Archive for category Crochet Projects

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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A Snuggle of Scarves

Following my ‘Flounce of Frocks’ when I made four or five dresses from the same pattern this Summer,  I thought I’d invent another collective noun for my bid to clothe all my nearest and dearest with neckwarming devices this Christmas in case it gets very chilly.  If there is already a collective noun for scarves I stand corrected but I couldn’t find one and, in any case, why on earth would there be?

The first one was taken from a free pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet here.  I say ‘taken from’ because I set off, momentarily forgetting that the U.S. and U.K. versions of the double crochet stitch are different and did it the U.K. way.  However, I rather like it in this slightly less chunky incarnation.

The second version was done with the correct U.S. version of the stitch which is actually double crochet into back of loop and such fat yarn that it took a whole ball to make each of the colour variation stripes you see.  I was going to make it all mustard – what is it with me and mustard at the moment? – but I underestimated the amount I needed and they didn’t have any left when I went back to buy more.  As you can see, the stitch and the super bulky as opposed to the ‘just bulky’ yarn make for a much more substantial version and more like the designer intended.

The third one is made with one of those cake yarns that change colour as you go along.  I adapted the Little River Blanket pattern to make a scarf instead.   ‘Adapted’ here is too grand a term for what I actually did which was to make it narrower and carry on until I ran out of yarn.

The last one is very girly and I found a free pattern for this infinity scarf which uses something called the ‘lemon peel’ stitch involving a mixture of single and double crochet.  Rather than try to twist it at the beginning and crochet with the twist already made as with scarves one and two, I just used a double (US single!) crochet to join the ends together once I’d finished crocheting and I think it looks much neater.  I didn’t twist it at all actually because it’s long enough to twist it round yourself if you so desire.

Like so

 

Sorry about all the shadows but it’s very hard to get good indoor photos at this time of year without faffing about much more than I (and my unwilling photography assistant) are prepared to do

I’m going to make another of the first ‘accidentally adapted’ ones in cream and possibly another of the pink lemon peel infinity scarf in a rather nice green they had in stock last time I looked but the shop I use has a very high turnover and when it’s gone it’s gone.

Did you notice I had another stab at the Tilly & the Buttons Nora top pattern using some French terry fabric this time which is much lighter and easier to wear than the heavy black 4-way stretch jersey I used last time (see last post).   I would like to say that I felt innovative and horizontal stripes are ten a penny so I wanted to be a bit different but, truth be told, the very limited stretch in this fabric goes horizontally across the stripe and, as the stretch needs to go across the body, the decision was made for me.

Have you been making multiple Christmas gifts of the same kind of thing for your friends and family? Do you have a collective noun for them?

 

 

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Guess the Name of the Dog Result

Thank you to those of you who ventured a guess at the name of my crocheted dog I was offering up as a prize to the correct guesser on Saturday at the fund raising Christmas Fair for Twilight 

The good news is, I managed to get thirty people to have a guess for one euro each.

This meant thirty euros for the old and disabled dogs so I was delighted because the yarn had been given to me by a friend so cost me almost nothing and it was a project I did in the evenings in front of the T.V. as a practise run for a stable (kennel?) of smaller dogs which I took along with me to the fair in the hopes of getting a few more euros for the cause.

Of course these breeds are instantly recognisable – 🤣 – but should you need help, from L to R there is a West Highland Terrier, a Border Collie, an English Bull Terrier, a French Bulldog and a Chocolate Labrador.

The Westie sold, together with ……..

the Labrador – a lady bought them for her twin grandchildren.

I have a belated request for the Border Collie and somebody wants me to make a pair of Chihuahuas.  I’ll have to think about that and it might not be before Christmas.

The even better news is that we raised a record amount of money for Twilight 

I think the fact that it was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day helped and, as ever, it was the cake stand that took by far the most money.  Mr. Tialys popped in and bought a ginger cake, a carrot cake and three Bakewell slices so he did his bit and has been gracious enough to share them with me and Mlle. Tialys the Younger.

The bad news is that none of my lovely readers guessed the correct name!

She is so obviously a ‘Tara’ but none of you guessed right.

