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.

 

A Dorset Adventure in Five parts – Day two

Last summer when I went to Weymouth with my granddaughter, Sandra of Wild Daffodil and I had arranged to meet, however circumstance intervened, but now I was coming back to Dorset we had another try and this time succeeded.

Sandra very kindly offered to pick me up in her car and take me to somewhere that would be harder to get to by bus (I do not have a car myself) and I suggested Ringstead Beach. Ringstead beachI realised afterwards that I should have taken more photographs, including one of us together but we were so busy getting to know each other and swopping stories of our creative journeys that there wasn’t much time for photographs.

I thought that it would be a good idea to bring a gift in return for her transporting me and I made two of my Celtic Coasters specially for her  Two gift coastersand also offered her a choice of two of my new design. Four new coasters in two sizesAs well as the photograph of the beach I also took a picture of this surprisingly large pipe that channels the water of a stream onto the beach. Pipeand on the way back Sandra stopped the car so I could get a good view of the figure of King George III cut into the chalk on the hillside. Figure cut into the chalk

She kindly took me back to Dorchester where I stopped off for some lunch before deciding what to do for the rest of the day. It was really great to meet a fellow blogger and it is a shame we don’t live nearer each other as we seemed to get on well.

I did a little reconnoitering and acquired a couple of bus timetables when I finally found the Tourist Information Centre which had moved and was now in the Library! I also discovered the best place to catch said buses.

I had noticed a sign for Maumbury Rings which were actually within Dorchester itself; so seeking them out seemed a good way to spend the end of the afternoon.

Maumbury Rings goes back to Neolithic times when farmers often build Henges, probably for ceremonial purposes. The Romans turned it into an amphitheatre and it was also used as a camp during the Civil War.

It is even in use for social events today.

Again, like Maiden Castle I wanted to walk all the way round. (Not as far this time!) Maumbury rings(The above photograph was taken when I was half-way round.)

I climbed up on these steps to start to walk around the top of the bank. Way up to top of bankThere is a very wide gap at the entrance and when I reached the other end of the bank I realised that I could see no easy way down, so I decided that the best thing to do was to retrace my steps and come down where I had gone up.

Here you can see that end seen from below. Bank at other endIt looks as if there may have been a second set of steps at one time and the sloping bit looks as if I might be okay to slide down! However it looked a lot steeper from above.

After this I found a seat in the shade and sat for a while. I couldn’t resist taking some photographs of a beautiful perfect daisy I could see beside the seat. Daisy

 

More Celtic Coasters

I don’t seem to be able to throw off my obsession with all things Celtic. But then why should I!

Lately I have been designing some more coasters but this time because of how the interwoven part looks when complete I have added a border.

Here you can see some of the first ones I made. Two different sizes of two new coaster designs

I made the larger ones with a 4mm hook and the smaller ones with a 3.5mm hook. I am still not sure which I prefer.

Here you can see why this design needs a border. Coaster without a borderAnd here are a few more I have made, playing around with different colour combinations. Latest new coastersAnd these are two of my original coasters that I made as a gift but more of that on Thursday. Two original coastersFor the observant among you: the reason there is no green in the first four coasters is because I had run out. I then bought four more balls in green, pink, blue and lilac as in the right hand coaster above.

Announcement

Some time ago I noticed that some people had, without asking my permission, posted photographs from my blog on their Pinterest sites. I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or annoyed but it certainly made me feel uneasy as I had no control over what they were doing.

Later on I found that there were also ‘Free Pattern’ sites that had included some of my more popular patterns. These sites appeared to be supported by advertising and one even was soliciting donations in return for providing links to the patterns! This definitely moved me in the direction of annoyed!

The final straw came though when over the last few weeks I have had hundreds of people visiting my site from Facebook to look at my Celtic Coasters pattern. (I know this is where they are going by the numbers.) This time I don’t even have access to what has brought them here. So annoyed it definitely is.

[As an aside I must say that of course Google also takes photographs off my site and again I wish that I had control over this as Google not only takes all the photographs posted as ‘photographs’ that I see no need for but also photographs of mistakes and problems that make sense in context but I would not want put out there otherwise. Of course there is no way of controlling Google as far as I know.]

I have therefore decided that with my better patterns, the ones that have cost more in time, effort and emotional investment will in future be ‘paid for’ patterns. (Some of my more simple, ‘throw away patterns’ will still be free.)

