A request directed to US followers

You may know that I have decided to start selling my favourite patterns on Ravelry.

The latest pattern that I have been revising and rewriting and testing prior to selling is for my Easy Real Snowflakes. Probably just to be called ‘Real Snowflakes’.  (They are based on photographs of real snowflakes). The photographs I was working from are here – https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/a-new-real-snowflake-pattern/

I am trying to create a US version as well as a UK one.

There are eight patterns and although they don’t take very long to make (I estimate 20-30mins) I am not sure if I will be able to concentrate well enough to follow the patterns in US terms. (If I buy a pattern in US terms I always translate first before I try it!)

So I was hoping that I could find a couple of people who would be prepared to test my US version of the pattern in return for a free copy.

Here they are made in DK yarn (which I believe is the equivalent of light worsted in the US) with a 4mm hook – not sure what that is.

and here are some more made in #10 cotton with a 1.25mm hook.

It doesn’t matter what hook or yarn people want to use to test the pattern as I have used 3.5mm, 4mm and 4.5mm hooks for the snowflakes with UK DK yarn and the biggest difference is size. I have also used thread as you can see and an intermediate sized silver yarn.

Feedback on any places where it looks as if I have not converted a term from UK version and any general comments about how easy the pattern were to follow is what I was looking for.

I will have your email address if you offer to help in the comment section and will then send a draft copy of the pattern to a couple of you to test.

I will also send the testers a copy of the final version, if it is in anyway different when I am happy with it.

A Dorset Adventure in Five parts – Day four

Stinsford church, Thorncombe Woods and Hardy’s Cottage.

Having had a bad migraine the evening before (maybe I was overdoing it after all!) I was pleased to find my head feeling much better as I set off.

I had a leaflet that I had printed off the internet leafletand I followed their walk to Hardy’s Cottage and back.

The walk started at Grey’s Bridge. Grey's bridgeThe instructions were then to take the second footpath on the right which was a bridal path. I did this, went under a busy road and eventually turned left as a little detour to see Stinsford church. Stinstead churchOn the wall outside the church near the door was this plaque containing a quotation form one of Thomas Hardy’s poems – The Darkling Thrush. Hardy quoteI especially like the font they had used!

There were a few features of note ins1de the church that I photographed.

The font. (Another meaning of the word!!)FontThis side chapel evoked a sense of peace and harmony.Side chapelThe stained glass windows were not exceptional except for this one that seemed more modern. (I am less keen on Victorian style stained windows.)Elijah windowIt was clear that this was Elijah and a closer look confirmed it. There was a dedication to Thomas Hardy underneath but the ivy which you can see in the above photograph rather obscured it.

There was a Madonna and Child: StatueThe niche may well be older than the statue.

I also liked the carving on the pillars.PillarsThis photograph will help tie it all together Broad viewas you can see the Elijah window, the statue, the pillars and the side chapel was to the left beyond the statue.

Of course I had to have a look for the graves of Thomas Hardy’s heart, Grave of Hardy's heartCecil Day Lewis Grave stoneand his wife. Grave stoneI enjoyed the poetry of C Day Lewis and Thomas Hardy but I have never read Hardy’s books as they seemed from reports to be rather depressing!

I then retraced my steps back to the original path and continued on my way. I came across this Farm equipmentwhen the path went through a farmyard. I thought it looked like something of an antique.

About 1130 I passed the Pine Lodge Tea Room which was noted on the map and instructions. It was an extremely hot and sunny day and I was feeling rather drained.

It appeared the they were shut but I went up to read what it said on the door. It appeared that they were open at midday for lunches but that seemed a long time to wait.

As I stood there the door was opened and a women asked me if she could get me a drink. I chose a sparkling elderflower which came with ice and she also filled up my water bottle. I suppose she saw the opportunity for a sale but it was still very kind of her.

Much refreshed I continued on my way until I reached Thorncombe Woods. Thornecombe Woods signHere I found Rushy Pond Rushy pondand these attractive and unusual seats. seatSo I sat for a while in the shade.

I then walked on, following the signs, until I could see Hardy’s Cottage. Hardy's cottage I wandered around and found this memorial put up by fans from the USA. Hardy memorialHere is a closer look at what it says. Text on Hardy memorialI also walked round to where I could see the back of the cottage that was surprisingly plain and almost windowless.Back of cottage

I was getting hungry by now and there was a sign to the Visitor’s Centre and Car Park so I followed it down what turned out to be a very long and sometimes quite steep path.

