The Art of Crochet

Craft | Wednesday January 20 2010 | 8:32 pm | Comments (7) | Tags: , |

The art of crochet‘Have you seen the new crochet magazine?’ Everyone’s been asking me!  I’d seen the adverts on TV and finally bought a copy of issue 1, a bargain at 99p (future issues £2.99)!  The patterns looked OK, a DVD to get you started, 2 balls of yarn, a 4mm crochet hook, gifts with future issues, extra gifts if I subscribe within 7 days, loose pages to slot into a forthcoming folder, squares to crochet every week to make a blanket, complete  in just 120 issues.  Perfect!  I mean, what? Wait a minute… how many?   

Now, I am not the most frugal with money [blush] but this didn’t add up.  Well, it did actually… to £358.80!  Yes, you get all of the above, but thinking about it more closely it wasn’t really so tempting.  I love the thought of crochet goodies popping through my letter box every week, but they send them in bulk every 4 weeks.

And the yarn is 25g of 100% acrylic.  I wouldn’t expect a top quality wool, but a nice cotton would be more than passable.  The patterns look OK on the whole, the type you get in knitting and crochet magazines mainly.  I do think there would be some things I’d make over time, but certainly not all of them.

I love the idea of making a blanket with all the squares from each issue, and I have been tempted by Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket Club, but its knitting not crochet and I don’t think I have all the knitting skills to complete it successfully. 

So shall I subscribe because it’s another crochet thing to read and play with or shall I spend my £358.80 over the next 2 years on a couple of workshops, several crochet books, quite a few magazines and lots and lots of lovely yummy scrummy yarn?  Decisions Decisions!!

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The Blanket Revealed

Craft | Tuesday January 19 2010 | 9:29 pm | Comments (3) | Tags: , , , , , |

I am so excited about sharing these pictures of my finished baby blanket because I am delighted with the result. 

The ripple pattern was really easy once I got started and got a few rows into it and it’s really easy to remember.  Its basically in 4 stages each of 4 stitches: 4 uphill, 2 increasing to 4 over the top of the hill, 4 downhill and 4 decreasing  to 2 in the valley!  Simple as that (do refer to Attic 24 for the full version – you won’t get far on my shorthand alone – that’s just what I said in my head as I went along). 

The blanket measures 60cm x 80cm (24 x 32 inches) and used just under 8 balls of the Patons Fairytale DK; 4 each in blue and pastel multi.  I changed yarn colour every 3 rows so that the stripes weren’t too close together and so that the ends / yarn changes were not all on the same edge of the blanket, as I do find they an add a little bulk.  I didn’t sew in any of the ends until I was finished so that was rather a chore, but I’m rubbish at doing things as I go along.  When all the stripes were finished and the ends sewn in I felt the edges were not as smooth as I’d like so I finished all the way round with double crochet in the blue yarn.  I feel this kind of tied all the stripes together too and gave it a ‘finished’ sort of look too.

It’s another month before baby Jimmy, who will receive this blanket, is due to arrive so I will wrap it up nicely and keep it carefully for him.  I don’t think his Mummy reads this site, but if she does she will be in for a lovely surprise if she sees this here.  I think I should make her a lovely treat too as she’s doing all the hard work, isn’t she!

Here is the finished blanket:

Baby blanket folded

Baby blanket edges

baby blanket close up

Baby blanket open

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Knuts about it!

Craft | Sunday January 17 2010 | 3:13 pm | Comments (3) | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Although leaving the house was the last thing I felt like doing yesterday I had set my heart on going to Knutsford, and going to Knutsford we did. 

My main purpose was to go to Fibre and Clay as I wanted to get some lovely yarn to crochet something for myself.  I’m right in the middle of baby projects at the moment and looking forward to using some luxury yarns and vibrant colours just for me.

As usual Riana and her team were really helpful and remembered me from their crochet course last August!  I had to admit to having not touched knitting since then, in favour of crochet.

