Friday, 28 November 2014

Small Gifts

Before going any further I want to thank you all for your kind and very thoughtful comments about my experience with the car. I am truly thankful. Just as I am truly thankful that the situation didn't end up being much worse. Thanks, too, for the comments on my hedgehogs. They were fun to make and I can't wait to get at least one owl made. I'm being put off making an owl by the fact that I now only have green tinsel yarn and I just can't imagine a green owl. Maybe I need to pay a visit to the yarn shop and buy some more of the tinsel yarn; white or silver would be nice, methinks.

Anyway, to get back to the post in hand. This is about some little gifts I've made for Christmas. When I was on holiday recently on the Isle of Skye (you can read about it here, here, here and here) I bought some hand crafted soap from the Isle of Skye Soap Company in Portree. I thought it would be nice to make some washcloths to go with the soaps and use as Christmas gifts. The yarn I chose is King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK which is made from 100% natural fibres making it a good choice for delicate skin. For two of the cloths I used the Ice colour.

There are plenty of patterns about for washcloths but, not wanting to actually get off my seat and go to look for my pattern book, I just decided to make it up. I made a chain as wide as I thought was necessary and then worked one row split stitch and one row double crochet until it was long enough to make a square. Then I worked a row of double crochet right round the edge. The split stitch gives it a nice texture. Look, here they are again with one of the leaves I've been making.

Now I had some more of this bamboo cotton yarn in my stash; Green and Dusty Pink (at least, I think those are the colours - I've thrown out the ball bands). Not enough of either colour to do another washcloth so I used both colours and made this ...

The middle is about three quarters the width of the Ice washcloths. I worked until the piece was square and then did a row of double crochet right round. Next I did a row of split stitch and a row of double crochet in the Green, repeated that with the Dusty Pink and then did a final row of Green shells.

Don't forget I'm using UK crochet terminology so read single crochet instead of double crochet if you use US terminology.

Maybe I should write up the pattern for you in another post. What do you think?

That's enough for now, I think. I have some more gifts to show you another time. The snowflakes will have their own post and so will the other Christmas decorations. I'm really enjoying making them all! All the best for now and please feel free to leave me a comment.

Nearly forgot! Before I go, have a look at some of the roses in my garden. Some are starting to look a bit sad, what with all the rain we've been having.

Some are just perfect still!

This one was only planted in the summer.

There's just something special about a perfect rose, isn't there?

Monday, 24 November 2014


Remember I introduced you to Brandy at the end of this post? Here he is, just to remind you.

I mentioned that some more tinsel hedgehogs had since joined Brandy. Well here they are. Meet Ginny, Jack, Maria and Whiskey.

Do those names make you think I'm some sort of old souse? You'll be relieved to hear that I'm not; I'm actually teetotal.

The hedgehogs are knitted using King Cole tinsel yarn. It is very soft and can be used for garments such as scarves and shrugs. When I bought the yarn (months ago) I got brown, gold and green, hoping to use it for crocheting Christmas decorations. Once you start trying to work into the first chain you can't see where to put the hook! The yarn is really only usable for knitting, though I did work out that it can be crocheted along with another smooth yarn. Why you'd want to do that, though, I haven't really worked out. I also managed to weave a tiny sample with it which I might use to make a Christmas brooch. Again, why you'd want to weave anything with this is beyond me. However, I am sure someone, somewhere will think up a good way to use it.

When I was making the hedgehogs I couldn't help thinking that it would be easy to turn the body up the other way and make an owl. Well, would you believe it? King Cole have introduced another pattern for owls. They're basically hedgehogs the other way up with large eyes, a beak and bigger feet. I'm going to use my green tinsel yarn to make a couple of owls and will let you see them when they're ready.

I'm off to crochet more snowflakes. I'm crocheting up a blizzard for Christmas.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Gillian's Adventure

Yes, those are the exact words the husband used to describe last Friday’s happenings. My almost-14-years-old car hasn’t been going well at all and we were told at its last service that it wouldn’t pass the next MOT in December. So we have prepared ourselves for the demise of my trusty little car. As you can see from the pictures it was also my trusty, extremely dirty, little car.

Last Friday was the day set to take the car on its final journey to the scrap yard. A journey of about twenty miles from where we live. We set off at about 10 a.m., intending to leave the car and then go to Banbridge for coffee in the Greenbean. The husband decided to drive my about-to-be-scrapped car while I drove along behind in his car. We didn’t want to go too fast because the old car wasn’t going well. After about seven miles the husband suddenly swerved onto the wrong side of the road. I couldn’t believe my eyes! He immediately headed back to the right side of the road and I realised that the passenger side front wheel had come clean off! The husband managed to run the car onto the grass verge and come to a stop. I stopped behind him and we tried to think what to do. We’re in the AA so calling them would be a good place to start but neither of us had reception on our mobiles. So I drove to the nearest town, about two miles away, and made the call to the AA. I was informed that the call would cost me 14p per minute. It didn’t really matter how much it cost; I had to make the call!

