Archive for category Crochet Projects

Playing Catch Up

Phew! Week 3 of the Nature’s Walk crochet along is over and I just finished the last of the eight squares last night whilst watching the hospital drama ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ on Netflix.  Why I watch that show I don’t know.  I’m extremely late to the party and am only on series 2 and there are, apparently, 15 series to go.  I sort of like putting it on while I’m crocheting because it’s not something you have to concentrate on over much although, if I’m honest, last night’s ‘man who had an explosive device inside him‘ episode caused me to have to look up from the hook and yarn a few times.  My main complaint is the central ‘love story’ which is completely stupid.  I want to scream every time their eyes meet wistfully across a crowded operating theatre or yearning is expressed over their surgical masks above some poor patient’s opened body.  Is it really possible that, in a large hospital, every time the elevator door opens the object of your desire will be inside or waiting to get in so that even more barely held in tears can be shown welling up in the eyes of one or both of our wet couple?  If you have watched this prolonged story of hospital folk – please tell me this mooning about doesn’t go on for the whole of the seventeen series or tell me it does and save me before I get deeper in .

Anyway, I digress.

WARNING:  Following photos are an attempt at being arty farty but, you know, a square of crochet is a square of crochet so I’m trying to liven things up a bit for you.

On our Nature’s Walk in week two we had a design called ‘Berries’ to do.

I’m glad it was in this colour as I’d have a job thinking of those holes as berries otherwise.  See I have kindly given you a visual clue.  Something exciting must have been happening in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ while I had this one on the hook as the sides are a bit skewiff but nobody will know once it’s sewn in with all the others.

The bonus square in week two was called ‘Wheat’ .  I can’t tell you how many moans and groans and hate mail there were about this pattern but, although it took almost twice as long as the others so far, I found it fun to do and love the result.

Lord knows what that lookie likie plant is – I plucked it out of one of the planters on our balcony and it will be the result of seeds dropping off the bird table so it could be anything but you get the idea.

Week 3 bought us a gorgeous little square called ‘buds’ which reminds me of little baby bottom cheeks.  Some others said cleavages and yet others said something rather more ‘masculine’.  You never know who you might meet in a Facebook support group.

The bonus square was called ‘Sunshine’

So, they’re stacking up nicely and, if I don’t manage to keep up, at least I have another 15 series of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to see me through.

 

 

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Will I Crochet-Along or Won’t I?

Remember I told you I had to finish a shawl (that I will probably never wear) before starting a new crochet project?

Well, it’s done.

I blocked it on the floor over a yoga mat and a bath mat – as one does –

-then I gave it to my ‘me’ mannequin to model it for you as it was Sunday morning and I hadn’t yet bothered to get dressed and, while wearing a shawl over a floaty summer dress, jacket or coat might work, wearing one over a nightie would just make you look like an old lady so I didn’t even go there.

She may be ‘accessorised’ in this way for some time to come although I might wear it as a scarf.

I did try to put tassels on the three points for scarf wearing purposes but my hand made ones didn’t look right so they came off again.

Still, crochet shawl made, at least that’s another ‘project in my head’ that has come to fruition and a ball of relatively expensive yarn used instead of stored away and contributing to stash overload.

So, I was now free to start the Nature’s Walk crochet along designed by Cherry Heart and organised by Black Sheep Wools.

Eight squares a week doesn’t sound like much really but, when you have as many other non-crochet projects on the go as I do, I found myself struggling a bit.


I made the test swatch whilst waiting for the yarn to arrive as I had used Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn before so had a bit left.  I am obviously a loose crocheter because I have had to drop at least one recommended hook size depending on the square in order to obtain the correct size.  The test square had little hearts on it so I’m hoping to use that design later on in the blanket or in another project.

As this is called ‘Natures Walk’ and, with the colour of the yarn pack I bought being called ‘Wild Hedgerow’, the ‘nature’  theme for the squares is revealed as the patterns are released,

This one is called ‘Gates’ for which I had to drop down to a 2.5mm hook.

This one is ‘Butterflies’ which I managed with a 3mm.

