Socks and a Blanket

This is all I have for you this morning, I am afraid.

Still doing less knitting and crochet than normal but have managed to do the small amount of knitting and crochet to finish the socks for my granddaughter and complete the main body of my Symmetrical Granny Ripple blanket.

I am going to add the pattern for the blanket to Ravelry when I have finished it but am not sure what to call it. My original Granny Ripple blanket is called “Soft Granny Ripple” though that name was not chosen by me but the lady who persuaded me to let her put it on Ravelry.

So here are the sock for my granddaughter. Short ones, as requested. socksThe yarn is Regia (One of my favourite makes of sock yarn). Nothing much on the ball band. Colour 0525 which I have found on-line called Papillion. I think I must have picked it up in Hobbycraft as my other sock yarns seemed a bit dingy for a teenager.

And here is the body of my “sea and sand” colour blanket body of blanketbased on the four times fourteen rows that form almost half of the blanket I made for my daughter. Completed sea and sand blanket

Stylecraft Special DK in the following fourteen colours:-

White, silver, parchment, camel, mocha, turquoise, sherbet, aspen, teal, royal, bluebell, denim, aster, cloud blue.

selection of yarnsAs with my other sea and sand blanket, I am not going to fill in the ripples, but have not finally decided on the edging.

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So what might this be?

stripsI have at last managed to finish these. Other things that might have been finished by now have been left but these were easy to do.

Within a few hours of taking the first photograph they had morphed into this strips woven togetherwhich is half a cushion cover.

Wanting to make a Celtic Plaitwork type cushion cover in rainbow colours and preferring an even number of different colours for this sort of design I chose the following Stylecraft Special DK colours. colour choiceDeciding to increase the number of colours from the standard seven ‘rainbow’ colours by adding a purple as a bridge between ‘violet’ and ‘red’.

Of course I had to spend time on my computer playing around with the colours to decide what exactly I wanted to do with them. This was the ‘original’, if you like, designplan for first sidebut I decided that it would be fun to create a cushion cover with this arrangement on one side and plan for second sidethis variant on the other.

I have now squared off the first side One side completewhich I was pleased to find came out about the size I had calculated and will now fit in making the strips for the other side in between my other projects which include edging my symmetrical granny ripple blanket, finishing off the socks for my granddaughter and making the hat I promised my daughter.

One thing this has shown me is that despite my doubts that such an arrangement could be used for a blanket. The woven strips do actually hold together pretty well, even before being edged, and so a blanket could be possible subject to various issues regarding colour(s) and length and thickness of strips.

Real Snowflakes

Well if I can’t crochet at least I can work on patterns!

This pattern has now been published on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/real-snowflakes

I have to say that my attempt at enrolling pattern testers was not very successful. Even the internet let me down by losing two emails with attachments!

However nothing daunted I put on my ‘US terms’ head (shades of Worzel Gummidge*) and settled down to work through the US version of my snowflakes pattern. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined and I managed to make a few improvements in the process.

So following on from that I am now ready to publish the final copies of the pdfs for both UK and US versions.

My aim had always been the end of July or August so I am pretty much on track.

Here I include a photograph of a comparison between snowflakes made with a 3.5mm hook (central circle) and those made with a 4mm hook. I found the central snowflake came out a very similar size with both hooks. snowflake size comparisonFor anyone who has not seen these before: they are all based on photographs of real snowflakes. You can find them at http://snowcrystals.com/ Kenneth G. Libbrecht kindly gave me permission to use them on my blog and in this pattern. real snowflake photographsThe ones in the above photograph are made in Stylecraft Special DK but they can be made in a variety of other yarns as you can see in my angel wreath. snowflake wreathAnd a full set in a two tone crochet cotton. crochet thread snowflakes*[Worzel Gummidge is a living breathing scarecrow from the books of Barbara Euphan Todd. Although I never read the books as a child they were made into a TV series with Jon Pertwee which I watched with my children. He had several heads which he changed depending on the needs of the current situation.]

A Hot Pad / Teapot Stand pattern

I’ve just published the pattern for this on Ravelry. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/celtic-hot-pad

Been working hard these last few days working out the best hook to use and creating the pdfs.

I showed you smaller version I made in the same cotton as my Celtic coasters. 

But this is only a little over 5″ across. Size of smaller hot pad shown

This would do as a teapot stand for a small teapot but is a bit small for a hot pad / trivet.

So I bought some chunky cotton.

“Yarn and Colors Super Must-Have” in Raspberry, Cantaloupe, Sunglow, Peony Leaf, Navy Blue and Violet.