Tell me; is the Northern Ireland accent really so hard to understand? First it took several attempts for the person I was speaking to get the membership number correct. He then asked me what was the problem. I told him that the wheel had come off my car. He thought I said that the wing mirror had come off! I really wanted to ask him if he thought I was some dumb woman who would call the AA because she’d lost her wing mirror. But I didn’t. Firstly because he probably wouldn’t have understood what I was saying and secondly because it would have cost me 14p a minute for the pleasure. The conversation continued, slowly, as I tried to explain where the car was located. Between Rathfriland and Castlewellan. That was too much for him. I had to start and spell the place names! Anyway, we finally got it all sorted out and he told me I was a priority case because the car was in a dangerous place. I could expect someone to come out without an hour.

I drove back to where the husband was waiting with my poor three-wheeled vehicle. We found a suitable wee place, that was well off the road, to pull the husband’s car into. And we waited. And waited. And waited. Thankfully I had my knitting in the car. I actually carry two projects in the car these days; knitting and crochet. During daylight hours I can crochet but when it’s dark I knit. Now I know we were stopped there when I could have crocheted but I had taken the crochet project out of the car because I’d run out of yarn. Unknown to the husband, I intended to buy more on our way home! Anyway, I started knitting. This is a simple blanket project made up of different coloured strips of garter stitch, 25 stitches wide. During the time we waited for the AA I managed to knit approximately two hundred rows! Yes, we waited a long time. I drove back to Castlewellan and phoned again and I was told they’d be out in ten minutes. It actually took about two hours in the end before the pick-up van came.

After that things happened quite quickly. They loaded my poor old car onto the back of the van – it took several attempts but they managed it eventually – and then we made our way to the scrap yard. This is an amazing place and so busy. I’ve never been to one before so it was very interesting.  This is my car on weighbridge - first weighed while on the pick up van and then the van was weighed when my car had been lifted off. My car weighed less than a ton so I was allowed £70 for it. Not a lot really. The petrol tank was half full as we’d re-fuelled before realising that the car just couldn’t go on any longer.

Look at this heap of scrap metal; that’s where my car is destined! The men working there thought I was very strange to take photos of all that was going on. The husband told them I was sentimental! I have to admit that I felt a little bit sad going away and leaving the car there.

There she is beside her final resting place. They decontaminate all vehicles before they are crushed. It's all very environmentally friendly!

Well I really hope that I won’t have quite such an adventurous day any time soon. Having the wheel come off is quite enough to satisfy my adventurous spirit!

I'm very pleased to welcome my new followers. Thank-you all, old and new, for reading and commenting on my blog. I'm looking forward to reading what you think of my little adventure.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Liebster Award the Second

What is the name of your blog?
My blog is called hookin' A yarn. A bit of a play on words. It can mean that I'm using a hook and yarn to create crocheted items. Or it can mean I'm creating a story (yarn) by writing my blog.

How much time per week do you spend on your blog?
It takes me hours to do a post, mainly because of loading the photos. I usually do a bit at a time during the day, check it and re-check it and then finally publish. I'm trying not to let it take over my life but am finding it very addictive!

What is your favourite colour?
This is a very hard question for me. I like nearly every colour but I suppose my favourites are purple, duck egg blue and chartreuse. My least favourite colour is peach though there are times when I appreciate it mixed in with other colours.

What is your favourite craft activity?
I suppose it would have to be crocheting, closely followed by knitting. I'm also starting to love weaving.

How many blogs do you follow?
I counted them up and it's 108. I don't have them all listed on my blog so I will have to get round to doing that.
Have you a creative soul?
Yes, I like to think that I do. My head is constantly full of ideas about things I want to make and how to do it. Sometimes I can't sleep for thinking about it all.
Do you have a specific material that you like to work with?
I love working with natural yarns like wool, alpaca, silk, cotton and linen. Probably alpaca is my favourite.
Wool and you ....
Are in love.

At what age did you learn to crochet or knit?
I learnt to knit when I was five and I must have been about ten when I learnt to crochet.

Who taught you?
My mother taught me both how to knit and crochet. She was constantly knitting and crocheting for our family and friends.

What are your future projects?
Ah! I have so many things I want to make. Currently I'm making Christmas decorations so this will be going on until it's too late to make any more for this year. I'm also making some Christmas gifts. My cotton king sized blanket is on hold but I should soon be able to start it again and will hopefully get it finished soon. I have a new pattern for an Aran coat so, as soon as I've bought the wool, I want to get knitting it (and wearing it!). There's a lovely cardigan that I've started for myself and want to get finished. I have a pattern for a gorgeous crocheted dress that I'd also like to make. I have ideas in my head for some sort of crocheted over-top-type -of-thing and I hope that I can work something out to make this too.

Now for the nominees. I'm just going to pass on the award to six blogs as that's what I did the last time (well, it was five last time). Here are the blogs to which I'd like to pass on the Liebster award:
Jodi of a caffeinated yarn
Sarah of A Little Happy Place
Irene of All Occasions Cards, Papers and More

Jackie of Button Tree Crafts

Chris of Chrissie's Knit Times

Jill of Emerald Cottage

To be consistent I will also just ask five questions so making it a bit easier to answer! My questions are:

Are you a morning person?