I didn’t go tooooo mad but I did buy a few lovely things.  I chose a book which I had been looking at online a few days earlier which didn’t really appeal until I was able to flick through it.  Loop Vintage Crochet by Susan Cropper contains 30 patterns for garments, accessories and the home.

Fibre and Clay stocks a great range of yarns and had quite a few in the sale – and it turned out all the ones I chose were reduced!

 Fibre & Clay shopping

I got 7 balls of Louisa Harding’s Flotsam in a gorgeous pink to crochet a wrap from the Vintage Crochet book, 2 of Miraso Hancho, a red and purple hand dyed merino, and 2 of Rowan 4 ply cotton in a rich aubergine plum shade.  I don’t yet know what to do with the Rowan Cotton, but it is in my mum’s favourite colour so I shall make something for her with that.

So this will be my next project – the ‘Ava’ wrap from Vintage Crochet:

my next project

 

We also went to Waterstones and I got 3 novels to get myself back into reading, as I have got out of the habit in the last month or so.  I also got some pretty little butterfly post-it type stickers, just because they were so gorgeous – and useful as little bookmarks and place markers when following patterns.  Caveman can’t leave a bookshop without a) buying more books and b) saying ‘I just don’t have enough time to read’!  He was true to form on this occasion, but I wouldn’t want him any other way!

Books & butterflies

 

All in all we had a rather lovely afternoon out, followed by dinner in Pizza Express and then home for an evening playing with yarn and books!  A perfect Saturday!

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Everyone’s at it!

Craft | Tuesday January 5 2010 | 7:54 pm | Comments (3) | Tags: , , , , , , |

I know lots of people who are pregnant at the moment and it’s making me twitchy!  No, silly, not my hormones!!!  My crochet hooks!!!

Whenever I hear of the patter of tiny feet my initial excitement for the happy mummy and daddy to be soon turns to thoughts of crochet opportunities and right now they are rife!

The things I love about making for babies are the colours, the delicate yarns, the anticipation for the expectant family and the appreciation with which home made gifts are received.

My friend Anne became a granny to baby Joseph just before Christmas and even though I don’t know Joseph’s mummy I have made him a cosy hat.  I based it very loosely on a pattern from Haakpoes for sizing and made a couple of alterations.  Instead of stripes I used one main colour (blue for a boy, of course) with contrast turn up brim and tassles.  I love the ‘noodle’ on Haakpoes hat but it didn’t look quite right on mine so I added a few twists to the top instead.  The pattern says its for a 3-6month old but I have no idea what size a babies head is so I hope it doesn’t only fit him in the summer!!  However, the way the weather is going here at the moment we may still have snow!!

Doesn’t this look cosy? However, a strange phenomenon occurred, whereby the variegated yarn didn’t variegate itself very well and came out in chunks of colour rather than stripes!  I think it adds something to the hat in a funny sort of way, as you can turn it around and have a different hat for every day of the week!

 baby boy blue hat

My sister in law, KellyAnn, and one of my closest friends, Mandy, are both due in the latter half of February so I haveplenty time to create some baby gifts for them.   I have already started work on a blanket which I am really pleased with.  I have wanted to tackle a ripple pattern for some time and a baby blanket seemed the perfect opportunity.  Lucy at Attic 24 has lots of beautiful and colourful crochet blankets to I tackled her Neat Ripple Pattern.  I had a few false starts, mainly because, as usual, I cut straight to the simplified version of the pattern without looking at the great walk through that Lucy had done.  Turns out I needed my hand held and when I had read it all fully it worked a treat.  Here’s the work in progress:

 Ripple baby blanket

I’ll add more pictures when it’s finished.  Turns out Ali at SnipSnapHappy has been having the same ripply thoughts as me too!

It’s worth mentioning here the yarn I’m using for these baby items.  It’s one I picked in a different shade for a little phone case a few months ago and I really like working with it.  Its Patons Fairytale Colour 4 Me DK machine washable 100% wool.  It’s labelled at double knitting but I beg to differ as it really does have a slightly thicker handle.  As a result I’m using a 5mm hook and that feels just right.  There are loads of shades available and its a great price (around £2.60 / 50g ball).

