Posts Tagged crochet blanket

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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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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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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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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Summer Crochet

As a contrast to my last post which was all about neutrals, here’s one to make your eyes bleed.

Do you remember this box of 50 gorgeous little 10g balls of yarn – a mix of Scheepjes Stone Washed and River Washed in all the colours of the range?  They looked so pretty in their box that I wanted to hang it on the wall like a picture.

Still, I managed to get a grip, opened the box and, mixing the little 10g balls with three full sized ones in the colour Moonstone, made a cheerful little blanket designed by Emma Varnam.

The finished measurement is just 90 x 100 cm which is fine for a lap blanket, a baby blanket or something to throw artfully over the arm of a sofa or across the back of a chair.

Mine is a bit smaller as I missed out one of the widthwise repeats and, once I realised, couldn’t bear to undo what I’d already done for the sake of an extra few centimetres but, no matter, I like it muchly.

So much so, in fact, I’ve started another in some more mini 10g balls of yarn I have found locally.  The Scheepjes yarn is a cotton acrylic mix and is lovely and soft to the touch and a dream to work with.  The new stuff I’ve bought is all cotton and so doesn’t feel as soft.  The texture and drape is different and I made up my own mix of colours but, actually, it’s very light (so far) and therefore a comfortable project to work on in these hot evenings.  Also, the yarn was about a third of the price of the Scheepjes so I can put up with it being a little less pleasant to work with.  A quick pattern that can easily be done in front of your favourite Netflix binge.

I bought the original yarn and pattern as a kit from Black Sheep Wools in the U.K.

Then I must master Loop Stitch and complete the Westie dog I’m supposed to be making for my sister’s birthday in August.  I only need the stitch for the head piece – I’ve already got the body, legs and ears made so I should stop procrastinating and get on with it or her birthday will have been and gone.

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Yes, I finished this one but that’s an English Bull Terrier and she’s got a Westie so that’s no good.

I know some of you are still managing to brandish hook or needles in the Summer heat but have some of you put them away until it cools down a bit? I used to give up yarn related activity in the Summer but now I’ve discovered crochet I find it more doable than knitting in the hot weather.  Can you tell?

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I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face

Remember the super sized amigurumi dog I made from the ‘Edward’s Menagerie Dogs’ book?

Well, I’ve made her a baby.

Actually, this is the ‘standard sized’ dog – there is a smaller one which I might attempt one day although I suspect it might be a bit fiddly and, anyway, I quite like this size.

This time I didn’t take any chances with the placement and used things to mark where I wanted to put the eyes and nose.  I used a piece of felt to mark where the nose should go and then  sewed it on anyway because it looked just right to me.

I gave him some eyebrows because I love dog’s eyebrows – they make me laugh.

I also gave him a rakish grin and a pretend collar and bell so the rabbits will hear him coming.

I know I asked for advice about his Mum’s features because they are nowhere near perfect and  I was going to change them but, as Professor Higgins said, ‘I’ve grown accustomed to her face’.  She will henceforth be known as Eliza – if anybody should ask.

Anyway, I have two dogs under my belt now – things can only get better – I’m going for the English Bull Terrier next.

As you know, I recently finished the divine Eastern Jewels blanket.  I’ve worked out that I probably have enough yarn left in some of the colours to make another one with the purchase of just 5 or 6 more balls.  Hooray!

But not yet.

Firstly, I have another project up my sleeve.  I was tempted by my favourite wool shop who sent me the object of my  desire in their lovely tote bag.

The pattern is by Emma Varnam in Scheepjes River Washed and Stone Washed yarns and came as a kit.

A small photo of my instructions which came with the yarn but you can see the whole beautiful, ripply blanket on Emma’s blog here.

It’s very lovely but what really tipped me over the edge tempted me were the teeny balls of wool in their own box which, together with three 50g  balls of cream coloured Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn included in the kit, will make the blanket.

Be still my heart.

Fifty fabulous little 10g balls of wool.  Trouble is, they look so cute in their box, I don’t want to open it.  I might have to buy another one and hang it on the wall but that would be the work of a crazy woman.  Wouldn’t it?

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Be More Squirrel (Edited to Contain Warning)

You may remember that last year my dogs ate the plums from our trees from the unripe to rotting stage and would do so all day long if allowed to.  The evenings were not pleasant.

Mr. T. decided that he would cut all twelve trees down as they are very old and the plums are not particularly nice anyway – well,  at least we didn’t think so.  The fig trees are also a doggy favourite but I couldn’t quite part with them so they are staying for the moment.

In future, all fruit trees will be planted on the other side of the fence that cordons off a part of the garden that the dogs haven’t got access to (apart from when they dig holes and get under the fence).

