Thursday, 30 July 2015

Starting the Sea Glass Shawl

Have you seen the Sea Glass shawl pattern in the Simply Crochet issue 33 magazine? I know Daisy has already started one of these shawls and it is looking really gorgeous so far. You can see hers here.

It just so happens that I've also started crocheting one of these shawls. Well look at it! It's so, so beautiful, who could resist making it?

Fortunately I even have a very good reason for making mine; we're going to a wedding at the beginning of September and this is what I intend to wear with my dress.

Lace weight yarn had to be purchased. I picked the colour to match my new shoes. It was tricky to match the colour as I had to buy the yarn online from the Wool Warehouse. Picture me at a screen, new shoe in hand, trying to match the colour to various yarns. This is what I finally decided was the best match and, now that it has arrived and I can see it in real life, is actually a perfect match. 

It's Juniper Moon Farm Findley yarn which is 50% extra fine merino wool and 50% mulberry silk. It feels so soft. So very, very soft.

The pattern looks difficult but it is easy enough to follow. The shawl is made up of thirty four starfish motifs, joined as you go, arranged in three rows; ten motifs in the top row, nine motifs in the middle row and eight in the bottom row. After the first two starfish motifs I was able to continue without needing to refer to the pattern.

This is the first row complete with two motifs of the middle row also done. The colour isn't quite as dark as this really.

A bit closer so you can see more detail. This is much closer to the true colour.

Actually, as a matter of interest, the colour is called Rappahannock. I have to admit that this meant nothing to me until I checked it out on the internet.The Rappahannock River is in eastern Virginia and traverses the entire northern part of the state, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west, across the Piedmont, to the Chesapeake Bay, south of the Potomac River. That explains why the name has been used for this shade of blue!

The dress with which I will be wearing the sea glass shawl has a lot of beading at the neckline so I won't be doing any beading on the shawl. When it's finished I'll let you see it (it will improve immensely after being blocked). I'll also let you see the dress and shoes.

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my crocheted top. I've also done a wee cardigan which I'll have to let you see. Work continues on the big blanket!

All the best for now.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

My Crocheted Top

I decided to crochet myself a summery top. The pattern was actually free because I bought some (a lot of) yarn to make a blanket. I couldn't wait to get started. Look, I even used the correct yarn called for by the pattern!

Do you like the tiny bunch of tiny wild flowers in the tiny pink vase?

Before we go any further, let me assure you that at no time did I intend to wear this top as it is worn by the model.

The pattern worked up so quickly. The back was done in no time.

And here it is, finished and being modelled by me. Sorry, the pattern model was unavailable.

I just knew that yarn would be a perfect match for this scarf.

Some of these foxgloves are actually taller than me. I had to crop the picture because I didn't dare let you see any more of me!

As usual, I had to make the top longer than what was specified in the pattern. Especially the sleeves. My arms are of simian proportions.

Here's a better picture of the wee wild flowers.

This was the first of the sweet pea to be cut.

I've been able to cut lots more since then. The sweet pea was late starting to flower but going well now.

This is just a bunch of flowers cut from the garden. They are sitting out in the garage hence the random items in the background like a toolbox!

All the best everyone.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Dishcloth Pattern and Framed Quaker Tapestry

A big welcome to my new followers and thank you all very much for the lovely comments on my blanket and dishcloth. Here's the pattern for making the dishcloth. It could be used for a washcloth too. I'm sure it could be used for many types of items. The fabric this stitch produces is solid but lovely and drapey. I think it would be good for a cardigan or jumper.

So, anyway, let's get on with the pattern. I used King Cole Bamboo Cotton yarn and a 50g ball made a good big dishcloth. The second one I made a little smaller than the first so I had a bit left over; just enough to do a final round on a washcloth or something like that.

Also, I used a 4 mm hook. You can use whatever yarn you like best and a hook size that is suitable for that yarn.

Make a chain with an odd number of stitches. To use most of a 50g ball of yarn and make a good-sized cloth, make the chain about 55 stitches. It will depend on your tension, of course. So you might prefer 53 or 57. It doesn't matter so long as it is an odd number.

I'm writing this using UK terminology. For US readers, where it says double crochet (dc) use a single crochet (sc) and where is says treble (tr) use a double crochet (dc).

Foundation Row:

Work a double crochet into the 3rd chain from the hook.
* Work a treble into the next chain.
Work a double crochet into the next chain. **

Repeat from * to ** until you reach the end.

Pattern Row:

Make 2 chain and turn.
* Work a double crochet into the next treble.
Work a treble into the next double crochet. **

Repeat from * to ** until you work the treble into the last double crochet.

Now work a double crochet into the top of the starting chain-2 of the previous row.

Repeat the pattern row until you have made a square. Then fasten off and sew in the ends.

It's extremely easy!

Do you remember me showing you my Quaker tapestry a while ago? Well, I am very pleased to say that it has now been framed.

Oh dear, it was impossible to get a picture without the reflection.

No reflection this time though it's a bit far away to see any detail.

Not only has the tapestry finally been finished and finally been framed, it has finally been hung on the living room wall. I'm very pleased with it!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Crochet Progress and Using Wool Warehouse Bags

It's hard to believe, but it's over a year since I started my king size crocheted cotton blanket. In fact, details about the yarn I'm using were in my very first post. There have been some updates on the progress since then, from the first squares at the end of this post, a whole row done at the end of this post, some more here (at the end) and great progress made here.

