Archives

Finishing Up WIP’s and Hello Autumn

fullsizerender-124.jpg

So where did September go!  Someone is definitely speeding up the monthly calendar, the nights are getting darker (more crochet), Christmas will soon be upon us (more crochet) do I sound happy about the changing seasons? You bet, more crochet time snuggled up with some cosy slippers on, fire roaring and crochet in hand, sounds great 😀

Finished WIP’s  

So I was very disciplined and made sure I finished the WIP’s I had on the go before letting myself start the Autumnal Projects I am inspired to make.  Firstly I finished my cotton sweater in pretty dusky pink 100% cotton by Drops Yarn.  It only took 6 x 50gram balls and to my surprise fitted me perfectly.

Look at me grinning!  Sorry about that cheesy grin! I don’t normally do selfies, now I know why haha.  This was a free pattern from a great website I found called http://www.knitsi.com.  They have both knitting and crochet patterns available, worth taking a look if like me you want something a little different.

Granny Square Summer Cotton Top

During one of my crochet classes, I encouraged my ladies to think outside the box and re-visit the good old granny square with some projects that would stretch them.  This is one project I was helping them with, so of course had to make one myself as their teacher!

This is the Sailmaker Top featured in Crochet Now magazine, issue 15, designed by the very talented designer, Lena Fedotova.  I made this again in Drops 100% cotton ( I do have a large stash as bought a lot in a recent sale). So this is another one that was sitting in my WIP’s for far too long.

Now I have finished it, the weather has changed, so guess it will be next season before I can get any wear out of it.  Another reminder to myself to get a move on and finish more WIP’s  before starting another!

Round up of September Makes

As some of you know, I recently became a grandmother to an adorable baby girl, so obviously, baby crochet is high on my priority list.

FullSizeRender 126FullSizeRender 128FullSizeRender 129img_1139.jpg

Lots of pinks, with cute little buttons… I love crocheting baby clothes, no WIP’s there as they work up soooo quickly. 😀

Hello Autumn

I’ve started my first autumnal project, worked up a colour swatch in those lovely rich autumnal colours…. oh so rich, I am loving this colour combo!

IMG_1156

A simple stitch pattern using (UK Terms) Treble crochet, its the type of project that I can pick up and put down whilst watching TV, we all need one of those projects, don’t we!  This is going to be a poncho/Blanket for my son.   I’ve already got a few other things on the go which will hopefully inspire the ladies at the crochet class I teach,  I am sure they like them as much as I do… show and tell next time.

Hope you all have a very creative Autumn, looking forward to seeing your makes. 😀

Advertisements

Wall Art Mandala’s and Dubrovnik

IMG_0872We recently enjoyed a little holiday to Croatia.  I’ve never visited this country before, wow it is really beautiful. On one of our days, we visited old town Dubrovnik and walked all the way around the outer wall surrounding the old town taking in the amazing views.  A fabulous day but it was so busy there, so many cruise ships visit the old town, apparently, we went on a quiet day, would hate to be there on a busy day!

IMG_0882For those of you who are Game of Thrones fans, they did quite a bit of the filming in the old town,  so it has brought a lot of tourism interest since the program was aired. Not that is the reason we visited, but it was cerainly strange to see all the merchandise in the gift shops.  Here we are, sitting on the wall for a little rest overlooking the red-tiled rooftops after about an hour into our walk it was soooo hot that day!

As you can see from the pictures below, we certainly had some pretty changeable weather! Is’nt it handy I took my Crochet hook and some Cotton in my suitcase. 🙂

I was pleasantly surprised to see my colour choice of yarn perfectly matched the hotel decor, and my two little mandala makes, looked totally at home in the hotel room.

IMG_0922 2

I made these one afternoon when the only thing to do was to stay in our room and wait out the thunder and lightning storm.  It was so relaxing, listening to the rain on the balcony and hear the sea in the distance with a crochet hook in hand, who needs the sun eh!

