Crochet Seahorses

Recently Wild Daffodil created a crochet pattern for a seahorse, made several and then offered to give some of them away. I entered but was unsuccessful and so decided that I would buy the pattern that she had put up for sale and make one myself.

The first thing I did was copy the text into Word and using ‘find & replace’ changed it from US terms to UK as otherwise I am sure I would have made lots of silly mistakes!

The first one I made was the one I would have liked to win. 0535-aqua-seahorseIt is a very clever pattern but I must admit it made me realise that I am not as good at crochet as I thought I was as I struggled with all those slip stitches, often caught the yarn on the hook and had to redo the head and snout several times.

In my defence though I did realise later that since I crochet tightly I ought to have gone up a hook size from 3mm to 3.5mm and that it would have helped to look at the pictures!

There was a second pattern for a seahorse made in 4ply cotton. Now I didn’t have 4ply cotton but I did have some DK cotton so I decided that I would try that one as well but using the larger hook.0535-pink-seahorseThe tummy and snout are subtly different.

I still found myself struggling a bit but not as badly.

Having compared the two seahorses I decided that I liked the tummy on the cotton one but the snout on the acrylic one, so decided to make a hybrid. 0535-hybrid-seahorseHere you can see all three. 0535-seahorse-familyFinally I had time to make one more (the original in the larger hook for a comparison) but I decided I would be a bit more relaxed this time, not worry so much about making mistakes and see if I could hit the thirty minutes mentioned in the pattern. 0535-blue-seahorseWell I didn’t manage to complete it in thirty minutes but it was under an hour, just! which was less than before. But I think his eye is a bit large which I didn’t notice at the time!

So here are the first and the last. Same pattern but different hook sizes. 0535-seahorse-comparing-sizesAnd here are all four. 0535-all-four-seahorsesI do have plans for these fellows which I will hope to show you eventually, but not before Christmas!

 

Photo Challenge – Creation

When I think of the word creation, my first thought is not of those things that I create but of God’s creation. Now putting all of that into a one photograph is a bit difficult and even if a photograph including the night sky might hint at something, night skys are very disappointing in the middle of a city.

But then I thought of the poem by William Blake (the first few lines of “Auguries of Innocence”)

Where he writes:
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”

So I will try to capture the wonder of the whole of creation in an image of just a tiny part of it. photo-challenge1648-creationJust look at the amazing detail in the humble spider.

I have never been able to take a really good photograph of a spider’s web but this is maybe the best one. 0534-spider-webAfter all this too is a creation – of a spider!

November Montage

The Photo Callenge topics for this month were: Hunt, Socks, Wild and Still. I found the first and fourth quite hard. As an aside – we had our first frost and now the fuchsia is a sorry sight!montage1611I managed to fit in both knitting – my cowl and crochet – my latest blanket that is a more symmetrical version of my original Granny Ripple. I tried to show why I consider it more symmetrical.

Surprisingly two of my posts related to cards – the two cross stitch Christmas cards I have made and a ‘never-ending card’ for someone’s birthday.

Never-Ending Card

Having see the idea of a never-ending card on Wild Daffodils’ blog – HERE I had thought that I would like to try it.

Recently I needed a card for a Crafty Coffee friend’s birthday. She makes beautiful things out of many pieces of origami paper so I thought that she would appreciate that sort of card. (This appears to be called modular origami and the constructs referred to as Sonobe Polyhedra.)

I didn’t have much time but I managed to find some stickers in a shop when on the way to the cinema and thought my highlighter and silver pens could be useful. I made a demo model in paper to start with and scribbled on it as I developed my ideas. 0532-ready-to-decorate-cardThe final card was made with pieces of cut down postcard 3×6 inches as I had plain postcard sized pieces and it meant all the pieces could be the same shape.

Here is the first side 0532-page-1which opens up to show 0532-page-2Then lifting top and bottom gives 0532-page-3which in turn opens to. 0532-page-4If you peep through the gap in this side I think you can see the first side showing and if you open the card up top and bottom you are back at the beginning, all ready to start again.

I may have gone a bit overboard with the hearts but apart from the stars, which were an afterthought, they were all I could buy at the time.

I tried to make the card work both ways up as you can see.

The fact that the third one was in the shape of a cross gave me some ideas for Easter cards. So look out here come next Lent.

 

Photo Challenge – Still

I do find it much easier when the subject of these challenges is a noun. Whenever it is a adjective or another part of speech I struggle.