After a bowl of soup. I trudged back to the cottage to rejoin the route in the leaflet. I didn’t pay to go into the cottage as I tend to prefer grounds to interiors and I knew I would feel awkward in my walking boots.

The rest of the route was less picturesque and included electric fences and an Animal Care Centre. Luckily a couple of the girls there happened to know how to open the gate because I was struggling. It is surprising how many different sorts of gate you meet on a country walk.

I saw this house Kingston Maurward House which I now think is Kingston Maurward House and shortly afterward a rabbit! rabbit

On the whole the instructions were very clear and the sign-posting was excellent. However I was about to meet a problem on getting to section 13 (unlucky for some!). The signposting for The Old Manor was not at all clear and I ended up asking two different people if they knew of a nearby cattle grid: as the next significant point to find. Once there I had no more problems and when I saw these signposts signpostsI knew I had completed the circular part of my walk. part of map

Have you noticed this holiday is all about circles: walking all round Maiden Hill, walking the almost all way round bank of Maumbury Rings, Walking round the Giant’s Hill and now a circular walk that took in Hardy’s Cottage!

The way back was now straight forward and I went and collapsed gratefully back in my room at the guest house.

Clematis, roses and garlic

Not much to show in the making line this week though I have been working hard.

So I thought I would take the opportunity to fit in another garden update. I am so enjoying my new style garden taking shape.

These photographs have been taken over the last month. All taken and processed rather quickly, just as a record really.

Before I went on holiday I looked at my clematis. The Vagabond is only meant to grow to about four feet but of course it won’t get that high this year. I saw that it had a good crop of blooms The Vagabond clematisbut also realised that it needed spreading over the trellis. Clematis on trellisIn a way it looked better with the flowers closer together but this was for the future!

My clematis on the other side of the garden was in a similar state, though less ready for spreading out. Diana's Delight clematisOdd really given that it was planted first.

After I came back from holiday after all that sun and only a little water, courtesy of my son, the same clematis looked like this. Clematis after hot weatherThe first clematis is still producing the odd flower, now further from the ground and so free of slug damage Single clematis flowerbut the clematis the other side only has seed heads. I wait to see if I will get a second flush later.

At the same time I was pleased to see that the rose bush had plenty of buds. Rose buda and alliumsand the alliums (Christophe – my favourite) were developing their flower heads.

When I came back from holiday the roses were in full bloom and the alliums much bigger Roses and alliumsThey seemed bigger than I remember them but then they are in a much sunnier location now and the ones in this bed, the sunniest, are bigger than those in my herb bed. More recently they are so big and heavy I have had to give them support.

Those extra green floppy leaves either side of the single allium are from my garlic.

I have been growing garlic for a few years now.

I always take a few of the fatter cloves out of the fridge because the garlic cloves for sale in the garden centre cost as much as a whole head of garlic in the greengrocers!

When I started, I read that you plant garlic on the shortest day of the year and harvest on the longest and I have always stuck to this pattern up till now.

I was always a little disappointed that each clove only multiplied itself into four new cloves, so last Autumn I decided to try an experiment and I planted the garlic at the same time as the daffodils.

When the garlic was beginning to flop over and produce flowers I decided that it was time for harvest even if earlier than before. I dug up one first, just to see, and then decided to dig up the rest.

I always plant three or four cloves and here they are when I had just dug up the last three. garlic just dug upAnd here with all of them washed. garlic washedThey gave me six or seven or eight cloves this time so I will be planting them September/October time again this year.

I have a lot less flowers in my garden at present as the first flush of roses is over and the other new plants are small, so of course I have less bees than I used to. Though here is a rather poor photograph of one taken a few weeks ago. bee on alliumI do have a lot of different greens though. green leavesAnd my fuchsia is covered in flowers as always. So there are a few bees there. I was rather pleased with this photograph bee on fuchsiaas normally all you see are their bottoms! bee in fuchsiaA few of the pansies are also hanging on thoughpansies

but I don’t know if bees like them.


Photo Challenge – Cross

Just managed to fit in an entry for this week. My Dorset Adventure posts are taking so much time and I haven’t even found time to think of monochrome!

As a Christian the first meaning of the word ‘cross’ that comes to mind is obvious.

This is from the archives and was taken on the hill above Lourdes when it was very, very misty up there.

The above is actually a monochrome version but you could hardly tell the difference from the original colour version.


A Dorset Adventure in Five parts – Day three

Cerne Abbas

Tuesday was cloudy and not as hot as Monday but when you are going walking that is no bad thing.