#NotaCal

Before I went on holidays I took part in a new sort of Crochet Cal (Crochet Along) on Instagram,  called #notacal by Dedri Uys. It was a photo tutorial of Mandala 21 by designer John Kelly who gave Dedri permission to share his lovely pattern.  It consisted of 15 rounds with each round being posted at different times on Instagram.  I thoroughly enjoyed making this mandala and as usual Dedri’s instructions were easy to follow and very informative, fingers crossed she will do another for all her IG fans.

FullSizeRender 123

I had some lovely Yarn and Colours 100% cotton mini balls in my stash and decided they would be perfect for this mandala, although I did run out of the raspberry colour just a little way off finishing my round! Aghh…

FullSizeRender 121

I was just going to frog the last round and choose a different colour when I heard a loud ‘NO…..’ from the seat next to me!  It was my dear OH, he said “you cant do that just order more cotton! ”  Music to my ears!  haha, so of course I had to order a few other colours just to make the order worthwhile.

FullSizeRender 122

This is the finished Mandala.  I loved the bright colours and decided to make it into a wall hanging which would be perfect for my new Home Office/Craft room (which is still in the decorating stage).   So,  I found some lovely metal plates in our local Ikea Store, I think they are meant for candles but are perfect for what I had in mind.   Using the last round colour of raspberry, I attached the mandala to the plate using a darning needle weaving in between the holes of the plate and  Ta-Dah! Perfect.

FullSizeRender 112

I can’t wait to put this up on the wall but of course, I will need to do a few more, just to balance the look of it you understand and not because I love making them  😉

Crochet Wall Art

Talking of wall art, I was most surprised to see the huge glass cabinet displays in the bar of the Hotel in Dubrovnik, some beautifully crocheted red mandalas.

IMG_1047 2

Both Mandalas were of a different design but both had sort of like ‘bite-size’ pieces left out of the finished rounds.  They were perfectly finished, so like me they had definitely not just run out of yarn.

I sat for a very long time sipping my cocktail, just looking at these and wondering why they had that section missing and if I am honest thinking how much nicer they would have looked with complete rounds. Eventually, I found someone to ask who worked at the bar, but she had no idea and was obviously not as interested in them as I was, I think hubby was getting a little tired of my vocal theories as to why the looked like that and was desperately trying to hurry me to dinner.

Eventually, I found someone to ask who worked at the bar, but she had no idea and was obviously not as interested in them as I was, I think hubby was getting a little tired of my vocal theories as to why the looked like that and was desperately trying to hurry me to dinner.

I do have a theory which until advised otherwise I am sticking with… All around the local area, shops and gift shops we visited they had many pieces of red jewellery, which I found out was made from local coral – also a traditional Mediterranean ornament, a symbol of vitality and a protective charm.  So I am thinking the mandalas represented the red coral of the area.  What do you think, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings… I’m on a mission to finish all my WIP’s so I can start on my Autumnal projects, I will share them with you soon.

Happy Crafting!

Filet Crochet and Diploma Update

Filet Crochet

Filet with Bars and Lacets

In my previous post, I talked about my struggle getting my filet crochet design square and the technique I used to overcome that. ready for submission for the part 1 of the International Diploma in Crochet.    Well, my filet samples have been returned along with other swatches submitted having being marked by my assessor.   The swatch above only achieved a ‘Pass’, (I say only as I have been getting very good’s and excellent with my other work).

My blocks and Lacets in my design were meant to be around the outside to form the background of the pattern and not in the main part of the motif, so that will teach me to read the requirements properly.   I may well just go with the ‘pass’ I’m not sure I want to re-do that one.

FullSizeRender 106

My square filet piece needs to be re-submitted (sigh ) as although I did get it to be square and submitted both versions, apparently, my method of using extended trebles would not be classed as traditional filet.  So I need to give that another go.  I love the look of filet crochet, not so much doing it.  Oh well back to the drawing board!

FullSizeRender 107

I did get an ‘Excellent’ for submission #17 a textured crochet swatch with a minimum of four different stitch heights.  I used (UK terms) Dc, Tr, Dtr and TrTr. in my swatch to create this swirly candy floss type texture.  Loved doing this one.

