Archive for category Crochet Projects

Scraphappy and a Half July

It’s the 15th of the month again and time to talk about using scraps instead of throwing them away or storing them in forgotten corners.

I read on Facebook that a woman locally to me here in France is sending off parcels to Samos in Greece containing things for newborns.  She asked if any knitters (or crocheters) could make small blankets.

I immediately thought of the leftover yarn I used for my large Attic24 Hydrangea Blanket – in the background above – which would be perfect for a miniature version.

Big enough to wrap a newborn in.

So that was my whole scrappy project this month but I thought I’d include a half size one too.  Half size because it was really spare, long standing stash stuff rather than scraps I used.  Although, the project could be made using scraps if you had some fairly big ones.

My lovely bath/shower cap had gone mouldy so on a trip to the beautiful city of Carcassonne the other day with a friend, I searched everywhere for a new one.  Not a one could I find, not even a boring plain, thin plastic one.  So, undeterred, I came home and made my own.

I used one of my large wire hoops (bought to house crochet mandalas or similar) to draw a circle on a layer of fabric and a layer of some water resistant fabric given to me years ago for lining wash bags or similar.

I unearthed the end of a roll of ready made binding and sewed it on around the circle.

Then used another odd piece to make a casing for the elastic.

I sewed the casing on two inches inside the diameter in order to achieve a bit of frou frou.

Et voila.

It has yet to be tested under the shower for water resistance but I’m quite pleased with it. (Sorry it was only half scrappy).

 

(p.s. I’ve not been overly visible on my own blog recently owing to upheavals in daily life – nothing bad unless you count probably moving from my beautiful big house in the foothills of the French Pyrenées with 2.5 acres, back to the U.K. where we’ll be lucky to get something with a garden big enough to swing one of our cats 🙀.  Anyway, I have been reading everybody’s blogs even though I might have only had time to press ‘like’ now and then  – just saying.)

 

 

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.

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn (me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny and Kjerstin

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Not Another Crochet Blanket!

Well, sort of but I’ll get that out of the way first.

 I had lots of Stylecraft Special left after some other projects and decided to make another Attic 24 blanket.  I made the Hydrangea Blanket a couple of years ago and it’s lovely with all the subtle shades a hydrangea flower can go through but this time I was using whatever colours I had left hanging around the place so it’s quite a lot brighter and not quite as big as the original which was big enough for a single bed.

Please don’t zoom in because, despite having been on lockdown for two weeks now, I still haven’t done any hoovering. 🙄

Enough is enough.   I think I could now add blankets to the list of ‘beyond life expectancy’ items I have which, to date, consists of fabric; yarn; quilts; clothes; shoes; cats – especially cats.

However, I still wanted something fairly simple to do whilst perched, like a little ball of confusion and stress, in front of Netflix of an evening.  Then I spotted a PDF pattern online for something tempting.  I had to order the ‘yarn’ though which took forever to come from a far flung corner of Eastern Europe.

It came in a 200m length on a massive spool.

This spool was fully loaded before I started.

Once I had completed the circle I knew I was going to enjoy this project.  I was tempted to buy more cord – there are some amazing colours – but restrained myself to see whether I would like the finished item enough to want to make more.

Sometimes I can be sensible.

A lovely big 7mm crochet hook is what’s required and, although I feel it helps aesthetically, it doesn’t actually have to be pink.

The only thing left to do was an i-cord

Did you know that it’s called an i-cord because the woman who (sort of ) invented it said it was easy enough for an idiot to make?

I wonder if iphones were named on the same principle. 🤣

Anyway, this idiot had great fun making that long, slightly stretchy cord.

Et voila!

Not a blanket.

I’ll probably stop at one as they are so ridiculously quick and easy to make that I didn’t get very far at all through a Netflix series before I’d finished and, as the lockdown in France has been extended for another two weeks, I need something that will be with me for the long haul.

Encouraged, as I often am, by Kate over at Tall Tales From Chiconia, I am going to switch from crochet as my evening pursuit and get those hexies out and at least start joining them into flower shapes.

 

Just in case you feel enthused, I bought the PDF pattern for the crochet bag from this shop and it is downloadable immediately.  I also bought the cord from her – it comes in wonderful colours – but, even before the current situation, it took quite a long time to come.

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First Major Finish of 2020 – Nature’s Walk CAL

I don’t often do CALs (crochet alongs) – or any ‘alongs’ but was very tempted by this blanket – different designs on the squares, lovely yarn, soft muted colours and a bit of a challenge.

Some of the squares were more difficult than others but I kept up with the eight squares a week right up until the sixth week.

Then came the joining – I fell behind.

Then came the border – and Christmas – I fell further behind.

