circles in squares joined with granny stripes

circles in squares joined with granny stripes

I am so, so pleased that it is a join-as-you-go design ……. from tiny to middle-sized it grows as I go and whichever random choice of colour yarn I choose for adjoining squares, they all seem to go together so well. I’d happily swap weaving in yarn ends as I go for seaming everything together at the end of a project!

mini squares

mini squares

At present I’m on the popcorn granny round; I thought the popcorns might prove tricky but not at all and the textured effect is lovely.

popcorn corner

popcorn corner

colour and texture

colour and texture

Well, I’m off to research some buttons and braids this morning. Each to their own as the saying goes!

Back soon,

Jenny x

 

 

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Christmas Bazaar

Hello,

Just a quickie today to say a huge thank you to all those who supported The Woolly Prawn at our stall in the Abbotts Bromley Girls’ School Christmas Bazaar last Saturday and to those who bought books, kits or pebbles. I hope you enjoy them.

I had lots of help from my granddaughter who was definitely giving the crocheted pebbles the hard sell and was generously distributing our cards for The Woolly Prawn and Crocheted Pebbles. A big thank you also to Helen, who invited me to share her stall – we had a lovely day. Do take a look at her fabulous goodies – they make wonderful presents.

The stall

Plans are afoot to extend the Woolly Prawn’s range of goodies for next year’s event – watch this space.

Now it really is time to concentrate on my Christmas projects! No photos at this stage for obvious reasons. Time is certainly of the essence …. why does December seem to fly?

Off I fly!

Jenny x

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Prawn to pebble and back again

Hello,

I can hardly believe that my blog has now had over 1,000 visits during its first year; a huge thank you to all of you who have looked at it and been so supportive.

All this prawn business seems to have come full circle now – first of all my daughter and I jointly wrote and published The Woolly Prawn in December 2012 after many hours spent designing, making and testing knitted prawns and the other bits and bobs ……

the book

the book

Then followed the introduction of the Woolly Prawn Kit in the summer of 2013 …..

the woolly prawn kit

the woolly prawn kit

…….  and in October last year when the crochet bug had really taken hold I developed the passion for crocheted pebbles which led to my blog. Now it’s back again to Woolly Prawn kits and keyrings ……

prawn keyrings

prawn keyrings

mini prawn keyrings

The return to prawn-making began in earnest when I was invited to share a stall at the Abbotts Bromley Girls’ School Christmas Bazaar. Helen and I will be selling our goodies together on Saturday, December 29th – do have a look at the wonderful handmade dolls and rabbits on her facebook page (Helen Lucia E) and if you live in the Abbotts Bromley area come along on Saturday morning.

So, over the last few weeks I have been preparing kits for the Christmas season with their mini-prawn keyrings –

Contents

Contents

ready to go!

ready to go!

you can check out the book and the kit on Etsy.com/shop/TheWoollyPrawn.

There will be crocheted pebbles on sale as well, of course, and I have been trying out some colours to brighten up my display.

Made for grandchildren and other small hands.

.

So, next week I really can concentrate on my Christmas projects – three weeks to complete ….. that’s scary! I hope you are all well ahead with your seasonal crafting. It is supposed to be relaxing and therapeutic after all!

Bye for now,

Jenny x

 

 

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Pebble puzzles

Hello again.

Well, there’s good news and not so good news. I’ll start with the bad news, shall I, and get it out of the way?

Well, would you believe that I’m running out of pebbles. Yes …. that huge bag of North Sea Cobbles is almost at an end and what’s more all the best of them – round and symmetrical – have gone, leaving behind  some rather quirky shapes which are proving quite a challenge to cover.

very odd shapes

very odd shapes

More on that subject later!

Now to the good news …. I’ve found a product which transforms the rather grey stones into a far more acceptable pebble to crochet around. A most helpful young man at our local Post Office came up with the idea of painting the stones with Mod Podge – yes, that really is what it’s called – to enhance the colours of the rocks. You know how much more attractive pebbles look when wet – well, it doesn’t quite reproduce that look but it definitely helps.

the marvellous Mod Podge

the marvellous Mod Podge

 

glossed and ready to go

glossed and ready to go

 

So, with some unusual shapes lined up I have been searching the internet for some appropriate shaped motifs to use. I’ve seen images of beautiful designs …. leaves, ferns, swirls and other fantastical shapes … But there are never any patterns for them. The problem, you see,  is framing the central motif in such a way that it enhances the shape of the pebble. The perfectly round patterns which I started on last autumn work well but now I want to create something different for each stone. It’s become a bit  obsessive and I have taken to scouring all my crochet magazines for different motifs and doily centres which I can adapt to the shapes of my stones.

My attempts at covering a rather beautiful oval shaped stone have not achieved quite what I wanted: having spotted and worked a leaf outline design from the beautiful new book Natura’s Crochet Flowers I was disappointed to find the finished result too fussy so that the central motif is lost. This is one pebble which is about to be uncovered!

attempted leaf!

attempted leaf!

 

Some have turned out better, though, and I shall certainly be trying the windmill, spider’s web, spiral cross, snowflake and granny rectangle again.

windmill design by Anita Mundt

windmill design by Anita Mundt

 

spider's web by Lucy Croft in Simply Crochet

spider’s web by Lucy Croft in Simply Crochet

 

granny rectangle from Simply Crochet

granny rectangle from Simply Crochet

 

snowflake from Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks

snowflake from Jan Eaton’s 200 Crochet Blocks

 

I can’t quite believe I have now made twenty-one different covers and even the designs which I have made more than once look different each time.

For anybody who really does want to see the designs I’ve used so far –  all my covered pebbles can be seen on Pinterest here.

So, that’s all for now. I’m off on a large pebble hunt.

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

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Stash surprises

Hello again.

It’s amazing what little nuggets of delight can come to light when sorting a stash!  As you know I have been rationalising my craft stuff ready for my new Ikea unit – well, I came across some Colinette yarn bought ages ago …

Multi by Colinette…. it’s much more purple than I had remembered but I obviously loved it at the time!

Also rediscovered was an American pattern for a multi-directional scarf designed to show off self-patterning yarn so a new technique and a way of using up that yarn. What could be better?

Portland pattern

Portland pattern

Multi-directional seems to be very similar to short row shaping as in the heels of socks, Frankie Brown’s ten-stitch blanket and mitred squares. Once you get into it it grows quickly and, as the pattern suggests, does highlight the colour changes of the yarn.

very purple

very purple

neater than I thought it would be

neater than I thought it would be

Don’t know about you but I just can’t seem to resist multicoloured yarn – these lovely balls came from Chester. Italian, soft to the touch but with a tension somewhere between 4 ply and DK so I wasn’t quite sure what to make with them.

yummy colours

yummy colours

Then it came to me – incorporate them all into a Granny Stripe blanket. What is this obsession with blankets and throws? When in doubt crochet a throw – so reassuring to have on the go and you can pick them up at any time to do a row.  We don’t really need another one but I’m sure someone will give it a good home.

hooked on granny stripes

hooked on granny stripes

So, here we are … committed to it but pleased with the way it is working out. I have stuck in a couple of stripes in solid colours to highlight the others and as you see purple keeps popping up!

Now that two new projects are underway (I’m just not a single project sort of crafter!) I can get back to my crocheted pebbles and try out some more designs.

I’ll report back soon on how that’s going,

Bye for now,

Jenny x