Yet another project!

As those of you who have been following my blog for a while will realise, I am very fond of Port Meirion ‘Botanic Garden’ china.

Now, some time ago my daughter bought me these tea cups. I really like the shape as it makes them suitable as coffee cups as well. six cupsThe four in the front are some of the flowers designs that are also on the ‘oatmeal’ bowls. Perhaps for that reason my two favourite designs are the one at the back the scarlet pimpernel and broom ones.

Here is a photograph with my four favourites at the front. six cups other arrangementYou can see the pimpernel and broom ones on the right and get a better look.

Normally they don’t get used except when I have people here for afternoon tea which is rarely. However, in the summer, I do like to take a tray with a cup. a teapot and a jug of milk out into the garden and have two or three dainty cups of tea and maybe a cookie or a piece of cake.

The problem is that in an ordinary tea pot the tea will ‘stew’.

So several years ago I bought myself this glass teapot made by Bodum.

Bodum teapot

It is very clever in that the central part is a bit like a cafetière except that the plunger has no holes. So when the tea has brewed, if you push the plunger down the tea leaves are locked away.

 

However the teapot holds one litre, so when making tea just for myself, I only fill it half way, which is only just enough for the hot water to reach the tea. And recently the plastic at the top, which holds the filter part in place, has got broken, so when you tip the teapot to pour the tea, the central part starts falling out.

Now over the years I have made two teacosies for this teapot and am especially fond of the current one. You do have to remove it to pour the tea but it is so beautiful and fun!teacosyBecause of the issues with the central part coming loose and the size, I decided that I would look to see if I could get a smaller pot with a removable filter, as I know that these have become available, and I found and bought this one. new teapot

It is called a ‘Stump Teapot’ and comes in two sizes: a one-cup version that holds 400ml and a two cup one that holds 530ml. I bought the two cup one, as the other looked a bit too small.

Being ceramic it should naturally keep the tea hotter than the Bodum glass one or my steel teapot, but I still think that I would like to make it a cosy.

Not sure what but it will be a crochet project.

cafetière cosy
Pictures from earlier posts

Now do I make it in rainbow colours or blues or greens to harmonise with my two cafetières that it will stand next to?smaller cafetière cosy

All my previous cosies have been experiments in different sorts of knitting or crochet; so what do I try this time?

(If I went down the blue/green route, I had thought about using the Drops Alaska, 100% wool aran weight, yarn left over from my cardigan and the slippers I am making.)

Any suggestions gratefully received.

 

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Little pot holder meet your big brother (or sister?)


Some time ago I showed you the pot holder I made. Original post HERE.small pot holderThis was great for picking up the lid of my saucepans with this sort of handle saucepan lidwithout burning my fingers.

However I soon realised that it was no good for picking up the lid of my set of three steamer saucepans. steamer lidSo recently I made a larger version. two pot holdersThe big brother (or sister) of the original. I used about twice the number of stitches to start.

And here is another little and large pair. More on this in due course!

At Last! I finished my cushion

I have really been procrastinating with regard to sewing up the two sides of my latest cushion.Celtic crochet knot work for cushion and Celtic knitted cables for cushionMainly because I am never confident when it comes to sewing and I thought that I ought to wait till I was feeling really strong and alert, however last Friday I had nothing to take to “Crafty Coffee” and so was reduced to taking the two sides of the cushion to sew together.

I am glad I did as it is now off my conscience and brightening up my chair!

Here you can see the Celtic crochet knot work side cushion on chairI notice that the cushion is so puffy that the strips are tending to pull apart and show the inner but I don’t think it matters.

And here is the Celtic knitted cables side. cushion on chairI think it looks very smart!

In order to close it in a way that made it easy to remove the cover if it ever became necessary, I crocheted an extra strip to the cable side and sewed on three odd buttons that I had in my button jar. cushion closureAnd lastly: on Saturday, as if by magic, the apple blossom appeared on the apple tree. 

Just a bit of a catch up

Started into the chemo last week. I found the most tiring aspect was not, as yet, a side effect but having to make sure that I did not encounter cold: objects, food, drink or air. At least this only applies for the first few days so should wear off soon! However having to boil a kettle every time you want a drink, even just to take a few pills (and there have been lots of pills!) is a bit if a pain and gets wearing.

All this has made me think more of just resting in between, not even done much sock knitting (except when hospital appointment was delayed by an hour and a half!)

Also my daughter came to stay for a couple nights and we had a lovely day on Saturday, visiting the Sea City Museum in the morning, then going to a Greek restaurant for a late lunch followed by home by teatime for a restful evening.

I did think however that I could share with you the next knitting project on my list that I am a little afraid to start in case a make a mess of it.