Of course ‘still’ can be a noun but the first meaning that comes to mind is that of the equipment needed for distilling! so I decided I had to look elsewhere.

Although it is beginning to get much colder I noticed that my fuchsia is ‘still’ flowering and so that is what I chose for a photograph. photo-challenge1647-still-flowering

 

Photo Challenge – Wild

I suppose there are many ways one can interpet wild but the word reminded me the the last verse of Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poem “Iversnaid”:

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

I didn’t see myself being able to go out and find real wilderness but I happened to be on Southampton Common last week and although the common is managed there are plenty of areas that are left wild. I didn’t have my camera with me but the photographs my phone takes are good enough at this sort of resolution, as long as I don’t want to do anything fancy, so here is my chosen photograph for the challenge. photo-challenge1647-wildI cropped this to my preferred 4×3 format but my phone takes 16×9 format and here are four others that were in the running.

The first place I stopped0530-wild-2The one I thought was prettiest. 0530-wild-3One of the wildest. 0530-wild-4And one with interesting branches.0530-wild-5

 

Alpaca cowl

Having made a scarf for my daughter 0502-After ironingfrom some alpaca 4ply wool I had been given, I decided to use the rest to make a small cowl for myself.

Since I would be using circular needles and would be knitting it in many locations, I wanted a pattern that was such that

  1. It was less lacy than the scarf but still with holes.
  2. I didn’t need to look at the pattern
  3. or count rows.
  4. Whenever I put it down I would know where I was.

I couldn’t find anything that I liked that fulfilled the above so I wrote my own.

Rounds:

  1. Knit
  2. Repeat (Yarn over, knit two together) to end
  3. Knit
  4. Purl

Finishing on a 3rd row. Any even number of stitches. I chose 110.

I counted it as a bonus that the holes lined up in a diagonal fashion as that had been one thing I had thought of doing but couldn’t see a way to achieve it without an obvious changeover point.

Here it is finished. 0529-knitted-cowlI realised that although I have seen many cowls like this, that because it was so soft that it tended to fall down so I crocheted in some shir-elastic along the top to help hold it up under my chin.

I thought it would be handy to wear when I didn’t want the extra bulk of a scarf. 0529-cowl-worn

Couldn’t get the colours to look right though! The cowl is more crimson and the cost a deeper pink.

 

 

 

Photo Challenge – Socks

With a topic like socks (don’t think it was I who chose that one) what could I do but take a photograph of all the socks I have made. photo-challenge1646-socksSeven knitted pairs and one crocheted. The rainbowy pair at the top were the first that I made, in merino wool, and you can see they have got a bit bobbly but are still oh so comfy! The grey pair are my summer ones in cotton with a bit of lycra for stretch. The red, orange, green, blue ones (two pairs) have bamboo viscose as the synthetic component and are quite lightweight. The pair on the right I managed to make matching as with the green and red pair. The bluey grey ones were made from wool I was sent as a giveaway, the browny ones are my crochet socks and the blue, green, purple ones the only ones where I knitted in holes.

I do still have a few balls of sock wool (some given to me) and would love to make another pair but all the socks above are wearing really well and so I don’t feel I need any more at present.

Photo taken in my bedroom on an only moderately bright morning – 400 ISO, 3.5 aperture and 1/5 sec, hand held so I was pretty pleased with how it came out!!

This year’s Christmas cards

I always like to make at least some of my Christmas cards and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do this year until I was given this book. 0527-bookthat someone didn’t want.

In it I found the perfect chart which I copied out in colour onto squared paper 0527-chartso my old eyes didn’t have to struggle!

I looked out my box of embroidery threads 0527-embroidery-threadsand chose some colours. 0527-chosen-coloursI also found a chart for a candle that was quicker to work.0527-two-designsI worked blanket stitch round one of the angels and got out some duck tape and cut a piece of card. 0527-angel-tape-and-cardI used the tape to fix the card on the back but then I decided that it would look just as good if not better (and quicker) if I used the tape for the edging. I had also been given some tiny cards that I could use for the candle. 0527-cardsOf course the angel card was not complete and so I found some stickers Lettering sheetsI had used in a previous year and made up an A5 card. 0527-finished-angel-cardJust seven angels and five candles but as I have time I may make some more.

(The angel is held on with just a bit of blu tack so it can be removed and hung up as a decoration.)