FullSizeRender 108

This was my two coloured heavily textured swatch, reminded me of little acorns after I had made it. So, as yet I still have to tackle those buttons… I’m not procrastinating really (well maybe a little) anyway,  I hope you enjoyed my little update for the International Diploma in Crochet Part 1 which I am really enjoying.

Also on my Hook….

Again I have enjoyed making a few more Mandala’s one of which I have made into a wall hanging, I will show you in my next blog post.   I have so many ideas and projects I want to start but first I will finish the cotton sweater I’m making for myself, last part of the second sleeve then to sew it together.  ( I will finish it before starting anything else…. I will…. I will…. hmm who am I kidding, not you obviously!)  Funny how when you make things for other people you get them done quicker!

Till next time….. enjoy your yarn projects!

Crochet First’s Filet and Mandala

FullSizeRender 100

I haven’t posted for a little while on the blog but have been spending time with my hook, paints and of course family.

This catch up is all about a few First’s that I have tried in crochet, things that I have either never considered or not know about before.

The first first…….Overlay Crochet’ with a beautiful Mandala design by Amanda Williams from Yarn House Creations.  You can find her designs on Etsy or Instagram @yarn_house

FullSizeRender 103

This gorgeous pattern came in my Little Box of Crochet subscription, along with with yarn needed, hook and all instructions.  I loved making this and learnt a lot about overlay crochet which gives the finished Mandala a beautiful multi dimensional look and feel.  The yarn used was 100% cotton which again was a joy to work with.   Isn’t it yummy!!

FullSizeRender 101

Even the back of the work is sooo pretty…

FullSizeRender 99

I loved this design so much I purchased another pattern from Amanda, just need to choose my colours now.  This one is currently sitting on my dining room table, look out anyone who tries the put a cup or anything on it ( dear other half).   I may make a wall hanging so I can put in my room and enjoy looking at it every day.   Hmm I like that idea. 😀

Filet Crochet Swatches for Diploma Submission

FullSizeRender 96

Second First …One of the required submissions for the International Diploma in Crochet Part 1, is a square of filet crochet of your own design.   I have never tried Filet crochet, and although  it looks pretty, I have never had the inclination to give it a go… so another first!

I used DMC Petra Cotton ( love that yarn) and a size 2.5mm hook, so needed my glasses on this one.  After a few attempts at drawing out a pattern  that I liked and also trying to keep it simple,  I made up the swatch.   Shock , Horror, ITS NOT SQUARE!

Now I am confused… my stitch count is right, the pattern drafted out on paper is perfectly square…. so now what?  Anyone else experienced this?  I read and also researched a lot about it and there were several answers , mainly relating to my tension , the hook size etc but I had discounted those already through trial and error.

So ‘MY FIX’ (are you waiting with baited breath?, No? oh ok moving swiftly on…)

FullSizeRender 97

Look at the above swatch… its square.. Yay!  I achieved this by firstly rather than using treble stitches for the blocks (UK Terms) but extended Treble, a very useful stitch which looks very much the same but taller.  Here is a lovely tutorial if you have not tried the extended stitches in crochet.

My second fix related to how you work the spaces ( in Filet you work blocks and spaces, the blocks being filled in with trebles and the spaces are chains)  In all the guides I looked at the blocks were worked into the chain spaces, which to my mind made the stitches shorter, so I decided to work into the actual chains, and it worked!

So two little tweaks, a lot of cursing and breaking out in frustrated sweats and I have a square!  Yay… now we have to see if it will pass the scrutiny of my assessor   ….. I will keep you posted.

Filet crochet using a background of Bars and Lacets  next… can’t wait (NOT)….. I don’t think I will be pursuing future projects in Filet not my fav technique but I appreciate the concentration and effort and patience required  when I see all those wonderful makes using Filet.

