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

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.

A neat Bag!

Neat in both the colloquial and literal meanings of that word. Bag hanging up

Not my pattern. You can find that HERE. (I ran out of the dark blue cotton so used the turquoise to finish up.) It weighs about 70g including flower and button so could be made with a 100g ball.

Here is the bag laid out. Bag laid outWhat is the little touch of yellow? You will see in a moment!

The base is two thicknesses and creates a pocket for the bag.

Here it is emerging from the pocket. Bag emerging from pocketTuck it all in and you get – Bag in pocket(I rescued the button from a birthday card!)

And a view from above. Bag in pocket seen from aboveJust right to pop in your pocket in case you need a bag!

Mainly bees……….

Not a lot to show you this week. I was going to work on my seahorses but I seem to have mislaid one! I know I saw it somewhere recently but can’t remember where.

So I finished a floor cloth 0550-floor-clothsince I thought it would last longer than the shop sort and I believe on getting down on my hands and knees with a cloth to clean the floor.

I also made a couple of crochet orchids. 0550-crochet-orchids(I devised the pattern about eighteen months ago  ago – https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/orchid-obsession/) and had so many helpful comments I became lost in indecision. There was also the question of size since some sprays of orchids have flowers of different sizes and also how to create the stems.

However I have now seen sprays of four equal sized flowers in shops so I am making one of them! There were suggestions for making multi-coloured orchids that I would like to try but I decided to just start with white. I am using my original pattern which I think is the best I am going to get.

However as that is not very exciting I thought I would share some photographs of bees that I took in Chichester last Autumn plus one of a different sort of bee I took in my garden. 0550-bee-1The others are all square. 0550-bee-2-squareI love the veining on their wings. 0550-bee-3-squareThey are so delicate 0550-bee-4-squarewith frilly edges.0550-bee-5-squareAnd such fluffy bodies!0550-bee-6-squareI think these are what are called white tailed bees. 0550-bee-7And one (I think it is a honey bee) from my garden.0550-bee-one-square Except the first, that is on a buddleia plant, they are all taken while feeding on sedum plants.

Shower puffs – Final report

After my last post I was fully intending to go away and try my cotton puffs for a few weeks and see if they went black and mouldy but I soon thought better of it because just because mine didn’t get mouldy (they had shown no sign of it so far) didn’t mean that someone else in a damper environment mightn’t have problems. And even more importantly I had to squeeze them so hard to get them to foam up a bit that it hurt my wrists.  (I have arthritic wrists these days.)

However I did experiment with a few alternatives.

I made this 0537-bobble-sideBobbles one side (for a massage effect if wanted) and plain the other 0537-flat-sideas something that was cotton and actually foamed up as much as the cotton puffs but more easily

0512-blue-and-pink-puff
Picture here for anyone who didn’t see the earlier post

and dried in only a couple of days unlike the round puffs that took  up to six days to dry fully so would be constantly wet in frequent use. (If I had decided to use such a thing permanently I would make it a bit longer so it covered down to the wrist instead of just over the fingers and palm, with a hole for the thumb of course.)

But then I remembered years ago, how I had been given a small piece of natural sponge as part of a gift set and how pleasant that had felt against my skin so I decided to treat myself. 0537-natural-spongeA natural sponge costs a lot more than a nylon puff but will last for much, much longer. It is also soft on the skin in use though it feels rough when dry. It doesn’t foam up as much as a nylon puff but more easily than I found the cotton ones.

However becoming content with a less bubbly wash and now having a shelf in my shower at shoulder height, 0537-shower-shelfI decided that a bar of soap does quite a good job as well.

However the cotton puffs are very pretty!0512-pink-puffbut it is up to you which you prefer.

Shower Puffs – follow up

I have discovered where I was going wrong using the puffs. I was not getting them wet enough. When I made sure they were full of water then the shower gel would froth up. Not as much as with the netting puffs but with one of my shower gels, that frothed far too much in the past, this was a very good thing!

However the small one Three puff size comparisonin this picture, that I was using, does feel a bit too small in use so I decided to buy some more cotton yarn. (100g balls so I would not need to have a join.) Cotton yarnAnd made one according to the original pattern (except for the start! This time I worked 10dcs (US scs) and then 4 into each instead of 40 trs (US dcs).)

And I produced this. Pink puffMaybe I was wrong to concentrate on making something that would dry more quickly.

The small puff I have been using took three days to dry when just hung up in the shower.

The small puff I was using weighed a little under 25g. This one weighs 65g.

I also made a puff in the blue cotton but this time I decided to start with my 40trs (US dcs) equivalent start and then try the alternate chain and trebles instead of all trebles for the other rows.

The resulting puff was a little smaller and squidgier and weigh between 40 and 45g. (This is good in that you could make one out of a 50g ball or two out of 100g). This means they would cost about £2.50 each if you made two. Just a bit more than the netting one.)