It is always hard to judge colours on the screen so when the yarn came I was pleased to see that the blue although called ‘Navy Blue’ was not too dark and that they worked well together.

Here they all are in the Wool Warehouse signature see through cloth bag.

Chunky yarnMy first attempt was too loose but I went down a hook size and produced this. which is 7″ across. Larger hot padAs you can see here. Size of larger hot padMy Celtic Coaster pattern is selling very well, though I don’t expect this to be so popular, but I am really enjoying experimenting with all sorts of Celtic designs. And the extra cash allows me to feel I can afford to buy more yarns to experiment with!

What do you think? Would you find something like this useful?

And while I was playing around with the chunky cotton, I also made a case for my Swiss Army knife. Swiss Army knife in caseAnd closed. Swiss Army knife case closedIt fits quite snuggly so the case will stop it getting scratched if I just chuck it in my bag!

A Better Bookmark

Those of you who have been following me for a while will know that I wasn’t entirely happy with my Celtic bookmark because it was quite large and a bit thick. I posted the pattern but then, using the bookmark in one of the larger hardback books I have been borrowing from the library lately, I realised that I had left something out of the pattern!! so removed it.

However more recently I realised that if I made the bookmark in #20 cotton it would be smaller and thinner. new and previous bookmarksThis is why I bought the cotton thread I showed you here. recent yarn purchasesI used the cream #20 thread and some red that I had already to make another bookmark and being very happy with it have published the pattern in my Ravelry store – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/celtic-bookmark-2 – Getting it right this time!

Here are the two bookmarks compared with others. bookmark comparison

In #20 cotton thread this makes a bookmark approximately 5.5 inches by 1 inch (14ch x 2.5cm). I think this is the best size and thickness for a bookmark

in #10 cotton thread the bookmark is 7 inches by 1.5 inches. (18cm x 4cm). This is fairly thick but useable in larger books as I have found.

As you can see here.

larger bookmark in large bookand the new one in a smaller book. new bookmark in paperback book

inside the same paperback library book. new bookmark on paperback bookSo what do you think?

Thinking of hot pads

One of the early people who bought my Celtic Coasters pattern asked me for some ideas of how I might use the pattern to make a hot pad. At the time I suggested a few ideas based on my recent work on expanding the coaster into a table mat. However when I recently had an idea for another Celtic design, that I knew would be bigger than a coaster made in my usual cotton yarn, once again I began thinking ‘hot pad’!

I wanted to try the new design in ‘chunky’ yarn and wondered if the DMC XL cotton could be the right thickness. The recommended hook size appeared to be 6-7mm and I had a 6.5mm that I had inherited from my mother so it seemed worth a try.

When I went to Winchester, the first shop I visited, because it was near the bus station, didn’t have the DMC but they did have the Patons yarn in the photograph. which had a recommended hook size of 6-7mm and was at a reduced price so I decided to buy a couple of balls in my favourite colours.

I found the DMC yarn in the second shop, though they only sold it in very pale, neutral, sort of colours. At least this was blue even though very pale.

It is worth noting that neither yarn describes itself as either chunky or super chunky on the label.

So I came home, got out my hook, and crocheted a strip of trebles in both yarn. It was obvious at this point that there was a great difference in the thickness of the two yarns. A difference I had already suspected.

It became obvious to me that. whereas the Patons was probably about a chunky weight. the DMC was much more of a super chunky.

So I wondered what would happen if I made one of my original coasters in the DMC. Of course I only had the one colour but I though that I would give it  a go and produced this. As a comparison here is the coaster style hot pad compared to a wooden mat I use on my dining table for extra heat resistance and a trivet that I use on the worktops for saucepans. The mat is about 7 inches and the new hot pad about 6 inches.

I actually think that this is a better solution to the “how do I use the coaster pattern for a hot pad?” question as it produces a much thicker pad.

The Patons is not 100% cotton so not really the best thing to use for a hot pad so in the end I decided to make my new design in my current DK weight cotton and see how it would look. Hot padI was really quite pleased with it, though I would change the starting point for the main strips. (Not that it matters really!!)

I think that if made in chunky weight cotton it would come out about 8 inches across.

So the question is: do I buy some chunky weight cotton in five different colours and make one? Especially as I don’t even use my trivets very much. I tend to put hot saucepans on my chopping board, a ring on the cooker that is off or my steel draining rack.

The only snag I found with the ‘coaster’ in the DMC cotton XL was that it took just over half a ball; otherwise I could have used up the rest by making another one!!

