Real Snowflakes

Well if I can’t crochet at least I can work on patterns!

This pattern has now been published on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/real-snowflakes

I have to say that my attempt at enrolling pattern testers was not very successful. Even the internet let me down by losing two emails with attachments!

However nothing daunted I put on my ‘US terms’ head (shades of Worzel Gummidge*) and settled down to work through the US version of my snowflakes pattern. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined and I managed to make a few improvements in the process.

So following on from that I am now ready to publish the final copies of the pdfs for both UK and US versions.

My aim had always been the end of July or August so I am pretty much on track.

Here I include a photograph of a comparison between snowflakes made with a 3.5mm hook (central circle) and those made with a 4mm hook. I found the central snowflake came out a very similar size with both hooks. snowflake size comparisonFor anyone who has not seen these before: they are all based on photographs of real snowflakes. You can find them at http://snowcrystals.com/ Kenneth G. Libbrecht kindly gave me permission to use them on my blog and in this pattern. real snowflake photographsThe ones in the above photograph are made in Stylecraft Special DK but they can be made in a variety of other yarns as you can see in my angel wreath. snowflake wreathAnd a full set in a two tone crochet cotton. crochet thread snowflakes*[Worzel Gummidge is a living breathing scarecrow from the books of Barbara Euphan Todd. Although I never read the books as a child they were made into a TV series with Jon Pertwee which I watched with my children. He had several heads which he changed depending on the needs of the current situation.]

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Photo Challenge – Thrift

I can never hear the word ‘thrift’ without thinking of the old threepenny bit (pronounced (thrip-any) that showed a picture of the sea thrift plant – a play on words for the idea of saving them.

So of course when they ceased to be legal tender, I just had to pop one in my impromptu coin collection.

Fortunately my camera is small and light and can be operated with one hand so I am not reduced to using only archive photographs.

So here is a photograph of my saved threepenny bit. threepenny bit

 

Published Angel pattern

Pattern on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/three-small-angels

Even though the opinions given were that the angel didn’t need arms, I couldn’t resist trying out what arms would look like.

First I just made a more colourful one. Then I decided I would try adding arms. And rather liked it.

So I decided to create a pattern with both angels I showed you plus the coloured one with arms as an option.

I took the first two angels to Crafty Coffee on Friday – well at least I can still drink coffee! – and I wanted to see if they liked the pattern. They did – Yay! so I gave them a free two angel one to use as they wish for their project and have published the full set as “Three Small Angels” on Ravelry. 

I was making a version of the third one in different colours but with my arm out of action. I have decided I can always add that as a photograph at a later date.

Unexpectedly! an Angel pattern

I am still working on this pattern and will add it to the shop when I have finished a few variations. Watch this space!

I had thought I would probably have finished the extra knitting and got the pattern ready for next week but unfortunately I now have my left arm in a cast and sling with a cracked bone in my elbow, so even writing posts may be tricky for a while. In ten days the temporary cast will be removed and then I will either be okay or have a long term cast for up to six weeks. So no knitting or crochet for a while. How will I survive, what will I do?

A little bit about how this patterns came about,

A lot of the people who come to ‘Crafty Coffee’ on a Friday are from a local Anglican church and it has been decided to give away 100 or maybe even 200! knitted angels around Christmas time. Two free patterns had been chosen as possible ones to make but the people who were likely to have to make quite a few of the angels were not entirely happy with either of them. So I offered to make one for them.

Now by the time I left to go and do my shopping they were a little happier with the chosen patterns but I found I couldn’t resist having a go at making one.

My first attempt in the afternoon was this. First attempt

But then in the evening I refined it to create this. Final angel

The angel is a little fancier than the ones they were looking at but it is quite a simple pattern in that it is knitted flat and the lace part only has one repeated row and the rest is rib or stocking stitch.

The lace could be omitted to create this simpler angel. I also modified the head slightly for this angel which is how I have written the final pattern.Plain angel

I am not sure whether I should include optional arms for the final pattern. What do you think?

 

Photo Challenge – Lane

When people hear the word ‘Lane’ I would guess that they tend to think of country lanes. Well, when I have had the time, the weather hasn’t been suitable for going out and trying to photograph country lanes, though I would have liked to. So I had to think of something else.

I remembered the proverb “It’s a long lane that has no turning.” and thought about a long lane in Southampton that has a few wiggles but nothing you would call a proper turn – Hill Lane.

Hill Lane is about 3m that is almost two miles long and goes from the top of Southampton Common down almost as far as Southampton Central railway station.

Well of course you cannot capture the whole of a lane like that in one photograph but on Tuesday, after going for my weekly walk on the Common, I went across to the point near Bellemoor Road where you can see the whole of the top quarter of Hill Lane and took this photograph.

Of course Hill Lane rather belies the proverb!!

A Hot Pad / Teapot Stand pattern

I’ve just published the pattern for this on Ravelry. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/celtic-hot-pad

Been working hard these last few days working out the best hook to use and creating the pdfs.

I showed you smaller version I made in the same cotton as my Celtic coasters. 

But this is only a little over 5″ across. Size of smaller hot pad shown

This would do as a teapot stand for a small teapot but is a bit small for a hot pad / trivet.

So I bought some chunky cotton.

“Yarn and Colors Super Must-Have” in Raspberry, Cantaloupe, Sunglow, Peony Leaf, Navy Blue and Violet.

