One a week Photo Challenge – Nature

Ah! how to encapsulate nature in one photograph?

View of fields and mountain
If you click on the photo you can see a bigger version which shows the beauty even more clearly

Of course one cannot, but instead of giving you a collection of photographs that show different aspects of nature, I will share just this one photograph that seemed to me at the time to encapsulate the true beauty of nature as found in Britain. In this case in Wales, near Tywyn.

I took it when I was on my second holiday in the area when out on a walk.

What about a Celtic Coaster style Placemat?

This does include a universal pattern at the bottom as long as you don’t mind a bit of Maths!

Having had a few people interested in the possibility of a placemat in similar style to my Celtic Coaster, being the person I am, I wasn’t able to stop considering it.

My first thought was that it would be a lot of work and very fiddly. However……….

Imagining a placemat made in a similar way to the coaster as being made of similar width strips. I wondered how many that would need to be and in the end decided that about sixteen would equal a foot. (Not sure I am right here but it was a good place to start.)

Now the number of separate strips needed for a piece of Celtic plaitwork depends on the whether, on counting the number of bumps on each side (including the corners), the two numbers have a common factor.

No common factor: one piece (as in my odd numbered Celtic bookmarks.)

If there is a common factor that determines how many separate strips there are.

Two examples of plaitwork
four and six have a common factor of two whereas three and five have no common factor except one.

For a square, both sides are the same so you need that number of strips. Hence the style of my coasters.

I tend to think of placemats as being rectangular so having decided on sixteen colours for one foot (30cm). I chose to draw out one that was 16 x 32 bumps.

Now to be similar to my coasters each colour must be different. Sixteen was about the number of colours I used for my spectrum blanket so I coloured each strip in similar colours and produced this. 32 x 16, 16 colour arrangementNow one of the things I wanted with my coasters was for no adjacent overlaps to be the same colour.

I think, if you look closely, you will see that this breaks this rule in a vertical strip down the centre.

Of course a square placemat would not. square 16 colour arrangement(Each strip of the 16 x 32 placemat would need about 360 chains and there would be sixteen of them to weave together. That is a similar number of chains to those needed for each of my bookmarks.)

Now one person had asked about a matching coaster and obviously this could not match with all those colours so I looked to see what would happen if you repeated the colours of my first (non rainbow) coaster original coaster(As represented in my drawing programme) computer version of coasterand got this. 32 x 16, 4 coloursEven more matching adjacent overlaps.

Even if it was square. 16 x 16 square 4 coloursSome people might like the patterns it gives rise to but it wasn’t really what I wanted.

So I decided to work out how to make a bigger version of my coaster with the same shape strips but just wider.

As it was just a trial effort, I used some of my acrylic yarn that I had no specific plans for, as the cotton yarn is more expensive and I wasn’t sure I had enough anyway. Acrylic is much stretchier though and so needs more TLC to get it into shape. However I hope it will give you the general idea of what is possible.

For symmetry I decided to just make the strips three times wider and see how large it ended up. This would mean nine trebles (US-dcs) for each cross-over and over one hundred chains for each strip.

The thing that surprised me was to find that when adding further rows it takes two added rows to equal the width of one row on its own. So I ended up with five rows and not three! (And 114 starting chains see formula below.) Placemat and coasterSince each strip is approximately the same size you should need something less than 25g of each colour. As the whole thing weighed just under 85g. More of course if it was cotton. I used a 4.5mm hook for the starting chain and then a 4mm hook for the stitches. I tend to crochet quite tightly.

Here it is with a plate. Placemat and coaster with plate

Although I was doing all this primarily for other people it has proved quite useful, as one of my first thoughts was to use plaitwork to make a cushion cover and now I have the tools to plan such a cover – watch this space!

Some Maths!

For a square coaster, placemat etc.

If N is the number of bumps down the side (including the corners), N is also the number of strips and so also the number of colours needed if each strip is a different colour.

As an aside: I think that N is best if it is even, as if it is odd you get a square shape in the middle which I think stands out too much.

3 colour coaster
This was the one that was too loose but I think you can get the idea

For an even number the first half of the shapes are the same as the second half and they blend together more. four colour coasterHowever the formula works for all values of N.

In all the following (US readers read ‘double crochet’ where I say ‘treble’)

Then for each strip if only one row wide:

The number of chains to start = 12(N-1) + 6. This includes the two extra chain needed for the first treble equivalent.

For thicker strips:

If m is the number of rows. I think m works best if it is odd from the point of view of symmetry. (If you chose an even numbered m you will have to adjust for any halves you get. I suggest rounding down as crochet is stretchy.)

The number of chains to start = 12[1 +(m-1)/2](N-1) + 6. This includes the two extra chain needed for the first treble equivalent.

Hope you remember your BODMAS!

I have even come up with a formula pattern for any size you might want to make.

For strips only one row wide:

Work the following, using values of ‘t’ from 1 to N.

(Following on from my remark about an even N, when N is even you can just make two each of the first N/2 shapes, which is what I did for the coaster.)

Treble into 4th chain from hook, 5tr into one chain,

Then one treble into each chain for 6(t-1) chains. (Yes this gives zero for the first ‘t’), 5trs into one chain.

Then one treble into each chain for 6(n-t) chains. 5trs into one chain.

Then one treble into each chain for 6(t-1) chains. 5trs into one chain.

Then one treble into each chain for 6(n-t)-2 chains. (This corrects for the first two trebles made at the beginning which will give a join that is underneath.)

A more general formula that will also work for thicker strips:

If N is the number of strips (colours) and m is the number of rows.