Next time… my challenge with bumpy and texture , two words that sound very similar but mean very different things for the diploma apparently – Happy Hooking 😀

 

 

Baby Crochet, Fashion and Tatting

IMG_0158

I have been on the lookout for a pretty baby blanket crochet pattern, tried a few designs of my own, (mentioned in my last blog).  I didn’t want anything overly complicated but something that at row 20 I wasn’t already tired of the repetition.  So I opted for a multi colour shell pattern, with two rows of Dc ( UK terms) between colours, using a baby Alpaca/Silk mix yarn,which is heavenly to hold and work with.

I got as far as the 9th row of shells, sat back and thought nope, the colours are not doing it for me, they are lovely but not for a new born. So back to the drawing board.  After much deliberation I realised that this beautiful yarn didn’t need any fancy pattern, the feel and cuddleability ( is that a word?) of the yarn is enough, so I picked up a 3mm hook and the white and started a C2C instead.

The C2C (corner to Corner) design is so easy to crochet, a great pick up put down TV project.  Honestly I spent so much time looking for the ‘Special’ pattern I could have finished this by now!

The white is not a bright white and not quite an off white, but has a slight sheen, I guess from the silk content.  Anyway, I’m on row 25 and its still very small, quite a few more rows to go yet!

In Between Blanket Projects

I have managed to make two little cardigans with this yarn aswell, just to get an idea of how to do them.  Crochet for Baby is all new for me, my children are all grown now, and when mine were little I had no time for Crochet.

The first one I made was a simple cardigan type, just the gauge sizing with the yarn (again the Baby Alpaca, as I’m not using the colours in the blanket).

IMG_0187

A very easy pattern just Trebles (UK Terms) worked from top down, the colour is called ‘Powder’ not pink , not beige, but very pretty.  Looking at jazzing up with a few coloured buttons.  Again not really one for a new born ( Did I mention I’m going to be a Granny !) I know, I know, I did, but I just like saying it! (So exciting :D)    I found a pretty new born matinee style pattern on Just Crochet and tried that one too.

FullSizeRender 71Aww! So cute…. drools.  Again worked from top down, the pattern on the lower section is pretty too, with lots of texture, again easy but very effective, does take a fair bit of yarn, so this one was discounted for the blanket.

IMG_0182

So enough about Baby Crochet , how about some Adult content ( Steady!)

Fashion and Inspiration for Crochet Class

Can you believe what I saw in one of our large UK Fashion Chain Stores recently………

Who said Crochet isn’t fashionable!  These were plain white basic T’s with a multi colour granny square added to the pocket.  They wanted £12.99 for them, how many balls of yarn could you buy for that!  I am sure we all have T’s we could jazz up.

So that gave me the idea, for the subject of my next crochet class, ‘going back to basics with granny squares.’

Its surprising that after a while of getting into the groove with ripples, ribs, chevrons etc, how productive it is to go back to the basics.  Many of my ladies, started with little or no crochet experience and the humble granny (erm ..no I’m not still fixating on the up and coming event!)  was covered a long time ago at our early classes.

FullSizeRender 74.jpg

We reviewed a few techniques, such as colour change, how to stop your granny square from twisting, the False Treble Stitch (they all loved that one) and then decided on two granny square projects to have a bash at.

FullSizeRender 75

Isn’t this fab! its a free pattern available from  www.1dogwoof.com and uses two large granny squares topped with waffle yolk. Simple design but so effective.

IMG_5523

This is another design using the humble granny stitch but with an unusual construction.  I found this in my ‘CrochetNow’ magazine issue 15. Both of these fashion tops were a big hit with my ladies, guess I will have to make both… just in the interest of research and class preparation of course! ;D

and Finally … Tatting

I follow a blog by a lovely lady called Tami https://tanglewoodknots.com why not pop over and see her lovely makes, she’s and amazing cook too!  Tami recently posted about her experiences with Tatting.