These may include patterns such as:

 

 

 

African Violets, Angel bookmark, Celtic Coasters, Celtic Crosses, Cross bookmarks, Granny Ripple,

Snowflake cloth

Snowflake bookmark, Snowflake cloth

and probably my Rainbow Mittens even though no one is much interested in that one.

I may also add some more of my patterns to the list but those above are the only ones on Ravelry at present.

 

I have already listed my African Violets, Celtic Coasters and Cross bookmarks for sale on Ravelry and will think about whether to list any others.

Maybe it is sad in some ways that I have felt the need to do this but I cannot control what people do with my photographs but I can at least gain a handle on how many people are interested in my patterns and not just of the “It’s Free. I’ll have half a dozen!” brigade.

 

My bookmarks in use!

Having discovered that the latest book I got out from the library is a large hardback book I decided to move on from my pineapple bookmark that I have been using lately to one of my Celtic ones: Pineapple bookmark on bookthe most popular one with the purple edging and pointy corners. Celtic cross edged bookmarkWith the pineapple bookmark the pages don’t quite lie flat where it is. Pineapple bookmark in bookBut as I suspected with the Celtic one they gape rather more. Similarly with my latest version of the slip stitch one. Celtic edged bookmark in bookNow with pointed corners! Celtic slip stitched bookmark in bookEven my plain Celtic cross lifts the pages a little more. Original Celtic cross bookmarkNow with cord and tassel. Origianl Celtic cross bookmark in bookAnd of course my latest Celtic cross bookmark. Celtic cross bookmark(Not yet with added cord) operates more like the other embellished Celtic ones.Celtic cross bookmark in bookJust thought it was useful to give an idea of their relative thickness! Though when in use in the middle of the book they show slightly less!

Celtic Cross – definitive version

Definitive Celtic crossCeltic knots and plaitwork are always drawn with an edge so that you can see clearly how the ribbons cross over each other and I thought that this did not show clearly enough on my original cross. Original Celtic crosswhich is why I started experimenting with adding slip stitches. Celtic crosses with slip stitchesAt the time I did try adding the slip stitches to the back loop only so as to give an edge but found that this made the strip so much wider. I thought of using dcs (US-scs) for the central ribbon but knew this would be more fiddly so decided against it.

I was also finding slip stitching more difficult than dcs (US-scs) at this time so I tried adding a dc edge Celtic cross with edgingbut could see that the cross was then so much bigger. (I did increase the number of stitches as well and could have reduced them a bit but it would still have been bigger than I wanted.)

Recently however I decided to bite the bullet, as they say, and try making the main ribbon of the cross out of dcs (US-scs) instead of trs (US-dcs).

I knew this would make it harder to keep track of the stitches when checking to see I hadn’t made a mistake but I persisted and my first attempt turned out like this. New Celtic cross first attemptI could see that this was much smaller than the original and was not entirely surprised as crochet is very stretchy in a sideways direction (especially the upright of the cross) but had noticed that adding the slip stitches removed this, as with the cross with the purple slip stitches above.

So I decided to increase the number stitches and use a bigger hook.

Now I have lots of tiny steel hooks, inherited from my mother, but only a few, still small but larger, aluminium ones and the smallest of these is a number ‘3’. My smallest aluminium hook was a 2.5mm and larger so I decided I would use the no. 3.

(Looking at some crochet hook charts I now think that this might be a 1.9mm equivalent hook.)

With the increased stitches and the new hook my cross turned out like this. New Celtic cross second attemptYou can see here how these two attempts compared with the original. New Celtic cross first two attempts with originalSo I decided that as with my other slip-stitched crosses it wasn’t necessary to increase the stitch numbers except for the upright and the circle and tried again.

Here are all my three attempts next to each other together with the original. New Celtic cross all three attempts with originalThe slip stitch edged cross (bottom right) does not really need stiffening and had finally given me what I was after.

The original is of course easier to make and attractive in it’s own right but I like the new one best!

So here are the three different styles. Three different styles of Celtic cross

The one on the right with the inner slip stitches is the thickest and the top central (original one) is the thinnest.

I also experimented recently with making an equal armed cross with the added slip stitches but don’t really like it. Though I am not sure why!Celtic cross with equal arms

I have updated my pattern page with patterns for all four different types of Celtic Cross.

This has been really hard work and I have tried to double check everything but if you decided to use one of the patterns and find anything that seems wrong, or any typos, I would be really grateful if you would let me know so I can change it for others.