The first rows come from:-

Work the following, using values of ‘t’ from 1 to N-1. Then repeat t=1.

Treble into 4th chain from hook, Then one treble into each chain for [(m-1)/2] chains, 5tr into one chain,

Then one treble into each chain for 6(m+1)(t-1)/2 chains. (Yes this gives zero for the first ‘t’), 5trs into one chain.

Then one treble into each chain for 6(m+1)(n-t)/2 chains. 5trs into one chain.

Then one treble into each chain for 6(m+1)(t-1)/2 chains. 5trs into one chain.

Then one stitch into each chain for (6(m+1)(n-t)-(m+3))/2 chains. (This corrects for the extra trebles made at the beginning which will give a join that is underneath. If when you put the plait together the join is not underneath then you have the strip the wrong way up. I always presume that the right side is the front of the first row.)

For the rows after that work one tr into each tr except for the turns. (Remember to start with 3ch, miss the first stitch, and work the last tr into the top of the 3ch on the previous row.)

For 180deg turns, on the second row I worked into the 10 stitches of the turn as follows – (tr, tr, 2tr, 2tr, 2tr, 2tr, 2tr, 2tr, tr, tr) (16)

On the third row I worked into the central sixteen stitches of the above as follows – (tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, 2tr, tr, 2tr, 2tr, tr, 2tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr). (22)

Hopefully you can see a pattern here. I felt it was similar to working a circle, (or see below.)

For 90deg turns I simply worked 5trs into the central treble of the five of the previous row and one treble into all the others.

Pattern for 180deg turns continued

How the stitches increased for the fourth and fifth rows.

Over 22 stitches: (tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, 2tr, 2tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, tr.) (28)

Over 28 stitches: (tr, tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, 2tr, tr, tr, tr, tr, tr.) (34)

Caveat: Although I have checked and double checked my figures and formulae, I do make mistakes, and if anyone thinks they have found one, I am always grateful to be told so I can investigate.






Giveaway Winners

You may remember that I offered these three crosses as a Giveaway. Thee crochet crossesWell sixteen people entered and I did the choosing today.

I know a lot of people use some sort of electronic chooser but I don’t quite trust things like that and like to do it the old fashioned way. However having put all the names on a list I did decide that it was easier to write numbers rather than names on slips of card. Numbered cardsAnd the numbers I drew out showed that the winners were……….

Chosen numbers

Now 16 belonged to Patricia Lang and I am not sure if she wanted one but I had included her at the end just in case. I have sent her an email but not had a reply, so, rather than delay an announcement, I decided to draw another card and I will make Patricia one if she had meant to enter. Chosen numbers plus extraSo now the list is:-

Carol D



Ann Slay

I have sent each of you an email to request your postal address.

Here are the crosses with cords and tassels. Crosses with cords and tassels

One a week Photo Challenge – Arch

This is the photograph I have chosen for this week’s challenge. View through old arch at DurnsteinIt was taken when my daughter and I were on the Danube cruise at Durnstein. It is one I have not shared with you before.

I had so many other arch photographs to chose from though that I have used before.

There was this Another arch at Durnsteinanother one taken at Durnstein.

This one from EsztergomArched walkway at Esztergomthat is quite a collection of arches.

And a lovely flowered arch from MottisfontRose arch at Mottisfonttaken when I visited the rose garden one June.



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!

Happy Easter

This year I made never-ending cards to send to the couple of people I send a card to, so I thought I would share one with you.

Outside Second side Third side Last sideAnd to finish I will share with you the cake I made this Easter.

Not a simnel cake this year. My son saw a cake on a food programme on TV and really wanted to have one (and it also includes marzipan!) so I made one for him.Battenberg cakeAnd a closer look! Battenberg cake closerA plain and chocolate Battenberg with nine sections instead of the normal four!

Easter Giveaway

Following on from my making lots of Celtic crosses I have decided to offer three of them as a Giveaway. Three Celtic crossesOne each to three people.

This is open to anyone anywhere.

All you have to do is comment at the bottom of this post saying which of the three you would prefer.

I think that all would be suitable as bookmarks though the plain red cross is the thinnest.

If you would like me to add a cord and tassel as I have done to this one that I made for myself Celtic cross with tasseljust say so in your comment.

The Giveaway is open till the Second Sunday of Easter (23rd April) when I will choose the winners.

Quick garden post!

I couldn’t resist giving you a quick update on changes in the garden.

The wallflowers that I planted to keep the cats off the place where I am going to plant a daphne have come into flower and make a colourful show!            WallflowersThe pansies that equally were planted to keep a spot for some lavender are flowering again though I can see the slugs are having a field day! Pansies and forget-me-notsThe forget-me-nots that I love are flourishing.

The apple tree not only is coming into leaf but has blossom. apple blossomI know I must not let the tree produce apples this year but I will enjoy the blossom.

And finally: the clematis that I showed you in an earlier post (taken last September)clematis last Septemberalready has lots of new buds. clematis buds

One a week Photo Challenge – Pond

Always one to be pedantic. I looked up the definition of pond to see how it differed from that of a lake.

Google gave me this for pond:- “a small body of still water formed naturally or by artificial means.”

THIS gives a detailed explanation of the difference but basically it appears to be about depth rather than size.

So in order to be on the safe side I chose this picture that I took recently in London. Ornamental pondThis ornamental pond is in Victoria Embankment Gardens, the part next to Savoy Place, near the north end of Waterloo Bridge.

I also took a picture of this little chap that you can’t see in the above photograph because he is hidden by the tree fern. Ornamental figure in pond