However, I didn’t mind because the CAL had kept me on track with the squares and, once I’d done those, it was never going to become a UFO (unfinished object) and I’d also seen all the finished blankets in the Facebook group which inspired me to press on.

Everybody who has made this blanket seems to be thrilled with it – I am too – lots of them are going to make it again – I am not.  That beautiful border almost did for me as it seemed to go on forever.  Still, I’ve done it and it’s finished and I love it.  Here are some photos.

Here it is on the blocking mat.  I blocked the squares as I went along but blocked again at the end to help open out the border although I don’t actually think it made much difference.

The seemingly never ending border – worth it though.

Flung, stylishly over the bath in a desperate attempt to get good lighting.

The washing line photo – colours a bit bleached by the sun.

Nature's Walk on the SofaSofa Pose

I love this one with the sun behind – it shows up all the different designs. It was a happy accident because I didn’t realise, until I took it, how much the sun was shining through.  I’m not on Facebook much but did join a group for support and information during this crochet along.  I put this particular photo up on the group page as one of the others would just have looked like everybody else’s who had used the same colours.  Within minutes the likes and loves and comments came pouring in.  For a brief moment I got an idea of how it must feel for somebody to ‘go viral’ on social media.

This lovely pattern was designed by Cherry Heart and is available free – see here.

Three different yarn packs are available to buy from Black Sheep Wools  – I used the Wild Hedgerow colourway in Scheepjes Stonewashed.  If you buy the pack from BSW, the bonus squares were free during the CAL (and still are) but these have now also been released for sale should you want to vary the amount of designs used in your blanket.

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A Christmas Dilemma

Yesterday I went to a Christmas craft fair and had my first vin chaud (literally ‘hot wine’) of the year so now I’m starting to feel a bit festive and realised I haven’t posted for a while so here’s a quick catch up.

It’s difficult, when you make things yourself, to buy things at a craft fair.  It’s easy to think ‘well, I could make that’ and some people actually say it and, having done a couple of craft fairs myself, I can tell you that it’s one of the most annoying things to hear.  I want to say, ‘yes, but will you?’  ‘Do you have the equipment you need to make it and, if not, are you going to go out and buy it just to make one thing?’ ( whilst smiling politely and saying worse things under my breath).

Anyway, I managed to buy a couple of things that I won’t make myself even though I could.

Firstly, this lovely wreath made out of loads and loads of pieces of Christmassy fabric.

I don’t have much festive fabric in my stash and, if I did, I wouldn’t be cutting it up into hundreds of pieces.  Sometimes, there are people with more patience than you and, since I know the lady who makes these, I was glad to support her.

One hobby I started but didn’t finish is needle felting but I really would like to give it another go one day.  So, I couldn’t resist this little mouse, complete with appropriate French attire who will go on my tree as I always like to buy at least one new tree decoration each year.

I usually harvest some mistletoe from a small tree at the top of our garden but, this year, it doesn’t seem to have appeared so this seemed a good excuse for another felty festive purchase.

Last time I tried needle felting, I couldn’t even make a round bead properly so I’ll be on the lookout for a workshop or something next year and maybe, next Christmas, I’ll be able to say ‘I could make that’ – though not out loud of course.

Anyway, back to what I have made myself.  Having dislodged the cats from my Nature’s Walk crochet squares which were laid out on the dining room table for ease of joining, they are now all joined and the first two rows that set up the edge for the fancy border have been done.  I think I’ll do the rest on my lap when the cats are outside.

They have now found another work in progress to impede so I still have another two sides of my F2F quilt to bind.  Look at that face – would you have the courage to move her off?

At least that’s forced me to try to finish the new shirt I’m making for Mr. Tialys’s Christmas present.  Despite having made this same pattern recently, I’m having trouble with the sleeves.  Last time, I set them in and finished the inside seam on the overlocker/serger.  This time I wanted to do a felled seam as it looks more professional.  The sleeve cap is quite large on this shirt, compared to the armscye, so it’s quite difficult to set it in without puckers anyway, let alone trying to fell the seams too, so it’s causing me some problems and I keep finding other things to do to put off tackling it.

(edit:  nothing wrong with the pattern sizing at all – it was me, matching the wrong notches!!)

