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.

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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

The patterns for all my real snowflakes should be available on Ravelry in a few weeks time. (Edited 9th June 2017)

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.Real 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!

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

It does benefit from a bit of blocking!0517-snowflake-pinned-on-boardHere 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!

 

 

Celtic Coasters

The Pattern for this is now available to buy on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/celtic-coasters

These coasters are made by interleaving four rectangular crochet strips. You only need a small amount of of yarn. Ideally made with four or at least two colours as you will see from the photographs.

They should come out about 4 inches / 10cm square.

NOTE

Although this is a very straighforward pattern I do not consider it to be suitable for beginners.

More about devising these coaters

You may remember my “I have a new obsession” post. Well since then I have been working on more celtic designs, in particular I have continued thinking about how to make a coaster.

I had given up the crochet cotton coaster because my hands were hurting but it occured to me that it might be possible to make one in DK weight yarn if I gave up the idea of combining five pieces, so I tried with three and my standard method of working out how many chains were needed.3 part coasterI realised that although this worked well for my celtic bookmark that the gaps in the resulting coaster would be better eliminated, so I reduced the number of trebles (US-dcs) for a crossing point from four to three and tried again.

I had realised that using less trebles per crossing, I could increase the number of pieces from three to four.

So this is what I did and here is the result.4 part coasterI then got out the oddments of my Rico essentials cotton yarn and made another one.Coaster from cotton oddmentsI thought it worked it even better in cotton.

Now, I had shown you how I messed around with a drawing program to see how different colours could be used. I had a play and chose to make a couple more coasters like this from my regular stash.Red to green coasterandGreen to purple coasterI then thought it might be fun to use just two colours arranged so as to get a chequer pattern in the centre.

This is what you get.Black and cream coaster

I would love to make some more but my coffee table is getting Coffee tablea bit crowded.

Celtic Cross crochet pattern

The pattern for all four of my Celtic crosses is now on sale on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/celtic-cross-bookmark

My original cross.Crochet celtic crossWhen I used #10 crochet cotton and a 1.25mm hook (Blue cross) it came out about 4 inches high and three inches wide. (10 x 7.5 cm) However using a smaller hook will give a firmer though slightly smaller bookmark. (Red cross)You could also try multi-coloured thread. For this I used a 1.25mm for the starting chain and a 1mm hook for the rest. I also increased the picot stitches from two to three.

I’m still thinking ‘celtic’!

I am not ready to start my blanket so I have been messing around with various small projects,: one of which was to continue with my idea of making a cross bookmark based on this silver cross my brother gave me a long time ago.Ideas for patternI refined and completed my ideas for a pattern and using some spare acrylic yarn created this.Trial in acrylicThe sun was so bright and I was in a hurry but I think this gives the idea.

This told me what I needed to do to tighten up the pattern and shorten the arms and then I found a way to make the corners pointier. So I experimented with some #10 cotton thread and got this.Trial in cottonJust clipped together for speed.

This enabled me to work out just what was needed and make a final one.Finished celtic crossI was very pleased with the proportions of this one.

I was a bit worried about the lower upright, when I had made it, because of the two long pieces being separate and thought that it would not be any good as a bookmark but stiffened with the spray starch it feels a lot better, so I may continue with the idea and maybe try making one with the circle in a contrasting colour.

You can’t feel it but what do you think?