 

Another small make and some new yarn

When I bought a map of part of Dorset for my visit to Dorchester I was pleased to find this Sign on OS mapon the outside of the map.

I already have Here maps and Google maps on my phone and they are very useful when I am in a town but they are a bit lacking in the middle of the countryside so this could be a useful addition.

Unfortunately I discovered that the OS app only works on iOS and Android but at least I have an Android tablet and it does have the benefit of a larger screen.

I discovered that the app would allow me to find my position through Wi-Fi on my tablet but it was fairly obvious that it did not have gps which was not so good.

When I got home I tried to work out how to link my phone which has gps to the tablet which doesn’t. The only option when out and about was to link the Wi-Fi on the phone to the tablet which was at least possible as long as I had paid for Wi-Fi on the phone and had a phone signal.

But then my son bought me one of these! GPS dongleAs long as you are outside it connects fairly quickly.

So all I needed now was a way to carry it about with me safely.

I had made a case for my tablet when I first got it. tablet caseAnd the obvious thing was to attach something to it.

After some thought I made this: GPS dongle and piece of crochet

which I turned into this: device in case

which held the GPS device securely. case closed

and which I then attached to the orignal tablet case. new case attached to original

I have also bought a copy of the New Forest map with a mobile download and there is one from my Winchester map so I am all ready to try it out on my next walk in the countryside.

Now the yarn

Last Thursday I went to Winchester shopping to buy yarn and came back with this.new yarnsIt all came from the same shop except the DMC Natura XL.

I had hoped to buy some #20 crochet cotton in at least white or cream as I had practically used up all of the small ball of white that I had. The shop had obviously decided to stop stocking the Anchor thread  😦 but at least I managed to get large balls of white and cream (#20 Aida) and a large ball of beige (#10 Aida) and two small balls of white and cream (#10 Artiste) cotton as a job lot for £3. Since one of the large #20 balls would have set me back about £3 getting all that for the same price was a good bargain.

One thing I knew the shop had was the Beachcomber yarn on the right.

I had made a dishcloth in some of this cotton a while ago dishclothand found that it soaked up water and wrung out much better than one made with standard dishcloth cotton. The dishcloth took over half a ball so I did not have enough to make another and although it works better that the normal dishcloth cotton it is als0 let durable and so now had a big hole in it.

The shop was selling the cotton at a reduced price so I decided to buy two balls. So with what was left over from the original I should have enough for thee or four new ones.

The other cotton was bought with an eye to another project which I will tell you more about next week.

 

Just a bit of fun – but useful!

I have always thought of ‘pot holders’ as American as we have oven gloves in this country but I saw this fascinating pattern for a pot holder and I thought that it might just be handy.

My saucepans have metal curved handles and they are great saucepans but sometimes the handle does get too hot to hold with bare hands and I have to grab a dish cloth or tea towel to protect my fingers.

So I took some of the spare cotton I had bought to make the bath puffs and made one.

Pot holder fnishedThe thing that totally charmed me was what you did next which was to fold the sides over to get this. pot holder foldedSewing up was easy. pot holder sewn upHere is the other side. other side of pot holderI wondered if it would be big enough but thought if it wasn’t maybe it could be used as a coaster. pot holder next to coasterand I could make a bigger one

but it works fine! pot holder in use

Recent makes and WIPs

I have been working on quite a few odds and ends before and after my holiday, apart from the coasters I showed you recently.

I thought that it seemed a shame to waste the place mat I had made just to show it could be done,Placemat and coasterand I remembered that I had a cushion that could do with a new cover. Old cushion coverSo I worked out a way to make a surround and thought I could turn the placemat into a cushion cover. Half a cushion coverThe only question was what should I do for the other side? I found a pattern for a Celtic style weave using front post and back post crochet stitches but didn’t really enjoy working it and thought it was a bit too holey, so I am not sure what to do for the reverse.

Until I do this will remain a WIP.

I have a local crafting friend who has been making some of my cross and angel bookmarks to give to children who are about to be baptised. She said that she had worked the angel one in #20 thread. Now I have always made the angels in #10 thread so I thought here was an interesting challenge. Could I see well enough to make the angel in #20 thread? The only thread I had enough of was my Anchor Artiste multicolour one. After the first row or two I found it easier than I expected! Crochet angelOf course this is larger than life size. (Unless it is on a small screen!)

I have also been making a couple of cross bookmarks, to maybe give away some time. Cross bookmarkThis one is finished, though neither the cross or angel has been stiffened and ironed yet.

I have also gone back to working on my sea-and-sand blanket that has been a bit neglected of late. I feel I am on the home straight now as I am working the last repeat of the colours.