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.

The cowl is fnished

I am pleased to announce that I managed to finish off the cowl this last week. 0549-finished-cowlI have to admit that I haven’t finished the ends and I haven’t ironed it but I wanted to show it to you today.

Just a bit better ironed. But really pleased with it!

0549-ironed-cowl

I have learned a lot!

When I continued the cowl after last week’s post, I did allow myself to not catch the yarn even when doing three stitches as  a way to speed up the knitting.

However when I got to about half way, I started to read advice on how to knit these two colour patterns and found that there were a lot of differences which was confusing but, reading what it said in the needlework encyclopedia I inherited for my mother, I did manage to start knitting with one lot of yarn held in the right hand and the other in the left, whereby the yarn on the right is thrown and the yarn on the left is picked up. It was more of a strain on my wrist but I even managed to work out how to catch the yarn for longer runs without leaving the yarn twisted. Here is the back. 0549-wrong-sideI find that there is more than half the wool left and so making a hat to match might be in order but this leaves me with a dilemma.

Next time I would like to try knitting more traditional fair isle patterns but they normally have reflective symmetry horizontally or vertically or both whereas the patterns in the cowl mostly have rotational symmetry so a hat done like that might look non-matching even if the colours were the same.

However I am going to have a break from knitting now and so plenty of time to think about it.

Fairisle cowl

I had hoped to have more of this to share with you but last Tuesday having planned an outing with my camera, I went down with the dreaded norovirus. They say one to three days, well I make it at least four! in my case. During this time all I wanted to do was rest with eyes gently closed, and, anyway, I didn’t want to risk contaminating my beautiful cowl.0548-one-third-of-cowlI found the cowl pattern on The Twisted Yarn’s blog HERE and absolutely loved it.

She used all sixteen shades of Stylecraft ‘batik’ yarn but I knew that doing the same would leave me with a lot of leftover yarn, so I calculated that four balls should be plenty. I was rather taken with the look of the ‘batik’.

So I went to a local yarn shop and chose my four favourite shades that I thought would work well together. (Teal, Raspberry, Violet, Sage)

Of course it wasn’t enough to just substitute colours for the sixteen in the original so I sat at my computer with my favourite drawing programme and played around with the colours till I produced a chart I could use. 0548-chart-for-cowlI found I had left one row out but luckily I discovered it! Can you see where? It’s the symmetry gives it away.

After earlier very poor attempts at fairisle type knitting I thought that this was a chance to master it, or at least to see if I could produce something acceptable. I think the batik effect of the yarn is fairly forgiving of irregularity.

I have been working very slowly and have found a way, laying each ball either side of me as I twist the yarn together, of not ending up with a tangle. I felt that my mother had twisted the yarn every stitch and that is what I have tried to do before but, as I can no longer ask my mother, I spoke to someone who said that she thought you only had to catch the yarn every two stitches so that is what I have done. 0548-my-fairisle-reverseHowever not up to my mother’s standard as you shall see below.

For those of you that like a story here is why I am so frustrated by my inability to knit fairisle and similar two colour knitting.

My mother knitted the most beautiful fairisle jumpers for my children 0548-mothers-knitted-jumperThis was my son’s favourite jumper for some years and as he loved it so much, when he grew out of it, my mother made him another in a larger size.

I had wanted to do the same for my grandchildren but all my attempts as this sort of knitting, large or small, have come out with a very irregular pulled look to them.

This morning I remember my mother’s knitting bag that I had inherited and how the lining is always coming adrift. So here is a photograph of the outside – 0548-mothers-fairisleand the reverse. 0548-mothers-fairisle-reverseIt does look as it she was twisting every stitch so I still have a long way to go to achieve that smooth, could almost have been made by a machine, look.

Since I think that the cowl does not look too pulled I will maybe leave mastering the every other stitch method for later.

Now to catch up on all the blogs I haven’t read over the last week!

2016 – Looking back

Crochet: During the last year I have completed two different sides to make a cushion cover and a snuggle blanket for cold winter evenings, or even cooler summer ones! some shower puffs and an alternative that dries more quickly; though I didn’t keep these: they were more exercises. I also, as an exercise, worked up a crochet circle that was actually fairly circular rather than octagonal. And then there were the sea-horses that were rather fun to make and a pair of crochet socks to see how they compared to knitted ones. I have kept these and wear them frequently!2016-knitting-and-crochetI never do as much knitting and this year the main projects were a jumper/bed jacket and my temperature scarf that is finally finished. But having been given some red 4ply alpaca I also made a scarf for my daughter and a small cowl for myself.

I did find time for other crafting. Sewing a bean bag book or tablet support and a pair of trousers. Also in the sewing category I tried my hand at cross stitch and finding I could do it, I moved on to using it for some Christmas cards.2016-other-craftingI also made a never-ending card for a friend and some stitch markers. I have plans to make more of these. The only thing that can be considered a recipe was my tutorial on making marzipan fruits but I did also share photographs of some seasonal baking for Easter and Christmas.

I also spent extra time taking and looking out photographs for a Photo Challenge but as there were fifty-two of these they are two many to include!

