Do you remember the seahorses?

Three months ago I made some crochet seahorses 0535-all-four-seahorsesFrom this pattern, though the lavender one is my own hybrid mix of the two patterns.

I wanted to display them somewhere and thought they would make a perfect hanging for a bathroom.

With all the other things I have been wanting to make it has taken a while but finally:-

Here is the hanging display all set up on my bathroom wall.  0555-sea-horse-display

Make you own Orchids!

There are many sorts of orchid but when researching what I could make all those months ago when I wrote my first post about it, I decided to try to create the Moth Orchid – Phalaenopsis.0551-spray-of-orchidsI wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in how I made the spray of orchids but since someone has asked I have decided to share what I did. I am not sure whether to call it a ‘pattern’ as my patterns are normally things I feel anyone could make and I am unable in this case to tie down a rigid method, more just a description of what I did.

This is aimed at confident crafters who can make sense of what I write. (On this occasion I have written only in UK terms)

I used Ricos Essentials Cotton, DK weight, in white. The cotton has a sheen which gives the flowers a bit of a glow. You will also need a small amount of red and also green yarn for the stems.

I used a 3.5mm hook, though I crochet fairly tightly, so you may prefer a 3mm hook. Anyway since the size of the flower is not critical, use whatever size you feel most comfortable with and that gives the best result.

Did you know that when you make a slip stitch, you can either make it so that pulling the tail tightens the loop or that you have to pull the main yarn to tighten it? Surprisingly, I didn’t realise this till recently. For this pattern you need to make your slip stitch so that pulling the tail tightens the loop. I achieve this by holding the end in my right hand. (But I wouldn’t want you to think I am trying to “teach my grandmother to suck eggs” if all this is second nature to you.)

[I have added some charts at the bottom. They have been made relatively quickly and I have used my normal trick of mirroring the stitches so the diagonals on the trebles won’t all go the right way but I thought they might be of some use to some people.]

White Orchid (make 4)

Central circle and column.

Column appears to be the most common term for the nobby bit in the centre above the two side petals.

I found that making a circle of twelve htrs worked best. I used a magic loop but any other way of starting would work as well as this part should not be seen in the final flower.

At the end of the 12 htrs, slip stitch into the first st then work 4ch, and dc into second ch from hook and the two after that, then ss into start. Pull firmly and sew in ends.

This excrescence will naturally curl up

Side Petals (make 2)

Start: 2 ch

Row 1: 3dcs into second chain from hook.

Row 2: 1 ch, 2dcs into first dc, dc into dc, 2dcs into last dc.

Row 3: 3 ch, 2trs into first dc, 2trs into next dc, then tr into next, 2trs into next and 3tr into last.

Row 4: 1ch, (dc, htr, tr) into first tr of row below. The 2trs into each of next two stitches. Now you work what I call a half double treble (hdtr) into the next stitch. (See below for explanation). Then a dtr into eah of the two central stitches, a hdtr into the next, 2trs into each of the next two stitches and (tr, htr,dc) into the last stitch.

Now continue down the side of the petal working a slip stitch into the side of the end of the three rows below. Then a final ss into the starting chain.

Followed by: 2ch, tr into starting chain, 2ch, ss into starting chain.

Now work up the other side of the petal making a ss into the side of each of the three rows.

The way I finish off is how I often finish off these day which is to extend the remaining loop on the hook until it is long enough to give a good length of yarn and cut in the middle. I then thread it on a needle and pass the needle under, in this case, the first dc of row 4. I then thread the yarn back where it came from and sew it securely into the back of the petal.

This gives the appearance of an unbroken row of stitches round the edge of the petal.

0552-side-petalI leave the starting yarn to sew the petal on to the centre of the flower later but pull it to tighten the starting chain.

[Hdtr: I make a dtr in the normal way except that when there are three loops left on the hook. I pull the yarn through all three.]

Rounded Sepal at the top

(I discovered that this part is a sepal and not a petal as I originally thought of it.)

Just two rounds this time.

Start: 7ch. (Remember to make the slip knot so you can tighten it.)

You will be working into the back loops, then back up the other side into what have now become back loops if that makes sense.

Round 1: dc into second ch from hook, then dc into each of the next four chains. When you get to the starting chain, I work 2dcs before the knot then one after it, making three in all. You are now working down the other side. Work five more dcs, one into the one loop of each chain. Then a ss into the turning ch.

Round 2: ch1, then dc into first dc, htr into next, tr into each of next four dcs. Then 5trs into next dc, tr into each of next 4 dcs, htr into next, dc into last. Ss into start. Tighten starting chain and sew in end securely. Leaving a good length of the yarn at the other end to sew this sepal onto the centre later.