However, using a truly fair and scientific method, I put all your names in a row on the floor

and decided that the first one Flo had a sniff at would be declared the winner.  Well, I couldn’t find a hat.

I’m afraid she got a little over enthusiastic and didn’t stop at the sniffing stage.

However, I think you’ll agree there was an obvious winner.

So, congratulations ‘Line’, aka Pauline who blogs at ‘The Contented Crafter’.  would you like a tea-towel or an apron? Email me at thetialys@gmail.com and let me have your postal address.

Thanks everyone for playing along and having a bit of fun with me.

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A Bit of Light Relief

Protests against high fuel prices in the form of road blocks permitting, we are holding a fundraising Christmas Fair this weekend for Twilight,  the home for old and disabled dogs I support here in France (you can read about the amazing work Mike and Leanne do here)

I am ‘womanning’ the Twilight stall which will have calendars, Christmas cards, tea-towels, tote bags and aprons for sale along with a few of my hand made dog collars and some key fobs made from the leftover collar materials.

Remember my big crochet dog with the slightly sad face I made with super chunky wool?

Well, I thought I’d offer her up as a prize in a ‘guess the name of the dog’ game at the Christmas Fair.

I think she looks like a female dog so I racked my brains to come up with 30 girly dog names – which proved much harder to think of than male dog names for some reason.  People can choose a name for a euro and the winner can take her home.  With any luck, and just a little bit of friendly cajoling, I might be able to donate 30 euros to the cause which we wouldn’t get if I just put her up for sale.

I haven’t had the most wonderful month.  November has become the anniversary of some recent sad events in my family and I’ve had a couple of other stressful situations to deal with.  So, just for a bit of fun, and because it’s approaching the festive season, I thought I’d ask my readers if they’d like to guess her name and, if anybody gets it right, I’ll send them one of the aprons I’ve been making out of the fun tea-towels Twilight produce or I can leave it as a tea-towel if you prefer.

Here’s a close up of the possible choices

First come first served – once somebody has chosen a name, I’ll cross it off – if I can work out how to do that – otherwise you can just have a look at the previous guesses.

Just leave your guess in the comments and, because I think it’s only fair, the game is only open to those already following me.  So, if you are a follower but don’t usually comment, and you would like a free apron/tea towel – and who wouldn’t? – now’s the time.

The fair is on Saturday 24th so I’ll reveal the answer on Monday 26th.

Go on – have a guess!

 

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #3

An occasional (can’t manage more than that) series of posts where I say not much at all.

Remember my stained piece of gorgeousness picked up in the junk/charity shop?

Thank you for all your suggestions.

Here it is now

I decided to trust the oxygenating stuff (known as Vanish here and in the U.K. at least) and soaked it overnight.  Then I sprayed with a dilute white vinegar solution and laid it out in the sun.  Then repeated both actions before hand washing in mild soap and rinsing thoroughly followed by another bout in the sun.

I am as chuffed as whatever a chuffed thing is. **

Here’s the final result of my project using leftover yarn.

💖

💙

One or two people might be getting a blanket for Christmas.

 

**

English dialect chuff pleased, puffed with fat

Thanks for that Merriam-Webster, sometimes it’s best to live in ignorance.

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Big Scraps, Little Scraps And Some In Between

Can a person get addicted to a crochet pattern?  If so, I’m on my way to rehab.  Remember these two Little River Blankets? (pattern designed by Emma Varnam )

The one on the right is made with Scheepjes yarn from the original kit and, to be honest, is still my favourite due to the softer feel of the cotton/acrylic mix and the more carefully planned out colour scheme which the pattern provides.  The one on the left is made with 100% cotton yarn and I made the colours up as I went along.

All the yarn came in cute little 10g balls and, in the original, only one row is crocheted with each ball.  Even so, I still had some leftovers from both projects

Perfect for yet another version using the scraps and enabling me to participate in ScrapHappy day this month.

I am breaking the rules with this one due to the limitations of using scraps and am having to change colour part way through a lot of the rows.  I’m just trying to keep some sort of blending going.

This is it so far,  unwoven in ends and all.  The blue I’m using to create the unifying ripple every 7th row and the eventual edging is the only new yarn I bought for this version.  The 7th row should have been the 5th row but I forgot and didn’t want to frog it so decided to keep it at every 7th – who will know?  Or care?