If you bought your yarn pack from Black Sheep Wools they issue you with a bonus square each week so you do four of the ‘ordinary’ one and four of the bonus one.  There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth from those who aren’t getting the bonus squares but I guess it’s a marketing ploy by BSW which is obviously working.  Although, the bonus squares will be released in January on Ravelry for free so patience will be rewarded.

The current week’s squares are called ‘Wheat’ and ‘Berries’ and, if I manage to get them all finished, I’ll show you those next time.  I bet you can hardly wait.

So, will I won’t I?  It doesn’t really matter does it?  Some people only crochet and don’t do dressmaking or quilting or other crafting so they can whizz along.  Some people are at work all day or are wrangling small children so simply haven’t got as much time as others might have.  Some people do housework.  Whether I manage to stick with the schedule or not – I’m enjoying learning new patterns and there are plenty of people still waiting for their yarn to arrive and haven’t even started yet so I won’t be alone if I lag behind.  Nobody’s waiting on me to finish and there are no prizes.  I refuse to feel pressured when there’s no need.

How do you feel about CALs, QALs, WhateverALs?  Do you like them? Do you feel incentivized or under pressure.  I must admit this is giving me a bit of a push to get on with it and not let it become a longtime WIP but I’m not going to let it stress me out.

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Treble Crochet

Some time ago I bought a Scheepjes Whirl in the wonderfully named colourway ‘Blackcurrant Squeeze Me’ with the intention of making a Grinda shawl, shown below.

It’s beautiful and the pattern is well written with lots of help online but I just wasn’t feeling it.

I love the yarn but it’s fairly difficult to frog (undo) so, by the time I’d done that on numerous occasions, I flung it aside in a huff.

It has sat sulking and occupying my lovely wool bowl ever since until, one day, I thought I’d make something else with it instead because it’s far to good to waste so I had a forage around and chose the Virus shawl a free pattern on Ravelry.

I don’t wear shawls but this yarn has a lovely drape and I will be able to wear it as a scarf with lots of folds and I might even add some tassels at the end.

This time I started from the inside of the ball and so the light colours you see will be at the top, nearest my neck which is also developing a few folds.  The abandoned Grinda is still attached to the other end of the yarn cake – just in case.  In case of what I don’t know.

So far I’m happy with this although, at first, I thought that colour change from grey to pale blue was never going to happen.

I am pressing on with some urgency now although it’s got so big it’s taking me a couple of hours to do a row or two in the evenings.

Why do I need to get it done? Well, as with my recent post about finishing one quilt so I can start another, the same applies to crochet projects – at least it does when I’m feeling disciplined which, to be honest, doesn’t happen that often but I’m going through a phase.

Black Sheep Wools announced a Crochet A Long which starts next week and I was seduced by the fact that one of the colourways (the most expensive of course) was in Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn which I’ve used before and it is lovely and soft and the colours are muted and gorgeous.   Also, the pattern itself is so pretty, designed by Sandra at Cherry Heart and, lastly, it’s made up of squares in different patterns which will be released one by one so that you will end up with a sort of sampler blanket.  I haven’t done a lot of square crochet – weird I know as that’s usually what people start with – but there’s the challenge.

I was panicking a bit as I’d put in my order on the 5th September, was told it had shipped on the 9th and still hadn’t received it by the 19th.  When I looked on Facebook *shudder* I realised lots of people hadn’t received their packs either which, call me selfish, was encouraging.  Apparently Black Sheep Wools, bless them, have been overwhelmed by the demand, so much so that it seems there is now a shortage of the original colours in the packs (there are two Stylecraft colourway packs as well as the Scheepjes one)so they have had to do some substitutions.  This has had a few people up in arms so quite a lot of fun was to be had (by me anyway) reading some fairly nasty comments which reminded me why I don’t like Facebook and usually resort to it out of necessity only.

Anyway, my lovely postwoman arrived today clutching a big black bag and I was down two flights of stairs and flinging the front door open before she could even ring the bell.  Welcome to my exciting life.