Tatting is a beautiful craft, like crochet but very fine yarn and using needles or shuttles to make intricate designs, lace, jewellery etc.  After ready Tami’s post, I thought yes I must dig out my supplies that I completely forgot I had previously purchased and give this a go.

img_0081

These are the shuttles and yarn, shown here with a pretty tulip, one because I like flowers and two to help you see how small the shuttles are . 😀

img_0082

This is how far I got!  I’ve threaded my shuttle ready to go…. that was about 2 weeks ago, well its a start haha.  I did find a tutorial I had purchased on Craftsy (and never watched, my bad!) so the plan is watch that first , then pick up my shuttles and create something wonderful… we can dream right!

P.S. International Diploma in Crochet swatches are back.

In my previous post, I blogged about the swatches that were submitted for part one of the diploma course.  Happy to report they all came back with Excellent or Very good indeed.  On to the next ones…. I really should finish the Hair Pin lace and make a start on the buttons.  Jenny from Prawn and Pebble has made some lovely lace and buttons and has just completed her broomstick lace, pop over and take a look, it’s beautiful!

Until next time…….. Happy Crafting!

International Diploma Catch Up and Hello May…

FullSizeRender 49

Well goodbye April and Hello May!… where on earth did April go? Anyone else feel the same.  When I look back on April, I did actually cram it full of crafting including crochet (of course), sewing , painting and I even went on Holidays for a week.  I guess thats where April went then.

FullSizeRender 55

If I’m honest my Diploma was slightly neglected in April, so many other things on the go, but I did cram a few more swatches in the last week of the month, more so I felt I hadn’t totally abandoned them.  The last batch of swatches came back all with great marks, apart from that one darn rib sample, which I have now re-done (third submission!) and am confident I have got it right this time, the rib does show on both sides of the swatch which was the problem last time.

IMG_7862

So this is my swatch for the ‘two colour no texture ‘ criteria.  I’m loving this one, looks the same both sides so really great for so many applications.  I used Stylecraft Special DK , on of my favourite Acrylic  yarns for this,  Grass Green and Variegated Green, they look so nice together don’t you think? Its quite deceptive as it looks like it is textured but its just the way I have used the colours -clever eh!

Three more swatches, one for a pattern to include a shell, this one was made with again a lovely yarn by scheepjes called Stone washed, its an cotton/acrylic mix, so soft!  Then I have the lacy open pattern using just trebles, another great easy pattern which looks great anyway, lengthways, upright, back to front… a very versitle pattern.  Finally two of my hairpin lace swatches done.  Again I loved doing these, just need to find the next spine patterns for the last three, as we need to send five in one go of this one.

Non Diploma update…

FullSizeRender 50

So apart from that, I have been playing with a few yarns with Baby projects in mind (yes BABY!) Ask me who’s going to be a Grandma (big grins!!)  So exciting!!

I have had one ball of the Drops Alpaca /Silk 4ply mix in my stash for a long time.. it wasn’t  a cheap yarn so I have been saving it some something special… its soooo soft! Gorgeous to work with and when I saw Wool Warehouse had it on Sale.. it was a no brainer.. I’ve just ordered a big bag for that special project that I haven’t decided on yet. Well you’ve got to be prepared haven’t you!! Its ok I have till July :O

I like this pattern very much but will try a few more in this yarn, before I decide on the final project.  I put my little swatch around my wrist, then thought oooh so soft and cwtchy (welsh word for cuddly)  would make a lovely sweater, for me that is… oops had to give myself a talking to…. stay on track woman!

The little booties are so quick and easy to make, I just had a play , just for practice 🙂  I also tried some animal squares for another blanket project but after my dear Hubby thought the cow motif was a pig, hmmm maybe I should re-think this one!  Interestingly I worked up one square for the tiger but in a smaller hook ( my mistake.. who would make hooks the same colour  -blue handle, but different sizes… doh!)  Anyway it turned out a lot smaller but also much neater… note to self… “do more swatches before committing to a project”.

Non Crochet update….

FullSizeRender 61

Mmnnnn hot porridge breakfast!