I had been to Cerne Abbas Giant viewpoint on the way back from Weymouth last summer and shared a couple of pictures. The rather hard to see Giant. However this time I was aiming to visit the village and walk round the Giant’s Hill.

I left the Bay Tree shortly before nine to go to the bus stop. The bus was due at 0925 and since the English Senior bus passes are not valid before 0930, I hoped to pay for a short distance and then go for free but the bus driver was very kind and just let me use the pass.

When we got to Cerne Abbas I got my bearings then walked up Abbey Street to look at the church. The church was not outstandingly beautiful but it had a few features of interest, I especially liked this carved Madonna and Child and this amazing pulpit. There were also some interesting texts on the wall (This photograph is full size so if you are interested you can click on it and enlarge it till you can read the three texts between the arches.)and since this is a craft blog I had to photograph these kneelers made by local women. There were four kneelers but this composite picture allows you to see all the designs.

After this I moved on to look at the Abbey Guest House. Abbot’s porch and St Augustine’s well. Apparently it is iron rich (Chalybeate) water like at Glastonbury but unfortunately, unlike Glastonbury (at least many, many years ago when I was there), it is not drinkable. However it was a pleasant spot to sit for a few moments and contemplate.

Now it was time to walk up Giant’s Hill.

There is a fence round the Giant itself to preserve it. I wonder if once you could walk right up to it, like once you could clamber at will over Caerphilly castle, walk right up to the stones at Stonehenge, that stood in lonely splendour off the side of the road, or sit of an evening by Chalice Well in Glastonbury to drink the Chalybeate water, which is quite delicious! I have done all these things in my lifetime. The second time at Glastonbury, just two years after the previous time, the well was fenced in and you had to pay to go in during ‘opening hours’! I suppose it all makes sense and yet I find it sad.

Anyway back to Cerne Abbas.

This photograph shows what may be all that is visible of the giant from the path.

I had not started walking up the hill till about 11 o’clock but in spite of talking it gently I was making good time and I decided to follow a route to take me all around the hill. Not the full figure of eight walk shown on the Village Map but enough to still get me back to the village for lunch. It was so pleasant up there in the sunshine that I wondered if I should have bought something in the shop and had a picnic but it was too late to go back and start again.

Luckily, unlike the walk my granddaughter and I had done to Hardy’s Monument the way was well sign-posted and I even found myself walking along a bridal path through the middle of a field of rape. (You know: those fields of yellow flowers you see so often these days!). The path was well trodden earth but very narrow and the plants flopped over from both sides in many places.

At the other side of the field the path, though narrow and steep, went through a wooded area and allowed me a view over Cerne Abbas from the other side of the hill. Because it was so narrow, I wondered if the path was really used for riding but thought this could be evidence that it was. Further on I found even more proof. Luckily I didn’t miss the sign that directed me to turn left back towards the village. I walked back through the cemetery and took this picture before I went through the gate.

There was a village café so I went in to get some lunch. I had intended to have soup for lunch but as I wasn’t especially keen on the soup on offer I ended up being seduced by the thought of pie, though I suppose it was the fact that it included ‘veg’ that really sold it to me. Vegetables often seem in short supply in restaurant meals. Here a generous helping of carrots.

The buses were very infrequent and I had a choice of a bus at 1410 or waiting for another couple of hours. I decided that I was already quite tired so it might be wiser to take the earlier bus. I got to the bus stop in good time and was amused by wheeling swallows while I waited. No photographs I am afraid they were moving much too quickly.



Recent makes and WIPs

I have been working on quite a few odds and ends before and after my holiday, apart from the coasters I showed you recently.

I thought that it seemed a shame to waste the place mat I had made just to show it could be done,Placemat and coasterand I remembered that I had a cushion that could do with a new cover. Old cushion coverSo I worked out a way to make a surround and thought I could turn the placemat into a cushion cover. Half a cushion coverThe only question was what should I do for the other side? I found a pattern for a Celtic style weave using front post and back post crochet stitches but didn’t really enjoy working it and thought it was a bit too holey, so I am not sure what to do for the reverse.

Until I do this will remain a WIP.

I have a local crafting friend who has been making some of my cross and angel bookmarks to give to children who are about to be baptised. She said that she had worked the angel one in #20 thread. Now I have always made the angels in #10 thread so I thought here was an interesting challenge. Could I see well enough to make the angel in #20 thread? The only thread I had enough of was my Anchor Artiste multicolour one. After the first row or two I found it easier than I expected! Crochet angelOf course this is larger than life size. (Unless it is on a small screen!)