I’m pleased my order was obviously packed before the colour substitutions because the soft pink and the lilac you see above were replaced by darker, and in the case of the pink, brighter shades which I wasn’t quite so keen on although I’m sure they will result in an equally lovely blanket.

So, must get off now, I’ve got a shawl to finish and, maybe one day, I might even wear it.

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Scraphappy September

Still lots of cotton yarn left over from various blankets so I decided to make something useful for my friend’s birthday recently.

These ‘scrubbies’ are to use instead of cotton pads to take off make-up with your usual products or use to apply foaming cleanser and wipe off with the pad soaked in warm water.

You can just throw them in the washing machine and re-use.

I experimented with a few ‘styles’ first.

This doubled up heavily textured one is my personal favourite

You can find the free pattern on Ravelry here

However, the ones most like a cotton wool pad in size are probably these so I decided to whip up five for a gift, using leftover cotton yarn.

Plus they fit most nicely into the printable packaging labels I found on line.  I was going to give you the link but it says ‘not secure’ in the URL so didn’t want anybody loading any problems on to their devices. (Link to YouTube tute here though)

I think I’ll need to have quite a few in reserve before I can give up the disposable cotton pads completely but I’m working on it.

Of course I still have lots of scrap cotton yarn to use up.

 

Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn(me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #10

Another post in my series where I don’t say much at all – or not as much as usual anyway.

I made a lovely Eastern Jewels blanket last year

and then gave it to my daughter.

I miss it.

I worked out if I bought just another 4 balls and substituted a couple of the colours with some from my stash I could make another one for me.

So, I’ve made a start

This is because the knitted cardigan I’m making is too complicated to do in front of the telly but there are only so many crochet dishcloths one person needs and the ‘devil makes work for idle hands’ or, in my version ‘idle hands make me fall asleep’.

See what I mean

I’m making slow progress but am hoping to speed up as I get used to the pattern.

Would it be cheating if I did the back in stocking stitch?  Please say ‘no’.

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #8

A parcel will be going off to Baby Benjamin tomorrow.

My concession to the current trend for grey in baby stuff.

 

Though I switched back to blue for the boots

 

One I made earlier

 

This is one my Mum made and left here one time – a poignant find

I found this forgotten little linen number just needing to be sewn up but it can wait for the next arrival in June.

All for a very rarely seen niece’s baby – I don’t know what I’d be like if I ever become a grandmother.  But what knitter/crocheter/sewing enthusiast  doesn’t love an excuse to make baby stuff?

 

 

 

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Long, Dry January

I don’t make New Year resolutions or set myself lists of targets or challenges – I don’t like the pressure.  I don’t need it.  That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t randomly decide to do things that stretch me a bit.

For instance, I made a pair of jeans recently that stretched me but, ironically, didn’t stretch enough themselves to fit me comfortably.  As you know, I’m making a coat at the moment which is also promising to be a challenge but, hopefully, will fit me at the end of it.

I also decided to do Dry January again which is a challenge every year and I’m sure they add extra days to the calendar. (For those who are not overly concerned by alcohol related matters, this means not a drop to pass my lips throughout the month of January 😱).  I did briefly consider continuing the abstinence forever but, as I found myself literally counting up how many days were left until 1st February when I was out walking the dogs the other morning, I really don’t think that’s going to happen.  It’s been harder this year as Mr. Tialys didn’t join in so I’ve had to watch him glugging sipping  a glass of wine with his dinner while I’ve noticed that both the frequency and quality of my kitchen dancing has deteriorated since the 31st December.

Anyway, back to the crafting.  I spotted a new yarn by Rowan the other day and also a lovely book of patterns using the yarn designed by Martin Storey.  I fell in love with this cardigan and decided to ditch the hook for a little while and take the needles up again.

My last knitting projects were a pair of socks knitted on a teeny circular needle and a cabled blanket knitted on a massive circular needle.  It felt strange to be holding a pair of needles again and even stranger to contemplate working from a chart.  I usually prefer written instructions and have actually translated the first couple of rows but I think, once I’ve got those under my belt, I’ll be able to just go with the chart.