It is always hard to judge colours on the screen so when the yarn came I was pleased to see that the blue although called ‘Navy Blue’ was not too dark and that they worked well together.

Here they all are in the Wool Warehouse signature see through cloth bag.

Chunky yarnMy first attempt was too loose but I went down a hook size and produced this. which is 7″ across. Larger hot padAs you can see here. Size of larger hot padMy Celtic Coaster pattern is selling very well, though I don’t expect this to be so popular, but I am really enjoying experimenting with all sorts of Celtic designs. And the extra cash allows me to feel I can afford to buy more yarns to experiment with!

What do you think? Would you find something like this useful?

And while I was playing around with the chunky cotton, I also made a case for my Swiss Army knife. Swiss Army knife in caseAnd closed. Swiss Army knife case closedIt fits quite snuggly so the case will stop it getting scratched if I just chuck it in my bag!

July Montage

In July I only offered two photographs for the Photo Challenge: Pair and Waste. None of the topics seemed particularly easy this month. I did also share some photographs of the  guest house and a few flowers from my Dorchester trip.

July montageOtherwise I shared a lot of crochet but no knitting. Not that I have been doing no knitting this months as I have in fact been making a pair of socks for my granddaughter.

I showed you the tiny pot holder I made for fun and the little case I made for a GPS dongle. I also showed you my attempts at devising a Celtic hot pad and my improved Celtic bookmark. I bought some new yarn from some of which I made the Celtic Coaster style hot pad and the inner of the bookmark.

A Better Bookmark

Those of you who have been following me for a while will know that I wasn’t entirely happy with my Celtic bookmark because it was quite large and a bit thick. I posted the pattern but then, using the bookmark in one of the larger hardback books I have been borrowing from the library lately, I realised that I had left something out of the pattern!! so removed it.

However more recently I realised that if I made the bookmark in #20 cotton it would be smaller and thinner. new and previous bookmarksThis is why I bought the cotton thread I showed you here. recent yarn purchasesI used the cream #20 thread and some red that I had already to make another bookmark and being very happy with it have published the pattern in my Ravelry store – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/celtic-bookmark-2 – Getting it right this time!

Here are the two bookmarks compared with others. bookmark comparison

In #20 cotton thread this makes a bookmark approximately 5.5 inches by 1 inch (14ch x 2.5cm). I think this is the best size and thickness for a bookmark

in #10 cotton thread the bookmark is 7 inches by 1.5 inches. (18cm x 4cm). This is fairly thick but useable in larger books as I have found.

As you can see here.

larger bookmark in large bookand the new one in a smaller book. new bookmark in paperback book

inside the same paperback library book. new bookmark on paperback bookSo what do you think?

Photo Challenge – Waste

I couldn’t get too excited about the topic ‘waste’ and didn’t want to photograph my rubbish but then looking at the little pile of ends on my work table in the sitting room gave me an idea.

This is something I have shown before but is something made from these waste ends that I am still collecting to make something even bigger. Photo Challenge photographAnd this is the one my granddaughter made. Granddaughter's bowlShe insisted that the strands had to line up!!

Thinking of hot pads

One of the early people who bought my Celtic Coasters pattern asked me for some ideas of how I might use the pattern to make a hot pad. At the time I suggested a few ideas based on my recent work on expanding the coaster into a table mat. However when I recently had an idea for another Celtic design, that I knew would be bigger than a coaster made in my usual cotton yarn, once again I began thinking ‘hot pad’!

I wanted to try the new design in ‘chunky’ yarn and wondered if the DMC XL cotton could be the right thickness. The recommended hook size appeared to be 6-7mm and I had a 6.5mm that I had inherited from my mother so it seemed worth a try.

When I went to Winchester, the first shop I visited, because it was near the bus station, didn’t have the DMC but they did have the Patons yarn in the photograph. which had a recommended hook size of 6-7mm and was at a reduced price so I decided to buy a couple of balls in my favourite colours.

I found the DMC yarn in the second shop, though they only sold it in very pale, neutral, sort of colours. At least this was blue even though very pale.

It is worth noting that neither yarn describes itself as either chunky or super chunky on the label.

So I came home, got out my hook, and crocheted a strip of trebles in both yarn. It was obvious at this point that there was a great difference in the thickness of the two yarns. A difference I had already suspected.

It became obvious to me that. whereas the Patons was probably about a chunky weight. the DMC was much more of a super chunky.

So I wondered what would happen if I made one of my original coasters in the DMC. Of course I only had the one colour but I though that I would give it  a go and produced this. As a comparison here is the coaster style hot pad compared to a wooden mat I use on my dining table for extra heat resistance and a trivet that I use on the worktops for saucepans. The mat is about 7 inches and the new hot pad about 6 inches.

I actually think that this is a better solution to the “how do I use the coaster pattern for a hot pad?” question as it produces a much thicker pad.

The Patons is not 100% cotton so not really the best thing to use for a hot pad so in the end I decided to make my new design in my current DK weight cotton and see how it would look. Hot padI was really quite pleased with it, though I would change the starting point for the main strips. (Not that it matters really!!)

I think that if made in chunky weight cotton it would come out about 8 inches across.

So the question is: do I buy some chunky weight cotton in five different colours and make one? Especially as I don’t even use my trivets very much. I tend to put hot saucepans on my chopping board, a ring on the cooker that is off or my steel draining rack.

The only snag I found with the ‘coaster’ in the DMC cotton XL was that it took just over half a ball; otherwise I could have used up the rest by making another one!!