Of course, I've taken breaks from my blanket since it was started. Many breaks! To make lots of other things. Some big some small. Now, at last, the blanket end is in sight. It has never been a project that made me feel under pressure to get it finished. I have enjoyed working on it and then putting it away while I did something else. Now that is is nearing completion I'm really feeling the impetus to get it finished. How do you think it is looking?

More has been done since this picture was taken. I have nine more squares to crochet and that will make a total of 132 squares! Now, if you crochet (or knit), you will know that finishing the last square is not finishing the blanket. There are hundreds of ends to be sewn in. In fact, it's likely there are more than a thousand ends to sew in! There's also a border to be done; something which I still haven't decided on.

Do any of you order yarn from Wool Warehouse? If you do then you are bound to have noticed the way they now package the yarn in these lovely bags. I thought they were bound to be useful for something once the yarn had been used. So, I removed the Wool Warehouse ribbons and substituted some of my own for pulling the bag closed. You could use very colourful ribbons or ribbons with a message printed on them (like Happy Birthday or Hand Made with Love; you know the sort of thing). A very useful bag for all sorts of things. I have used some already to pack items I've made to give to someone else.

I might as well let you see one of the little makes that has kept me from blanket. This is a dishcloth made using King Cole Bamboo Cotton yarn. It's lovely to work with; very soft although a little bit splitty. It's 50% bamboo and 50% cotton so ideal for using to make washcloths and dishcloths. I used the full 50g ball for this dishcloth so it's a good, generous size. My dad was impressed with it! 

If anyone would like to know how the dishcloth is made I can write it up for you; there's not much to it. It's so easy I've made another one in blue.

Best wishes to all of you for now. I'm sorry that I haven't had much time for reading other blogs this week and for leaving comments. I've had technology problems but really it's just a case of not enough time.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Elderflower Cordial

The elder trees were late flowering this year but they produced a mighty fine crop of flowers when they did eventually bloom. Elderflower cordial is one of my most favourite drinks so I always like to make some each summer. The flowers were so good and so plentiful that I made four batches of the cordial. I used the same method as last year, bottling some in sterilised glass bottles and freezing most of it in plastic bottles.

We've finished a bottle of the cordial already. It was delicious.

Here are the pink flowers soaking. Our black elder has grown a lot since last year so there were more flowers to use.

Doesn't it look gorgeous? I'm always amazed at the beautiful colour; it's so deep even though the flowers are quite a delicate pink.

As usual, I plan to keep the pink cordial for Christmas. However, since there's more than usual, I just might treat myself before that.

Your comments on the crocheted bag in my last post were very kind and encouraging. Thank you very much. I always enjoy reading your comments and really appreciate them.

Bye for now and all the best.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Crocheted Bag Finito

First of all, thanks for the great comments on the garden and the wind chimes. I passed them on to the husband and he is well chuffed!

A while ago my brother asked me to crochet a bag for my sister-in-law's birthday, just like a bag I'd crocheted for myself. The details about the yarn I used are in my post about this commission, and also on winding the yarn and progress on making the bag here and here and here.

Well, the bag is finito. You can check back to read about why I say finito.

Here it is with the edges done and the handles attached. Also a wee tab for the button.

The colours of the bag really look well against the copper beech hedge!

The lining fabric matches so well, I think.

So this is the bag before being lined.

The lining fabric was cut to the right size and I added three pockets.

The bag sits better after being lined; you can barely notice any difference but it's just more substantial looking.

A bit more refined!

Open up to show the lining; two small pockets on one side ...

... and one bigger pocket on the other side.

It was my sister-in-law's birthday yesterday. She was really delighted with her new bag and especially with the colour scheme (which was chosen by my brother, not me).

I'm well pleased! I'm pleased to have been asked to make the bag, I enjoyed the making and I'm pleased that it was well received.

What do you think of it? I'd love to hear your comments.

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Garden

I've been taking some pictures in the garden over the past month. Some of the flowers are already past now; like this laburnum.

There has been great growth on the holly with it flowering really well. Hopefully this means there will be lots of berries later in the year.

This rhododendron flowers quite late in the year.

The baby birch trees are still coming on well. Remember the husband built this stone edifice? For some reason it collapsed but has been rebuilt.

I love to see broom flowering.

We had a great display of alliums this year; this is just a few of them.

The black elder had just started flowering in this picture. I'm hoping to pick the flowers very soon to make pink elderflower cordial, like last year.

Lots of purple flowers.

A few new plants for the front doorstep.

The husband made this wind chime!

These shells were collected while we were on holiday.

Very rustic!

The wild flower bed just started to bloom.

Lots of the herbs have flowered too.

Gorgeous irises this year.

And we're still having another great display of poppies.

The fruit and vegetables are progressing nicely. Here's just one picture of some of the potatoes flowering. We've started eating the potatoes already. Just scrubbed and boiled in their skins. Delicious! As are the strawberries.

That was a very quick overview of the garden over the past few weeks. Of course, it is constantly changing.

All the best for now. Hope to be back soon with more crochet; thanks for all your lovely comments about the crocheted shawl.