The beautiful yarn used is Rowan Moordale with is made with British wool and alpaca – however, it costs around £16 for a 100g skein which would make this cardigan cost almost £100.  I baulked at that a bit – especially since I haven’t knitted anything this complicated in a while.  The patterns says ‘expert knitter’ which, although I’ve been knitting since I was knee high to my mother, I’m not sure is how I’d describe myself.

I recently found a site called Yarnsub which will suggest alternative yarns to use if you can’t afford/can’t find/don’t like the one specified by the pattern.  They grade the suggested alternatives by taking into account the density, the ply, the appearance, the cost, etc. and put them in order of suitability.  One of the top ones in this case was a Bergère de France yarn called ‘Lima’ which has the same amount of wool (though French rather than British)  and alpaca and the same ‘haze’ on the finish.  Lima comes in 50g balls – as opposed to the 100g Moordale skeins so I needed to buy double the amount, with a little extra just to be safe.   I went on the Bergère de France site and found Lima to be discontinued so they had it on sale for half price – only £2.20 for 50g which means, if I ever finish it, it will cost me less than a third.  You’ve got to love the internet at times like these.

This is the colour I’m using, it’s a muddy kind of green called ‘Mangrove’ which sounds horrible I know but I think it’s a colour that will be useful as it will make a change from the greys and blues I usually go for.

As I had purchased the pattern book, and there’s some other nice items in there, I went back online and bought some more Lima in a blue colour.  I’m thinking about using it for this one but Mr. Tialys says it looks like it’s been put in the wash and shrunk.

Personally, I like the cropped body, but do you think it would spoil the style if I made the sleeves full length?  I will have plenty of time to make a decision as I don’t anticipate finishing the heavily cabled cardigan before next autumn – it’s not one I can do in front of a Netflix box set that’s for sure.

There is a baby on the way in the family though (for my niece) and I can crochet a stripey blanket while immersed in real life crime stories or a drama that manages to drag on for 24 episodes or so.  I’m using the ‘Little River Blanket’ pattern again but, as I am reliably informed by my sister and  Cathy who is given very particular instructions when knitting for her grandchildren, grey is on trend for the tot about town.  Who would have thought it?

I can’t possibly make it all in grey though – even if those greys are in slightly different shades.  I’ve got two big packs of cotton yarn – one 50g ball in each colour of the Paintbox range and also, in my stash, some sunny yellow Rowan cotton yarn which I thought I’d use for the first and last rows, and the highlight on every 5th row as stated in the original pattern.

This is it so far.  I’m intending to switch subtly between grey through lilac through duck egg blues – don’t know about the middle yet – then repeat in the opposite direction for the other end.  The gender of the baby is unknown. The niece might consider the yellow too bright.

If it’s not ‘baby appropriate’ by the time I’ve finished it, I will still like it myself and I’ll just have to whip up a quick baby hat or something for the niece’s baby as it’s due in February some time.

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #5 – Putting My Second Best Foot Forward

I finally finished a pair of socks I started in Winter 2017.

These are the third pair of socks I’ve knitted which obviously didn’t help as I messed up a bit with these somewhere along the way.  They are, however, still wearable which is the main thing.

I spent a lot of time trying to match up the stripes until I realised it wasn’t possible with this yarn.

Mr. Tialys bought me this handy, and beautifully crafted, yarn bowl for Christmas.


With any luck it will help me get to grips with the shawl I’m trying to crochet which, as you can see, is slow to progress.

Although I doubt it.

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Festive Finishes – Did you Guess Correctly?

Firstly, thanks to everybody who kept their fingers crossed for the safe and timely arrival of the other half of the Tialys clan this Christmas.  It worked!!

As you know, secret sewing (and crochet) projects had been in progress for a little while leading up to Christmas and I can now reveal the results – both good and bad.

I had acquired some cute Peter Rabbit fabric and, as the quote says ‘Too Much Lettuce Makes Me Sleepy’, what else could I make but pyjamas?