I have also been making a couple of cross bookmarks, to maybe give away some time. Cross bookmarkThis one is finished, though neither the cross or angel has been stiffened and ironed yet.

I have also gone back to working on my sea-and-sand blanket that has been a bit neglected of late. I feel I am on the home straight now as I am working the last repeat of the colours.


Photo Challenge – Favourite

Now when I was about five or six I would lie in bed at night and work out what was my favourite flower, tree, bird, animal, …………. because I felt that it helped me understand the sort of person that I was. However I have not played those sort of games for a long, long time and have come to appreciate the amazing variety that life offers. After all, although blue is my designated ‘favourite colour’, I am a Rainbow Junkie after all and even if you say ‘blue’ which shade of blue?

However I did realise that over the years I have often had a favourite mug. Of course favourite mugs don’t stay favourite for ever; they get knocked against the tap or the handles fall off!

I do have an awful lot of mugs but when I began to think of favourites I realised that at present I have two sets of mugs that are a bit special. One was a set of china mugs that I bought in Salisbury market which have a theme of teddy bears. There are the ‘breakfast bears’, ‘teatime bears’ and ‘bedtime bear’s, and also ‘playtime bears’ and ‘musical bears’. More recently I have bought the latest Disney ‘original Pooh’ mugs.

In both of these sets, although I like them all I do have a favourite.

So here is a photograph of those two favourites. And as an aside: my favourite shade of blue is probably somewhere in this photograph.

A Dorset Adventure in Five parts – Day two

Last summer when I went to Weymouth with my granddaughter, Sandra of Wild Daffodil and I had arranged to meet, however circumstance intervened, but now I was coming back to Dorset we had another try and this time succeeded.

Sandra very kindly offered to pick me up in her car and take me to somewhere that would be harder to get to by bus (I do not have a car myself) and I suggested Ringstead Beach. Ringstead beachI realised afterwards that I should have taken more photographs, including one of us together but we were so busy getting to know each other and swopping stories of our creative journeys that there wasn’t much time for photographs.

I thought that it would be a good idea to bring a gift in return for her transporting me and I made two of my Celtic Coasters specially for her  Two gift coastersand also offered her a choice of two of my new design. Four new coasters in two sizesAs well as the photograph of the beach I also took a picture of this surprisingly large pipe that channels the water of a stream onto the beach. Pipeand on the way back Sandra stopped the car so I could get a good view of the figure of King George III cut into the chalk on the hillside. Figure cut into the chalk

She kindly took me back to Dorchester where I stopped off for some lunch before deciding what to do for the rest of the day. It was really great to meet a fellow blogger and it is a shame we don’t live nearer each other as we seemed to get on well.

I did a little reconnoitering and acquired a couple of bus timetables when I finally found the Tourist Information Centre which had moved and was now in the Library! I also discovered the best place to catch said buses.

I had noticed a sign for Maumbury Rings which were actually within Dorchester itself; so seeking them out seemed a good way to spend the end of the afternoon.

Maumbury Rings goes back to Neolithic times when farmers often build Henges, probably for ceremonial purposes. The Romans turned it into an amphitheatre and it was also used as a camp during the Civil War.

It is even in use for social events today.

Again, like Maiden Castle I wanted to walk all the way round. (Not as far this time!) Maumbury rings(The above photograph was taken when I was half-way round.)

I climbed up on these steps to start to walk around the top of the bank. Way up to top of bankThere is a very wide gap at the entrance and when I reached the other end of the bank I realised that I could see no easy way down, so I decided that the best thing to do was to retrace my steps and come down where I had gone up.

Here you can see that end seen from below. Bank at other endIt looks as if there may have been a second set of steps at one time and the sloping bit looks as if I might be okay to slide down! However it looked a lot steeper from above.

After this I found a seat in the shade and sat for a while. I couldn’t resist taking some photographs of a beautiful perfect daisy I could see beside the seat. Daisy


Monthly Montage – May

This last month, photographically, I had four photos for the Monthly Challenge: Bird, Cycle, Stationary and Lost. I also created a lot of ‘flower portraits’ of flowers in my garden. Monthly montage - MayApart from that I put together a tutorial on knitting fair isle and, to stick to knitting for a moment, I showed you some socks I have knitted for my daughter. Crochetwise  I wrote a  post about my search for the perfect Celtic Cross bookmark and another showing how my Celtic plaitwork bookmarks compared to earlier bookmarks 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.