Blue and pink puffThis is taken in the shower as I had used the pink puff and it was still damp.

I didn’t find that the blue puff lathered up any better than the pink one and they actually work as well, if not better, with soap than shower gel in my opinion. (I stopped using soap in the shower, as if I dropped the soap it would often break, and went on to shower gel. The cotton puffs might be a way to go back to soap though I don’t know if that would be cheaper!)

As to how long the different ones take to dry. That requires more time. The greeny grey tiny one took three days to dry. I don’t know with the pink or blue ones as at present they are both still damp!

General Conclusion

The original pattern (https://fibersofgreen.com/2016/09/13/crochett-bathshower-puff/)  is as good or better than my alternatives, though may well take longer to get dry, but maybe if it is in constant use that doesn’t matter too much. Cotton shower puffs are soft on the skin but much harder to get to lather up so you know which bits you’ve washed! From my experience with dish cloths they should last a lot longer than the netting ones so although the original cost is greater, it would work out cheaper in the long run.

A Crochet Shower Puff

I expect any of you who use a shower puff find that they pass from being like the one on the left Old and new puff comparisonto being like the one on the right all too quickly. And eventually fall apart all together. My attempts at re-folding and tying them only last for a short time.

So I was intrigued when browsing through ‘crochet’ posts in the reader to come across someone who had made a crochet one. She also gave a link to the place where she had found the pattern.

The post was https://addsomestitches.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/tuesday-tutorial-crochet-bath-puff/ and the pattern was at https://fibersofgreen.com/2016/09/13/crochett-bathshower-puff/

So I decided I had to try.

(In respose to my comment, I was told that the puffs do take a while to dry and so -)

A brief digression here regarding my attempts at making dishcloths.

My first attempt at a dishcloth had been with what was sold as ‘dishcloth cotton’ and was ostensibly double knitting weight but which was actually closer to aran. First dishclothAs I thought this was a bit stiff and took a long time to dry, I tried again, this time with something called ‘craft cotton’ that was much more what I would have called double knitting weight. Dishcloth from craft cottonThese two dishcloths had been made using one of the textures from the book we used for the CAL, Square no. 52 from CALbecause I thought it’s slightly raised surface would be good for cleaning.

My son-in-law had asked for a similar dishcloth but in making one for him I decided to try a looser structure in the hope that it would dry more quickly. (Again with the craft cotton.) Dishcloth made for son-in-lawFinally I found some intriguing, though of course more expensive, cotton yarn that was so pretty that I decided to use it for a dishcloth. Dishcloth from Sirdar Beachcomber yarn

I am still using all three of my dishcloths but my favourite is the last one and though it is now white through being soaked in bleach from time to time, it is the quickest to dry and the most comfortable to use.

Because of the above, and because I had quite a bit, I decided to try to make a shower (or bath) puff using what was left of the craft cotton.

In the end I did not follow the pattern exactly.

The first row involved working 40 trs (US dcs) into a 4ch circle. There must be a way of doing this but it was not obvious to me. (It wasn’t a problem of getting stitches into the hole but of having reached the end of the circle after about 20.) So, to save time, I decided to start again and try an alternative method of getting to 40 by working 10dcs (US scs) into the circle, then 2dcs into each stitch on the next two rounds.

Having already strayed from the pattern, I decided (remembering my dishcloths) that instead of continuous lots of 3trs (US dcs) into each stitch, for the next three rows, I would alternate trebles and chains. working (tr,ch,tr,ch) into the first stitch (or gap on the following two rows) and then (tr, ch) into the next.

This gave a very solid ball, so I decided to try again using my pretty cotton.

I worked out that I probably didn’t have enough of this to make a whole one, so I worked one up based on a starting ring of only 30 stitches.

Here you can see the two shower puffs compared to a shop one. Three puff size comparisonI decided that although it was smaller, the pretty one felt the most comfortable in my average female (glove size 7) hands and so this would be the one that I would try using, maybe reusing the craft cotton for a floorcloth.

(I have to admit that when new the shop puff was about as firm as the cotton one.)

I also decided to try making one based on a starting point of 30 stitches out of some bamboo yarn I had. This was softer than the craft cotton and less jarring on my wrists as I made the stitches. Like with the chains between the trebles, I felt that a looser structure and so more air would mean quicker drying and maybe even more bubbles.

Unfortunately when I came to use the small pretty one I found that it produced very little bubbles.

I have two sorts of shower gel at present one of which I don’t like because it produces so much foam that the tray is full of it at the end of the shower. Using the cotton puff, the gel I like didn’t foam at all and the with the other one the foam was barely visible. I suppose the puff was no better than a flannel.

I am now not sure whether to try using one of the others or to do a rethink. Would one made exactly like the original pattern be any better I wonder?

I expect many of you know that I can get a bit obsessive about things and like to find the perfect way so there may be more about shower puffs when I have experimented a bit.

I have several others projects to work on but I was pleased to find a new crochet project to play around with.