In between all the other things that happened in April, I was also fortunate to finally have my new Kitchen installed (waited 15years for this!)   We splashed out dipping into our savings and went for real oak worktops..  ( Gasps!)  They look wonderful but of course need extra care with hot pans etc.  So with the help of my lovely daughter Jenny, who  loves sewing too,  we spent an afternoon making these lovely Tulip Bowl Cosies.

The are lined in the middle with heat reflective padding, like the sort in ironing boards and so are perfect for hot dishes and bowls.  I also made two larger ones for our big pasta bowls.

FullSizeRender 59

They are so easy to make, I think they are called Tulip Bowl Cosies and I believe the pattern was a free one from Craftsy  although I  have had it a long time, if you google it, I am sure you’ll come up with the pattern if you want to give it a go.

Finally for this post….

So lastly with my catch up, my watercolours came out for an airing and I have started my next painting  – I love birds and watercolours and was thinking the other day  that I have not seen many Starlings around lately, how about you?  I think their iridescent plumage beautiful but is a real challenge to capture with watercolours , still a lot to do with this one but great fun .

IMG_8298

So for now bye  and hope you enjoyed the catch up -Happy Crafting!

FullSizeRender 57.jpg

PS – I have no affiliation with the Shop  Wool Warehouse mentioned in my post, I just really like their products and service.  Just in case you wondered 🙂

March Makes , Crafting Night and Doilies

IMG_3796

March went so quickly, don’t you think, or was it just me! I guess because I have been so busy, with work the family and of course crafting.   I spent a lot of time preparing for a Crafting workshop I was invited to take part in.  A new concept for our area ‘Speed Crafting’!  The idea was that five crafters would put on mini workshops or taster sessions with a small project that could be completed in 20 mins.  If the project could not be completed in that time, no worries, people could take the project home to finish later.

IMG_3735

Isn’t this pretty, looks like a basket of little bows..

So 50 tickets were sold therefore lots of yarn winding and kits to be made for the little flower hanger ,I had decided to make.  Just one little flower and a few leaves, keep it nice and simple I thought.  A smaller and greatly scaled down version of the larger heart hanging I made a little while back.

IMG_3333

 

 

The evening was a great success although really hard work!  We had five sessions of 20-30 mins with 8-10 ladies at a time.  The wine was flowing ( for the customers that is!) I really could have done with some myself !

IMG_3598 2

Three flower version , then scaled down again to one flower – but still pretty.

A big lesson learnt for me, was that when wine and a pretty project is presented to a group of ladies, they are determined to complete the project whether they can crochet or not!  Boy we had our work cut out! Haha. Those of you who have taught crochet understand that even holding a hook for the first time can be a challenge for some.  I was so pleased I had coaxed my lovely daughter Jenny to come and help me on the night (although under the illusion she thought she would be manning the glueing station). She rose to the challenge nicely although the comments ..”Never Again” were heard to be muttered now and again.  Another is being planned for the Christmas market (don’t tell Jenny) …. hmmm will have to think long and hard for that one.

International Diploma in Crochet Samples Update:

My samples were returned from my assessor with marks ranging from Excellent to Very Good Indeed.  Yay!  Although my re-submission of No. 8 -A square of raised double rib, failed again!  Why is it the ones that seem to be simple give you the most trouble. Apparently I only had my rib on one side of the swatch instead of both sides, but at least I know I am on the right track eh!  Time to get on with some more swatches, more hair pin lace and buttons! 

FullSizeRender 30One sided Rib! Still pretty though right?

Remember Doilies?

I may be showing my age now, but when I was little my Nanna would make these beautiful doilies for the dressing table and any other surface that required something pretty.    Its what a lot of people think of, when you mention crochet.. along with Granny Squares of course!

IMG_3799

This is one I still have that Nanna made, she never read patterns just made it up as you go along, how cool is that!

Today’s doilies have had a little bit of a makeover and there are some lovely patterns out there.  I made these with 100% cotton , I’d like to think Nanna would have liked them, I certainly enjoyed making them . Hubby did ask what they were for though.. doh!

IMG_3797IMG_3798

So until next time Happy Crocheting… and remember there is more daylight now, so more time to Crochet  😉