If you remember this recent crochet that I was going to use as a cushion cover. cushion coverWell the big question was what to do for the other side.

In the end I thought of this cardigan cardiganThat was meant to wear over summer t-shirts but makes my arms itch. Now I have quite a lot of  wool over which is obviously not very suitable for clothing and decided that maybe I could use the wool for the reverse of the cushion and knit a Celtic style cable square. This would give me an opportunity to learn more about cable knitting as so far my only attempt was the collar of this jumper. 

I found a pattern for a celtic style pattern I liked but the chart looks a bit daunting! chartThere is also all the swatching and counting to get the piece the right size. But maybe I might start it soon, with socks for when I go out and this at home.

Where have I been

I am sure some of you will be wondering why I have not posted anything for a while as up to now I think I had manged at least one post every week.

Well, without going into too much detail, let us just say that I ended up in A&E 18th December having a fairly serious operation the next day. Not one that you can just bounce back from either, so I spent Christmas and New Year in hospital and am now back home mostly just trying to fit in some resting with essential household activities like feeding myself and washing clothes!

The feeding myself is the best bit as, although the hospital food was fairly healthy, it didn’t taste as good as home made: some things being better than others.

I got someone to bring in my most recent blanket: my sea and sand smooth ripple blanket and it was amazingly useful for wearing round my shoulders when sitting in a chair, to a little extra warmth in bed when I needed it. I actually took a photo on my phone to share. Blanket on hospital bedThe things that impressed me about the ward I was in and the NHS in general is that the hospital was very clean and shiny, the nurses were very kind and supportive, the bed was amazingly comfortable and medicine seems to have gone very high tech which is great except for when the machines decided to bleep from very little provocation.

I was also able to have my mobile phone with me which meant frequent contact with family was possible. All my children and grandchildren visited me so in fact I had visitor(s) most days.

A New pattern – A Free One this time!

I created this pattern to offer my grandaughter as something that was interesting, not very large and only needed knowing how to make chains and double crochets (US- single crochets).

In the event she preferred the idea of using her multi-coloured yarn to make a scarf but I have now created a tutorial showing how to make what I call

A Beginner Coaster

This needs three different coloured yarns. Cotton gives the most attractive finish I think, but acrylic or similar would work as well.

I use the fact that using just three colours you can create a stripped pattern without having to cut the yarn and have lots of ends to sew in.

I used a DK weight yarn (US – light worsted) and a 4mm crochet hook. The size of hook could be adjusted up or down if you feel more comfortable with another size.

(There are word only versions of the pattern in UK & US terms at the end of the post.)

Start with a slip knot slip knotThe reason I show you a photograph is that a slip knot can end up two different ways and if you make it like this it is possible to pull the free end to make the loop smaller when you have finished. (This is useful to know if you start casting on for knitting with a slip knot too).

You then make 20 chains. chainsNow we will add the second coloured yarn.

I like to tie the new yarn to the old as you can then pull it without it coming loose. (I normally untie the knot before sewing in the ends.) 
Using the new yarn, make another chain. When working rows of double crochets, (US – single crochets) each row starts with what is called a ‘turning chain’ that gives a bit of height before working the first double crochet. (US – single crochet)

There are four different ways to work into the starting chain but the easiest way for beginners is to turn the chain so you can see the front and insert the hook under the top loop of each chain in turn. 

The needle shows where to insert the hook for the first stitch. This is the twentieth chain from the start.

Work a double crochet (US – single crochet) into this loop and each subsequent loop. Here you can see the first three.And here you are, having pulled the yarn through the last chain and about to complete the stitch. This is when you attach the third coloured yarn, in the same way as before, prior to completing the stitch with the new colour. Now make a turning chain. And turn you work to start back along the row.

The first double crochet (US – single crochet) is worked into the second loop from the hook which is easily found as it is the first loop in the previous colour. Continue with a double crochets (US – single crochets) into each subsequent stitch from the previous row. Complete the last stitch with the first colour which you will find waiting for you. (You should have made exactly twenty).

After this you continue working each row as just shown, picking up the coloured yarn that you find at the end for the last stitch, until you have made twenty rows.

The last row (the twenty-first) will be made with the first colour and this time you will make three stitches into the last, twentieth, stitch. This will be the first part of the edging.

You now work your double crochets (US – single crochets) into the first gaps down the side. These gaps will either be after a starting chain or the last dc of a row.Starting with working into the row two away from the edge. When you get to the last row, you start to work into the other half of the starting chain.

Each chain has three loops , so you will be working under two loops this time.

Here you can see I have inserted a needle under the first and last places you will be working.

You work two stitches into the place on the right and then one into each subsequent chain.You now work two more stitches into the side of the first (in this case the pale pink) row.