All three dogs have now discovered acorns so our walks are slowed down considerably by them snuffling around eating all the acorns they can find but, luckily, these do not seem to produce the gaseous emissions that plums do so I’m not overly worried about it although I must check they’re not toxic to dogs or anything.  (Update:  Yes, they are – please see note at the bottom of the post).  I truly believe my dogs will eat anything – the more disgusting the better.

I have also become a bit more squirrel this month and have reverted to my old habit of hoarding fabric.  I made a pair of trousers at long last and, flushed with success, placed an order for dressmaking fabric in the mistaken belief that I need more clothes or that Mlle. Tialys the Younger will be persuaded into dresses any time soon.  The trouble is, dresses are my favourite clothing item to make but I live in jeans and  so does Mlle. T.   What am I to do?  I think perhaps a solution might be to make more ‘tops’.  That way I can indulge myself with nice fabric and make pretty things but put jeans on underneath.  Of course, that might mean I’ll have to buy more patterns as most of mine are for dresses.

I have a clear cutting table at the moment while I await Mr. T’s return from the U.K. with my latest haul so I will make a second pair of trousers while I remember how to do it.

Meanwhile, I am making progress with the Eastern Jewels crochet blanket and have joined the first two rows together – only two more to go!  The more I do, the more I love it, the less I feel I will be able to part with it.

I took some time off from the crochet to knit up a couple of cotton dishcloths in my bid to cut down wasteful buying of kitchen towels, etc. but I’ve only managed two so far.  I’m going to try crochet ones next as they will probably be quicker.

Love the little ‘French tea-towel’ effect one.  You can find the patterns for both here and here.

  I’ve also been making waxed wraps in an attempt to cut down on single use plastic such as cling film but they are in use around cheese and the tops of bowls.  When I make some new ones – using beeswax this time instead of pure soy wax – I’ll show you some pics.

My fabric arrived from Laughing Hedgehog – don’t you just love the name – a company I hadn’t used before but they had the French General fabric I was looking for to back my Shabby Union Jack.

I was very lucky because I had ordered 1.5m which was being very optimistic but this was apparently the end of bolt so she kindly put all 1.8 m in for me which turned out to be just right.  I used the plain grey/brown for binding and, as you can see, decided to put a sleeve in just in case it ended up as a wall hanging rather than a throw.

Here it is as a throw

and here is the long, plain corridor – leading to the loo and Mlle. T. the Younger’s chamber of horrors  bedroom – where it might end up on the wall.

I think it needs a bit of something don’t you?

I’ll let you know where it ends up.

 

EDIT;

I did eventually Google the risks and found this amongst lots of other warnings –

Exposure to acorns in dogs is common in the autumn and winter months. The toxic ingredient is thought to be tannic acid, which can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Signs include vomiting, diarrhoea (with or without blood), abdominal pain, inappetance and lethargy. Ingested acorns can also cause an intestinal blockage.

So, best not let your dog be more squirrel after all.

 

 

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More P.J.s – The Pears Pair

I showed you the muslin for the Kwik Sew pyjamas I made from the vintage sheet last time, now the real thing is finished.

I used some plain scrap fabric for the collar, cuffs and pocket top and some buttons I’d bought for something else at one time or another now lost in the mists of time and memory.

I bought the Liberty tana lawn on Ebay – 3m for 20 quid which was a bargain – somebody was having a de-stash which I might do one of these days (yeah, right!).  I’ve only used 1.5m for these so I have yet more Liberty tana lawn in my stash now.  I’m sure I’ll find a use for it eventually.  Maybe I could make the long bottoms for when there are visitors.

I’m sure you will be glad that I decided to let one of my old mannequins model them, rather than subject you to another view of my legs (even though it was a blurry photo).  I had to faff about with the shorts because of the pole and they’re still not hanging right but you get the idea.

I suspect flat buttons are the norm for pyjama tops but these go so well with the colours I had to use them even though they might dig in me when I’m asleep.  I don’t sleep on my front so I should be O.K. but, if not, I’ll change them for something more practical.  I don’t know how women  sleep on their fronts – don’t their lady bumps get in the way? It’s not supposed to be good for your back anyway so don’t do it although it is supposed to be good for preventing snoring so I might suggest it to Mr. T. who is a champion snorer and hasn’t got any lady bumps so there’s no excuse.  Anyway, I digress – note the double top stitching.  One line is just down the edge and I did that easily enough on the muslin but I chickened out of doing the second line which follows the line of the facing.  I didn’t want the bobbin thread on top so you sort of have to follow the line of the facing on the inside from the outside, if you know what I mean.  It’s the sort of tricksy finishing touch you do at the end that usually goes wrong for me and then I get upset because everything else went well and then I mess up at the last hurdle.  However – this time it worked.