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MMX

Craft | Saturday January 2 2010 | 7:50 pm | Comments (2) | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Happy New Year to you!  I hope 2010 brings you good times, good health and lots and lots of craftiness.  Those are the things I dream of for the year ahead anyway!

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks with my birthday, Christmas, New Year, visiting family  and lots and lots of snow! I spent Christmas at home with Caveman then we went off to Scotland to visit our respective families and most importantly see my nephews and niece.  If there was one thing would make me move back to Scotland it would be them.

The weather was a real challenge, with near knee deep snow in places, frozen roads and sub zero temperatures at all times. The coldest I was out in was -9°c at 9pm one evening, so I can only guess how cold it got in the middle of the night.  Brrrrrrrrrrrr…

And now that the gifts I have made have been given I can share what I’ve been working on for the past few month or so:

A teal / green curly wurly scarf for Rhona:

teal spiral scarf

 A flowery scarf for Jemma (a fellow crocheter):

floral scarf

 Button heart for Rhona:

Button heart

Spiral brooches for a few people, in different colours:

pink grey spiral brooch

A ‘made it up as I went along’ bag for Lucy (age 5 ¾):

 made up as i went along bag

with a sherbet scarf to match:

 sherbert scarf

A butterfly hair clip holder for Lucy:

pink and yellow butterfly hair clip holder

 

The sherbet and flower scarves are variations of patterns from my favourite crochet book The Happy Hooker, about which I have lots to write at a later date.

I hope all your crafted gifts were well received, and maybe you even received some yourself too.

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Better late than never for Betty and Cath

Craft,Tea | Wednesday December 16 2009 | 3:20 pm | 1 Comment | Tags: , , , , , , |

I’m embarrassed to say this post should have been written about a month ago!  But its been nonstop round here; craft fair, Christmas shopping, weekend in London and busy busy in the day job and I’m now stuck at home with a cold! 

So I thought what better time to write about the goodies I got in Yorkshire (all those weeks ago) while I’m sitting under a blanket with a cuppa.

I have two sets of loveliness to report.  I think I’ll start with tea.  I had been really excited about visiting Harrogate, not least because it is the home of Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms!  Purely by coincidence (honest) we ended up parking just near Betty’s so headed there first.  As expected there was a long queue and everyone was saying there was up to a 45 minute wait.  It’s no secret that I love tea, but balanced with my hatred of queueing, I was not going to wait. We decided to have a look around Harrogate and return. 

After a good look around Harrogate, including trips to Duttons for Buttons and Cath Kidston (see below) we returned to find the queue just as long.  There was only one thing for it… pop into the bakery and take some goodies home.  Here are the things I got:

Goodies from Betty's

A lovely lemon cake, tomato and herb loaf, Betty’s Tea Room Blend tea and a cotton Betty’s bag to carry it all in.  Yum!

And then there was the Cath Kidstonshop.  I have never been in one of her dedicated shops before, only the section in Selfridges nearby at the Trafford Centre (which is virtually my local shops!).  I have never particularly thought of myself of a fan of Cath Kidston, but my heart did skip a happy beat when I saw all the colourful and flowery loveliness in the shop.  I just couldn’t resist.  I am ashamed to say I have yet to do anything with the lovely things I bought (back the the aforementioned busyness I guess).

So what did I get, well, a pretty little selection!

Cath Kidston goodies

I got 2 pieces of gorgeous cotton print fabric (I had a really hard job choosing which ones as cotton print fabric is my favourite of favourites, especially little repeat prints), a set of matching tins, a little butterfly brooch and a little green glass salt and pepper pinch pot.

I plan to use the fabrics just for myself.  How selfish is that??!  I think I might crochet some cushion fronts and back them with these fabrics.

I must be getting into the Cath Kidston thing as I have since bought her Sew book too!  Not had the chance to make anything yet, but it comes with the pattern and fabric for the bag on the cover, so that seems like as good a place as any…

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