You then continue up the second side as before, ending in the last row which is where you started the edge, and work two stitches here as shown in this photograph.You should have twenty stitches on each side plus an extra one in each corner.

(But unless you are a perfectionist, it won’t really matter too much if you are one out anywhere.)

Now all you have to do is cut toff the yarn and sew in the ends. There will only be six.

I will now show you how I would do this.

Finishing off

I like to finish off the final end of yarn as invisibly as possible and so I pull out the last loop until it is really long. So I can cut it where the hook is and still have enough yarn to sew in the end.

I then attach a needle and thread the needle two loops away as in this picture. You are going to make a loop that will substitute for the loop of the first stitch.

Pull the yarn through and thread the needle back where the yarn came from.Pull the yarn till the loop matches the others. Now sew in all the ends.

I turn the work to the other side and I will show you just how I do one end.

I untie the knot that held the yarns together (but you can leave out this step if it feels too tricky) and slip the needle under a few loops of the same colour along the row. 

I pull the needle through and then insert it under some of the same loops in the opposite direction. Of course it is important not to insert the needle in the same place it came out from or you may simply pull the yarn out again.

I find this double direction approach is especially good for things like blankets to stop the ends coming loose.

To finish: here are a couple of coasters I made while developing the pattern, so don’t count the stitches but see the variety. 

Now the word only pattern.

Pattern (UK version)

Start with 20 chain in your first colour then tie in the second colour and pull through to make another chain. This will be your ‘turning chain’.

Row 1: Insert hook into upper loop of starting chain, two loops from hook and work a dc into this and each subsequent chain. Complete the last dc by tying in the third colour and using it to complete the last dc. Make 1 ch in the new colour and turn work.

Row 2: Work 1 dc into each dc of the previous row, completing the last dc with the coloured yarn you will find at the end. (20dcs). Make 1ch and turn work.

Rows 3 – 20: Repeat Row 2.

Edging

Top Row:  Work 1 dc into each dc of the previous row, adding two more dcs into the last stitch. (Giving three in total in the last stitch.)

Left side:Starting two rows down, work a dc into the side of each row.

Bottom: Work 2 dcs into the first of the starting chains, then 1 dc into the other 19.

Right side: Work 2 dc into the side of what was the first row and 1 dc into each subsequent row. Work an extra dc into the last row which is where you started the edging.

Cut the yarn and sew in the ends.

Pattern (US version)

Start with 20 chain in your first colour then tie in the second colour and pull through to make another chain. This will be your ‘turning chain’.

Row 1: Insert hook into upper loop of starting chain, two loops from hook and work a sc into this and each subsequent chain. Complete the last sc by tying in the third colour and using it to complete the last sc. Make 1 ch in the new colour and turn work.

Row 2: Work 1 sc into each sc of the previous row, completing the last sc with the coloured yarn you will find at the end. (20scs). Make 1ch and turn work.

Rows 3 – 20: Repeat Row 2.

Edging

Top Row:  Work 1 sc into each sc of the previous row, adding two more scs into the last stitch. (Giving three in total in the last stitch.)

Left side:Starting two rows down, work a sc into the side of each row.

Bottom: Work 2 scs into the first of the starting chains, then 1 sc into the other 19.

Right side: Work 2 sc into the side of what was the first row and 1 sc into each subsequent row. Work an extra sc into the last row which is where you started the edging.

Cut the yarn and sew in the ends.

 

 

Two hats and a dishcloth

I have been feeling a little out of sorts lately, not sure which project to start next, so when I heard that the Apostleship of the Sea wanted hats (among other things) as Christmas presents for seamen, I decided to make one.

I found a pattern suggested by the Apostleship of the Sea in a different area which said that aran weight was best. Now I have quite a bit of yarn left over from making thisbed jacket because I adapted a pattern with three quarter length sleeves and a fitted body and so had to guess the amount of yarn to buy and I over-estimated.

The yarn is a lovely soft 100% merino wool so should be great for keeping seamen’s heads warm on chilly days.

I had enough to make two hats and here they are. I don’t feel the sewing up of the seam is perfect but it won’t show too much if worn round the back.

Another thing that I have made recently is a new dishcloth, as I reported I would be doing when I showed you this yarn. yarn

This time I made it bigger than last time, using 40 trebles across. dishcloth I used the same two rows of three border from my book as before although I chose it independently! Dishcloth foldedBecause it is bigger than before it does take longer to dry but I like it in use.

My Celtic Cushion is finished!

I recently finished the other half of my Celtic cushion cover and joined the two halves together.

I chose to sew the sides together as I thought that would be the easiest in spite of the fact that I don’t like and am not very good at sewing (probably some cause and effect here!).

stitchingI actually sewed from the right side because the stitches would tend to show anyway and I thought this way I would get the neatest result.