Looking forward. I have already started a knitted cowl with a fairisle type pattern hoping to finally master this type of knitting. Probably a post about this next week.

I am continuing my crochet blanket between other things, have yarn and pattern for a knitted cardigan and hope to go back to some crochet ideas I never finished, including my plans for the crochet sea horses.

Temperature scarf is now finished

About 1st or 2nd of January I finally finished the knitting of my temperature scarf and then all that was left was tying and cutting the ends. (No sewing in because they were to be inside. Yay!) sewing up the ends and adding some tassels.

So here it is! January starts at the end in the middle of the photograph and the orange stripe, top left, is the hottest day of the year in July when I went to Christchurch.0546-scarf-whole-yearYou may note that although I had a colour for below freezing (purple) and a few reds for hotter temperatures 0437-Temperature chartthat for 2016 the winters have been mild and the summer warm rather than hot. Other years we have had colder winters and hotter summers. However personally I like a more equitable climate.

It was so difficult to take a photograph of me wearing the scarf at home that when one of my Crafty Coffee friends wanted to take a photograph with her phone for the Facebook page I asked if I could have a copy.

Here is the first one where I was feeling anxious and had my hands over the scarf. 0546-wearing-scarf-in-focusas you can see.

And here is another. A much better photograph except that is a bit out of focus! 0546-wearing-scarfYou can see some of the people in the group sitting round the table in the background!

I am really, really pleased with it and because it is double thickness it is very warm and cosy and will stand up to cover my chin if I choose.

I also like the fact that it is longer than my other scarves and I love long tassels on a scarf.

Monochrome Madness offerings

All these photographs are the ones sent to ‘Monochrome Madness’ so will enlarge if you click on them.

This year the Photo Challenge has rather distracted me from working on monochrome photographs but I have managed to send in fourteen pictures over the last few months. rainbow-junkie-3-1-beeI love photographing bees and take every opportunity to do so. This a part of a photograph I took at Criccieth.

rainbow-junkie-3-3-cityI missed a week and I think this was probably a theme week – City. I expect you can recognise that this was taken in London.

rainbow-junkie-3-4-cameliaThis is the first of a few flower photgraphs I worked on. It was a camelia that had fallen off a bush just up the road from me.

rainbow-junkie-3-5-bee-in-flowerAnother bee photograph as well as a flower one!

rainbow-junkie-3-6-mahoniaThis is a mahonia flower. There is a bush I pass when going to the bus stop.

rainbow-junkie-3-7-closedAnother theme week I think – Closed. This is the door of the nearer of the two churches in my parish.

rainbow-junkie-3-10-roseMissed two weeks this time but found another of my flower photographs (I love photographing flowers as well as bees!) This time a white rugosa rose.

rainbow-junkie-3-15-roseFour weeks missed. This is a white and deep pink rose that I found quite delightful.

rainbow-junkie-3-16-movementI think this must have been a theme week too – Movement. Taken on the day I went to Christchurch.

rainbow-junkie-3-18-ceilingMissed a week. Thought that this ceiling looked even better in monochrome. You will find it in the West Gate museum in Winchester.

rainbow-junkie-3-22-the-butteryAnother three weeks missed. My visit to Chichester last summer. When I stopped for a coffee and something to eat. I think it was called ‘The Buttery’.

rainbow-junkie-3-31-beautifulEight weeks missing this time; becoming a real struggle to even remember to send in something. Another photograph from Chichester. An art exhibition in the Cathedral.

rainbow-junkie-3-32-in-the-woodsManaged to remember. A monochrome version of one of the photographs taken when finding a Photo Challenge photograph for ‘Wild’. Taken on Southampton Common with my phone.

rainbow-junkie-3-37-turretsGave up trying for the next four weeks but this is the first of this year. Taken last summer at St Catherine’s Chapel, Abbotsbury.

I hope to manage to find something every week from now on!

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!

 

New Year’s Resolution

Firstly “A Happy New Year to all my followers old and new!”

Now I don’t normally make New Year resolutions because if I decide that there is something in my life that needs to be changed and which needs some sort of resolution to back it up, I make it straightaway whatever time of year it is.

However this time the resolution occurs exactly at New Year time.

The resolution is to generally post on my blog only once a week.

There have only been two occasions in the past when I have felt obliged to write a post twice a week and that was when I was taking part in the CAL which resulted in this blanket CAL blanket on the bedand this last year taking part in the Photo Challenge. 0424-Photo ChallengeNow I don’t regret either of these things as they were great fun and were a chance to interact with other people but they have created a great sense of pressure and I would like to be more relaxed and have time for doing frivolous things like playing video games.

My 3DS has been rather neglected this last year but I have bought two new games for it 0543-two-gamesand hope to buy ‘Poochy and Yoshi’s Wooly World’ after it comes out for the 3DS.

This a photo of the game for the WiiU. 0543-yoshi-game-for-wiiu(I’m sure Nintendo won’t mind me copying their photograph and advertising it!)

I expect you can see why it appeals!

So don’t be surprised to see less posts. They will continue to be about the same sort of things as in the past.