I chose a New Look pattern I’d used before but only had enough to make the shorts.

I did have enough to make some bias binding though ….

…….and some white broderie anglaise in my stash so used the free Colette Sorbetto pattern to make a little top to complete the set.

That was Mlle Tialys the Elder sorted but what about the Younger?  Well, she’s a bit of a home body and sometimes wraps a blanket round her shoulders when sitting at the desktop.  I thought a shawl would be a bit more elegant so I downloaded the free pattern for the Grinda Shawl which is rather beautiful but, as I found out, more challenging than I expected as the yarn is finer than I’m used to using for crochet and the stitches more lacy.

This is as far as I got and that’s after frogging it on numerous occasions.

It soon became obvious I wasn’t going to finish it in time for Christmas.  I have since become more adept and no longer feel like flinging it in the nearest bin so, hopefully, it will be ready for her birthday in February.

In the meantime, I needed something quick and it was a good opportunity to use some fleece that has been taking up room in my stash for some time.

I didn’t have enough for a top and anyway, she would have looked like the Michelin Man with both pieces of the pyjamas in such thick fleece so I bought an RTW top in thinner fabric which matches well enough to make a set.

But‘, I hear you ask, ‘these projects don’t explain the mangled looking piece of fabric you showed us and asked us to guess what it was going to be.’

Well, Kate’s guess was the closest because she said – and I quote –  ‘is it one of those complicated lined garments where you turn it inside out through the shoulder seam?’

Yes! It is.

You join the inside and outside yokes together (I made the inside yoke in contrasting fabric), rolling up the fronts inside, like a burrito, and then pull it all out the right way.  It’s one of those magic things you can’t believe is going to work – until it does.

The fabric is a chambray and, as Mr. T. already has a dark blue shirt with a similar floral design, I was fairly confident he’d like it.  I used some scraps of Liberty tana lawn to face the inside yoke and the cuffs.

I was going to use ordinary buttons but thought pearl snaps would be a nice touch.  The installation of these was hit and miss as I hammered a bit too hard occasionally and, on my first try, didn’t line them up properly and had to take those on one side out again which was a bit scary.

I had made the shirt before as a short sleeved muslin so it was my first time making sleeve plackets and cuffs and I was quite pleased with how they came out.

I used the Colette pattern here and, as well as using their instructions which are very good, I followed a sew along over at Male Pattern Boldness which was also very helpful.

I feel as if my sewing skills have moved up a level over the past year or so.  Better late than never I suppose!

So much so that, next year – in another ‘never say never’ project – I am going to embark upon a coat.  Yes, you heard it right.  I know I said I’d never make jeans or a coat and, even though I haven’t shown you the jeans yet, as soon as I can get them on again after my Christmas indulgences, I will.

Mr. Tialys has not yet worn his shirt because I need to make an adjustment to the top stud which isn’t staying closed (heavy handed use of the hammer again probably) so, no photo of him but here’s Mlle T. the Elder sporting her new P.J.s and ending my final blog post of the year by wishing you all a very peaceful, prosperous, healthy, happy 2019 .

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Last ScrapHappy Day of 2018

In the face of an approaching cyclone, Kate is still hosting ScrapHappy day where you can use your scraps of fabric/yarn/paper/wood to make something – anything – and show it to the (blogging) World.

This time I made a crochet Christmas gift which isn’t a scarf.

I had some of this

and a box full of this

and made one of these for my friend Sandra

Hooks are model’s own 😉

Ooh, and I also made some of these with scrap fabric, wrapping paper and Christmas ribbon just because the mood took me when I was in my sewing room and it had to be done there and then, as is often the way with me.  Whether any will get sent is another matter – where is the time going?

Here’s a little scrappy project I received through the post yesterday from Claire, bless her,  which, if I ever get my tree up, will be hanging from one of the branches this year.

Meanwhile, nothing to do with scraps – although it certainly looks like it might be at this stage – my secret sewing gift is still underway and I’m hoping to have it done in time.

Here’s a sneak peek.

Any guesses?

 

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