Even though, in close up, they look like I’ve already slept in them (because I didn’t iron them again before taking the photos) I haven’t so I will report on the comfort factor after several sleeps.

Just to let you know –  my hand seems to have recovered quite nicely from the repetitive strain injury, arthritis, tendonitis or whatever else it was that was causing me pain.  I am still wearing my craft gloves though – when I remember – and have bought some more so that I have one up in my workroom for sewing and one downstairs for when I’m wrestling with wool.

Speaking of which, here’s my progress on the Eastern Jewels blanket.  I’m making the squares and triangles for each row and joining up as I go, as well as weaving in the endless ends, so it won’t be such a shock at the end.

The more I do the less I feel I will want to part with it.

Now I’ve finished the second pair of P.J.s I am tackling a quilting project I started a few years ago which I kept glimpsing, peeking at me accusingly from a corner of my workroom.  I’m not even sure whether I like it any more but the fabric was too expensive to discard so I’ll press on and see what happens.  I want to get quilting projects out of the way in preparation for the next block swap I’m participating in which will probably start in March/April this year.

What are you up to this weekend? Are you starting a new project or continuing with an existing one.  Or are you doing nothing whatsoever to do with crafting?  I’ll still be interested.  Honest!!

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A Slow Start

Although, as far as I can remember,  I never qualified as a Doctor I believe I have repetitive strain injury in my left thumb due to overdoing the knitting and crochet leading up to Christmas.  I am trying to rest it, ice it, ibuprofen it and generally wrestle it into submission but the frustration at not being able to continue with my current projects is really getting to me.  I cannot console myself with a glass of wine as I’m doing Dry January and I can’t seem to get back into the swing of sewing – I haven’t taken the cover of my machine for several weeks.  Woe is me!

                               Yes, I know that looks like a seal waiting to come in the house but it’s supposed to be a dog. I call it artistic license.

Although I never qualified as a physiotherapist either, I have decided it’s not so much the crochet activity that’s doing for me as the sock knitting.  I don’t really need any new socks at the moment so I’m putting that project aside until I can manage the close pinching movement needed to hold the teeny circular needles I’m using without taking to my fainting couch with an ice pack afterwards and sulking.

So, I have moved on a little with the Eastern Jewels blanket by limiting myself to half hour(ish) crochet sessions followed by ice and now have four completed octagons.  I might do as Sheila over at Sewchet did and try to join the rows of four as I go so I can be inspired but mostly so I won’t have as much of the boring stuff to do at the end.  I can only hope my blanket will turn out half as beautifully as Sheila’s  has.

                                         The first four being blocked – pinned to a yoga mat which is as much action as it has seen lately.

Talking of being inspired, I rather like Trish’s Liberty tana lawn shorty pyjamas over at The Small Sewing Room and decided to make some myself because I need to get back on that horse  sewing machine again and I don’t really need any new clothes but a new pair of P.J.s appeals as the RTW ones with shorts never seem to fit me properly and are often so short that I end up taking in tomorrow’s washing if you get my drift 😮

                                                                     I might not show off my belly button off quite so freely.  

Anyway, Trish’s version uses lovely, feminine, softly coloured tana lawn but mine will be covered in pears  – although they are still Liberty pears so will be nice and soft and comfy and, anyway, the fabric was a bargain on eBay and I decided I didn’t have anything against pear covered pyjamas at that price.

Once I’m back in the swing of things I will have another look at the Winifred Aldrich pattern cutting book I got for Christmas.  I had a quick shufty through and it scared me half to death so I bought a Craftsy pattern cutting course as well to get me started.  I am going to try making a skirt block/sloper for the younger Tialys Mademoiselle.  I was going to do the trousers course, as she wears those more often, but I think the skirt course has more of the basics included which is probably what I need.  I’ll let you know how I get on.

For reasons that I won’t go into again I was very physically inactive during the couple of months leading up to Christmas and over the whole holiday period.  Ironic then that, when I returned to my Zumba class last week, I had the cheek to have my hand and wrist in a support glove thingy as if I’d been doing all sorts of sporty stuff rather than too much knitting.   I didn’t own up to it though – what does that say about me?

Not my hand  – my hurty hand is my left one -you get the idea though.

Usually, I walk the dogs up some very steep land every day and go to Zumba and Pilates classes every week but I had done absolutely nothing.  The difference in my fitness level in the Zumba class was evident to all as I staggered,  gasping for air and water,  out of the side door in the midst of a routine.  Well, that’s a slight exaggeration but I did have to stop mid-fling about and swig from my water bottle instead of waiting until the music stopped :/

It’s been a slow start all round but I’m working on it.

Has 2018 begun well for you?

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