I think the reason I’m addicted is the pattern is easy, though not totally mindless, so perfect for getting something useful done when I’m Netflix bingeing in the evening. It also keeps me from having a glass of wine or falling asleep – the two usually go together.

A double whammy from the scrap department this month.  I made these two blocks for Kate’s newest quilt project for Ovarian Cancer Australia.  Their colours are teal and cream and Kate likes to indulge her love of puns when naming the quilts.  We’ve had ‘Tealed With A Kiss’, ‘Signed, Tealed, Delivered’ amongst others in the past and this one will be called ‘Go Teal It On The Mountains’.  So, Kate and some of her readers of the patchwork persuasion are making blocks with a mountain theme.  For some time now I’ve had a stash of of teal blues (and similar) kept specially for these projects.  The blocks are assembled, quilted and finished by Kate and then auctioned to raise funds. You can read a bit more about it on Kate’s blog here.

This first block of mine was just a case of joining strips really.

I found the original idea online here

My second block was foundation paper pieced, a method I have come to love.

Free pattern found on Craftsy here 

Kate asks for 12 inch finished blocks and this one was only 7 inches but I found this useful guide on how to enlarge and reduce paper pieced patterns here

Here’s another little scrap

Yuki hunting grass

Joining in this month with Kate and Gun’s Scraphappy Day for some inventive uses of scraps and interesting blogs. If you want to use up some scraps and show what you’ve done with them – could be paper, yarn, fabric, leather, wood, whatever, just let Kate know here and she can add you to the list of participants even if you don’t want to do something every month.   Find more details on Kate’s blog here

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An Experimental Gift

In my efforts to make gifts for people rather than buy stuff, I decided to make something for a friend’s ‘special’ (aka ‘scary’) birthday recently.

She is quite fussy so I wanted to make something she’d like and use and that wouldn’t clash with anything in her lovely house.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have chosen her then for my first attempt at crocheting Moroccan Tile stitch and raid my stash for the necessary super chunky wool no matter what colour. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Anyway, here is the result of my well meaning endeavours……..

a lined basket – with handles no less – using the aforementioned stitch.

This is quite a large basket measuring around 8 inches in diameter and about 7 inches high.  It’s made with super chunky yarn and is also lined with yarn of the same weight so it’s substantial enough to stand up on its own.  I used a free pattern which, reading the comments, appears to have caused a few problems with getting the size of the lining right in relation to the exterior.

I went down half a hook size for the outside (I used a 5.5mm) and a whole size and a half for the lining – a 4.5mm (won’t do that again!)

Blocking wasn’t mentioned and the jury seems to be out on whether it works on acrylic anyway but the lining was just a teensy bit small so I had to pull it tighter than it was possibly meant to be pulled in order to join it to the exterior.  It became obvious that this had caused some narrowing at the handle level so I tried to make it as neat as possible and used a large glass circular vase to hold it open and pegs (pinging off now and then) to hold the handle section up.

That’s not the lining you see through the glass but face cloths to pad the sides out a bit around the vase.

Then I gave it all a squirt with the steam iron and left it for a while.

You can see that the basket goes narrower just before the handle section starts which it shouldn’t plus it isn’t entirely symmetrical which is all due to my overcompensating for other people saying their lining came out too big.

 I wondered about giving it to her for her birthday after all because it’s not 100% perfect and I was, therefore, not 100% happy with it.  In the end I bought some pretty hand towels to put in it, wrapped it in cellophane with a big bow and hoped she’d appreciate the fact I’d made her something even if she only uses it to let the cat jump in and out of.

I am definitely going to make another of these – they are large and very useful.  I love the effect of the stitch which took a bit of getting used to but the free pattern I used had written and video tutorials which I followed avidly.  You can find Tamara Kelly’s pattern on Ravelry and  here

…..and this is how the experts do it.

Next time I will see if I have something in plain colours I can double up to super chunky thickness – I have lots of aran and dk weight wools in my stash – as I think I prefer the original version in the plain colours.  Although I think the two different variegated yarns I used also create quite an interesting effect.  This was a really fun project – a bit of a challenge but that never hurts once in a while does it?

 

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