Pointy Sepals at the side (make 2)

Just two rounds again.

Start: 6ch. (Remember to make the slip knot so you can tighten it.)

Round 1:dc into second ch from hook, then dc into each of the next three chains. When you get to the starting chain, I work 2dcs before the knot then one after it, making three in all. You are now working down the other side. Work four more dcs, one into the one loop of each chain. Then a ss into the turning ch.

Round 2: 2ch, tr into first four dcs, (tr, dtr, tr) into next dc, then tr into each of last four dcs. 2ch, ss into turning ch of first round.

Finish off as sepal above.

Red Petal or Lip

Now using red yarn ch4, ss into third ch from hook, ch2, ss into starting ch, 3ch, tr into starting chain, 3ch, ss into starting chain, 4ch, ss into third ch form hook 2ch, ss into starting chain.

This should give a wide central piece with two thin side pieces that should arch upwards either side. 0552-lip

 

The petals and sepals have a natural tendency to curl and I felt that when arranged they did so in an appropriate way so I did not try to stiffen them at all just adjusted them with my fingers at the end since they will not be being touched in use. However if you want to experiment with stiffening feel free.

0552-orchid-charts

Construction

The first thing I did was to attach the rounded sepal to the central circle behind the column. I then attached the two pointed sepals symmetrically at either side. They should stick out at an appropriate angle for an orchid which meant that there was an angle of about 90deg between them and one or two stitches of the edge of the circle. The sepals need to be secure.

I then took the two petals and attached them to near the centre of the circle so the narrow part was just below the column. These I sewed on with reference to pictures of orchids so they overlap both upper and lower sepals.

Finally, I threaded both ends of the red yarn of the lip into a needle, threaded the needle through the centre of the circle secured the ends either side at the back so it wouldn’t swivel then for speed and simplicity just tied the ends together in a double knot and cut off short.

I do not consider sewing things together to be one of my strong points so if you have a better method of getting the same result that is to be recommended.

Stems and attaching Orchids

When I made some knitted roses (from a book) I made a knitted I-cord for the stems and had thought to crochet something for the orchids but couldn’t quite see how. In the end the fact that I had very little green cotton yarn decided me on a simpler choice.

I had bought these flower wires 0229-flowerwirewhen I made the roses and thought I could also use them for the orchids.

Part 1 (make three)

I took my jewellery pliers and bent over the ends to make a small loop. I left it open and made a slip knot in the green yarn leaving a very long tail. I then wound the tail yarn tightly round the wire working upwards towards the loop. When I had enough I slid it round so it filled the loop closed the loop with the pliers and tied the end to the main part of the yarn the other side of the slip knot. I used what was left to sew the loop on the back of the flower. But first I continued down the wire with the main ball of yarn, winding it so the wire didn’t show, until I had enough for the curving stem behind the flower. I then cut the yarn and took a small piece of sellotape which I wrapped round yarn and wire (50/50) to hold the yarn in place.

Part 2

For the fourth orchid I did as above plus working extra to cover the gap between the stem of the end and adjacent orchid. When I came to the end I didn’t cut the yarn and used a paperclip to hold it in place.

Attaching the flowers.

I laid each wire to the back of a flower with the loop behind the centre circle and the rest of the wire pointing upwards behind the rounded sepal. I sewed the loop in place at the back of the circle (using an extra bit of white thread when I found I didn’t have enough green!)

I then bent the wires in a curve for the individual flowers stems followed by a 90deg bend for the part between the individual stems. If that makes sense. Obviously I let the yarn covered section extend just beyond the bend.

The fourth orchid was the front one (so in a sense the first!) and I took one of the other three and laid the wires against each other, so that the stems were spaced correctly and started to wind the yarn round both wires, covering the last of the green and the sellotape for the second flower. I added a third flower and then a fourth at suitable intervals then continued winding the yarn round the wires until there was no more wire left. I was not too bothered about the appearance of the stem, though I tried to make it neat, as it would be inside the vase. I think that I bent the last of the wire up and tied the yarn to stop it slipping. I am sure you can make a better job of it!

Finally

I arranged the flowers so that they overlapped each other with the end one in front as you can see in the picture. 0551-closer-view-of-orchidsI straightened the petals and sepals and pulled the wide part of the lip so it was horizontal.

It is possible that the individual stems should have been a bit shorter and that I should bend the flowers forward more so they don’t show.