Speaking of Christmas gifts, I commented on Kate’s post today about gift giving- although I sort of went off topic – and would be interested to know your thoughts on something.  I love giving hand made gifts to friends and family it gives me a lot of pleasure (and hopefully them) and also gives me a good excuse to make more things.  None of my family live nearby and most don’t appreciate hand made items anyway – with the exception of my daughters who are already drowning in blankets and quilts – so it’s generally friends who end up with the results of my efforts.  However, some (non-crafting) friends I usually go for a pre-Christmas lunch with have a ‘no gifts’ policy and have asked me not to surprise them with anything this year.  I only ever give them hand made things – not shop bought – and I’ve explained before that I don’t expect, or even want, anything in return. I try to give them useful things too – crocheted cloths or cleansing pads, fabric baskets, make up bags, last year it was knitted cowls, as I know not everybody wants blankets or cushions or even quilts.  This year I was going to give them little fabric baskets filled with foodie things – home made lemon curd, chutney, quince spread and bombay nuts.  But now I’m not 😞  I sort of understand that they might feel they have to reciprocate but, in previous years, I’ve been very insistent that they don’t.  Now I feel sort of offended.

What do you think?  I’d be interested to hear if  you think I’m being over sensitive.

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A Cautionary Crochet Tale

All our dogs, past and present,  have had different predilections for things they liked to chew.  Susie liked hard plastic toys – preferably complete with batteries.  Taz liked rolled up pairs of socks which, miraculously, would pass through him and emerge in the same form at the other end.  Stan used to like soft furnishings to name just three.  One of Stan’s earliest conquests was a cat shaped doorstop which made me realise how much stuffing actually goes into one of these things

I say he ‘used to like’ but bad habits sometimes just lie dormant .

This blanket was over the back of a chair and not draped across the shoulders of one of my antique mannequins where I displayed it for this photo,  which is probably a good thing.

The culprit looked suitably abashed and made a vain attempt to hide although couldn’t resist peeking out to see if we had spotted him.

And just in case you were wondering what had happened to all those ‘Nature’s Walk’ crochet along squares I’m supposed to be joining.

My progress has been somewhat impeded.

Pets.  Who’d have ’em?

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Scraphappy Day November – Sort Of

Ages ago I bought a ball of horrible cheap acrylic yarn from a street market because it was bright orange and I wanted to make a beanie hat from it.

‘Wanted’ might not be the right word but, around these parts, you need to be on the look out for hunters.  They are forever shooting each other by accident and I don’t want them to shoot me when I’m out walking my dogs so an orange hat is what’s needed.

I kept putting it off as a bright orange beanie hat is definitely nowhere on my list of desirable fashion accessories but the other day I pulled that yukky yarn out and crocheted a quick and not very attractive hat which will not serve to make me look very chic but will,  hopefully, keep me from getting my head blown off.

I blocked it in an effort to improve upon it

*shudder*

I was going leave it looking like a hideous orange flower pot but Scraphappy Day was fast approaching and I hadn’t had time to do anything for it this month and I do like to join in if I can.

So, I had some of the yukky yarn left and in a leap of faith which some of you might think was a leap too far I considered I could call it scrap.

I decided to make a pompom.

So, I still hate it and hope I don’t see anybody when I’m up in the woods with the dogs but at least – as tenuous as it might be – I got something in for Scraphappy Day and, more importantly, shouldn’t get mistaken for a wild boar .


Should I?

 

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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It’s Blanket Time

Around this time last month, I attempted to show you some autumn colour but it hadn’t really started turning yet here.  We’ve now had a bit of rain and it seems we have gone straight from Summer to Winter at least up on those peaks.


Time for lots of blankets so just as well I’ve finished all 48 squares for the ‘Natures Walk’ crochet along – albeit a week late

I’ve laid them all out and now it’s time to join them together  😱

The colours look a bit ‘muddy’ here because I made the mistake of laying them out in a room without much natural light  – see above photo for more accurate colours.

The rogue off-white square is there because I found the last square design given to us a complete nightmare to do and couldn’t face another one so I’ve put in my test swatch as a substitute.  I call it my ‘signature’ as it will differentiate it from all the other blankets made in this colourway and it’s also a good excuse.

Although I’ve fallen behind by a week (will soon be two) at least I’ve managed to actually get all the squares done which was the important thing as far as I was concerned.  I’m not going to rush to join them together just to keep up so it might be some time before you see the finish.

Plus there’s quite a fancy border to go round the edge which looks as if it might occupy more than a few evenings when I suppose I will be forced back into my addiction – watching Greys Anatomy on Netflix – I’m up to series 3, only 14 to go.  It’s not got any better – the lead actress is still as lachrymose as ever and her erstwhile beau is a match for her in tear production.  In fact, last night, I wondered whether watching this series is possibly bringing out the worst in me.  When our leaky heroine was dragged from the water half drowned by her wet- in both senses of the word – boyfriend and taken to hospital where they tried their utmost to revive her for over an hour and a half – I’ve never hoped so much to see a flatline.

But, what can I tell you? I’m ho😉ked

 

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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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