Do you prefer tea or coffee?

If you could buy any craft supply of your choice, what would it be?

What has been your most disastrous make?

What is your favourite season of the year and why?

Do you like shopping or do you just do it because you have to?

All the best to everyone for now. Thanks again to Géraldine for the award.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Autumn Silliness

Welcome back! I'm so glad that you liked my last post about Brown Sugar. I was a bit worried about it but it seems you enjoyed it. I'm so glad that you are leaving comments for me though I'd love to have even more. I'm so glad to have a few more followers joining in with us here.

And I'm so glad to have a local yarn shop. I can still remember the day it opened a few years ago. I couldn't believe that we actually had our very own yarn shop in the town! I'm sure I must go into this lovely shop at least once a week and I'm always tempted by the lovely display of colourful yarn on offer. Recently the new Stylecraft autumn colours really caught my eye and I immediately started thinking about what I could make. Not that I actually needed to make anything more as I already have so many projects on the go. Well I resisted every time I went into that wee shop. For weeks. And weeks. Then I could resist no longer and bought a lovely selection of the autumn colours! You knew I'd give in eventually, didn't you?

So let's see some of the silly things I've made. First of all I made chillis. Silly chillis. Look at them ...

Not having a pattern for these, I just made it up. They were so much fun to crochet. Since I wasn't following a pattern I was able to make each one slightly different to the rest so they are all unique. I used Stylecraft Special DK in Lime, Claret, Gold, Green and Copper. The stalks are Meadow. That's just a melamine bowl I have to put them in for now but I'm going to crochet another bowl specially for these chilis. I've already bought the yarn! It's Stylecraft Special DK in Denim. I think I'll add some small splashes of the Lime and Claret. We'll see. And I'll let you see when it's finished.

I have been using my peg loom for a few weeks now but my first few pieces of weaving weren't that good. So I decided to try and use them in some way so they wouldn't be wasted. The first piece was woven using Stylecraft Swift Knit Super Chunky. I used about a third of the ball with my practising so I had to buy another ball to make a scarf. You can see the scarf here.

Anyway, not satisfied to just make chillis, I proceeded to make some leaves to attach to my weaving to make a small wall hanging. I used my 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet book for patterns. First I tried the crocheted oak leaf and liked it so much that I stuck with this for another two leaves. Since I'd made oak leaves, I thought some acorns would be just the thing to add. So I crocheted three acorns. All the adornments are made using Stylecraft Special DK in Spice, Lime, Copper, Gold and Claret. I also used the claret to crochet round the woven piece; just one row of double crochet (or single crochet for US readers).

What do you think of my wall hanging? It isn't very big at 8" x 6" but I love it.

I couldn't decide whether to hang it portrait or landscape but in the end I went with landscape.

By the way, when it's hanging you can't see that messy corner as it sits flat against the wall!

So there you have the results of my autumn silliness. It helps to make up for the constant rain we seem to be having these days. Actually there's more! But enough for now.

Let me know what you think of it all. All the best for now.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Brown Sugar

Hello again and welcome to my new followers and readers. It's great to have you join in. Thanks to you all for your lovely comments on my recent posts; I really love reading them. This post is a bit different from any I've done before so I hope you enjoy it.

Claire has opened a beautiful new shop in Ballynahinch, right on Main Street, called Brown Sugar. Everything she stocks is hand made locally and really beautiful.

I'll just let you see what it's like and, if at all possible, you might go and see it in person.

I really enjoyed browsing round and Claire is very friendly and helpful. (I'm not getting paid to do this, by the way! I don't get paid to do any posts!!)

That's it for this time. I'm crocheting, knitting and sewing like a mad woman to make Christmas gifts and decorations. Hopefully I'll get some photos soon to let you see what I've been up to. Bye!

Sunday, 9 November 2014


For years I have intended to crochet a poppy but have never got round to it. This year, though, I finally managed it. In fact, I made another one for my mother-in-law as well.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Wet and Windy

We've been having some remarkably clement weather here recently, bearing in mind that we are now into November. Today, however, is far from clement. The wind is howling and the rain is lashing against the windows. I'm so glad I don't have to go out in it.

When the weather was nice I had a walk round the garden to take some pictures for you. Here they are and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did remembering how lovely it was such a short time ago.


Crab Apple



Copper beech
There is still plenty of colour in the garden. Some from late flowers ...

... and some from the magnificent display of berries this year.

I brought some of the hop vine into the kitchen.

It looks a bit random up there!

Before leaving the garden there's one more thing to show you. A special visitor!

This is Brandy the tinsel hedgehog. He has since been joined by four small gold tinsel hedgehogs but they are very camera shy so far.

Bye bye for now. Take care of yourselves wherever you are. Thank you very, very much for your truly gracious comments on my mini makes, especially the heather bowl. You are all very kind. Please go ahead and leave more comments as I love reading them.