I leave that to your judgement. There are plenty of photographs of orchids online.

[As always do let me know of any mistakes. I have put this together fairly quickly.]

 

 

 

 

A Spray of Orchids!

Having made two crochet orchids the week before last, I made two more this last week and then combined they into a spray 0551-spray-of-orchidsthat I will put on my kitchen windowsill along with my African Violets and Cactus. 0265-morningwindowsillOn the left so they arch over the violets. 0551-orchids-on-windowsillHere is a closer look. 0551-closer-view-of-orchidsThey are far from perfect but I am very pleased with them and will enjoy looking at them.

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.

A very Welcome Womble

This year I made two Christmas presents one of which was a womble. 0544-orinoco When my eldest was young the Wombles were on children’s television and my daughter’s favourite womble was Orinoco. She had a cuddly Orinoco which she loved and so when I was offered a knitting pattern to make a womble that was clearly Orinoco I said “Yes!” becuse I thought it would be fun to make it for her. 0544-womble-pattern(As you can see the pattern is a little worse for wear having been carried all over the place while knitting him.)

I decided to replace the white mohair of the pattern with eyelash yarn for greater authenticity. I have never knitted eyelash yarn before or the chenille needed for the face and hands but in the end it wasn’t as hard as I imagined and I could count the stitches which was important.

I am pleased to report that my daughter was really over the moon to receive him (even more than I had anticipated) so it all seemed very worth the effort, though I had regretted it a bit when it came to the sewing. (Never my favourite part.)

I also made a little blue bear for my granddaughter. 0544-little-bearI have a little blue bear that I made when pattern testing for another blogger which sits on my computer tower unit 0363-littlebearand I had asked my granddaughter whether she would like one ages ago but had never settled down to actually making one.

With Christmas on the horizon it seemed the ideal time.

I used the same wool as before because it needed aran weight and I generally use double knitting but still had a small ball of the blue aran.

However I decided to use a 2.5mm hook because I had one with a comfort handle in this size but not for 3mm which I think I used for the original. 0544-two-bearsYou can see that the latest bear came out a little smaller. But no bad thing and he apparently has joined the pocket pig 0033pigand a Christmas angel 0290-angelwithsashI had made previously!

 

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!

 

A New Real Snowflake Pattern

Those of you who have been following this blog for a long time may remember when I collected a number of photographs of actual snowflakes and created crochet versions for seven of them. Patterns hereReal snowflakes to copyAt the time I decided that the snowflake in the top left of the picture would be too hard for me to make. (As an aside: I also decided that the eighth snowflake (bottom middle) was too textured to be able to do justice to it in three or four rows.)

This was for two main reasons.

  1. It would have to involve using picot type stitches and I had been unable to make satisfactory picots.
  2. I was afraid that the arms would end up floppy.

However since then I have discovered where I was going wrong and how to make picots that lie flat. I also saw some snowflakes with a similar style of points in this book: which gave me encouragement0192-bookand I have been making some snowflakes to be sold in a local charity shop using acrylic yarn and a 2.5mm hook and found that with that size hook, even acrylic snowflakes can end up very firm.

I started off using that size hook rather than a more obvious choice of 3.5mm because I had been given a Clover Armour hook of that size and was really enjoying using it , so was reluctant to use an ordinary hook. 0517-new-snowflakeAnd here is a comparison with the original photograph. 0517-comparison-with-real-snowflakeYou can see that even with my crochet not being 100% even it is still more symmetrical than the original!

For anyone who is interested in making one (or more!) here is the pattern.

Note that whereas the other snowflakes for which I created the earlier patterns all end up a similar size this one is necessarily a little larger. 0517-snowflake-comparison

Snowflake Pattern (UK terms)

I crochet fairly tightly so all I can recommend is that you chose a 2.5mm hook or even smaller, for DK (worsted weight) yarn depending on how loosely you crochet. For other weight yarn use a hook much smaller than you would normally use if you want the points to hold up under their own weight. This can mean that not all the yarn pulls through on a stitch sometimes and it has to be redone!

Start: With a magic loop or 4ch circle if you prefer (but I think that a magic loop is better as you can pull it really tight.)

Round 1: Work 6dc into the loop or circle and slip stitch closed

Round 2: 3ch (= 1sr tr) then into 1st dc work (tr, 6ch). Work 2trs followed by 6ch into each of the following 5dc of the previous round. Slip stitch into the third chain at the start of the round.

This last round creates the points and is the trickiest round. It is really a matter of making five picots but adding an extra slip stitch to hold both sides together on the last two. I think where you add the extra slip stitches is obvious as it is the hole at the bottom of the picot on the opposite side.

