3

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

 

2

Runner completed but time running out!

Hello everybody,

I have to apologise for neglecting my blog over the last couple of months. To be honest I’m finding it a bit difficult to find the time needed to keep up with the record of work required for my International Crochet Diploma and to blog as regularly as I would like.

I am thoroughly enjoying Part 1 of the course and have learned so much new stuff already – Tunisian and Broomstick as well as Filet crochet.  Certainly one of the things I’m noticing though is that the amount of time one can spend on “other” crochet activities is more limited: my “want to make” list is growing by the day. Christmas is fast approaching and along with the imminent arrival of two babies I want to make gifts for I am torn between my ICD samples and taking a break.

The good news is that Project No 3 is finished and has been submitted. I needed to use a fine thread and decided on a table runner in spider stitch – found the pattern on a lovely blog, Lace’n’Ribbon Roses. I already had a cone of Southern Comfort by Twilleys in my stash and used a 2mm hook which seems to show off the stitch pattern quite well.

Spider stitch

first attempt at the stitch pattern

 

pleased with the effect

pleased with the effect but the colour looks completely different!

Fortunately, I have a blocking mat which proved the perfect size for the runner……

blocking

….. and here it is ready to send off

difficult to photograph

My limited photography skills made it difficult to take a good photo of this but I do like the way the light behind picks up the stitch pattern.

And so, we are off on holiday for a month during which time I hope to catch up with some small bits and bobs – photos at the end of November, hopefully! I’m sure you will all be starting on some Christmas gifts too; good luck with all those projects and ….

……. keep crocheting!

Bye for now,

Jenny x

 

 

 

 

 

0

Coloured Catherine Wheels

Hello,

A new baby is always a reason to celebrate – to knit or crochet a favourite baby item. Phoebe Elizabeth is no exception and her arrival is very special.

Am I alone in getting itchy fingers to try out new stitch patterns after doing the well-known ones a few times? With a reasonable stash of merino and cash-merino baby yarns lurking in my stash I embarked on the never-attempted (by me!) Catherine Wheel stitch of Little Doolally’s Penny Baby blanket.

love this yarn hungry stitch and how the colours stand out

love this yarn hungry stitch and how the colours stand out

 

buggy blanket

buggy blanket

It took a little while to get the swatch to work and have reasonably straight sides and I have to admit to being a little fearful as to the outcome. Once mastered, though, the stitch works well and is very effective in showing off bands of colour.

penny blanket

penny blanket

The edging too was a bit hit and miss and since the pattern suggested that it could be too full I was not surprised to find the central panel pulling inwards. Ohh, the wonders of blocking ….. layers of towels, a hovering steam iron and patience over the weekend worked a treat and here is the finished article ready to be posted along with the little baby hat.

edging from Attic 24

edging from Attic 24

baby hat

baby hat

All in all a very pleasing project and, though I say it myself, not a bad finish either. I hope little Phoebe and her Mum will enjoy it!

Back soon with my next exciting project.

Happy knitting and crochet,

Jenny x

 

0

My own ta-dah moment …… well, not quite but maybe!

Hello everybody,

In my last post I hinted at something a bit special – well, this could be one of those projects.

I might, just might, have designed my very own throw/afghan: loosely speaking, of course, because the overall visualisation of the design came from the sunflower blanket which one of my ladies had made and the individual motif design is one of Jan Eaton’s from 200 Crochet Blocks.

It all began with our Baltic Cruise and the visit to Oslo where I found these beautiful colours in 100% Tynn Alpakka 4ply – I couldn’t resist!

bought in Oslo

my colours

my colours

So, when we returned from France in August I had to make a decision as to how I was going to get the best effect from this gorgeous yarn. I had already seen and favourited The Mercerie’s Crochet Sunflower Blanket on Ravelry and had loved it when it had been beautifully made by a friend.

sunflower corner

sunflower corner

 

I knew I needed a contrasting colour to show off my chosen palette of blues and purples and Drops Baby Alpaca Silk in silver grey seemed a good match in terms of both texture and weight ….. (it also had the advantage of being readily available in the UK which is not true of the Tynn Alpakka)

Having chosen the Willow motif for the centre and border it was great fun to randomly use the colours and then join them together with the grey ..

willow motif

willow motif

40 border squares completed

40 border squares completed

Central motifs

Central motifs

So far so good – and fortunately the granny stripes all seemed to work. I remembered to turn the work after each colour to avoid tilting and that does seem to have done the trick. Why did we crocheters not know of that before? So many tilted squares would have been avoided!

I'm pleased with the centre motifs

pleased with the centre motifs

the centre is nearly done

the centre is nearly done

Now the challenge is to fit the centre into the border of motifs – I suspect that quite a bit of trial and error will be needed here as I have not been counting exact numbers of clusters and spaces. I merely measured each completed motif and have aimed to finish the central square at the correct dimensions. The wool is quite stretchy though so who knows how the joining will go …. I am hoping to join with slip stitches on the final treble cluster round.

will this all fit together?

will this all fit together?

Well, that’s where I am at the moment and I’m really excited about finishing this project.  I shall then have to decide on a suitable edging using the yarn I have left – treble clusters, doubles, shells, picots or a combination of all these? Who knows?

I just wanted to update you but there’s work to be done yet so I’d better say goodbye for now and look forward to that final ta-dah moment sometime soon!

Have a great Sunday.

Jenny x

0

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

0

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

0

Happy New Year

Slightly belatedly I know, but best wishes for 2014 to everybody. Let’s hope it’s going to be an excellent crafting year for all of us. I can’t wait to get started on some different projects now that all the gifts have been given.

All my Christmas projects seem to have been well received …. Here as promised are some photos of the finished items.

Enjoying a rest!

Enjoying a rest!

Spike the dragon

Spike the dragon

Murray the reindeer and Spike the dragon

Murray the reindeer and Spike the dragon

His and hers

His and hers

Bold colourways

Bold colourways

On the whole I was pleased – one or two items could have been finished off more professionally and I have certainly made a resolution to start earlier next year. We say that every year, don’t we? Will it happen in 2014? Very doubtful I think.

Talking of resolutions – the one decision I did make in the autumn was to store my stash in a more user-friendly way. Some more appropriate storage was needed to deal with the craft-related clutter which has spread to almost every room now!

Well, we have been to Ikea and the flat packs have been purchased. Since it was our first experience of buying at IKEA I’m afraid we pleaded ignorance and a very kind assistant came to our aid finding us all the elements we needed.  All that remains now is to assemble the units!! Fortunately my son-in-law has agreed to help …. does he really know what he is letting himself in for?

So now it’s back to my North Sea cobbles and their crocheted covers; now that I have some decent stones I can’t wait to try out the motifs I was experimenting with before Xmas. I also want to try out a scarf pattern which I bought in the USA a couple of years ago … came across it during the initial stages of my grand sorting out project. It involves directional knitting which I have never done before so I’m not sure how it will turn out. We shall see.

Well, that’s all for now,

Jenny x