As a closure, so I can remove the cushion pad easily should it become necessary, I decided on buttons. buttonsI had thought about clear, virtually invisible, buttons but then I saw these and thought they were very pretty in an understated way.  buttons on cushion

I increased the length of the original side with a few rows of dcs for something to sew the buttons onto then used the natural gaps in the crochet for button holes.

buttons on cushionI think this gives an unobtrusive finish to what I regard as the ‘back’ of the cushion. Though with all my cushions I turn them from time to time to see both sides.

Here you can see the nominal front of the cushion (the side I showed you before). cushion frontAnd the new side that is a variation. other sideI have been having the cushion alongside me on the settee since I made it, so I removed all the mess, to show it off to you. cushion on setteeThe snuggle blanket is there, all ready, for when I need it.

I am very happy with my new cushion and the interleaving layers make it very tactile.

I regard all my cushions as little works of art and here you can see them all in a row. fronts of three cushionsThese are nominally the fronts.

And here are the other sides. other side of three cushionsI think they make a lovely set of cushions to brighten up my sitting room.

Sea and Sand blanket – Final Details

Whole blanket The pattern used for this blanket is now available on Ravelry – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/smooth-granny-ripple

It was designed as a shoulder or lap blanket for when sitting on my bedroom chair. blanket on bedroom chair

It took me almost exactly a year to complete but during that time it was put aside quite often as I regarded it as a relaxing in-between project.

I copied the colour arrangement of part of an earlier blanket that I had made for my younger daughter.original sea and sand blanket

I used the same fourteen colours.

My favourite Stylecraft Special DK acrylic yarn in white, silver, parchment, camel, mocha, turquoise, sherbet, aspen, teal, royal, bluebell, denim, aster, cloud blue.

yarn for blanket

I had enough of all the colours except the white.

The main body of the blanket uses less than 40g of each of the fourteen colours.

It measures about 2ft x 4ft (60 x 120cm)

I used a 5mm hook.

The blanket had four ripples of my “Smooth Granny Ripple” pattern which was a more symmetrical version of my original “Soft Granny Ripple” pattern.

My brief for the colour arrangement had been to use all fourteen colours in four blocks, with the stipulation each colour should be found next to different colours each time they appeared as far as possible.

As I chose the order of the colours for each block I had tried to simulate different types of sea and sand.

So I started out with a ‘picture book’ sea. picture book sea

Later I tried to recreate a Greek sea.Greek seaI also chose colours for a British sea. British seaThe light has been appalling lately and unfortunately, the day I had time to take the above three photographs it was especially bad.

Finished blanket – Choosing an edge

I showed you the finished body of my ‘sea and sand’ ripple blanket. body of 'sea and sand' ripple blanketThen there was the edging to create.

When I made the multi-coloured snuggle blanket coloured ripples blanketI just wanted one that would not upstage the body of the blanket blanket edgeand chose one from this book,Borders bookUsing fairly neutral colours.

But for my other blankets I worked up my own edging to fit in with the theme of the blanket.

So for the “Cottage Garden” blanket CAL blanket on the bedI made one that looked like leaves. CAL blanket edgingFor the “Spectrum” blanket Spectrum blanketAs you can see I just repeated all the colours in rows so as to create a rainbow round the edge.

And for the previous “sea and sand” blanket. Completed sea and sand blanketI used a very simple ripply edge. closer look at edgingTo continue the ripply design of the blanket.

With granny blankets I like to make the first row using trebles (US – dcs) continuing the pattern along the top and bottom and using groups along the side, so as to form a uniform basis for subsequent rows.

I decided with this latest blanket to use one of the brownish coloured yarns from the blanket for this as a neutral background against which the main body of the blanket would stand out. However this soon evolved into the idea of using the ‘camel colour to represent dry sand and the ‘mocha’ colour, wet sand First two rows of edgethen to surround with a row of white for sea foam. white row addedI chose to use htrs (US- hdcs) here as dcs might get lost. I also decided to turn over the blanket to work this so as not to have a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ side.

I had already decided, that as the first and last rows were ‘royal’ and ‘aspen’ respectively, it might be a good idea to incorporate these into the border to tie the whole thing together and so I finished off with using both in a way that gives a slightly corded look. This is the waves of the sea.corded final row

This pattern is actually part of a border in the book I showed you above, though I would not have recognised it.

Here is the border turned over so you can see how similar they are. corded edge other way up

I rather like the corded look and had used ‘crab stitch’ crab stitch edging

to edge my first ‘hexagon’ blanket.

Hexagon blanket

Next week I will give you a final update on the whole of my finished ‘sea and sand’ blanket.