For anyone, who like myself, finds their picots don’t look right the answer I found was when slip stitching to use method two of my four ways to crochet into a chain.

Round 3: (The following is repeated six  times, you can omit the final slip stitch for the sixth repeat and just sew in the end.)

7ch, slip stitch into fourth chain from hook, 4ch, slip stitch into fourth chain from hook, 8ch, slip stitch into eighth chain from hook, 4ch, slip stitch into fourth chain from hook. Here you work an extra slip stitch into the same stitch as the stitch for the second of the earlier four chain picots. Then 4ch, slip stitch into fourth chain from hook, plus an extra slip stitch into the same stitch as the stitch for the first of the earlier four chain picots. 3ch and end by slip stitching into the second of the two trebles.

Then working into the 6ch loop. Dc, hdc, 2ch, dc, 2ch hdc, dc. Slip stitch into 1st tr of next pair.

Finish: Pull the centre tightly closed, if using the magic loop. Sew in the ends securely and then pull the points and loops hard until the snowflake lies flat and looks even. Or else pin out on a board and leave for a while. 0517-snowflake-pinned-on-boardAs always, I welcome any comments on the pattern, especially pointing out errors!

Here is a photograph of the snowflake suspended. As you can see the points really do stay stiff! 0517-hanging-snowflake

Angel Christmas cards

I really feel that I could do with some way of lighting the items I want to photograph in a more even way and even if it is dull outside. However I have packed up all my Christmas cards now so this will have to do.

I shared with you the pattern for the angels I was making for my Christmas cards and now I will share with you the making of the final cards. Finished card Here is the final card and this is how I put them together.

First an aside. Several years ago I got a pair of folding scissors in a Christmas cracker and ever since then I had it on my key ring and it was very useful when I was out, especially when crocheting on the bus or Friday ‘Crafty Coffee’ mornings.

BUT then I lost my keys and thus the scissors!

Now for years I had wanted a Swiss Army knife but had never got around to it, partly because of the cost and partly because I could never decide which one I would buy. Now I decided that I would finally buy myself one with a scissors. The choice was really between the Climber and the Compact, as although I liked the idea of the magnifying glass on the Explorer it was a bit too chunky. In the end I bought the Climber because on Black Friday it was available locally at a good price and it is always good to see something before you buy it.

One of the things that the knife came with I wasn’t sure I would use but in fact it was the ideal tool to help with assembling my Christma cards.

And that was the ‘reamer’. Reamer I used it to make a hole and pull the loop at the end of the cord through the hole.

Here you can see an angel and a card, Angel on card the dot is to guide me as to where to make the hole.

And here is the reamer all ready to be used to pull the loop through the card. Pulling through cord Here is the inside when I had fixed the angel in place with a piece of cord securing the bottom of the robe to the loop. Inside of card These pictures were taken the other day when I was in a hurry to make a couple of cards to send abroad. On Sunday I finished the other twelve cards and here you can see all twelve angels. Twelve angels And the twelve finished cards. Twelve cardsOriginally I was intending to make more angels but pains in my wrists and lots of problems to sort out meant that I only made seventeen (including the three for the Giveaway). So for a few people that I wanted to give home-made cards to I have folded some origami angels to go on the same cards. I will share these with you next week when I have made the cards and taken some photographs.

 

 

Fish bookmark revisited.

Not being happy with either of my earlier attempts to make a Christian fish bookmark. Bruges lace style fishFilet crochet fish bookmarkI decided to have another try. I decided that the rectangular shape worked best but that the fish needed to be in a contrasting colour to show up. I tried to do this with the filet crochet but it was not at all satisfactory, so I switched my attention to tapestry crochet.

I started out with DK yarn as I often do, even though it would be much too big. DK yarn version of fish bookmark Having felt that this showed promise I then tried out a small version in #10 thread.

Just the minimum length to include my ideas. First attempt at bookmarkIt is possible to make the back look pretty much perfect but I decided that this was good enough. Other side of bookmarkHowever I decided that I would really like a lighter colour and found a blue/green mixture on the internet that looked appealing but didn’t want to buy it on-line if I could get it locally because of the cost of postage.

I went up to Winchester that is the nearest place I know that has a good selection of crochet cotton but I couldn’t get exactly what I wanted and came back with this instead. Crochet cotton It was lighter in colour than I would have liked but I made this? Second attempt at bookmarkWhat do you think?

I think I would make the fish a bit longer next time. I am not sure why it is so short, maybe I miscounted!